Today our trip to Disneyland Paris begins. Ixner, Nicole and Hübi picked me up at around 5:40 AM. Hard to get up so early. It was a long drive to Euro Disney, with my feet and legs stuck I was unable to move, but I survived and we arrived in high spirits.
We arrived at our hotel – the Hotel Cheyenne – at around 11:30 AM or thereabouts. It was relatively easy to find. Check-in was uncomplicated, although you do have to get used to the way things are done in Disney. The rooms are okay, but for the money I could imagine a better hotel; in fact I have lived in better hotels for less money. Still, the rooms are acceptable – especially since we only intend to spend the nights here.
After we dropped off our stuff in the rooms, we went back to the reception to put some valuables in the saves. The safes are free, but if you lose the key you will pay 150 Euros. A good service, especially since Hübi and I didn’t feel like leaving our notebooks in the room – that’d have been an open invitation to thieves, after all. We also had some credit card business to take care off – which Sara the very good looking and pleasant receptionist handled nicely – and ordered tickets for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show (more on that later) and then off we went to Disneyland itself.
We decided to walk some back route, then through Disney Village, and then we were in Disneyland. The first impression was pompous and kitsch, and that’s what would remain a background theme for our entire visit.
After entering Disneyland proper, we took the train ride around Disneyland, taking in a first impression of the scenery. Everything was nicely sculpted, maybe a little too heavy on the artificial side, but it was nowhere near as bad as say Storyland.
Disembarking the train, we went to the first attraction for the day, **Space Mountain**, a sort of space-themed indoor roller coster ride. It was a trip. A bad one. I mean it was fun, but the trip was stressful and disorienting. If you want to try it, my advice is to really take the warnings about medical conditions to heart. Space Mountain is not for the weak or injured; it will be a problem. At one time, you’re going head down. And the ride is shaking and vibrating like crazy. When we left Space Mountain, I felt decidedly dizzy and couldn’t really walk in a straight line. That passed quickly, but I doubt I would enter Space Mountain again.
938We followed up with a few other attractions – **Star Tours**, the Star Wars flight simulator was nicely done, with a lot of good attention to detail, a very nice attraction. As we left it, the clouds became thicker; and when we were done with a small snack and a look at the next gift shop, a strong downpour occurred. Time to find an indoor attraction…
The **Visionarium** is a 360Â° cinema that shows a sort of time-travel episode movie, the attempt is to immerse the viewer in the scenes displayed. Most were done quite well and the immersion kind of works; but I hated the capsule story of the “Timekeeper”. Very Disney, true, but also very lame. Aw ee only went in here to cover the time of a bad rainshower, and when we got out the sun was shining, so it wasn’t a loss.
1118**Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril** is also a very fun ride. It is not quite as tough as Space Mountain, but it’s still a trip. They make the rollercoaster go backwards, so you do not see what’s coming next. I enjoyed this one more than Space Mountain, and it didn’t make me quite as dizzy. I would say that Indiana Jones is the “toughest” roller coaster I can recommend. The only problem is that it’s way too short. This wasn’t so much an issue for us because we didn’t have to wait much… but I imagine that if you have to wait, say, an hour to get in and then the ride takes about 60 seconds you’ll be disappointed.
965**Thunder Mountain** was again a step down from Indiana Jones… a lot of fun, but not as tough. At some points I was definitely worried about hitting my head or the cars flying off of the track. I know this is unlikely to happen, but it was a worry. Probably not a ride to take if you are 2.20 meters tall or something.
**Pirates of the Caribbean** is a very relaxing ride, a water-ride with two or three slides. The theme is probably well known: It depicts scenes from a romanticised Caribbean. Very nicely done, nice visuals and very relaxing. The coolest thing is that you can actually dine in the first set of the ride; the restaurant is called **Blue Lagoon**, and the prices are… well, piracy. A menu costs around 40 to sixty Euros, but I’ll have to check the photo of the menu to make sure. I kind of purged this memory from my mind.
The **Flight of Peter Pan** is another relaxing ride; like Thunder Mountain we took a Fast Path ticket to get in. Fast Path is a method that alloows you to bypass the normal queues, but you have to show up at a certain time. A nice system if you ask me. Anyway, Peter Pan’s flight is nicely done, a relaxing voyage through the Peter Pan story, with a miniature Neverland below you, and so on. Really nice, the only danger is that if you have been walking around all day you very well may fall asleep here. This ride is probably much more suited for small kids.
**Phantom Manor** is a ride we took after Thunder Mountain, because we had plenty of time left before the Wild West show. It’s a normal haunted house type ride, very nicely done in parts. I especially liked the ballroom ghosts, which were very conincingly done. The overall setting and scenery were well done, as well. I admit I have a knack, a fancy for colonial/victorian type haunted manors, so I may be biased. Anyway the ride was relaxing and nicely put together, so I’d recommend this one as well.
956Finally, we took a ride in the (in)famous **It’s a small world**, which – to be fair – was designed for the younger members of the audience. Well, what can I say – this is the Disneyland stereotype. There has never been worse Kitsch in a ride. It was colorful, tacky, horrible, and in bad taste, supplemented by an annoying tune and many, many national stereotypes. It’s so fake you won’t believe someone put it into an actual theme park. And yet, we had a blast – mostly simply because this ride was so bad. I took a few video clips with my camera, and I’ll see if I can put them together and upload them.
Those were the attractions/rides we visited today. Overall, I liked them a lot. Much fun. There were some other sites we visited; we had lunch in a – deadly expensive – fast food place; we went to **Cinderella’s Castle** and into the dragon cave. The Dragon, as a side note, is really well done, very convincing. HÃ¼bi made a good photo of it which I will happily steal for my own photo album.
We also went to **Robinson Crusoe’s treehouse** – an impressive achievement of construction but of little entertainment value. We took a look at various gift shops and again they’re stereotypical Disney. Merchandising in perfection. Guard your wallet.
Lastly, after the day, we went to attend the **Buffalo Bill Wild West Show**, which included dinner. We first had to make a detour via the hotel, because the security guards didn’t like Ixner’s pocket knife. Nevermind that they never checked us in the morning, or in the evening when we returned for the show. Idiots…
The **Wild West show** is not included in the entrance fee for Disney, and costs a whopping 52 Euros extra. We figured we just as well could give it a shot as it was unlikely we’d ever return, at least in the near future. Well, let me say this loud and clear: It is a rip-off, even by Disney themepark standards. There were a few parts of the show which were well done, but overall I found very annoying. HÃ¼bi disagrees; he told me to mention that he really enjoyed the show. Well, this is my weblog and I say it’s not worth the money. The food was horrible too. I’d probably be willing to pay, say, 10 Euros for this show. But 52? By all that is good and pure, you should save your money and buy anything for it, anything but the ticket for the Wild West show. Blow it on Disney merchandise, if you must. At least you can bring that stuff to some relatives or friends. But whatever you do, __avoid Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show__.
Anyway, to sum it up: Despite the horrible Wild West show, I really enjoyed Day 1 of Euro Disney. We seem to have caught the perfect time of the year for a visit. According to reports and the signs near some rides, it isn’t unusual to wait 45 minutes, an hour or even longer for some attractions; and we never had to wait more than maybe five minutes today.
Well, time for a nap; I’ll write more as time progresses.