Hi everyone. My wife and I recently visited Disneyland Paris, and I thought I’d write a trip report in case anyone was ever in area and considered going. We had been planning a European vacation for a while. We had never been, so we decided we would start with the Big Two Cities; London and Paris. Going to Disneyland Paris never even entered my mind when planning, considering there would be an endless supply to museums, cathedrals and monuments to see. But when I saw a gap in one of our days in Paris, I thought, why not, when will we ever get this opportunity again? And going to a theme park served as a nice break to the overwhelming magnitude of seeing a lot of these great sites. I’ll get the overall opinion out of the way first, in case you don’t feel like reading the whole post. The park is very well designed, a nice layout with a few lands and attractions that I felt were better done than either US parks. But the park is kind of dirty; a lot of trash on the ground, sections in disrepair. And the cast members are not of the same caliber as the states, in both attitude and performing job functions like ride management. I’m glad we went, and still recommend, because it is different enough to warrant visiting at least once. We took the RER train out of Paris, about a 35-minute ride from downtown Paris to just a few steps from the gates, located in a suburb of the city. The RER to Disneyland is pretty easy to use once you find an RER station (different from the Metro that runs inside the city), and the Disneyland stop is clearly labeled as “Disneyland”. You exit the train pretty much in front of the Downtown Disney area, and the set-up of the two parks and shopping area is very similar to Anaheim. We arrived at rope-drop, but the park had been open to hotel guest for 2 hours. It was around spring break time so the park was pretty busy. In case you are wondering, most everything is bilingual in the park; signage, announcements, and cast members. I was amazed at lunchtime to watch the cashier speak to customers in French, English and Spanish so fluently, but hey, most of the world is a lot better at that than us. It was also amazing to watch him be snotty and disinterested in multiple languages. The first thing that will catch your attention is that instead of a train station over the entrance gate, they have their main hotel. It immediately made the park feel different than what I’m used to. Inside seems like a mix between Orlando and Anaheim. The length of their Main Street felt somewhere between the two parks, as well as the size of their castle. This of course, is only my interpretation, I could be off. Being huge Haunted Mansion fans, we headed straight into Frontierland to visit Phantom Manor. Phantom Manor definitely has an American West feel. The outside looks great, and standing on the porch gives you a great view of Big Thunder Mountain. The most striking aspect of the ride was the lack of narration. Even if it was in French, I feel like the Mansion loses something with no narration. I’m pretty sure at one point it had a Vincent Price narration, but on this day, nothing. The tone of the ride is much more frightening that the US version, more skulls and rotten corpses. There is much more of a story, following a mourning bride in an old west town. The graveyard scene is replaced by a cool effect where your doombuggy seems to travel below the ground and into a ghostly old west town that vaguely seemed like Hell, complete with ragtime “Grim grinning ghosts”. No hitchhiking ghosts at the end, but a face that appears to be riding on top of your vehicle. The effects are very well done, and it is a great ride, but I came away feeling like it wasn’t “My mansion”, the tone and feel that I’m used to, more scary and less whimsical. Its good then that it has a different name, as it feels like a different ride. Next we rode Big Thunder, which is on an island that your car travels to in a tunnel below the river. Here is where we got our first hint of how bad lines are managed there. Well before the loading area, the stand-by and FastPass lines merge with no cast member directing traffic. This made for a lot of smashing into each other and jockeying to be in front of these “cutters”. It was a mess. Near the load area, a cast member called out for a “group of two”. My wife and I spoke up, but the dozen or so people in front of us refused to move and let us through. When it looked like the cast member was about to give up on us, we were forced to climb over the railing and fight our way down. I have to say this Big Thunder was my favorite of the 3 I’ve visited; faster, smooth and the best visuals. We cut back through the hub to Discoveryland, their version of Tomorrowland. It has a steampunk, Victorian feel to it, and looks fantastic. I knew their Space Mountain had loops, so Ashley decided to sit this one out. The ride system is more similar to Rockin’ Rollercoaster. After winding through the dark queue, you load back outside, and launch up a canon on the side of the mountain. It’s very dark and very fast. The space effects; star fields, novas and comets, are spectacular and feel like you’re driving through them. Its very dark, and kind of disorienting. I’m not a huge coaster guy, and after getting my head thrashed around pretty good, I decided one ride was good enough. We grabbed FastPasses to Buzz Lightyear, but after waiting for them, noticed the wait time decreased and was only 15 minutes, so we decided just to wait in stand-by. BIG MISTAKE. The line did not move at all, which was weird considering it was an onmimover. They opened the doors to the inside area every ten minutes, to which a flood of Fast Pass people would smash their way through, while the stand-by remained where it was. When we finally made it onto the ride, it ended up being closer to 30 minutes in line. After, we vowed to use Fast Pass on every ride it was available at, as it seemed like the only way to actually get onto a ride. It was just another example of very poor ride management. The castmembers seemed like little more than doormen that let you into a building, and then you were on your own. Buzz stopped unexpectedly near the middle and we sat in our cars at least 15 minutes with no announcement. I just wanted off. We decided to move over to Fantasyland next. Paris’ Fantastyland is probably the most spectacular of the 3 parks I’ve visited. The attraction buildings are arranged so they create a dense, layered look, but without feeling cluttered. There are waterfalls and spectacular landscaping. I hope the Fantasyland expansion takes a hint from this. We rode Snow White (all in French, but basically the same), Casey Jr (faster and bigger than DL), it’s a small world (awesome), Pinocchio (about the same), and the Tea Cups. Of these, “it’s a small world” struck me as being better than the US parks. The scenes felt like they have more depth, and fill the space more fully. I’ve always noticed spots that look kind of bare in Orlando, and here everything was arranged very well. Very bright and colorful. But the most shocking “thing” of the day came when I noticed someone had slapped a “Jesus Loves You” sticker on the wall inside “it’s a small world”, right on a set-piece. I had no idea how long it had been up there, but given my overall impression of the park, it could have been months. We also noticed a lot of trash floating in the waterway. That would never happen in the US. Walt must be rolling over in his cryogenic chamber. One attraction that was exclusive to Paris was Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, a walk-through hedge maze. This was bordered up (strange since the website listed it as ope), and it really bummed Ashley out as it was one of the attractions she was most looking forward to. It could have been awesome or maybe not, we’ll never know….Like the US, Peter Pan had a huge wait, so we grabbed a Fast Pass for much later in the day.