Disneyland Paris

I’ve realised that although I’ve slagged off the food and talked about the pregnancy angle of Disneyland Paris, I haven’t really mentioned much about the park itself and what Weasel thought of it. Having been to Walt Disney World in Florida with someone else’s infant (and them obviously, I don’t just take random infants to Disney) and now to Paris with Weasel, I hope I can make at least a somewhat informed comparison.

Separate entrances for French and English speakers?

Rides: There are some differences definitely, but most of these are for the better. These were the highlights –

Space Mountain – no way Weasel and I rode this, but husband did and said it was much more exciting with it’s cannon launch system

It’s a Small World – Yes, as irritating as always, but this one at least is a little nicer. Less damp smell, less horrible queuing hall (you queue outside) and it’s nice not to be able to hear the animatronics moving. Weasel was mostly dazed for the whole ride with the saccharine overdose.

The castle: I would love to say this was more awesome, since it had a big scary dragon underneath. But we had a bit of a run-in with some rude staff, oops, I mean ‘cast members’ who split our party up and wouldn’t let us pass through, making us do a massive detour as they were closing for the parade hours in advance. Weasel was frightened of the dragon, and to be fair, he was quite scary and it is very dark (i.e. stumbling over your own feet kind of dark) in there.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Much better than Florida. Thankfully, given we had dinner in there, it doesn’t smell so bad and there’s a tolerable level of Jack Sparrow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive Johnny Depp fan, but he appears about 17 times in the Florida ride now. Weasel was not impressed with the drops, nor was Bump.

Carousel: A little scruffier than I would expect from a Disney resort and compared to the amazing one the previous day at Fontainbleau, Weasel still would say this was her favourite ride I’m sure.

Swiss Family Treehouse: Holy crapola, this one is much, much taller. Expect to carry toddlers up a lot of stairs.

Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship: This thing rocked. It was randomly closed the first time we tried to go on it, and then mysteriously reopened later without explanation. Weasel really enjoyed running around what is essentially a really awesome pirate themed playground.

Alice’s Curious Labyrinth: A great maze for little ones that isn’t too scary (some mazes with high walls scare Weasel, I don’t know if this is a common thing), complete with characters from Alice in Wonderland. The whole aim is to get the the castle, which sadly, even in this off-season time, was so packed we couldn’t really move round in it. They have some flow issues, but it’s definitely worth it for running around the rest. Weasel mostly liked stroking the walls that matched her trousers and disliked the large card people that popped up from behind fences.

Le Pays des Contes de Fees: Basically a fairytale-land cruise. This is probably only exciting for quite little ones. Despite its similarity to the one at Legoland, this one was actually enjoyed by Weasel.

Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin: Almost a mini-coaster for kids at Walt Disney Studios with a deceptively hidden queue. Weasel was desperate to ‘get on doggy’ but soon changed her mind. “Don’t like doggy” would be her review. Maybe a wee bit fast for a 2 year old.

Fireworks: We missed a little at the beginning, finishing off our dinner with an overtired Weasel at the Blue Lagoon, but what we saw of the fireworks was far superior to anything we’ve seen in Florida. There are a lot more lasers, fire and giant squirty fountains. It’s surprising that the heat of those flames, given we could feel them quite far away, don’t melt the paint off the castle on a daily basis. Definitely worth staying for.

Practicalities:

Food – see link in the first paragraph

Changing facilities: Very, very bad. Do not expect what you get at Disney World Florida. The changing tables are on the sink area in the normal loos, you will queue for them and they are dirty. You might as well change your kid outside as it is much cleaner sadly.

Pram Access: Not as good as I was expecting. Often there are stairs where they could easily have put a small ramp, leaving you to search around for the massive detour of the disabled ramp. We never managed to find the disabled entrance to the Disneyland Railroad station at the entrance, meaning carrying up the pushchair. Buggy Parks are kind of useless on the railroad unless you plan on just doing a loop. Given the park was opened in 1992, I would have thought a little more consideration would have been given to access.

Verdict: It’s definitely worth going to and nice not to have to trek all the way to Florida for. They’ve made improvements on a lot of the rides from the original in LA (they have had 37 years of feedback I guess) so you should give it a go even if you’re a die hard Florida fan. Just be prepared – some of your home comforts might be sadly missed.

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