Disneyland Paris (part 1 of 2)
“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind.” — Charles Dickens
Our second to last day in Paris we decided to go to the place formerly known as Euro Disney–Disneyland Paris. I take that back. We didn’t decide to go; I didn’t want to go. I knew it would be a day from hell. But my veto was overridden 3 votes to 1, and there was nothing I could do but blow nearly US$500 to stand in lines all day (and eat horrible food).
The trip to Disneyland Paris didn’t get off to a great start. When we got to the RER station we found the ticket machine wouldn’t accept bills or our credit cards. Since Disneyland Paris isn’t in Paris, the RER train you take to get there is not exactly cheap with a fare of over US$10 a person each way. The only way someone without a local credit card can buy a ticket is to use coins. Who carries around $40 in coins to ride a train?
We wanted to get there before it opened at 10 to avoid the lines (yeah right) but soon realized that wasn’t going to happen when we had to find someone who could provide so much change. Not many businesses are open in Paris at 9 in the morning, and the bitter, French shopkeepers who were open were not willing to provide us with change without us buying their overpriced wares.
Eventually we found a change machine in the post office which ever so reluctantly provided the needed handfuls of coins. The train was packed so we had to stand for most of the 40 minute+ journey.
Once we were at the “park” we had to stand in four lines. The first, pictured above, was for security. The second was for tickets. The third was to get in. The fourth was for our first ride. From the time in which we arrived at the train station until we got on our first ride four and one half hours had elapsed. 99% of that time was spent standing and waiting. Now do you see why I wasn’t looking forward to my veto being overridden?
We have been through this before, at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, and I vow (once again) to never let it happen again. If my kids want to go to Tokyo Disneyland, next year, they will be going without me.
In our first ride line (which took an hour even though it wasn’t a fast pass type of ride) we met a really nice man from Poland. He heard us speaking in English and asked, “Are you from the USA?” When we responded in the affirmative, he asked why someone from the USA would go to Disneyland Paris. I agreed with him–no one from the states (or anywhere else for that matter) should go to Disneyland Paris. The discussion with him was the most enjoyable part of the day. It turns out he is an excommunicated, former Catholic Priest. He was excommunicated for wanting a family and was visiting Disneyland Paris with his son. It’s not every day that an excommunicated Catholic and an excommunicated Mormon like myself meet up in a line in Paris Disneyland.
As you can see from the above photo, Disneyland Paris is very similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. There are a few minor differences. One major difference is that you can smoke in Disneyland Paris, and the French, like the Danes, love their cigarettes. Few things in life are worse than spending a day in queues at Disneyland. Spending a day in lines with people blowing smoke in your face is one of them.
But the biggest disappointment of all (not really) is that there is no Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland Paris. There is a restaurant called “Toad Hall” though.