Disneyland Paris is a resort which will always hold a special place in my heart. I first visited Disneyland when I was just a few months old and have been fortunate enough to visit the resort many times as the years have gone by. Over the past decade or so, the resort has suffered from a lack of maintenance and upkeep which really was an upsetting thing to see.
I recently had the chance to return to Disneyland Paris for a short trip to experience their 25th Anniversary celebrations. Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the trip.
I’m delighted to say the resort now looks better than ever before. Everything looked very clean and in working order which was a great sight to see. Previously many lights would not be functioning which ruined the effect along Main Street U.S.A.; things looking as though they hadn’t been touched since 1992 and generally just a disappointing Disney experience. Being an theme-park that is open 365 days a year; maintenance can be a tricky thing; but I am so pleased to see the resort almost “sparkling” again as it celebrates it’s 25th birthday.
As part of Disneyland Paris’ “Experience Enhancement Programme’, several attractions within the theme parks have or are due to receive major refurbishments to make them as good as new. Space Mountain inside Disneyland Park recently emerged from one of these having transformed into Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain with new trains, projections and a different storyline. One of my favourite attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean, has now been closed for several months but is due to re-open in July with a whole host of new effects; including the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow.
What’s Open and What Isn’t
Disneyland Paris has been renowned for often closing dining establishments for spells of time in order to carry out maintenance or as other rumours say, save money during the quiet periods. I visited during a fairly busy week at the start of the summer season to find a handful of restaurants closed. Some of these restaurants are very popular and were still being tweeted about on social media by the official Disneyland Paris twitter handle as an ideal place to grab lunch. I am sure that didn’t go down well with many fans whom saw the tweet then headed over to that area of the park to find it was closed.
One of my other favourite attractions is the Disneyland Railroad, which was closed was a very long time as major safety and general refurbishment work was carried out on the trains, tracks and at each station too. I was shocked to see that only one steam train was operating. For an attraction which is popular with many, I had previously seen reports that this was the case but refused to believe it. The wait time sign at the attraction entrance indicated the approximate wait time was 20-minutes; however due to only one train running it was actually just over an hour by the time I stepped aboard the “Eureka” train. There were also other things where some shops in Fantasyland wouldn’t open until 14:00 in the afternoon, which was very bizarre – missing the early morning and lunchtime rush of guest wandering around the park.
This is a critical issue which when operating any sort of attraction is always the first priority. Whilst waiting in line to experience Crush’s Coaster at Walt Disney Studios Park; I spotted a couple of Cast Members whom were working in a critical loading/unloading position for the attraction. Unfortunately these Cast Members seemed to be far too busy chatting instead of pro-actively informing guests to keep their hands clear while the restraint was deactivated and encourage them to exit to the left-hand side of the ride vehicle so the next guests could board whilst it was still moving. I must have watched the same scenario unfold several times where they were not keeping an eye on things and so guests started to disembark the wrong way which caused the attraction to come to a stop. For someone who has worked at an attraction myself (albeit a unique type), I know how important safety is and I was really disappointed by what I saw.
Value for Money
Disneyland Paris has always been a fairly expensive resort to visit, especially due to the current exchange rate with the Euro. In terms of value for money, food and drink cost me at least 25% more than it does at Disney’s theme parks in the USA; however entry into the theme parks itself is a lot less.
25th Anniversary Additions
For the 25th Anniversary, Disneyland Paris have introduced a number of new entertainment options which includes a new daytime parade and a fireworks show. Disney Illuminations was a pretty impressive nighttime spectacular which for me combined the best of World of Color, Disney Dreams! and other nighttime shows around the world into a story through some of Disney’s most beloved movies. In the Walt Disney Studios Park, Mickey and the Magician is a cute live stage show which combined live magic with a fun storyline. It is definitely a show worth seeing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of returning to Disneyland Paris. Overall I was impressed with the condition of the resort and several of the new experiences; however I was disappointed by some other aspects which I explained above. No matter what I will continue to visit Disneyland Paris and I am positive that things can only get better with the recent complete takeover of the resort by The Walt Disney Company. Here’s to many more magical years at Disneyland Paris.