Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Disneyland Resort Paris - Day 2

After being up late the night before, we "slept in" until 7AM.  Groggily, we cleaned up and made it downstairs for our 8 o'clock breakfast time.  When you check into your hotel at DLRP, they give you tickets with times for your breakfasts, which are included in the price of your room.

The breakfast buffet at the Sequoia Lodge was... interesting.  There were croissants, Nutella, yogurt, orange juice, and cereals.  There was also banana flavored mini cheese cups, pimento loaf slices and other cold cuts, cheese cubes, garlic puree, and something out of a machine that was called "coffee", but tasted more like liquid toe jam.  I didn't think it was possible, but the coffee at Disneyland Paris is worse than the coffee in Munich.  Luckily, the machines also dispensed "chocolate drink", which I mixed with the "coffee" to make it drinkable.
 After breakfast we walked to the entrance to Walt Disney Studios, which officially opened at 10AM, but we heard would actually open at 9:30.  While waiting we had a great conversation with the South African family behind us in line.  Sure enough at 9:30, the turnstiles opened and the mad sprint for Crush's Coaster ensued.

The queue to Crush's Coaster opened a few minutes after we arrived there, and luckily before the crowd had a chance to get ugly.  We rode after about a 10 minute wait, and all of us agreed that this was one of the best Disney attractions we have experienced at any park.  It was like no coaster I've ever been on before.  You actually feel as if you are surfing while you are riding.

After we got off the ride we made our way to Toy Story Playland.  We stood with a mob of people waiting for the land to open, which it did at 10 o'clock.  The kids rode RC Racer with no wait, and then we got into line for the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, which had a posted 30 minute wait.  Soon after we got in line, the ride broke down, so we never got to ride.  Just another of the ubiquitous "technical difficulties" that are so prevalent at DLRP.

 Next, I took the kids to ride the Rock n' Roller Coaster while Lori made a Tower of Terror Fastpass run.  Abby and I were super-excited because this one of our favorite rides at Walt Disney World.  We ride multiple times each trip, and quote the pre-show often, even when we aren't at Disney.  Michael was excited because he was able to ride for the first time.  He had never met the height requirement before.

When we got off the ride Abby and I looked at each other with expressions of extreme disappointment. The pre-show was different and terrible, and even though the ride track was identical as the one in Florida, there were none of the great black-lit props in the coaster, and there was no music playing during the ride.  Calling this a "Rock n' Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith" is a joke.  There is no Aerosmith except for a brief Cameo in the pre-show, and no Rock n' Roll at all except for a few pieces of memorabilia in the queue.

Michael loved the ride, and had a smile from ear to ear.  He didn't know what he was missing.

We met back up with Lori and made our way over to the 10:45 showing of Animagique.  This was a really good show, and all of us enjoyed it a lot.  There's not really another show that I can think of that is similar in any way to it.  It was very French, very Disney, and lots of fun.

Next, we rode the Tower of Terror.  It was a bit different than the Florida version, missing the parts where the elevator moves forward before dropping.  We had a lot of fun on this version because we had no idea when the drops were going to start.

There wasn't a whole lot else in the Studios that we wanted to experience, so we walked through the shops on the way out and made our way back to the Sequoia Lodge to swim a bit.  The only thing left that we wanted to make sure not to miss was the other show, Cinemagique.  We noted the showtimes so that we could see it on our way back into the parks later.

The pool at the Sequoia Lodge is nice, mostly inside with a small outside section.  When we arrived wearing our bathing suits, the Cast Member at the entrance directed us to the changing rooms to shower off.  We were aware that showering before entering a pool is even more important than in the US because they use less chlorine, so we made sure to scrub off well.

When we entered the pool area soaking wet after showering, I asked for four towels.  The Cast Member looked at me funny and pointed to a sign that claimed that towels cost 2 Euro each to rent.  I wasn't thrilled about having to rent towels after paying a significant chunk of change to stay at the resort, but, being drenched already, I asked to rent two of them.  The Cast Member then told me that I could not rent them from her, and that I must walk back up to the shop in the main lodge to rent them.

To say that I was a bit frustrated would be an understatement.  I understand that I missed the sign explaining that towels had to be rented, but expecting me to walk soaking wet up to the store in the lodge certainly sucked any "magic" out of the pool experience for us.  We used the pool for about 20 minutes, and then drip-dried our way back to our room sans towels.  This was one of several times at DLRP that we really missed the Disney service and experience we have grown used to at WDW.  On the positive side, at least the pool wasn't closed for "technical difficulties."

After cleaning up and drying off, we walked to the Disney Village where we had lunch at Earl of Sandwich.  Really craving a little bit of home for the first time on the trip, I ordered the "All American" sandwich, which is filled with turkey, cheddar, and cranberry sauce.  It tasted excellent, especially with American background music like Pearl Jam and Simon and Garfunkel playing in the dining room.   Lori, also craving some of the conveniences of home after three weeks away, nearly cried when the self-service soda dispenser ice-machine didn't work.

When we were finished with lunch we stopped in the World of Disney store to do a little pin trading.  It's not nearly as big as the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney in Florida, or the one that used to be on 5th Avenue in New York City, but it is brand new and beautiful.  We enjoyed looking at all the DLP 20th Anniversary stuff.  The kids did a bit of pin trading, and one cast member was a bit rude and refused to trade with them unless they gave her a choice of two of their pins to select from.

Confused, we asked her to explain and she told us that the rules were that the Cast Member must have a choice of at least two pins.  We apologized for not knowing about this, and explained that it wasn't done that way in Florida.  She scoffed and made it clear that this was the way it was done at DLRP.

I apologized again for our ignorance, and thanked her for explaining the rules to us.  (I was a bit angry when I found out the next day that the rules at DLRP and WDW are identical, and her whole speil was nonsense.)

We made our way back to Walt Disney Studios where we saw Cinemagique and did a little shopping.  Cinemagique was another excellent show.  Martin Short does a wonderful job in the film, and it's pretty funny.  While all of us liked it, Lori and I probably enjoyed it a bit more than the kids.

Around 4:30 we walked over to Disneyland and spent some time pin trading and exploring the shops on Main Street.  We made sure to offer cast members a choice of pins, since we falsely now believed this to be the rules.  It wasn't a big deal because each of the kids had a few pins they were willing to part with on their lanyards.

A little after 5PM we found a spot on the curb on Main Street and sat down to wait for the 7 o'clock Magic Everywhere Parade.  While Lori and the kids saved our spot I ran to Casey's and picked up dinner for us.  The cast member who served me asked me if I was American.  I replied that I was, and he explained that he could tell because I ordered "fries" with my hot dogs instead of "chips."  When he asked if I wanted any sauce, I asked for ketchup.  Then, remembering that Lori liked mayo on her fries, I asked, "You wouldn't have mayonaise, would you?"  He got a chuckle out of that, since mayo is pretty much the standard condiment for fries in France.  I liked that guy.

We ate dinner on the curb, and waited for the parade to start.  The parade was fantastic - definitely one of the highlights of our time at Disneyland Paris.  I liked it more than any other daytime Disney parade I've ever seen, and we made sure to buy the music from it before we left the park.

 The evening after the parade was spent leisurely walking around the park.  We explored Adventure Isle a bit more, and went into the Swiss Family Treehouse.  We rode Phantom Manor again, and Lori and I tried to figure out more of the backstory from details in the ride.  We rode the Snow White and Pinocchio rides, walked through Alice's Curious Labyrinth, and spent some time enjoying the theming in Fantasyland.  Michael insisted on seeing the dragon under the castle again.

Around 9:30 we left the park and walked back to our room at the Sequoia Lodge, exhausted but looking forward to our last full day at Disneyland and in Europe.


  1. The cast members in Paris make their own pin trading rules up as they go along. I always show them a whole lanyard full of traders now to avoid a bust up or confrontation!! They'll still make up rules if they don't see anything they fancy. Some cast members will take pins off their 'Disney owned' lanyards and swap it for a rubbish one off their own if they see something they like. They really do their best to suck the magic out of pin trading!

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