This was a nice article to read, you seem to only hear negative about Disneyland Paris. This was much more positive and suggests that there certainly can be fun and even cultural lessons derived from a visit...if you need a justification!
Interesting article and it has a lot of valid points. Having been there as a family in the fall of 2010, I would say it had it lived up to it's reputation. I think for a die hard Disney fan it is a must, but we were honestly let down on multiple counts. Would I go again, no. Would I reccommend it maybe, but try to set aside any standards and comparisons to the USA parks.
Last edited by Host Young Gang Mom; 04-27-2012 at 04:51 PM.
We spent our spring break in Paris last month and I initially had no intention of visiting Disneyland Paris, however, the kids were keen to go and we had 9 days so we were able to do it without missing out on important Parisian experiences.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day there. It's definitely a different experience from the American parks but I thought that it had its own European charm. I particularly liked the French signs for the shops and attractions - "Blanche Neige et les Sept Nains" just sounds so much nicer than "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
It's smaller than the American parks so we were able to see pretty much everything in one day - this was made easier by the fact that it wasn't very busy on a weekday in mid-March. We enjoyed the rides that we weren't familiar with like the Story Land boats and picking out the differences in rides that we thought would be the same like It's a Small World and Phantom Manor.
I wouldn't recommend it to visitors that have only a few days in Paris, however, for those staying longer it's a nice break from the city and a different kind of cultural experience. I would have preferred to take the kids to Parc Astérix, however, it wasn`t yet open for the season.
Well said Lisa. I think you hit the nail on the head. We were on in Paris for 6 days and we did go to Parc Asetrix before Disney. We definitely enjoyed Asterix more. It was a true experience and a whole lot of exploring and figuring things out.
Our issues with Disney were mainly based on ride height limitations (most of our American favorites were not the same and my daughter could not ride them) which were different from home. The other big issue we had were with other tourists pushing (literally) past you around the park with their cigarettes swiping by the children's faces. The staff was excellent and the rides were fair. The castle was our favorite!
People smoking in crowded places always bothers me as well but we had already spent several days in Paris getting accustomed to avoiding cigarettes and fortunately it wasn't very crowded the day that we were there. We have been in other theme parks in North America where smoking is allowed as well and, as someone who is extremely sensitive to smoke, I really appreciate the fact that Disney restricts it.
Perhaps the one thing that I didn't like was that there was no crowd control around the characters. My 8 year old daughter, Emma, bought an autograph book on the way in but we didn't even bother trying to get autographs because the characters were being swarmed by crowds. There were no orderly lines and individual photos with the characters just crowds of people snapping pics and pushing to get close to the character. It simply wasn't worth it to us to even bother and it was unfortunate because we did see several characters that we have never seen in Florida or California.
All in all, it was a fun day though - it's just a shame we were there a couple of weeks before the start of the 20th anniversary celebrations - sounds like they have a lot of special activities planned!
The other big issue we had were with other tourists pushing (literally) past you around the park with their cigarettes swiping by the children's faces. The staff was excellent and the rides were fair. The castle was our favorite!
That's interesting, in Hong Kong Disney we experienced that as well. A grandma literally tried to push past us in the queue for the Pooh ride!!
When I mentioned that to friends when I got home one friend mentioned that in her teachings she'd learned that while the Japanese learned a culture of great respect for individual personal space b/c of living in such close quarters to one another, the Chinese, under Communist rule, developed a very much 'fend for yourself' sort of mentality that has persisted as part of their culture. In China/Hong Kong it's not so much seen as rude, but as part of their culture to try to push ahead in line. When stopped from doing so, no one was upset, but you really had to be firm and set the limits of what you'd tolerate.
I know many would say that in France it's just b/c they're rude!
Indeed the Chinese/HK culture IS very different from Japanese, as Fusco stated. But I also know that Disney creates a level excitement I've experienced at every age, every trip. Also, with the overseas Disney's I wonder what the domestic to tourist ratio is in the parks at any given time; might be harder to tell in France?? But then, I live near Chinese that visit HK and are now American so who's to say in Asia....as we all know by now, looks can't tell us everything about anyone.
Yes, I probably will always come to the defense of France because I've yet to encounter anyone truly rude (except someone who was well known to me; except that ended after the intolerable rudeness, which was isolated) or feel slighted in any way. Did I get annoyed being on a Paris street en route to the cinema on a summer weekend - YES! But it wasn't really any different than last weekend when I was out watching a sporting event in a public place and pushed my way out of there to get some fresh air - I didn't even realize I was doing it!
Sometimes, in crowded, popular places depending upon culture or where someone comes from can create "excitement" that can result in some pushing, but the cast always seem to be helpful with line control....I think there are some places where it would be unusual not to feel "physically" crowded at times and this would be a huge concern of any parents traveling with small children who could potentially fall or trip. No boo-boo's at Disney!
But my line avoidance trick still stands - if it rains and it's warm (short of a downpour) while everyone is running into gift shops or eat, run to the head of the line and get in no waiting!! Keep those Mickey slickers on hand, you're all next!
(They really are mostly nice in France - they get the most tourists than any other country every year! Every country has a few crumbs in a bunch!)
I think that you are absolutely right, Colleen! We've been to France three times - 10 days on our honeymoon and then on two trips with our kids for 2 weeks in Provence and 10 days in Paris. Not once have I experienced any of the rudeness that the French are known for. Everyone that we have encountered has been friendly and helpful - particularly with our less than perfect French language skills.
I didn't intend for my comment about people swarming the characters to be a criticism of French manners but rather a contrast with how character greetings are handled at the California and Florida Disney parks. I think it could lead to some disappointment for people who are expecting a similar experience and then are confronted with a bit of a free-for-all in Paris. My daughter decided that it wasn't worth it to try and meet the characters if she wasn't going to be able to have a photo taken as well so it was fine for us. Incidentally, we have a theme park outside Toronto called Canada's Wonderland and the same sort of chaos ensues whenever a character appears. The staff makes no attempt to form an orderly line and so people aren't inclined to do so themselves. It seems that the Disney parks in the U.S. are unique with their orderly character greetings.
My kids loved Disneyland Paris (except for the fact that it closed too early) and would happily have spent more time, however, there was far too much to see in Paris to devote more than one day to visiting a theme park.
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