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January 31, 2016

Disneyland Paris - Bistrot Chez Remy

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will be sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com. This posting takes a look around Bistrot Chez Remy where I had lunch at the Walt Disney Studios Park.


The entrance to Remys. We had made a reservation earlier in the morning before leaving the hotel but it was really not needed as the walk-ups were getting seated about as quickly as we were.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

The waiting area has several awards he has won over the years.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

As you enter the dining area you are shrunk to rat size...notice the floor pattern enlarging as you shrink.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


A look around one of the front dining rooms, out those windows is the main square of the area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


One of the other dining rooms. The back of this room has windows to the attraction unload area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The chairs are bottle caps and corks.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The view from our booth.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The napkin at my seat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


We were on a meal plan which required us to order from the prix fixe menu, which included starter, entree, and dessert. For those not on the dining plan the price was 39,99 Euros. The starter was a mixed leaf salad with cheese, grated beetroot and chives, and a sesame & soy sauce vinaigrette. The Coke I had to drink was not included in the prix fixe menu, but was included in the meal plan. No refill, though.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


For my main course I had a grilled steak, ratatouille and French fries.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


If you ask for ketchup this is what is brought to you.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Thoughts: Since we were on a meal plan (the Plus plan) we were limited to the prix fixe menu and no changes. I ordered the beef which came with fries so I was good to go. The food was not bad...it was not great and was on the pricey side but it was lunch and filled me up. Compared to the other dining choices in the Studios park I thought this was a good meal and the environment was fun to see and eat in. I am not sure I would opt to go there and pay - for the same price there are other places with better meals. But if I were on a plan again and looking for variety I would probably go back.

Hope you enjoyed this look at Bistrot Chez Remy. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.






January 28, 2016

Disneyland Paris - Ratatouille Area of Walt Disney Studios Park

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will be sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com. This posting takes a look at the Ratatouille area of the Walt Disney Studios Park.

The Ratatouille: L' Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy opened at the Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Paris Resort in the summer of 2014. The area consists of the attraction, FastPass Distribution, a gift shop, and Bistrot Chez Remy restaurant. The attraction features trackless ride vehicles that take you on a nearly 5-minute journey as you are shrunk down to Remy's size and experience a chase through a bistro with Remy utilizing 3D projections and larger than life sets & props. The ride system is similar to Tokyo's Winnie the Pooh attraction and Hong Kong's Mystic Manor.

Prior to going to Paris I had seen several videos of the attraction and done some reading on it. The pictures and video you see really do not do the attraction justice. The immersive feeling and movement of the vehicles are key components and just do not translate to the internet that well. I was impressed with the experience and it was by far the best attraction at the park and one of my favorites from the entire resort. Below are some pictures of the area. I will be sharing a follow-up post with a look at Chez Remy where I had lunch on day.

Approaching the Ratatouille area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

To the right as you approach is the gift shop.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Next to the gift shop is the FastPass distribution area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

FastPass machines

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

The entrance to the attraction. It features FastPass, Single Rider and Standby.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

A good portion of the standby queue is outside.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

A couple of the posters along the queue area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

As you enter the building the cast chefs are highlighted.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

The interior queue takes you along the rooftops of Paris (well there is a set that you work your way around).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

You work your way to one of two load areas each with several vehicles to board. Notice you are rat size at this point, see the wall in the background.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

You board a trackless ratmobile for the adventure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

On your journey you go through a handful of projection rooms and a couple over-sized sets. My pictures did not do it any justice because of the 3D projections so I am only going to include this one of the finale.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

You exit near Remy's restaurant. I will have another post on dining there. Here is a look at the central courtyard.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

The Fountain in the middle of the area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Through this tunnel is Toy Story Playland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

A wide shot shows some of the Playland beyond.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Some props nearby. Notice the poles.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

The manhole cover.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

One last look at the area on a rainy afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Ratatouille area of the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







January 27, 2016

Disneyland Paris - La Magie Disney en Parade! (Disney Magic on Parade!)

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort last fall as part of his 2015 "Disney World Tour". I will be sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com.

This posting takes a look La Magie Disney en Parade! (Disney Magic on Parade!) which was the daily parade during my visit. It occurred each afternoon at 5:30pm.


Sleeping Beauty Castle with a crowd gathered along the parade route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Looking toward Main Street

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather lead the way with the Blue Fairy and the Fairy Godmother on the first float.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Cinderella and her Prince following along behind.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Elsa, Anna and Olaf from Frozen

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The Alice in Wonderland characters were in the next grouping.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Characters from Pinocchio are on the back of the Alice float.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Toy Story gang

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


On the back of the Toy Story unit is Winnie the Pooh

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Lion King

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


On the back of the Lion King is the Jungle Book.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Peter Pan is next.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Mary Poppins is on the back of the Peter Pan float

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The finale float features an assortment of characters.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Mickey and Minnie on the front

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale were all onboard too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Tinker Bell on the back of the last float.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Coming behind the parade to clean the streets.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


A video of the full parade.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Disneyland Paris Disney Magic on Parade!. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







November 6, 2015

Disneyland Paris - Villains

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com. This posting takes a look at some opportunities to meet the Disney Villains.



The Disney Villains take over the Castle Stage for a show called Its Good to Be Bad with the Disney Villains!

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Dr. Facilier takes the stage to start the event.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

The other Villains join him on stage for a song before going meet guests.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Here is a video of the show.



After the show the Villains are available for Photos. Here is the old hag looking at a picture of herself.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Captain Hook

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Dr. Facilier

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Cruella DeVil

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Jafar

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Maleficient meets guests in Fantasyland at La Cour de Malefique

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

The backdrop for Maleficent are these brambles and Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Notice the dragon shape...

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Halloween


Hope you enjoyed this look at Halloween at Disneyland Paris. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.


November 5, 2015

Disneyland Paris - Frontierland Halloween Festivities

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com. this posting takes a look at the Halloween festivities in Frontierland.
As you enter through Fort Comstock there are fall decorations around.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
A closer look at the lights.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Looking into Frontierland from the upper story of the fort.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
The Lucky Nugget is decorated.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
A closer look at the pumpkin people.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
On the other side opposite the Lucky Nugget in front of Tobias Norton & Sons
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Looking back from near the river.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Throughout the day a band entertains in the area.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
A video clip of the band performing.

Jack Skellington is also out at Le Cimetiere de Jack along the river bank.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Pumpkin carving takes place in Frontierland too.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
The Cottonwood Creek Ranch is open for the season too.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
It features La boite a citrouilles de Mickey (Mickey's box of pumpkins) Meet and Greet.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
If you visit any of the characters you got an activity booklet and a treat (for free). Plus your picture taken with PhotoPass.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Goofy and Pluto were also roaming the ranch area.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Frontierland Halloween
Hope you enjoyed this look at Halloween in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



November 1, 2015

Disneyland Paris - Mickey's Halloween Celebration

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg
Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com.

This posting takes a look at La Celebration Halloween de Mickey (Mickey's Halloween Celebration) that runs three times a day on the parade route.


Daisy leads the way.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Donald and his nephews are on the first float.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Scrooge McDuck is on the back of the float.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Performers in between floats.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The Winnie the Pooh group.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Scarecrow dancers

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The second float features Clarabelle, Horace and the Three Little Pigs.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The final float has Mickey and Minnie on the front.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Chip, Dale and Clarice are on the back.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Here is a video of the full parade including the pre-parade announcement.


A clip of the parade coming up Main Street USA.

Hope you enjoyed this look at Mickey's Halloween Celebration parade at Disneyland Paris. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







October 28, 2015

Disneyland Paris - Main Street USA Halloween Pictures

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com spent 10 days at the Disneyland Paris resort. I will sharing a series of posts from the trip here on AllEars.net and have a full set of pictures, videos, thoughts and observations linked to my 2015 Paris Trip Summary Page on disneygeek.com. this posting takes a look at Main Street USA in Disneyland Park and some of the Halloween decorations.


The Main Street USA train station, even though closed for renovation, has Halloween decorations as you enter the park.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


A video clip of the area at night.



Stepping into Town Square you are met with decorations and on this morning a band dressed for the occasion.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


A video clip of the band performing in Town Square.



Ghosts are present throughout Main Street USA.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


A video/pan around Main Street USA.



A look at some of the ghosts on Main Street USA, this family in Town Square.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


This trio near City Hall


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


This one near the dentist office in Town Square.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Overhead are more ghosts and pumpkins on the balconies, windows and rooftops.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Even the light poles are transformed for the season.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Main Street transportation has picked up a few hitchhiking ghosts too. A bellhop on this car.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


The horse-drawn streetcar is decked out for the season. Here is a video of it and a look around the hub.



In the hub are character-inspired pumpkins.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


Another video of a horse-drawn street car passing by.



There are also a couple of character meet and greet locations. The Halloween Costume Corner near Casey's has Minnie Mouse part of the day.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015


And when she is not there Stitch is.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Fall 2015

Hope you enjoyed this look at Halloween on Main Street USA at Disneyland Paris. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full set of Disneyland Paris pictures/videos I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







June 6, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Special Events with the Disneyana Fan Club.

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Preamble
Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

Part of my trip to Disneyland Paris was under the auspices of the Disneyana Fan Club (http://disneyanafanclub.org/home) who put together a multi-day group program, centering around the 20th Anniversary festivities. The last time I traveled with them was for Tokyo Disneyland's 25th Anniversary some years ago, which was also a terrific trip.

The first full day of events took place on April 11, the day before the anniversary. It started off with lunch at Inventions--a fabulous buffet in the Disneyland Hotel.

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After lunch, we convened in the Founder's Club--an executive lounge in the hotel--to see presentations by Tracy Eck, Art Director of Lighting Design for WDI Paris, and Disney Legend Tony Baxter, who served as Executive Producer for the creation of Disneyland Paris.

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Both presentations were wonderful--Eck gave several details about all the work the park had recently undergone to get ready for the celebrations, particularly the large fiberoptic Tinker Bell sign on the train station entrance, the recreation of the previously-eroded pirate ship, and the creation of a few newly themed meet-and-greet locations.

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Baxter spoke of the many trials and tribulations that beset the Imagineers when they were creating the park, and some of the cultural adaptations they made to better suit the park to the surrounding populace. Realizing people residing in France were likely to be all too familiar with the real castles which serve as inspirations for the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom castles, they styled the castle to better reflect that of a fairy tale aesthetic.

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He also recounted some of the hidden in-jokes and homages they put in. He remembered that when the Imagineers were remodeling the Fantasyland in Disneyland Anaheim, the doorway out of Village Haus Restaurant had a beam going down the middle that forced them to place the Exit sign off to the side (which he thought looked terrible.) To try to cover it, he painted an image of Figaro with a rope tied to the sign, trying to pull it to the center. In Paris, the equivalent restaurant, Au Chalet de la Marionnette, had no such problem, so as a nod to the original, Baxter had another Figaro placed giving a thumbs-up to the onlooker, as if to say "we got it right this time!"

He noted that it would be a difficult reference for anyone to get, because you'd have to have seen them at each park. Only I, your strange little Disney friend, have traveled across two continents to bring you this trivia.

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Afterwards, we were surprised with a presentation of all the Disney Parks Ambassadors from around the world, gathered together for the first time in anyone's memory to celebrate the occasion.

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And if that weren't enough, a couple of other guys who happened to be traveling through popped by:

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...Frequent Disney Artists, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily!

The next day, after the anniversary excitement of the morning, the group arranged lunch for us at the beautiful Walt's, on Main Street.

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The decor inside is magnificent--each room is decorated in the style of one of the separate lands. We happened to eat in Adventureland.

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Joining us for lunch was Chief Operating Officer of Disneyland Paris, Joe Schott, who graciously said he was happy to spend part of such a momentous day with people who had traveled so far to experience it.

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He seemed very invested in finding ways to constantly improve the park experience for his guests and spoke briefly on the difficulties of putting together the various components of the new anniversary attractions in the short ~two years since he had been appointed his position.

For our final special event, on Friday the 13th, no less, they arranged for us to enter the park before opening to have breakfast in front of the Phantom Manor.

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Unfortunately, the weather that day, as most of the other days, was freezing cold, so the decision was made to move it indoors. Fortunately, it was moved into the Lucky Nugget Saloon which proved to be a gorgeous venue on its own.

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The food, alas, was identical to the somewhat limited fare the hotel served for its breakfast buffet each day, but a few familiar faces turned up to enliven the event.

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After a photo in front of the Phantom Manor, that concluded the exclusive part of the trip. There were a number of other meets to watch various parades and shows as a group, but these were the activities they arranged that were special to the club.

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While the Disneyana trips aren't cheap, they do provide some experiences that would be difficult or impossible for you to arrange on your own, and they also offer the chance for people new to travel or the area to enjoy the support system of a group. I have enjoyed both trips I've taken with them, and would encourage anyone interested in their events to check out their webpage.

Next: The Big Day Arrives.

May 13, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Magic on Parade!

jeaninebanner.jpg

Preamble
Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

So as another component to their 20th anniversary celebration, Disneyland Paris added in a new/updated parade and "Disney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train."

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This was something I hadn't seen before: The train, containing a number of characters, starts off down Main St. like a traditional parade, circles around the hub, and then stops. At this point, I thought maybe they would all put on a show or something.

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Turns out, not so much. The characters get off the train and then the CMs escort each one straight out into the mob of guests, and at some point in the morass of humanity, just stop...and that's where their meet n'greet takes place. The density of people around them was pretty impressive, and I was constantly surprised at the lack of bloodshed.

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Their new parade however, Disney Magic on Parade! is a little more substantial.

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The floats reminded me a little of the old Parade of Dreams from Disneyland's 50th anniversary, although perhaps a little less elaborate, with fewer moving parts. Magic on Parade apparently is an updated version of the parade they had been running for awhile, with a few additions and new segments.

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Travel Tip #4: Consider a tour.

One of the activities I enjoyed towards the end of my trip was taking one of the guided tours of the park. I'll give a little more detail about it later, but one of the perks of taking it was getting reserved viewing of the parade. Because it was my last day and I had already planned some different activities for the rest of the afternoon (and I had already seen the parade a couple times,) I actually didn't get to take advantage of that, but it's something I would definitely consider doing earlier in my trip next time.

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The music is catchy enough, but I might wish for the song to be a tad longer, as it did seem as though you heard the refrain quite a few times by the end of the parade.

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In any case, it's a perfectly respectable parade without any of the show stops or dance parties that so many of Disney's contemporary parades seem to find essential. I am thumbs up on it.

Next time: Special Events with the Disneyana Fan Club.

May 2, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Disney Dreams

jeaninebanner.jpg

Preamble
Part 1.
Part 2.

So about a week or two before I arrived there, DLP had premiered its marquee event for the anniversary celebrations, Disney Dreams: A nighttime spectacular that combines fireworks and water projections and castle projections all into one big show. Joe Schott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of DLP, told us that he had asked Steve Davison, Vice President for Parades and Spectaculars at Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, to come up with a show they could spotlight for the 20th Anniversary only 13 months earlier--making the accomplishment of wedding all these disparate elements into one show that much more impressive.

Here's a video on the making of Disney Dreams:

The first night I was there, Dreams was shown twice, despite the fact that it was lightly raining.

Travel Tip #3: Pick up your map and show schedule when you first enter the park.

Unlike the US parks, in which you can usually always pick up a map and a show schedule in any store or from any available custodial CM, the only place I ever found them in DLP was at the entrance or in the AP center. I actually asked around for a show schedule once I was in the park, but apparently did a poor job at explaining what I was looking for, as the response was "I don't think we have those."

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The show is done in an interesting hybrid of English and French. As far as I can tell, any character who was obviously French, such as Remy, Lumiere, or Quasimoto, all spoke and sang in French. Main characters who were not French, like Peter Pan, King Louie, and Rapunzel, spoke and sang in English. Captain Hook and Wendy only spoke in French.

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Although it sounds a little confusing, the storyline isn't really so involved that it takes much to follow it--Peter Pan and Wendy are admiring the magical Second Star to the Right, when Peter's shadow takes it into its head to run away. On trying to elude Peter, the shadow inadvertently lets all the magic drain out of the star, causing all manner of Heck to break loose.

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At first, as these stories do tend to go, the musical interludes are happy and inviting for Peter's shadow, using numbers like "Be Our Guest," and "Step in Time," but eventually turn darker as villains such as Dr. Facilier start menacing him/it.

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Eventually Peter swoops in to save the day, and everyone lives Happily Ever After, as you do.

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The first showing was broadcast online, and one of the questions was whether it would look as awesome in person. I am here to tell you that, yes, it does. All the lights and projectors must be the next generation editions, because the visuals are exceptionally clear on the castle. The fireworks are integrated well into the show and really work as accents. Although the water screens on either side of the castle are effective, I actually thought they were the most dispensible part, as a lot of the time I felt like I was trying to look past them to what was happening on the castle.

To see the show, some people like to be further back towards Main Street, so they can get a better view of the water screens, but I actually found I liked it better up close because it was easier to see the projections at the base of the castle. As with World of Color however, the spray from the screens does start pelting the people in front...and when the temperatures were in the thirties and forties, as they were when I was there, that can quickly become a huge drag.

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Some nights the park closed at 9:30pm and they had one show at closing, and some nights the park closed at 11, in which case they had one show around 10 and a second showing at 11. My findings were that, on the days with two shows, absolutely everyone in the park went to the first show, leaving all the other attractions complete walk-ons, and no one went to the second one, making it possible to stand pretty much wherever you wanted to watch it. (Whether this was because everyone had to leave to catch a train back to town or something, I never found out.)

In any case, it is a stunning show, and, I think, the best of Davison's recent productions. He's clearly learned from his experiences with World of Color and Tokyo DisneySeas' Fantasmic! and created a show much more easily viewed from different angles. As good as it looks in the video below, it is easily twice as striking in person, so my advice? Get your passport in order.

Next: Is A Parade In Town?

April 29, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Ticketing and Transportation

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Part 1.

Depending on the hotel you stay at, you have different options for getting to the parks. If you pony up the dough to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, your life is easy, given that the hotel is directly opposite the Main Street Railway Station. Sequoia Lodge, Hotel New York, and Disney's Newport Bay Club are all located within walking distance, around Lake Disney.

Panorama of Lake Disney

Because it was dark, cold, and rainy the first night I went to the park, I took the bus. Although the pickup for the bus is pretty convenient--right in front of the hotel--the drop-off is less so. The buses all drop off along the side of the railway station/garage, with the stop for Sequoia being pretty far back.

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From that point, there is literally nothing within eyeshot of the parks, and if there were any signs indicating which way to go, I didn't see them. After watching me standing around for awhile wondering if I had gotten off at the wrong stop, the bus driver finally broke down and high-beamed me, to give me directions.

There is also, again, absolutely no one around the bus area to answer questions, so you need to get all the information from the bus driver that you want before leaving. Subsequently, I realized I didn't know when the buses stopped running and asked a number of security personnel (the only ones still around after the parks closed,) all of which gave me different times, none of which ended up being correct.

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Here's the map I wish I had had--I ended up taking the bus every day because it was pretty freezing and wet most mornings, and as a result never realized until my last night there, how close the hotel was to the Disney Village. Some nights, after the parks had closed, I actually walked the length of the Village to pick up food (at that point probably less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel,) then walked all the way back out of the Village, down the length of the train station, and waited around for the bus. The More You Know.

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Anyway, assuming you finally meander your way around the train station, you then get to go through the usual security check. In an interesting twist, there are several lines, one of which has an x-ray machine for your bags instead of a person doing a manual check. The line may be shorter for the machine, and it may seem compelling to just be able to throw your bag down without having to open it up and expose all the contents to a stranger, but don't do it--it inevitably takes longer for some reason. The security is also a little more cavalier than at home, as a couple of times I just walked through with my bag uninvestigated, when none of the security guys seemed interested in looking at it.

On passing through security, you then find yourself contemplating the beautiful Disneyland Hotel.

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Tony Baxter later spoke to us about how on creating the park, the Imagineers felt that European towns usually had an inn by the train station, and wanted to emulate that by designing the hotel to be directly abutting the park. At the time, they were beset by a lot of naysayers who said that no one would want to stay there from the noise of the parades or fireworks, etc...and subsequently the design was so successful, it was replicated with the Miracosta at Tokyo DisneySea, and the Grand Californian at California Adventure.

Travel Tip #2: Consider the Annual Pass.

Here are the prices for day tickets to Disneyland Paris:
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...And here are the prices for Annual Passes.
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As you can see, assuming your visit isn't going to coincide with the AP's blackout dates, if you are even going for three days, you're better off with the Fantasy pass (the one I got.) The one under that is worth it if you're even going for more than one day, however that might be limited to purchase by locals. The other advantage to the Fantasy AP is that it gave around a 10% discount at pretty much all the stores and restaurants on property which is less than the 20% that the Dream pass got, but better than a poke in the eye.

Activating the AP can be a bit of a challenge--I entered in the evening of my first day there, and found that the AP center (on the Discoveryland side of the hub,) was already closed. The next day I had to go around to guest services because my AP voucher no longer let me in, since I had already used it for an entry the day before. After a number of phone calls, the CM had to walk over and manually let me in, admonishing me that I had to activate the AP as soon as possible. I went over to the AP center...and of course, it wasn't open yet.

Anyway, you enter by passing under the hotel, at which time you get your first glimpses of the park.

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...and it's gorgeous. I mean it--everything I've said up to this point has probably made it seem like a big ol' hassle to get over here and get in, but at the point where you walk in and see all the detailing and the beautiful castle...it's all worth it.

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Next time: Disney Dreams.

April 26, 2012

Disneyland Paris: It Begins

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I'm back! Did you miss me? Wha...what do you mean, "oh, did you go somewhere?" Oh well...

Disneyland Paris celebrated it's 20th anniversary on April 12, 2012, which seemed like a good enough reason for me to make my inaugural trip out there. As I mentioned in my last blog, Jack Spence has already done a terrific job detailing the resort in his column (http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/disneyland_paris/) I'll stick to relating my personal impressions and recent changes.

I flew over on British Air, connecting through Heathrow, and flew back on Air Tahiti Nui, non-stop. I know I've harped before on the importance of upgrading international flights...and I'm going to continue to do so. For me, being able to show up at a place without feeling like I've just been put through a meat grinder for the last 12 hours is a huge contribution to my travel experience. I would much rather get a cheap hotel room that I'm only going to use for showering and sleeping, and then put the money towards a better seat/bed that I'm going to be strapped into for a day.

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Plus, I got to fly in the same cabin as Ewan McGregor--which I texted to everyone I knew before takeoff. Of course then, during the flight, I got to ponder that if the plane went down, the last words anyone was going to have received from me was "Ewan McGregor." On the upside, I figured if we crashed, anyone who got a seat in his liferaft was golden, because you know that's the only one anyone's going to care about rescuing.

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Arriving at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, I had the difficulty of located the VEA shuttle, for which I had previously bought tickets online (http://www.vea-shuttle.co.uk/). I'm told they typically have obvious signs, however due to construction they appear to no longer be obvious.

Travel Tip #1: Write down and take with you as much information as you can find out in advance. You cannot always be reliant on the kindness of strangers.

If you use the VEA shuttle, the advantage is that it will take you directly to the hotel and you won't have to maneuver your luggage around as much. The disadvantage is that it is slightly more expensive than taking the train, and only leaves from one terminal at CDG. If your flight comes into a different terminal, you need to figure out where to catch a separate bus, which will then take you to the that terminal. Faced with the prospect of waiting outside in the rain to then have to heave all my luggage on and off another bus, I ended up just walking around the airport to the pick-up point. I asked a number of people about the bus, most of which were happy to point you in the general direction of where you had to go, but were non-specific on details, and there were very few official people around to ask in any case. As a general rule, this was a theme I found for the entire trip--the number of people available to ask for directions or information were pretty sparse.

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On arriving at Disney's Sequoia Lodge, one thing immediately noticeable was that there was again no one around the front to direct you...consequently, I had to make a couple of trips trying to check in before finding the correct place to do so. Although there is a baggage desk, it's located in a separate room off to the side of the hotel entrance, so there really aren't people readily available to volunteer to help you with your luggage. If you were expecting a folder-full of information as you usually receive when you check into a WDW hotel, you'd be disappointed on that aspect as well--I received a key card and an envelope with my new AP in it, and that was it. I asked whether they had a map of the resort in case I got a chance to go around and see the other hotels, and the response was "no."

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The rooms were relatively unexceptional. My room was in the main building (an asset, as the ones in the outer lodges could reputedly be a hike to the buses and restaurants,) and part of a block of rooms recently refurbished. Comparable to a moderate (although with prices closer to a low deluxe,) it was clean with reasonable furnishings, however the towels were pretty bad--your gym probably hands out ones about the same quality. If you like face towels, much like in the rest of Europe, you should probably bring your own, as they don't stock them here. There was no liner for the ice bucket which seemed unsanitary until I remembered that, by and large, they don't like terribly cold beverages, which probably means that they only use the bucket for chilling bottles. The room doesn't come with an electric kettle but one is available on request--if you know to ask. There's no folder or anything inside the room to let you know what's at the resort. There is information in the form of an electric menu on the TV, however some of it (hours of operation, etc.) was out of date. You could theoretically have gotten your account information on the TV as well, but mine said it was "unavailable," which was probably just as well, as it also had the wrong name on it.

The best thing by far on the TV was a "Stacy's Top Seven" equivalent--a British girl named Sophie, who would enthusiastically expound on various parts of the resort and then end each item on her list with "SORTED!!"

Next: I finally get over to a park.

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About Disneyland Paris

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Disneyland Paris category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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