London, New York, Paris, Munich
Today’s plan involved spending the morning in the Disneyland Paris second park, the studios. We have visited this once before some 15 years ago. It is by far the smallest park in the Disney portfolio. Ironically none of the rides that had been here on our last visit were still operating and so whatever rides we could get on today would be new for us here.
There are currently 12 Disney Parks throughout the world, and we have been fortunate to have been to 11 of them (just Shanghai to go). They are all different and all have their own magical feel. As may have been guessed we are big fans. However, the entrance prices are becoming increasingly prohibitive, and as I get older, I am finding them tiring to visit. Some 30 years ago we would have thought nothing of doing them day after day from perhaps before the parks opened until they closed. Nowadays I certainly need at least a day’s rest in between.
So, what is it that is so magical and keeps drawing us back? The rides are undoubtably still best in class, and we love them. The ambience and settings are always as good as they could possibly be. The people watching is also second to none. On the whole people in the parks are always just happy and therefore it is fun to be around them. However, the greatest pleasure for me is the sheer unadulterated enjoyment that Karen, Barry, Neil and now Ellie gets from just being there. It is worth every penny, every sacrifice and every aching joint to see and feel that.
If Disney is one end of the happiness spectrum, then surely the news that we woke to of the invasion of Ukraine is the other. What another awful mess. I was glad to have the welcome distraction of the Disney to push the atrocities to the back of my mind for the day.
This morning was another 7.45am meet for breakfast. Although good, after 3 days I am already longing for some simple plain porridge. Yet as it on offer I felt obliged to fill up on the scrambled eggs to sustain me until later in the day.
Getting into the park was much simpler today as we had different 1-day multi park tickets. At 9.30am precisely we entered the park and made our way to the Ratatouille ride which we had ridden before in Epcot but was new to Barry & Ellie. There was a 30-minute wait but to our surprise there was a single rider queue which only had a 5-minute wait. In fact it was less than that and even better was that Barry & Ellie ended up in the same ride vehicle. The ride is very well done but would have been better if all and not just part of the story was done in English. These Frenchie’s seem to think just because we are in France that we should speak their language for some reason.
After this we headed to Tower of Terror which Karen for the first time ever ducked out of. We were all aghast but for some reason she just didn’t fancy it today. I am told this is the ‘original’ version of the ride in that the lift does not move forward. Whatever it was still good fun.
Then we walked over to ‘Cartastrophie Canyon’ which was a retheming of the original studio tour ride on a tram with the same canyon water feature. We came off and all just said hmmm which was not a great sign of how good it was.
The big-ticket ride in this park is Crush’s Coaster. It is also the slowest loading and therefore has the longest queue all day. It had been showing as 90 minutes since we arrived, which is way beyond the limit that my legs and back can take these days without consequences. So as much as I really wanted to try it, I instead went and found somewhere to sit whilst Barry, Ellie & Karen joined the queue. They said the ride was terrific and all wanted to do it again but were not prepared to wait that length of time again.
Instead, we all went and got some delicious food from the ironically Parisian themed area (as we actually were in Paris) around the Ratatouille ride. Karen also bought herself and Barry & Ellie some hot mulled wine which they enjoyed as although the weather was fine there a definite nip in the air.
We decided that we had now done this small park and headed back to the hotel for a rest for a couple of hours. Whilst in our rooms there was a heavy rain shower that we managed to miss.
Sadly, when it was time to get back on the shuttle, Ellie did not feel well enough to join us. She had been suffering with flu type symptoms. Although she had been dosing herself up to carry on, so far she decided wisely that she would be better having a rest up for a while, so just Barry joined us to go back into the Disneyland Park this time.
We arrived just as a parade was about to start and so headed to ride Peter Pan whilst all the small children were otherwise occupied. It was just as sweet and lovely as ever. Barry then had the pleasure of taking his Mum on the teacups, which I avoid as they are like Cinnamon – just evil and mess with my sense of balance in my head.
Then we hopped onto the Pirates ride again which had no queue at all. It was good although Karen ended up with a wet bottom for some reason. From here we did Thunder Mountain again. It was twilight at this point and the park was just starting to light up. It looked absolutely spectacular and at its very best especially as there were very few people about.
For our last ride of the trip, we went back to Phantom Manor. It was by now completely dark, and we were the only ones walking through and was actually quite creepy.
Happy that we had achieved everything we wanted we headed out of the park to get some food into Downtown Disney.
We decided upon Planet Hollywood which is still themed but some of the artifacts and memorabilia were now getting tired and were from films and people long forgotten. We all ordered salads which were delicious and huge. Barry accompanied his with a cocktail whilst Karen & I both had a glass of wine. We had missed Ellie’s cheery presence tonight but still enjoyed ourselves. To cheer her up back in the hotel we bought her a beignet from one of the outside vendors to take back with us for her.
We caught the very frequent and very efficient shuttle bus back.
It was as I had suspected been another long tiring but extremely good day. We retired hoping that Ellie would feel better in the morning as it was our travel day home.