Since today was our “last day,” we agreed to wake up early and make the most of our day. So at 7:30am, I woke up, followed by Steve and finally Joe (I’ve already called dibs on waking up last tomorrow) and we were out the door by 9am.

The breakfast buffet was the same as yesterday’s and yes, I was bad and had the Nutella on the chocolate croissant again (VBEG).

Today was our day to see the Walt Disney Studios. We knew there was not much to see so we figured we could finish the park in 2 hours.


I don’t know if these are permanent or no…they look like construction walls, but who knows. Anyway, they are the walls that lead you from the Disney Village area to the Studios. I swear, there are more people painted on the walls than were in the park. And they looked a lot happier too… And dig those trompe-l’oeil flowerpots!


The front entrance to the Disney Studios


Joe & Sharon in front of the DLP version of the Earful Tower. You can’t see it during the daytime, but at night they silhouette the tower in lights. Well, except for most of the right ear…the lights are all out on that part.


After going through the equivalent of the “Town Square” of the park (2 shops, a fountain, Guest Services and restrooms. Oh and a photo opportunity with a limo [with Ohio auto tags???] and sometimes a character), you are forced to go through a “soundstage” to get to the rest of the Studios. The soundstage includes some gift shops on the left and some fast-food counter service on the right, but the establishments on each side are interconnected, like how the shops on Main Street are.


Adding insult to injury…this is the DLP equivalent of our favorite restaurant at WDW’s Disney-MGM Studio’s…


…and it’s just counter service in France


DLP finally got a “Partners” statue. Walt would be turning over in his grave if he knew his likeness was in this park.


“To all who enter this studio of dreams…welcome.” Yup, he’s DEFINITELY spinning circles in Forest Lawn.


The Studio Tram Tour was a few dozen feet behind the Partners statue, so we decided to start there. By the way, nice attraction sign, huh? That simplistic, cheap, 2D style of signage was pretty much status quo throughout the park…but hey, it helped you keep your expectations down. Sigh.

As I said, we expected to finish the park in about 2 hours, but if the screwy way they loaded the tram tour is any indication of how they run the park, we’ll take 3 hours because they only loaded the tram 1/2 full. We had a good 15 minute wait for no reason that I could see.

Because they have tourists from so many different nations, they give you an option to queue up based on what language you speak (French go here, English go here, German go here, etc). Once they know who speaks what language, they use (all pre-recorded) celebrities to narrate in those languages. As per an online DLP site I found, Nastassja Kinski would great you in German, Jeremy Irons in English, Famke Jansen in Dutch, Isabella Rosselini in Italian, etc.

As our queue was apparently comprised of only French- and English-speaking guests, our tour was narrated by Jeremy Irons and a French actress, via TV. I wasn’t paying attention to the narration but Joe said that it didn’t sound like the 2 narrators were saying the same thing. The French woman would go on and on and on, but Jeremy would only have a few lines.

The first quick stop on the tour was to see what an “actual” studio set looked like:

The set from Dinotopia

Next was Catastrophe Canyon and it was essentially the same as the Disney-MGM Studios version at WDW…


there’s rain…


…and an explosion…


…and a deluge that gets the left side of the tram car wet. During an earthquake, of course.


They let us know that the attraction used 265,000 litres of water (instead of the 70,000 gallons they use in the US. By the way, 70,000 gallons is, indeed, roughly 265,000 litres. I did the conversion {thank-you Cathy [wink]}).

The Service des Costumes was next on the tour (there were people working in it so I’m assuming it’s the actual Costuming department for the park) and they had a small selection of costumes from Narnia in the cases of the “costume tunnel” (those of you who have gone to Disney-MGM Studio’s tram tour will know what I mean).


Next was a scene of a demolished London, adapted from the Touchstone film Reign of Fire. The scene included a HUGE ball of fire, which totally scared the crap out of the little girl in front of us.


The tour also showed props like cars and statues from older Touchstone and Miramax movies..

We next went on Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux, which put us into a scene on the film “Armageddon” so we could experience wind, fire, smoke, and outer space stuff banging into our rocket ship. It was OK…nothing special and pretty reminiscent of Twister at Universal, complete with a dozen-off screaming children.

Animagique was next, which was a stage show done in black light. I could swear they just copied bits and pieces of Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Legend of the Lion King, Jungle Book Show, etc. It well done, with lots of dancing and music, but nothing that made me go “wow”.

The next thing we did was Cinemagique, which really WAS good. They had a simple storyline which included superimposing Martin Short (not quite as popular in France as Jerry Lewis, but “up there”) into dozens of famous movies. It was extremely well-done and even made me laugh out loud a few times. Easily the best thing at the Studios.

The guys went on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster next…I still wasn’t in the mood for coasters, so I sat outside and held their stuff. They said the ride was the same as ours except the pre-show is stupid and nearly non-existant.

Outside the R&RC was a photo op to be the Ice Queen from Narnia. With my patented “icy stare of death,” how could I resist?

Joe was getting hungry so he got a waffle with chocolate sauce from a cart outside the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. He said it was THE worst thing he’s eaten the whole trip.

Buying the waffle

Throwing it out

The next thing we visited was the Art of Animation attraction.

The movie that they showed first was the same movie as the one they used to show on the old animation tour at Disney-MGM Studios (where the tear-jerker song was “Baby Mine”). Once we were out of the movie, they offered a typical “what it’s like to be an animator” theater show, which we always skipped in English at MGM…so we skipped it in French too. Once out of the theater, the attraction offered choices of character concepts (how characters are developed, via picture boards), how to draw Disney characters (lessons every hour) and binaural sound (heard at WDW a bezillion times). We skipped all of those too (although I did take the opportunity to stop in the Disney Gallery gift shop while there).

We didn’t go on every attraction at the Studios, simply because they were either lame (like the Flying Carpets over Agrabah…another off-the-shelf Dumbo ride)…

…or were attractions that were exactly like the ones in WDW and we tended to not like (like Stunt Show Spectacular).

They’re in the midst of building a Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but it’s not scheduled to be open for a while yet.

They’re also apparently building an attraction based on Pixar’s “Cars” but otherwise, there’s really not a whole lot to see.

We were done with the Studios by 2:15pm (FOUR HOURS!)

(“That’s a wrap.” Yeahright. Wrap it in newspaper, like you do with yesterday’s fish)

We left the park and wandered back in the Disney Village, in search of the post office we were told was there, so we could buy Air Mail stamps.

It was and we did, and we mailed out a few more postcards (the postcards mailed from this post office had a DLP-specific stamp cancellation). Since the post office was inside the DLP train station, Joe also took the opportunity to get a train schedule so we could figure out what time we needed to leave for the airport tomorrow.

With that mission accomplished, we walked towards Disneyland Park but before going inside, we did a quick walk through of the Disneyland Hotel. WOW, is that place beautiful! Almost on par with the Grand Floridian Resort Hotel in WDW. Still not worth its mondo price, but gorgeous, all the same.


The outside of the Disneyland Hotel. You have to walk through the ground floor of the hotel to get to the front gate of Disneyland Park


The main lobby. The table holds marionettes of the witch from Snow White and Malificent, the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty


Fireplace in the main lobby


The grand staircase in the main lobby


The DLP version of the California Grill. Similar to WDW’s version. From DLPFoodguide.com: “Featured as one of the top Disneyland Resort Paris restaurants, the California Grill is situated in the Disneyland Hotel. From its dining area it offers great views of the Disneyland Park, making it one of the most attractive places to eat. The restaurant offers western American style food from California. It also features an extensive wine list. Drawback: expensive.”


Another restaurant in the Disneyland Hotel

We made it back to the Disneyland Park, with some picture-taking opportunities along the way.


In front of Town Square, with the train station


City Hall


The gazebo in Town Square (same location as where the flagpole is at WDW)


The barbershop which is not exactly ON Main Street…it’s sorta just OFF Main Street, in an alcove. What’s more, it’s listed as an attraction.


View from one Main Street alcove to another


In front of the Wishes dais that makes the laser and film designs on the castle during the fireworks show


The castle


Frontierland train station


Chip & Dale (Tic & Toc) are VERY popular in DLP


The hand-washing-only water supply at the (closed) petting zoo. And no, he wasn’t really drinking the water


A view of Adventureland


Dumbo


Discoveryland


Star Tours


The “map” of Nautilus


Visionarium, where they show The Lion King show

Tried to get tickets for the Lion King stage show but unfortunately, by the time we got to the ticket area (the far back right corner of the park), all the shows were sold out, except for the one we wouldn’t have time to see.

We decided to have “linner” so we went to the Cowboy Cookout Barbeque, a’la Disney fast food.

It wasn’t horrible…just typical theme park barbeque. Joe and I both had a “#3”, which was 3 pork ribs, fries, a chocolate mousse dessert and a drink.

Next was a round-trip ride on the Disneyland Railroad so we could see the Grand Canyon diorama (which turned out to be pretty lame), get to where we wanted to go and sit for a while, while doing it. Felt good. Sucked to get up.

We exited at the Fantasyland station and went on the Storybook Canal Boats.

The ride was similar to DL in CA, though the boats were set up differently (rows of seats, not “sit wherever you can”, like on Jungle Cruise) and there was no narration. Some of the scenes were different too (their ride had Peter and the Wolf and Return to Oz???) and, of course, the overgrowth of weeds and intended plants was atrocious.

Steve parted with us at this time, to go do his own thing. The Casey Jr.Train Ride had a 30-minute wait so we skipped that and instead used our “free” Fast Passes for another ride on Buzz Lightyear. I did even better this time…Level 4/Over 100,000 points (Joe had over 200,000 but for me, 100K+ is still good…I’ve been known to get a whopping 6,000 points on the Buzz Lighyear at home.

Steve said we could have his Fast Pass so Joe used it to go on Space Mountain again (60 minute standby wait). I enjoyed the act of sitting, while waiting for him (the “waking up at 7:30am was catching up with both of us).

We made our way over to Sleeping Beauty Castle to see the tapestries and stained glass windows that depicted the story of Sleeping Beauty. They’re beautiful and housed on the U-shaped 2nd floor of the castle.


Sleeping Beauty sleeping


Some of the stained glass windows


A closer view of a stained glass window


You can walk outside the castle on this second level and see Fantasyland from a birds’ eye view. Pretty cool, huh?

Following that, we went down into the dungeon to see the audio-animatronic dragon who lives there…alternately sleeping, growling and blowing smoke at his visitors.


Get out of my dungeon!

This is a slightly fuzzy, 15-second video (with no sound) of the dragon doing its stuff:

By this point, we were REALLY tired and decided to forego seeing Fantillusion and Wishes again (both were OK but not great), in favor of going back to the room and packing, with the thought of going back out, later on, if we had time. Before we left we agreed to go on Pirates of the Caribbean one last time, if the queue was less than 15 min. With a 10-minute line, our last attraction was one of our favorites.

The walk back to the hotel was a long, painful one (feet and backs, alternately). Getting to the room and taking off our shoes felt WONDERFUL and it was almost a disappointment when, at 10:30 or so, we decided to go back out, get our VAT forms filled out by the hotel’s gif shop cashier (so we can get some money back) and, while we were out, go have a light meal somewhere. We decided upon, of all places, Planet Hollywood. Now, for those of you who don’t know, we have a Planet Hollywood no more than 9 miles from our house and we NEVER go there. In fact, I have never even stepped foot in it. But, as Joe says, at WDW, there are lots of better places to eat…at DLP, it IS one of the better places to eat. SO…off to PH we went. Joe had chicken strips and fries and I had some chocolate ice cream.


PH is still not my favorite place but it hit the spot.

We went back to the room and here I am, finishing my last blog entry. I doubt I’ll write anything tomorrow (Saturday) since it’s just going to be a traveling day but I’m sure I’ll write something about my impression of DLP, this 2nd time around, pretty soon.

By the way, This is the official U.K. website for DLP. It had a bunch of pictures and information that I didn’t even begin to touch. And this is a Travel Channel special that shows some great footage of the park:

Au revoir! Or is it au revior? I dunno…I took Spanish in school and Joe took Latin. Whatever…see ya!

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