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richard3330
07-14-2003, 08:28 AM
We left for the airport hotel the day before at about 2pm, arriving at about 5.30pm. We stayed in the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow which is a very nice hotel – always our first choice when travelling from Heathrow – wonderful staff, big rooms and a nice swimming pool and restaurant. We left for the airport at 4.45am for our 7.40am flight. The receptionist at the hotel told us that all British Airways flights were from Terminal 1, so the taxi driver dropped us off at terminal one and after asking a BA staff why our flight wasn’t on the board, we found out that we actually needed to be in terminal 4, a 10 minute train ride away on The Heathrow Express!, this changed our original opinion of how wonderful the Crowne Plaza was! We finally arrived after waiting 10-15 minutes for the train to arrive and JUST made it – the gate was just about to close (we checked-in via the internet) by the time we had arrived and had been through security – what a start to the holiday. We were lucky that there we very few queue’s at this time and it was extremely quiet in the terminal. DS was getting all worried and started his usual talking at the most inconvenient time - ‘But it has to wait, because otherwise we won’t see Mickey’!. We then boarded and the flight was extremely quick and when we booked (not long ago, a last-minute thing!) BA only had club class available so we didn’t have much of an option as to seating arrangements, however this was quite ideal for the extra room (even if it was
an extremely small amount more), as DW is pregnant at the moment, and she was a bit worried about flying. All of the seats (Club Europe Class and Economy Class) look virtually the same, and there didn’t seem to be much difference except from a curtain pulled across, anyway the price to upgrade was only a tiny bit more, as it was all that was left. We would have MUCH preferred to have gone by Eurostar (the way in which we usually travel to DLRParis) but unfortunately it was completely booked up, so we had no option but to fly (or stay at home!) as we don’t like travelling by ferry or Le Shuttle. The flight took 45 minutes and arrived at Paris CDG at about 9.00am Paris time.

We went and found the taxi (booking with Paris travel service means you can pay £25 for a private taxi transfer to your Disney hotel) and found the driver ready and waiting. We then whizzed of to The Disneyland Hotel. By the time we had arrived in the hotel lobby it was nearly 11am and our rooms weren’t ready until 3pm, so we dropped of our luggage and had a coffee and snack in Café Fantasia. The café is very nicely themed and has very friendly staff but it took them 20 minutes to bring us our drinks (even though it was virtually empty). and it was still quite expensive - about 6 euros for a cappuccino.

At about 12pm we went in to the Magic Kingdom Park and, it looked quite busy. We started in Fantasy Land and got a fast pass for Peter Pan to return at 4.30pm as the queue for it was 75 minutes. We then went on Snow White, Pinocchio, It’s A Small World and Dumbo. We had a late lunch at about 3pm in Auberge De Cendrillion in fantasyland, we had a delicious meal and desert. For a main meal we had Duck (Confit du Canard) and it came with delicious sauté potatoes and a wonderful salad. I couldn’t resist the Crème Brule and Frances had the Cinderella slipper.

We then returned to the hotel. We checked-in at reception and filled in the credit card form to have a Disneyland Hotel Identity and Charge Card (which is annoyingly in French!). Then I went over to the concierge and made some dinner/lunch reservations. We had room 1213 (were we previously have stayed) as I requested when making the booking. On this trip we didn’t have Castle Club so we just had standard ‘garden view’ rooms. The room has a great view from the windows – we looked over the right ticket entrance and could see the train station and through the trees we had a brilliant view over the castle – it was spectacular at night, especially to be able to see the fireworks from our room. The only downside is, it is a long walk from the Swimming Pool and Games Room, however is very close to the Restaurants, Café and lobby. We then went swimming – the pool is fairly small although quite elegant, you get free towel hire, although most people just use the dressing gowns that are kept inside your room. As the hotel only has 500 rooms the pool and the whole of the hotel never felt crowded or busy, except for the café area on the second floor. The Games Room was small and very expensive IMO – 2 Euros for 1 token.

We then went back in to the park at about 6.45pm, to ride some more attractions (the park didn’t close until after 11pm). Luckily the queues had died down a lot, as many people were staying near Main Street USA to watch the fantasy in the sky fireworks (Fantillusion! Starts tomorrow). I love the atmosphere of Disneyland Paris at night. We went on Pirates of the Caribbean – still one of DS’ firm favourites, and then went on a few of the rides in Fantasyland again (Snow White, Pinocchio and Dumbo :rolleyes:). Frances wasn’t doing many rides this time as she was a bit worried about her state with the baby. After this DS was getting very tired (and so were we!) so we headed back to the hotel.
When we returned to our room we rang room service and ordered two coffees and a hot chocolate for Josh – 5.50€ each! It was then nearly 10.30pm.



The next day we had a character breakfast at The California Grill inside the Hotel. We arrived at about 8am and were seated right away, there were a lot of characters which spent a lot of time at each table. The buffet was nice with continental choices and also hot food like Eggs, Sausages and Bacon, plus a wonderful fruit salad and fresh juice collection. Lots of characters came around to each table and it was a great opportunity for Josh to start filling up his autograph book and for us to take some photos. Chip and Dale were so hilarious, they must have spent almost 10 minutes at each table – brilliant. When we had finished it was about 9.30am and we went to the Walt Disney Studios. Here we met with some friends who had just arrived and were staying at Newport Bay Club in a resort suite. The Disney Studios is very nicely set out – everything is nice and close to the main entrance and the excellent ‘studio one’ with shops and café’s under a covered roof. This park still needs some more attractions, like Tower of Terror (or a different high-rate attraction) and an evening event which IMO would also pull more crowds. Whilst we were there it was quite quiet (I guess most people were in The Disneyland Park, for Fantillusion later tonight) and most attractions only had a 15-25 minute queue or less, including Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. We did all of the rides and show’s except Animagique. The Moteurs Stunt Show is exceptional, but make sure you arrive early as even when the park was quiet this filled up about 30 minutes before the start of the show. As we had never seen it before we went to watch Cinemagique which was quite disappointing in our opinion and could be improved by having a walk-through part before of after, Joshua found the film extremely boring! We missed this last time and I kind of we wish we did this time.
Armageddon was extremely claustrophobic, they crammed in hundreds of people in to the tiny little room where the fire and smoke was set off – it scared the life out of Josh and it was way too claustrophobic, nothing like what it was like last time we visited – maybe I would have understood if the park was overly busy – but it wasn’t.
The Aladdin’s Carpet ride is just like Dumbo, but again, although there was little queue it didn’t last long at all then on to the studio tram tour which is similar to the one in Florida but with less film sets and extras, but the ‘Catastrophe Canyon’ bit is much better IMHO. What really disappoints us at Walt Disney Studio’s is that a lot of the shows were in French with very little or no English, The Studio Tram Tour was luckily in both French and English (I know we’re in France and they speak French, but a high proportion of their visitors must be English and at tourist attractions in London there are usually different translations). When we had finished at Walt Disney Studios we had dinner with our friends at Cape Cod (a buffet restaurant in the Newport Bay Club) which was nice, and great value-for-money. There is such a big selection of food on offer, great for fussy eaters as they can choose what they want.

The next day we had a basic breakfast at Inventions which had the same food choice as California Grill (but without bacon(?!)) and with no characters. Then we went in to The Disneyland Park and did some more rides – Star Tours (A great ride but most of it in French), Then Pirates of the Caribbean (again!) (Much better than WDW’s version IMO) It was here that we were very rapidly boarding the boats and I dropped the digital camera on the floor of the boat – smash! I wasn’t too happy (It was totally my fault though) All of the photos we had taken hopefully hadn’t been ruined (more on this later(!)). Big Thunder Mountain (again, much longer and much nicer theming than WDW’s version), Phantom Manor (Claustrophobic in the elevator bit, but otherwise good) and some other rides. We had lunch at 1pm at Walt’s in Main Street USA (which we booked on the first day) and met up with our friends again. Here was great and service was EXCEPTIONAL this is definitely my favourite restaurant which we ate at. The staff were great and the food was beautifully cooked. The beef burger that Josh had was cooked to perfection as was my chicken – delicious! After the meal we went to the camera shop at the beginning of Main Street USA and they were more than happy to take a look at the camera. They asked if we were staying on-site, and took down our hotel and room number. They said they would deliver it back to the room later in the day! – what fantastic service! We then went up to watch a show “Mickey’s Show Time” in the Videopolis. This is a great show and the characters were great up on stage together – there was some excellent Disney music. We then went on a few more rides and returned to the hotel and collected our purchases that we made earlier on in the day (when staying on-site they deliver all of your purchases to your hotel to save you carrying them around). A Goofy cowboy cuddly toy from Fronteirland, a Buzz Lightyear remote control spaceship and Frances bought some jewellery for somebody’s :rolleyes: birthday. When we walked back to our room, we entered and there was the camera with an envelope. Inside it said ‘We can’t seem to be able to fix your camera, sorry. Maybe a more specialised camera shop will be able to help……(it then went on describing the specific problem)’ Also on the bed was a disposable flash camera and a Mickey Mouse pen and pencil case set with a ‘’twirly’ sorcerer Mickey light-up ‘thing’! I couldn’t believe this – how nice of them at the camera shop. What brilliant Disney service. Then, after Josh had a little sleep we went back in to the park and got ready to watch Fantillusion which we were very excited about. We decided to leave it until today, as we thought that the (public) opening evening would have been ridiculously busy. We went on some rides before taking seats at around 9.15pm (1 hour 15 mins before the start of the parade, I know!). Whilst Frances and Joshua held the seats, I went to the baguette shop on the right hand side in Main Street USA – delicious, fresh baguettes – although I queued almost 25 minutes for them! Then the spectacle began. It was amazing. There were massive crowds all around – virtually the whole of Main Street seemed clogged up. Luckily, we had great front-row seats right in the centre of Main Street U.S.A. The floats were spectacular and it was extremely well done in ho it all joint in perfect timing with the music. The floats changed colour occasionally and some of the most impressive had to be the villains floats – exceptional. It was like a show and a parade mixed together IMO. One of the most amazing bits is the way in which the castle changes colour and shines, all matching the different themes and atmospheres of the individual float. After this spectacular parade the day still wasn’t over – Tinkerbell’s Fantasy in the sky fireworks took off at around 11.20pm – just as excellent as ever. This was by far the best day of the trip and we now wish that we did go and watch it on the opening night, so that we could have gone back again tonight to of watched it all over again! We returned to the hotel at around 11.40pm and went straight up to bed.

On the final day our flight wasn’t until 7.30pm so we spent the day in The Disneyland park. We re-did all of the favourites, Josh couldn’t get enough of Star Tours – we must have been on it about 20 times this trip! Then off to the hotel at 4pm to get the taxi to the airport at 4.20pm. The baggage staff were extremely unhelpful and it took them 15-20 minutes to get our luggage and put it in the taxi, the driver was getting annoyed with the staff as he was behind schedule but he was kind enough to wait. We arrived at the airport at about 5.40pm and went to see which gate we had to go to. Paris CDG is an absolutely disgusting airport it really makes you appreciate how nice Heathrow is! Everywhere people were smoking and the whole place was filled with filthy seats and litter. There were very few shops and very few restaurants. We just sat around waiting and boarded our flight at about 7pm. Then the frustration starts just as the pilot gets on the runway he says that the computer has shut down and he will need to call technicians out. 1 ½ hours later we are still sitting on the boiling hot aeroplane waiting to take off. The BA staff were very unfriendly and we had to ask to be informed as to what was going on. After 1 and ¾ hours of waiting on the runway doing nothing we finally took off and the flight took 45 minutes, plus 15 minutes circling around Heathrow until a slot became available. Then, off to find a taxi to Crowne Plaza to get the car, we were going to book another night here but there were no family rooms available, so we headed home on the long journey to Devon. Next time we visit DLRP we will definitely be taking Eurostar, we’ll have to make sure we book earlier, it is much easier and less stressful travelling by Eurostar.

Anyway all in all it was a great trip and Disneyland Paris seems to get better every time. Fantillusion was definitely the best parade we’ve seen yet and is amazing. There was great Disney service and it is great to know that The Disneyland Hotel is still up to its usual high standards, along with Disney cast members and overall service.

Richard. :)

rob@rar.org.uk
07-14-2003, 08:49 AM
Thanks for the report Richard, and for confirming in my mind that I never want to fly to DLP! You really should try the Eurotunnel train one day - it's very straightforward and not at all claustrophobic. Its only three hours drive to DLP when you get off the train at Calais, and having a car would allow you to stay at the davy Crockett Ranch which is a lot of fun (espacially the pool).

Regards

Rob

WDWfan,uk
07-14-2003, 09:38 AM
Thank you Richard :) ! I really enjoyed reading your detailed report!

Can't wait to see Fantillusion and I'm really pleased that they have a good show at the Videopolis again - I was sad when Mulan departed ........ that's a while ago now!

What a lovely touch by the camera shop - a real 'Disneyful' thing to do :) !

richard3330
07-14-2003, 10:26 AM
Thanks for your replies. :)

Shirley - I was also very disappointed when Mulan finished - it was such a brilliant show with some excellent 'moves' in it.

Rob - Is the journey when you get off of Eurotunnel relatively straight-forward? I wouldn't mind it too much if it was motorway for most of the way. Also, how long does the journey on Eurotunnel take?

Thanks again.

Richard. :)

dlpSteve
07-14-2003, 11:17 AM
I notice you have been to Tokyo Disneyland and wondered how you thought the Paris Fantillusion compared to the Tokyo version?

The Tokyo Fantillusion was definitely the most spectacular parade I have seen, and the whole I thought Tokyo's parades were a lot better and longer. Along with Fantillusion we saw the 100 Years of Disney and Halloween parades which were both excellent.

Great report by the way :)

richard3330
07-14-2003, 12:01 PM
Hi Steve,

I see your in Devon too: lovely and sunny today isn't it :)

Unfortunately, when we visited Tokyo Disneyland it was only for a day trip too (we were essentialy on a holiday touring the far east and staying in the Maldives) and we didn't get to see Fantillusion :( . However, I do remember watching one parade (I think it was 100 years of magic) and it was fantastic - I agree, it seemed to be much longer and with more floats than usual. Also, I thought that the Japanese were so wonderful and welcoming and really made an effort for their foreign visitors - Tokyo Disney (and Japan) has to be one of the most welcoming places I've ever been.

I have heard so many wonderful reviews of Tokyo's Fantillusion and feel a bit annoyed that we didn't have time to stay and watch it. It would be great to hear your opinion comparing the two, next time you visit DLP.

Richard.

dlpSteve
07-14-2003, 12:46 PM
Richard

It has been gorgeous today, and a great weekend too. My step-father used to live in West Hill - It's a Small World (sorry, couldn't resist!)

It's a shame about not seeing Fantillusion in Tokyo :( We loved Japan, as you say, the people are so welcoming. It also has some the most incredible natural scenery I've seen anywhere in the world.

Hopefully Fantillusion will be in DLRP when go in December, the combination of honeymoon, Christmas and the parade will make for a fantastic atmosphere, for us anyway!

Steve

EDIT: I saw you had Duck Confit at the Auberge De Cendrillion restaurant - that's great news because we plan on eating there when go next AND I love Duck Confit, bonus!

rob@rar.org.uk
07-14-2003, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by richard3330
Rob - Is the journey when you get off of Eurotunnel relatively straight-forward? I wouldn't mind it too much if it was motorway for most of the way. Also, how long does the journey on Eurotunnel take?

It's motorway ALL the way. The Eurotunnel terminal is on the outskirts of Calais, and connects directly to the A26 autoroute. It is then a very simple journey A26, A1, A101 (French equivalent of the M25) and then a short stretch of the A4. The traffic is normally less busy than UK motorways (although the A1 at CDG airport and the A101 can be a little busy), and there are plenty of services and stopping points at which you can have a picnic. We normally take about three hours from the leaving the train to arriving at the Davy Crockett Ranch.

The Eurotunnel journey is 35 minutes I think. It is defintely the best way to cross the Channel. You can get out of your car to stretch your legs or use the loo (although there are no other facilities on the train), and before you know it you are in France. If you are concerned about claustrophobia, it is just like travelling in a train at night - you can't see anything out of the window once you are in the tunnel, and the train itself is reasonably light and airy. For the last couple of years Eurotunnel have had a sale around New Year, offering up to 40% off crossings for the rest of that year. It saved us quite a bit this year (two crossings booked). As we are EuroDisney Shareholders and have APs we tend to book our travel and accommodation seperately. Travelling via Eurotunnel as a party of four (us plus two of our god-children, or two of our friends) and staying in the Davey Crockett is the cheapest way I've found to stay on-site.

Regards

Rob

rob@rar.org.uk
07-14-2003, 02:12 PM
PS Richard, if you normally spend the night prior to travelling in a hotel in London, you could do the same for travelling by EuroTunnel. There are a couple of hotels near the terminal, which would allow you an early start and to arrive at DLP by midday.

Regards

Rob

richard3330
07-15-2003, 03:33 AM
Steve - Wow, it is a small world ;) . The duck was delicious and so well cooked. Have a great time in December :) .

Rob - Thanks for all of the information. After reading this it has definitely changed my mind and I think it's something I would definitely consider for future trips. Thanks again.

Richard. :)

Squidge
07-17-2003, 09:47 AM
Thanks so much for the great report Richard. I have bene pining for DLRP this weke and this certainly did the trick - thanks!

Kirsty x