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Old 11-01-2011, 02:48 PM   #16
smallpig
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Had never heard of this before - on the list for next time! So much more to be done... we just HAVE to go again before the APs expire
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:39 AM   #17
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We took the guided tour of the main Disneyland Park on a Tuesday afternoon at 1pm (in the pouring rain ). I had booked it at City Hall when we arrived at the resort 2 days earlier. There were only my DD and I on the tour with our guide Ann-Sophie. Because my DD was free (aged under 12) and there were no other adults on the tour, I was charged the extra 5 euros for the solo tour (so the full price would have been 20 euros total, but with my shareholders discount this was 16 euros total).

We didn't take any photos on our tour, although Ann-Sophie was happy to take time for us to do so. I wanted to listen to her though, instead of taking photos. We've decided next time we go to DLP though, we're going to go photo everything we saw on the tour .

The tour took just under 2 hours, even though it was teeming rain and Ann-Sophie was trying to keep us in sheltered spots as much as possible. If the weather had been better I can imagine this could easily have taken a good half hour longer. We still learned so much and couldn't believe we'd been wandering round DLP for 5 years without knowing so much!

We started off at the entrance to the park, where Ann-Sophie talked to us about the pink colour of the Disneyland Hotel being picked so the hotel would still stand out under European grey skies (so today was a great example of this!). Then we walked under Main St station, and Ann-Sophie asked us to look for the names of the locomotives next time we were on the train around the park, as they are all named after people Walt greatly admired. Town Square is crammed, again, with references to people who fed Walt's inspiration ie the Wright brothers cycle shop, the Kodak shop etc. Also in Town Square, the names on the Dentist window are the names of the imagineers who designed that area of the park.
Inside the Kodak shop we were shown the glassed-in workshop with artifacts which belonged to George Eastman (he invented camera roll film and was the man behind the Kodak name). Ann-Sophie showed us the very visible electric cables running along the ceiling to the light fittings, as when electric light was first invented it was very expensive so those who could afford it, showed it off. She also pointed out the large main entrance to the shop - needed in the early days of cameras as the whole contraption, the box you stuck your head in, tripod, the lot, usually had to be taken in to the shop to have the film developed.

The we moved to the Emporium - a tribute to department stores and again, with lots of fascinating detail. The domed ceiling gallery inside is a tribute to both French shopping centres, which have these, and again inventors Walt admired (their images are silhouetted on the dome). We talked about the jar and box contraption which goes from the main cashier station in the store. This was the way goods were paid for in the early days of department stores - no-one except the boss or his trusted office staff were permitted to touch any money in the store, and originally cashiers didn't even need to know how to count to be employed in department stores.
At the furthest left corner of the Emporium, is Dapper Dan's barber shop. Ann-Sophie took us inside and explained that this was a real barber shop, transported in its entirety to its current location. The shaving foam mugs are personalised, used by the barber's most regular customers. There is a scary looking metal dome in there, kind of looks like a medieval torture gadget of some description, but its actually a steriliser .

We exited the Emporium onto Flower Street, home of the Disney imagineers in California. As a tribute to Walt's love for his wife, the entrance to Lily's boutique stands next to Walts restaurant here . We were taken inside Walts, where we found out some more about Walt's inspiration and a bit about the start of his success. There are 2 little birds in cages inside Walts, the smallest one, in the foyer, was the first "animatronic" Walt had seen, and he bought it, took it home and took it apart, to see how it worked. This was his inspiration for the animatronics used in all his parks around the world. Among the pictures inside Walts there is one on the staircase of Walt winning his Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - a huge risk as it was the first ever full-length animation movie. As well as his one regular-sized Oscar, Walt was presented with 7 mini-size ones for this movie, one for each dwarf . Ann-Sophie took us round each area of Walts, showing us each decorated "land" inside the restaurant. We'd never seen the Adventureland rooms - how cool are they ?

Our last part of exploring Main St was across the street into the Market House deli, where we listened in the gossip on the party line on the phones inside the store , and talked about the switchboard which is behind one of the counters there. We walked through Discovery arcade up to the top of Main St, and then took the covered walkway from the top of Liberty arcade into Frontierland.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:31 AM   #18
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In Frontierland, we popped into the Lucky Nugget saloon (it was closed to the public) and we found out the story behind this restaurant. I had no idea there was even a real "lucky nugget" and yet there it was, on a shelf behind the bar! This saloon was designed to be the more frivolous entertainment venue, as opposed to the Silver Spur next door, which is darker and was more suited for men's business dealings (over cigars and brandy etc ).
We talked briefly about the story behind the Phantom Manor, and then walked around Thunder Mesa, where Ann-Sophie pointed out the many authentic items of machinery and ironware, including the steam tractor opposite BTM, which was bought from the farmer for the princely sum of a nice engagement ring for his wife .
Before we left Frontierland, Ann-Sophie asked us if we had ever been inside the Cowboy Cookout. When we said we had, she said had we noticed that all the seats, benches etc inside were mismatched. This was because at a traditional community cookout, everyone would bring along whatever seats they had at home.

We then walked into Adventureland, and stopped outside Colonel Hathi's, where Ann-Sophie told us that Jungle Book was the last movie that Walt personally had worked on (he died before it was released). From there she pointed out a certain little Coke ice-box nearby (go find it and lift the lid ), and as we walked from Hakuna Matata to the medina, she told us that the music changes as we move from southern Africa to northern Africa, and then changes again as we move to the Caribbean (POTC, Skull Rock etc). In the Medina, she pointed out the crashed jeep and the story behind it with the curious giraffe, then we went inside the shop there and saw the giraffe herself ..
When we reached the entrance to POTC, Ann-Sophie explained that this ride originally had been designed (and was starting to be built) as a walkthrough attraction. However, the IASW boat ride which had been trialled by Disney at the 1964 New York worlds fair with phenomenal success made Walt change his mind, and make POTC the boat ride we know and love . Before making the final change to boat ride, Walt did the POTC walkthrough in a wheelchair, to see if the ride was just as good from a lower-down perspective.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #19
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Thanks for your post, sounds great, I'm hoping to do this tour this week. I read on another forum that people doing the tour were offered preferential viewing for the parade and had their names taken at City Hall and then checked off on a list at the parade area, were you offered this? Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:18 AM   #20
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We left Adventureland and walked into Fantasyland, where Ann-Sophie pointed out the various different parts of Europe depicted in this area of the park (again, with changing music as you go from one area to another). ie Britain with Peter Pan's flight, Toad Hall and Alices Labyrinth, over to Germany/Austria for Snow White's ride and Pinocchio.
Although Pinocchio is Italian, his ride, shop and restaurant are in the German section of Fantasyland because in the movie his home village, his clothes etc are Bavarian rather than Italian (he wears lederhosen for example). Ann-Sophie pointed out the names on some of the roof tiles on both rides, which again, are the names of the imagineers of this area. We asked why Snow White's clogs were pinned to the wall near her ride, and Ann-Sophie charmingly replied "because she's a Princess now, she doesn't wear clogs" !

We stopped in front of the carousel and the Castle, where Ann-Sophie explained the difference between a carousel and a merry-go-round (I had no idea that a carousel only has horses and carriages and goes anti-clockwise, and a merry-go-round can have all sorts of vehicles and goes clockwise). We chatted about the various influences of the Castle, the tapestries inside were provided by one of the oldest tapestry-makers in France, the golden snails on one of the larger turrets are a tribute to French cuisine, and the castle itself is designed to be growing out of the earth, again in tribute to a particular real French castle, which is why it appears to be coming out of the hill to the left of the front of the castle, and why there are trees holding up the 2nd level inside the castle .

We then walked around past Auberge de Cendrillon to IASW, where Ann-Sophie told us that the IASW song here at DLP is sung in 19 different languages, including Arabic and Hebrew. I can pick out maybe 4 of the 19 languages I think . Ann-Sophie pointed out the architecture of the Italian section of Fantasyland, the ice-cream shop, Bella Notte (and the music of course) before we left Fantasyland and entered Discoveryland.

Discoveryland contains many references to Walt's passion for invention and imagination. He was one of Jules Verne's greatest admirers, and as well as the Nautilus attraction here, and the original Space Mountain ride, there is this quote of Verne's on a monument near Autopia -
"Tout ce qui est dans la limite du possible doit être et sear accompli
(All That's Within the Limits of the Possible Must and Will Be Accomplished)", which is something Walt passionately believed.

We stood under the huge flying machine at the entrance to Cafe Hyperion and Videopolis, and Ann-Sophie told us this is by far the largest prop at Disneyland Paris, and pointed out the animatronic pigeons on the machine (again, I had no idea they were there). There is a story behind this prop too, which ties in with why the inside of Cafe Hyperion is decked out as a travel agency .
Across at Orbitron, Ann-Sophie pointed out that each rocket on the ride has a different sign of the zodiac on it, another of Walt's great interests. Autopia was based on Walt's own idea for car travel of the future, where all vehicles would travel on tracks which would take you to all destinations, and so both adults and children could drive .
We were also shown the various references to "DM" all over Discoveryland (ie near Space Mountain) because this part of the park was originally going to be "Discovery Mountain" - a huge man-made mountain with all the rides, attractions, restaurants and shops contained inside the mountain itself. The mountain had actually started to be built at DLP, thats what those futuristic-looking slanted rocks are all around the front of the entrance to Discoveryland, they would have formed part of the "mountain".

And so, here the tour was over for us. We were each given a special pin for taking part on the tour -



and thanked Ann-Sophie very much.

All that I've written here is not even all that we learned on the tour, it was absolutely fascinating and I couldn't believe it had lasted 2 hours, we didn't look at our watches once and it seemed to go by in a flash. I would thoroughly recommend doing this if you are adults and/or have older children and you love the park . From what I've seen of other park tour reports, you'll get a different slant on things from each guide, so you may well find out loads more about Walt and the Disneyland Paris park . I mean, I've just done it, just written all this stuff down, and I'd do it again tomorrow!
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:24 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by **Clare** View Post
Thanks for your post, sounds great, I'm hoping to do this tour this week. I read on another forum that people doing the tour were offered preferential viewing for the parade and had their names taken at City Hall and then checked off on a list at the parade area, were you offered this? Thanks.
I had read that too Clare before we went, and no, we weren't offered the preferred viewing, but I asked our guide if we could have it, and she said yes, no problem at all. We went to City Hall a couple of hours before the parade to find out exactly where we should go (and to be honest I think thats when our names were put on the list, I don't think Ann-Sophie had done it beforehand), and when we got to the viewing spot the CM was expecting us .
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:33 AM   #22
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Brilliant, thanks for that. I'm going to do the tour myself, the kids are too small so dh is going to take them back to the hotel for a nap. I'm really looking forward to it, more so now after reading your review, thanks

ETA: love the comment about Snow White and the clogs!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:17 PM   #23
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So, we'd enjoyed our guided tour of the main park so much on our last visit to DLP in June, that we decided we had to do the Walt Disney Studios version this time around. We did the tour on Monday 18th February, at 3pm. By coincidence we had the same tour guide this time around, Ann-Sophie .

The tour took just over one hour, and concentrated on movie-making. We had a lovely crisp sunny afternoon, a big improvement over the bucketing rain we had in June when we did the main park tour!

We started in the front lot Place Lumiere, named after the French brothers, pioneers of filmmaking (their film showing a workforce walking through gates is one of the first clips you see in Cinemagique, and they used their own staff to make the film). We talked about the big gates and architecture of the buildings here, reflecting the working studios in California in the 40s. The fountain is part of the appearance of grandness at the front of a working Studio of the time this is also why there is often a big black limousine in the front lot. We then went to the bottom of the Earful tower, and talked about why it was there (a water tower was part of every working studio, for fire-fighting purposes).

Then in Studio One, we talked about the numbers on the buildings, all of them all over the Studios are significant dates relating to Disney and its imagineers. We saw the facades (ie real-looking on the front, wood struts on the back) and the props in En Coulisse, again following what would appear in a real working studio. Studio One is completely sound-proofed, so it can be used as a real working studio.

Out into the main body of the park, we talked about the shape of the flower bed where the Partners statue is (its shaped like an old film cannister). We briefly went into Art of Animations first room, where we saw and talked a bit about the camera contraption which gave the first 3D effects (painted cells positioned on top of others) which were featured in the Old Mill cartoon for the first time, and also in the Snow White movie. Outside the building, we saw the small statues of some of the animations these were used before the filmmaking process began on each movie, to film the characters from every angle. We walked around the Toon studios area, and talked about why the rides and attractions (including Toy Story Playland) are situated together the idea being that in this area of the Studios, the toons have taken control and they are making the movies . In Toy Story Playland, we talked about the 2 balls which are prominent here the coloured ball appears in every Disney Pixar movie somewhere, and the red ball is the one featured at the starting short of Pixar movies, where the desklights play with it. We also were shown (I had never noticed this before) the start/go switch on the side of RC racer ride it moves when the ride starts. I had also not noticed that Andy had signed his name on the toy airplane outside the Parachute Drop ride until today.

From TSPL we walked past Tower of Terror and onto Rue George Melies, stopping briefly outside the rotunda area of Restaurant des Stars, from where we could see the mural in the ceiling dome (again, Ive never noticed this before), showing the sequence, end-to-end, of a blockbuster movie being made. We also talked about why George Melies was honoured here in the Studios (he was one of the first filmmakers to use and create special effects in his movies).

In the Backlot we saw the big gates (which are kept open in WDS) in a working studio these would be closed when special effects/stunts were being done. The backlot is all about big props, special effects (including music making, which is why RnR rollercoaster is there) and stunts. Hence Armageddon, the Stunt show, and the Blockbuster Café (basically one big store-room of props). Inside the Blockbuster Café, we saw the display case in the HSM side where the costumes are, which are the authentic costumes from the movie. We walked around by Les Cascadeurs restaurant (which was unfortunately closed) and talked about how it was transported in its entirety from Germany, and its the oldest restaurant in all of the Disney parks (it was used as a diner by the American GIs in the 2nd world war).

We then walked around the back of the Tower of Terror building, seeing the vehicles which are at the end of the Tram Tour etc. I had never walked that way before - the Tower of Terror building is huge! We ended our tour outside the Tower of Terror, where we talked about the inspiration for the ride being an episode of the French version of Twilight Zone which never aired. We talked about the fastpass area for this ride looking like piles of discarded luggage etc, to tie in with the décor inside the Hotel foyer, ie everyone, guests and staff alike, ran away in haste after the 5 people in the lift disappeared into the Twilight Zone.
As Tower of Terror is my DDs favourite ride, Ann-Sophie suggested we come back and do the specific Tower of Terror tour, which is available early morning (before official park opening time) on Saturday and Wednesday mornings (but book in advance).

We had a very pleasant wander around the Studios, learning all about its inspiration and layout etc. At the end of the tour we each got a blue pin, similar to the pink one we had received when we did the guided tour of the main park.

I'm a real fan of the guided tours, you see so much that you've never noticed before, and get a great insight into the reasons why DLP is what it is . Hopefully next time we are back in The Magic, we'll be able to do the Tower of Terror tour.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:32 PM   #24
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Thanks Elaine for the description of the WDS tour. Definitely doing to do this on our trip next week. Do you know if they are doing the ToT tour in English now?
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:40 PM   #25
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Thanks Elaine for the description of the WDS tour. Definitely doing to do this on our trip next week. Do you know if they are doing the ToT tour in English now?
I'd book the tour in advance by email - first one to book gets to choose which language the tour is conducted in .

I'm honestly not sure whether the Tower of Terror tour has an English option - but that was the impression Ann-Sophie gave me when we were talking about it. I'd ask the question when you email to book the Studios tour if I were you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #26
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Thanks, will do.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:46 PM   #27
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How did I not know all of these details before?! I love this!!!!

Thank you so much for sharing Elaine! After reading these - I am definitely going to surprise my DBF with a guided tour as part of his birthday present whilst we're in the magic this year! He will love it

I noticed you mentioned solo-tours. Was this purely because you and your lovely princess were alone or do you know if you can actually pre-book and pay extra for a solo guided tour? I would love to book that and make a real treat out of it for us...him... I meant him, of course!

I'm already thinking Ponchielli's (or Barcardi Royale's as the spoiled-sports have renamed them) in Café Fantasia afterwards... oh I'm excited!!!!
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #28
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How did I not know all of these details before?! I love this!!!!

Thank you so much for sharing Elaine! After reading these - I am definitely going to surprise my DBF with a guided tour as part of his birthday present whilst we're in the magic this year! He will love it

I noticed you mentioned solo-tours. Was this purely because you and your lovely princess were alone or do you know if you can actually pre-book and pay extra for a solo guided tour? I would love to book that and make a real treat out of it for us...him... I meant him, of course!

I'm already thinking Ponchielli's (or Barcardi Royale's as the spoiled-sports have renamed them) in Café Fantasia afterwards... oh I'm excited!!!!
sounds like a fab plan to me Adam .
It was just coincidence I think that we were the only ones on both tours, I booked in advance by email this time, but waited until we got to the resort last year, and booked it for a couple of days after we arrived. I would recommend booking by email in advance though, that way you know for definite you'll be doing the tour. If you wait until you get there to book, it might already be booked out and you might not get your preferred language.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:03 PM   #29
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Thanks Elaine, I've booked our tour of WDS today with VIP Relations.

With regards to the ToT tour this was their reply.

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As far as the guided tour of the Tower of Terror is concerned, I'm sorry to inform you that this service is only available in French.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:04 PM   #30
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sounds like a fab plan to me Adam .
It was just coincidence I think that we were the only ones on both tours, I booked in advance by email this time, but waited until we got to the resort last year, and booked it for a couple of days after we arrived. I would recommend booking by email in advance though, that way you know for definite you'll be doing the tour. If you wait until you get there to book, it might already be booked out and you might not get your preferred language.
Thanks for the tip Elaine!

Silly question - is this the guest communications email address? Or is there a specific one for the tours? Sorry to be a pain
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