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Old 04-25-2013, 11:05 AM   #1
mikneyspackson
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Smile Detailed Highs and Lows 14th-17th April! Updated: with pics+vids

Hey everyone!
So I went to DLP via an easy trip on the eurostar on the 14th of April. We somehow had tickets that meant we had to change at Lille and wait an hour, but via St Pancras that was complementary changed so that was a nice surprise! We even emailed beforehand asking whether we could transfer to the direct journey and was told they couldn't do that! YOU CAN DO THAT EUROSTAR DON'T LIE TO ME!
I went with my twin sister and we arrived at about 3pm I'd say French time (my memory is appalling with things like that)
We had a lovely time as we used this 4 days vacation as our sort of escape to forget the ongoing stress we find ourselves running into at home so that in itself made this trip worthwhile!


This is probably more like a trip report and I am sorry if it is very longwinded haha but it's full of detail and despite the moaning from the Lows, I honestly had the best time! Please read!

Anyway here are the highs:

* AMAZING weather! It was seriously so lovely for the majority of the time we were there. There was this one beautiful moment where we came off of the eurostar and out into the station and they had "Magic Everywhere" playing as we were walked outside and it just felt lovely because the weather was PERFECT! It wasn't too hot or too cold. It was sunny and glorious (It did kind of get a little uncomfortable later on and had a few bad incidents this day but I'll go into that in a bit.) It just felt so perfect and felt like everything was running so smoothly. A moment I'll never forget. It was so exciting. I felt like I was in Florida or something haha.

*We did absolutely everything (everything we wanted to do, except Crushes Coaster, there was no hope there!) Being there for 4 days actually made us a bit "so what shall we do now?" kind of thing. We weren't bored but we'd done everything so it only felt right sometimes to just wonder around the main park taking in the beauty and atmosphere of it all. I think we were smart here really. If there were long waits we'd just come back later and we managed to work around with extreme luck. Generally though, the wait times for things were brilliant. We waited a maximum of like 35 minutes which was Star Tours (which I have to say needs updating in my opinion) while the rest were 5/10/20 minute waits! Obviously there were wait times of 60 minutes at times but we'd come back later and be able to hop on. There was no hope in Crushes Coaster though. It was down a lot of the time we were and there was ALWAYS a long line. We didn't do Animagique, Armageddon or Lights, Motors, Action because we didn't feel we needed to. We heard Animagique wasn't that great and we did the other two on our last visit in November and didn't particularly enjoy either of them to the extent we'd want do to them again! Princess Pavillion was always a long wait but we managed to get in when the wait line was 35 minutes instead of the usual 60+ so that was fun! We met Snow White the first time and then on our last day we thought "We've done everything, let's just wait" where we did wait like 60 minutes but it was worth it for a special moment between Ariel and my sister! We also loved the setting inside of the queue with the magic mirror and the various iconic objects behind glass. A really nice touch.

*We saw lots of characters! It was hard to get a picture with most of them but we got a picture with one of the Tweedle Dum/Dees in the main park and we queued for a reasonably short time for photos with Buzz and Minnie and Mickey by "Toon Stuidos" in Studios!

*Really enjoyed all the rides in Studios. On our last visit we just didn't like it as the queues were long and had a day and a half to enjoy it all, so were always eager to get back to the main park. With all this time though, we definitely made sure we soaked in Studios for what it is and we thoroughly enjoyed it! My sister didn't like the thrill rides haha but she did them . I loved the thrilling aspect of it all this time around! We seemed to walk on most of things and I must have done Tower of Terror 3 times in a row. We did use fast pass a lot though.

*Back to the Princess Pavillion.. on our second visit we met a wonderful cast member that really made the magic for us! He asked us who my sisters favourite princesses were and she said "Aurora, Ariel.." and named a few more. He was all chatty and nice and then I got my sisters iPad out to take pictures with (as we hated the way we looked on my camera with our time before with Snow White, my camera manages to make anyone look awful haha) and he asked me if I was videoing or just taking pictures and I said, "Oo I don't know, a video might be nice!" and he was like "I have a good idea for you. Why don't you go in before your sister and get ready to take a video of your sister walking in. Don't give away who the princess is though!" and it was SUCH a lovely moment! I'll never forget it! We were lucky with the princesses we got to see this time around as they were princesses we liked. I'd be so disappointed if it was someone we didn't (even though we do like them all, but of course we favour some over others.)

I don't know how to format it so videos will just come up but please take the time to look at the video we took from the Princess Pavilion: http://www.youtube.com/embed/1SRDQBQ_92g

*We saw Aurora walking through the park at one point clearly being rushed to go somewhere with her minder beside her. She's my sisters favourite princess so we were running to try and see where she was going, and my sister was like "YOU'RE MY FAVOURITE PRINCESS!" and Aurora hugged her and said "Hello Princess! Thank you so much" and it was just a lovely, yet brief moment! We also loved that her dress is blue, in our opinion the way it should be, as in the movie it is mostly blue yet always portrayed as pink.

*The use of our annual passes was great! Saved so much money and it made things a lot easier with use of magic hours etc too. Loved it.

*I was impressed with the amount of people that could switch from French to English in a split second!

Now for the LOWS! Sorry about this guys, none of this really ruined the trip as you're quick to forget them when you're there and immersed in the atmosphere but these things do definitely need some work!

*ON OUR ARRIVAL, we needed to transfer our temporary tickets to the actual annual passes. You probably all know this (correct me if I'm wrong) but you have to transfer your tickets on that day or the tickets will become obsolete. The annual ticket pass wait time was two hours when we got there so we thought "Nah we'll come back, maybe at parade time because surely people would be rushing off to see that instead of wanting to queue! We'll see the parade the next 3 days so let's not worry!" but of course going back at parade time was a huge mistake as the wait time was now 3 hours long! The queue stretched far out into discoveryland. It was about 6 oclock and the parade was at 7. It was unbelievable and we were panicking that we wouldn't get seen to as they told us it would close at 9 and it was 6 oclock. We couldn't stop thinking about waiting for 3 hours and then getting to the door and it being closed. There was no like crowd control or anything really. Waiting in the hot humid weather only made it worse. It was so bright and sunny and we had no spf either which was horrible because I'm just not good when not protected. I think of the worst case scenarios in my head and get myself scared haha. Not having spf with us was our own fault but we thought at a holiday destination there would at least be somewhere to buy it. There was no where but the station which sold factor 8 for 20 euros, which would be beyond pointless with my fair skin and a waste of money. I think we got in and out quicker than 3 hours but god it was still awful. Especially as there was next to no line the following 3 days. It was a Sunday and the last day of the easter holidays so that may be why it was so busy but they need to sort this out in my opinion. Why can't they give people allocated times on arrival to go check in etc. It would make things far easier. Also the cast member barely warned us when taking photos for our passes which resulted in awful looking photographs!

* MAINTENANCE! It was hard not to notice the paint peeling in various areas of the main park and the just general bad maintenance of things! It's such a shame. I don't know what it's like in America and it might just be the same, but I found it upsetting that even Fantasyland rides such as Dumbo and the teacups were kind of dirty to sit in and there was paint peeling here there and everywhere! These rides are obviously well used so it's kind of inevitable that these things are going to happen but you don't hear about this happening in the American parks so I don't know what to think, who knows!
Also we rode one of the cars up main street, I think it was the fire truck? And the seat had a gaping hole in it which was unsightly.

* Grumpy cast members as usual. There were a few gems as I explained but blimey would it hurt to put a smile on your face.

*Using extra magic hours with our annual passes was a blessing as we got a lot done then, but there was next to no atmosphere at this time of the morning and cast members were extra grumpy! I think the park benefits from a bit of hustle and bustle as it adds to the atmosphere, however when it's overly packed (Ala Sunday, ride times were a lot worse this day) then it's unbearable. It's trying to find that balance. I don't think I ever want to go on a weekend again.

* Back to maintenance, I really didn't like the look of storybook land. It looked so dirty, like the Aladdin's cave bit. It just spoiled it. The whole park felt like this though. It didn't matter in studios as this wasn't the "magical" park so you don't expect everything to be clean and perfect really. When you go to Disneyland, for me, it's your escape and you expect everything to be perfect but in reality of course that can't happen! But still, there could be a lot more care here really.
Silly things like popcorn and absolute rubbish being thrown down the wishing well. I'm probably being far over the top...

* SO much "backstage/behind the scenes" stuff was left on display! On Pirates, you could see the lights being used which really spoiled it. Lights were visible in various other rides too that I never noticed on my November trip! The celling of It's a Small World was visible and not a pretty sight either. On the Disneyland Railroad, it actually takes you out of the park and behind to where you can see the "outside world" briefly and that was kind of a let down. I know I'm picky but why do that? It just felt wrong. By the castle too, if you were looking from the right angle, you could see the lighting bellow being shon onto the castle. On Phantom, the cast member was going in the "tooley" bit, not quite sure what to call it, of the wall getting ready to turn the ride on, but she opened it up and walked off for everyone to see into it and came back moments later but it just felt like "Ohh..." I know I'm noticing all these tiny details but it's those details that could be worked on to make this park perfect! It probably sounds like I was looking around for things to criticize but I honestly wasn't that's the thing.
From Big Thunder Mountain, you could also see the Hollywood Tower hotel which was a bit like "Ohh... I forgot Studios is right there! We aren't actually in another world..." but again I'm being over the top.
Various speakers in plants etc around the park were visible too which you just find distracting but then at the same time when you're actually there you don't care. It's when you come back and think about it that it all comes to thought. I keep comparing to what I've heard about Florida and California and just wish it was like those parks. I've never even been so don't hate me for trying to compare something with something that I haven't first hand experienced. It may very well be the same over there, I may just be being overly critical and in need of letting standard lower a bit as they are always way too high in everything I do. I'll shut up about that now you get the drift.

*Back to Pirates though, it felt very different from our last visit in November. Have they changed it? There was less audio animatronics and just less going on. I also don't remember the fire scene near the end being as it was. There was more fire everywhere and characters holding blow torches and stuff. Has that always been this way? Sorry if it has. Please let me know about this.

*Small world felt a lot less decorated than it was around Christmas time but I suppose that is to be expected. I feel this could use some care and more elaborate scenery and COVER UP THAT CEILING!

*Phantom Manor feels almost dated to me. I don't know what it's like abroad but I hear they've made a lot of updates to the special effects and things over the years. The effects are beginning to look dated here and it's a shame because I absolutely LOVE this ride!

*We stayed at the Kyriad and we enjoyed our stay in November, but this time it felt very dirty. Every time we went back to the hotel room it smelled of poo when no one had a poo beforehand haha sorry to sound crude but it's just honesty, so we joked about the maid having a poo every time she came to clean our room. The sheets were stained and had black hairs on them and it wasn't nice. We didn't complain though because we aren't the complaining type but it was seriously not cool!
The drinks machine in the lobby was often empty which was annoying as it felt convenient to buy bottles to take out to the parks here and also to drink before we went to sleep etc. Other than that, it felt alright but next time we wouldn't mind trying somewhere else you know!

*I think we would have easily gotten away without paying for a breakfast at Inventions haha! We walked in and asked where it was and they took us to a table and didn't ask anything. They just told us to basically "dig in" but being the honest people we are, we said that we needed to pay and they didn't understand at first but it was fine after a while. The breakfast was enjoyable, and I loved their fruit juice haha. Tasted so good! BUT the only let down here was that the cups on our table were extremely dirty! They had brown dusty bits all inside. I did get another cup but was extremely weary of it! Also, I expected characters to be roaming but I think that's just me having too high expectations about absolutely everything!

*We went to dine at Walts and it was closed every day we were there but the last day and we just didn't have time that last day to do it! We really wanted to go there but instead booked for Blue Lagoon which felt disappointing. Being tight on cash, we opted for the Buccaneer menu and the food wasn't that flavoursome or great to be honest. It looked nice and I enjoyed the prawn cocktail, but me and my sister both ordered the crab toast thing (can't remember the name) for starters and received prawns instead, but didn't want to complain so we just stuck with it. The food just felt like it was so-so. Maybe it just wasn't to our taste. It also felt like they were trying to get us in and rush us out but maybe that was just them being efficient! I don't know!

*Dapper Dans was also shut and I really wanted a hair cut haha no joke! My hair is too long for my liking at the moment and I thought "WHAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR HAIR CUT IN DISNEYLAND!" I'm a sucker for all things vintage style so it would have been a lovely experience but it was shut every day except the last day where we had to leave early for the train home. It looked great though so we took photos from outside etc.

* While we met loads of characters and it was amazing, there acting wasn't half as good as what you see from videos of Florida and California on Youtube etc. I still loved seeing them though don't get me wrong!

*nothing to do with the place, just my personal wrong. My feet hurt ALL the time due to walking everywhere and wanting to get everything done! I need better shoes...

Sorry to moan guys, we really did have an amazing time but at the same time don't feel like returning for a while as we don't want the risk getting sick of it all. I'm sure we'll definitely return within a year as we have our annual passes and want to use them as much as we can!
Sorry to constantly compare DLP to the American resorts, especially as I've never been so that might seem puzzling to you, but from other peoples comparisons I feel DLP could use some work. It's a shame that the company isn't solely owned by Walt Disney as I think they wouldn't be happy with a lot of things I've mentioned but never mind. It's still a beautiful and amazing place and I am so happy to have gone and had an amazing time!

I just want to share this sad moment with you at the end. Not for attention but I just find that it's sweet. My twin sister has autism and always finds it hard to understand the concept of leaving things, change etc and when we had to leave, like REALLY had to leave because we were in risk of not getting our train, we sat down in front of the gazebo and in front of main street just looking at the perfect setting of the castle in the sunny weather and she cried to me telling me how she doesn't want to leave. She said she hates the real world and that nobody understand her and that it's the perfect life here. It was so touching and I had a little tear myself but kept it cool as I hid under my sunglasses haha.
It was so upsetting though but heart-warming at the same time. I just told her that we'd be back, that we'd have to be back to get good use our annual passes. Bless her.

Anyway thank you for reading. Sorry if it's too long or if I'm coming across as moaning way too much. I had an amazing emotionally high time and it's my favourite place to be.

Please take the time to view my photos here! (will insert link once all uploaded) Thought it would be nice to look at as the weather was mainly lovely which is more of a rarity here at dlp and my photos are very bright and colourful!
Also go to www.youtube.com/MrJustDisneyland for my atmospheric videos. I still have lots more to put up. They are just short clips that soak up the atmosphere really. Those are my favourite types of videos.
One more haha... I recently started a blog for myself: http:reid-this.blogspot.co.uk and I actually posted a mini reflect on why I love Disneyland so much so please check it out and follow if you are on blogger! Share if you will to that would be nice haha
Thanks again!

Last edited by mikneyspackson; 04-25-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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Loved your video of the meeting with Ariel!
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:17 AM   #3
Christieand
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It sounds like you and your sister had an amazing time I completely agree with you on Small World ceiling, Pirates lighting and seeing the 'outside world' in various places, especially the railroad and the tram tour.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:47 AM   #4
mikneyspackson
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Smile Unedited Photos and Videos from my sunny trip on the 14th-17th of April! Enjoy!

THE WEATHER WAS BEAUTIFUL!



View the rest of the photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/1100121...8thOfApril2013

Feel free to share them around and comment if you will

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SRDQBQ_92g
Click here to see my sister meeting Ariel at the Princess Pavillon! SO lovely
and HERE http://www.youtube.com/user/MrJustDisneyland for the rest of my videos from our visit!
Again please comment, subscribe and share everywhere

Read my very thorough and detailed full trip report here: http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3101763

And excuse the ugly photos of me in various photographs haha..
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:49 AM   #5
mikneyspackson
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Originally Posted by Disneyfanswicklow View Post
Loved your video of the meeting with Ariel!
Thank you, glad you liked it :D
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
mikneyspackson
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Originally Posted by Christieand View Post
It sounds like you and your sister had an amazing time I completely agree with you on Small World ceiling, Pirates lighting and seeing the 'outside world' in various places, especially the railroad and the tram tour.
We really did thank you!!!
Yeah it's such a shame but hey what can you do! Just ignore it I suppose haha but it always does for that second just make you think "Oh..." doesn't it but nevermind! Still love the place!
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #7
tigger137
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Originally Posted by mikneyspackson View Post

* MAINTENANCE! It was hard not to notice the paint peeling in various areas of the main park and the just general bad maintenance of things! It's such a shame. I don't know what it's like in America and it might just be the same, but I found it upsetting that even Fantasyland rides such as Dumbo and the teacups were kind of dirty to sit in and there was paint peeling here there and everywhere! These rides are obviously well used so it's kind of inevitable that these things are going to happen but you don't hear about this happening in the American parks so I don't know what to think, who knows!
Also we rode one of the cars up main street, I think it was the fire truck? And the seat had a gaping hole in it which was unsightly.

* Back to maintenance, I really didn't like the look of storybook land. It looked so dirty, like the Aladdin's cave bit. It just spoiled it. The whole park felt like this though. It didn't matter in studios as this wasn't the "magical" park so you don't expect everything to be clean and perfect really. When you go to Disneyland, for me, it's your escape and you expect everything to be perfect but in reality of course that can't happen! But still, there could be a lot more care here really.
Silly things like popcorn and absolute rubbish being thrown down the wishing well. I'm probably being far over the top...
I completely agree with you about the maintenance and don't think you are being over the top. You are obviously a great DLP fan but you can see the faults, whereas it seems most people walk through the parks with rose-coloured glasses. It didn't matter where we stood, in every part of Disneyland Park we could see railings or fences or walls which were well overdue needing attention. And the ground surfaces were shocking, not just where they had been patched up without matching the original theming but the number of trip and fall hazards.

As for the rubbish, the stuff we saw hadn't been dropped today or yesterday. What we noticed was in gardens or areas of rides you could seen from the queues, and particularly in areas of water, where it had obviously been there for quite some time. It was a lack of preventative and general maintenance, and deep cleaning.

In our experience, this doesn't happen in the US Disney parks. They have a constant maintenance and cleaning programme.


Quote:
* Grumpy cast members as usual. There were a few gems as I explained but blimey would it hurt to put a smile on your face.
I'm with you on this one too. The big thing we noticed was that when CMs were just walking from place to place they would never acknowledge guests. In the US, CMs are expected to always 'in character' when 'on stage' and will smile or say hello as they pass by.


Quote:
* SO much "backstage/behind the scenes" stuff was left on display! ... I keep comparing to what I've heard about Florida and California and just wish it was like those parks. I've never even been so don't hate me for trying to compare something with something that I haven't first hand experienced. It may very well be the same over there ...
We thought this too, and it is different to the US.
One major example was Big Thunder, which is being refurbished. From the Riverboat we could clearly see the workmen both on 'land' and the island, and the workboats where they were cutting wood. You simply would not get that in the US. The work would be going on but the area would be hoarded over so that guests couldn't see it and have it spoil the illusion.


Quote:
*Back to Pirates though, it felt very different from our last visit in November. Have they changed it? There was less audio animatronics and just less going on. I also don't remember the fire scene near the end being as it was. There was more fire everywhere and characters holding blow torches and stuff. Has that always been this way? Sorry if it has. Please let me know about this.
We were very disappointed with Pirates. We've often said to people that it's the best version of the ride, from the 3 we've seen, but that is no longer the case. It seems that parts of the technology which were state of the art when it opened - particularly the sword fight scene - are noticeable by their absence. And given how this area was covered over it looked to be pretty much a permanent loss, not just a temporary problem. It supposedly has just been refurbished too.


Quote:
*Phantom Manor feels almost dated to me. I don't know what it's like abroad but I hear they've made a lot of updates to the special effects and things over the years. The effects are beginning to look dated here and it's a shame because I absolutely LOVE this ride!
Again, we used to think it was the best of the 3, and we do still like the outside because you can see so much more of it than at WDW and DL. But the WDW outshines it now after the latest re-imagining.

And here we saw something we have NEVER seen in the US. When we exited our 'doom buggy', the CM there was dressed in a railway engineer's costume instead of a Phantom Manor costume. Walt must be turning in his grave! That was something that he felt so strongly about, that CMs should not be seen in a costume which didn't fit in with the theming of the area, even if they were just walking through. To actually have someone in the wrong costume working a ride is against every Disney rule in the book.


Quote:
Sorry to constantly compare DLP to the American resorts, especially as I've never been so that might seem puzzling to you, but from other peoples comparisons I feel DLP could use some work. It's a shame that the company isn't solely owned by Walt Disney as I think they wouldn't be happy with a lot of things I've mentioned but never mind. It's still a beautiful and amazing place and I am so happy to have gone and had an amazing time!
The Disney name is on all the parks, whether solely owned by them or not, so it makes perfect sense for people to compare them. I'm afraid I don't agree with all the "but it's different", "you can't expect the same standards" type of comments. They take your money using the Disney name - and in vast quantities at DLP, it has to be said - so they should be providing consistent standards of service and experience.

Personally I don't think Disney should remain associated with the venture if they can't ensure that their high standards are maintained. DLP is letting the Disney name down.

I'm glad that you had a good time despite being realistic enough to see the faults of the place. I realise that your sister's autism may be an issue, but if at all possible I would urge you to some day take her to the 'real' Magic Kingdom in Florida to experience true Disney magic. My only warning would be that she most likely would never want to leave, because we never want to either!
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