The Land of Disney in Paris: Part II – Main Street

Here I was, Disneyland Paris. Park #3 on my bucket list.

Walking up to the hotel was very exciting. The Entrance to Disneyland in Paris looks nothing like it’s sister parks in the United States. The big reveal takes a while. Through the ticket booth, up to the turnstile and across an open walkway and finally you are at the tunnel. The Tunnel is in the sister parks too. The train travels over head. In the other parks I went to there is only two choices, left tunnel or right tunnel with a sign over hear that reads : Here you leave today and enter a world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy. I looked for a similar sign and could find it. It must have one. That was the first thing I noticed was different, that and THREE tunnels to choose from.When we travel to the parks, we take turns deciding which tunnel to go through. I prefer entering the park on the right and leaving on the left. Here in Paris, we threw caution to the wind and went in the center tunnel! Crazy and shocking, I know! Thrilling none the same.

My fist glimpse of Main Street, There was a gazebo where the American Flag stands in the States. I understand why the flag was not there. The Gazebo was charming all dolled up for Halloween. I looked for the Fire Hall… To my extreme disappointment, there was a store in it’s place. There was no apartment overhead, no light in the window, no sign of Walt Disney. Maybe that is why the spark was not the same. I sent the muppets off to get photos with Characters before the rope drop (park opening), while I went to City Hall to make dinner reservations. By the time I found them, they were disheveled and flustered because here in Paris, guests do not queue up for pictures and autographs. They channel their inner hockey players, hoist their elbows up and force their way to the front. For a couple of Canadian muppets, this concept felt rude and unappealing. No autographs this trip. Secretly I was relieved, this meant more time for rides and details! YAY! Score one for the mom!

As we walked closer towards Main Street, I noticed the Castle drawing me in. She was beautiful and more spectacular than the other two castles I have loved before. It was hard for me to pull my eyes away and discover the details that surrounded me on Main Street. Windows on Main Street traditionally are painted with names of Disney builders, and imagineers, these windows did not disappoint. Except they are sparse in comparison. The street is wide and gives you that “walking down the red carpet” feeling Walt had wanted for the other two parks. By this time I was so excited to get to the castle I could barely contain myself! I wanted to see the Partners Statue and compare it to the others. We passed Casey’s Corner, and Gibson Girls Ice Cream Parlor, saw a shop that gave a nod to Lilly Disney – that thrilled me. All I could think was, I am walking right down Main Street in Paris with my family, Luck me!

Off we went to find the rope and join the masses for rope drop. We reached the “hub” and noticed no Partners Statue! WHAT THE…? It was later when I discovered it was at the Studios, a separate park – WRONG WRONG WRONG! But WHATEVER, it’s not my park, I understand you can put it wherever you like Michael Eisner, maybe that is why you don’t work there any more….poor decisions. The Castle up close and personal, amazed me with the scope and grandeur. I fell in love with my 3rd Castle. Although I think she is my favorite.

We had time to listen to the Main Street Loop music that is piped in. It really adds to the magical feeling in the park. Listening and singing while we waited in Frontierland for the rope to drop and our brand new Disney Adventure to begin!

 

 

The Land of Disney in Paris: Part I

The real reason I only spent one full day in Paris was… I wanted to go to DISNEYLAND! Spending all day in Paris was wonderful and I made the most of it, I really did! But for those of you who know me and those of you who don’t, I am a HUGE Disney fan, and I am talking HUGE! I have been to Disneyland in California well over 15 times. I have been to Walt Disney World Florida, twice. Now I have been to Disneyland Paris! 3 parks down, 2 more to go on the bucket list! The next series of posts will bore you if you are not a fan of the land of Disney. Sorry about that, but talking about the land of magical wishes is fun for me…so bear with me.

I understand there are people out there who don’t understand my Disney passion. I don’t expect you too. Just like I don’t get your need to go to Vegas every time you can, or pop off to London as often as it calls you. Nor do I get the need to go to Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver or THE LAKE.  I really don’t understand the need to go to Mexico every year, but you don’t have to listen to me say “Why do you do that?” with disdain on my face. You know why? Because I respect that you need to do things that make YOU feel fulfilled. It is YOUR mental break, not mine. My mental break is in the Land of all things Disney.

I love Disney Parks and here is why…

When I was 6 my parents drove from Edmonton to Los Angeles one summer. We were living in Yellowknife, North West Territories. So technically the trip was from the Arctic to California, with a giant rest stop in Sherwood Park to visit my grandparents and pick up my aunt ( who was 11 at the time). I knew we were going, but still han’t grasped the idea of what it meant. The trip itself was great, I remember traveling along the Oregon coast, seeing giant redwoods, the Pacific ocean for the first time, and I can remember vividly, oranges growing on a TREE! ON A TREE! This was the very first time I remember loving to travel. I loved seeing new things. I caught the bug. I was hooked. I was a traveler.

I remember small bits from my trip. Sitting on the corner of Main Street, in front of the Emporium, watching the Main Street Electrical Parade float by. I remember Robin Hood sitting in my brothers stroller and thinking I am in love! I remember how happy my dad was and how much fun he had. I remember my mom closing her eyes on every single ride because she was to scared to see what was going on. mostly I remember the feeling. The feeling of being swept away to a magical place, filled with details that will amaze you if you take the time to look for them.

Every trip after the first one was better than the last. The Land of all things Disney change. It never stays the same. The feeling is the same, details, rides and music change. This is reason one, why I like going back so often. I enjoy change. Hard to understand when I go to the same place as often as I can, but it is true. I love spotting the difference too. I love how small things change like tiny details such as light posts, or larger changes like rides who give nods to rides of the past that stood in their spot. It’s like belonging to an exclusive club where secrets are only given to members. If you plan to go for the first time and wish to know some of the secrets, I recommend you give Werner Weiss a visit at Yesterland. He will let you know what Disneyland use to look like. It’s a fun trip down memory lane for those who were there before.

I introduced my husband to the magic, he was hooked too. Although I suspect he puts up with my passion more than he loves it himself. The offspring were hooked. I’m sure my enthusiasm was part of the reason they loved it so much.  We felt we were ready to expand our horizons. We needed to move on to a larger space. Bring on Walt Disney World. The two places cannot be compared. Florida is as different from California as peanut butter and jelly. The two work together, but are very different. So please don’t ask me which I love more. Just like you can’t tell me which child you love more. You love them different but the same. Make sense?

Last spring my mom suggested we go and visit her, dad and Mrs. Stadler for a week while they were traveling around Europe. I thought this was a great opportunity for the offspring. I know Honey and I could not have been able to do this without their help and support, so thanks Mom and Dad! We spent hours looking a maps and a made a list of things we MUST do. Disneyland  Paris was on my list. I was willing to spend only a single day there. I am an experienced Disney Traveler. I know the other parks like the back of my hand, I understand the secrets only few know. I will not share all my knowledge but  dole it out as I think you could benefit from it. Therefore I was confident I could see Disneyland Paris in a single day. I could plan a day that would be memorable. I was ready. Life experience taught me what to ask, what I needed to know and where I would find the answers to my questions. Bring it…

Our last day in Paris, we had breakfast in the hotel with my parents. Kissed them good-bye, and walked to the Metro station 2 blocks away. We boarded the train heading in the opposite direction of every other commuter, who were heading into Paris proper. Two stops and we were there. Climbing out of the Metro and into, what would be known as the Esplanade in Disneyland, CA, we followed the hoards of Cast Members as we ready ourselves for rope drop. If there is one thing I know, be early for the opening or miss out on short lines. I was prepared. I couldn’t wait to start!

Around the corner, we saw the fist glimpse… The Disneyland Hotel which could only mean one thing, we were at the gate.