Disneyland Paris 2002

We decided spontaneously shortly before last Christmas to spend a few days in Disneyland Paris in March. On March 16th a new theme park opened in the resort, the Walt Disney Studios, so we were there just in time, a week after the opening. We had been to Disneyland Paris before, when Nicole was just over a year old, in August 1996. Back then we stayed at the Hotel Sequioa Lodge, this time we decided for the Newport Bay Club, a hotel New England style with a maritime theme. We had a very nice room on the ground floor, but as usual we didn't spend much time in the room, as we spent our time at the parks of course!

It is a 700 mile car drive from our home place to Disneyland Paris, which is located near the city of Marne-la-Vallée, east of Paris. We left Sunday morning, we planned to drive at least into Belgium, but we even made it into France. We quickly found a place to stay overnight, and had dinner in a Western style restaurant. The next morning we only had 2 hours left of driving, which was great, we arrived at the hotel at 10.30 am. Our room was ready as well, so we quickly unloaded the car, refreshed ourselves and headed for the parks.

We decided on the Walt Disney Studios first, since we haven't known that before. The park is not very big and you can easily see everything in one day. It is very different to the MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, which I didn't expect, as the Disneyland Park (the Magic Kingdom) is almost identical to the other Magic Kingdoms. Still, the Studios are nice, you have many different attractions. We saw Animagique, a show describing how Mushu, the dragon from the movie Mulan, was planned and created. The show is in French, but you can have headphones for the different languages. That was interesting! We did the Aladdin Magic Carpet ride twice - absolutely no lines! That was something that I thought was astounding, a week after the grand opening is wasn't crowded at all. Maybe it was because it was still not warm, we had bright sunny skies, but very, very cool winds. Maybe it was because the entrance fee is too high, I don't know. I took a while for the first park to get accepted by the people as well. We did the Studio Tram Tour which was kind of frightening for Nicole - the masses of water pounding towards the tram were too real for her! Christian did the Armageddon special effects show, I sat outside with Nicole and enjoyed the sun. We had lunch and mostly just strolled around the streets and shops, we saw a performance of soul singers (featuring Goofy!), until we were too tired to go on. Besides, Nicole wanted to go into the hotel pool. We had dinner at the hotel late at night - French portions and French prices! (which means small portions and expensive!) *lol*

The next two days were spent at the Magic Kingdom - Parc Disneyland in French. That was like coming home… The attractions are almost the same as in Disneyworld or Disneyland. We did quite a lot of rides, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland, which is a bit more intense than in Florida, Phantom Manor, the Pirates in Adventureland, and all of them in Fantasyland, where most of the kiddie rides are. Of course we explored all of the shops, had a coffee and strolled back to the Disney Village with more shops and more restaurants. We had dinner at the Rainforest Café, which has really good food. The atmosphere is like a jungle and every half hour there is thunder and lightning - a real adventure. Back at the hotel I wasn't able to move - my feet and back hurt like hell! No way I could do a jog - which I planned, but that was nearly impossible! The other day at the Magic Kingdom we did Discoveryland, Star Tours and the Orbitron - I even did Space Mountain! I never did that before, I was too chicken to try it. It was ok, but not something I have to do again. After seeing the Celebration Parade for the 10th anniversary of the park in the afternoon, we took the bus to the Hotel Santa Fe to have a Tex Mex dinner. We've been there before 6 years ago and I remembered it to be nice. We both like Mexican food. In the play area was a lady who painted the kids' faces so Nicole sat in line and came back as a wonderful golden butterfly!

The next day was already the last and we went to the Studios again to do the remaining attractions - except the Rock'n Rollercoaster, I had enough of Space Mountain! We saw Cinemagique, which is a movie starring Martin Short, showing how the movies developed during the decades. First being black and white without the voices, then colored with voices and so on. It was really funny, Martin Short was mixed into the different famous movies and always got into mischief because of his cell phone. Then we also saw a 360° movie featuring a time machine. At last we saw the car stunt show which was good, Nicole was really impressed. But soon we had to leave, we had lunch at the Disney Village in Annette's Diner and then we went back to the hotel's parking lot and left. Late that evening we arrived at my sister-in-law, spent the night and at noon left for home.

Of course the trip was way too short, but we unfortunately don't belong to the Rockefeller family. Until next time!