Since returning from my honeymoon with Todd, I’ve been busy baking and cooking and running 10 miles at a time and enjoying weekends without having to worry about wedding planning. Unfortunately I’ve also fallen a bit behind on blogging. But I am going to try to rectify that, starting with this second installment on our impressions of Disneyland Paris, which will cover our experience at Parc Disneyland. (For our thoughts on Sequoia Lodge, Disney Village, and Walt Disney Studios, check out part 1.)
We spent two full days in Disneyland Paris, and we devoted our entire second day to Parc Disneyland, the larger of the two parks. It resembles Magic Kingdom in layout (hub-and-spoke design) and lands. There are some differences: Tomorrowland has been recast as Discoveryland and has a really cool retro-futuristic steampunk style. Haunted Mansion is Phantom Manor, with a slightly different storyline (as far as I can tell, since it was all in in French). Some of the rides are more intense: I expected a nice calm trip on Space Mountain but ended up screaming my head off as we went around corkscrews and loops. And instead of Cinderella’s Castle, there’s Sleeping Beauty Castle—which features an awesome dragon that moves and blows plumes of smoke at visitors.
Beware: A dragon’s lair lies beneath Sleepy Beauty Castle!
One of my favorite aspects of Parc Disneyland is the theming. Each of the buildings and ride queues have so many intricate details that I could spend hours just exploring the park without even venturing on any attractions. It really feels like you’ve stepped into different worlds as you enter each of the lands. I especially loved the theming for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction: You progress through dark caverns until you get to the loading dock for the boats, and the ride starts by passing alongside the Blue Lagoon Restaurant as if it’s part of the town where the ride’s scenes take place. Another favorite was Discoveryland; the steampunk theme didn’t feel outdated, and new surprises waited around every corner, even along back pathways that didn’t lead to any major rides.
It’s no secret that Todd and I are extremely passionate about food: We love to cook it, bake it, eat it, review it. So it was really disappointing to discover that the food at Parc Disneyland just isn’t up to par with the delicious offerings at Walt Disney World—in fact, it doesn’t even come close. We could barely drink the coffee, which tasted like buttery sludge; the quick service spots had only one to three options (and mostly the same options at each spot); and even the ice cream was pretty underwhelming.
But it wasn’t all bad. We did enjoy our meal at Blue Lagoon. Todd started with a fish soup accompanied by curry bread. The soup wasn’t too fishy and had a nice, thick consistency, and the curry bread made for an interesting flavor combination. I chose a salad as an appetizer, which came with pineapple, kidney beans, tomato, and avocado, with a mango dressing. All of the ingredients were really fresh! For his main meal, Todd got shrimp-filled ravioli that had a pleasant taste and were quite large and filling. My main meal featured grilled shrimp with fruit and veggie salsa and toasty rice. The shrimp here, as in all of the places we visited in Europe, still had the heads and tails attached, which kind of creeped me out. The salsa was really tasty but I wished there were more of it, and the rice didn’t really have any standout qualities but was good enough. For dessert we ordered banana, coffee, and chocolate cake that was super soft and really rich; we both enjoyed it a lot. Here are a few pics from our meal:
The very best part of our stay at Disneyland Paris was the nighttime show, Disney Dreams! It features projection mapping on Sleeping Beauty Castle that makes it look like the castle is changing color and even growing or shrinking in size. Characters flit across the castle, too, and scenes from popular films. There are also water effects (so colorful!) and fireworks (so shimmery!), and all of these come together to create a truly magical experience. The audience sang along to some popular songs (of course, “Let It Go” was one of them) and many people in the front of the audience remained seated for the show in order to give everyone a good view. It was a great ending to a great trip in Disneyland Paris.
Now imagine this 10x better than my picture.