Mouse of Anaheim, Rat of Paris

P1000712The train ride back from Barcelona was easy. Nothing was on fire this time. Also, the train wasn’t so crowded, so the bar didn’t run out of drinks by the end. That’s always a bonus. We grabbed a taxi from the Gare de Lyon to our next hotel. This was located near the Jardin de Luxomberg, only a short walk from our first Apartment/hotel. Yulia got us this place, with two connecting rooms. Both rooms were only slightly larger than the beds they contained, but by chance Sasha grabbed the key to the slightly better room, as it had a small space by the door that allowed you to turn around. We had a nice meal right across from the gardens. Our food and wine were excellent, and our waiter largely ignored our existence. It was good to be back in Paris.

We got up early the next day to go to Paris Disneyland. Yes, we are actually in Paris and going to Disneyland. We have done Disney so many times in California and Florida we had to see Disneyland Paris, even if just once. As per our usual Disney routine, we ere up early to get there before the crowds. We took the metro the the RER A line, which went directly to the park. It was only a 35 minute ride or so, which is about the speed of most hotel shuttles in Anaheim. It was overcast when we left Paris, and there were scattered showers as we got closer to the park. We were kind of glad for this, as bad weather usually keeps the crowds down. We just hoped that it didn’t turn into a major downpour.

The rain was stopped, but the small entry plaza was still wet as we exited the station and entered the park. It was Disney, but different. It was honestly exciting. Even Yulia, who wasn’t that excited about coming out for the day got excited to see something new. I grabbed a map of the park, there were two actually, Disneyland Park, and Disney Studios. Between the parks is Disney Village, a shopping/restaurant section similar to Downtown Disney in California. Even from the map it was obvious that the scale of the parks was smaller than California, as we expected. It looked very similar to the layout of the original 1955 Disneyland, smaller, compact, with the four lands and train running around. It was very quick to go through the park, as it was simply smaller. Crowds were light, but only a few things in the park were running at first. That was a big change. It wasn’t until around 10:00 that everything started up, and despite the periodic showers, crowds got heavier by then.

We were able to get on Big thunder Mountain, Star Tours, and Hyperspace Mountain right away. Of these, Hyperspace Mountain is Excellent – Better than the original Space Mountain. It loops, is faster and darker. The Haunted House is similar, but with a wild West theme (including an underground graveyard section). Pirates was closed, and there isn’t a Jungle Ride. There is an Indiana Jones Ride, but it’s just a roller coaster. It’s a Small World is similar, but with a big section on the USA that isn’t in California.

After hitting all the major rides, we walked over to Disney Studios. It looks like a near exact copy of the Hollywood Backlot section of California Adventure. Tower of Terror is there, along with a few more themed roller coaster. There;s a great special effects walkthrough for the movie Armageddon, and a studio lot tour we didn’t bother with. The showpiece of the park was the Ratatouille section. Considering that Disneyland has “California Adventure” right in the middle of California, it only makes sense that they have a miniature Parisian block right on the outskirts of Paris. This is all themes around the cartoon Ratatouille, which features Paris and Rats prominently, both of which we saw lots of this trip. There is a very nice looking sit down restaurant here, and the Ratatouille ride. Whereas most of the big rides in the Disney parks are roller based (that makes them a lot more economical), This ride was unique. You rode in little rat-cars, and they aren’t on a track, they actually scurry about in an oversized kitchen. This is mixed with effects and giant curved screens to feel like you are being chased by the human cooks. It’s an amazing set of effects. This is the showcase ride for the park. We loved it.

We were getting tired. Normally we can walk Disney all day, but we are coming off two weeks of walking and can feel ourselves wearing down faster. We found a place in the Disney village with beer, wine and food. A big rain rolled through right then, and we were lucky to have cover as everyone else got soaked. The Tour de France was playing on a big screen. We watched that a bit, then headed back for a few more rides. We didn’t last long, and decided to head out just as the Disney Studios was closing. Disneyland Park was still open, but we were done.

After seeing Disneyland so many times, this was really fun to see. It was definitely a smaller scale version of Disneyland, but still great. We also found that there were a lot of places in the park where you could see behind the attractions. There is none of that at California Disney, they really work hard to hide everything. I doubt anyone noticed or cared, everyone there was having a fantastic time.

It may have been a strange diversion, but we had a fantastic time along with everyone else.