Long weekend and beautiful weather in Europe! Theme parks are filling up easily, among them: us! We visited Disneyland Paris for our first ride on Hyperspace Mountain and much more! Discover the Stars on Parade, Disney’s Illuminations and Mickey and the Magician!
Let’s be clear: it was a pretty busy day. Sunny sky and a holiday attracted many guest to Europe’s biggest resort. Plus take into account that the 25th celebration is driving many extra guests to the parks (fortunately for the resort). Luckily, with a good strategy, you can do the most important rides in one day and some extra’s. Here’s how we did it!
We started our day at Disneyland Park where we went straight to Big Thunder Mountain for a Fastpass. You can do either this, or choose to get one at Hyperspace Mountain. On this day, that would have been a better choice, but even we make mistakes! After that, we walked even further to the back of the park to Indiana Jones et le Temple de Pèril!
From there we went to Fantasyland where it was very very busy. Main reason is because of the extra magical hours. Many guests were already early in the park here as it’s one of the two lands open for the public. In the back of the land however, Le Pays de Contes de Fées had an okay wait time.
We continued walking towards Discoveryland which was also one of the busiest lands as it’s the second land open during the extra magical hours. Star Tours had quite the wait, so we just admired the new entrance and Star Port which looked stunning!
After an early lunch at Colonel Hati’s with a nice pizza deal, we changed parks to check out the wait times there.
We did have our reasons to change though as with the show schedule, we saw that we might still catch Mickey and the Magician! And yes we did, even after I ran for some Tower of Terror Fastpasses. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s really worth doing so. It was my second time seeing it and I appreciated it even more. They finally switched to live singing in all their new shows, which is simply a brilliant choice. Besides that, they picked movies that really appeal to the crowds. Probably the best show the resort ever had!
The fastest way to enjoy Ratatouille, if you haven’t got Fastpass, is single riders. In 15 minutes we shrunk to the size of Rémy and his friends instead of 70, good deal right? I must say though that they need to have a look at the ride. It has many breakdowns, the screens aren’t always synchornized and many of the effects are already down. Eventhough the crowds like it, I personally am less impressed every time. A shame for such an investment…
Another clever choice of the park however is the Star Wars entertainment that remained even after Season of the Force. There’s the Stormtrooper March and the Galactic Celebration show on the brand new stage near Tower of Terror. It features many of our favorite Star Wars characters! Plus, you do notice that the focus on Star Wars attracts guests that wouldn’t originally think of going to Disneyland Paris. The wait times of the themed rides and the popularity of this show keep proving it.
Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster was temporarily closed due to the heat. It was more than 40 °C (104 °F) inside, so for guest safety, no one was allowed in. Nearby however, I noticed these signs for construction of something small at the entrance of the stuntshow. It will feature Cars 3 but no clue what to expect! Lightning McQueen is already in the show, but will it be a major adaption or a meeting point with Lightning outside the show? We’ll probably know as soon as the movie is out, which is in June!
Back to Disneyland Park where we did a stroll around Main Street. It was the busiest time of the day, so then it’s best to relax a bit, especially in the heat!
But then our second Fastpass of the day was due: Big Thunder Mountain! Most of the effects were working, except the smoke during the explosion. The ride however remains my favorite in the park as it’s so immersive. The renovation makes it sparkle as in it’s early days!
Half an hour in advance, we were ready to see the parade. On a busy day, that’s not at all unnecessary as many people were already sitting down for quite a while. Stars on Parade is definitely one of the best parades that the park has ever had. The return to large (almost) single themed floats is how a Disney parade should be. It starts with the 25th celebration steam punk themed characters!
After a little unexpected stop (poor performers, that heat!), the parade continued with the most kinetic float of all featuring Toy Story. Those spinning performers are amazing! (Yes, the blue wheel at the bottom is spinnining around with two cast members on each side!)
Two floats were taken from the former Jubilation parade. All the way from Tokyo, here’s the first Lion King / Jungle Book float!
Simba is a bit weird though…
And yes, this is Mowgli and not Fred Flinstone!
Also from Tokyo, the Peter Pan float! Once again a very kinetic float as the ship Peter stands on keeps going back and forth.
Brand new for this parade is the Finding Nemo & Dory float, with the characters in the parade!
The highlight however is this copy float from the Magic Kingdom: the Maleficent dragon. European crowds do not easily express their amazement, but when this dragon breaths fire, they sure do!
As there is (according to rumours) still a princess float in the making, they now dance along with the three improved carriages from Magic on Parade, the previous parade. I’m mostly glad that Belle has returned in the Paris parade, as she even deserves an entire float.
The final float however, is the princess and queen that they chose to devote an entire float to: Frozen. That way, also Olaf has his permanent appearence in the park! It’s a very cool float and at the end, it snows on the guest! This truely is a wonderful parade!
After a Hakuna Matata dinner, there were still some rides left to ride. First up: Phantom Manor! I love this attraction, but I look forward seeing it renovated. Compared to the other rides in the park, it is starting to get a bit outdated. Still a few more years until we’ll see the result though as it’s the final ride scheduled for ‘Project Sparkle’. I also love the view on Frontierland at the entrance of the Manor.
As we walked to It’s A Small World from there (cause the wait times in Discoveryland remained way too high!), we saw part of the new Princess Waltz show. Definitely a worth watch, especially with children as they’ll love to see all the princesses dancing. Also here they do some live singing!
At the end of the day, we unfortunately had to choose between the two Star Wars E-tickets. Star Tours 2 still had a wait time between 35 and 70 minutes, so they closed the queue early. Hyperspace also had 60 minutes, which was one of the lowest all day so we chose this new Rebel Mission. Different from before is that you now have to wait in the entire inside queue, whether ass this wasn’t the case in the past. Here they changed some of the posters explaining the different types of Star Wars aircrafts!
After 50 minutes, we were finally were able to ride. The new trains are definitely an improvement! The design is so well chosen, the music is better and most of all: the comfort.
Then the ride itself, once you go in the tunnel before the launch, the famous John Williams theme blasts into your ears to make you pumped! Wow! Next up is the launch, a true jump to hyperspace! Here you end up in a battle that feels incredibly immersive. You see the tie fighters and x-wings shooting each other everywhere while speeding through it. What I remind the most is the second inversion, where the effects of the laser shooting are perfectly timed as you go through! Absolutely stunning! Next to that, the former red warp tunnel is now the return hyperspace effect and I love it as well.
I did have some remarks which makes it less than perfect. First of all, the steampunk design and Star Wars do not match at all. I’m glad most of it remained, as this makes the conversion back to the old theme almost certain. Secondly, the projections on the screens during the ride are very clear, but the animation sometimes look a bit cheap to me. Finally, when you hit the breaks, it’s in utter darkness and that I don’t like at all. I preferred the former light up themed version. But let me be clear, this version of Space Mountain is something you will have never experienced before. I even think it might be the best version out there at the moment. The transformation and the new trains definitely made this a better coaster and highlight of the park.
What better way to end the day with Disney Illuminations? Honestly, I’d say Disney Dreams! I miss the story and the real use of the castle during that show. Disney Illuminations however is a very good night time show and especially fireworks show. But as it is more spectacular, it’s less charming. It’s almost identical to Shanghai’s Ignite the Dream, except for the Beauty and the Beast scene and the French. Next to that, the castle is mostly used as a screen instead of really using its structure as Disney Dreams did. Still, it does the trick and all guests love ending their day that way. Here are some of the scenes!
The Lion King remains one of the most popular films after all these years.
Very hot right now is of course: Pirates of the Caribbean.
And by hot, I mean very hot!
The unique Beauty and the Beast scene, which will probably alter once new movies come out.
The French version of ‘Let It Go’ is the final scene before the grand finale. Here it’s very touching when you here all the children sing a long.
And to prove that the firework is truely amazing in this show, here’s the finale that my camera couldn’t handle!
If it’s been a while or if you’ve never been to Disneyland Paris, now’s the year to go! The park looks stunning, there’s a bunch of entertainement which fans have been waiting for long and the new improved rides are must do’s. Maybe wait until the end of July as there’s one more ride that’s yet to reopen: Pirates of the Caribbean. We’ll be back at the park once Captain Jack and his fellow pirates are ready for us!
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