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Published: August 17th 2011
Tower of Terror
The Hollywood Towers Hotel hosting the Tower of Terror ride - the same as Florida.
For the last full day of our holiday, we decided that we would go to Disneyland, which was a bit of a concession to the kids after all the walking and touring that we had made them do.
We had noticed that we could get the RER straight there from La Défence, but the easiest option seemed to be to drive, particularly as it was likely to be very late when we would be leaving to come back.
We had bought our tickets from a Disney Store in the UK before we left, which is apparently the cheapest way to do it, but we still allowed loads of time to get there so that we could go in before it got too busy and hopefully beat some of the queues – an approach that had worked when we went to Disneyland in Florida a few years ago. It didn’t work this time however as there were queues for the car park and we were half an hour late getting in. In fact the queues were to pay for the car park rather than for the car park itself, but don’t get me started on the fact that we had
paid €226 for the park tickets and they then still expected us to pay another €15 to park.
Thank god for the satnav as I don’t think we would ever have found the Disney park without it.
We got Fast Passes (which you can get to skip the worst of the queues, but only at timed intervals), for Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain. We only just got the ones for Thunder Mountain in time as they were timed just before the park closed. We also went on the Rock’n’Roll Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror, each of which had reasonable but not excessive queues. After the excitement of those two rides, we decided to go on the Disney Railroad Train around the park. After waiting in the slowest moving queue we’d ever been in for just over an hour, we eventually got on the train. We sat there and sat there and sat there, just to then find out that due to technical difficulties the train was cancelled! So that was an hour and a half wasted. At least we were not on the train ahead of us as that was the one with the problem and it was stuck between stations. It all sounds like the daily commute on the London Underground but I’ve got no idea why they would try to recreate that in a theme park.
Now every ride we looked at had queues of over an hour. The kids wanted to go on a car driving ride, which runs on a track hence the steering is pretty much redundant, so we queued for that.
At this point, I was feeling rather negative about the endless queuing at Disneyland Paris (although nowhere near as bad as Disneyland Hong Kong that we visited five years ago), so this blog would have been very different if I had written it right then. However after we had been to the Disney Village for something to eat, the queues seemed to have died down a bit, and we also had the benefit of the Fast Passes that we had obtained earlier.
The queues got even better when everyone started to line the streets for the parade and fireworks and there were a couple of rides that we got straight on.
We walked down to the main street in front of the castle to see the parade and fireworks ourselves. Our positions were ok, but not brilliant, but we should have been able to see a lot. That soon changed as the French way seems to be that if you don’t have a good view yourself, you just push your way to the front. There was a lot of pushing and shoving going on and we were starting to worry that we would lose the kids in the dark and the crowd.
There were armed soldiers walking around the park. We had seen them previously on the Metro, where they looked out of place, but you could understand it. They looked completely out of place in a children’s theme park.
It was then a case of slowly walking with the rest of the crowd back to the car park and then braving the Paris roads again for the drive back. Given that it had gone midnight by this point, we were glad we had decided not to go via the RER.
We were back by 1.00am, just in time for our last view of the sparkling of the Eiffel Tower – this time with just the sparkles as the standard, yellow lighting was turned off.
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