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Disneyland Paris, August 2015 Photo Trip Report
DisneyDan  Tuesday, September 8, 2015 3:44:21 PM
Hello everyone,

A couple of weeks ago, in August, Jon and I were back in Disneyland Paris for five days, after a hiatus from visiting for a while (not a hiatus from Disney though - if you follow our adventures you'll know we've been to the US parks numerous times this year already!). Despite being annual passholders and having visited Disneyland Paris six times last year, due to personal circumstances we hadn't been back since last September. So, following our extended break from the resort, we were glad to finally be able to get back there.

For the first time in all our trips to Disneyland Paris, we decided to stay at the Davy Crockett Ranch. This wasn't the first time we had been to the ranch however, and in fact it was because we had gone over to the ranch to relax and have drinks one evening last year and liked what we saw, that we decided to stay there this year.

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch is actually what is called a self-drive property. No Disney shuttle busses are offered from the parks to the property, which is located about ten minutes away by car, just outside of the main resort ring road. We hired a car from Charles de Gaulle airport, and found it very easy to navigate ourselves to and from the ranch to the parks (the fact that we had drove in France numerous times in the past of course helped).

Upon entering the property this time we encountered a lot of construction work, which honestly did not look all too appealing when you're meant to be driving into the great "American" wilderness. The reason for this though is that Disney are actually constructing the brand new Village Natures complex (a joint venture with Centre Parcs), which is going to be built practically on top of the ranch, along the same access road. Eyesore construction along the access road aside, once you're inside the boundary of the ranch, all becomes pleasant again.

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

We checked in and drove to our cabin in the woods! First impressions we good. I didn't really know what to expect, which helped a little, but overall, the cabin didn't seem bad. From the outside it looked a bit like a portable home, and I wondered if the cabins at Florida's Fort Wilderness looked the same. I actually Googled them, and while the Paris ones look a little more temporary, honestly, there isn't much difference. So at least I knew that this was "standard" in terms of Disney cabins. There was a metal grill out front next to the private parking space and a small deck with a picnic table. Inside we had two bedrooms, two bathrooms and one separate toilet, plus the kitchen/living/dining area. Again, I wasn't sure what to expect, but actually I was pleasantly surprised. It was well kept and clean, although one of the master bathroom towels was a little dirty, and one of the shampoos hadn't been replaced. There were enough towels and pillows in every room to be able to have enough for our stay, and the kitchen was well supplied with utensils. It should be noted that the cabins are not maid serviced, as this is considered a self catering/self drive property - like DVC villas in the US. Also, the other hotels of Disneyland Paris all have free wifi across the hotels, including in the rooms. The cabins here are yet to get wifi, but do have a wired connection, which sadly you need to pay for. The main restaurant and the bar at the ranch do both usually have free wifi though - we've used it in the past when we stopped by for drinks, but this time it was broken, apparently, and wasn't fixed the entire five days we were there! We complained about this, and sadly the internet there is outsourced to another company, and while Disney had tried to call them in, in typical French fashion, they hadn't come to do it yet.

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

One evening while we were there we decided to try the Crockett's Tavern buffet for dinner. It was good, not amazing, but good. The restaurant overlooks the indoor Blue Springs Pool, which was interesting. I didn't take any pictures of the food this time.

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

When driving from the ranch to the main resort area, you have to park at the main guest parking. This is set up much the same way the US parks are set up. There are booths under a big entrance sign, you either pay or show your AP (free parking for certain APs), and continue to the parking lot. The one core difference in Paris is that there are no trams. They in fact have long moving walkways (much like the Universal parks in the US do), which to be honest, I prefer. You can get to the main entrance much quicker by walking along the moving walkway, and not having to stand around waiting for a tram to load, do the spiel, drive at a snail's pace, then unload, etc. Moving walkways are much more efficient. At the end of the moving walkways you find yourself at the main resort hub, where the train station (local and international) and various other amenities are, and the security entrance into the theme parks and Disney Village. Security is always a much better process in Paris too. They have large flatbed scanners which you place your stuff on and carry on walking through. Your stuff comes out the other side, and you keep going.

Arriving at Disneyland Paris

Arriving at Disneyland Paris

Arriving at Disneyland Paris

Arriving at Disneyland Paris

Arriving at Disneyland Paris<

Heading into the parks

I won't write the rest of this report in chronological order, as there will be a lot of back and forward otherwise, instead I'll break things down by land/theme; that way I can keep all related things together.

I'll start with the Walt Disney Studios, as we didn't really do too much here, and I can cover it all pretty quickly.

Heading into the parks

Front Lot

In the Front Lot we met Donald Duck in his director outfit, and in Production Courtyard we met Goofy dressed as a bellhop, along with Pluto (who sadly had no special collar).

Donald Duck

Goofy and Pluto

We waited for PUSH the Talking Trashcan to come out, but for some reason he did not. Of course, later on once we had left the area, we saw online that he came out. Next time!

We also saw the Incredibles "Hit the Road". This is an odd happening, that they started last summer. Basically Mr and Mrs Incredible come out on these red Segway scooter things and ride around the Backlot and Production Courtyard. I suppose it's fun to see them just gliding around, but I'm not entirely sure what the point is!

The Incredibles Hit the Road

The Incredibles Hit the Road

While at the Studios we also rode the Ratatouille attraction. This still, for me, is absolutely stunning. Everything about it makes me smile; I love it. Along the Ratatouille/Parisian street there is a new store that had opened since our last visit, called Chez Marianne, so we of course went in and took photos! It has a lot of Paris/Disneyland Paris specific merchandise, and of course Ratatouille items, plus a pick 'n' mix wall.

Wandering thru the Studios

Wandering thru the Studios

Wandering thru the Studios

That was all we experienced in the Studios, except for lunch with friends at Cafe des Cascadeurs, which was nice as always. Across the Esplanade and through Fantasia Gardens, we come to Disneyland Park.

Arriving at Disneyland Paris

Sign

In Town Square we saw one of the bands playing, and met Mickey and Minnie, Goofy and Pluto and Donald Duck.

Disneyland Band

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Donald Duck

Goofy and Pluto

On Central Plaza we met Chip 'n' Dale, Winnie the Pooh and Daisy Duck.

Chip 'n' Dale

Daisy

Winnie the Pooh

We can never get past Central Plaza without stopping to take a few photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle first.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Heading left into Frontierland, and we went inside the Phantom Manor, one of my favourite attractions in the park. I was pleased that a lot of the long-forgotten effects were now working again following a recent extensive refurbishment.

Phantom Manor

In Frontierland we met Goofy (who was dressed like a cowboy) and Pluto, and Merida, who recently set up a new location here.

Goofy and Pluto

Merida

Frozen fever has taken ahold at all the parks, and Paris is no exception. At the back of Frontierland, at the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area, a small piece of Arendelle has been brought to France, by way of a small marketplace and a new sing-along show at the Chaparral Theatre.

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Fun

Frozen Sing-Along

I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of the US Frozen sing-alongs, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the Florida one is definitely better than the California version. We of course had to see the sing-along in Paris too, to take photos and to compare. I actually really enjoyed it! I think the Paris show has a different energy about it that the US ones don't. It seems more coherent, even if it is a little shorter. I also like that the Paris show has Olaf in it, and the characters - at least in my perception - got more stage time than the US ones. Even without the characters, or the songs, the stage itself is much bigger, and far prettier than either US show. We saw the show twice while we were there, and could have easily seen it again if we had the time.

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen Sing-Along

One afternoon we had lunch inside the Lucky Nugget, which is a favourite of ours. There is usually a musician playing inside, and sure enough, there was a pianist.

Pianist at the Lucky Nugget

From Frontierland we head into the wilds of Adventureland. For some reason one day, Chip 'n' Dale were on the trail from Frontierland to Adventureland wearing their Native American outfits. It isn't unusual to see them in these costumes, or in this location, but usually the costumes are for meeting in Frontierland. When they are meeting on the trail they are usually in their classic form (and rarely in Adventureland safari jackets). Maybe they were feeling a bit mischievous that day! Also in Adventureland we met Aladdin, Abu, Genie, Rafiki, Timon, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mr Smee. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean too, with a longer wait than we would otherwise endure, but this was the first time since last year, of course, and soon the attraction is going down for its major overhaul for the upcoming 25th anniversary of the resort. So I wanted to be able to experience the classic attraction one last time before it gets changed forever!

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Adventureland

Chip 'n' Dale

Genie and Abu

Aladdin and Abu

Rafiki and Timon

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Hook and Smee

Continuing in a clockwise motion, we come now to Fantasyland. In Fantasyland we met Donald and Scrooge, Mickey Mouse at his Meet Mickey location, and Snow White in the Princess Pavilion. We saw other characters out and about too (as with the rest of the park), but didn't get time to meet them all, sadly.

Fantasyland

Fantasyland

Scrooge and Donald

Tigger

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Snow White

New colours were being tested on the back of one of the backstage gates for the currently closed (for extensive overhaul) "it's a small world". I couldn't help but take a photo! I'm not sure how I feel about the drastic change in tone, but I suppose I shall wait until it's finished to make a full judgement.

New IASW colours being tested on the back of a gate

From Fantasyland we enter the retro-future of Discoveryland. We didn't meet any characters in Discoveryland this trip, nor did we experience any attractions, but we did watch the Jedi Training Academy at the Videopolis Theatre, twice. I really like the Paris version of this show compared to the US versions. Unlike the Florida one, you don't have to stand in the blistering hot sun to watch it, and you have seats indoors. Also, unlike the California version, which is also outdoors (but does have some shaded seating), the Padawan learners sign up beforehand (like Florida), and so you don't have to sit there for ten minutes while they choose the children (that really irritates me about the California one!). The indoor lighting effects, the Lightsabers that actually light up, and the levitating R2-D2 all make for a much better show, in my opinion.

Wall-E and Eve

Sign

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Discoveryland by night is one of the best places for photography in the entire park, and one of the best places in any Disney park for awesome nighttime shots.

Discoveryland by night

Discoveryland by night

Discoveryland by night

Discoveryland by night

Space Mountain

Discoveryland by night

We watched the parade once and beforehand one day there was a pre-parade too, featuring the Disney VolutEARS.

Je suis un enfant - Pre-parade

Je suis un enfant - Pre-parade

Je suis un enfant - Pre-parade

Je suis un enfant - Pre-parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Frozen: A Royal Welcome is something else that Paris added for the Frozen Fun summer happenings. I'm not sure if they had other intentions with this, but it is quite underwhelming to say the least. Numerous times per day, Anna and Elsa come along the parade route in a horse-drawn carriage, with "Let It Go" blaring out in multiple languages; and that's it. No performers, nothing else at all. I get that people want entertainment, and that they love Frozen, but this is just a bit ridiculous!

Frozen : A Royal Welcome

As night falls, before Disney Dreams!, the Castle Fountain Show (literally what it's called) lights up Sleeping Beauty Castle, and yes, you guessed it, for the summer it plays Frozen songs.

Frozen Fountain Show

Frozen Fountain Show

Of course, no trip to Disneyland Paris, and no magical day at the park would be complete without watching the ever-awesome Disney Dreams! Over three years later and this show still impresses me every time. For the summer they replaced the Merida section (which was new in Dreams! 2.0) with Frozen, and while Frozen is on a definite overkill, in this instance, it worked better for me because I never liked the Merida sequence much anyway.

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

On our last afternoon we grabbed our traditional last-day crepe and ice cream from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour on Main Street.

Ice cream and crepe

It was sad leaving again, as we had such an awesome time, and it was really nice to be back in the resort after an extended leave of absence. We hope to get back early next year, but of course, plans can change.

Leaving the parks

Have a great week everyone,

Dan.

Sleeping Beauty Castle
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