Special thanks to our pal and European correspondent Davide Maugeri for this wonderful trip report of the happenings at Disneyland Paris!
So here we are once more, ready to pick up where we left off last time: now that Disneyland Park in Paris has fully reopened all of its rides and attractions, we can finally make a full review of Disney’s enchanting Parisian resort sparkling in all its 25 years magic. So without further ado, fasten your seat belts, keep your hands and arms inside the article at all times and hold on to your hats and glasses, cause this here is the most magical ride in the European wilderness!
- Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain. Ok so, as many of you know, the majority of Space Mountain attractions all over the world have gone Hyperspace in the last years. Disneyland Paris got its own version too, but will it live up to expectations? …Not really. As much more fun and adventurous and actually much more thrilling the French Space Mountain track can be, especially if compared to its counterparts in other parks, the Star Wars treatment doesn’t really do it justice. It’s still fun, of course, some of the new effects are legitimately cool, and starting off with the main Star Wars theme is actually fantastic, but all of the main factors that made Space Mountain so amazing are now gone. That retro-futuristic feel to it is now completely absent in the main ride, however, it’s strongly featured in the ride’s exterior, queue, and trains. So what’s that supposed to mean? Are we boarding a Jules-Verne kind of spaceship taking us….. in a galaxy far far away? It makes no sense. Then again, the ride went down for just a bunch of months, so they couldn’t possibly have the time they’d need to rebuild it all from scratch. All things considered, this might mean that even the Parisian version might go back to its original theme in a few years, just like what recently happened in California. Despite all of this, it’s still worth a ride or two, you’ll have a great time but start saving money now, so you’ll be able to go back when the original version of Space Mountain will reopen in all of its glory.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. My oh my, what a wonderful day! Wrong ride, but still it does express my feelings perfectly. Pirates just reopened a few weeks ago, and it’s better than ever! Before I start, it’s necessary for me to point out what made the Paris’ version of Pirates so cool before it went down for refurbishment. To make it short, it was the only version left on Earth not to feature any of the movies’ characters. Fans all over the world adored it because even if just a clone of the original, it was still the most faithful portrait of Walt’s vision of the ride. Sure, this version is completely upside-down, all scenes are inverted if compared to the other versions, but except for a few slight changes (and the fact that most pirates speak French), everything looked just as it did in the earliest years of the original ride. Nothing was reimagined here, not even the fat pirate chasing down the little girl. And boy, did that feel authentic. Boy, did that look amazing in a “Walt did this!” kinda way. Now, of course, it’s all very different, and yet very beautiful. Sure, Jack is there, Barbossa is there (but not where you would expect him to be!), but I have to admit. they did a wonderful job in preserving Walt’s touch to it. I’ve had the pleasure to try out California’s version myself and though I loved it, I have to say that the original ride’s feeling is much stronger and vibrant here in Disneyland Paris rather than in its homeland. Sure, many thing have been reimagined, first and foremost the infamous new redhead scene, which sees her joining the pirates’ ranks and using a gun to convince other pirates to give away their goods.
Of course it’s not as good as the original, not by a longshot, but it sure does sell a good message by giving some well-deserved power to the woman characters who were once considered nothing but wenches that could be sold for a bottle of rum. Ok… no, they can keep their rum, it be gold he’s after! Boy, was I glad to hear that again, even if it was dubbed in French. Also, I’m glad to inform you the other pirates are still after the redhead and you can certainly expect them to still point that out every now and then, just like they used to. Yay! There are some other major changes in the ride, more woman-power can be found later on when our boat passes by a man dueling with a pirate woman. Of course, we get Jack spying on the fat pirate from inside the barrel, we have Davy Jones and Blackbeard projections during the main lift, we got Barbossa threatening us in the treasure scene and…. wait, what? Yes, you read that right! In this version, you won’t meet Barbossa lashing out against the soldiers during the fight scene. No, here you’ll get a much-closer meet with him later on in the ride, as we enter the shipwreck cave. He’ll be right there ready to welcome you in the most memorable way possible. And after that, right before the final curtain call, we approach to what is probably the best ending ever seen in a Pirates of the Caribbean ride. As you probably already know, Jack and his friend the parrot can be seen indulging themselves on a pile of gold. The only difference here, that pile of gold is way bigger and more impressive! It’s not a treasure room, it’s a treasure cave! Jack also comments (in French) how dumb it is to hide a treasure in a huge cave for anyone to see. So yes, this new version of Pirates is great fun, the effects and animatronics are simply astounding, and fans of the saga should definitely head over here in France to experience it. Drink up me hearties, yo ho!
- The (New) Forest of Enchantment. I know, I know, I did cover this show before and I loved it. Now, after endless Frozen Summer Fun celebrations, the Forest of Enchantment is finally back and I loved it even more! For starters, a new giant screen has been added to the back wall, but fear not, it’s perfectly blended with the rest of the scenery! It’s there just to add some extra magic and allow you to dive even deeper into every character’s own world, and it does the job perfectly. Also, there are some more interaction moments between the characters and the audience (I got to Wingapo Pocahontas and she Wingapo’d me back!) which is always a pleasant surprise. The rest of the show is pretty much the same as before, it’s great to see it hasn’t aged a bit.
And that pretty much does it for now. Stay tuned for more Disneyland Paris magic and start planning out your trip now! Happy twenty-fifth anniversary to Disneyland Paris!