Some years have passed since my last visit to Disneyland Park. During Easter 2010 we could do a lot of runs on all rides but the smallest roller coaster Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque was not available. This time in February, the roller coaster was open, but the biggest roller coaster of the park was not. When we arrived at Disneyland Park, we went down the fully renovated Main Street which was not quite as busy this time and then turned to the right at the Central Plaza towards the future. Unfortunately, the most beautiful area of the park is currently almost half closed off, which resulted not only in a lot of scaffolding, but also in the closure of the indoor roller coaster Space Mountain.
While the visionary car ride Autopia was dominated by a rather long queue, the waiting time in the remaining area was almost zero. Thus one could quickly travel to Endor using the airline Star Tours or prevent the villain Zorg from stealing the valuable energy sources with the help of Buzz Lightyear.
New to me was the legendary – but quite antigue – Michael Jackson 3D film Captain EO, which is being shown since the 2010 season in recognition of the artist’s death in June 2009. It replaced the only marginally younger film Honey – I Shrunk the Audience, on which the design of the theatre was based. Although the film was one of the most expensive productions at that time, it did not aged well. The story of a clumsy gang of losers in space who, with a little music and dance, liberated a whole planet from a borg-like society is just as trashy as the spongy 3D effects of that time. Even if Honey – I shrunk the audience didn’t look any better regarding the image quality of the film, it did entertain me a little bit more.
It is interesting to note that in the now 23-year-old history of Disneyland Park, only two 3D films have been shown in alternation, although Disney always attracts attention with successful short films.
In the themed area next door, the happiest cruise through our world was waiting to be completed with a catchy tune. In this sense: “It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all, It’s a small, small world”.
The small, always peaceful, world trip It’s a Small World shows an ideal world from the children’s perspective. Especially in relation to Paris – which was still under the highest warning level at the time of the visit – a state of affairs that one quickly wishes for, even if this is very unlikely.
In the immediate proximity, but clearly belonging to Fantasyland, there is another boat trip with Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Here, one passes some fairy tale scenes, but their miniatures do not really stand out and/or their respective fairy tales are sometimes not so common in order to clearly recognize them.
A little bit above this attraction runs the track of the small circus train Casey Jr., known from the Disney movie Dumbo, which in contrast to the original version from Anaheim functions here as a roller coaster. At the beginning Casey Jr. breathes “I think I can”, but shows his true strength relatively fast and accelerates over the flat track. Especially in the back of the train, the inconspicuous track layout of Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque comes as a big surprise, especially if you do it backwards, while sitting in the back row.
With Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque the only Vekoma Powered Coaster can convince all along and not only because of the airtime that is rarely seen on this type of coaster. The possibility to ride a roller coaster both forwards and backwards is always a big plus and should be available more often, even if it’s only the last row.
Not quite as psychedelic as in Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the influence of Alice in Wonderland in Disneyland Park. With the extremely clumsy Mad Hatters Tea Cups and the stylish Labyrinth, it’s not so easy to resist a drug trip par excellence and the cuckoo waltz.
The rest of Fantasyland is based on classic Disney movies with three smaller dark rides, a compressed air carousel and a classic horse carousel, and can score points for the Disneyland Park’s landmark, especially at night. During the 20-minute long show Disney Dreams, this serves as a projection screen for the sequences, which are accompanied by fireworks, music, laser and fire effects. The only disturbing factor during the show are the children who are always taken onto the shoulders of the parents without consideration for other people. It’s amazing how timed this play takes place and how few alternatives you have. Camera-loving children are certainly an advantage if you want to take good pictures of the show.
In Adventureland, little has changed since my last visit – at least visually. At first sight, you simply cannot spot a difference in the completely renovated Temple of Fear. Also the ride itself hadn’t changed at Indiana Jones et Le Temple du Péril, although the loop was completely replaced. Just the train seems to be much more comfortable than before.
Since we could not afford a binge with the Pirates of the Caribbean anyway, we looked for cheaper alternatives. Since the pizza in Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost seemed to be too small, we looked for something edible in Frontierland and found it in the Cowboy Cookout Barbeque not far from Big Thunder Mountain.
Before the coaster closes for more than a year, we had to spend some time at this coaster as Big Thunder Mountain is without doubt one of the best of its kind, although with the newly acquired constitution of the Colorado Adventure mine train roller coaster from Phantasialand it has gotten much harder to keep on the throne.
The old abandoned manor house on the edge of Frontierland will not lose its morbid character so quickly. Welcomed by extremely elegant ladies, we descend one floor into the realm of the dead. Seated in the doom buggies, accompanied by eerily beautiful music, we set off on a journey of discovery through the cursed estate of Phantom Manor and its history.
In contrast to previous visits – which I always made at Easter – February proved to be the ideal time for a visit to Disney, as the waiting times at most rides were less than 20 minutes at Disneyland Park, only Big Thunder Mountain, Casey Jr., Autopia and Peter Pan had longer waiting times, but even these were always within reasonable limits. Of course, some rides were closed due to refurbishment. A few laps on Space Mountain would have made the visit purely awesome.
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