DISNEY PARIS: SACRÉ BLEU!
Disney the myth:
Disney’s sweet music, the iconic palace, adventure, thrill rides, fun, happy people, favourite characters, dancing etc etc. All synonymous with Disney and expectations are bred on these thoughts and dreams. The reality?
There is a distinct change of course in the terminology used here and the deeper it gets the more repugnant the corporation becomes. If I had anything in my stomach, there is the possibility that I would be sick. Alas, I can’t even do that as I am also sick with hunger.
For now, I will start with disorganised: The touted numbers ranged between 40 and 50 thousand people (there is a likelihood of more as people were still coming into the outer areas of the complex at 16.30 when we could stand it no longer.) And this, certainly to a novice like me, far exceeded what the 2 parks could actually cope with. I would be interested to know the legal capacity for it?
The managers should take note from other large events (sports, gigs etc) on how to manage such large numbers. At the bag check, the scrum to get one’s bags looked at was anything but properly directed. Indeed, there were no orderly queues to direct people to specific points. There was a lack of stewards to do this and it showed. Rather than High Vis, it was a case of invisibility.
Sell, sell, sell:
Once through this, as an absolute newcomer, there was little in the way of direction. I didn’t have a map at this stage and no one offered one either. So we chose to go towards one area where crowds were gathered. This happened to be the “Disney Studio Entrance”, where the sea of people were funneled into the sales area, a store on one side and food on the other. Here, at 11.20am, the place wasn’t too bad as things opened up. There was space to move at least, and we, as others happened to be, got caught up in the fun of buying mouse ears and taking photos.
Studios Park: Queues for eternity.
On to the Disney thrills. First up, the tower of terror (TOT). Or maybe not, with a queue wait of 70 mins. Okay, we moved on to rock and roller coaster. Another 60 mins wait! But what’s this, Fast Track? Does my ticket allow for this? Apparently, it does so we got fast track tickets that were valid for an hour’s time. So that’s the way to do it.
We nipped back round to TOT. Into the fast track only to be told that no more fast track available! The horror, at midday! Choice: A) wait in line for an hour and half or B) miss one of the main thrills we wanted to see? We chose B. So we checked the next ride and Fast Track closed there too! Then there was the Street Parade. As we ventured forth, all we could see were the back of others’ heads. Packed, the constant smell of cigarette smoke, and unable to see, even if we didn’t have to run to attempt to catch a ride, we had a quick think. The decision was to rush towards Disney Park, the second park, to see if the rides are still available there.
Disney Park: Big Queue con continues
There’s a big queue for fast track tickets at Big Mountain. Why is it taking so long? One machine is broken. The outcome, people not knowing what to do and some trying to get tickets for multiple people. The stewards were overwhelmed. We got tickets for after 4pm. Queue for ride 90 mins. Round to Indiana Jones. Again, 90 mins wait. Fast Track was still open so got tickets for 4.30. Rush walk to space mountain: again queue more than an hour; fast track available for after 5pm. What else can we do?
With having to accept this, we had to dash back to Studios to make the aerosmith ride. Really having to fight the crowds now. We’re not enjoying the experience one bit. Sweat dripping, we make it and finally get on a thrill ride – 2 hours after arriving!
Disney Studios return: No Food and the towel gets thrown in.
Lots of time to spare so let’s grab some french fries. You guessed it, queues at all open restaurants. No visible outlets for just simple takeout chips. We Looked through both parks. There were even some of their restaurants shut. On a busy day like this! Now both of us are tired, hungry and very frustrated. The hygiene levels of the toilets also left a lot to be desired. They were stinking.
Counting the cost, we had spent so much money for a long walk. That could have been done for free in one of Paris’s many parks. We wanted out of there and our money back! Got directed to city hall. Christine spoke with us. She couldn’t refund us there but could give us a form to fill in. Disney management would get back to us. After some negotiations, we were given passes to go in some attractions through the back door as we had only been on one ride in 3.5 hours!
The last hooray!
This alleviated some of the frustration. We scooted around and went on a few rides allowed. Exhausted, we left an hour and half later. We didn’t bother to go on TOT even though we wanted to. The Disney experience had left us so peeved over the course of the whole day. Shopping in Paris was missed for this torture. Of course, while trying to exit, we were forced to walk past the purchasing opportunities to waste more money on the Disney corporation. This was never going to happen.
Disgusted with the whole ‘Disney’ experience. Firstly, greedy for money, Disney couldn’t care less if it made people happy. All it cares about is the $! Secondly, the lack of smiles about the place was so apparent as people waited in queues up to 2 hours long. Lastly, and probably most importantly, Disney didn’t appear to care a whole lot about health and safety. What magic? More like Black Magic!
I was shocked that they did, in the end, refund us our money. It pays to voice your opinion and persist when you’re point is valid.