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A somewhat damp & depressed dispatch from Disneyland-Paris

A somewhat damp & depressed dispatch from Disneyland-Paris

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It was a cold, grey day at the Disneyland-Paris Resort. The sort of day that really makes you wish that -- back in the late 1980s -- the Walt Disney Company had opted to go with that site in Spain instead.

Ah, but Spain supposedly lost out because France was that much more eager to cut a deal with the Disney. They knew that Spain had far better weather as well as an already established tourist trade in the region where the Imagineers reportedly wanted to build their first European theme park & resort. So the French government kept piling even more incentives on the negotiating table ("How about a high speed rail-line that will take tourists straight out of Paris and deliver them right to Euro Disneyland's front door? Will that make you happy, Monsieur Eisner? Ah, we thought so! More beurre for your croissant?") Until Disney's former CEO Michael Eisner finally caved in and signed that development deal with France.

Which is why -- late last month -- my wife and kids & I were walking around DLP in the cold & the wet. Rather than enjoying a family vacation in sunny Spain at the Disney resort that should have been built there!!

Grumble, grumble, grumble ...

Don't get me wrong, folks. I love Disneyland-Paris. When the weather is warm and the rain has stopped and the wind isn't blowing, DLP really is a fun place to visit. But when the weather was miserable (As it was last month. And as it is for much of the winter out there in Marne La Vallee), it's extremely hard to get into the Disney spirit.

And me -- being the cynical *** that I am -- I can't help but think that the representatives of the French government must have been laughing up their sleeves when they finally convinced Eisner to build Euro Disneyland here. Right in the middle of a bunch of old sugar beet fields 30 kilometers outside of Paris.

"Why would the French reps have been laughing up their sleeves?," you ask. Well, you have to know a little something about French history to really appreciate this. But those nice flat sugar beet fields? They used to be the route of choice for armies that were invading France. By that I mean: The Germans regularly rolled their tanks through there.

So -- by opting to build Euro Disneyland in that same exact spot -- what Michael Eisner effectively did was erect a $4 billion speed bump right in the middle of France. One that will (hopefully) at least slow down the very next group of invaders that comes sweeping down out of the north.

Anyway ... As I was wandering around in the wind & the wet, I did notice that construction seems to be moving right along on Walt Disney Studios Park's next big attraction, the Tower of Terror. Here's what it looked like from inside the "Moteurs! ... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular" stadium ...


Photo by Eric Craven

As well as from right outside of the "Armageddon Special Effects" show ...


Photo by Eric Craven

Based on conversations that I had with staffers at that theme park last month, the reason that those construction cranes are still in place is that they have yet to haul the two huge Otis Elevator engines up to the top of the tower. Where they'll then be used to send DLP visitors hurtling down an elevator shaft at 1 1/2 times the speed that they'd fall under normal gravity.


Photo by Eric Craven

My understanding is that the Tower of Terror will at least be open for testing by this time next year. Though the grand opening celebration of this new Walt Disney Studios Park attraction will be held back to April 12, 2007. Which -- for those of you who don't remember -- is the15th anniversary of the resort's grand opening.

But if you really can't wait 'til 2007 to experience a brand-new ride at the Disneyland-Paris Resort ... Well, all you have to do is hang in there one more month 'til "Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast" finally opens at Disneyland-Paris.


Photo by Eric Craven

This is the fifth & final (Well, "final" until the Walt Disney Company finally gets serious about building that new theme park & resort in Shanghai!) version of this interactive attraction. And though the Disneyland-Paris version isn't supposed to officially open 'til April 8th, a little bird (Okay. So it was a bird that lived at Disneyland-Paris. So that means that it must have been a very cold & a very wet little bird) told me that these blue construction walls should be coming down very shortly ...


Photo by Eric Craven

And that -- in the coming weeks -- DLP resort guests will be invited to take part in some special previews of this new Discoveryland attraction, as the Imagineers do some testing-and-adjusting on the ride's equipment.

Of course, if you want to get in some advanced target practice, I suggest that you check out the "Help Buzz" website. Where you can then experience what it's like to ride through DLP's "Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast" attraction. Without having to take that long slog out to the actual cold, wet theme park, that is.

Okay. Buzz Lightyear is now headed "To Infinity and Beyond." Me? I think that I'll just try to find someplace that's warm & dry around here.


Photo by Eric Craven

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  • Thank you for your review of Disneyland Paris; it is always "fun" to see it through someone else's eyes.  

    As for the weather at DLP, yes, it can be cold and windy, and it rains a lot.  In my opinion, the cold and windy isn't that bad, they sell warm and windproof coats for that; it's the rain that makes it bad.  Yes yes, they also sell waterproof coats, but still, if you want to sit down or so, everything is wet, parades are cancelled, ...

    But at least, you can experience a Disney-christmas with real snow, and not the fake Main Street Disney snow!!
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