Disneyland Paris’ second park, Walt Disney Studios, opened in 2002, 10 years after the resort’s original opening. Maggie had done her research and we were going to start the day with the more popular rides that will get crowded as the day progresses. Taking the bus over from our hotel, we still had to deal with the rain. It was really pouring and our shoes were completely soaked by the time we got into the park. He headed straight to the Crush indoor rollercoaster, one of the newest and most popular rides at the park.
You ride in a turtle shell with two seats facing forward and two that face backward. The shell moves along the track, sometimes spinning and changing position so sometimes you face forward and sometimes back. There is a great use of theme on the ride incorporating a popular character and the settings from Finding Nemo. We liked it, although my stomach was little upset after riding several times in a row. Each time the line got longer. Unlike some of the other rides at these parks, there are no fast passes for Crush’s Coaster.
After leaving Crush’s Coaster, we went to the nearby Toon Studio section with another newer ride, Ratatouille: The Adventure. This is an amazing ride. We rode both with and without fast passes. You sit in a small rat car that seems to move on a magnetic track. You view screens in various settings all from the perspective of a small rodent. The ride is extremely well done and not to be missed. The setting in the park, a Paris inspired courtyard, is quite nice as well. I loved the fountain with champagne bottles, especially since champagne is Natasha’s favorite drink.
After the ride it was time for our specialty restaurant of the day at Bistro Chez Remy, French dining also from a rat’s eye perspective. Everything is oversized as it you were the size of Remy and his family. The chairs are styled after the medal tops and cages on Champagne Bottles and booths are between serving dishes on a plate rack. You might even be seated under a drink umbrella. One glass wall looks out to the boarding area of the ride. This restaurant is very popular and I definitely recommend reservations. Ours was for the opening and the waiting area was packed with guests spilling out to the courtyard. It stayed full the whole time we were there.
Another surprise was that a waiter we met last night who had taken our picture (and his as a selfie joke) was also working there and recognized us. We had to get another picture with him. We loved the food, but the setting was the really special part. Our actual waiter was a little off and eventually he left for the day and was replaced. Since the restaurant had just opened, it couldn’t be that his shift had ended. Kind of strange.
The park has adopted a Marvel Theme in the large section to the right as you enter. There was to be an outdoor stage show and even though the rain had cleared, technical problems prevented it from going forward. We had to contend ourselves with the large size Marvel statues outside. There was also the opportunity to have your picture taken with some of the characters. The lines weren’t exceptionally long, but the characters took a lot of time to interact with us. Since Maggie and Emma had not met Captain Marvel-I met her on the Marvel Day at Sea cruise in February with Rocky-we chose to have our picture taken with her.
Nearby was one of our Florida Hollywood Studio favorites, Rock ‘N Roller Coaster. The exterior lacked the wow factor of its Florida counterpart. Although Emma was convinced that it was the same exact ride, it lacked the “special” element that makes it one of favorites in the US. We were disappointed and only rode it one time which is unusual for us.
There was a Marvel-themed show with a lot of the characters. We missed an earlier show due to long lines and ours was completely full. I thought it was really cheesy and find it hard to recommend, but younger extreme comic book fans may want their fix. The tech presentation was pretty good.
The really great show at the park was Mickey and the Magician, a live stage show with a definite French feel. The show is done in French and English, alternating between characters. Mickey speaks in French. Mickey is transported into scenes of several of your favorite Disney movies by the use of magic. We throughly enjoyed it; be sure to get in line early. The show is very popular and if you arrive shortly before seating there won’t be room. (We know this from personal experience.)
Emma and Maggie are big Twilight Zone Tower of Terror fans so they also enjoyed that ride. We did skip a few attractions that are available at the US parks and are were not particular favorites of ours. Waiting for one of the shows, we tried the backstage tour which had been continually shrunk and finally eliminated in Florida. This Paris ride wasn’t even worth the time to sit down. There is nothing to it; just skip it.
I also got my Guardians of the Galaxy fix at this park through their special treat offerings. I liked the big hanger we walked through at the beginning with its use of theme in the counter service restaurants and the gift shows. However, more understaffed and/or inefficiencies here-again long and slow moving lines for food. If you want some unique gift items or souvenirs, I recommend the shop near Ratatouille, Chez Marianne. There are lots of items based on Ratatouille, but also a selection unique to Disneyland Paris.
Overall this is a smaller park with lots of construction going on. If you are not a Marvel fan there are limited attractions, although some of those (Ratatouille: the Adventure, Crush’s Coaster, and Mickey and the Magician) are not to be missed. In other words, Walt Disney Studio Park is very hit or miss. If you are there for several days, give it a try and hit the big attractions, making wise use of fast passes or going first to the most popular rides. You’ll have to go early and commit some time if you want to see the shows too. Eat at Remy’s or maybe outside the park; the “fast food” is anything but fast.
I wanted to close this post with a word about our hotel, Santa Fe. Since we were here for several days, I loved staying on a Disney Property due to the ease of transpiration and daily early entry into the parks. The package, with park tickets included, was a better deal. Even though it was one of the cheaper Disney options, Hotel Santa Fe still made great use of the Cars theme. It was particularly attractive at night with creative lighting that showed off the buildings, iron accents, and the drive-in facade.
All that said, I wanted to offer a word to the wise. In Florida, you would never think to ask if the hotel had air conditioning; all the Disney hotels do. However, it is not uncommon for European hotels not to have air conditioning. We didn’t ask and spent three miserably hot nights in our room (and it was only mid May). The rain made it tough to leave the window open and Emma wasn’t comfortable doing it anyway since we were on the ground floor. If you’ll be there in a warm month, be sure to ask. Not sure which, if any, of the Disney properties at Disneyland Paris offer this amenity.
Tomorrow is our final day.