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Planning a First Trip to Disneyland Paris - Part 2: The Walt Disney Studios

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 08-15-2013

This is the second in a series of articles looking at what first-time visitors to Disneyland Paris should make sure they don't miss.

In the first article, we looked at the Disneyland Park, Paris’ version of the Magic Kingdom, and here we’ll take the short walk across the plaza to the Walt Disney Studios, to look at what should be on your list to see here.

The first thing to say about this park is that it’s nothing like Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. Sure, there are some of the same attractions here, like Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, but the whole feel to the park is very different. When you arrive, you’re greeted by what can only be described as a warehouse block, Disney Studio 1. Don’t be put off by this, as I was the first time I visited the park. It just wasn’t the usual level of theming I was used to from a Disney park, and I wrongly assumed that this park would have nothing I would be interested in. I soon learned from my mistake.

The one thing I absolutely adore here are the shows, a couple of which are completely unique to this park. Turn left, and the first one you come across is Cinemagique, which beautifully blends together movie footage and live action. Like so many other attractions here, there’s an interesting use of both French and English, but if you don’t speak one or other of the two languages, don’t worry, it will still all make perfect sense to you. I really would love to see something along these lines coming to another Disney resort, as it’s such an innovative concept.

Another innovative concept can be found just across the courtyard at Animagique, which uses blacklight puppetry. Sure, this technique is seen in Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but much as I love that show, I find the technique is more imaginatively executed here. In fact, everything about the show is imaginative. Every time I see it, I always wonder to myself how the Imagineers’ minds work to come up with something as creative, and off-the-wall as this. What I also love about this is the fact that some of the characters used here are less frequently used elsewhere by Disney, and that’s the beauty of Disneyland Paris, as they tend to have a very different focus on characters than the American parks.

The third show that you shouldn’t miss here is Stitch Live!, starring that loveable blue alien, as the name suggests. You may have a wait for this, unless you’re multi-lingual, as it plays at different times in different languages, generally English, French and Spanish. Every time we’ve seen this, we’ve ended up having a role to play in it, as it uses the same technology as Turtle Talk with Crush, with Stitch able to interact with the audience, and of course cause some mayhem along the way. It’s something we first experienced in Hong Kong Disneyland, where it also plays in two languages, and I was so pleased to see this arrive in Paris. Personally, I’d like to see both Stitch’s Great Escape and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor stripped out of Tomorrowland, and replace them with this, as I think it would be a much better fit.

For thrill seekers amongst you, you’ll want to make a beeline at park opening for Crush’s Coaster, which is a very popular coaster addition to the Walt Disney Studios Park. I was brave enough to give it a go, but once and never again for me, as I am no coaster love and this was too fast and rough for me, but I know coaster fans will love it, and again it’s a unique idea to use Crush for a thrill ride. Who’d have thought it? That laid-back turtle transformed into a speedy coaster!

Something I may pluck up courage to try on our next visit to Disneyland Paris is the Cars Quatre Roues Rallye (Race Rally). If you’ve been to Disneyland in California and seen Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, this is essentially the same ride mechanism, but this time, it uses cars, rather than tractors and trailers, though it looks just as much fun as its Californian cousin.

The Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris is now home to a completely new land that’s very unique as well, Toy Story Playland. I loved the theming of this, especially the monster-size Buzz Lightyear, Rex, and the Barrel Monkeys at the entrance. However, what didn’t wow me were the rides, which is a shame. They’re beautifully themed, but they really did strike me as being remakes of old favorites. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just got a sense of déjà vu. The Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop is a re-themed version of Jumping Jellyfish in Disney California Adventure, while Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin, much as I love the theming of it, is one of those rides that just goes round and round, with not much more to it. The final ride here is the RC Racer, where you’re put into a giant-sized remote control car, and let loose on the track; only this track goes up one side, and then up the other. You’ve probably seen the swinging pirate ship in theme parks, and that’s what this is based on. As such, it’s not something I’d necessarily recommend to first timers for the rides, but as a land, Toy Story Playland is a lot of fun to see, and is well worth a walk through.

In the final part of this series of articles, I’ll take a look at some of the must-do things outside of the two Disneyland Paris theme parks for any first time visitor.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 08-15-2013

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