March 31, 2015

Walt Disney Studios Paris: The Little Park with an Identity Crisis

It's not for lack of trying. It's for lack of trying hard enough. With the truly incredible remake of Disney California Adventure, the woefully under built Walt Disney Studios Paris theme park is now the bastard child of sorts in the Disney theme park collection.

Following the Michael Eisner disaster era of post- EuroDisneyDisneyland Paris, build them on the cheap, this park continues to suffer from a poor beginning, desperation in expansion, an uncertain future, and the sheer misfortune of sitting next door to the most beautiful Magic Kingdom ever built. 

As with any Disney park, including the now lost Epcot, the disaster of Florida's own Studios park, or the beautiful but lacking Animal Kingdom, there are "nice" attractions to be found among the ruins of potential greatness.

Crush's Coaster is a fun-filled zippy excursion through the world of Nemo, but its big box exterior and less than fully executed interior still make it a second rate attraction. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is also fun but as its straddled with the same design as that found in California, by its very beginning it's far less than it could have been. Rock n Rollercoaster looks every bit as thrown together at the last moment as it was, yet, these three attractions do provide some thrills for those wanting more of an adrenaline rush than can be had at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad next door. 

Aside from a film based avant grade "sophisticated" theater show, the park's rounded out by a very sorry Studio Tram Tour and the kiddy amusement park rides of Toy Story Playland. It's certainly not a compelling mix- and faced with a one day only choice, a wise park goer would opt for the park next door. Nor does it make Disneyland Paris a destination resort.

Although, in the current Disney world where Trader Sam's Grog Grotto is better executed than the most current Walt Disney World attractions, perhaps the Imagineers have hit it out of the park by creating the Bistrot Chez Remy. This popular but pricey and very well themed restaurant, is the French equivalent to Be Our Guest in Florida's Magic Kingdom. As with the Grog Grotto, the Paris stop and Florida's Fantasyland eatery are attractions all their own, luring guests who have now forgotten Disney used to be in the attraction business long before it was in the restaurant one.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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