Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Our family are regular Disney visitors, but we have noticed that everytime we go to Paris, Disneyland seems to have reached a new low.
We stayed in Hotel Cheyenne which was not too bad but could have been better. For those not in the know, it is well worth booking to have your breakfast in the Park rather than at the hotel buffet which is a vicious continental free-for-all with pushing, queue-jumping etc. Once you have survived the hotel buffet, if the weather is nice, you can sit outside with your food in a fog of cigarette smoke.
In the Park it is a little better, with much smaller queues, and eating is inside so no smoking allowed.
Another warning about the hotel - it is VERY basic by usual hotel standards, You get a kettle in the room but no tea or coffee. There is no wifi and no air conditioning. Don't expect a good list of french wines either - they appear
to be banned at Disney.
The theming is nice though.
On to the visit itself. Disneyland itself has a good collection of rides, but our lasting memories of this visit will be the chain-smoking of our continental cousins, their general disregard for queues, hygiene, deodorant, fences, barriers, children and lack of anything approaching manners.
The french and italians smoke everywhere. They smoke walking between rides. They then smoke whilst queuing for the rides. Cast members ignore this.
I was told variously by cast members that the smoking ban cannot be enforced, that it is not their job and the french are allowed to smoke even when not allowed!
We also noticed that many of the attractions needed maintenance with cracked paintwork and faulty queue entertainments (e.g. no Buzz in Buzz Lightyear ride). As others have mentioned the park seems very short staffed, so queue management systems are often underutilised.
Another highlight of the trip was a trip to Dapper Dan's for Daddy to have a shave. When we got there, after asking several cast members who all gave differing answers, we found a slightly more keen one who informed us that it was closed for August because the barber was on holiday.
Character dining was equally lacklustre. We had lunch at Cafe Mickey which took over two hours, with no customer service whatsoever. Only one of those house had any character visits in it.
Dining at L'Auberge was equally slow, and in the end we had to ask the waiter whether Cinderalla would be visiting our end of the restaurant as the characters seemed hopeless about keeping track which parts of the restaurant they had visited.
The highlight though was on the final day when we were "enjoying" the magic hours. My children (3 and 5) were queueing for Orbitron when, as is usual, they needed the loo. We dashed back to the Piazza restaurant which was closest and passed through the security rope designed to keep the regular guests from accessing the rides.
I mentioned to the cast member manning the rope that we were going to the toilet and would be back. On our return, he refused to let us back past as my wife (in the queue) had the tickets. I pointed out that we had no bags, that he had just seen me, that my children were now crying because they could not go back to their mum. All pleas fell on deaf ears. In the end I snapped, motioned my girls through the rope and walked through. He shoved me back through the rope, so I shoved him back (a lot harder). I also took the opportunity to inform him in both English and French that he was a very unpleasant person who should not be working there.
We did lodge a complaint at City Hall and got an apology and free balloons for our trouble. the apology was along the lines of "so many people lie to get into the park that sometimes we make mistakes".
So in my opinion the "Magic" has long left Disneyland Paris. There are a very few cast members who seem to enjoy working there and who go out of their way, but the majority are surly, uncommunicative and unhelpful, even when you talk in French. We shall not return in a hurry.
My advice? Better to save and go to Florida.
I am from the UK also and have been to DLP twice only.
If you have no children, economically it seems to make more sense to pay £500 more to fly to Florida for a week than the cost of 3 nights there.
I too found the magic somewhat lacking (although went quite a long time ago). Having been spoilt in going to Florida parks since 1989 I felt DLP was a long way from the standard I was used to.
Nevertheless, the employee you had that altercation with was uncalled for, and you certainly deserved much more than just an apology and some free balloons. Perhaps Disney can bring in American employees who (and this could be a long shot but who knows)are both very kind and fluent in French!
I have seen people climb trees, cut lines, and push onto busses. People just in general seem ruder. I do not know why~!
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