Prepping for our trip, I heard varied opinions on how the French as a whole treat American’s. Previous travelers all told me greet everyone with ‘Bonjour’, and you’ll not run into problems or attitudes. Whereas everyone who hasn’t been told me they are just plain rude. Now having been, I have to say it’s mostly the former. Try the language and though they might snicker – you get what you ask for – whatever language you end up using. But most insightful to all of this is that how they treat us is probably based on WHO they think we are.
And what better way to see into the recesses of the French mindset than to see how we are portrayed in their version of ‘It’s A Small World”. No I won’t sing the song – though I’m sure just reading the last sentence did just the trick. The ride in Paris is obviously newer than the Magic Kindgom version, and has a lot of the same scenes you might recognize. But the dolls & sets to represent North America were the last scene. And I started laughing almost instantly.
The Wild West.
So yeah – doesn’t that describe 99% of American life? Or not. Or maybe that’s just because it’s not how I see our beautiful land. But no wonder they think we are weirdo football watching cowboys that grow corn and deliver it to huge metropolis’. So there you have it. Maybe we need to work on our image.
Moving on. One of the more unique rides was the Storybook Canal ride which made me wonder how similar this was to the Swan Boats my mom remembers from her childhood at WDW. There are miniature scenes from various Disney movies, with a few random additions, that you view as you float by. My favorite? Peter and the Wolf, also known as 'Pierre et le Loop' (we were in France after all). But between The Little Mermaid & Beauty and the Beast, there was OZ. Talk about a red herring - that's not even Disney. This was definitely a kid friendly ride, and a nice way to relax our feet – unfortunately it’s in the full sun. So here’s to hoping you don’t get stopped for handicapped loading for 10 minutes like we did. Who doesn’t love a good sunburn?
It was really surprising how in France, there was little focus (if any) on some of the biggest Disney pictures that were based in their own country. Hunchback? Nothing. Beauty & the Beast? One tiny scene on the canal ride. Ratatouille? Nothing. Disney – if you are reading this, I’d love to know your marketing strategy. Maybe I just expect all those European travelers to take pride in movies set in their own lands.
But there were some old school Disney references in the park that I miss not seeing in Florida. I grew up on the early cartoons with Mickey, Donald, and the gang. So seeing a shop about Sir Mickey complete with a beanstalk made my inner 5 year old giddy. I have no shame – embrace your inner child. And don’t forget character meetings. There were a lot less character meet & greets than in the US, but I did get to see Geppetto!
The Snow White ride in Florida was removed last year to make way for the Fantasyland expansion at WDW. So getting a chance to ride it one last time in Paris was a great opportunity for closure.
And let’s don’t forget about the chance to ride a Pinocchio dark ride – never before seen in the US. Honestly, I couldn’t half remember the plot. But I sure did buy it when I got home to refresh – can’t give anyone the chance to consider me a DR!
Coming up tomorrow to close out Disneyland Paris are my do’s & dont’s of the rest of the park. Bear with me the next few days. I'm visiting the lovely Greenville, SC for the Allume conference. Hoping that I'll get every days post up in the morning - but don't be surprised if I don't get it up until late. But I'm not breaking this challenge - I've come too far! Only 7 more posts to go for #31days!