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Our TORCHWOOD - WHO Holiday 2008...Day 11...Paris DISNEYLAND!

After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel we went straight for the metro to hop over to Charles DeGaulle Etoile and our RER train to Marne la Vallee-Chessy...DISNEYLAND! Even though it was a Monday, I was surprised how few people were on the train out of Paris...That changed dramatically by the time we got there. We followed the crowd to the entrance, through the beautiful Disneyland Hotel. We'd tickets already in hand, so no waiting to buy, however, I'd printed the tickets at home and it hadn't occurred to me that I'd need to trade them in for the smaller version that can be used to get Fast Passes. Looking back, I'm sure that's what the guy at the turnstile was trying to tell me, when I had to admit "je ne parle pas francais."

The park, initially, very much  the same layout as the original...under the train tracks to the square with the giant Christmas tree, and the view down past the Main Street shops to the Castle...the same, yet very different. The decoration was much more...what?...Frilly? Very GOLD and Blue and Purple, and it seemed the decorating fairies would have double the ornaments and tinsel to pack up after New Years than any of the other Disney parks...and now we've seen them ALL, (well, except Hong Kong) at the holidays. It was TRULY Splendiferous!

  First Stop...  

We marveled at the sights on Main Street, while walking briskly, (the only way to keep even remotely from freezing,) toward Frontierland and Phantom Manor...

 

The look and story was very different from the other parks...Old West meets Phantom of the Opera...but the movement and length of the ride was essentially the same. Always one of our favorites! Since Rach was too cold to attempt going on Big Thunder Railroad, we headed over to Adventureland and PIRATES...



It was really a different experience. The ride starts out going steeply UP, so from then on we were expecting a fairly good size drop at some point. As we kept anticipating the drop(s), and they didn't come, it was a bit more nerve racking than our usual Pirate trips. Finally, toward the end, the photo drop took us quite by surprise...  (We NEVER get scared on Pirates...I swear.) ;-)

Unfathomably, they hadn't added the Captain Jack animatronics yet. Since Depp lives in France, we were SURE they would have by now, but no. Oh well... on to  the back end of Adventureland and INDIANA JONES.



That's when I realized that we didn't have the right kind of tickets to get a Fast Pass. The line was an hour and a half wait, and it was hard to tell how much of that was outside...in the freeze...so we passed. Besides, from the tiny coaster look of the ride that could be seen from the entrance, Rach didn't think it would be the "EPIC" adventure we adore in both Anaheim and Tokyo.... Ahhh...Indy at Tokyo DisneySea...the most Epic of the Epic!

Anyway...to The Castle...




After enjoying the stained glass on the second level, we followed the stairs to the lowest level and were surprised to find the Dragon's lair. Nice touch. Unsuspecting tiny tots screaming and crying when the dragon would rear up and spew his smoke and flames...very cool. :-)

Out the rear to Fantasyland, with Peter Pan's Flight it's usual hour and a half wait, we decided to check out Alice's Curious Labyrinth instead. A walk-thru, no line. Cute.



By this time, the bone chilling cold was starting to really get to us and with yet another park still to see, we decided to cut Fantasyland short and head over to Tomorrowland to see what the line for Space Mountain was like.



AGAIN, even if we'd had the right passes to use the Fast Pass machine, the next return time was already much later in the afternoon, so we settled for a taking a few pics and began walking back out to Main Street. As luck would have it, we exited Tomorrowland just as the "parade" was going by. I took video of the ONE float and then we continued up Main Street, stopping at The Emporium to see what Nightmare Before Christmas pins we might find.

Fifteen minutes later, with a Paris Disneyland T-shirt and a few cool pins in hand, we said goodbye to Disneyland and made our way over to the relatively compact, Disney Studios park.






As we entered the park through the two story "sound stage" full of interesting looking restaurants and international fast food, we thought about stopping long enough to guzzle down something hot, but being in a hurry to get over to THE TOWER OF TERROR, the lines didn't look very fast friendly. We HAD gotten the Fast Pass size tickets at the turnstiles this time, but once again, we were too late. The return time was four hours away and we knew we wouldn't still be out here in the cold by then...so we kept walking.

All the rides Rach would have loved to go on where here, but the lines too long and our feet too cold to continue much longer. We snapped a few more pics on the way out, attempted to stop for a cup of hot chocolate and perhps a muffin, but gave up when we noticed there was only one person working behind the counter and the people two groups ahead of us took the last muffin. Cest la vie.

Exit...stage right...We take a walk through the Disney Village before running back to the relative warmth of the train.



You KNOW we're cold and tired when we pass up the chance to walk through a giant Disney Store. :-(

Back to Paris...the Hilton...

  And then, for me...MORE SHOPPING!

First, another quick stop at Monoprix...snacks for the plane (which it turned out we REALLY didn't need...more on that tomorrow.) But I snapped a picture of a fantastic building on the way back to the hotel...don't know for sure if it's a residence, but if it is,  I sure would like to live there. (Corner of Rue de Lisbonne and Rue de Teheran, I think.) Gorgeous.




And a couple more random pics...




All Rach wanted to do for the rest of the evening was stay in, thaw, and myspace with her friends, but I wasn't going to spend our last night in Paris sitting in the hotel, with so much left to see. I still wanted to get a few more gifts, so back to the Metro and off to Havre-Caumartin on Blvd Haussmann for Galerie Lafayette. A SPECTACULARLY Beautiful store!...The streets outside, and the sales floor inside, Spectacularly crowded as well.



With its dazzling four story tree, and bustling with post-Christmas shoppers, as advertised, it really was a "NOEL GRAND!"
I spent over two hours between the food court and the Paris gift section gathering up the last of my family presents to tote home.
On the way back to the metro, I stopped to take a few shots of Printemps, the other huge department store on the block.




...and the Christmas lights on Rue du Courcelles...



 
When I finally got back to the hotel, we realized we hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we bit the bullet and ordered room service. I had French Onion Soup...What else? Delicious, and overpriced, but NOT outrageously overpriced. So, a warm and tasty finish to our last day in Paris. Tomorrow evening we'll be home.  :-)... :-(
 





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