Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bonjour - Bits of Paris, The Eiffel Tower, Paris Disneyland

For the Paris leg of my trip, I Travelled via Eurostar from the St. Pancras International, which is right next to King's Cross Station (both are connected and share the same grounds). The Eurostar goes right into Paris Disneyland, and the name of the station where you'll get off is Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy. There're also trains that go into Paris itself from this station, so you can hop onto the subway and venture out into main Paris if you've had enough of Disney for the day (be sure to check the last train timings so you don't get stranded).

Eurostar Leaving the train station for Disney Sustenance for the trip

Paris Disneyland Park & Walt Disney Studios:
Disneyland Resort Paris - The 2 parks exist side by side, and it's a good idea to get both Park Guides and parade timings listing before you venture out (free at any of the Disney resorts, and within the park grounds itself). This will enable you to shortlist the rides you most want to go on, catch a few parades (for what is a trip to Disneyland without one of those!), and just to pace yourself overall. Some of the rides have longer waiting times than others (due to its popularity, duh), but some of the more popular rides don't require that long waiting times, due to its fast-paced nature (such as rollercoaster rides). The official website also provides comprehensive information on the parks, resorts, as well as visitor tips for preparing your trip to Disney Paris. The rates for the resorts vary amongst the resorts, as well as during different periods in the year, so do check up on this before you make that booking. Good deals are always available from various ticketing agents, such as, else check with your friendly local ticketing agents.

It's worth noting that the Disney park opens earlier than the Studios park, so head there first in the morning. Disney park also opens earlier for residents of the Disney resorts, so you might want to hunt around for a package deal which will land you accomodation at one of the resorts, as well as day passes for both parks.

If you do end up staying at the resorts, be sure to check out the Park Introduction channel on the TV in the room (available in various languages). This could also serve as a guide to what might be of most interest to you.

To skip the queue on the popular rides, you might want to equip yourself with a handful of Fast Passes (these are only available at certain rides, and each fast pass stub will tell you what time to come back for your ride). See this link for more info on how to obtain these tickets. These babies enable you to be part of a much shorter and faster queue on the rides, and allow you to skip the normal long queue. Of course, if everyone else is also using the Fast Pass tickets, then it kind of defeats the purpose. So it's also a good idea to check out both queues before you run and use that Fast Pass ticket!

2 full days should be plenty sufficient to cover both parks completely. We even had time to go on our favourite rides repeatedly. ;)

For adults, I'd have to say I enjoyed the Rock 'N Roller Coaster Ride featuring Aerosmith (at Studios Park) one of the most. The ride was comfortable (it didn't bang my head around the seat leaving me with an awful headache like Space Mountain did) and hey, it's Aerosmith music, man, what's not to like? Other rides I enjoyed were the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril (Disney Park - Adventureland), Tower of Terror (Studios Park), Big Thunder Mountain (Disney Park - Frontierland), It's a Small World (Disney Park - Fantasyland), to name a few. Overall, some of the rides which were meant for the younger children also turned out to be pretty enjoyable in a relaxing way. Afterall, isn't that the whole point of Disney? There's still a kid inside everyone no matter at what age. :) I think it's harder being an adult at Disney tho, 'cos money is in my control and it's hard not to want going crazy at all the gift shops around the parks. With happy voices singing and cash registers ringing, it takes great restraint to walk out of Disneyland empty handed.. ~$~

Disney Village Mickey's Directing Disney Studios / Tower of Terror Sorcerer's Apprentice Parade Train
The cards are falling on top of me! Sppooooky 15th Anniversary Disney Castle Up up & away

The Eiffel Tower:
The queue for the Eiffel Tower tickets may be a bit long, especially during peak tourist season in June, so don't be surprised to see snaking queues if you choose to visit during this period.

The Eiffel is divided into 3 different levels, and there are elevators to take you between each level. I have to say, the ride up from Ground to 2nd Stage was amazingly fast and smooth. Also, the lift is external so you can view your journey up/down - don't look out if you have a weak heart or are scared of heights. :) To travel between the higher floors and avoid the long queues for the lifts - take the stairs!

It was extremely, extremely chilly up in the Eiffel that day in June, perhaps cos of the passing shower just before I ascended the tower. Wearing just a thin sweater and a cotton scarf, I probably failed to take in the sights completely, having to use most of my conscious will to fight the cold winds blowing across my face. Nevertheless, I think I did soak in a few memories of the picturesque views around the Eiffel. There was a particular moment when a single ray of sunshine cut through a patch of dark clouds and shone on the city like in the movies. My camera could not capture the beauty of it, but fortunately my friend's D40 did the job!

So you can see most of Paris from the Eiffel - The Luxumbourg Gardens, Seine River, the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, as well as the layout of the city, which I noted formed unique patterns.

For the added touch of romantic lighting, you may want to hit the Eiffel only in the late evening - the tower lights will go on after dark. It's interesting to note that in a movement to go green, the Eiffel Tower is also seeking to cut down its heavily illuminated lighting.

Brrrrrrrrrrr I was SO cold, you have nooo idea Eiffel Tower in my palm
Spatter of rain earlier, rainbow now Framed Magnificent rays Do you that amazing pattern?

The Lourve:
Unforunately, due to time constraints, I did not get to venture into gallery itself, and could only prance around briefly in the atrium. I'd definitely want to re-visit the gallery for a full tour in future..

Panoramic shot of the inside of the Lourve, Paris
Lourve roof Fountain in the courtyard at The Lourve

Au plaisir de vous revoir, Paris~
Posted by dawn.wong on 6/25/2008 12:28:00 PM in , , , , , , , , ,