It’s sods law that Covid-19 forced my trip to Disneyland to be cancelled, whilst no global pandemic could save me from watching Disney films week in and week out. As part of my education, the trip to the Paris theme park was the one part I was really looking forward to. But having watched their first fifty-odd years of Animation Studios films I started to think, “just what would Disneyland actually be like, and more to the point, would I actually enjoy it?!” Happily, I won’t have to wait too long to find out, as services are reopening, and we’re scheduled to go at the end of the summer (all be it in a very face-masky way but needs must). Until then all I can do is speculate based on all I’ve seen so far, and I have speculated A LOT. So, with the knowledge I’ve collected, here is how I expect my trip to go. So, join me on this fictional journey into the possible future, and if you do, I will sweeten the deal by including some ‘completely real and not entirely made up off the top of my head’ facts to boot.
N.B. With the tendency some people have in internet land of believing everything they read, I feel I should clarify that all that I’m about to write is entirely fictional and HAS NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Yet…
Day One: We arrive in Paris on a sunny summer morning. I’m relieved to discover that the temperature is cooler than usual at 102F, which is good news for my pasty British skin, as there’s now only an 80% chance of heat-stroke during the trip. As we make our way up to the front of the castle that will be our gateway into the magical Disney resort, we are chased by some crazy bitch who tries to block our path with some bushes and lightning because we didn’t invite her on the trip with us, whilst threatening to curse the children with a needle. Apparently, this is all part of the experience. We hastily make our way through check-in and then make our way straight to the hotel rooms to drop off our luggage. Our suitcases are taken to our rooms by what appears to be a donkey slave child.
Fun Fact: Don’t worry! The donkey slave children are not really so. Disney have taken a very strong line in prohibiting the employment of Donkey slave children, and have rigorously enforced this rule for many, many months.
The rooms are designed to be reminiscent of a Princess’s chamber right down to woodland creatures bringing your clothes and towels. It’s only when you experience it first-hand you stop to appreciate that it’s actually creepy as fuck…
Once settled in, we head into the theme-park itself.
Fun Fact: In a reckless and deeply questionable move, over a third of the theme parks original design was dedicated to the Adventures of Mr Benchley and the sound-effects lady from the 1941 feature ‘The Reluctant Dragon’. When it became apparent that the film had only been seen by two dozen people, the plan was quickly quashed.
The park is so big, the question is which attraction do we visit first?! A quarter of the grounds has been dedicated to frolicking animals as a ‘space filler’, in the same way that a quarter of Disney films are dedicated to frolicking animals for the same reason. Maybe we should go to the Mermaid Lagoon so we can be on the receiving end of passive aggressive insults from its inhabitants? Maybe we should go to the ‘Pointing and laughing at the big-eared baby elephants’ exhibit? There are obviously many attractions dedicated to films post 1981 that I’m yet to watch, so I deem them not worthy of my attention and we’ll conveniently just skip over them…
After a busy afternoon, it’s time to head to an on-site restaurant for food and drink. It’s a little expensive, but if you’re happy to forego food and heating for the rest of the year you can order a second round of drinks. In fact, providing you’re not too bothered about having the resources to pay for college level education for the children, a woman can pick from a selection of delicious cocktails, which in Disney tradition, result in a state of unconsciousness that can only reversed by a kiss from one of the princes that roam the park.
Fun Fact: The parks princes that revive young ladies are not actually real princes.
Princes would never be involved in such a thing.
After dinner, it’s time to enjoy some of the on-site entertainment. I recommend the comedy show from none other than the MC from Fantasia, the hilarious Deems Taylor. It’s rather raucous, at one point he even smiles, and his bowtie becomes five degrees off exactly horizontal. What a maverick. It absolutely justifies their decision to keep him cryogenically frozen for seventy years. If you haven’t seen it already, I thoroughly recommend watching Fantasia to see just how vibrant and full of personality he is.
After all the excitement of the day we fell asleep quickly and enjoyed a good night sleep. At least until those bastard birds and rodents opened our curtains and forced us into our clothes at the crack of dawn. I don’t know how those princesses tolerate it…!
We start the adventures of day two by going to the on-site arcade. It’s a regular arcade full of videogames but they have all been given a Disney makeover. For example, the shooting game involves trying to take-down wild animals but with the added caveat of every successful kill resulting not just in tickets, but also the sight of its offspring weeping before your eyes. If the intention was to create a very Disney experience, then they have succeeded admirably
Next, it’s time to go to Winnie the Pooh land! At least we would have if there wasn’t some fat-fuck bear’s arse blocking the entrance. To make matters worse, the next attraction was puppy-skinning which really wasn’t our cup of tea. But we weren’t going to let these disappointments ruin our day, and as luck would have it, we found Donald Duck wondering round the grounds trying to put smiles on people’s faces! Ok, maybe not all faces. He certainly was trying to put smiles on the female faces. He was really trying to put smiles on the female faces (which reminds me, the sexual harassment suit is scheduled for late November). Once we
escaped moved on, we went to watch a show. It turned out to be the ‘who can do the best lazy impersonation of Cruella De Vil’ contest. What fun! If anyone’s interested, it was won by a woman called Madame Medusa….
Time for rides! The idea is, in order to recreate the wildest “out-there” experience for the customer, the park creators recognized the need to put the customer into the wildest “out-there” mindset anyone has been known to historically feel. That mindset, of course, is how the Disney animators felt before making the ‘elephants on parade’ segment of Dumbo. Have you ever flown through bubbles in the sky on a pink elephant with the rides theme song seemingly coming from inside your brain? Well at Disneyland you can. Because that’s the sort of magical place it is… (the lysergic acid contained in the sherbet lemons given on entry also helps. Just like it helped the animators all those years ago…)
I wake the following morning in my underwear, high up in a tree with nothing but a mouse named Tim and some racially stereotypically cigar smoking crows for company. I don’t stay with them for long though as we have more one day of adventure ahead of us…
Fun Fact: The fact that the crows are smoking has nothing to do with maintaining an authentic Disney-style experience. It’s because they’re French.
The one more day of adventure consists of a mandatory nine-hour lecture demonstrating the evolution of animation techniques that Disney has long been so keen to impress us with. Any of those two-dozen people that have watched ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ will know the sort of thing I mean. It was quite an enjoyable way to spend a sunny day at a theme park, although the lunch of half a cup of tea and jam on a clock was a questionable move…
Thanks to the unsatisfying lunch and the thrills and spills of finding out how historically Disney made cute little animated animals walk, talk, dance and die, by dinner time I was famished.
Unfortunately, after ordering the Italian special and waiting what felt like an age, I discovered that I would not be receiving my meal as the maniac chef decided to give it to two stray dogs that he was forcing into having a romantic meal. Apparently, this is the fourth time he’s done that this week. To make matters worse, the dogs started humping and knocked over the table and candle the chef insisted on laying out, which caused a large-scale fire throughout the Western portions of the complex. And some of East… And South.
Finally, it’s onto the princes’ ball which is the culminating event of the last day. We get dressed up, and make our way to castle, being sure to avoid both Donald Duck’s lecherous attentions and the now significant fire and two-dozen fireman on route. The ball mostly involves the parks princes passing critical judgement of all the attending females with much eye rolling (unless one is considered particularly attractive, in which case love at first sight is expected, nay demanded). It’s not really my cup of tea, but a lot better than our other option which involves watching a hippo ballet….
We couldn’t leave the following morning without being chased to within an inch of our lives (including many dramatic near misses) by the same crazy woman who still can’t let her lack of invite go. Fortunately, thanks to Kerry having a good rapport with small to medium sized fauna, she summons them to assist us in our escape, in true Disney fashion. After successfully getting away, it crosses my mind to file a complaint, but I know deep down that it’s all part of the joy and that this place is called Disneyland for a reason…
Fun Fact: The ‘Disney’ in Disneyland is named after Walt Disney. ‘Land’ comes from the English word ‘land’. Which means land.
I know Disneyland won’t really be like this. Primarily because my experience of Disney merely consists of twenty-two films between 1937 and 1981 so I don’t have comparatively that much to go on. But what’s really significant though, is if there had only ever been those twenty-two films made, I’m not sure I would have been a million miles away from the truth… (maybe hallucinogenic laced sweets and preying princes is a tad extreme admittedly). However, with a few months I will be able to provide a true Disney-cynic review, so I shall go with an open mind, and fingers crossed I will report back about something legitimately magical! Watch this space…
This was written back in July, when we were planning on rebooking our trip for the end of August. Unfortunately, due to all those returning from France to UK needing to quarantine for two weeks, and my daughter starting her GCSE school year the week after our planned return date, we have had to postpone the trip once again. However, we are planning on rebooking for May 2021. Fingers-crossed,