15 Jan 2008

Disneyland Paris 26th Dec Day 3

A quick update for the blog itself. I have managed from this entry forward to fix the picture links so they will now expand properly on clicking. And so on with Day 3...
I think we deserve a gentle and relaxing lie in. Don't let those words cross my lips again. Even at the late hour of 8.30am the restaurant for le petit déjeuner has either been stormed by a division of the riot police or its full of children; looking at the carnage around its hard to decide which but there are a lot of small princesses running around. Wow! Belle really should have tried wearing salopettes under her dress before she set off looking for the old guy. We eat quickly and beat a retreat leaving the destruction behind. A bus arrives promptly and we head off into the fog.

Heading straight for the transformed Studios, which have opened a little earlier than the gate time, we are quickly through Studio 1 and make a right turn towards Crush. It's already beginning to generate a queue despite the fact it has not yet opened and this tends to be the story all day. It's not what you would call the highest capacity ride in the world, nor the fastest loader which makes Fast Pass a bit of a non starter for it, so arrive early and don't leave the queue no matter what story the CM comes up with to try to move you to another attraction. Once inside and at the front of the boarding area the house lights come on and the attraction is declared to be broken down. I eventually start to develop a theory about this; once a queue reaches back to the park entrance, pretend Crush has broken down for 5mins and disperse the queue. Finally we ride again and once again it's as crazy as ever and we still don't know which way is up. We love it.

After riding and re riding ToT on a FP we grabbed earlier and then taking the customary cup of hot water and a tea bag in the studio 1 cafe its time to head back over to the MK. The parks seem busier today than the previous days but all the gates are open and I have yet to see any major queues at the entrance barriers; apart from the central gates which people seem to flock to like sheep, ignoring the fact those on the left and right are often empty. We have a lunch booking today at the newly re opened Agrabah restaurant. We are about to take the customary short cut through the enclosed arcades at the back of Main street when a small parade takes place however so we stop to watch watch as the character express glides past.

Lunch in the Agrabah after another ride on BTM and POC is a nice enough affair, a few teething problems seem to be affecting the efficiency of its operation but its a hidden delight and the theming is exquisite, the food is fine as well and I'll cover the restaurant in more detail soon. After lunch we decide to wander over to the far reaches of Frontierland passing the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue, a building I have somehow missed previously. In fact this whole area is one I'm not over familiar with. It seems quite an empty area, indeed the area is earmarked for a future as yet undisclosed attraction. The biggest name on everyones' lips is Splash Mountain which would fit in thematically. Personally if that rumour is true it will have to be "You are guaranteed to keep dry" water ride to have any hope of attracting guests in the freezing winter months. Hopefully the park will get something totally new along the lines of the new developments currently earmarked for CA and WDW.

As it is this area is rather open and in some ways quite attractive, the Frontierland Depot Station looks very effective in its detached lonesome position, especially surrounded by the bleak yet bright colours of the fallen leaves. There's also a small western themed corral which has currently been turned into Sherrif Woody's round up Village and a place for Father Christmas to meet and greet. Just hidden down a small path as you approach this area of the park, and I note unmentioned on the guide map, is a small landing stage where the Keel boats dock. Even today at a relatively busy time there is hardly a queue at all. So we board for a sedate trip around the lake weaving around the Mark Twain and Big Thunder Mountain Island. The Keel boats only run on days when CMs with boat piloting licences are working so its hard to guarantee when they are operating; if they are though take a trip if only for a short break from the crowds.

Whilst in this area on arrival back from our sojourn around the lake its good timing to take in the show that Frontierland has to offer. Yes it's "Mickey's Winter Wonderland" in The Chaparral Theater, described in the guide as "A musical comedy full of wit and magic". I'm already beginning to question the sanity of the Imagineer who thought it would be a good idea to have a ice skating show set in the icy wonderland actually in an outdoor theatre in the icy french winter; but its all good fun even if we appear to have frozen to the bench by the end of the show and can no longer feel our toes. We head across to the Cookout Barn for hot drinks to warm up, actually this looks like quite a nice cheap and cheerful place to eat serving rather good looking (and smelling) ribs rather than the obligatory burgers most of these self service places seem to specialize in and its quite well themed inside as well as out.

After riding more of our favourites on the Fast Passes we had collected earlier and a little more shopping to pass the time we take in the parade and have a dinner appointment at one of our old favourites upstairs on Main Street "Walts". It's the final sitting and we have the place almost to ourselves and once again enjoy a long slow dinner looking down from the window onto the crowds on Main Street getting snowed on at regular intervals. Then its time to head back and set the alarm clock a little earlier to avoid the scrum tomorrow morning and hit the early entry for the MK as well.

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