Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Disneyland Paris Annual Passes: 365 Days of Magic... Almost!

With only one day before we leave for our second trip to Disneyland Paris, I wanted to talk about something that we purchased on our first trip, that we will be using on all future trips - or for at least until February 21, 2013 - our Dream Annual Passes! If you are looking to purchase an annual pass for Disneyland Paris there are a lot of options, but I'm not going to go into all of those options, I'll leave that to DLRP Magic's webpage on AP's. They do a great job of breaking down all of your options, including blackout dates, benefits of each category, and of course pricing.

When we were researching which AP to purchase, we eventually decided on the Dream Pass, which is the top level of annual pass. We chose the Dream for two main reasons; no blackout days, and a 35% discount on Disney resort rooms. Another nice benefit of the Dream Pass was that since we were buying 5 of them we got a 20% discount on the passes! Boy I wish that Disney World would institute this!

So on our first day at the resort, we walk up to the ticket booths at the Disneyland Paris Park and take the first step towards Dream Pass ownership, purchasing them. now at Disney World when you buy an annual pass that is allyou do.... You go to the booth, pay your money, and get your pass. You can also pre-purchase your AP, get a voucher and redeem it at WDW. At Disneyland Paris it's not quite that easy! After paying for your passes at the park (there is no way to pre-purchase), you are given a pass to enter the park for that day, and while in the park you are required to go to the "Bureau Passport Annuel." This is where Dream Pass ownership becomes a little less magical!

After entering the park we walked to the Bureau Passport Annuel, to take the next step. Upon arriving at the Bureau, we were greeted by a queue that stretched well outside the door of the office. We decided to go have some fun and let the

line die down a bit. Each time we walked past the Bureau we checked to see if it diminished, and it never did. Finally we reached the point that we could wait no more. The park would be closing soon, and we would not be able to enter the park tomorrow if we didn't finish the process.

This was the longest queue of our day, and we waited 45 minutes for Dumbo, and rode Buzz Lightyear without FastPass! This was also particularly difficult with a 3 and 5 year old, who didn't get the pay off of an actual ride at the end of the line! Finally, we get to the end of the line, and finish the process of Dream Pass ownership. what took so long you ask? Well they have to get some extra information from you - like your address - and take your picture.

Now I like that they put your picture on your pass, but why couldn't all of this be done during the first step of the process? Several years ago we bought "annual passes" at Colonial Williamsburg, and they were able to get all of the same information, and take your picture in a matter of minutes! Not the best introduction to 365 days of Paris Disney Magic! I'll trade the picture on the pass for the biometric ID system that WDW uses for the sake of efficiency! I just think that because there are so many options for annual passes at Disneyland Paris, that just about everyone purchases one, and because of that the lines at the Bureau gets insane! I really think that they need to streamline this process!

The benefit of the Disneyland Paris passes are that you get an actual plastic card, with a clear protective cover to store it in! for those of you familiar with the passes at Walt Disney World you understand why I say this. At WDW your annual pass looks no different than any other day pass, just a paper pass. I was always a little miffed that despite spending close to $500 for an annual pass I couldn't even get a plastic card, like my Key To The World Card. Oh well, I only had to replace it once, and that was my fault...

So while I did not enjoy the process of getting our Dream Passes, I have very much enjoyed using them. And when I walk by the Bureau Passport Annuel, my heart will go out to the poor souls using up part of their magical day, but not for long, because there is a candied apple at a 10% discount calling out my name!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Disney Dreams! - Initial Thoughts

I just finished watching the delayed premier of the new Disney Dreams! castle show from Disneyland Paris, and my first reaction is WOW! The show combines different aspects from several different Disney shows, and then takes them to the next level! You can't call it just a fireworks show, or a projection, or dancing fountains, or lasers... It is all of these things, put together to form an epic event that plays out in front of, and on the already beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris. I can't wait to see this in person!

The effects are amazing! There are projected scenes on water-spray screen like Fantasmic!, water shooting hundreds of feet in the air like World of Color, beautiful projections that transform the castle like The Magic the Memories and You, and low level fireworks like Illuminations and Wishes. All of the scenes are tied together with Peter Pan, but during the show we visit some new and old classic films such as: Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, Ratatouille, Rapunzel, and others. The characters projected on the castle are huge! Much larger than any of the projection shows we have seen up until now. The use of projections has become my favorite effect in any of these nighttime spectaculars, and this is no exception. It is amazing how they can transform the castle, and change the way we see it!

Only Disney can do something like this. I am so glad that I am going to be able to see this in person soon. I am sure that like other shows, seeing it on video can not compare!

I'm going to make a prediction here, right now. Disney Dreams! (maybe not exactly in this form) will be the replacement for Wishes in Walt Disney World within a couple of years. Probably when the Fantasyland renovation is completed. If it does replace Wishes, it will be a worthy replacement. Disney will want this show in their flagship park, where the most people will see it.

I'm not sure how long this link will be good, but for now you can watch it here...



Thats all for now. Good Night!