Ah, the old debate. Which park is better? Some people say WDW, some people say Paris, some people say both. Honestly, at the end of it all, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what memories and joy you make and have.
I’ve been asked “Will I go back to Paris now I’ve been to WDW?” Yes, I’m going back soon and want to for Halloween too, BUT I am also booking a WDW trip for 2018. So I still love Paris, it’s still my home, but WDW did have that extra magic I want to enjoy again.
After going to Paris 20 times in the last 6 and a half years and WDW once (technically have been to Cal but we’re not talking about that here) I wanted to share my thoughts on each parks, in a way of how they both could learn from each other.
Of course, all these thoughts are my own, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, I’m happy to have a FRIENDLY and CALM discussion if you want to, but for now; here are my thoughts.
So overall, going to WDW recently did make me question Paris a lot, but only because I want Paris to be SO MUCH BETTER, and since the WONDERFUL Mrs. Powell has taken over the resort has slowly become better, however, there are still some things that made me go “huh, yeah” but there were some things WDW could learn from Paris.
I don’t think there’ll be any flow to this, just my brain going from one thing to another.
So at WDW the character interactions were amazing, not saying I don’t have amazing interactions at Paris, I have WONDERFUL memories. But I felt like the characters at WDW seemed more “real” I felt I really was talking to Snow White or Cinderella. They seemed more “trained” and more understanding of the characters. At Paris, I have had interactions like that, people who genuinely learn the characters and give the best performance, but sometimes, I’ve been left upset. Not sure if because at Paris there is a language barrier, but sometimes I don’t feel like I was getting good interactions. I felt like the WDW characters lead the conversations, for me it was odd, but only because at Paris I’m SO USED to leading the conversations. But once I was used to it, it was a breath of fresh air. (Obvs fur characters don’t count) But then again, when talking to Goofy he understood everything I said and responded well. Again, I know it’s the language barrier causing issues. I’ve met fur characters that ignore me and just pose because, most likely, they don’t know what I’ve said. (Again, if I was in fur and had a Spanish or Russian person talk, I wouldn’t know what to do, so not blaming the language barrier, I understand in Europe, it’s going to be hard)
BUT Paris wins for the quantity of character meets. Sure you can meet lots of characters but roaming characters aren’t a thing, sure they’re not 100% at Paris but sometimes they happen and it’s nice. But at WDW because it’s so big, you can’t meet Alice in MK, you HAVE to go to EPCOT. So to “fill the space” the characters are spread out. Which is annoying. Some characters are in more than one park, like Mary Poppins, but I wouldn’t mind having multiple characters around each park. When I enter a new park, the others don’t exist in my mind. Even at Paris, when I’m in the park, I forget about Studios, and visa-versa. I don’t mind meeting a princess in the studio, or pooh-bear, it’s better than nothing. It still fits. (I know some people get really pissed off with that, but Jesus, its not the end of the world if Rapunzel is in the Pavilion and in the Studios, Tiana still meets during FoF in WDW, and how can she be on parade and in Fairytale Hall? HM?!) So Paris wins in the sense you can meet a lot of characters in a smaller space than having to run around like in WDW.
So. Cast Members. I KNOW there are lots of cast members at Paris that do LOVE their job and WANT to work for Disney and LOVE creating magic all around the resorts. So I’m NOT saying Paris CMs don’t want to spread the magic, they do. BUT I felt like at WDW, everyone was helpful and smiling and kind. I’ve had CMs at Paris who just wave me off or ignore me or just don’t give off that Disney vibe, to them it’s a job. I don’t think any CM at WDW was rude or unhelpful, they always smiled at me, said hello, ect. They spread magic, if I could do more cast compliments I would, but I knew I couldn’t. Random 1st visit badges, random fastpasses, skipping queues, not being bothered about me swopping change, ect. Random bits of magic that made my trip even more magical. I don’t think I’ve had that magic at Paris for a long time. Or even at all to be honest. I hate saying that, but it’s true.
(OBVS I don’t know backstage, I don’t know the rules and all that so PLEASE don’t think Im bashing the CMs at Paris, they could be under a tight grip BUT a smile won’t hurt once in a while)
So MERCH. I think WDW had SO MUCH AMAZING MERCH! I wish a lot could come to Paris. BUT I do love that Paris has unique items too. Sure WDW would have different to Cal, BUT it can be awesome to know this is 100% for Paris than just “a Disney Park” BUT I felt like they had stuff for EVERYTHING. I think they could learn what sells and what doesn’t. Like they have a WHOLE STORE for Haunted Mansion, Paris could easily have one for Phantom Manor. (not being biased, just saying, it is a popular ride) I feel like a lot of the merch at Paris is same old, same old. Like they just sell pins and booster packs, no mystery packs or anything. Paris can learn. BUT I do think it’s getting better honestly.
WDW wins for the Photopass, YES as of typing this we’ve seen Paris trying to improve their Photopass system, more random photographers and even more at characters. BUT I can understand why it’s taking so long – people aren’t using it because no one wants a printed copy, they want digital. So WDW wins for the memory maker – but if Paris were to, honestly, jack up the price of entry or offer the memory maker (not as much as photopass+) they could easily get a few more pennies and easily can afford more photographers and people would keep coming back. I’ ve never had a photopass+ card, I will buy one this next trip with my friend BUT only because it’s her first trip AND I hope the photographers will stay and I get use out of my PP+. Not just with characters but around the castle, on Mainstreet at night, by this and by that, it needs to come to Paris and it seems like it is, slowly. But LAURA IS HAPPY. It honestly felt like a FREE thing I had, I know I paid for it, but it’s kinda upsetting having to pay extra for my memories. It’s not something I should pay for. I’m SO grateful for everyone who have let me use their PP+ , honestly, thank you. I wouldn’t have hugs with Snow or pics with DarthDaddy if it wasn’t for you. Thank you. If I didn’t have amazing friends, my faded memories would be all I had, I couldn’t share because I cannot afford a printed photo or PP+.
Fastpass / Magic Band
Fastpass+ … I don’ think I need to say more. No running for fastpasses in the morning. All done in my phone days before or even a few hours before. Can get in a short queue and enjoy the ride. It was amazing. Obvs I can understand why to not have it since it’s not that big of a resort and not a lot of rides have FP but it was still a great addition that I liked.
Even though I love my Dream Pass, but with the new changes I think there needs to be more changes. If Paris are starting to force more people to stay in the hotels they should offer better deals, like FP and memory maker in with your tickets/stay and also they need the Magic Bands. I loved having one, it was easy and simple having one item for all my needs than having 1 card for entry, 1 card for hotel, 1 card for PP+, 1 card for room charges. It’s too much and if they brough out Magic Bands, I know I’d buy a few and use them, that’s more money for the park there. I didn’t buy a MB (Milly bought me the Haunted Mansion one, so grateful, so happy) but only because I knew I wouldn’t need one again. But going to Paris 3/4 times a year, having a few different patterns, colours, designs, I would buy a few. Even keep changing like I did during my WDW trip. Used both my HM one and my red one. GET MAGIC BANDS PARIS.
So I know I didn’t eat a lot at WDW, but from what I saw a lot of places were still open late or even just OPEN in the first place. Paris has too many places that close early, which caused a backlog at the other restaurants. Having half of Frontierland close before the parade isn’t good. So yeah I can’t really say much since I didn’t go to many places to eat, but I can imagine they’re better than Paris. BUT I do like Paris food. But I didn’t wait long ANYWHERE I ate, even at the smaller stalls. Maybe 15 mins max, not 40 like I did once in Casey’s Corner. It’s not good!
WDW wins for the cutlery and straw dispensers. They’re cool and hygienic.
Bathrooms always were clean and smelled great. Paris female loos always smell, sure it’s hard coz of baby changing and kids but still, I don’t remember feeling disgusting in a WDW bathroom.
It was strange watching the fireworks and then going on a ride, it was strange but I LOVED IT. I always have hated that the fireworks are at closing, I understand why but I’ve sat by Meet Mickey during Halloween watching DREAMS from behind and it was safe. Have the fireworks on an hour before closing or more like at WDW (yes Europe is weird for getting dark ect) BUT it was awesome knowing I wasn’t done when I watched the fireworks. I could go meet a character or go on a ride and not miss the fireworks. Plus they weren’t really kicking us out either. We could chill on MainStreet waiting for photos and not be given evil-eyes. It was nice.
Happily Ever After > Illuminations. Get a better night show. I’m sorry.
Honestly, the parades at both parks are okay. I thought I’d be more upset missing FOF than what I was. I saw it twice but that was okay, I thought I’d be upset I didn’t get to see it Monday, my last day, but nope, I was okay. It’s beautiful, both parades are, but they miss something, they both lack something. Sure my heart will always be with Magic on Parade, but they both are just – meh. The dancing is meh, the music is okay, just overall. I miss Magic OKAY?!
Both parks are good for shows. Well done both.
It was a breath of fresh air that everything was in English. But again, I know Paris can’t help it. So, yeah.
So this is all I can think of right now, I knew I should have written this back when I first came home, since a lot I’ve forgotten. But you probably get my points. I might add more or make a second post soon. But for now, this is what you get!