Monday, March 29, 2021

More From Disneyland Paris

Last November, I thought I'd shared the last of a group of photos of Disneyland Paris, graciously shared with us by GDB pal Huck Caton. He was in Europe in 2016, working on the film "Dunkirk", in case you forgot. All of these are related to "Alice's Curious Labyrinth".

Huck says, There’s a food stand right outside the entrance called, wait for it, March Hare (!) so I started with that as it’s kind of all part of the Alice thing. I wonder what unique French things are served here? Can an adult get a glass of wine? How about a nice croque monsieur? 

Huck continues, I thought the pastel tables and chairs were sort of fun...

This would be a good place to have Easter brunch. well as the (rotting) little door for the “Queen’s Guard.”

Gosh, that door IS looking pretty sorry. Why didn't they make it out of fiberglass? Or solid platinum? Or coat it with marine varnish? Such a shame.

Then you get, lucky you!, two different angles on the entrance and a little bonus signage. 

Ah, stroller parking. The universal conundrum. Any idea what that structure is to the left??

I hear that some people never come out of the labyrinth, and might still be lost inside, to this very day!

This frame grab from "Alice In Wonderland" is very striking! They recreated the heart-shaped entrance for the Paris attraction (see above).

The big Cheshire Cat deal can be seen from outside the maze so I gave you one of those. I also took a couple from inside the maze. His eyes rotate so don’t let him hypnotize you! 

I am all for MORE Cheshire Cat in any Disney park, so this gets a thumbs up from me. 

This appears to be just to the right of the heart-shaped entrance, and the very nervous White Rabbit is checking his pocket watch. He's always late! I wonder if this figure used the same basic sculpt that is seen inside the Anaheim "Alice" attraction? That castle at the top of the frame is interesting, clearly guests could climb up and look over the ramparts for a nice elevated view of the surroundings.

And finally... keep an eye on your out-of-control kids, why don'tcha! I am interpreting the numbers at the bottom of the sign as meaning that the attraction was open from 10:00 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. It seems like it would be fun to do this maze at night!

As always, MANY THANKS to Huck Caton for sharing these photos with us!


Nanook said...

Another thumbs-up vote for the Cheshire Cat. It's all so green and lush here - so different from both of the U.S. parks.

Thank you, Huck.

TokyoMagic! said...

I do love Anaheim's Alice dark ride, but I have to say that I did enjoy this walk-thru attraction in Paris. Every "land" in that park has some type of "walk-thru" attraction and they are all nicely done.

Major, that structure to the left that you were asking about, is the Fantasyland train station. I checked Google street view and it appears that since I was there, they have built a newer structure right smack in front of the train station. It's an indoor "meet 'n greet" for Mickey. We can see the slanted roof of that structure, just below the train station's clock tower.

Thanks for sharing these pics, Huck and Major!


That “structure to the left “ is the Fantasyland Train Station of the Euro Disneyland Railroad. It’s interesting they use “Station” for all stops except for Frontierland where they use the french word “Depot”.

Even after Euro Disneyland was changed to Disneyland Paris , the original name of the Railroad was kept Euro Disneyland .

Sad to see the woodwork in such a decade state. These photo’s are when the rotting of Disneyland Paris was at its peak - steam trains running without pilots ( cow catchers) ... Mark Twain with a single stack ..... phantom manor’s southwestern landscaping so lush and green from overgrown French weeds ... bricks on main street’s paving totally cracked and paint faded and broken effects on attractions and whole areas in complete disrepair. Most of these problems have been fixed after a major park overhaul. Incidentally after each attraction is refurbished and reopen a new commemorative history book is issued ... so far there has been a Phantom Manor, Pirates , Space Mountain . A Rivers of the Far West - Big Thunder , Adventure Isle and a Euro Disneyland Railroad book are under consideration .

Huck has captured some Great details of the park most people would rarely get to see if they haven’t physically visited this park .

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics today – thanks Huck and Major. And thanks for the info on the commemorative books Mike, I wasn't aware of those. Alice's Curious Labryinth is one of my favourite attractions at Disneyland Paris. I've never noticed the maze being open after dark. It can still be quite light out at 9.30 at night in Paris in June and July, Major. What time of year was Huck there?

Chuck said...

This was one of my favourite things at DLP. Alice will always hold a special place in my heart.

Interesting to see it so full of people. We were there in November, and my wife and I and the other couple we were with were the only people we saw in the maze.

The castle gave you an interesting, elevated view of the maze, but it didn't help us escape. We finally had to tunnel our way out. So glad I had my trusty spork with me. Be prepared.

At one time, a version of this attraction was planned (or maybe just proposed) for the UK section of EPCOT (or possibly Epcot; I can't remember the timing). I could dig this kind of IP in that park.

Thanks, Huck!

Stu29573 said...

Great pics today! Maybe someday I'll get to see it in person...but probably not. Oh well.
An interesting fact most people don't know is that David Bowie almost appeared in the attraction until cooler heads prevailed and someone realized it was the wrong IP.

DrGoat said...

Thanks Huck. Really cool pics. Close as I'll ever get at this stage in the game.
Glad to hear that most or all of the problems were fixed. A sad state of affairs as described by Mike.
In our lives we have owned several Cheshire Cats. Our present and probably last Cheshire Cat is an expert. He was feral when we got him 12 years ago and can disappear in a heartbeat. Add my vote in spades. No pun intended.
Thanks Major and Huck.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you really can feel the difference between the Paris park and the U.S. parks - maybe it’s more than just the lushness, not sure!

TokyoMagic!, I love the Anaheim dark ride too… is it unique? I’m not aware of another Alice dark ride anywhere, which makes ours extra special. Kind of surprising, considering the popularity of the trippy 1951 movie. Wow, I never would have guessed that the tall structure was a train station. The U.S. stations are based on actual buildings, I wonder if that one is too? The new structure in front of the station sounds like a real bush league move.

Mike Cozart, that IS weird that they kept the “Euro Disneyland” name for the railroad. Wonder why? I’ve read so much about the lack of maintenance for the Paris park, one of my friends was so disappointed when he went there that he thinks it is an embarrassment to the whole company and should be closed. I doubt that will happen, and I’m glad to hear that there was a park overhaul. I love the idea of those commemorative history books, I’ll bet those are super collectible!

Pegleg Pete, yes, I’m going to have to do some research into those commemorative books; I don’t think I’ll want to buy them (I am an “original Disneyland” collector), but they sound fascinating. Huck said in one of his emails to me that he visited DLP on June 11th, 2016, so they probably were having those long daylight hours.

Chuck, there was a time when I thought that I might actually get to go to DLP, but it fell through, and now… WHO KNOWS. I’d still be up for it, since I like France. I would prefer to experience that maze with few other people, so you got to see it the best way! I noticed the people atop that castle, but did not know if it was a part of the maze. Why use a spork to tunnel out when you have bionic arms? Do you know if the EPCOT concept predated the construction of DLP?

Stu29573, that David Bowie sure was in demand just before he died. David Lynch wanted him for his “Twin Peaks” season 3, he was going to play Hannibal Lecter’s daddy, and I think they wanted him for “Dune”. Such a shame that we will never get to see him in those roles.

DrGoat, I’d love it if my critical friend went back to DLP and gave me his impressions now that there have been improvements. I seem to remember that he felt that the Fantasyland was the only thing that he really loved. But again, he’s pretty critical! Do you ever seen your Cheshire Cat’s grin floating in midair? I’m sure he’s affectionate when he wants to be, but I can imagine him disappearing in a flash.

DrGoat said...

Major, I've seen that grin many times. He does this Elvis thing with one fang showing when he's happy. He's very affectionate. He came up to our back door in distress 12 years ago. I guess he knew who would take care of him. Brought him to the vet with Cystitis and 1500 dollars later we had a great indoor cat. Worth every penny to us.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, ha ha, $1,500 bucks! You sure did him a kindness, and obviously he is grateful. One of my guilty pleasures is watching videos (on "The Dodo") of people rescuing animals in need and making them healthy and happy. In a world of craziness, it's nice to see those happy animals.

Melissa said...

I love how the rock work off to the left looks like the C. Cat’s tail! And the pastel chairs seem to evoke the vines and flowers from the DL dark ride.

I wonder if the March Hare sold those Cheshire Cat Tail pastries.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Major and Huck for these photos.

I probably will never visit DLP, but it's good to see how it looks. Clearly, France is wetter than SoCal.

I wonder about the deferred maintenance. I know it's hard to foresee expenses and wear-and-tear catch up to you, but it's sad to see something with so much thought and effort behind it, just rotting away. Saw some of this recently on a trip, fancy expensive public agency building with all the fountains shut down, landscape plantings dying, garbage everywhere. Bad show, and not just due to the plague.

Alice is a favorite, maybe my favorite dark ride, and I love Cheshire Cats, especially those voiced by Sterling Holloway.



I think Disney’s explanation for keeping the name EURO DISNEYLAND RAILROAD was that it was a well established attraction name. I suspect the real reason was cost since some of the stations ( especially MAIN ST. USA) feature a great deal of elaborate architectural details with the EDL railroad insignia casted , carver or molded into place - not to mention all the hand painted locomotives and passengers cars .....

Like most new attractions approved to go into a park , WDI usually does studies or proposals for how the new attraction can be used in other parks .... and that was done with Euro Disneyland’s “ Alice Hedge Maze” there were proposals for Disneyland ( to go about where motorboat Cruise was ) Tokyo Disneyland : which became a whole Alice In Wonder “Land” addition , but resulted in the Queens Royal Banquet Hall restaurant) and some variations for United Kingdom in Epcot’s World Showcase ..... one version was all Alice themed , the other version featured scenes from Alice and other british based Disney films like Robin Hood , Mary Poppins and the Black Cauldron.

In 1995 there was a proposal to remove the fountain park between New Orleans Square station and the haunted mansion and add a hedge maze as a alternate entrance to the haunted mansion - the maze went thru a cemetery and a maze of crypts .... mostly using Tim Burton stylized “nitemare” art direction. This unbuilt proposal later inspired TIM BURTON’S HAUNTED MANSION planned for Hong Kong Disneyland ... that concept was overridden by MYSTIC MANOR. -a version of MYSTIC MANOR was later proposed to go into Epcot’s United Kingdom re- themed as “The London Museum of Antiquities “ using a similar storyline and attraction scenes and ride system - that gone pushed aside when Mary Poppins Returns Cherry Tree Lane addition was announced .

Anonymous said...

Mike Cozart, thanks for the information on the Fountain Park proposal.

I am so glad that this did not happen! While that park, the River and the Railroad are not in the same exact relations to NOS as their real-life counterparts in the Real New Orleans, the feeling of this little area is so much like the French Market area of the French Quarter, any change would be devastating to the illusion of the Land.

The number of bad ideas shot down is heartening, but then there are the ones that slipped by, like Tomorrowland 1998.


TokyoMagic! said...

I think I can safely say that I am pretty critical of what the Disney company does, and has done for the past 30-35 years. When I went to Disneyland Paris in 2005, I wasn't expecting much. I had been warned by a friend who had already visited the park some years earlier, about all of the peeling paint and rotting wood. And this was years before things got REALLY bad and the pics of the decay started popping up online. While I was there, I did not observe any of the conditions that I had been warned about. And I was looking for them. So maybe the park goes through periods of major disrepair, followed by major refurbishing?

I thought that Disneyland Paris was a very beautiful park, visually. My only criticism was that it was lacking a few "E" ticket attractions. However, I was shocked when I went into the "Disney Studio" park, next door. At that time (2005), I didn't think any Disney park could be worse than California Adventure, but Paris' second park was truly worse. It was a very ugly park, visually. And at the time of my visit, they only had two "physical" rides, one of which was just a "spinner" (Aladdin's Flying Carpets). Every other so called "attraction" was either a stage show, a movie, or a walk-through exhibit.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, gosh I didn’t notice that rockwork! Those pastel colors make me think of the ‘80s for some reason, I guess I remember people wearing shirts that were very pastel. “Cheshire Cat Tail pastries”??

JG, I assume that DLP is open year-round, and have seen photos of everything under a blanket of snow; it would be pretty neat to go when it’s like that, just for the novelty of it (as long as one is properly dressed). I know that DLP has had lots of financial problems over the years, there are a surprising number of competing amusement parks in Europe, perhaps the love of Disney is not as strong there as they expected.

Mike Cozart, your explanation is as good as any; why spend thousands of dollars when you don’t have to? I’ll have to look up the EDL insignia out of curiosity. In a way I almost wish they would have put an Alice-themed hedge maze where the Motor Boats used to run, the area sat there unused for so long. And it does make sense to have built something like that for the UK pavilion at EPCOT. Part of me likes the idea of a scary maze as an approach to the Haunted Mansion, but I also feel like it might spoil the classic New Orleans look. The queue additions in Florida seem to have been met with some bad reviews. I’d love a Tim Burton Haunted Mansion if they really let him get creepy with it! That’s part of my disappointment with Mystic Manor, it’s fantastical, but there’s no scares, at least based on my video views.

JG, I agree, a big hedge maze right there seems so out of place. If they could put it elsewhere, then maybe it would be great, but those tall hedges between the train station and the Mansion just seem wrong.

TokyoMagic!, I’m glad that you didn’t see any super obvious wear and tear when you went to DLP - and since you were looking for it, they must have done some fixups before you got there. Back when I used to look at so many Disney park websites, I’d see scores of photos of rotting wood, cracked cement, faded and peeling paint, etc. A real shame! And it’s hard to imagine a park worse than the original DCA, the Disney Studio park in France must have been a real dog! It would infuriate me to realize that the park had been built as cheaply as possible. The belief that the public would lap up ANYTHING Disney no matter how crappy was proven wrong.

Melissa said...

Cheshire Cat Tail pastry from the Magic Kingdom:


I love that there is a open space between the New Orleans Square train station and the entry of the Haunted Mansion .... it allows the mansion to be alone on the outskirts - the way that type of estate would be. The little park between the two attractions - often called Fountain Park .... because of the fountain .... and sometimes called Magnolia Park ... in honor of a Magnolia Park south of the train station predating New Orleans Square. But in the current space “ Fountain Park “ has no official name. And while it has a fountain it does not have any Magnolias...... and nobody calls it FRUITLESS MULBERRY PARK. But all that aside , that little calm space has had things planned for it from the very beginning .... In models of New Orleans Square a large covered dance terrace with a rectangular band stand jutting out is shown - as there has never been any room for dancing and the French Market . Other versions show a open dance terrace with hanging Japanese Lanterns hanging across the dance floor - but the same bandstand remains. In the late 70’s there were plans for a Keelboat “boathouse” if brick and wood with a covered holding pen. And the Tom Sawyer raft landing moved to about where the last keelboat landing was. This new facility for the Keelboats push the main walkway into where “fountain park “ is today. It’s amazing at how different Disneyland could have been today .... for better or worse .

Melissa said...

Meet me after dark
In Fruitless Mulberry Park

"Lou and Sue" said...

Huck and Major, I'm glad you had more Disneyland Paris photos to share! Thank you!

Melissa, that's the first I've seen of that Cheshire Cat Tail pastry - now I want one. Thanks for adding the link. I must say that Disney has done a terrific job of making some fun foods for their parks, over the recent years. I know that if I lived near one of the parks, I would've made special trips just to try some of them.

DrGoat, I'm sending you a great big hug for rescuing that cat. If I remember correctly, Betty White once responded to someone who made a comment about paying too much money to save an animal and she said, "You can't put a price on love." Very true!

JG said...

I bet the March Hare food stand serves Lapin à la Moutarde and similar dishes.