A Family View: Ratatouille, Hotels and Disney Village

In Part Two of Tim’s guest post, he takes a look at the Newport Bay Club, Disney Village and the new addition to Disneyland Paris this summer: Ratatouille: The Adventure.

Last year we stayed in the Newport Bay Club Hotel. It was alright you know. We felt it was in need of refurbishment but would have stayed there again only for the walking. The extra bit down Lake Disney is a killer! And whattayaknow! They are in the middle of a compleye refurb! So this year we fancied the New York Hotel – which again was nice. In need of a refurb. And whattayaknow – they are going to be doing that too!!! I love the convenience of staying on site – and with the kids being under 7 and booking early it’s really reasonable. I would love to see them doing something with Disney Village. I wouldn’t know where to begin – which is why I am not an imagineer! But it does look tired. All that metal work doesn’t do it for me. But the places to eat and shop are fab. Soft spot for the Rainforest Café!! We also ate in Planet Hollywood, and while expensive, my word the portions were huge! I’d have been happy with the kids size fish and chips in the Rainforest Café and the Pizza for one in Planet Hollywood would have fed us all! Nothing beats the burgers at Annettes though! The Lego shop is a welcome addition and the staff there are mad, with 2 having a sword fight. It all added to the charm!

A main feature of this trip, though, was the Rat.

I have to say from the outset that I am not a massive fan of Walt Disney Studios. It grew on me a bit this time. It is a completely different experience to Disneyland. More grown up? As our 2 are small then maybe that’s why we don’t get as much out of it. The meet and greet with Spider-Man is a welcome addition, as is Woody right next to Buzz. Some folk don’t like the queuing for characters, but it does guarantee you meeting them, and the queue stops the jostling and pushy parents! It would be nice to see more characters strolling both parks.

We got there just after opening. The queue was significant. 90 Mins of significant. The fast pass machines were covered! I had had the tip off, though, that by doing fast pass we would miss the beautiful theming inside! So we joined the queue – just as the time clicked up to 120 mins! Ah well, in for a penny. The outside queue line is pretty standard (and some of the theming was crumbling already!) but there were some nice posters to look at. Inside, however, is a credit to the imagineers. Gusteau greets you as you wait in line adding to the excitement of the ride.

Seeing the Ratmobiles for the first time was a joy. It was almost balletic as we watched them glide gracefully in and out of the loading areas. We had never experienced a trackless ride, and I was worried that the 3D would leave me cold. I was worried about the whole thing as I had waited so long for this. Glasses on, we floated out and all my worries disappeared. Everything worked. I won’t spoil the experience, but needless to say we wanted to get right back on!

I would say, though, that Fastpass, once you have done the queue, is the way to go at the moment. To give you an idea on how quickly Fastpass goes, we got ours at midday – for 7:45 that evening! But we walked straight on and the second time was as thrilling as the first.

Another tip would be the single rider line. I saw couples getting on! Not sat next to each other, granted, but in the same Rat! One for the DINKYs maybe, as well as the individual guests.

The whole Place De Remy is such a lovely place to spend time. The music loop is charming and it just so well put together. If it doesn’t stir your romantic heart then I can only surmise that you are dead! This is the place that, when I look at pictures of WDS, makes my heart flutter.

WDS is a much happier place later in the day. We wee there for the last couple of hours before closing and made it a lot more bearable. Like I say though, we could’t do much with the younger members of our party. I did manage to get on Crush’s Coaster this year though. It was a bit of a wait (its always a bit of a wait!) but it was well worth it. I love how the Turtle Shells spin without you wanting to barf. Definitely my favourite ride in WDS but it is desperately in need of a Fastpass!

Now we are back, I think back to WDS and I think it is a place I need to spend a bit more time in, enjoy some more of the attractions – but it would really help itself it it could find its identity.

We headed on back to Disneyland in time for Dreams. We give ourselves an hour to give us a good spot down by the front. I was amazed how full it was when we got there, even an hour before. So, I know if you have little ones with you it may seem madness, get there early for both the Parade and for Dreams if you want the best view.

Second time was definitely the charm for us! Sites like DLPTownsquare are invaluable when it comes to getting the best from your visit. Without them you wouldn’t notice all the little things. Duelling pirates was something I didn’t know people looked out for – I do now and I looked out for them (4 rides, 3 of them had them)! The accordion playing one wasn’t though!

And I found myself being extremely protective of the place. Whenever I saw an irate Guest I wanted to know what ailed them in order to help them! Or when a guest was climbing where they shouldn’t be I wanted to tell them. The worst I saw was one child just threw his empty carton of drink on the floor and didn’t seem to care. It really riled me this time when people had their flash on for Pirates ! I mean seriously, what is the point?! And don’t get me started on the idiots who put their hands in the water when riding Pirates or Small World!

That is the secret though. Its not letting other people diminish your experience. It is what ever you make it! For me, at 39, it really reminded me of what it is like to be truly happy. Not just happy – but happy in the way you were as a child.

I would like to thank Tim for his time in writing this two part article – and thank you all for reading. If you’d like to see more from him, make sure to follow him on Twitter and follow his Flickr page (Which is where all the photos in this article originate from)

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