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Review of Disneyland Paris (May 1997)

by Eric Griswold

Read the complete report at World of Coasters!


Disneyland Paris' Tomorrowland is the model for the fanciful Jules Verne vision that the other two are taking on. It is a bit more rambling and lacks the organized mall-like qualities of the others. Truthfully, I feel more convinced with that hard central corridor leading from the hub into the depth of Tomorrowland that California and Florida have. They feel more like a pedestrian boulevard, than a themepark wide rambling path. However I really like the fantasy-inspired look of Disneyland Paris more than even the rennovated Florida version.

You cannot miss the huge Space Mountain right in the middle of everything (rather than pushed off to one side like in California or all the way in back like in Florida).

Space Mountain
Steel Freeform
Enclosed, Multielement, Catapult Launch, Midcourse Lift
Designed by: Walt Disney Imagineering and Vekoma (1995)
Rating: +3

The great launching gun up the side of Space Mountain does an amazing show every 30-45 seconds with lights, sound, and smoke effects as it blasts the train up the side. Unfortunately the actual ride effects of the launch aren't as impressive as getting to watch it. The track up the side seems barely over two train-lengths in length and the train lurches more than launches, but no matter, it looks great.

The rest of the ride is good but suffers a bit from seeming to run around in clockwise circles with little to do. But when it does have something to do, it uses all sorts of surprise to execute it. The first inversion comes out of nowhere.

The effects inside are also a bit uneven. Some of them are quite inspired, other times they degenerate into black-light and glow paint of an average carnival spookhouse. There is a mid-course lifthill that is practically silent and didn't disrupt the flow of the ride nearly as much as I thought it would. In fact, WDI used it effectively to add to the story telling of returning from the moon. Nice work.

The trackwork shows off what great work Vekoma can do. It is fabulously smooth. The trains are equipped with the horsecollars that we all know and love :-/, but the lack of any headbanging makes them tolerable.

One of the things that I like about the other incarnations of Space Mountain that this one lacks is the ride time. This one is much shorter. When I arrived at the station brakes, I felt a bit unsatisfied and wished the ride had lasted another 20-30 seconds.

Nevertheless, great theming, a clever story, a good ride and some beautiful design warrant a +3.

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