Monday, November 1, 2010

Vers l'infini et au-delà!

I couldn't resist, so for the Disney-inclined, here are a few more shots of Disneyland Paris.

First up, Adventureland, home of the cheesy Middle-East-turned-theme park Aladdin attractions. It was really weird to visit this after spending time in North Africa; all of the plants, lights, music and furniture looked like a cartoon version of things I could have easily picked up in the souks:
Inside Adventureland, Pirate's Cove, home of Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow. There was a sign posted on the beach warning children to stay out of the water to avoid the crocodiles (signed Cpt. Hook), and a little boy perched next to it, peering cautiously into the water as if he might soon spot the ticking beast.
A Disney spectacular in front of the Sleeping Beauty's castle. The show was half in English and half in French--for example, Mickey spoke exclusively in French while Minnie answered him in English. The contrast was surprisingly natural, and it was cool to be able to understand both and to hear the French equivalent of classic Disney catchphrases (ex. see the title of this post for the translation of Buzz Lightyear's "to infinity and beyond!") although I have to admit that I was totally lost as soon as French-speaking Donald Duck opened his beak.
The current park theme is "Disney: Next Generation" which is supposed to appeal to a younger generation of Disney fans who aren't familiar with the classics. The emphasis on the new made two things clear: 1) Pixar is really the only good thing Disney has had going for it in the last decade, as you can see from the Toy Story and Monster's Inc. above and the Incredibles below:
...and 2) if Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast have become passé, then I'm getting old. More evidence for that is the new face of Disney princesses, the racial minority, independent, hard-working, politically-correct Tiana from the Princess and the Frog:
Moving right along, here's a real stained-glass window from inside Sleeping Beauty's castle, displaying scenes and characters from the movie:
As a Sci-fi geek, my favorite part of the park was the futuristic Discoveryland.
Here's an old robot friend from Discoveryland (who inspired one of my halloween costumes a few years ago):
And newer robot friends, Wall-E and Eve:
We stayed at the park until closing to take advantage of thinning crowds and shorter lines. It was worth it just to see the lights on the attractions after dark. Here are Alice's famous teacups:
And finally, Sleeping Beauty's castle. This is the stuff dreams are made of, people.
Here I was, dreaming those Disney dreams with Goofy at age 6 (and looking adorably mischievous, I must say):

And again, almost 20 years later. I was going for the pensive Mickey hands expression, although looking at it now, it looks more like I'm flipping off the camera. I guess I never lost the mischief...

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