Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The View Atop the Labyrinth

Despite having visited only three of the five Magic Kingdoms there (jury's still out on the Asia Disneyland parks), I still feel confident in saying that Disneyland Paris is the prettiest Magic Kingdom out there.  Less than stellar maintenance record aside (just don't look too close), the park still has an inescapable whimsy and romantic warmth that the others just can't quite match.  And as far as dreamlike atmosphere goes, the most elaborate is (not surprisingly) Fantasyland.  Here, in the continent of fairy tales, Disney Imagineers had to create a land that could inspire even the local Europeans who grew up surrounded by such lore, and I think they certainly succeeded!

Guests scurrying through the maze have the option to ascend the towers of the castle of the Queen of Hearts.
Nowhere does the essence of bliss and carefree stand out more than at Alice's Curious Labyrinth.  This actual hedge maze (complete with wrong turns and dead ends!) is exceedingly fun to explore, and both times I've been to Disneyland Paris, I've made it a point to explore this walk-through attraction.  And both times, I've found myself atop the Queen of Hearts' castle during golden hour, gazing out onto the rest of Fantasyland as the golden sun was setting.

The view that awaits those who do make small climb is spectacular.  Here we look east to Discoveryland.
There are certain places and moments in all Disney parks that are embedded into my memory with joy.  Gazing out over New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America at sunset at Disneyland is one, and looking out across Fantasyland as the sun was setting at Disneyland Paris is another.  All the greenery, the fantastical architecture, and the iconic skyline add up to a breath-taking view.  On both trips, despite being restricted to visiting the park for only one day, I found myself slowing down and just taking everything in, spending 15-20 minutes just enjoying the ambiance.

Looking west in the direction of Adventureland.
These are the little things that make Disney parks great... the moments that reduce me to a little child seeing and exploring the park for the first time again.  The wonder and happiness that this scene gave was priceless, and I naturally made sure to capture this in photographic form to relive.  Hopefully, this conveys just a small sense of the awe I had when I was here in this position.

Looking across Fantasyland itself, with the Disneyland Paris castle prominently featured.

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