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Le Pays des Contes de Fées

On our recent visit to Disneyland Paris, one of my favourite rides was Le Pays des Contes de Fees - The Land of Fairy Tales.  It wasn't a ride I remembered from my previous visit to Disneyland Paris and it appealed to my love of fairy tales and the gentler rides of Disney theme parks.  It was also a ride my mum could join us on with the children which made for a lovely experience.

Le Pays des Contes de Fees is a variation on an attraction from Disneyland in California.  It involves boats floating slowly around a canal, the banks of which hold various scenes from Disney films.  Most of these involve merely the buildings and landscapes.  The California version (which I will look at in a different post) involves an onboard narrator - similar to the way Jungle Cruise is run - but the Paris version doesn't include this element.

The queue line of this attraction is surrounded by blue fences.  To reach the boarding dock, visitors traverse a bridge - with rather steep steps.  Next to this dock is a giant storybook bearing the attraction's title.  The boats themselves are decorated in pastel colours; mainly blue and pink.  Boarding the boats, you first travel under the entrance bridge, past the giant storybook and under a second bridge (which is part of the nearby Casey Jnr Circus Train ride).

The first scene visitors see is on the left of the canal.  It is the diamond mine from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Eagle-eyed guests will spot Dopey emerging from the mine entrance.  You can also hear the dwarfs sing their signature song, Heigh Ho.  To the immediate right of this scene is Rapunzel's tower, replete with long, rope of golden hair falling from the window.  Apparently, prior to Tangled's release, this was still a Rapunzel's Tower scene but it was then updated to reflect the design of the Disney film (the slightly top-heavy look of the tower and the striking purple roof).

At the base of the mountain side these scenes adorn, there is a small cottage belonging to the Seven Dwarfs and a little further on is a gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel (showing that, along with the original Rapunzel tower, this ride was themed around fairy tales in general, moreso than Disney films - although Hansel and Gretel did feature in a Silly Symphony, Babes in the Wood, loosely based on the fairy tale).

On the hill, in the distance, can be seen the Old Mill which features in a Silly Symphony film of the same name.

As boats pass through this area, guests can turn to the right to see a small scene from the Pastoral Symphony section of Fantasia.  To the left of the boats we now find Prince Eric's castle and ship from The Little Mermaid.  This is an impressive sight with some beautiful detailing.  

Guests now travel through a short tunnel with the strains of the Peter and the Wolf echoing around them.  On the left, as the boats emerge, is a snowy landscape, Peter's cottage and Peter himself ready to hunt the wolf.  The wolf can be seen hiding in wait behind a pine tree.  On the right, atop a castle and surrounded by a small village is Chernabog from the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia accompanied by the dramatic music from this scene.

The boats continue and guests are confronted by the gaping maw of the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin.  Boats are swallowed by this huge beast and find themselves in a jewel encrusted tunnel.  The small monkey idol with the tempting giant ruby sits on the right.  An alcove further on holds the legendary lamp itself.  As Arabian Nights plays, guests emerge into the sunlight again to find the Sword in the Stone on their left, ready to be plucked by the next King of England.

Continuing along, guests find Belle's village from Beauty and the Beast complete with Belle sitting at the fountain reading one of her beloved books.  In the far distance can be seen the Beast's castle.  This is a building you actually get a much better look at when riding Casey Jnr's Circus Train.  On the outskirts of the town is Belle's house.

The final scene is from, oddly, the Land of Oz.  Visitors can see the Emerald City with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion and Dorothy standing on the steps.  The designs of the figures matches their look from the classic Disney film, Return to Oz.  I am a huge Oz fan so it was especially pleasing to have this included in the ride.  The music playing is from the final celebration scenes of the film.  After travelling under another bridge, the boats return to the rotating dock and guests disembark.

One great aspect of this ride is how it is intertwined with Casey Jnr's Circus Train meaning you can watch the colourful train careering around you as well as enjoying the gentle boat ride.  It adds a little special something to have two attractions so closely combined and makes this one of my favourite areas of the park.


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