Big Thunder is the quintessential family roller coaster. Mildly fast, full of variety and not too many large drops to scare kids. The general consensus is that Paris's version is the best of the four. While I can only compare to Florida, I'd go as far as agreeing with aspects of that opinion. The only real part where Paris falls down is its queue line. There seems to be various ways that the ride is run and none of them seem that great. On the first day for example, fastpass was available but there was no one batching into the main queue and unlike Florida, the fastpass queue didn't get their own side of the station. So what you had was fastpassers having to split into the queueline whenever a gap appeared. The second damaging thing was that at some point in the queue, it splits into two sides. If you decide to queue on the right you get whacked by a longer queue length, fastpass people attempting to join and that is also the side where disabled guests get on. If you opt for the left hand side you almost walk straight into the station, undeterred by distractions. It's the most bizarre operations and despite it being a very high capacity rollercoaster, has so much faff going on. Florida doesn't have any of these problems so it's almost like Paris decided to try something different and it doesn't quite work.
The ride itself is similar to Floridas version with two key differences. The first is a fantastic start to the ride with the train dipping into an underground tunnel and gathering a lot of speed before it engages with the first lift hill. It's great to see that with thirty years of running, the Big Thunder lift hills still have the loudest lift chains out there. I wouldn't be surprised if kids were more scared of the noise then the ride. What happens for the majority of the rest of the ride is the same as Florida, California and Tokyo so I won't bore by describing the ride in detail.. except the ending. I was always a bit meh about Floridas dull ending through some rocks and skeletons. Paris is far superior with the train lurching violently to the left, into a cave and descending under the river, gathering so much speed like it really is out of control. I'd bet that it isn't as steep as it feels and yet works very well. The trains pulls up out of the tunnel into the break run and everyone is a bit blown away by that ending. Great finale and really makes the Big Thunder island concept work very well.
We decided to have another go, what with it being a ten minute queue and chose the left hand side of the queue line. It was then off to face one of my greatest terrors; Indianna Jones!
I'm not sure what the point of this ride is. It doesn't fulfil the quota of upside down rides as there is already Space Mountain and there's already a ride themed around a mine car at Big Thunder. I can only think that this was a desperate attempt at another ride in the park for adults. Whatever the reason, I know it has a poor reputation for being rough, boring and unnecessary but I kind of liked it. Sure it can't do straight lines or hills without whacking your head on a restraint but as a ride it was perfectly acceptable. It had a five minute queue the majority of the time so I don't think it entirely fits into the park in anyway. If Disney got rid and went for a ride like the version at California, I wouldn't say no.
Our next stop was Pirates of the Caribbean but was for some reason unavailable. We had the same problem at Florida on our first trip so had no worries that it wouldn't open at some point. We decided on doing some Fantasyland rides such as Pinocchio and Snow White which we queued 10 minutes a piece for. I like this rides because they aren't flashy and "look at me" like some dark rides and they do their job of telling their respective stories adequately. Sure they won't win Gold Ticket awards but for high throughput, reliable attractions they work well.
Next stop was the notorious it's a Small World. I liked it. I don't know why I like the idea behind the ride when everyone else despises it with a passion, but it just works for me. It looks like its had a clean up too as the majority of animatronics were working, it looked tidy with no dust anywhere and things looked repainted. For a high capacity boat ride, it ticks all the boxes.. even if it never seems to be able to get a queue.
Finally with the rain now fully upon us, we found a nice hidden away area with one of my personal favourites from the trip, Casey Junior. I adored this ride and I can't figure it out why. It just seems so novel and under-stated