Alice in Paris
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Alice in Paris
by Marc Spignese
Disney's Alice in Wonderland has always been a favorite inspiration for theme park attractions. All Disney Magic Kingdoms can boast at least one attraction that is based on this classic film. Disneyland Paris has two, Mad Hatter's Tea Cups and Alice's Curious Labyrinth.
The Fantasyland setting for these two attractions could not have been better designed. They are grouped together along with the other attractions based on British tales. Toad Hall Restaurant and Peter Pan's Flight are located right across the way.
The Mad Hatter's Tea Cups is a Disney Theme Park staple. Prior to Disneyland Paris' opening in 1992, Disney had already constructed three previous versions of this attraction. Disneyland, U.S.A. has the original and the smallest Tea Cup attraction. Tokyo Disneyland's, at this time, was a duplicate of the ride found in the Magic Kingdom. The Disneyland Paris rendition would be the most fanciful interpretation of the attraction yet built.
As we approach the attraction the first thing we notice is the elaborate and elegant steel and glass canopy that covers the swirling vehicles and protects them from the elements. The Florida and Tokyo versions of the ride have also been covered but the awning is no where near as fancy. The elegant geometric lines of the covering are accented with strange, slightly angled curlicue designs, architecturally reminding us that the Hatter is, in fact, quite mad. As we enter the queue we are directed around the outside border of the ride itself. Here we have the opportunity to admire the gentle slopes of the sculpted hedges. Garishly colored fiberglass leaves, the signature of every Alice themed area, punctuate them. A small distance away, a tiny river winds past. Twirling fountains are evenly spaced along its length, completing the picture of a formal English garden with a lunatic attraction nestled in its center.
As we board the attraction and look up, we can see the Chinese lanterns suspended from the canopy and hanging above the riders. This is an element lifted from the Disneyland version of the attraction. As the ride starts up we notice that the experience is much the same as the other Tea Cup attractions. Magic Kingdom regulars will note the absence of the teapot and Door Mouse in the center of the ride. While these elements are missing from the attraction, the Door Mouse and his teapot can be found right next door at March Hare Refreshments, a small fast food venue that specializes in nothing less then tea and cakes.