Disneyland Paris takes the Mickey

The Diary spotted Buzz Aldrin at Disneyland Paris last week and the celebrity astronaut was looking a bit bemused.

You couldn’t really blame him. Aldrin was at the launch of the new Space Mountain Disneyland Paris ride, a ride that promised to catapult you via a cannon, Jules Verne-style, to the moon. Being packed into a train, tipped upside down three times and whirled into a corkscrew turn before hurtling towards a smiling moon probably doesn’t entirely fit with Aldrin’s memories of space travel.

Still, the Diary decided over a few glasses of vino at the six-hour party for Disney press office’s 1,000 or so closest friends, sometimes it pays to suspend belief.

Likewise at the press conference, where Disneyland Paris chairman Philippe Bourguignon explained that the 40 per cent of management who left in 1993 did so of their own accord, that all financial difficulties were behind them and that if Disneyland Paris had its time again it would choose France as a destination.

Back outside, to take my place by the red carpet and wait for the hour-long celebrity parade promised in the press release. After helpfully pointing out to Ogilvy & Mather executives the newly jobless Carol Vorderman and joining in the mild hysteria at the arrival of Cliff Richard, the Diary slunk off in search of more excitement.

The evening’s highlight was a firework extravaganza. My heart beat a little faster at the spectacle of an intergalactic Disney army with sparklers attached to their heads accompanied by a laser show and an opera singer on stilts. But not as fast as those of the doves which were released just seconds before thousands of pounds of fireworks.

As the Diary hugged Mickey goodnight and headed back to the New England-themed hotel room, it was time to reflect on the spirit of Disney. Either you needed to be four years old or a Disney executive to get into it.

It is true that Space Mountain is heart-stopping stuff, but a day of dodging plastic-based “celebrities” in the plastic-based kingdom proved too much. Someone you know couldn’t wait to get home.

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