I’ve recently achieved one of my lifelong dreams of visiting Disneyland Paris!
I can honestly say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I would highly recommend anyone to go, no matter what age! It’s really hard to describe what the atmosphere is like, it’s like stepping into a totally different world where everyone is smiling and happy all the time including the kids (it’s quite impressive actually)…it could probably turn the grumpiest grandpa into a big softie.
Our hotel was the Hotel Santa Fe, a massive hotel complex entirely themed on the Pixar movie, Cars, complete with traffic cone lights and racing car shower curtain! The hotel was only a short walk from the main park.
Our alarms were set for 6am, honestly we were so excited we shot out of bed…something that doesn’t normally happen as I am NOT a morning person. We dined in La Cantina, a huge room filled with a variety of breakfast options from croissants to a selection of ham and cheeses (the French will always find time to eat cheese!). We entered the park at 8am, a luxury only given to guests that are staying in Disneyland hotels, known as “Magic Hours”.
This is where the magic begins! Seeing the Disneyland Castle for the first time made me burst into tears… it was such an emotional experience. We were very lucky with the weather, we went at the beginning of March and we had sunshine the entire time. I would highly recommend going around this time as the park was not over-crowded with kids! I was worried that we would spend the entire day queuing and only go on 2 rides but actually on the first day we managed to go on practically every ride (expect for the Mad-Hatters Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean as it was closed for refurbishment as well as Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain as it had broken down!).
I’m not a fan of rides. Heights and excessive speed is something that terrifies me! So, I went to Disneyland with strict instructions to myself, don’t go on any rides just try and enjoy it and take photos…boring I know, but I wanted to remember every little detail about this trip. Well, let’s just say that I totally went against what I said and I loved every second of it!! In fact, I loved the It’s a Small World ride so much that I went on it three times in one day.
Eventually we had to take a break so we headed to Plaza Gardens Restaurant. Now, I wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by the food. It was Disneyland after all so I assumed that the restaurants just served quick and simple meals to keep the kids happy… but I was met with a huge buffet with a range of different foods from across the world! Not only that but the quality was amazing, they even had tender roast lamb with sauté potatoes. I would highly recommend visiting, especially if you have meal vouchers as you get all you can eat for free! It gave me plenty of energy for the Disney Parade at 4pm, a daily parade where you can see all your favourite Disney characters up close, singing and dancing!
Without a doubt, the best part about the trip was Disney Dreams! An incredible firework display that includes illuminations of classic Disney characters projected onto the Disneyland castle. It’s made even more magical with all the Disney songs playing throughout the park. I must admit I did well up at this point as well, I still watch the video now when I’m feeling down! After I’ve wiped away the tears (of joy, definitely not sadness!) we headed into the Disney village, a long stretch of shops containing everything Disney…literally everything, as well as a McDonald’s (they are everywhere!). With gift shops galore, money was spent and I left with a large amount of shopping bags and a BIG hole in my pocket.
On the last day we visited the second park, Walt Disney Studios. A theme park dedicated to Disney Pixar films, from Crush’s Rollercoaster to a 4-D Ratatouille experience. The park is much smaller than the main one but there’s still plenty to do! We went on almost every ride again, however I could not build up the courage to go on one… the TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR… for obvious reasons.
So. I would absolutely recommend that you visit Disneyland Paris at some point in your life, the sooner the better. It is even better now as the park has been refurbished as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations! It’s a experience you will never forget.
p.s. sorry for the long post but I couldn’t narrow it down, it was all so wonderful! Have you ever been? Let me know about your magical time!