We have both been dreaming of going to Disneyland since we were very young. Kate ordered videos from the ads of the Disney Land park experiences for years and our parents still didn't catch the hint. We are huge Disney fans and love a good fairytale. When we were choosing our desired interrail route, Paris was a cert as we were very eager to include Disney Land in our plan. We knew that it would be unlikely for our family to ever book a holiday to Disney Land exclusively and so settled on a day pass.
We bought the day pass (2 parks ticket). In hindsight even though it was only €7 more we didn't even get near the other park and so wouldn't buy it. We worried that we wouldn't get enough done with only one day in the park but it was enough. However, it is somewhere we would all love to return to in the future and stay in a park hotel.
We wanted to make the most of our day in the park and so got up very early. In advance we bought our Minnie ears from Amazon which were £6 which of course SarahJane forgot at home and so had to repurchase at €16.99 at the park!! We also purchased matching nightdresses from Primark at £4 which we turned into vest tops. We are so glad we did this (all under £10). We had heard horror stories of the extortionate prices of fast food in Disney land and because we are in Europe for 3 weeks we opted for a big breakfast to fill us for most of the day. We grabbed some quick fast food and headed to the train. We wanted to avoid buying a lot of food during the day at the park.
As previously mentioned the Paris metro system is fantastic! It is so easy to navigate and accessible. We hopped on the metro and got a ticket for Line A (red) to Parcs Disneyland. We purchased the tickets the night before which isn't necessary at all. It was €14 return each and took around 20-25 minutes in total to reach the parks. There is a train station located at Disney so it couldn't be any closer. When exiting the station you see the two parks and we were directed towards Disney Land. They are all very close together which is brilliant.
You have to scan your ticket upon entrance at the machines which is great as it cuts down queues. You also go through a security station which scans all of your bags so it is definitely best to bring as little as possible with you as you can skip the queue.
What we would recommend to bring:
Bum bag (Summer): sunglasses, small sun cream, cash (food), phone. Definitely check the weather forecast before you go as you may need to bring a raincoat (better again - poncho that you can fold up easily)
The staff at Disney are amazing - they are super friendly and offering to help you at every opportunity. This is a welcome surprise but something we had heard about. Disney are very particular about their staff and ensure that they make the experience as magical as possible for everyone at the park.
From the moment you walk in you see children's faces light up. The park is truly phenomenal - the way the park is made is unbelievable. The whole place is manicured to perfection, their attention to detail is astounding. There is a sound system through the park which makes you feel as though you are in a film. It really adds to the experience. A band/orchestra plays as you enter the park and we stood watching them soaking up atmosphere.
TOP TIP: We brought two litre bottles of water with us and filled them up at the water fountains. There are lots of water fountains everywhere so don't worry that you will be looking for one. A bottle of water is €4 and we needed a lot of water throughout the day as it was so warm. It is important to keep hydrated throughout the day especially when you are on your feet so much of the day.
We went to the park on a Saturday which people normally try to avoid but it was fine for us in early July. This is dependent on school holidays etc. Our average queue waiting time was never more than 30 minutes.
The park can be very overwhelming so make sure to have an idea of what you would like to do before you go. We wanted to see every part of the park even if we didn't get on every ride. We decided that it wasn't realistic to attempt to do both DisneyLand and Walt Disney studios and so chose to stick to Disneyland. Follow the maps and programmes - they are so helpful and will give you all the information you need for the day. This is where you pick up all the information regarding the shows and parades.
Main Street USA
This street is filled with shops and restaurants. We would probably avoid eating here as it seems much more expensive than other parts of the park. We loved wandering around this street in the evening as there was a great atmosphere from it. You can see the iconic Sleeping Beauty's castle from this point which is fabulous. There are lots of places to grab treats from but you will pay for them - so maybe avoid letting your children see these lol. We did see Daffy Duck around this street so it's great to spot characters and even to chill out on the streets.
Souvenir shops are everywhere literally EVERYWHERE! You will see one at every single corner so don't worry if you don't see something you like. We didn't want to buy anything on our budget but they are nice to look at.
Big Thunder Mountain (For those who love theme parks)
Phantom Manor (Not too scary but very enjoyable)
Thunder Mountain Mesa Riverboat Ride (Amazing - real worthwhile experience)
Legends of the Wild West
River Rogue Keelboats
Pochahontas Indian village
Woodys round up
Chaparral Theatre (We watched The Enchanted Forest show - we just happened to stumble on the queue which was great - great standard of performers)
Pirates of the Caribbean (Under Refurbishment)
Indian Jones (Scary - for those who like theme parks)
La Cabane des Robinson
Fantasyland is huge and is probably the best place for young children. It is the home of all your favourite Disney films and princesses.
Iconic Beauty & Beast Castle
'It's a small world' - a boat cruise through all different parts of the world that Disney have recreated.
Peter pans flight - like you are flying through neverland, this ride is breathtaking
Auberge De Cendrillon - we didn't eat here but at this restaurant you can meet your favourite princesses and dine in style
Space Mountain - (scary) Good for those who like theme parks
Buzz Lightgear Laser Blast - this is a laser competition ride which is very enjoyable but the queue time was a little longer
We also got the train around the park and probably wouldn't recommend this as it goes around the back of the park not enabling you to see all the sights of the park as hoped. Children may love the novelty of the train but we're not sure it's worth the queues.
At 5:30pm we made a run for Sleeping Beauty's castle to see the fabulous Disney parade. It lives up to your expectations. It was fantastic and a great way for children (and us) to meet all their favourite characters. The floats are astounding - it is amazing! Make sure to get a good spot that you can sit at and grab an ice pop to enjoy everything Disney has to offer.
We were eager to meet some of our favourite Disney characters but after some googling we realised it's not as easy as it seems. It's takes a lot of time and queuing to get that instagram with Mickey Mouse. The souvenir shops sell autograph books (€7) which are ideal for children (Kate wanted one). There is no doubt that you could meet a few over a couple of days but with only one day we had to be realistic. We happened to be outside the Mickey Mouse House and saw the waiting time was 40 minutes. We needed a rest anyways and took this opportunity to stay inside and sit down. We were glad we met one character as it was a great experience. The characters are amazing - so friendly! Mickey even took a selfie on our phone! We would highly recommend this for children but I suppose plan out your time wisely as the characters are in different places at different times. Kate is still annoyed she didn't see Ariel. The princess pavilion also have tickets to meet the princesses but unfortunately we just didn't have enough time.
Mickey even took a selfie on our phone!!
FOOD AT DISNEY
Despite the horror stories of extortionately priced bad food we were pleasantly surprised by both the price and standard of the food we had at Pizzeria Bella Notte.
Ham & Cheese Pizza
Garlic Bread Roll
Fizzy Drink Cup
All of the above for €14
The food was delicious and the pizza place was lovely. It was exactly what we wanted for dinner and very filling. We had a look at the options on the map. The map is great as it gives you an estimation of where it falls price wise (€,€€,€€€) We knew we wanted to stay around the € mark and would recommend that you do as otherwise it could be very expensive. The map also gives you a description of what every food place offers (e.g burgers, hot dogs, salads or pizza, pasta).
To give you an idea:
Ice pops €3
Ben & Jerrys €4.50
We wanted to wait until Disney illuminations which is the firework display at 11pm. This was definitely a highlight. It is well worth waiting for. People begin to sit around the castle at 9:30pm!! We wanted to make the most of our time so wandered around Main St USA for awhile but would recommend returning to get a spot at 10:30pm. The music and graphics are phenomenal - the fireworks are magical. It was one of the best experiences ever!!
Book your train tickets for coming home as soon as you arrive as it will save you loads of time at the end. You will want to stay to see the amazing firework display and when the crowd pours out to the train station you won't have to wait in line to get a ticket back to the centre of Paris. This is something I would highly recommend doing as it will allow you to get the first train out as people run to the station to avoid missing it. The trains don't stop to 12:30am and so regardless you will get home however it takes the stress away as there are large crowds.
TOP TIP: if you have children it might be an idea to attach some kind of tag to them with your phone number or some kind of identification to ensure they are located and brought back to you as quickly as possible.
We had the most magical time in Disney Land Paris and will most definitely return. Although we are a few years older than we thought we would be it turned out that we were the perfect age to appreciate it all. We appreciate that it would be a completely different trip if we were young children, considering queue times, heat and price. It is probably impossible to do the park in one day with children but very manageable as adults. We would all jump at the chance to get back and think it would be the perfect group holiday destination for people of any age. However, we're aware there's no time like you're first time and it certainly lived up to all of our expectations and much more. It is a major highlight of our trip so far! Disney Land made our inner five year old dreams come true.
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Kate & SarahJane x