It has always been a dream to one day visit Disneyland Paris and this year it finally came true! I recently bugged my sister into finally getting a passport and we have managed two holidays in the short amount of time that I am back in the UK and not abroad for work. This was such a special visit as we are both Disney fanatics and both grew up longing to go to this magical place. I’m going to tell you all about the time we spent in Disneyland (DLP). Of course Neige the Dog came with me and even got on a rollercoaster!
Before I tell you all about how fantastic DLP was I’d like to tell you all about how we booked and organised our trip to and from Paris; booking with Magic Breaks Disneyland and all sorts of other helpful information to anyone travelling to Paris/DLP.
Firstly I’d like to say how easy it was to book my trip with Magic Breaks, their website is so easy to use and there Live Chat is very helpful with any queries. The holiday we booked was on special offer, pay for 2 days and 2 nights and received 2days and nights free! This offer is actually running now too for summer 2018 so now’s the time to book it!
Book or find more information here ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓
We decided to have a few days in Paris before we visited DLP, I will write a separate post all about Paris. Because of this we didn’t travel directly from the UK to DLP, we did however use the Eurostar to get to Paris and another train to the park. Once again booking the Eurostar was stress free and very simple, the overall experience was good and I would highly recommend using it, purely because of the short time between London to Paris. You can also get a Eurostar directly to DLP; this service only runs in School half terms and holiday.
We travelled on a RER train, line A which took around 40 minutes to reach the park. The service was simple and easy to find and buy tickets for. The ticket cost around €7.50 each way and DLP is at the end of the line and is displayed with a brown sign with the Disney Logo. The trains are double decker so if you’re travelling with kids it’s a bit of fun to ride on the top floor.
When you arrive at the park, again it’s all very simple and well signposted. We headed straight to the bus station to get a bus to our hotel. All the buses to and from hotels are free but they do tend to get very busy in the mornings. They run every 12-15minutes so it’s never long before another arrives. The bus drops you right outside your hotel and picks up in the same place.
Checking in was easy, I was very impressed all the staff could speak at least 3 languages. It was very interesting to hear them jumping between them with all the different families from all over Europe. Luckily for us our room was ready when we arrived. We had booked a standard room in the Santa Fe hotel, it was all themed around the film Cars and it was amazing! Our room was designed for up to four people and we both got a double bed each! Everything was Disney themed even the soap and shampoo in the bathrooms.
We decided it was cheaper when we booked originally to add the Half Board option onto our holiday. Most of the restaurants are all you can eat buffet and are priced around €30 per person and breakfast an extra cost to. Adding on the half board option saved us so much money. We also pre-booked our evening meals via the reservations phone line, I would not recommend doing this at it cost me a small fortune and it can be arranged when you arrived at guest services in your hotel or even on the hotel room phone. This would not guarantee a specific restaurant but if you’re not too fussy then this would be a good option. The selection of food wasn’t great overall but it was good enough to fill you up after a long day. Breakfast again wasn’t amazing but continental selection was available plus coffee, tea etc. Your food vouchers are also valid for lunch too, we weren’t very hungry on our last night so saved the ticket and managed to get lunch in the park instead before our Eurostar back to the UK. This is a great tip for getting you a good meal before travelling back, there are plenty of places to eat that are a bit cheaper than buffet restaurants. There is even a McDonalds in the Disney Village.
We also opted for the Photo Pass, paying €45 when booking instead of €65 in park price. This was a great way to save money if you have a big family or group as you can load as many pictures as you like onto it and view them later on online. The biggest criticism I have for it was that only a handful of rides had a photo opportunity and we actually barely used it in the four days we were there. You can also meet and greet characters and some of these have a professional photographer but only again a handful. This could definitely be something they could improve on. They do let you use your own camera or phone though so the photo pass is actually not very worth it.
DLP is split into two parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park (WDSP), both of which have a variety of attractions but we did spend more time in the Disneyland Park because there was more to do. On the website you can explore all the different rides and attractions so I won’t go into too much detail about them all. Nothing is really that “scary” most of the rollercoasters are fast and have a couple of loops but nothing in comparison to bigger theme parks. Although I will argue that Hyper Space Mountain was possibly the best coaster I have ever been on. There is also an App you can download giving you a map and live times for rides etc.
Everything in Disneyland was so special and there wasn’t even one dark corner that wasn’t themed or Disney. We visited during Christmas break and it was even more magical, it snowed every morning in the square! The first time I walked through the pearly gates of heaven and saw Sleeping Beauty’s Castle it was so hard not to cry. Every part of our trip was magical and if you haven’t visited I strongly suggest you book your tickets now!
Every day there were different shows and parades in both parks, as we stayed for four days we did managed to see all but two shows. It was also the 25th anniversary of the park opening so there was a special 25th parade. People will start waiting for the parades pretty early so it’s good to get to the parade route before, if you’re like me your too short to even see over the children! Be prepared to be pushed about if this is the case as parents will push their children (and their prams) into your legs so they can see. In the evenings they also have the illuminations on the castle and on the Tower of Terror in WDSP, this will be around 20 minutes with a projection on the castle or tower and fireworks.
There are plenty of places to grab snacks or hot drinks in the park, although I found a lot of them were closed when we visited in November. We actually took our own snacks and an empty bottle as you can fill it up for free at various water fountains. If you do buy food and drink in the park it can be quite expensive especially if there are a few of you.
DLP is run really well, the theme park itself had barely any waiting times for rides. This may have been because we visited in November and I have seen reviews of ridiculous waiting times in peak times. It may have also been because of their fast pass system, it is included In your park ticket and you can get the fast tickets by scanning your entrance ticket. This will give you a ticket with a time to come back to certain rides and skip the que. We used this service a few times as this allowed us to ride another ride first then use our fast pass to walk straight onto the other ride. This is a great system but you can only get one fast pass at a time per person, and once they’ve given away all the tickets for the day they won’t be available anymore. This isn’t available on that many rides, mainly for the bigger attractions. When we were there most of the rides had no more than about 25minutes wait anyway, apart from Big Thunder Mountain and Crush’s Coaster which were about 40minutes. The park was relatively quiet when we visited so again I think this would increase dramatically in the holidays.
They also offer meet and greets with various characters and princesses! We met so many characters including Buzz Lightyear and Darth Vader (He is super scary and threw my Minnie Mouse ears across the room!). We also decided it’s not a trip to Disneyland without meeting a princess; we waited for over an hour and half for this 2 minute experience. It was a ‘dream come true’ but a long one! There was also pop up character meets and also characters at your hotels every morning. Of course a lot of the characters were also in the parades but if like me you really loved Toy Story you really wanted to hug Buzz Lightyear!
Staying in a Disney hotel means that you get to go into the park early, this is their Magic hours. This is great for getting on rides before all the other guests arrive at the park and also for meet and greets. We also found it was a good way to get onto rides at 10am as you can be first in line.
Overall we loved our trip to Disneyland Paris, we were so sad to leave! Meeting all the characters, riding iconic rides, trying not to buy to much merchandise and the magical memories it left behind is the reason you should visit!
Even if your young or just young at heart, dreams really do come true……