“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
The castle bursts into colour, fireworks pop in time to music from my childhood and I find myself feeling like a nine year old girl again… Disneyland Paris certainly knows how to put on one hell of a show!
I was lucky enough to visit Disneyland Paris on an educational trip recently. Without children may I add. This may seem odd to some but with such a diverse range of facilities it’s great for groups, family, couples, groups, a special birthday or even a divorce break… Disney suits all!
Travelling from London on the Eurostar from St Pancras into Disney was my first experience of this train under the sea. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and quick the train ride is. There are no luggage or liquid restrictions as you would expect from flying, on-board the seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of leg space.
Within 90 minutes we were under the sea, ears popping slightly and with butterflies in my tummy I was getting excited to be near to meeting my favourite Disney character “Woody”…
Checking into the Hotel Cheyenne I could feel the Toy Story experience gathering momentum. This wild west cowboy themed hotel has recently had a refurbishment. The lay out is wild west with rooms located in blocks surrounding the main facilities and even horse stables where you can watch them being fed and washed.
We were given our room key, so we headed over to “Billy the kid” block. The room was a great size and with all the “Toy Story” decor I was in my element!
I was also lucky enough to be invited to all the Disneyland hotels to have a nosey around and be able to help clients choose the best option for them. Here’s a snippet on each:
Hotel Santa Fe, located again around a 15 – 20 minute walk into the parks, this hotel is Disney Cars themed, bright and welcoming hotel although not my personal favourite.
Hotel Sequoia Lodge, nearer to the Disney village and parks around a 10 minute walk, this hotel has a forest theme feel with cool rooms and a great pool.
Hotel Newport Bay is my fave. This hotel is vast with great views across the lake and onto the Disney village. Again around a 10 minute walk into the parks. This Yacht themed hotel feels more upmarket with a relaxed atmosphere. The indoor and outdoor pools are a great asset.
The New York hotel is currently under a huge transformation ready to open into the Marvel New York hotel, very exciting and I’m sure my son will get me booking us there once it’s opened.
We also took a trip over to see the New Les Village Nature which is located off site, with a transfer of around 10 mins from the park by coach or your own car. This resort has a 50% share with Center Parks and Disney. It has a very relaxed feel and is environmentally friendly using renewable energy to heat the pools and rooms. These rooms are very spacious and have a good mix of bedrooms including some VIP condo’s looking over the lake. If you’re looking for a more relaxed stay or self-catering but still want to visit Disney then this is the place to be.
Contact me for a personalized quote on any of the Disney hotels, on or off site along with self drive.
Time to hit the parks!
The hotel Cheyenne is around a 15 – 20 minute walk from the parks or jump on the free shuttle bus from right outside the hotel and you will be in the parks within 5 minutes. At the end of a very full on day at the parks this was very welcomed!
Walking towards the Parks you pass through the Disney village. With all its shops, bars and eateries you will be spoilt for choice. We ate at the New York style sandwiches which were delicious. Not only do they serve great American inspired sandwiches they also serve burgers, huge pizzas and even fish and chips if you’re missing home already!
Heading towards the Disney parks entrance the music being played certainly gets you in the Disney mood. Walking towards the huge pink Disneyland Hotel with it’s water fountains and immaculate gardens people gaze with excitement and of course all the phones are out snapping the first magical moment!
Disneyland, what do we all expect to see when we enter? The big pink castle! But where is it? Don’t worry Disney has positioned “Sleeping Beauty’s” castle out of sight on purpose. Why? Pure excitement. You take in everything around you, the music playing, the magical shops and cast members.
And then there it is, hiding behind the statue of “Walter Disney” standing tall and beautiful!
So where to head first? Here’s a top tip… head for the back of the park first. Most visitors get taken aback by all the rides and just queue for the first one they see. Here’s another free tip for you… leave all the big rides until around 7pm when most people have had enough and gone back to their hotel ready to change for a meal and to come back for the illuminations. We did this and managed around 6 big rides with a 15 minute wait time.
Of course fast passes can be pre-booked to get you to the rides quicker, these are great if you only have a few days in the parks and want to ride as many as you can.
With certain room upgrades you get Fast passes included, again contact me to find out more.
There is an infinite amount of things to see and do. Be sure to download the Disney App is great for looking at queue times, show times and locations and also the character meet ups for all those memorable pics.
Not into rides? No problem! With so many shows, characters and even movies to watch you will not be bored. Look out for the parades, they usually take place everyday around 5:30pm (depending on the season) and these are fantastically magical. This takes place on the main street. The best place to see this is usually at the end of the main street not at the start where people reserve a spot about an hour before the start.
Walt Disney Studios is located next door to the Disney park. Here you will find your stunt shows, live Marvel action shows and Disney Pixar characters such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc! Of course there are rides here – Tower of Terror, Ratatouille and Crushem’s Coster to name a few. May I add that when riding Crushem’s don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a “kids” ride!
Time for food!
You’ll probably not be surprised to hear that you are spoilt for choice in this department. There is a huge selection of of cafes, restaurants and quick service eateries.
I would highly recommend upgrading to a half board meal plan. You can use your meal vouchers most restaurants (depending on what meal plan you choose) and the meal plan let you budget better knowing that you have two meals a day and the snacks can be taken from the breakfast buffet in the form of bread rolls, cheese etc. Or maybe that’s just me!
Highlight of my trip!
Meeting Woody of course was up there but the Disney Illuminations really are something else. Sat on the floor in front of the castle in anticipation of what will unfold in front of me really did make me feel like a little girl all over again!
The castle lights up, water fountains burst, Disney music starts…
I was transformed into my childhood memories of the Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and then along came the newbies, Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few.
My emotions flared up and I felt a lump in my throat as the castle transformed into colours and videos from all the films past and present.
Did Disneyland Paris make my dreams come true? Well nearly… I’m not married to Chris Pratt yet!
Top Tips and facts:
- In the next few years there are to be THREE new lands built at Disneyland Paris – Marvel land, Frozen land and Star Wars land. Watch this space!
- In 2022 Disneyland Paris celebrates 30 years!
- Search for the hidden Mickeys. Disneyland Paris is full of them – and getting your kids to seek them out can also keep them entertained when you’re in between rides.
- Try riding on your own, even if you’re in a group. Many rides offer “Single rider” where you can skip the majority of the queue.
- If you’re staying in a Disney Hotel, make use of the extra ‘magic hours’ and try to target the rides top of your list before the rest of the crowds arrive.
- If you stay to watch the Illuminations, on your way out of the park keep an eye out for Mickey himself as he waves goodnight to you all on the platform of the Disney rail stop. This happens every 15 minutes until everyone has left the park.
- Did you know…Disneyland Paris has a no fly zone around all of its parks and hotels!
- Purchase a poncho before you arrive at Disney, it may rain and it’s a lot cheaper to get one here than on arrival.
- Bring a reusable water bottle with you, there are plenty of water fountains around the park and the restaurants will also re-fill them for you.
- Comfortable shoes are a must along with a backpack or bum bag.
Contact Corinne today for more information and to design your perfect Disney escape!
03330 142456 (local rate)
07895 636 704 (mobile)
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