Obviously, my blog focuses on the wonderful world of film but I thought that I would take a “half break” and write a post all about my time at the happiest place on Earth. Disneyland Paris is situated outside the city with the Eurostar station located right outside the Disney Village entrance. This was my third time going after previous visits in 2003 and 2016 but this one would prove to be the most successful in terms of rides (the 2016 trip saw several major ride closures) and also FINALLY meeting Snow White which if you know me or read this blog is a big deal. But that is all to come later. We arrived on Monday 4th November and departed Wednesday 6th November which was perfect because a) the park is barely busy and b) we got a chance to see both Halloween and Christmas decorations. Rather than go through the holiday day by day, I thought it would be good to talk about my experiences collectively. It’s hard to talk about one day without talking about another.
We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel which resembles a forest cabin with decoration inspired by Bambi. Our room was part of the Golden Forest section meaning that we had our own check-in desk and an exclusive lounge where we have breakfast. The room was beautiful as expected and sleeping in the bed was like being inside a giant marshmallow. We struggled to choose between the VIP Golden Forest room at the Sequoia Lodge or a standard room at the Newport Bay Club but what convinced us to go for Golden Forest was the easiness of not waiting for check-in or luggage transfers as we collected it and dropped it off at the counter. Also, being able to start the day in a peaceful and spacious room with no queues for food meant that we could go at our own pace and feel relaxed.
So where to begin? Well, perhaps I should start with the experience of the parks as a whole. As expected, walking into the main park on arrival was incredible as you are greeted by smiles and joyful music that runs through the park. Since we came at the short period between Halloween and Christmas, it did mean that the main square was closed so no lovely photos of the iconic Walt Disney and Mickey statue but that didn’t take away for the always breathtaking view of Main Street as it leads down to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle which acts as a centre point for the park and serves as a handy guide for where to go next. We visited the main park on all three days and Hollywood Studios on days 2 and 3 and the lack of queue times meant we were able to go on the rides more than once which was super handy. This was surprising since two of the biggest rides, The Rock’n’Roller Coaster and Crush’s Coaster in Hollywood Studios were closed for refurbishment. This did not affect the queues for other rides as the longest we waited was 20 minutes for Les Voyage de Pinocchio ride.
The best part about Disney parks is that there is no shortage of things to do. If you’re not fond of rides, you will still find enjoyment in the walkthrough attractions such as the dragon that lies beneath the castle. There is so much detail in the park and Easter eggs for the most obscure films (the Eurostar station has images from Return to Neverland above the luggage pickup kiosks) which is nice to see.
Luckily, my partner, Adam, and I absolutely LOVE rides so we went on as many as we could and because the park was at a low capacity, we were able to go on the rides multiple times. We went on:
Big Thunder Mountain x4
Phantom Manor x4
Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain x4
Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) x3
Peter Pan’s Flight x3
Pirates of the Carribbean x3
Ratatouille: The Adventure x3
The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror x3
Le Pays des Contes de Fées (The Land of Fairy Tales) x2
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast x1
It’s a Small World x1
Le Labyrinthe d’Alice (also known as Alice’s Curious Labyrinth) x1
RC Racer x1
Les Voyage de Pinocchio x1
That brings the total times we were on a ride to 34 which averages just over 11 rides a day. Overall, we walked around 60,000 steps over the course of the three days which is equivalent to approximately 25.92 miles. That’s just shy of the length of a marathon! Needless, to say our feet are hurting a lot from the walking but it was worth it and more.
My favourite ride in the parks is Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains of course. I love the older rides that take you through the stories. They are simple but also bring that sense of nostalgia back. Of course, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is my favourite film and this ride encapsulates all of the emotions that the ride makes you feel. The animatronics and audio is fantastic and the set design is brilliant. I get chills every time the Evil Queen turns from the mirror and is revealed to be the Hag. I have been on this ride in previous visits so it was from far the first time I have been on it. One of my favourite memories from this holiday was when we were waiting in the Fast Pass queue for Peter Pan’s Flight (which was always ridiculously busy!) and we met a lovely cast member called Manon who also shares a love for Snow White. She kindly gifted us a special fast pass to go back on Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains and also gave us an autograph book and keyrings of our choice. It made our holiday even more magical and was a wonderful surprise!
My favourite ride that I have not been on was by far Ratatouille: The Adventure. I must admit, I am not a big fan of simulator rides, mainly due to a horrific experience on the Back to the Future ride in Universal Orlando as a child. However, I cannot recommend this ride enough. Ratatouille: The Adventure is exclusive to Disneyland Paris and is a bilingual treat as you sit in a rat car and are thrust into the hectic set of a Michelin kitchen. The use of props and elements like water splashes when a mop is swept towards you really immerse you as you follow Remy’s quest to create the perfect dish. If you have not been on this ride, you need to go on it next time you visit Disneyland Paris.
Another nostalgic treat for me was Le Pays des Contes de Fées, a slow voyage across some of Disney’s greatest story retellings from classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin to more obscure offerings such as Pierre et le Loup (Peter and the Wolf) and Oz La Cité d’Émeraude (released in English as Return to Oz) which was a lovely surprise to see at the end of the ride as it was one of my favourite films growing up. I think rides like this are not only enjoyed by everyone but also highlight why people love Disney.
This was my fourth time going to a Disney Park (I went to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in 2001 and Disneyland Paris in 2003 and 2016) and on none of these occasions was I able to meet Snow White herself. I was disheartened when the City Hall assistant informed that she would only be making an appearance in the parade on day 2 and accepted that I would not be meeting her this time. However, an impulsive relax on a break would prove genius in the afternoon because low and behold there was Snow White on her way to host a meet and greet. I cannot even begin to explain how emotional this was for me. I have just turned 26 and this event had me feeling the most excited I have ever felt. It was my ultimate Disney dream come true and true enough, it was amazing. She took her time with everyone which was lovely to see and took as many pictures as you wanted. She loved my custom-made Snow White themed ears and even spoke Welsh which was amazing since Wales is often overlooked in Disney’s portrayal of Britain (It’s a Small World does not have a Welsh section sadly). She also promised to bake me a gooseberry pie which was great because who doesn’t love pie?
Leaving was horrible as expected. Even though we had done everything that we wanted to do, we still wanted to stay longer. We’ve already started planning our next Disney trip to either Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando or Disneyland in California and hopefully we won’t wait another four years before going on a big holiday.
Have you been to Disneyland Paris or any of the other Disney parks? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!