I am a novice at Disneyland Paris trip reports, in fact this is the first one that I have ever written. This trip report (detailing more of the generalities of my trip) will be followed by detailed Swing into Spring articles discussing the new decorations and shows.
Saturday 12th April 2014
I’m on holiday – that was the first feeling when I woke up. I needed to pack as I was hideously under prepared. So, my 7am alarm allowed for a good 5 hours of packing before I needed to be on the train to London St. Pancras where I would be catching the Eurostar train to Paris Gare du Nord. Everything was going well, I arrived in London at 13:20 giving me a good hour before I needed to check-in (My Eurostar left London at 15:31). I had a bite to eat, printed out my train tickets and checked in. The beauty of Eurostar is the smooth, easy check-in procedure which takes no more than five minutes (including security and passport control). I had an hour to kill in the Eurostar lounge, as usual I bought a magazine and drinks. The journey flew by and at 18:50 local time I had arrived in Paris Gare du Nord. It only took a further 20 minutes to get to my hotel in Noisy-Champs. The Hotel F1 was to be my hotel of choice – for me, it is a simple one: Stay cheap, go more often – the hotel was fine, beds comfortable; the down side is shared facilities, but even these were clean. For €36 a night, I was happy. After quickly charging my electronic devices (a theme for this trip) I hopped back on the RER and within 10 minutes I had arrived at Disneyland Paris. And the view that greeted me?
Not too shabby right? I quickly bought a Casey’s Hotdog with cheese on top which proceeded to fall apart in my hands as I rushed down Main Street to meet fellow Disneyland Paris fan, and twitter user @de_gnther – we had a chat and proceeded up to Central Plaza just in time for Disney Dreams! Now, I hadn’t seen the regular Dreams! since August 2013 as it was replaced by Disney Dreams! of Christmas when I was last in Disneyland Paris. But it was just as amazing as I had remembered it being. We wandered back down Main Street, out of the park and again, had a chat outside World of Disney. We then went our separate ways, I went to see what new merchandise Disneyland Paris offered. This turned into a crazy hunt for water – for which I’m still grateful to everyone on Twitter who sent me ideas of places to go! I arrived back at the hotel at around midnight and headed straight for bed.
Sunday 13th April 2014
Alarm set for 7am. I’d be on a train at 7:30am. My objective for the day was to enjoy all two hours of the extra magic hours. I love Peter Pan’s Flight; however, I refuse to queue for 45 minutes for an attraction that lasts maximum three minutes. So, get there for 8am, and get on it without a wait. The bonus part of this plan was being the first person in Disneyland Park.
The feeling of Main Street empty and opening up to you is just amazing – you try and take in these moments as they last just a few minutes; but what a few minutes! I must have taken about 50 photos (most of which I still need to go through), I felt privileged and will try and repeat this on a future trip. I then profited from the sparse crowds in riding Peter Pan twice in a row without any queue. Later on in the day I met @fusemp and @courtneysummer to watch the Spring promenade. For me, this was my first taster of the Spring season and so I was eager to see where the praise was coming from. The music begun, I got it. I understood the theme they were going for and I liked it. It was a toe tapping, good mood feast – even despite Pluto hitting me with his wooden kite! I met up again with @de_gnther – we walked towards Town Square to watch Welcome to Spring, again I got it and enjoyed it. A quick visit to Ratatouille was next on the menu, I published a detailed article detailing the progress on Ratatouille this week.
I then had lunch and a fairly normal day at Disneyland Paris followed, I enjoyed the rides and themed areas including: Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours amongst others. Queues were very short for the Easter holiday period, typically around 30-40 minutes. I then watched Disney Dreams! and left the park rather quickly as I had been in the park around 14 and a half hours. Today was the day that I got everything I wanted to do, done so that the rest of the trip would be very relaxed and laid back – like a holiday!
Monday 14th April 2014
I was happy with yesterday and so decided to enjoyed a little bit more sleep. I arrived at a sunny Walt Disney Studios park at 11am.
Another look at Ratatouille was on the menu followed by a ride on Studio Tram Tour, mostly to look at the sheer scale of the attraction; the scale only really comes to light on Studio Tram Tour as you see the show building and it really is huge. Off the tram tour just in time to be the first customer in the Café des Cascadeurs. Now, burgers don’t usually tempt me and I hesitated about going in. But I sure am glad I did. You walk into a restaurant that just looks like a classic American diner.
Menu choices were slim, it was beef burger, chicken burger, veggie burger or salad. The burgers were priced at around €14,99 each and came with fries. For a quality/price balance compared with other Disneyland Paris fast food outlets this is a very high quality outlet – in fact it’s a high quality outlet regardless of where you place it. You order your food, and watch the chef cook it at the counter. My beef burger came with two beef patties, bacon, cheese and sauce. The beef patties were cooked to medium (without asking, if you prefer well-done – it may be advisable to ask).
Note: This burger does come with a salad, but since I don’t like salad in my burgers I opted for it to be removed.
Now, this burger was delicious and something that all Disneyland Paris ‘food critics’ should try, it may well just surprise you. I will certainly be returning on my next trip.
Across to Disneyland Park to ride a few of my favourite short attractions: “it’s a small world” which turned 50 the week prior to my trip and Le Pays des contes de fées; I really like this little ride, it is both relaxing and enjoyable. Going quickly through many of the classic stories that Disney has brought to life is always an enjoyable experience.
I then grabbed a drink and headed towards Town Square where I would meet up with @1929Mickey – we sat and watched Welcome to Spring, which 1929Mickey was seeing for the very first time – it’s safe to say that he enjoyed it. We then met up with @DisneylandBerry and went on Big Thunder Mountain together. Splitting our own separate ways, my direction was Fantasyland and the parade route to finally catch Disney Magic on Parade (something I missed on Sunday).
My evening involved having a nice meal and strolling through Adventure Isle – for me, an evening stroll around Adventure Isle is a Disneyland Paris staple. I find it so relaxing and inviting. There is a real sense of losing yourself and being immersed in this jungle setting. I wouldn’t trade it for any attraction.
I then sat down in front of the castle and enjoyed another wonderful performance of Disney Dreams! The show that just keeps getting better!
Tuesday 15th April 2014
My last full day in the parks today and so my last time to watch Disney Dreams! this visit. So, everything had to be ‘perfect’ for that. I wanted the best position I could get.
So, a new day, a new adventure which began with, yet another, photo shoot of the giant daisy on the Main Street Station.
I was aiming for the 10:45 edition of Animagique over in the Walt Disney Studios Park – so here I was lined up at 10:00 at the exit of Fantasyland (near Peter Pan’s Flight) in order to be first onto Pirates. I ended up being later than I expected. I got out of Pirates at 10:32 – it was time to run. I made it. I still love the show, yes it’s old but to me it is what I want from a Disney show – fun songs and characters. What might be nice is if perhaps some of the songs are changed (But don’t touch Pink Elephants or Sous l’océan). I grabbed a fastpass for later in the day at the Tower of Terror and then headed back to Disneyland Park where a Grand Circle Tour of the Magic Kingdom was in order. Afterwards I noticed that Phantom Manor had a 5 minute queue, so I headed in that direction.
It was then fastpass time, so I dropped into the Walt Disney Studios Park and checked into the hotel. I still enjoy the mix of thrill, themeing and storytelling in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the mix is struck just right. Plus, the view at the top – wow.
Wait – I was late for the parade! And by late I mean that it was due to start in 30 minutes! I ran to Disneyland Park, and went straight up Discovery Arcade to Fantasyland. Full. No spaces left. Back down Discovery Arcade and I got front row at the very end of the parade route. This meant waiting 45-50 minutes. But it was worth it. A Disneyland Parade is one of the two pillars of a Disney Parks day: A Parade, a night show. I try to do both each day I am in the park.
And then came dinner time. I decided to sit and enjoy one of my favourites: Au Chalet de la Marionette and their delicious Bavarian hotdog. The news broke, Ratatouille would open on July 10th 2014. I reacted on Twitter as many of you saw. But, I was in the heart of the magic; I wanted to discuss the news more, but I wanted to enjoy my holiday even more than that. A late evening stroll around Alice’s Curious Labyrinth would do. A few attractions squeezed in before heading towards Main Street USA to execute my plan of being towards the front for Disney Dreams! – Successful. Another fantastic day was spent at Disneyland Paris, with just one left!
Wednesday 16th April
My Eurostar left Paris Gare du Nord at 21:10 – this meant I needed to be checked in at 20:40, which meant that I wanted to be checked in by 20:10. Plan of action: Leave the hotel at about 07:45, get to Disneyland Paris at about 08:15, check in my bags at the guest storage (next to Guest Relations), enjoy Extra Magic Hours, enjoy a day in the parks, see the parade, have dinner, go shopping and take the RER to Paris, then take the Eurostar and the train home. Sound exhausting? Well, it was.
The plan worked well, I got to the parks and enjoyed a full extra magic hours feast. I got on Mad Hatters Tea Cups, Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear, walked around the Nautilus and queued at 09:45 to be first on Star Tours.
In a post in the near future, I will dive much deeper into my thoughts on the Spring entertainment – but I genuinely loved it. It’s everything I’ve wanted from Disneyland Paris for a long time, I left very happy.
The next part of my day was deciding my final attraction – I always try to make it my favourite attraction, but time was short before the parade. Luckily for me, the queue for my favourite attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, was also reasonably short. And so I dived into the world of the pirates for the last time for a few months. Time to execute my plan of leaving Disneyland Paris. Over to Fantasyland I went to catch the parade near the start. Yes, it worked for once.
I went over to Casey’s Corner and bought a hotdog – I sat outside watching the castle knowing that my time was almost up. But what a trip, the best ever? Quite possibly, and I’m not just talking about Spring, I’m talking about meeting friends; the weather; the general upkeep. I left delighted. I bought a few choice souvenirs and caught the RER back to Paris. Summing up this trip is difficult, I just enjoyed it that much and I know that others who are visiting/have visited Disneyland Paris have experienced something very similar.
So, I close this report with the last photo I took during the trip and a promise that I’ll return to Disneyland Paris very soon.