Disney blogs are kind of hard to write. There are so many out there that have fantastic insider tips, dos and don’ts, and can basically recite the entire Disney history to you in one fail swoop. Don’t get me wrong — we love Disney. We’ve hit up almost every major park: Disneyland and California Adventure, Disney World, Tokyo Disney and even the Aulani Resort in Hawaii. It’s just that we’re not nearly as knowledgable or zealous as other Disney-philes. But since this counts as part of our Romananigans for this year, I’ll do my best to make the true Disney bloggers proud.
Since we hadn’t done any major trips since September (and really, I was the main one doing the traveling, much to Husband’s chagrin), we decided that we needed to get the heck out of dodge for Veterans Day weekend. Initially, we wanted to hit up Europa-Park in southern Germany. It’s the largest amusement park in Europe, and the second most-visited behind Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it), Europa-Park was closed that weekend. So we went for option two: Disneyland Paris.
Trip fail #1: Road trips. We seriously suck at road trips. We used to be so good at them, but then we moved to an island for three years and acquired road trip amnesia. Forgetting snacks and drinks, especially when you’re driving straight through dinner time is seriously frowned upon. On the plus side, you’ll be so ravenously hungry when you reach your destination that eating cardboard sounds good.
Trip win #1: Marriott Village d’Ile-de-France. I think I would stay at this hotel even if we weren’t going to Disneyland. It’s an all-villa resort and I think the townhouse we stayed in was *almost* bigger than the apartment we currently live in. Two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, living room, dining room, full kitchen, and a washer and dryer. The staff is super friendly, and there is a small store off the lobby that is well-stocked and not very expensive. If you’re going with four or more people, I would highly, highly recommend checking this place out.
The only downside to the awesome hotel was the shuttle to the park. It wasn’t free and the cost was 4 euros per person, one-way. Rather than pay 32 euros for the shuttle, we just drove to the park and paid the 20 euros for parking. We weren’t on anyones schedule but our own.
I think one of the strangest things about Disneyland Paris is the fact that it is located on the outskirts of Paris. Back in the day, when Disney was scoping out locations for Euro Disney, it came down between somewhere on the warm Spanish coastline, or Marne-la-Vallé. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Spanish coastline sounded a lot more appealing. Oh. holy. coldness. It was ridiculously cold. We had so many layers on that it was hard to crank your head back to look up. Not quite as bad a Randy from “A Christmas Story,” but close. At least it wasn’t raining or snowing — silver linings, y’all.
When we walked through the magical gates and into the park, I was actually quite surprised at how big it was. I’ve had many friends tell me that it’s a much smaller park and that it doesn’t really compare to the ones in the States. Because of this, I was expecting a scant amount of rides and nothing to be open. The parks are smaller than the others, but according to my handy-dandy Fitbit, they’re still pretty sizable. We covered over 10 miles each day.
While there are similar rides (the teacups, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.), there are also rides that you won’t see anywhere else. I assumed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril would be just like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland in Anaheim. You know what they say when you assume something…this is the first Disney ride to feature an inversion (upside-down loop). Boy Child and Husband had a nice little surprise waiting for them. The Space Mountain ride (Space Mountain: Mission 2), is also the only one of its kind at any Disney park. It features a cannon-type launch and multiple inversions … in the dark. Say what?!?
There were quite a few attractions that were closed, and most of Discoveryland was fenced off. Due to the 25th anniversary of the park next year, they are giving the rides a much-needed makeover. Discoveryland is getting a complete overhaul, but there are still a few attractions open. The park was decorated for Christmas, which was totally awesome. So what if it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet?
Walt Disney Studios
The Disney parks usually have either Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, along with at least one other park or, as in the case of Walt Disney World, several parks. The secondary Park in Paris is Walt Disney Studios — which is very similar to Hollywood Studios in Orlando. The Tower of Terror is still operating, and there’s a mishmash of rides that look like they should belong somewhere, but there just wasn’t enough room to put them in the main park (Aladdin’s Carpets over Agrabah and Luigi’s Rally Racers). The day we went was actually colder than the previous day, and it was a wet cold; lots of misty showers. It was also significantly busier than Disneyland.
When we walked past the entrance, we literally ran to the Ratatouille ride to get the fast passes. This is a 4D ride that is one of the more popular ones in the park. Since we were in the first wave of peeps through the gates, we figured we could jump on another one of the favorites, Crush’s Coaster. We probably should have split off from each other. The line for the coaster was ridiculously long — 80-minute wait only 15 minutes after opening. There is no fast pass option available, so we decided not to wait in the line.
We walked by Luigi’s Rally Racers and the wait time was only 20 minutes. Surely we could handle 20 minutes. Yeah. That ended up being about double the time, and really not worth the wait. It was cute, but very short and more for the younger kiddos. After that one, we split off — Boy Child and I decided to try the parachute drop and Girl Child went with Husband on a different ride. Confession: I’d never done a parachute drop-type of ride before. I thought that the drops would be the worst, but honestly, the inertia hitting you on the way up was the worst.
As the day progressed, the crowds got busier and the temperature kept dropping. I gave up on trying to feel anything in my toes and fingers after a while. Boy Child and Husband decided to go on Space Mountain again, so Girl Child and I hit up the Orbitron, which was right next-door. Let’s just say that really cold rain and an outdoor spinning ride really don’t go very well together. It was fun, but after that ride, I was pretty much done.
Disneyland Paris is very Disney-esque, but is also very much its own entity. It has European flair to it, but with the same Disney magic that you find in every park.
The fast pass system definitely needs an upgrade. They’re the old school machines that dispense tickets, so it’s not quite as high-tech as the other parks.
Active duty military receive a pretty sweet discount. The caveat is that you can’t buy your tickets ahead of time. You have to purchase them at the ticket booth.
The 25th anniversary celebrations kick off on March 26, 2017.
I’ll be honest — I can’t wait to go back again.