A day in Disneyland Paris
A little over a month ago I had the insane pleasure of ditching my normal life and making a fast paced weekend getaway with Amanda and Louise to Paris. Of course we did all the normal things like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and snacking on macaroons outside the Louvre – but the best thing I did was spend an entire day in Disneyland Paris.
Amanda and I were up at 7 am ready to get on the train to the happiest place in Europe.
I’d heard some mixed reviews on this park. I’d heard people either loved it or hated it, there was no middle ground. As someone who can’t comprehend someone not liking anything Disney, I thought I was going to like it. But, as with most things, I was wrong. I didn’t like it. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. There are a million reasons why but, these are the top ten reasons Disneyland Paris is my new favorite Disney Park.
1. The area is broken up into two small parks, Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park. Amanda and I easily accomplished both in one day. I’ve only been to the California parks and Amanda has only been to the Florida parks. I know that in California seeing both parks in one day is impossible if you want to do everything. There is just not enough time and dedicating a full day to each park is important if you want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. We even got a student discount which got us a hopper day pass for only $75! Disneyland Paris is the perfect size. We rode everything we wanted, saw everything we wanted and even got to meet four different characters, which I will go into more detail about later!
2. The castle is absolutely the most amazing thing, and of course it would be! When you’re in Europe with real castles that have inspired the castles drawn by Disney, you better go big when making one for the park! Amanda and I had assumed that we would be exploring Belle’s castle, but, what we got was Sleeping Beauty’s castle which was not a disappointment whatsoever. Not only is there amazing stained glass windows on the second floor of the castle, there is Maleficent’s DRAGON underneath it! Starting your day with the dragon is basically the best way to start a day at Disneyland Paris.
3. The Ratatouille part of the Walt Disney Studios Park. I absolutely love the Ratatouille film, it’s in my top 7 Disney-Pixar movies. I don’t know what it is about that film, but I can’t get enough of it. I also could not get enough of the ride in Disneyland. Designed as a 3D adventure you move through the film as a mouse and end up in Remi’s restaurant at the end. I can’t think of a comparable ride in the California adventure, it was unique and exciting which makes me want to go back for more!
4. Space Mountain was better. I am a Space Mountain freak. I will ride that coaster sun up to sun down. I will stand in line for two hours in the pouring rain just to get on Space Mountain. The one in Paris, tres magnifique!! I don’t know why it was so much better, but it was. It seemed longer, it seemed darker, the lights were better, just everything about it was SO GOOD. Oh, to piggy back on this one, the Indiana Jones ride was also FANTASTIC! I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say better than in California, because it’s not the story like it is in Cali, it’s a rollercoaster with a loop! Which, I am all about rollercoasters so it holds a special place in my heart.
5. I got to meet Rapunzel and Flynn rider. I am a huge Rapunzel freak. I identify with Rapunzel so much. The movie is one of my favorites and I love singing the songs while I’m driving. Plus, Mandy Moore is the voice of Rapunzel and that speaks to my childhood so much that this movie is just perfect. Anyway, one of my huge Disney bucket list items was to get a photo with Rapunzeland Disneyland Paris was gonna be the place it happened – I could just feel it. After spending a lot of time in Fantasyland Amanda and I decided to head toward Frontierland to get on the Haunted Mansion ride and that’s when I spotted them. I had decided to just pop my head over the ledge to see what everyone was standing in line for and I saw her long blonde braid. I screamed, “AMANDA WE HAVE TO GO!” A little confused, she followed me. As soon as she saw what I was running toward she giggled. I couldn’t contain myself as we stood in line. I had scoured all of our mall to find a purple outfit and flowers to wear to Disneyland. I had my hair down long and straight. As far as I was concerned, I was Rapunzel as I walked into Disneyland that day. I was so excited as I walked up to meet Rapunzel and Flynn. Flynn was absolutely perfect, with just the right amount of smolder. He even rolled with my silly comment about his nose when I asked to get a picture with just Rapunzel and I. BEST DAY EVER!
6. Meeting Alice and the Mad Hatter. These two were the perfect people to be actors in Disneyland. While we were waiting in line, they took a 15 minute break and Amanda and I waited it out in the freezing weather and rain to make sure we got to meet them. We had a game plan, get up there, get a photo and leave, you know to let the little kids have fun. But, Amanda had worn these awesome tights that were nude but had Mikey drawn on them, giving the illusion that she had tattooed her legs with Disney things. Alice had a hay day with it, acting silly and asking Amanda about how she was going to get it off. The Mad Hatter played along and asked if it had happened when she had fallen down the rabbit hole and we talked to them longer than we probably should have as adults. We did three different poses, and continued to talk. I could feel the stares of the adults burning in the back of my head as they calmed their anxious children who also wanted a turn with Alice and the Mad Hatter, but I couldn’t help it. I felt like a kid all over again!
7. It’s a Small World was way better than the one in California. I can’t speak for the ones in Orlando, but as far as the one in Cali, I avoid it at all costs. I think it’s annoying, I don’t really enjoy having that tune stuck in my head for days on end. But, the one in Paris was actually really impressive! The section on America really made me chuckle. They had New York, San Francisco and at the end a little section on football! It was hysterical. Even more so, sharing it with Amanda was really special because it’s a tradition between her and her grandfather. Being able to share that tradition with her in a foreign country was spectacular.
8. The shopping was amazing. Most stores are the same in the California Adventure park. You can expect to find just about the same items in every store. Here, it was always different. Sure there were a few pieces that were the same like the most popular sweatshirt or mug with Paris written on it, but what really impressed me was the spread of princesses they had available. Jasmine costumes where popular here, which is something I hadn’t seen a lot of in the states! The focus was less on Cinderella and more on the other princesses. They had a LOT of Rapunzel things, which made me happy! I bought my first pair of ears and an adorable castle ring that I wear every single day!
9. The feel of the park is just like in the states. I was worried that it wasn’t going to feel like Disneyland. I was nervous that I wasn’t going to have that same awestruck feeling as I do every time I go to California. I was pleasantly surprised when it felt exactly the same. Even the Walt Disney Studio Park reminded me of California Adventure. It had a Cars section, a huge Toy Story section and great little elements of the creation of the movies included. The best part about the Walt Disney Studios Park (besides Ratatouille) was the Crush’s Coaster ride. We waited a LONG time to get on this one and it experienced technical difficulties right before we got on. Naturally, we continued to wait, and boy was it worth it! I had expected it to be along the lines of Peter Pan’s flight or the Snow White ride but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a roller coaster and basically made me think of Space Mountain in Finding Nemo form!
10. The magical end of the night show. This was spectacular. They used the castle as a backdrop to tell the story of Peter Pan losing his shadow. It incorporated so many Disney movies from the Lion King to The Princess and the Frog. It was truly spectacular and I had to remind myself to put down my camera and actually watch the show in person and not just through my lens.
As we finally sat down on the train ride home, feet throbbing, clothes damp with rain and hearts filled with happiness, I couldn’t have been happier to spend a whole day with one of my best friends in one of my new favorite places in the entire world. It was truly one of the most magical days I’ve had while living abroad. If you ever get the chance to make it to Disneyland Paris, do it. You won’t regret a single moment.