If you read my 40 Things Before 40 "bucket list" last month then you'll know that one of the things I wanted to do before turning 40 was to visit Disneyland Paris...preferably during Hallowe'en season!
I have been obsessed with all things Disney ever since I was a child and first fell in love with Cinderella, and when "Euro Disney" first opened its doors when I was 12 I was desperate to visit - but it wasn't to be and ever since then it's been something that's been on my to-do list.
Now that I have my own children, the time seemed right to finally make the trip - I have to admit it was something I was very nervous about as my travel anxiety is quite extreme at the moment and travelling on the Eurostar for the first time made me nervous, as did travelling in France with the recent terrorist attacks fresh in my mind - in fact I almost cancelled the trip quite a few times due to nerves. But we went...and I am so glad that we did!
As soon as we arrived in Disneyland, my security fears were eased by the very visible presence of armed guards at the train station and around the entrance to the resort - as well as the addition of security check points at every entrance to the Disney Village and parks with body and bag scanners. According to my sister who has been to Disneyland numerous times before, these are a new addition to the park and something I really hope stays!
Our journey to Disney wasn't exactly smooth - we left from my parents house in Liverpool at 4.30 am for the 4 hour journey to the Eurostar station in Ebbsfleet, we didn't need to check in until 10.30 am so this gave us plenty of time...or so we thought! Despite the 2 extra hours that we had allowed, we still ended up missing our Eurostar as we ran into a 3 hour hold up following an accident on the M6!
We arrived just as our train was departing, I ran up to the customer service desk in tears and the staff member, Katie, said she would look into changing our tickets to the next train - I almost fainted when she told me that it would cost us £200 to change them!!!
The tickets had already cost £300 and after spending all of our spare money on the holiday, I simply didn't have £200 extra to pay to change the tickets - I started to have a bit of a panic attack as I imagined us having to explain to Tyne that we couldn't go to Disneyland after all - Katie, the member of staff, then started to cry herself as she saw me getting upset and said she would have a think about anything else she might be able to do.
She then suggested that instead of travelling to Disneyland direct, she would be happy to put us on the next train to Paris free of charge and all we would need to do was take the RER from Paris to Disneyland which would cost around 7 euros each. We were thrilled and agreed, Katie printed out instructions for us on how to get the RER and off we went to Paris!
The journey was quick and pleasant, and although the changeover in Paris was a bit more complicated than I'd have liked - we eventually made it to Disneyland, around 3 hours later than planned!
Considering we only had 2 hours left of the park being open, we managed to squeeze in quite a lot!
We arrived just as Disney Magic On Parade was passing so we watched that which was the perfect Disney Welcome, we then had a walk around Main Street USA (The Halloween theming is fantastic and Tyne loved exploring it, hunting out the ghosts and pumpkins!) and Fantasyland before hopping on our first ride...Pirates Of The Caribbean!...we all loved it, and were delighted that we were able to walk straight on with no queues!
After the ride, we headed back to the castle to watch the Villains show "It's Good To Be Bad" and after we met Captain Hook who was fantastic with Tyne...we also saw the Witch from Snow White but Tyne was a bit frightened of her so we didn't meet her!
We headed out of the park at around 7.30, passing the villains on Main Street as we left - we bumped into Queen of Hearts and Jafar, and Tyne was delighted to meet Captain Hook again who remembered him and made a fuss...we had an 8pm table booked at Cafe Mickey so we headed off for dinner!
We were seated quite quickly at Cafe Mickey, and I was impressed with how efficient the service was for such a busy restaurant - I'll talk more about the food in Disney in another post, but the interaction in here was fantastic!! We met Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Tigger and Eeyore and each of them visited our table two or three times. Tyne was delighted when Mickey fed him his dessert and when Tigger tried to pinch it!
After such a hectic day, we were looking forward to bed so we walked along the river to our hotel - the Santa Fe - checked in, and went to find our room which was pleasant and clean although a little basic for my tastes. We had a great nights sleep, ready for a bright and early morning of Disney fun!
We spent the day in Walt Disney Studios as Tyne was determined to get on the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop in Toy Story Land.
I loved the atmosphere in studios, it was much more relaxed and the queues were low too - we went on the Toy Soldier parachute drop twice (queues were about 20 minutes long for this), the Cars ride (walked straight on), Slinky Dog (walked straight on) and the Studio Tram Tour (Walked straight on).
We had lunch in the main building in studios, and met Jack Skellington outside - there was no queue, it was only us which was quite unusual! He was fantastic, so true to the character and Tyne was delighted to meet a character he could talk to!
We also met Spider Man, which did have a queue about half an hour long, but it was worth the wait as Tyne really enjoyed the meet!
We also saw the Moteurs Stunt show which I was in two minds about seeing, but am so glad we did - it was really fantastic and Tyne loved getting to see Lightning McQueen too!
Studios is great for the extra bits and pieces dotted around, such as photo props and the Monsters Inc section which Tyne really loved - particularly the Scream-o-meters!
We then headed back into the main Disney park at around 6pm with the intention of doing some rides, but I was surprised to find that they had all closed in preparation for the Dreams show at the castle - so instead we had a walk around Main Street, and then got a spot to watch Dreams - the show was really breath taking and I definitely got teary a few times!
After the show, we headed to Planet Hollywood for dinner - more on that in another post!
Today we made use of Extra Magic Hours (Two hours additional park access for Disney hotel guests, before the park opens to the general public) and got lots of photos in front of the castle while it was quiet - we then explored inside the castle for the first time, and ventured under neath to find the dragon - who was really quite impressive and even frightened me a little bit, he was very realistic!
After exploring the castle, we made our way around the rides in Fantasyland - we went on Dumbo, the Carousel, the Mad Hatters Tea Cups, Snow White & The 7 Dwarves, and Peter Pans Flight...all of the rides were a walk on and we even rode Peter Pans Flight 3 times in a row because we all loved it so much and there was absolutely no queue!
We headed to meet Maleficent, who was fantastic - Tyne was terrified of her and hid behind me the whole time but I really enjoyed the meet!
After Fantasyland, we walked back down Main Street USA to do some Meet & Greets - we had purchased a Photo Pass Plus so I wanted to make sure we got our moneys worth out of it, and I had noticed that the character Meet & Greets on Main Street all had Photopass photographers on this particular day!
Tyne saw Stitch doing meet & greets and wanted to line up to meet him, it was a long queue at around 20 minutes and not one I would have chosen to stand in as I have never even seen Lilo & Stitch but Tyne really wanted to meet him so we waited and I'm glad we did as Tyne was so excited and the photos they took are some of my favourites from the trip!
After that we headed to meet Marie from Aristocats, who was the one character I had been desperate to meet as she has always been my favourite! She didn't disappoint as she played to the character perfectly...scratching her back up the poles, licking everybody and generally being a mischevious cat! The character interaction at Disney really is above and beyond anything you see in any other theme parks!
The queue for Marie wasn't too long, and she was great with Tyne...dancing with him to the parade music that was playing!
After we had our photos taken with Marie, we went on to Main Street to watch the Halloween Parade - this was something I had really been looking forward to and it was absolutely fantastic!! I still can't get the song out of my head!
After the parade, we took the Disney Railroad to Frontierland as Tyne wanted to go and meet Woody from Toy Story...
The queue for Woody wasn't too long so we met him, and then did another meet with Jack Skellington at his cemetery, and met Mickey & Minnie in their Halloween costumes.
We went on Phantom Manor, which I was a bit nervous about as I thought it may be too frightening for Tyne but I was wrong...the build up to the ride was almost too frightening for me!!! I'm scared of the dark and parts of it were pitch black, you literally couldn't see your hand in front of your face - but once we got on the ride it was no scarier than a fairground ghost train and Tyne took it all in his stride - he even asked if we could go on again!
After that we headed to Discoveryland, where we went on the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast ride (I got the highest score ...#JustSayin...) and then did a bit of shopping in the gift shops (which I actually thought were quite reasonably priced considering it's Disneyland!).
After such a hectic day, we stopped for coffee and cakes in Cable Car Bake on Main Street and while I was queueing to buy them...Tyne fell asleep at the table! We sat there for an hour or so to let him rest (we didn't take a pushchair so he had nowhere else to sit down!), and Jon and I enjoyed the chance to take a breather.
After that we did a bit more gift shopping on Main Street, before heading out of the park at around 7.30 to get a table for dinner in the Disney Village - we chose Annette's which turned out to be a bad choice, but more on that in my Disney Dining post in a few days!
After another busy day, we headed back to Santa Fe where we had a little play in the hotel video arcade and I treated myself to a very yummy Glowtini from the bar before bed...all ready for our very last Disney day!
This was the day we were going home, but our Eurostar wasn't until 6.50 pm - we had paid for the Disney Express luggage service which meant our cases would be taken from the hotel to the train station for us, so we didn't need to leave the Disneyland Park until 6pm.
We started the day in Walt Disney Studios to repeat some of our favourite rides - we went on Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog and the Cars ride again, and then did a meet & greet with Buzz Lightyear which was really good fun! Tyne showed Buzz his new Zurg toy which Buzz was not happy about - great interaction again!
We also bumped into Gepetto while we were walking around, and had some photos taken with him - Tyne watched Pinocchio last week for the first time and for some reason was quite taken with Gepetto so he was delighted to meet him! Again the interaction was great as Gepetto took Tyne's hands and made him dance like a puppet.
We then headed to see Mickey & The Magician, which is a show I had heard great things about but didn't really know what to expect from...I was SO pleased we took the time to see it as it was honestly the highlight of the entire trip for me - it was just magical and I loved every second of it. I also cried once or twice...if you get the chance to see it then DO as I believe it finishes this year!
We then headed back into Disneyland one more time, and finished off our day with one last ride...we chose Pirates Of The Caribbean which was quite fitting as it had been our very first ride in the park too.
After the ride, we bought a few more gifts and then headed to Main Street to watch Magic On Parade one more time.
Then it was time to go home....and although Tyne was fine when we were leaving, the same can't be said for me...I cried!!! Real tears, like a child, as we left the park.
What can I say?! Disney magic got to me and I didn't want it to end!
Our trip to Disneyland Paris was without doubt the most magical holiday we've ever had and I cannot wait to go back again.
*If you are considering visiting Disneyland Paris and have any questions about it, please let me know as I will be doing a video all about it soon!*
If you'd like to see our trip in video form, have a look below!
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