Disney Paris is a chance to go back to the pure, pre everything scheduled Disney of the past.
We recently had an unexpected few days at Disneyland Paris. We planned the trip the night before we arrived and knew very little about the parks or how to navigate the experience. It turned out to be magical! It reminded me of DisneyWorld 15 years ago when fast passes were paper tickets, eating didn’t involve reservations months in advance and characters would just appear for photos.
We arrived at the Marriott's Village d'lle-de-France and fell in love with the place. The townhouses are designed so it looks like a quaint village in France. There are Monet gardens, a store with fresh baguettes and grassy courtyards everywhere. It was a quick, easy drive to the parks and near some bigger grocery stores.
We bought our park tickets on line the night before we arrived but found out that this wasn’t the best plan. It turns out that different nationalities have different pricing. So, we were charged the US rate because of using the English website. Had we purchased tickets at our hotel, we could have saved some money. That being said, Disneyland Paris is totally reasonable compared to the US parks (I want to say 3 days was less than $200/person in summer).
Morning one we headed to Disneyland Park. This was not a set your alarm and race out the door dead tired day but a leisurely eat your baguette (it is France) and head out when we were ready because it is that easy! We parked and walked to the entrance where we were immersed in the Disney magic immediately. The park was beautiful! There are many of the same attractions as the US parks and some new experiences. Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (Space mountain with a new theme) and wandering the various lands were our highlights. The best part was that the longest we waited in a line was 15 minutes and that was without any advanced planning! They do have paper fastpasses and we utilized them a few times because they were readily available and stress free to obtain. We left the park and had dinner at our townhouse because we had seen everything we wanted to that day.
Day two we headed to Walt Disney Studios Park and found it to be even easier to navigate! We loved the Toy Story area, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and the Crush’s Coaster (probably in our top 5 Disney attractions of all time). Our favorite area of the park was the Ratatouille courtyard and the Ratatouille: The Adventure ride because it was so French! We left the park late afternoon and went back to swim, drink Champagne (that blog article is coming soon) and eat dinner. We returned that night to see the firework/laser show at Disneyland. Because the parks are less crowed our kids managed to get in a few more of the thrill rides while we staked out a spot. The show was spectacular!
Day three we returned to both parks and re did our favorite things and stopped by some character meet and greets so see the characters in different outfits than they wear at home. We also hit the parades and outdoor shows, all of which were just walk up at the last minute and enjoy.
In the past, we had balked at doing Disney while in Europe because we didn’t want to “waste” our European vacation days. After biting the bullet and going we would go back in a heartbeat! It actually turned out to be a great break from history, art and churches (which is how our kids refer to European cities).