Part 1 - First look at Disneyland Park (see below)Part 2 - Checking out Walt Disney Studios ParkPart 3 - Back to Disneyland Park for parade, fireworks and the awesome Hyperspace Mountain
I have travelled twice across the Atlantic to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, both visits which have been amazing. But despite it being only a few hours away by plane I have never visited Disneyland Paris. And I’m not really sure why.... Maybe it’s the less-than-great reputation the park has that has gotten to me. Maybe it’s the fear that it would be a dissappointment after visiting WDW. I don’t know, but I never felt any strong desire to visit Disneyland Paris. Until a couple of months ago that is, when I was planning my vacation and I found that flight tickets to Paris where really cheap. And given that pretty much all of the major refurbishment projects are now completed, and with the park celebrating it’s 25 year anniversary this year, I figured now would be a good time to visit. And once the trip was booked I started to get really excited. I would not be dissappointed...
Okay so just let me get this out of the way: Disneyland Paris is no WDW, but it’s a pretty damn good place to visit! Well, the main Disneyland Park that is. The Studios park leaves a lot to be desired, but I will get back to that in the next update. In this post I will focus on some of the things that Disneyland Park has to offer.
Before I jump to the actual park, let me just say that getting to the parks is really easy! Many of the nearby hotels, also those which are not Disney resorts, offer free shuttle buses to the park. I stayed at Hotel l'Elysee Val d'Europe, which offered a free shuttle bus which ran every half hour in the morning and evening. During mid-day it was every hour only, but that didn’t matter since I was already at the parks by then. So to keep it short, using the shuttle bus to get to and from the parks was super easy. I will reccomend though to spend some time hanging out in the Disney Village after the park closes, as the buses will be extremely packed during the first hour after park closure.
In addition to the buses there is also a train station right outside the parks, where you can get the TGV train directly to the airport or take a local train into Paris. So all in all, getting to and from the parks is very easy and convinient.
Okay, so let’s get to the parks shall we? Before you enter the main plaza you have to go through a security check, with metal detectors and scanners for the bags. I’m not much of a fan of this, but given recent events in France and other European countries it’s totally understandable. And its quickly forgotten once you get inside. From here you have the option to head to either one of the two parks, or head to the Disney Village, which is like a smaller version of Disney Springs. There are some familar sights here, like the World of Disney store, Planet Hollywood or Rainforest Cafe. But for me, I went straight to Disneyland Park.
After passing some beautiful fountains and taking in the spectacular view of the Disneyland Hotel over the park entrance, I went to get my tickets. Having purchased my 3-day park hopper ticket in advance, I got a voucher to print at home. Once at the park it was just to scan the voucher at the machine in exchange for the ticket. And then again scan the ticket at the gates to get into the parks. Again, super easy!
Once inside the park, it becomes more familar. The plaza, train station, main street, hub and castle are all laid out in a very familiar way. As expected it all looks great, and along with the music played around main street it really gets you into the proper mood for a great day at the park!
Final note before I jump into the pictures, meeting up with some fellow TPR members really turned a great trip into a fantastic one, given that I was travelling alone. So Andrew, Chris and Dylan, thank you very much, you really helped making my trip a memorable one!
Okay, now let’s get onto the pictures. Note! The pictures are taken over three days and not neccesarily in the order they were taken. So in some of the pictures it will be quite clody, while being clear skies in others.
One of the main attractions at Disneyland Paris is Big Thunder Mountain. This is one of very few rides that during my visit built up a significant line (60-70 minutes) so if you go here get a fast pass for this ride early.
For the ride itself, it’s very fun. With the exception of the station, the whole ride is located on an island. This means that the ride goes through a tunnel under the water both at the beginning and at the end of the ride. These tunnels are very dark, and particularly on the return trip it feels like you’re going a million miler per hour through the tunnel.
So yeah, that was a first glimpse of what Disneyland Paris has to offer. I was definitely impressed by the park! Yes, there are some things which can be improved upon, like food service for example, my overall impression was very positive. In the next update I’ll head over to Walt Disney Studios to show you what that park has to offer, before coming back to Disneyland Park and having a look at Discoveryland and the afternoon parade before finishing off with Illuminations at the end of the day. Stay tuned!