Hello friends! I’m officially back after a little blogging break. Okay, it wasn’t really a blogging break as I was writing right up until the Sunday I left for my trip, but I’ve tried to make sure I didn’t spend too much time on WordPress or Twitter while I was away. Anyway, as you will have probably seen on my IG, the reason for my break was because I went to Disneyland Paris with my best friend, ticking another thing off my 30 Before 30 list. Oh my god, it was magical. Now, in my last post, I talked a bit about my anxiety around the whole trip, and I’m pleased to report that it was actually the best behaved it’s been in a long time. However, I fear this is going to be a long post as it is, so I’m going to keep that side of things separate and I’ll be writing about it in Thursday’s post. Today is all about the trip as a whole.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably will know that I’m not the biggest fan of children. I have a fair few reasons, the main of course being my fears around germs, but I also don’t have the patience for them, I can’t stand screaming, and I’m crap at interacting with them. My point being that when I told my husband about my plans to go to Disneyland, he found it hilarious. In fact, a lot of people did. They couldn’t quite believe that someone who hated kids as much as I do was going to a place that was the ultimate dream destination for pretty much all kids. However, Disneyland is also the ultimate dream destination for me too – so I had to suck it up and endure all of the little buggers.
Disclaimer: Yes, I am fully aware that Disneyland is mainly an attraction for kids and families. However it was not something I experienced as a child and I have been desperate to go there since I was very little. I’m glad I waited until I was an adult, because it means I got to appreciate the scenery, fireworks, and the attractions more than what I would as a child. Meeting Pluto and Donald Duck was a bonus.
Anyway, despite the endless parade of little shits kicking off (seriously, why are you kicking off? You’re in bloody Disneyland mate), I had an amazing time with Lillie, and it will forever be one of my favourite holidays. This is what we got up to…
We had a pretty stress-free airport experience, however, it wasn’t until I was buying a drink that I found out about there being a load of drama beforehand. The guy who served me asked if I’d heard about all the delays, and proceeded to tell me that earlier this morning, French air traffic control went down, meaning that no flights could go in, out or over France. Apparently a fair few flights were cancelled and the airport was rammed. Thankfully, it looked like everything had been sorted by the time we got to the airport, as our flight took off on time, and we landed in Paris just after 6.15pm. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to catch the Magical Shuttle until 8pm, so by the time we got to the hotel, we were very hungry and very tired, meaning we had to scrap our plans to go and watch the fireworks.
Hotel Santa Fe
We stayed at the Santa Fe hotel, which was around 20 minutes from the park. We were aware that the hotel was Cars themed, however we were not expecting it to be as…committed to the theme as it was. Everything was orange. It clearly had gone for the classic American motel vibe, and I can see it being the absolute dream for little kids, but not so much for two grown women in their late twenties.
By the time we checked into our room it was nearing 10pm so we went down to the hotel restaurant for some dinner. I was made aware that most of the restaurants were buffet style beforehand, however I wasn’t quite expecting the carnage we endured. Put it this way, if it was this busy at 10pm, I dread to think what it was like at peak dinner time. Also – so many children. Little kids who should have been in bed. I know all rules go out the window on holiday, but my Mum would have not let me eat at an all you can eat buffet late at night for fear of me bouncing off the walls and potentially throwing up as a result.
The food was quite disappointing, and to be honest I found it difficult with the whole buffet set up. Especially seeing as a small child sneezed onto a whole section of food that I was about to help myself to. That ruled out a rather large portion of the buffet for me.
After dinner we had a quick gander in the gift shop at the hotel where we tried on a fair bit of headgear, including this delightful Timon & Pumbaa one.
After I spent a substantial amount of money on souvenirs, we decided to call it a night and go to bed, especially seeing as we had an early start tomorrow.
- Charles de Gaulle airport is bloody massive – we got lost on multiple occasions.
- Sorry to break it to you kids, but the Magical Shuttle is not magical. It’s a coach with cracks in the windscreen and sticky hand prints on the windows.
- Kids are FERAL when it comes to a buffet. Especially an all you can eat one.
Before bed on Sunday night, we planned out our day – we would hit up the main Disneyland park today, watch the fireworks, and then tomorrow we’d go to the Walt Disney Studios park. Because we were staying at one of the Disneyland Paris hotels, it meant we had the option for ‘Extra Magic Time,’ which was where you could get early access to certain attractions in the park. However, we hadn’t planned for the huge breakfast queue.
We headed down to breakfast just after 8am, and again, carnage. The buffet was generally a bit better than last night’s offerings, but I wasn’t overly keen on eating a full English, so I just tucked into a few croissants and a couple of coffees. Lillie had some of the cooked food on offer, but she said it was pretty gross, so we finished our drinks and went back up to our room to get ready.
Bus Stop Banter
By the time we were at the bus stop waiting for the shuttle to take us to the park, we’d pretty much lost our chance for the extra time, and as a result ended up waiting with what seemed like hundreds of people with their delightful children. I’m being sarcastic. The children were absolutely NOT delightful.
In the 10 minutes we sat at the bus stop, we witnessed a six year old have two separate tantrums. In addition, his favourite phrase seemed to be “bloody hell” and his favourite pastime appeared to be smacking his younger brother. Despite this, and screaming at his mother on several occasions, he still got on the bus with us. Now, I’m not judging, but had that been me, my mother would NOT have let me get on that bus. I would have been dragged back to the hotel room and I would not be going into Disneyland until I stopped acting like a dick. #justsaying
Disneyland Park – We Made It!
If you were watching my Instagram story on Monday, you probably will have seen how quickly our mood changed once we entered the park! Everything was so pretty, and the weather was fantastic too. It was absolutely boiling at some points, but I would much rather it be like that than being freezing and rainy. Our first discovery was that Pluto was doing a meet and greet, so we joined the queue of what was mainly kids and ended up with this delightful picture – officially one of my highlights of the trip.
The Parade & The Princess Castle
As we walked further into the park we discovered the main attraction – Disneyland castle! Oh my god, it was beautiful. Genuinely wanted to cry a little bit. After taking a few snaps, we walked towards it to go inside, but they’d blocked most of it off. We weren’t particularly happy at this news, until we found out that it was because of the parade that was about to start. They had their Lion King & Jungle festival on, and the parade featured Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book, along with the regular gang – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and so on. It was AMAZING! The music, the colours, just the whole atmosphere was fantastic. It certainly got us feeling magical.
We were on quite a high after the parade, and we headed into Adventureland for a walk round. After stopping for a quick drink, we made our way over to the castle, which was now open again. It was so pretty! While Sleeping Beauty was never my favourite Disney film, there was no denying that the castle and the artwork they had on show was beautiful.
Stalking Donald Duck
Afterwards we had a walk into Discoveryland where we saw Donald Duck doing a meet and greet. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same set up as when we met Pluto, and it was just a massive free for all. I was rather desperate to meet the duck, so I stood with a bunch of small children desperately hoping he’d choose me. He did not. Several children pushed in front of me and Lillie dragged me off in a strop. We walked a little further and then saw Goofy also doing a meet and greet…exactly the same situation happened. I was not amused. Thankfully though, there was a happy ending – Donald was still out and about when we walked through again, although he was doing the choosing. I decided that standing there with a face like a slapped ass probably wasn’t the best way to be picked so after waiting patiently, he picked me and I finally got my photo.
Yes, I am fully aware it’s a man in a suit – but at the end of the day, I paid a lot of money to come here, I was getting a picture with the duck.
We attempted to get Fast Passes for Space Mountain (or rather Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain as it’s now called), but the time we got given was right in the middle of our dinner reservation. Instead, as we had a fair bit of time to kill, we decided to wait in the queue for 45 minutes. Now, I’m not a fan of rollercoasters. I take pride in the fact that I went on Nemesis Inferno and Colossus at Thorpe Park, albeit reluctantly. However, I was happy to queue for Space Mountain because it’s a classic, everyone said to go on it, and at the end of the day, I thought how bad could it be if it was at a theme park aimed predominantly at kids? Having said that, by the time we were at the front of the queue, I was still shitting my pants.
I did not enjoy it. I kept my eyes shut the entire time – if you’ve ever been on the ride, you’ll know defeats the entire point – through fear that if I opened them I’d be sick, and I screamed pretty much the entire time, as this photo shows.
Dinner and the Disney Stars Parade
By the time we’d finished on Space Mountain, it was time for our dinner reservation, which we had booked at the Plaza Gardens restaurant. While it was another buffet, the food was actually much better than our hotel, and the place generally looked a lot cleaner. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the toilets. Just ew.
Afterwards, we wandered back to Main Street USA to catch the Disney Stars parade. Unfortunately we weren’t quite as lucky with the view, and we ended up getting sassy with this absolute asshole who completely barged in front of us and then tried to blame us for getting in his way. Despite that, once the parade started, we cheered up – especially when we saw Timon!
After the parade, we headed to the Disney Village for some shopping, where we spent well over an hour. Unfortunately, travelling on just hand luggage meant we had to be a bit more careful with what we bought, which, given how expensive stuff was, probably wasn’t a bad thing. By the time we finished our shopping, we were getting a bit sleepy and rather cranky, so we decided to get a coffee to perk us up in time for the fireworks.
Watching the Fireworks
Unfortunately, a lot of stuff had now started to close for the evening, and the stuff that was still open had ridiculously long queues. So, after what felt like forever walking around, we eventually found a takeaway bit that was still open. It wasn’t that simple though, as we waited for almost half an hour for a coffee and muffin.
By the time we actually got our snacks we were very tired and very stroppy, so we made a quick stop to drink our coffees. The caffeine definitely kicked in at the right time (and warmed us up!), and we managed to find a good spot just in time for the display to start.
I knew the fireworks were going to be pretty. I’d been told on numerous occasions to make sure that we stayed for them, but I was not prepared for how amazing they’d be. I don’t know whether it was a combination of sleep deprivation from the night before combined with exhaustion from the whole day, but the second there was a song from The Little Mermaid, I lost it. I couldn’t really say that I’ve cried at fireworks until then. But it really was amazing. I think the tiredness combined with the fact that I have genuinely wanted to go to Disneyland since I was a little kid really hit home. It was the most incredible firework display that I’ve ever seen and I will never forget it. The pictures taken on my crappy, dying phone definitely do not do them justice.
- Considering Disneyland is “the happiest place on Earth,” there were A LOT of crying children. You have a free trip to Disneyland mate, you should not be crying.
- The Disneyland castle is literally the most magical thing I’ve seen in my life. Especially when it’s surrounded by fireworks.
- Just because a restaurant looks lovely and clean, it doesn’t mean their toilets are the same.
- We should have paid attention to where we went into the park, as thanks to the endless stream of people at the end of the day, we got horribly lost and walked around for an hour before we found the bus stop.
By the time we finally got to bed on Monday night, we were utterly shattered, especially considering that we got lost on the way back to the hotel. Surprisingly though, I still found it difficult to get to sleep. Not surprisingly, we were both still hanging by the time we got up. We decided to skip breakfast after we weren’t impressed by it the day before, so we opted for a Starbucks instead.
After eventually getting our shit together, we checked out of our room and dumped our luggage with reception before heading into the park for the morning. Our flight wasn’t until 7pm so we had pretty much half a day to spend going round what we missed yesterday.
Walt Disney Studios
As we’d done pretty much all of the main Disneyland park yesterday, we spent the morning at the Walt Disney Studios park. Lillie wanted to go on Crush’s Coaster, but I wasn’t sure that my voice would last another rollercoaster, plus it was nearly a 2 hour wait. Not ideal when you only have a couple of hours anyway! Instead, we headed for the Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin, which was a ride in the Toy Story section of the park. It was actually quite fun! We were however, the only adults on the ride without children.
We had originally planned to do the Ratatouille attraction, but again, the queue was massive, so we attempted to get a Fast Pass. Unfortunately, the time we were given was between 2.15 and 2.45 – we were leaving the park at 2 to go back to the hotel and get our luggage. Instead, we opted for yet another tame option, which was the Flying Carpets Over Agrabah ride. This was Aladdin themed, and I enjoyed the Genie inspired set up of it all, unfortunately, the ride itself was clearly designed more for little kids.
Monster Meet & Greet
After the Aladdin ride, we spotted a meet and greet with Sully from Monsters Inc. The queue wasn’t too bad, so we joined it to get another photo. Unfortunately, this was also the area where they had the ‘Scream Monitors’ from the film. So, in the half an hour we waited to meet Sully, we had to endure non-stop screaming from little kids. It was not pleasant. I felt sorry for the staff in that area. Listening to that for half an hour nearly made me want to rip my ears off, so god knows what it would have been like listening to it all day.
Our mood was thankfully improved when it was our turn to meet Sully. I had a big hug from him – he’s so fluffy – and we took this little gem.
After this we mainly had a wander around the park, but because a lot of the rides had stupidly long queues, we had to skip most of them. So, after a little more sightseeing and another look around the shops we started to make our way back towards the bus stop, getting another Starbucks on the way. We headed back to our hotel on a rather empty shuttle bus, where we collected our luggage and just sat and chilled for an hour before the Magical Shuttle arrived to take us to the airport.
Overall, our trip to Disneyland Paris did not disappoint. Yes, we weren’t all that impressed with the hotel and the food and the queues, but we were told to expect it in the first place anyway. I think maybe it would have been nicer to have another day or so because everything felt so crammed and I’m still feeling it now as a result. On the other hand though, we both agreed that by lunchtime on the second day we were done. The mouse had well and truly broken us! Perhaps one more day and the ability to spread things out a little more would have been the right option. I would most definitely go again, as I feel there was loads of stuff we didn’t get around to doing. My favourite part, without a doubt had to be the fireworks and the jungle parade, the atmosphere was incredible and I felt so happy and excited. What’s even better is that I got to spend it with my best friend, and we definitely have several amusing stories to tell in the future!