Nixdminx
The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Travel review: Disneyland Paris – a 2 day adventure
Categories: travel

We’ve just spent two days at Disneyland Paris and two days recovering have now had our Disney fix for another year or so.

I am a lover of anything kitsch and pop, so Disney really does it for me – you can’t beat the iconic images of Mickey Mouse around the place and the great retro signage on Main Street. That said, I’ll go to any lengths to avoid crowds, queues, tantrums and wasps – which of course is quite a challenge in a theme park.

My main concern was to make sure we got the best out of a short trip, with as little stress and as much fun as possible. Our group consisted of my daugther (10), her 8 year old friend and her Mum – an expat American – so it was a well balanced. We took the Disney Express train from Kings Cross which brings you straight into the resort so you don’t even have to worry about transfers and taking the train is a lot less hassle than flying. Last time we went direct to Paris and stayed the night there so we could do some sightseeting, then we got the TGV the next day. Both times we travelled using Leisure Traveller which means you get fed and watered and have more space.

My top tips:

Travel Smart
Make sure you put on suncream and have water with you. Take a back pack, sunglasses, change and a fully charged camera. Ask at your hotel what park services they offer such as restaurant bookings, so you can save on queues when you’re there and plan out where you want to go. Don’t be afraid to take five minutes or so and get your bearings; it’s a big day out.

Hate Queuing?
Buy a Fast Pass Premier ticket; it’s 60 Euros each but if you weigh up waiting time in the heat versus going to the front of the queue and getting on the rides you like a couple of times it is well worth it – especially if you are short on time. Some rides have over an hour waiting time so if you want to pack in the experience it’s worth the investment.

Don’t like fast food?
We nipped out of the Park and into Hotel Disney where we had drinks and supper in the bar; you don’t need to be a guest to go in there and the bar snacks are ok too. Best of all there were no crowds and the hotel is intensely Disney, so you can shop inside and of course use the nice facilities. It’s a good way to rest before the evening Parade as well.

Want to see the fireworks?
Head over to the Disney Castle about 9.30pm and park yourself there for the Parade and then turn around for the fireworks show. It’s quite a sight to behold and a real treat if you have girls with you. It also means you don’t get stuck in the rush to leave the park when it closes.

Want to have dinner at Disney?
Make sure you book – you can book restaurants in the hotels or at the station and you will not be able to get in anywhere other than the fast food places if you don’t.

Meeting Characters
If you want to collect autographs and do meet and greets you will spend a lot of time waiting around. It’s not really my daughter’s thing so we didn’t bother.

Getting to your hotel
There are lots of free shuttle buses to the Disney hotels and they’re really good in the day but very crowded when the park closes, so you might want to grab a taxi home. There are no queues and they will cost about 10 Euros.

Day 1
Our first day was a leisurely but packed. After checking into our hotel and grabbing a lunch time snack, we took the shuttle bus to the park and arrived at around 4pm. Sounds late I know, but I wanted to see the fireworks and the evening parade which meant leaving at closing time so we still had six hours.
As you arrive at the park, there are no marauding crowds at the entrance and the walk is staggered by a park and large pools which means it’s nice and shady and cool. The rides at that time are generally easier to get on to, so we went on Pirates of the Caribbean twice and It’s a Small World (a song that you can’t get out of your head for days after either!). My daughter still really likes the Alice in Wonderland labyrinth which seems a lot more popular than last time, possibly due to the film.

Day 2
We bought Fast Pass Premier tickets from the Disneyland hotel and set out to go on as many rides as possible. It was really hot so we were slowed down by the heat and we didn’t have time to take the Disney train around the park or go to Frontierland – so looks like we’ll be going back again. We did a brief tour of the Disney studios which is good for shopping because it has an air conditioned mall with cafes. It tends to attract a much younger audience and we still love the Monsters Inc. area which has Boo’s door and also scream catchers to measure your screams. The New Generation attractions are under construction and look like they’ll be great fun – especially if you’ve just seen Toy Story 3.

We’re not really into white knuckle rides so we chose Buzz Lightyear, Pinnochio and Peter Pan – we were too late to get on some of the rides at the Disneyland Studios.

The good, the bad, the ugly
What we loved about the park is that there is so much to do and it’s not overly crowded. The rides are really good but there’s plenty to look at as you walk around. The staff are not all as helpful as they should be. Some of them were incredibly charming and helpful but the security guards around the Disney Castle were rude and aggressive which was not appropriate around children. We wanted to sit down after the fireworks and wait for the crowds to disperse and they wouldn’t let us. I think there should be a paragraph or two in the map explaining the security and where to look for help. The Disney guy on the Disney Express train was really helpful.

The Hotel

We stayed at the Radisson Blu hotel which has it’s own shuttle bus. We had to get taxis because the bus was not often around. The service in the hotel was really bad; we had booked a family room and had to have it changed because it stank of cigars. Some of the staff were quite rude and unhelpful; the breakfast was a pain since we got a table and by the time we got food, someone had nabbed it and there was no service, just staff running around and not helping. We also got our cab nicked by a guest and when we were trying to get some assistance the concierge made no bones about the fact she was not going to help us, so the experience was not what I would expect from a Radisson.

The hotel pool was nice and we had a relaxing morning swim on our second day. Last time we stayed at the Dreamcastle hotel, which is on the bus route, and it’s much more fun and vast as well. It’s got loads for kids to do around the place so much more family friendly so check it out.

Thanks to Eurostar customer service for walking us through our ticket booking and Disney for the passes.

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1 Comment to “Travel review: Disneyland Paris – a 2 day adventure”

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