This is how I would sum up our Disneyland trip: heavy legs, non-stop laughter, dodgy stomach, fun, queuing, wanting to have another go, asking when we are going to come back to Disney. If you want all the details, just keep reading!
Friday, midday – we are on our way from Hotel Santa Fe to the entrance of the Park. Too bad that the forecast predicted bad weather for the entire weekend and it was indeed raining again when we were on our way to the park. Maybe this is going to be an advantage. Local guests might not come for their day trip and it might be a little quieter.
We pass the big lake and have to go through a security check to get into Disney Village. We walk past restaurants, bars, shops… we thought we’d have time for all of that later. Then we have to decide: Disneyland or Disney Studios. We quickly agreed to spend the first half day in the Studios.
Walt Disney Studios
The Disney Studios are smaller than Disneyland. But there is a lot to experience. Despite the rain, we wandered around the park for a bit and arrived just in time for the stunt show. Under a roof, protected from the rain, we watched speeding cars and motorcycles pulling off their stunts. It was impressive! However, the explanations of the hosts destroyed the illusion a bit. They said, e.g., that they build the chassis of a car onto the wheels the wrong way around so that they can build up speed when going backwards.
To calm down after the excitement of the stunt show, we took part in the Studio Tram Tour next. The tour passes film sets and props whilst also giving explanations about it all. A tour for all ages!
There are many opportunities to learn about the art of animation. Luckily all indoors so that we could get out of the rain every now and again.
We used a little dry stretch in the day to queue for the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. I haven’t laughed that much in ages and I had tons of fun whilst “falling down”.
There is one ride that I can’t recommend enough and that is “Ratatouille”! We used the Single Rider line, a line with shorter wait times because single guests get seated single seats remained empty. For this ride, that actually didn’t matter that much. I put on my 3D glasses and off we went. The cars of the ride have three seats and stand, pass or jolt past big 3D screens. The rider experiences the ride from the perspective of a mouse and has to live through whatever the mouse has to live through in the kitchen. Amazing, but afterwards my stomach felt a little dodgy.
Our half day was over way too quickly. It is hard to convey exactly how it was. I feel you almost have to be there and see for yourself to get an idea.
Disneyland Paris – 1.5 days in the Disney Park
Guests of the Disney Hotels have the option to get into the park two hours before it opens. Some of the restaurants serve breakfast and some rides start operating early. Unfortunately, not the rides we had hoped for. There were some open in Fantasyland but the rest of the park was still closed. Getting up that early didn’t really pay off for us.
But it was still a fun morning. We went on Peter Pan’s Flight. And then the one thing happened that I sort of saw coming. Halfway through the ride all the flying ships stopped, the music kept playing and the animatronics kept moving, it was dark. Shortly after, the main lights were switched on and some cast members appeared and checked ship after ship. There were some technical difficulties and we had to wait--- and wait… and wait. We were not allowed to get off as the ships are “flying” which means they are off the ground. Since we had nothing else to do and the lights were on we started taking some pictures inside the ride.
I found that whole episode rather amusing, but that was just because it happened in a slow ride. What if that happened on a coaster that goes upside down…
We had so much fun on our visit to Disneyland. My favourite area to explore was Discoveryland. In the Buzz Lightyear Laser blast, we tried to hit as many targets for points as we possibly could. Unfortunately, I came last in our little family competition. We went into the submarine of Captain Nemo. But the absolute best was riding Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. It’s a coaster that is almost completely dark. And it was one of the fastest thrill rides I have ever been on.
We strolled through the four different areas of the theme park and in and out of the shops on Main Street. We checked out the products that they sold in the shops and also grabbed some food – fast food for the first time in forever. For dinner, we went to the oriental buffet at Restaurant Agrabah. Guests are allowed to bring food into the park. Drinks are allowed, too, but only a limited amount per guest. We carried our water bottles. The prices for food and drinks were similar to the prices in Paris, around ¼ more expensive than in Germany. We feared that prices would be even higher and were positively surprised.
There would be so much more to say, but I genuinely believe it is better to experience this in person. But one thing we think no one should miss is the evening show Disney Illumination.
When night falls over Disneyland Paris, they turn on the lights and everything is lit up. The Studios are closed in the evening, but the entrance area is lit up, too.
The closer one gets to the main entrance, the more magically one is drawn in. Flowers arranged in a huge Mickey shape, an illuminated entrance, fairy lights on the buildings that make you think of Christmas.
Every night there is a light show in the park that is called Disney Illumination. After all the rides closed down and guests are done with dinner, crowds start to gather on the central plaza.
In the beginning, people stand together in smaller groups, but as the show time gets closer, the crowd gets more and more dense and pushes forward. Right before the show, the plaza is packed and kids are lifted onto their parent’s shoulders – which causes the people behind them to shuffle around again. No need to worry, though. We stood right in the middle of the crowded plaza and had a fantastic view.
Finally, it was show time.
The show programme changes regularly and we had the pleasure of seeing the show for the 25th anniversary of the park.
Music, lights in the sky, projections on Cinderella’s Castle and the fireworks fill a time window of 30 minutes that seems to just fly by. Everyone around us lets out noises of astonishment and we, too, really enjoyed that spectacle.
And then it is over and the park lights come on again. Masses of people move towards the exit. Some restaurants and shops in Disney Village are still open and begin to fill up again.
A splendid finale to crown our day in Disneyland. Don’t miss out on the show if you can!