Earlier this year I had the amazing opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris Resort for my fourth visit. My first visit was back when I was in my early teens, we visited with family for New Years. The park was a lot smaller back then and went by the name Euro Disney, but I still remember it vividly. It was my first ever time visiting any Disney Park and it was the start of a very expensive obsession.
My second visit in 2010 was also during the Christmas season and then again in 2016 we visited and spent New Year’s Eve in the park. Are you spotting the theme here? We have only ever really visited during the cold, oh so cold, Winter months and we decided this year to buck the trend. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas in Disney is truly magical and something worth being experienced, but I was desperate to experience the Paris parks during the summer months. This July we made that dream a reality and it was amazing.
The weather could not have been more perfect, it was hot and sunny but it wasn’t unbearable like the Florida heat. We decided, in keeping with the changes theme, to stay off property for the first time to reduce the cost. After a lot of research we settled on staying at Hipark by Adagio in Serris, this is a small town right outside Disney. In fact, this hotel is probably the closest non-Disney hotel to the parks, this was one of the main reasons why we decided to stay. They ran a shuttle from the hotel to the park but honestly, the walk was fine and only took about 20 minutes, doing this you enter the Disney Resort from the quieter security gates near to Five Guys which saved a ton of time. Looking back at the decision to stay off-site I am glad I tried it, the hotel is a lot cheaper but you do miss some of the Disney magic. When you stay at Disney it’s like a little bubble and it felt strange to leave it overnight and go back to normal life. I also missed some of the benefits of staying onsite such as early hours access. Previously we have stayed at Sequoia Lodge and the Disneyland Hotel (the pink one over the entrance) and I loved these, although the Disneyland Hotel felt slightly overpriced, you are paying for the location here.
We stayed for 3 nights in July, our standard amount of time visiting this park. It allows a full day in both parks and then what we call the mop-up day which we use for things that we maybe missed or want to try again. It’s important that if this is something you are considering to ensure you purchase a park-hopper ticket to allow access into both parks. We also tend to do the parks a bit backwards and visit the Studios Park first, this is where our favourite rides are located. My all-time favourite ride in any Disney Park is the Tower of Terror, which goes by slightly different names in each park, but the ride mechanics are always the same. Any day starts off here before the queues get too long, usually followed by Crush’s Coaster or Rock ‘n’ Roller. There are loads of smaller, less intense rides in the park which we also love and make sure to enjoy on every trip including RC Racer. This is another one where you can wait quite a while in the queue but its such a fun ride and well worth the wait.
This park is heavy on shows, outdoor and indoor ones, which reflects the fact that you can get every kind of weather in France including bitterly cold Winters. Some of my favourites include the Studio Tram Tour, this used to also feature in the Florida parks until they built their new lands. Also Moteurs…Action! Stunt Show Spectacular is a lot of fun, I have seen this show quite a few times and the stunts always impress. Also, I love the addition of Lightning McQueen at the start of the show. My favourite show though? It has to be Mickey and the Magician. Don’t hesitate to go see this and don’t leave it until the last showing on the day, we have done this before and the theatre has been full so had to go back on our mop up day. One thing that might be worth noting is that if you have a MasterCard you can go to guest services and reserve a ticket for certain shows. These seats usually tend to be in the center of the theatre and towards the front as well so you get the best view. We used this a few times on our most recent visit and it was so easy to do.
During the summer of our visit they were running a Marvel event which was great fun, it’s always good to check the schedule of events before booking a trip to ensure you don’t miss out. We went to see the live show they made especially for the Marvel Summer, this was fantastic although unfortunately, they had a lot of technical issues throughout the whole season with this so it was missing some of the new effects. Still, it was a good show and thanks to the MasterCard offer we had some of the best seats in the house for it.
Our second day as mentioned above is usually spent in Disneyland Park. This is where you’ll find the iconic pink castle which Paris is famed for, and without sounding biased it is the prettiest of all the Disney Castles. Most of the rides and attractions in this park are the same you’ll find worldwide with a few exceptions such as the dragon under the castle, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and Mysteries of the Nautilus. There are also some unique takes on rides such as on Big Thunder Mountain. In Paris the mountain is actually on an island and to get there you go under the lake, this is done in pitch black and at a speed. Its great fun and something you can only experience in this park. This ride is great any time of the year, we try and ride this multiple times on any of our visits.
Disneyland Park is where you find all the parades and majority of the nighttime shows, try and make sure to carve out time in your day to see these. One warning about Disney fireworks, after watching this you will always compare any other fireworks to this and be disappointed. We booked to visit Disney not realising it was Bastille Day which is a National Holiday in France. We were initially worried it might have affected attendance at the parks but they were fine, certainly not too busy. On the nighttime, they also added some additional fireworks to the show in celebration of France.
The take away from this is to just go visit. I have loved each and every visit to Disneyland Paris, each visit brings something new and exciting and I can’t wait for all the expansion projects they have announced. I can’t wait for my next visit which will hopefully be sometime in 2019. First up though I am back to Florida in January to experience my 3rd Epcot festival and I can’t flippin’ wait to be back in the Disney magic.