Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger was recently spotted with a number of other Disney bigwigs in Disneyland Paris! Not his usual stomping ground by any means. Its quite clear that this along with the recent acquisition of 'full ownership' of the Paris park by Disney can mean only one thing.... changes.

An expansion? updates? new rides, hotels, a new park?! Who knows?! But one thing is for sure, it can only be a good thing. Those who know it well understand that the park could do with a boost and if anybody can do it, Iger can.

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the things I love about Disneyland Paris, and how a trip to DLP for me is probably long overdue.

If like me you are based in the U.K or close by you may have considered or even been on a trip to Disneyland Paris already.
If you haven't then I am going to tell you why you should give it a go or maybe just give it another go.

Now I am not saying that a few days in Disneyland Paris can really be compared to a fortnight in Florida but it definitely has its perks....

Personally I think if you are travelling with smaller children, then DLP is a much more accessible and affordable option.

Getting there is easy as...

DLP is just outside of Paris and is easily reached in a number of ways depending on your group and their needs.

Flights leave daily from most major U.K airports to Charles de Gaulle and from there you could transfer with the 'Magic Shuttle Bus'

You can self drive and get either the ferry from Dover to Calais. This opens up a whole load of other options too as you may wish to stop off along the way or on the way back and see more of what France has to offer.

Finally, what I believe is the most convenient option - The Eurostar, which leaves multiple times a day from St Pancras in London and either goes direct to DLP, and I mean direct (like literally outside the gates) or it goes via Paris where you will transfer to another train which then takes you directly to the gates.

The Eurostar is fantastic for those who don't like flying and there is no luggage allowance which makes it easy for families who might need to take a lot of things with them, or just a lot of mickey ears in my case.
When you arrive, the station is literally outside the park gates and you can either get a Disney bus to your hotel, or as I often do, just walk. It really is that close!

As soon as you step out of the Eurostar station you will
be greeted by this!

The proximity of the parks

DLP in comparison to WDW is pretty tiny but this has its benefits. You can literally walk out of one park and into the other without having to take any transportation.

The same can be said for the hotels which can all be reached within about a 10 - 15 minute walk through the Disney village.

Being smaller, DLP is much easier to navigate than you might think. It is pretty much impossible to get lost and so is less daunting and stressful than a visit to the vast WDW.

Of all the times I have visited DLP,  I have only been on a Disney bus a handful of times.
Every morning we would walk from our hotel after breakfast to whichever park we were visiting. Passing the lake to feed the ducks some bread from the breakfast buffet along the way.

Being so close to everything makes it easy to take a rest in the afternoon as well or even just pop back to the room if you have forgotten something. Ideal for those with small children who may need naps or time out.

Easy on the purse strings 

If you have ever looked into a 'Walt Disney World vacation', you will know how costly it can be. A large amount of this for UK visitors is the flights but also the fact that you really need a 2 week holiday to make it worth your while and see a decent amount of what the resort has to offer. 

The size of Disneyland means you really can see and do the vast majority of it in 2/3 full days. 
If you have small children then you might find with breaks etc you need slightly longer but this also means you wont necessarily be queuing for some of the bigger rides anyway so will save time there.

Disneyland is much smaller in size but also generally 
less crowded too!

The transport options to DLP are a lot more affordable and the majority of the time children 7 and under 'stay and play for free'! You can also take advantage of other offers alongside side the kids free offer. 

For example every year DLP offer 2 nights free when you pay for 2 nights but your kids are already free so you end up paying for 2 adults for 2 nights but can get 4 nights for a family of 4. I know it sounds too good to be true but price it up on the website and see for yourself. 

Also the fact that you are only going to be there for maybe 4 or 5 days means you don't anywhere near the same amount of £££ as you would for a 2 week trip to Orlando, Ker-Ching!

The Attractions

There are a number attractions original to Disney parks and not necessarily related to any franchise or film. These rides really encompass everything the Disney parks are about. Some were designed or inspired by the great man himself, Walt, but each one evokes wonder and excitement along with nostalgia of childhood adventure for all who experience them and all can be experienced at Disneyland Paris as well as the larger Orlando parks. 

- Pirates of the Caribbean 
- Its a Small World
- The Haunted Mansion
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Peter Pans Flight
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Disneyland Railroad

These attractions are synonymous with Disney parks and show off the ultimate levels of 'Imagineering'. They have become household names for those who love and follow Disney and are what keep people coming back time and time again.

Tower of Terror interior

Pirates Cove

As well as these legendary classics you can also find a few exclusive attractions which currently cannot be found in the other parks.

Crush's Coaster (Disney Studios) -  This is one of my all time favourite attractions from Disney parks. Despite being Finding Nemo themed, it isn't for little ones. You'll be surfing through the EAC faster than you can say DUDE! This is one of the most popular attractions at DLP and once you get inside the huge studio building that houses it you will see why. The theming is amazing but the queue gets long, and there's no fastpass for this one, so go first thing in the morning or you'll have at least a 60 minute wait.

Ratatouille: The Adventure (Disney Studios) - O.k so this one is actually being added into the France pavillion in Epcot as we speak, but its still going to be another 18 months minimum before get to experience this in the US.
This one offers fun for the whole family and combines 3D sets with screens to create the ultimate immersive experience. You will feel as small as Remy as you race to escape from the kitchen.

This is another attraction with long wait times due to its popularity, but you can get a fastpass ticket. Head straight to the kiosks in the morning to get yours or they will run out. The queue however is really cute and has lots of things to look at and keep the kids entertained.

Toy Story Playland (Disney Studios) - This is arguably one of the best themes areas within DLP and offers a lot for both young children as well as the young at heart.
Toy Story turned 21 this year meaning its not just a kids film anymore but something people my age grew up with making this area even more special and nostalgic.

HyperSpace Mountain (Magic Kingdom) - Space Mountain is one of the most well known and recognised attractions featured in each of the 5 locations across the world.
Compared to the Orlando version, DLP's counterpart has always been different in format with an initial upwards launch but recently the Paris attraction underwent lengthy refurbishment to delight Star Wars fans who visit the park.
Now featuring iconic music from the films, you will weave through hyperspace alongside your X-wing escort to defeat an Imperial Star Destroyer.
A must do for any Star Wars fan!

No Planning Needed

If you've ever looked into booking a holiday to theWalt Disney World Resort, you'll have heard of MyMagic+, Magic Bands, Magical Express.... the list goes on. There's a whole lotta magic at that place but there's also a great deal of planning involved if you are to make it worth your while.  

The scale and operational structure of Disneyland Paris means that you literally can book your trip and arrive at the gates however many months later having never looked at a planing forum or website and still have a great time. 

There is no MyMagic+ system or pre bookable fastpasses. You don't need to book your dining 180 days in advance and in most cases you can book on the day or simply get a walk up table. This makes it ideal for people who like to book last minute or perhaps have children and family members who need flexibility and to be able to change plans on a day by day basis. 

Now I would recommend having a quick look at the Disneyland website. Get an idea of 1 or 2 restaurants you may want to make sure you go to and which attractions your family will love. You dont want to find something on your last day and wish you had been able to do it sooner. Planning is also a great way to get the family excited about the trip. 
But apart from that you can do as much or as little planning as you wish!

What are you waiting for?!....

K x


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