My wife and I spent last Wednesday through Sunday morning at Disneyland Paris last week. It was our first visit to Paris and we split our 8 days between Paris and DLP. The first four days were spent in Paris and we did what I would imagine most everyone does on their first visit to Paris so I’ll spare the details.
We left Paris Wednesday morning on the RER arriving around 8:30 and walked through the Disney Village to Sequoia Lodge to check-in, after pushing our way through the breakfast lines and finding our way to reception we were quickly checked in and had our bags checked until our room was available and made our way back to sneak in to Disneyland for the last half hour of early entry.
This was the third Disney park we had visit in 2007 as we were fortunate enough to have trips to both Disney World and Disneyland so it was pretty exciting to go to a new park full of surprises. We both had tried to limit the amount of pre-trip spoilers so that we would be able to experience the park for ourselves and since we had four full days we did not even look at the park guide as we entered, we just took our time with no plan of attack. Another first for us was visiting during Christmas and as we entered we were welcomed to Goofy as Santa and snow on main street.
Our first stop was Discoveryland and after a quick run through on Buzz we made our way to Space Mountain, as you can see there was no line and we walked on. I am 6’3” and we were seated in the back row of our car, there is an angled corned that was pressing into my knee the whole ride so I was pretty uncomfortable during the ride. After our first run through my wife was in love with the ride but I was on the fence. We rode once a day though and by the end of the trip (and making sure to sit in the front row of the car each time) I decided that this was a great ride even though I think it is a little too intense a ride for the entire family so I still give a slight advantage to either the DL or MK versions.
We made our way through the castle (#1 castle in my book, #2 for my wife slightly behind MK) and did the Fantasyland dark ride before heading into Pirates. The ride broke down while we were on the lift hill and we ended up waiting almost 20 minutes with the lights on before things were fixed and we continued our voyage. Ride breakdowns were quite common while we were there, hopefully this was an exception rather than the rule. We had almost made it to the front of the line at Crush when it went down and we had to exit and Big Thunder had trains stuck for an hour and the ride was down for hours on the third day of the trip.
We had booked the half-board option and had reserved a late lunch at Walt’s. We arrived at 2:00pm and had a somewhat longer than expected wait to be seated. We had forgotten to show our vouchers on check-in and received the regular menu upon being seated. The menus were great with lots of pictures of Walt and family. Once we showed our waitress the vouchers we received the half-board menu which could have been much nicer considering the incredible standard menu. I was starting to wonder if the half-board option was a good idea or not but even though the selection was limited the food itself was great, the service was amazing, and we even were allowed to stay as long as we wanted so that we could enjoy the parade from our window overlooking Main Street. Here is the dessert we had, no corners cut here.
Back at the hotel we received our room assignment, quick note here that we were never told about or given breakfast cards when checking in, we asked at about them when making a change to our dinner reservations and had to go back to reception to collect them. We asked about and received Fantasyland breakfast vouchers so that was a bonus. We had booked a Montana room but did not pay for the lake view. We were assigned room 1102 which ended up being about the best location I could imagine. This room was a corner room on the first floor with a clear view of Disney Village and the Castle. By using the outside paths we could cut straight through to breakfast or be right on our way to the parks. Speaking of breakfast get an early reservation or face huge lines.
We did luck out on breakfast. We tried to call home but somehow our credit card had not been registered even though we had given it at checking so in order to activate the phone I had to go back to reception again. When I was there I very politely mentioned how inconvenient it was that we had to keep coming back to the reception desk. It turns out he was the manager and was very understanding and gave me a VIP breakfast pass for our entire stay, with the VIP pass we were able to be seated with no waiting anytime without having to worry about an assigned time. We only used it once as we were up early with no lines every other day but the morning we used it the lines were huge and we went right in.
We spent the next day at the Studios. I am quite sensitive to motion sickness but always try a ride at least once even if I know the end results. Mission Space kicks my butt every time so I was quite happy when they created the non-spinning version. All this to say that Crush is a ride I do not think I will try again. We were facing backwards which I think was part of the problem but either forwards or backwards the main ride would have killed my stomach. It looks like most of the park is new in the last year but with the opening of Tower of Terror there is just enough here to make a full day. I was disappointed with Rock and Roller coaster, the race to get to the concert in Florida just seems much better than the thick fog and dark of the Paris version. I love these new info boards (Funny that they didn't have the clock finished).
Did I mention it was cold? There was ice everywhere which was another first for us. At least it was sunny the entire trip so as long as we kept bundled up everything was fine. There were zero lines on Wednesday or Thursday (except at Crush) but Saturday was jam packed.
We had read about people being rude, cutting in line, etc. but we did not experience this. There were only two things we saw people do that surprised us. The first was when we were boarding the train at Main Street station. We had just started to pull out when the CM at the podium went into the office and several people ran onto the moving train and a mom was trying to lift her daughter onto the train but having a hard time. The train came to a stop halfway out of the station and the conductor got out of the engine and came back to have a discussion with the parent. The only other thing was that apparently it is OK to stand wherever you like during the parades.
We made an effort to see all of the shows and really enjoyed them all. I was surprised at how well attended the shows were. Mickey Christmas show was packed and you needed to be in line 45 minutes early to get into the Lion King. There are a lot of walk through attractions at DLP which is fine for infrequent visitors like us but I would get pretty old after a few visits.
Overall I was very impressed with the park as a whole and am very glad we went. Even the prices ended up being less than I feared. We made one last early entry run through on Sunday morning before boarding the VEA bus back to the airport. It looks like they were expecting a crush of people checking in on Sunday as they had extra tables setup for Christmas arrivals, looks like we got out just in time!