It’s just been short of two weeks since we got back from France and our hearts our still full of happy memories of our wonderful Disneyland Paris adventures. The trip was incredible and we had such a wonderful few days. I took far to many photographs and love looking through these. If you’re ever wondering whether to take a pre-schooler to Disneyland Paris, just do it! Seeing Olly’s face was just wonderful and it really is incredible seeing the Disney magic through the eyes of your child.
We stayed at Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel, on the edge of the Disneyland Paris resort for one evening and had a two day break at the park then decided to check out early from our lodge in Berny Rivière to stay at Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel for our last evening in France. We had an afternoon and late evening back in Disneyland and it was just the best decision. Look out for another post on our hotel accommodation as the hotels were fantastic.
I’ll also be writing a top tips post over the next few weeks as we picked up some brilliant tips from friends and forums that really did help us out so I’ll be passing on those. But this post is going to be full of happy, wonderful memories for us to look back on and I’m feeling rather emotional just looking at the photographs.
Our first day in Disneyland
On our first day in the park, we decided to go into Disneyland. There are two parks on the site; Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios. Our tickets for our two day adventure allowed us into both whenever we wanted but our tickets on our last day were just for Disneyland.
We couldn’t wait to soak up the Disney magic and walking down Main Street USA, all the memories of my last visit came flooding back. Olly was in awe of everything. We decided to take it easy as it was a really hot day so we wandered through the different areas of the park suggesting suitable rides to Olly along the way.
We somehow managed to spot one of my friends (who I’d not met before but ‘met’ via Twitter nearly five years ago!) so said a quick hello and she suggested we queue up for a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse in Fantasyland.
We queued up to meet Mickey and it was the best start to the day. The queue wasn’t overly busy (25 minutes) so we were soon in with the main mouse and he was just lovely. He gave us all a big cuddle and made such a fuss of Olly. He gave Olly a fist pump and a high five and was more than happy to have photographs taken with all of the family. It really did put a big smile on our face and set us up for more Disney magic throughout the day.
We spent the rest of the day walking around the park and met Jessie the cowgirl in Frontierland. We had originally thought we were in the queue to meet Woody (from Toy Story) but I made an error and we missed Woody. But nevertheless, Jessie was wonderful and made Olly giggle as she tickled him. She also made us have a family photograph (I initially refused but she came over to get me!) which was really nice of her.
We made plans to go and watch the legendary Disney parade at 5:30pm and knew we needed to secure our spot on Main Street to get a good view. We sat outside Liberty Eagle in the shade on the pavement which was a nice little rest for us all despite lots of other people trying to stand in front of us and take our vantage point.
The parade was absolutely incredible. Olly’s face as he saw all of his favourite characters walk past dancing and interacting with the crowd was priceless.
The floats that go past are incredible. The detail in them is wonderful. My favourite was probably the Finding Nemo float as it had bubbles coming out of it and the dancers were dressed as Nemo and Dory and came up to greet the crowd.
Shilts’ favourite float was the Dragon (from Maleficent) as it breathed actual fire. We all gasped as it went past and we managed to catch it in a photograph.
We had high fives from the Genie (from Aladdin), King Louie (the monkey from the Jungle Book) gave Olly a kiss on the nose and the Mad Hatter (from Alice in Wonderland) came up to us and asked us if we wanted a cup of tea. Olly’s been recalling what he said to us ever since “cup of tea, not for you!”
The outfits, the dances, the interaction from all the characters was so wonderful. It’s definitely worthwhile waiting around and saving your spot in front of the crowd.
The parade finished and we hot footed it to dinner that we had pre-booked at Planet Hollywood in Disney Village. It’s definitely worth booking at meal times as the restaurants get so busy. Full review to follow with information about the food as it was incredible!
We had hoped that Olly would stay awake for the Disney Illuminations show, which starts at 11pm just before the park closes but unfortunately, bless him, he was absolutely shattered and needed his sleep (he was also very grumpy and I don’t think my nerves could have lasted another couple of hours!) We caught a shuttle bus back to our hotel (which was just ten minutes on the bus) and checked in. We all literally fell asleep within minutes of climbing into bed and we all slept incredibly well. Again, stay posted for a full review of our accommodation as it was such a wonderful place to stay.
We had a wonderful day in Disneyland. The atmosphere was wonderful and we all left with huge smiles on our faces. The park is expensive but we knew that and had budgeted for it. I hadn’t budgeted for the number of shops in the park and how attractive all the trinkets were. I stopped at buying more than one Disney t-shirt for myself and two for Olly, I’m such a big kid. There were lots of 25th Anniversary souvenirs on offer and I bought a few of those; a pen, a cuddly Mickey plush and the Stars On Parade music cd (which made me cry when I played it back at home..soppy sod!)
I’ll post about our second day in Walt Disney Studios in another post as we had another wonderful day seeing new things and meeting lots of characters.
An unplanned return to Disneyland
We made an unplanned return to Disneyland Paris on the last day of our holiday as we wanted to try and keep Olly awake for the Disney Illuminations. I was a little bit gutted and far too sensible (with my Mama head on) that we went to bed on our first evening at Disney. In reality, it was the best decision as we couldn’t stay awake and it was a really late night.
We arrived at the park at about 4pm and had a good wander around catching parts of the park that we didn’t see on our first day. We managed to watch the parade again and then Olly and Shilts wanted to go on more rides. Olly didn’t want to go on many of the rides during our last visit so we were more than happy for him to go on whatever rides he wanted to go on. He loved Autopia, which is a car ride and of course Olly loves anything with wheels so Shilts and Olly queued up for the ride whilst I hid in the shade.
Olly loved driving the car with his Dad in the passenger seat. Shilts really enjoyed it too, I’m not sure who the biggest kid is really!
We queued for Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast which was brilliant. I was a bit rubbish at shooting all the targets scoring a measly 6000, Olly managed 4000 but Shilts trumped us all with a score of over 44,000! Such a fun ride for little (and big) ones to enjoy.
We went for a cold drink in Cafe Hyperion which was so lovely and cool and then we explored more areas of the park and enjoyed the mist showers in Frontierland. It was another hot day so the mist showers were wonderful to walk through to cool off.
I did more shopping much to Shilts disapproval (ha!) and then we managed to get a table outside Casey’s Corner where we had hot dogs for a very late dinner and waited for the Illuminations to begin. After seven hours in the park, Olly was getting very tired but we entertained him with various stories to keep him awake as well as bribing him with chips (classic parenting at its best!)
At 11pm, Disney Illuminations began and we were gobsmacked at how wonderful it was. The music was incredible with the show being projected out on the Magic Castle. Along with the fireworks, the water fountains and the atmosphere it really was amazing. Olly was singing along to the songs he knew, whilst I was holding him tight taking it all in and I did shed a few tears as it was just so lovely.
We had such a wonderful time at Disneyland. We already want to go back at Christmas and see the park with all the festive decorations. It was such a magical trip, definitely worth all the money we spent on the park tickets and the money we spent in the park on snacks, food and souvenirs. I can’t really put a price on the experience as it was just epic. A truly magical adventure for us all and one to treasure for years to come.
Read more about our day in Walt Disney Studios here (to follow)
Food in the Disney Village (to follow)
Staying at Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel (to follow)