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Where Have We Been?

A European Engagement: Disneyland Paris


Finally! It only took four months since we have been home from our European Adventure, but I finally had some time to post about our very last leg of our trip, Disneyland Paris!

Traveling from the city of Paris to Disneyland Paris was not too difficult. We simply had to take the metro to the RER A, and take it to the end. Once we arrived, we stepped right off the train into the Disney parks entrance and downtown Disney area, and our excitement kicked into full gear.



We took the Disney shuttle to our hotel, the Vienna House Dream Castle, where we would be staying in the Rapunzel Suite. Upon arrival, I was not all that impressed with the hotel, however, when we had been researching where to stay, I really was not thrilled with any of the options except the Disneyland Hotel (which was way more expensive) so this would have to do. Our room itself was huge and the breakfast in the morning was great, so I couldn't complain too much. 





After some pool time, we took the Disney shuttle bus back to explore Disney Village, where of course we started with a classic Earl of sandwich and a little shopping at the World of Disney.


Our first full day started very early to get to Disneyland. Someone (cough, cough, not me) was a little too anxious to get there, and somehow we wound up there a whole hour before the park even opened. We spent this time hanging out in front of the Disneyland Hotel (also the entrance into Disneyland) listening to the music and watching the fountain.

Finally, 10am rolled around and we were able to enter! Skipping down Main Street toward the castle, it was impossible to not see how excited we were. Starting our morning off with some of the Fantasyland rides like Storybook Canal, Peter Pan (which is one of my favorites), Dumbo, and Pinocchio.




(I'm pretty sure I'm scratching my ear, but let's just pretend I'm saying "Hi Ariel!")

After a little midday snack of a cheese and crispy onion covered hot dog from Caseys Corner (I was really sad to see they did not serve corn dogs), it was time for the morning Castle show where Mickey welcomes everyone to the 25th Anniversary for the Disneyland Paris parks!

The show was so much fun, and we especially enjoyed the Mad Hatter. The castle stage is also really interesting to me since it's not directly in front of the castle, but in actually the perfect place right to the side.





Needing a bit of a break from the hot sun, we sought out some shelter at Phantom Manor, which is similar to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World in Orlando, but much scarier. The lines were starting to get a bit longer this point, but wanting to sneak in one more ride before lunch, we waited for Indiana Jones roller coaster.

Lunch was at Hakuna Matata, where there really was no worries! It was exceptionally easy to order because all the meals came with so many choices. We tried the chicken, which had a curry seasoning on it and was delicious. We also had a gyro, some fries, a salad, a pineapple tart, ice cream bar, and our choice of two drinks, all for about 25 euros, all with a very immersive Lion King feel.



Trying to hold our lunch down on Big Thunder Railway after was a bit of a challenge, but the coaster was so smooth that it didn't even matter.


It was also starting to get exceptionally hot out, and I was not coping well.


At this point in the day, it was time for the afternoon castle show, The Princess Waltz, where all the princesses and their princes joined in a festive dance. I cried a bit seeing Ariel and Belle, but we really loved the show (also there is a major lack of Ariel merchandise in the parks here).






After seeing Aurora, and hearing her story, we thought it only an appropriate time to go visit her castle. Inside the castle is absolutely beautiful and I'm glad you can venture inside of it. Be careful though, for under the castle is where you'll find a slumbering dragon!
 



If Disneyland Paris does anything better than any other park, it's the beautiful architecture inside of all of the shops and stores, and the castle was no exception.







(Don't touch the spinning wheel!)




Once again seeking shelter from the intense sun, we headed toward Discoveryland (similar to Tomorrowland at most other parks), where I kicked Mike's booty at Buzz Lightyear (or should have at least).

When we got off of Buzz (which had been a significantly longer wait time than we were told, as were most of the wait times listed versus reality, frustratingly) it was time for parade to start. In a hurry to find a spot in the shade, we absolutely weren't in the best location, but we did get to see "Stars on Parade" after all. It was a brief parade, full of many, many characters, and I really enjoyed it because the floats reminded me of a mixture of ones from Disney World and Hong Kong.







The rest of the day was a whirlwind between Its a Small World, Star Tours, Captain Nemo's Submarine, Snow White's Scary Adventure (the scariest part being the Snow White and Prince statue at the end) and did some shopping.








{pro tip: A few things to keep in mind regarding food at Disneyland Paris; a majority of the cheaper food options close relatively early (around 7-8pm for a park closing at 11pm), so make sure to eat early enough in the day. Also, many of the attractions in Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland close about 1.5 hours before the fireworks leaving only Discoveryland open so do this later in the day, but also remember many will already be lined up and ready for fireworks about 90 minutes before the show.}

Finally it was 11pm and time for the closing fireworks, Illuminations. After fighting our way through selfie sticks and phones in the air, we managed to see about 25% of the actual fireworks and castle projection, which was incredibly well done, and it included Up and Ariel singing "Part of Your World" in French!









Day 2 was Disney Studios park day, and it was supposed to be mid 90s all day, and it sure felt like it. We were happy to be in this park though, because more of the attractions and lines were either shaded or inside, however, as most things in Europe, there was hardly any air condition anywhere to be found.



Heading to the back of the park, our initial plan was to go to Crush Coaster since it didn't have a fast pass, but instead of the park opening exactly at 10am, they had slowly let people start trickling in earlier, and somehow the line was already at 85 minutes long. Assuming that everyone was waiting in line there, we took this time to quickly knock out all the other bigger rides in the park, all with wait times under 30minutes. Riding the Ratatouille ride single rider was one the best decisions of the day because we only waited one minute at most and although we did not ride sitting next to each other, our cars were still going at the same time. The Ratatouille ride was pretty incredible though, and I'm excited for it to makes its debut in Epcot soon. It's a similar style to the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, which is another favorite of mine.

(Ready to turn into a rat!)

Next was Rock n Roller Coaster, with the actual track similar to the one in Disney World, but the storyline a little different. Riding in the front of the car we were able to see everything pretty clearly, and while there was no glow in the dark doughnut, there was concert lighting, fog, and some concert scaffolding, which I actually really liked.

About that time to seek shelter from the sun, we headed inside for the ride Armageddon. This ride reminded me a lot of Universal Studios combination of Disaster and Twister, simulating what it's like in a space ship during an meteor crash. There are signs everywhere explaining that this ride is not for small children, yet there we were with about 20 crying children at the end of the experience.

One thing really unique to this park is most of the rides and announcements are usually done in both French and English. I personally enjoy this because when we went to Tokyo Disney, I had no idea what was going on since everything was only ever in Japanese. Even the shows are multilingual, which is helpful since there are no side subtitles like there are in Hong Kong.

One of the things I was most excited for at Disney Studios was "Mickey and the Magician", since it was similar to my positions with Hong Kong Disney. The show was PHENOMENAL! I loved it so much, that we came back and watched it again later in the day.


(This darn box trick still has me baffled!)

Lunch was at around 12:45pm at the front lot Restaurant En Coulisse allowing us a little time in the one place we could find air conditioning to relax.

After lunch, we used our one fast pass we were allotted (since we came in with a cast complimentary ticket we did not get the same ticket privileges normal guests do unfortunately) for Tower of Terror, and it was amazing, as all Tower of Terrors are.

Crush's Coaster from Finding Nemo had been down for most of the afternoon, so when it finally went back up, we ran to be the first couple in line, but still waited close to an hour, however it was totally worth it. This is one of the best rides ever created and everyone needs to ride it sometime in their lifetime. It's dark and fast kind of like Rockin Roller Coaster, but, you spin and end up going both back and forward on the track the whole time.
I was very pleasantly surprised to see that this park at had Backlot Tour, like the classic Hollywood Studios ride in days yonder, especially since we didn't get to ride the best ride at all Disney parks, the parking tram.



At this point, it was about 4pm, and incredibly hot and hard to function, so we sought shelter in "Mickey and the Magician" again, and then over to Stitch Live, and Ratatouille one last time. The rest of the day consisted of waiting around to see if Crush's Coaster was going to go back up since it had been down most of the day.
Let me ruin the surprise and tell you, it didn't.

We were pretty exhausted and done with crowds and the heat, so the rest of the night was a chill night at the hotel pool with some more Earl of Sandwich (we had Earl way too much on this trip because it was the only cheap, non-park food option besides McDonald's nearby).

Our final day in Disney was also the last day of our trip. Walking into Main Street to get some photos by the castle, the music from Up began to play and everything was suddenly so incredibly magical.

 




The rest of the day consisted of a few rides we had missed before, like Space Mountain (this was the fastest and best one in all of the parks yet!), and a few repeats like Buzz Lightyear (which I lost on for the THIRD time), Its a Small World, and space mountain again.




We also were pretty excited to see the new show "Forest of Enchantment", where once again I was reminded of Hong Kong days with characters like Rapunzel and Merida, and even Tarzan swinging on his vine.







While walking back toward the entrance for a little break time at the hotel, we happened to pass by the character entrance for the castle show, and got to say a special hello to Mickey and some of his friends.

After some down time at the hotel, we went back to Disney Studios to ride Crush's Coaster one last time, and happened upon Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop in Toy Story Land just as it was coming back up from some downtime, aka no wait!

The last thing I was hoping to do in Disneyland was to meet Ariel. The princess meet and greet hall in Paris is two princesses, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, and you never know who they might be. We were super excited to see that Belle was in the morning, Ariel was in the afternoon. Of course when we go to actually meet her, the line was closed for the rest of the day.

There was one more chance during the princess show, when the characters all enter, and we finally had success! Snow White, Tiana, Aladdin, and some of the other royals all congratulated us on our just engaged pins! Ariel and Prince Eric were so excited they even stopped to talk to us for a minute and give us hugs after the show (literally so happy). It was the perfect way to end the night.

Disneyland Paris was an absolute dream come true, however, as a former cast member and knowing how things should be run according to Walts own standards, there were quite a few things different to what we were used to. If you're heading to Paris, keep in mind, things move at a more relaxed pace, so patience is absolutely key. It was incredibly difficult to schedule out this trip day by day and hour by hour because of this, and we often found ourselves falling behind our schedule due to wrong wait times, fast pass malfunctions, rides going down, and a major lack of buses. Of course the other Disney parks experience things like this as well, but it's the way they handle them that creates the lack of efficiency. This trip also made both Mike and I really miss the magic of Disney World (especially the fantastic cast members), and I'm thinking a trip to Florida is absolutely in order soon.




And finally, it was time to celebrate that we did it! 32 days and 15+ cities seemed almost unmanageable, however with a lot of planning and amazing teamwork from Mike and I, this trip was such an amazing, incredible experience. I think it's safe to say we were pretty exhausted and ready to sit on the coach for about a solid week and not move.

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