I’ve been looking forward to our trip to Disneyland since it was booked in January. My sister and I organised the weekend away as a thank you to our auntie for letting us live with her for over a year, she truly is an amazing person and deserved a treat. We were all in our element! I couldn’t think of anything better than being surrounded by all things Disney!
Walking into the parks was a magical experience and it’s exactly how I remember it. The music and atmosphere makes Disneyland such an incredible place; it would be difficult to be grumpy in the happiest place on earth right?
Throughout the year Disneyland have different themes to keep it interesting; during our stay it was Pirates and Princesses. If we had gone in June the theme would have been Marvel superheroes, this would have been pretty awesome to see but we had an amazing time regardless.
WHERE TO STAY?
We wanted to be up close with everything Disney on our trip, this is why we decided to stay at one of the Disneyland hotels. There are 8 Disneyland hotels and so many partner hotels around the area; you’re spoilt for choice. We stayed in the Sequoia Lodge, which is one of the 3 star hotels; it has facilities such as a swimming pool and a gym. We didn’t get a chance to use any of these because we were so tired after walking the entire day. On average, we did about 17,000 steps, perhaps this justified me relaxing for a few days afterwards!
All the hotels offer a free shuttle bus to the parks on a regular basis except from the Davy Crocket ranch. The shuttle service was amazing to have available, especially after walking around the parks all day. We were exhausted and the thought of walking that extra 15 minutes was daunting!
WHAT TO PACK?
Packaging for holiday is difficult, I never have any idea what to take. I thought “what if it rains” or “what if I’m not warm enough”. We were only taking hand luggage and had to be smart about it. Obviously, I took way too much and didn’t wear 70% of it.
What I would suggest is comfortable clothes, nothing too fancy; it’s Disneyland not a catwalk. Leave your heels at home and opt for sandals or trainers. I wore my Birkenstocks everyday and was fine, although, after such a long day I seriously needed to put my feet up and sleep.
MEET THE CHARACTERS
One of the best things about Disneyland is meeting all your favourite characters; we’re all kids at heart after all! We were able to meet seven characters, four from Alice in Wonderland, two from Winnie the Pooh and Donald Duck. If you want to meet the characters be prepared to queue, sometimes for over an hour but it’s well worth the wait.
On the programmes it says “Minnie or Friends”; sometimes you don’t get the characters you’re expecting. On the first day we wanted to meet Winnie the Pooh, when we got to that section it was Eeyore instead. Charlotte could see the disappointment on my face because I was so excited to see Winnie! On the last day we gave it one more try and luckily enough he was there! We didn’t get to meet all the characters on our list but we had to be selective because we had a lot to cover during our stay.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
If you have a sweet tooth you’re in the right place! Disneyland is filled with lots of sweet treats that will rot your teeth for sure, when you’ve got crepes with Nutella on every corner it would be rude not to have one. Another thing I had to buy was fudge from the sweet shop, I remember it from previous trips and couldn’t resist bringing some home.
There are a few different options for food on your visit, we stayed at one of the Disneyland hotels and chose to go half board. This included breakfast and lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants available with this offer. The breakfast was similar to McDonalds on the park, for the first two days it was fine but the last day we decided to pay the extra and have the buffet breakfast at the hotel. There was so much to choose from, we made the most of it and filled up for the day!
After all the junk food over the weekend we couldn’t wait to get back to a healthier lifestyle and routine!
You may say, “I’m not going to buy anything” but make sure you leave a little space free in your suitcase. There are so many shops and something for everyone. From sweets and fudge to clothing and novelty items. Surprisingly, there was a shop dedicated to Christmas items and we were only in May, now that is forward planning! My auntie brought quite a few things; she just can’t help herself. She loves buying things for my niece Phoebe and even treated us, which is always nice to get a little present.
I have a tendency to go overboard from time to time, I avoided buying an enormous amount because I knew I didn’t need it. Since I’m moving to Canada in July I didn’t want to buy anything I couldn’t take with me. In the end, I brought a t-shirt, a key ring and Alice in Wonderland charm from the Pandora shop, it’s exclusive to the Disney Parks so I couldn’t resist. Oh, and some Minnie Mouse ears of course, but I’m sure I can take these to Canada right?
If you want to experience the magic behind the scenes of your beloved Disney films, head over to the Studio Park. There are plenty of rides and shows to keep you entertained. The highlight for me was the Mickey and the Magician show, it was truly amazing, the illusions brought everything to life. My auntie’s face lit up and she said it was one of the best things she’s seen.
One ride I knew I wanted to go on in this park was the Aerosmith rollercoaster; it’s been a while since Charlotte and I had been on rides so this was a shock to the system. It’s an amazing ride with plenty of loops, flashing lights and loud music. All I can say, it’s lucky I don’t have photosensitive Epilepsy, all those flashing light would of caused an issue.
We also saw Stitch live, none of us knew what to expect. Turns out, it’s an interactive computer, Stitch responded when spoken too. I understand someone was working behind the scenes but it was very interesting. This attraction isn’t the most popular within the Studio Park and I’m surprised it hasn’t been replaced with something that would encourage more people to queue up. If you don’t have much time within the parks I would suggest skipping this.
BUFFALO BILL’S WILD WEST SHOW WITH MICKEY AND FRIENDS
I didn’t get the opportunity to see the Wild West show when I’ve visited Disneyland before, I was very happy Charlotte and my auntie wanted to this time. It was €60 but since we went half board we only had to pay the difference. You get dinner and a show, watching cowboys, Indians, Mickey and friends with horses and bulls, definitely an interesting show.
You’re sat on benches and the staff comes round with drinks and the food, you get a starter of chilli, lots of meat for your main and a warm apple dessert finished with ice cream. Certainly a filling meal. The only thing I would have to say is it smells a little but this is due to the horses and bulls. Other than that, it was an amazing evening.
The illumination show on the castle was the highlight of my trip, it’s spectacular and cannot be missed. Fireworks, an incredible light display and special effects brings all your favourite Disney characters to life, you’ll see Mickey, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast and more.
This show doesn’t start until later in the evening, make sure you’re prepared for a long day. People will start finding the perfect spot about 2 hours before the show, this sounds intense right?. Our spot wasn’t too bad, we sat down about an hour before the fireworks started. We could see a little although there are always those people pushing you around and trying to squeeze in when they only arrived 10 minutes before it started. When choosing a space, don’t forget to factor in the people around you, for example people with kids are most likely going to put them on their shoulders disputing your view.
Whether you’re at Disneyland for a weekend or visiting for the day; you need to make time to see the parades. They’re absolutely amazing and it shouldn’t be missed, if you want to get a good view you’ll need to grab a spot about an hour before the parade starts but it’s well worth the wait.
There was a smaller parade on about 4 times per day featuring the pirates and princesses, dancing around and putting on an awesome performance. The characters come down into the audience to get on stage and perform together. At 5pm on the dot there is a huge parade featuring not only the pirates and princesses but other beloved characters. It truly brought a smile to my face, the music and atmosphere was incredible, everything about this parade made us all very happy.
If you’ve never been to Disneyland Paris, I would definitely suggest you add it to your bucket list. Living in the UK, Paris is right on my doorstep, only an hour flight away which is so close, you can go for a weekend break. This trip was an amazing opportunity to spend the weekend with two of my favourite people!