Dear Mummy, I’ve been obsessed with all things Disney ever since I watched my first Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Junior when I was three! Along with all the amazing feature films like Snow White, through to Beauty and the Beast, Disney has captured my heart and enriched my imagination.
My folks have been waiting to take me to Disney since I was born, using me as the excuse they needed to visit the parks. You see they have only ever been to Disneyland Paris once when they were ‘courting’ over 15 years ago. Photos only a distant memory and they were ready to create some new ones with me.
Our Disney Reveal was pretty epic (see my reaction below) my folks wanted to visit while a theme was going on at the park and it was a cross between Halloween and Christmas. Being a massive Nightmare before Christmas fan and loving the spooky season of course we opted for Halloween.
Our Journey to Disneyland Paris – Monday
My folks had priced up the Eurostar train but it was too expensive so lucky for me they opted on staying longer at the park and flying from London Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle, Paris. We went on a Standard Meal Plan (like half board) where we could have breakfast on park and lunch or dinner anywhere in the resort, but opted to pay up (pay extra) for character dinning and themed restaurants on park.
It was an early start for us 4am as we left a Holiday Inn express just outside Heathrow and dropped our car off at the meet and greet. We checked in online the night before, so just had to bag drop. Security was interesting (isn’t it always?!) We had plenty of time before our flight which allowed us to grab food before we boarded the BA flight. We were lucky that we didn’t need to carry anything onboard as my buggy and hand luggage had been placed in the hold.
On the other side we seemed to walk miles through the large terminal at Charles de Gaulle which took 10 minutes but the magic bus (Magical shuttle) was waiting for us and we were transported for 55 mins to the park.
Unfortunately our Hotel Santa Fe was the last stop on the Magic Shuttle drop, so bear that in mind if you are thinking of staying there. This added an extra 30-45 mins to our long transfer and by this time we were desperate to check in. I was so excited (or travel sick as I hadn’t been feeling well the night before) that as soon as we got into reception I was sick. Oh dear not a great start, but the staff were good sending an emergency first aider and checking me though Daddy was more equipped than they were!
Once in the room (check out the room tour on the video below) we made ourselves at home. It was a fantastic surprise to find that we had been given an adjoining room made up of a family room and double room and a lovely care package (a surprise by the hotel) which straight away made me all better. We brought a travel kettle with us but there was one in the room, along with some biscuits, milk pots and tea bags. We ventured out to the park to get a lay of the land, pick up an autograph book and have dinner and a show at Buffalo Bills Wild West Show, which was fantastic, before catching an early night.
Buffalo Bills Wild West Show was amazing and well worth the extra money for the night. We had the best time and for the first time I was allowed to bang my plate and cheer whilst eating dinner. The show rodeo clowns got the audience joining in the actions and laughing while nachos, chilli con carne and potatoes were served up with apple crumble and ice cream for pudding.
The show was awesome with stuntmen, horsemanship and dancing from Mickey and friends. The crowd interaction was awesome with team games and definitely great value for money. If you take away the cost of the meal with unlimited soft drinks or beer (I wasn’t allowed any!) then the extra performance costs very little and on par with a theatre show.
Day One at Disneyland Paris – Tuesday
We hit it hard on day one, queuing to get in at Extra Magic Hours (two hours additional park access for Disney hotel guests, before the park opens to the general public) we’d recommend getting there at 8:15am or earlier as you now need to go through extra security gates and we got lots of photos in front of the castle while it was quiet.
However we made the rookie mistake of heading (or running) to the Princess Pavilion in Fantasyland to see Cinderella. Even though we were there as soon as the park opened we still queued for 60 mins which was painful. Ironically, a couple of days later, we ended up seeing the princess at Auberge de Cendrillon as part of a character meet and greet. I wish my folks had realised as I could have had extra rides on the carousel and spinning cups!
After wasting our magic hours queuing we fell massively behind and all the rides had long queues, so we ambled around Fantasyland and Adventureland, getting our bearings and watching the parades. We sat in the cafes at Main Street USA and enjoyed some Halloween Treats.
The parades were excellent and well worth arriving early for. We waited for the evening one at 5.30 and kept seeing the midday ones while we were walking around. It’s a great way to invest your time in the magic of Disney. An early dinner at Inventions really made up for the fact that we didn’t really go on many of the rides. We thought we’d wasted our first day, but actually walking around aimlessly gave us the opportunity for me to spend my pocket-money and take lots of park photos and absorb the atmosphere.
Food at Inventions was so delicious, and character interaction absolutely brilliant! We’d totally recommend heading into the Disneyland Hotel for Inventions (if anything to give you a feel for how the ‘other half’ experience Disneyland) with 5 star service and interior to match and we saw so many characters which came round to our tables. The buffet was good, maybe a little grown-up and continental but I still found pizza, while my folks had steak and garlic mussels. I got to see Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and even Eeyore which was amazing.
It wasn’t too bad staying up for illuminations at 10pm but I struggled on the walk back to hotel because the crowds were just immense! We were really thankful for the buggy as it allowed me to rest during the day but not enough to see the fireworks. Our advice is take it slow and alternate your days. We would do rides and be in the park late one night but the next we’d make sure we got an earlier night to make up for it, all about balance. You do feel like you need to cram it all in but taking it easy helps make it more of a holiday. We totally recommend staying longer than 2 days, so you don’t feel rushed.
Day Two at Disneyland Paris – Wednesday
Learning from the first day we made a beeline to the rides in Extra Magic Hours in Fantasyland. Heading straight to the recommended rides Peter Pans Flight and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Afterwards we leisurely enjoyed riding Le Carrousel de Lancelot and I spun my folks on the Mad Hatters Tea Cups all of the rides were walk on there were virtually no queues! With lots of space to roam we had the feeling that we had the park entirely to ourselves before the masses descended at 10am.
Main Street at Halloween
It’s a real show stopper as you enter the park for the first time, at Halloween you are transported to America my folk said. With bright orange pumpkins dotted around the bandstand, witches hats on the street lamps, autumnal flower displays with Mickey ears hidden within. There was a marching band that performed at the bandstand, a horse and cart, along with beautifully decorated shop fronts and ornate lamp posts.
We chanced our luck over at Discoveryland where we walked straight on to Star Tours, much to my daddy’s delight. We also tapped our fast passes on the ride gates just after 10am, allowing us to go on Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast at an allotted time later. You get one fast pass per person to use each day, plus if you leave a two-hour gap from the last fast pass allocation you can tap in again.
We didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about…“Disney Magic” but on day two everything clicked and then it just happened. We were VERY lucky that we managed to do all the rides we set out to do in one morning!
But the day didn’t end there we had a character dinning reservation at Auberge de Cendrillon, we booked well in advance, bang on 2 months before which is the earliest you can book. It was well worth the forward planning.
The Princesses were mingling around the tables, chatting, signing autographs and posing for photographs. Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Suzy & Perla were there on our visit, along with others milling around outside. The interaction was brilliant; each Princess was charming and they made me feel like a princess too and very special. They also signed my autograph book and revisited our table throughout our 2 hours dinning experience. It was the best bit of my time there.
The food was outstanding. My folks had the standard Auberge menu and all enjoyed it. I opted for the special 25th Anniversary menu, which was amazing. Secret for my fellow little ones…….during the daily shows, if you stand at the back of the Auberge outside seating area you can get an extra interaction will all Princesses, their Princes or the villains as they walk to and from the show. If you are wearing the same outfit as them you get extra special attention.
Afterwards we headed to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Adventureland, after looking at the Disney app and seeing that it only had a 5 minute wait. Ambling through the park at night was magical but we were so shattered that we headed back to the hotel room before the illuminations started missing the hoards of crowds leaving the park.
Day Three at Disneyland Paris – Thursday
After 3 really long days, we treated ourselves to a longer sleep and a late breakfast at Annette’s Diner in Disney Village. We felt guilty that we hadn’t really done anything productive that morning so we watched some more parades and did another couple of meet and greets. Daddy loved going to Annette’s, as the queue for the free ‘on park’ breakfast each morning was massive and with our standard meal plan we only had to pay 2€ per person for an amazing breakfast.
I got to see Jack Skellington, Maleficent, Brave and my mummy even went on Thunder Mountain while daddy and I enjoyed the adventure playground by the pirate ship in Adventureland. We missed a lot of the fast pass windows so it was another day of finding activities to amuse me and the play parks offered a place to burn all the energy. Disney could really do with an indoor play centre in case it rains – but we were REALLY lucky that it stayed dry during our visit.
Towards the end of our holiday we spent the majority of our time in Adventureland and Frontierland, as that seemed to be the place where a lot of the Halloween activity was.
During one of the parades we escaped up into the castle when it was quiet and reenacted the Sleeping Beauty story. There were props from the story and it was great for photos. After that we had a walk around the castle, found the dragon in the dungeon and watched characters at the secret spot.
A nice little treat was daddy booking Captain Jack’s for diner, we enjoyed a surprising nice Caribbean meal, of curry, rum banana and foods we wouldn’t have ordinary tried and I loved it all. We even went on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride again before watching the fireworks from the other side of the park, with a quick getaway down the arcade. Even though I was too small for many of the grown up rides I really enjoyed the ride as it was a bit scary but it made me feel like a pirate too! In all I felt like I had been transported to another part of the world.
The end of the day firework & music show was great and we saw it twice in our 4 full days on park. We found that arriving an hour before allowed you to get the best viewing spots and that they were better from the Discoveryland side of the park (less trees and obstructions in the line of sight) plus being that side meant that you were near the toilets in the arcade and the food stands. Part of the show was in French where they used animated light projections onto the castle which transformed it. Along with the fireworks which were some of the biggest I’ve ever seen it was truly magical. Just be prepared that people will try to stand in front of you, so stand with a rail in front of you so us little ones can see.
Day Four at Disneyland Paris – Friday
On our last day we enjoyed Magic Hours at Disney Studios. Racing to Ratatouille: The Adventure at 08:30 we walked straight on past the queue barriers. It was one of the best rides we’ve been on, something we didn’t expect.
Afterwards we made a quick trip to Toy Story Playland, based on Toy Story, to enjoy the many rides like Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky® Dog Zigzag Spin (which Daddy didn’t like!!), Flying Carpets Over Agrabah and the Disney Jr Show. I even got to meet Minnie thanks to an app my mummy was using on her phone called Lineberty which has allowed us to pre book a slot with her.
We headed back into the main park to watch the parades again while my folks took turns with fast passes on Hyperspace Mountain. It’s a Star Wars themed thrill ride with a height restriction of 120cm and is a full-on coaster that goes upside down so I wasn’t allowed on it. But my folks really enjoyed it as their last ride of our trip.
We’d checked out and picked up our luggage from the luggage storage desk at our hotel and got the magic bus before our evening flight back to Heathrow. We timed it right as the weather started to turn as we drove back. It was almost as if Disney knew how sad I was to be going home. 4 days is a good amount of time to be there if you have the chance, 5 days might have been too much for my little legs and excitement to cope with as it’s a lot to take in. It can be quite daunting when you are constantly in crowds and all you can see is waists of adults.
The Disneyland Paris Facebook Group for Brits was an invaluable resource and without this forum we wouldn’t have know about Lineberty, the ‘Secret Spot’, best places for meet and greets and about Annette’s Diner which was a fabulous venue for breakfast each morning before 11am. We even managed to beat the queues and our lovely waitress always looked after us. Even though it was in the Disney Village we enjoyed coming back out of the park after magic hours to eat.
We’d fully exhausted the park and went on all the rides we set out to. We found that the longer you go for the less tiring it is because you don’t have to get up crazy early everyday you spread it out we go for longer as it’s a holiday we don’t do early mornings. My folks absolutely went on about the Disneyland Park app as it kept them informed about queue times and events which helped us plan our days better but there were times when it seemed like there were more adults than us little ones which made me a bit sad. I like it that my folks still believe in the magic but some of the other big folk were sometime a bit mean especially when getting autographs or queuing for rides.
If we had any tips to pass on it would to be trying breakfast in Annette’s Diner in the Disney Village! Every morning we stocked up on a full fry-up with a massive plate of pancakes and toast. We had a hot drink each and some orange juice as well for 11 euros each (for us it was a top up of 2€ per person on our meal plan). This really set us up for the day and we did magic hours first and then popped back just before 11am for brunch. Every time we went we had really quick service and it filled us up for the rest of the day until dinner.
Check out our video to see our highlights of our trip.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures – apologies for the very long trip report but we hope it you inspires you to visit Disneyland Paris during the Halloween season. We traveled during October half term and even though it was busy, it helped that we were prepared.
Love Bella and her folks x