Scott and I have always been big fans of Disney. Our first *big* holiday was flying 5,000 miles over to Orlando, Florida. We spent a fun-filled two weeks at Disney & Universal with all things sunshine. Since returning in the June of 2016, we were feeling a very real urge to combine Disneyland and our favourite holiday (Halloween) – & where better to do that than at Disneyland Paris?
If you’re new to the blog, Autumn is pretty much my favourite season anyway. I love the crispness of it all. The falling leaves, the chilly breeze, the wrapping up and spookiness of the nights creeping in. Topped off with pumpkins, fairy lights and festivals. (Our hometown is pretty big on their seasonal activities.) It makes for a calendar full of excitement and a season worth looking forward to annually.
When we decided to book Disneyland Paris, we had little to no expectations of what it would actually be like. Spoiler alert: we were floored. So much so that I can actually say we’ve re-booked to go back not only this Halloween but this December too for the Christmas period. The Disney standard is impeccable throughout the park. Everything is just as you imagined it would be, but the park is quieter. (This is due to it being Paris) and the lines are quicker. Space Mountain was a 15-minute wait. All. Day. We rode that sucker 10 times AT LEAST. It was a whole new world, and we were living for it.
Having returned from Florida earlier this year, and having a December trip planned for Amsterdam. A January one to Iceland, and Christmas in between it all. We were trying to pinch pennies in any way we could. This led to a lot of shared beverages, which worked pretty great for us. We’re a couple and it works for any couple. Being able to just shell out €1.50 instead of €3 for a large drink and still have an ample amount each. It meant that we weren’t feeling the Disney price pinch that you usually would when going from drinks to food to drinks in any other park.
The weather in Paris helped, too. It was glorious for our entire stay – bright blue skies, sunshine, and crisp Autumn nights. The average weather didn’t top 16 degrees Celsius meaning we weren’t feeling tired or dehydrated from just mingling around. So we weren’t splurging on drinks after drinks to satisfy that craving. (*Since, I have started watching Adam Hattan’s vlogs and he talks about requesting an iced water at Disney World so you don’t have to shell out any money to stay hydrated in the parks. This is definitely something to remember!)
One thing I noticed about the rides at Disneyland Paris, is that they all seem more ‘extreme’ than the Orlando originals. They have a lot more rides that are verging on rollercoasters, with Space Mountain that now has upside-down loops and a high-speed track, Indiana Jones which is another upside-downer and Thunder Mountain being generally faster and having more dips than Orlando’s. Personally, I’m all for this. I think they’re a great variant on an original and I think that they’ve done a great job in adapting it for this park. We particularly loved Space Mountain, which you could probably tell by me saying that we rode it nearing on 10 times!
Not to get too stereotypical, but the air in Disneyland literally smelled like baked bread and crepes. The street vendors were all selling Nutella crepes! (Which were so incredible I didn’t even manage to get a photo before I scoffed the lot). And the stores sold mostly Disney merchandise for films set in Europe. (Meaning there was a lot more Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella. As opposed to the more generic mix of merchandise that you’d find in Orlando).
One complaint that I hear some people vent is that they think the park isn’t as well-maintained as the international ones, but after the 25th anniversary (aka this past year) all rides, and the entire park in general, are being refurbished – so now more than ever is a great opportunity for you to go back and see what it’s like!
We visited Disneyland for their Halloween night event – which was so eventful that it merited it’s own blog post altogether! You can read all about that right here.
We stayed in nearby Val d’Europe – the famous district purchased by Disney to build a ‘town-like’ suburbia that mirrors Disneyland’s own values. Every wall was white, the streets were immaculate – and there’s a huge shopping mall in the centre that offers great store choices and a hypermarket that I genuinely got lost in the chocolate aisle of (it was heavenly). Combined with easy access to Paris through the RER train service, it was the perfect long weekend getaway. Everything felt close enough that we weren’t slogging ourselves during travel. We could even walk from our hotel to Disneyland’s gates in less than 10 minutes – but weren’t bothered by any noise pollution when the site stayed open until 1 a.m. over the weekend!
Overall, the trip was a huge success and it was the perfect way to spend an October weekend. The flight from Manchester was just over an hour, and we managed to get return tickets for less than £50 each from Skyscanner. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called the Hipark Serris Val d’Europe that we found on Trivago, with a 4-night stay averaging in at £90 each (another great bargain) and ended up spending less than £200 each over the 4 nights/5 days, meaning that the trip in total cost less than £400 for a long weekend at Disneyland!
I’d love to hear if you’re a fan of Disneyland, and if so, which park is your favourite? Or which ride? That might be a less political question, ha!
To read about my time at Disneyland Paris during Halloween, please click here.
Have you visited Disneyland Paris before?
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