4 years ago I flew for 12 hours to go on a trip to Disneyland Paris, last week it took me a 2 (ish) hour UNDERWATER train ride. It honestly blows my mind that I live so close to all these amazing countries and I was in awe of the fact that I could get to France in just an afternoon.
My amazing friend Leanna (who is an actual, real life Princess Aurora) and I used our Eurostar journey to make a serious plan of attack for the parks. We are serious Disney-goers. Disneyland Paris has two parks but for this post I’m just going to focus on Disneyland Park, stay tuned for the Studios post!
The first thing you see when you walk down Main Street is obviously the castle, and the Disneyland Paris castle does not disappoint. I still think it is the most beautiful of all the castles and it really gives that “fairytale” vibe. Not only is it gorgeous on the outside but you can also walk up inside it and go out on the balcony to look over beautiful Parisian Fantasyland.
If you go under the castle you will discover giant, moving dragon in the dungeons and it is probably one of the coolest animatronics I have ever experienced from Disney.
Walking through Fantasyland you have to stop at Peter Pan’s Flight. A classic of any Disney park and a must do! This ride isn’t any different from the other parks but it’s still super magical! (Get fast passes for this one, a 60 minute wait is not worth it for a 2 minute ride).
A “Disneyland Paris Exclusive” in Fantasyland is Alice’s Labyrinth which is a hedge maze filled with fun photo ops, the Queen of Hearts castle and fun scenes from Alice in Wonderland. It is a literal Labyrinth though, by the end Leanna and I were very ready to find the exit after bumping into about a million people going the wrong way.
Next up is one of my all time favorite rides, ‘it’s a small world’. I am very critical of Small World rides and there is a strict hierarchy (at least from the parks I have been to). Walt Disney World comes in at 3rd place, Disneyland in Anaheim in a close 2nd, and I have to give Paris 1st place. I don’t know if its the pink pastel exterior facade or the vibrant, exciting interior but it is just magical.
One of the downsides of Disneyland Paris is that it is probably the strangest layout of an amusement park I have ever seen. It is all over the place and very easy to get lost, especially at night when Frontierland and Adventureland are almost pitch black. Leanna and I were running all over the place trying to find the Silver Spur Steakhouse in time to make our reservation one night because we just got so turned around in Adventureland.
Big Thunder Mountain was one of the only rides I didn’t get to go on with my last trip 4 years ago and sadly I didn’t get to ride it this time either. It looks really cool on its own little island in the middle of the river, but unfortunately it either had an hour+ line or was broken down during our entire trip.
Now for my favorite ride …. PHANTOM MANOR. Holy crap. This ride. You cannot prepare yourself for this ride. Honestly its my favorite just for the ultimate weird factor. I won’t give away any spoilers but it is a TRIP. I have no words to describe it… it is one part WTF, one part actual terrifying and one part classic Haunted Mansion. (Fun fact: My favorite ride of all time, at any Disney Park is Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in Anaheim. Especially Haunted Mansion Holiday.)
Finally, the best part of all best parts, and (in my opinion) the greatest fireworks show a Disney park has ever done, Disney Dreams. I remember, 4 years ago, seeing this for the first time and absolutely SOBBING. It is a gorgeous show the combines fountains, castle projections, fireworks and even lasers. It is half in English and half in French which just makes it that much more beautiful. There is something truly magical about watching the castle turn into Notre Dame and then hearing Quasimodo sing “Out There” in the language he would have actually sang it in. CHILLS. EVERY TIME.
Do yourself a favor and make seeing this show a priority. You won’t regret it. (You may, however, almost punch someone in the face because the guests of Disneyland Paris do not know how to stand in one dang spot during a 30 minute show.)
Thank you Leanna for a super duper magical holiday (and my first time abroad since moving to England!) I can’t wait to go back and visit Disneyland Paris again soon! Hopefully when its a little warmer out so we don’t have to freeze to death when taking our coats off every time we took a photo 😉