Wednesday, 29 November 2017

It's Christmas in Disneyland Paris - Part One, Disneyland Park

Disneyland Paris Christmas parade
 As you've almost certainly seen if you follow me on Instagram (and if you're not, I'm over here!) I recently went to Disneyland Paris for a couple of days!

Disneyland Paris blue Christmas tree
 This is the second time I've been to Disneyland Paris, but if we're being fair, I hardly remember the first time. I would have been about five years old, and I remember not massively enjoying it. I remember some jumping fountains (which sadly weren't there this time!) and I also remember having a character breakfast where I met Tigger (who scared me) and Chip & Dale, who were my favourite thing.

Disneyland Paris 25th anniversary
 Let's be real - the main reason I ended up in Paris is because my Orlando trip got cancelled a few months ago. And after nearly a year of counting down to that trip, as great as Costa Rica was it didn't quite provide the Disney fix that I'd been expecting.

  However, I also thought this was a great year to visit Paris. It is of course the 25th birthday of the park and I'd heard great things about the parades and decorations, and it also happened to be the start of the Christmas festivities - literally, they started on Saturday and we arrived on Sunday!

I REALLY liked the entrance to the park. I love the pretty blue shades, and even though I thought it was kinda ugly, I also really liked the big Christmas tree! In the evening I watched the lighting of the tree, and it was actually a fun little show.

 One thing I really liked about Disneyland Park was how detailed it all was. The theming was fantastic, and no detail was missed. It was a nice experience to just walk through the different lands and explore - and it's even better at night!

Disneyland Paris dancer

Disneyland Paris Donald Duck

Disneyland Paris dancer

Disneyland Paris dragon
 Another thing I really enjoyed was the parades. I LOVE Disney parades, so I was very excited to see the two that Disneyland Paris had to offer. And they didn't disappoint! I loved the detail of the dragon, I loved the dancers (and especially their outfits!) and I enjoyed the music as well. I think both parades currently running are definitely worth watching, and unlike the American parks you don't have to get their SUPER early. Bear in mind that if you go during this season though, it is absolutely freezing, and I can't lie, that does take away some of the fun.

 Another special going on for Christmas was Mickey's Big Band! As it sounds like, this is a big band performance doing various Christmassy songs with a few appearances from some special characters! I actually LOVED this show, and it was one of my favourite parts of the trip. I don't typically like big band music, but this was a really fun experience and was done very well.

 Of course I met some characters! But my absolute favourite was getting to meet Jack Skellington, who was a lot of fun to meet. If I had to pick my second favourite, it would be Donald, as he was wearing his special 25th anniversary outfit and looked very smart!

  While we're here, let's talk about meeting characters and how it compares to the American parks.

  First of all, I'd say you're more rushed. On more than one occasion, the character would be making a point about running over and greeting the guests and then bringing them over to the photo spot. On some occasions, the cast member with them would then forcefully tell the person at the front "Hurry up! Come on!" You know what, fair enough, of course the character can't take too long with each person. But very rarely was anyone taking an excessive amount of time, and it really ruined the experience when you're immediately getting shoved forward, especially when you've been waiting for over an hour! I definitely never experienced that in the American parks. However, the characters and the interactions they provided were still very good.

  Waiting over an hour for a character is another big difference - In the American parks, you'd have the option of getting a fast pass for the really popular characters, and that isn't the case here.

  The characters available to meet are quite varied and I'm happy with who was available - but some are out for SUCH limited amounts of time! I'm talking like, an hour or two total. Which makes it very hard to fit all the characters in if that's your goal unless you literally plan on just dedicating a day to run around between them all!

Space Mountain at night
 Doesn't Space Mountain at night look awesome? Actually, pretty much everywhere did! I was so impressed with the night time look and atmosphere.

  Shall we talk rides in general?

  Well, I really like the Paris version of Space Mountain. Although the Star Wars overlay looks shockingly bad as the screens are SO obvious and it's like they made no attempt whatsoever to blend them in, it's a really fun ride. I also like that Paris has several walk through rides, where you literally just walk through a themed area. These are fun, and they fill up the time nicely if you're waiting for a parade or something and don't want to risk trying to get on a ride and off again! The variety of rides is good, but I'd say that they feel a lot shorter than their American counterparts which is a bit disappointing.

 I'll also mention here that anything you read about the food is correct - it's terrible! For a country that is known for such amazing food, it's so disappointing, and also pretty expensive for what it is. There are certainly not the giant cupcakes everywhere that you'd be able to pick up in Orlando!

 The castle at night is beautiful and the end projection and fireworks show is definitely worth a watch. We actually nearly missed it, as we were absolutely convinced that the park was closing later than it was. Therefore on the first day we actually missed the show and were confused to suddenly be being kicked out of the park when we came off a second ride of Space Mountain, so we had to change the rest of our plans to go and see it properly. It's a nice show!

Disneyland Paris projections
Overall, we both enjoyed Disneyland Park, however in all honesty I was disappointed. It's just not Orlando or California. However, my friend had never been to any of them and he had a great day, and I think if I had lowered my expectations I would have too. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed myself! It just wasn't QUITE the Disney bubble experience I'd been expecting!

Next time, I'll be updating about Disney Studios, Disney Village, and the hotel we were staying in - Santa Fe!


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