Disneyland Paris: A Magical One Day Tour

Disneyland Paris (1)

It’s every girl’s dream to visit Paris, but THIS girl had more than just the Eiffel Tower in mind.  I knew that if I was finally going to make it to this city, I HAD to see Disneyland Paris (formerly known as EuroDisney).  So I bought us 1 day/ 2 park tickets and we were on the train to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy.

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The train let us out to Disney property and we took a shuttle to Algonquin’s Explorers Hotel where we were finally relieved of our backpacks.  This hotel is perfect for families with young children.  There’s a pirate theme that incorporates everything from the staff’s costumes to the sunken ship swimming pool.  The price isn’t bad and you’re a short shuttle ride away from the parks themselves.

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Our first night on property was spent looking at the Disney hotels that Fabian remembers staying at as a kid, as well as plenty of shopping in their petit version of Downtown Disney… That is, until it started SNOWING on us.  Fabian was as happy as I was to see Disney stuff again because it reminded him of being home in Orlando, but the weather was an entirely different story.

RJ8A6760Excited, as always, rain or shine… or snow.

The next day we got to the parks as they opened and decided to start at Walt Disney Studios park (a lot like Hollywood Studios or California Adventure) to get a Fastpass for the brand new Ratatouille ride: L’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy.

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Unlike any other Disney park, the entrance of Walt Disney Studios leads you into an indoor area, which serves as protection from the outdoor elements.  Here is where you can find several of the park’s cafes, some with the same names as restaurants in the American parks.

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RJ8A6768As we walked outside there was even more that we found familiar.

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After a quick photoshoot, we darted to Ratatouille, where everyone else was headed too!  It seems strange that Disney would decide to replicate Paris when the real thing is right outside the park (but, I mean, California Adventure… So, it’s not the first time they’ve made this decision).  Buuuuut, I guess they knew what they were doing since the ride had over an hour wait only five minutes after park opening.

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After getting our Fastpasses we took a look at the rest of the Pixar themed area of the park including a Finding Nemo rollercoaster that also had an hour wait time… So, instead we decided to go warm up inside the animation station.

RJ8A6769The facade resembles Mickey’s Sorcerer hat and is a replica of the Roy E Disney Animation Building in Burbank, CA.

Then it was our Fastpass return time and we got on the ride pretty quick, but I wasn’t all too impressed.  It was VERY cute but reminded me too much of the 3D rides in Universal… When I go to Disney I want more animatronics and less screens.  Basically, if you’re just getting tickets to this park to ride Ratatouille, like I did… You’re better off spending the entire day in the other park.

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The best part of Walt Disney Studios for us was being able to see Lights, Motors, Action one more time since it has been removed from WDW.  It was kind of fun to see the bilingual version too.

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Oh! I almost forgot, another attraction you’ll no longer find in its WDW location but IS still in Paris is the Backlot Tram Tour!  So, there is another reason to check out this park after all.

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We made our way to Disneyland Park while the sun was still shining, and good thing we did too, because grey clouds were beginning to make their way across the sky.

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On a brighter note, I absolutely fell in love with this version of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Instead of basing it on a real existing castle like in all other parks, Disney decided to design this one after old fairytale book illustrations- since real castles are all over France.  I especially love those cube shaped trees, seen on the left side of this photo-under that scary lurking cloud.

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But the best part of of this castle is the fact that there is a FREAKING DRAGON UNDERNEATH IT!  Seriously, this is one of the most lifelike animatronics I’ve seen.  The eyes glow, the nostrils breathe out smoke, the wings and tail move too!  We spent a lot of our time with the dragon that day, basically checking on it every time we walked passed the castle.

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On the other side of the castle is the most whimsical Fantasyland there is.  It literally felt like walking through concept art by Mary Blair.  Something I’ve been waiting to see since I was a kid (other than the dragon) was Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, a unique walk through experience filled with marvelous surprises around every shrub.

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The Queen of Hearts’ castle (within the maze) serves as one of the best viewing points in the entire park, we made sure to get there before it got rainy.

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I also loved the colorful facade of the “its a small world” ride in this park… I think Fabian is getting used to me dragging him onto all the kiddie rides.

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A not-so-kiddie ride that Fabian has been waiting his whole life to ride is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.  

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The last time he was at the park he wasn’t quite tall enough for this ride and had to wait with his mom while his dad and brother rode it.  Needless to say, this is what he had been looking forward to the most all day.

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Here’s a home video look at just how little Fabian was the LAST time he stood at that height stick before this trip. He’s the little blonde one waving to Chip and Dale in his mom’s arms.

Ain’t he cuuute?! I love the puffy jacket and yellow shorts hahaha.

The rest of Adventureland is mostly on an island, kind of like Tom Sawyer’s only inhabited by Tarzan and his friends.  There’s also a pirate ship parked nearby marking the entrance to the Caribbean ride which I actually enjoyed a lot more than its American counterparts; it’s also the only Pirate ride where you won’t find Captain Jack Sparrow.

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A ride I wasn’t too fond of here though, was Phantom Manor, the Parisian version of the Haunted Mansion… Simply for the fact that it was actually pretty creepy… Well, for a Disney park.

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Where I’m used to seeing silly singing ghosts was now the sad story of a bride whose groom had been murdered by a skeleton Phantom who then kills her as well, and throws us down an empty grave which leads to an old western version of Hell where everyone is a deteriorating zombie… including the bride.  Maybe American kids are just weenies compared to those raised in Europe, but I don’t think I would take a child under the age of 7 on this one.

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On our way to Discoveryland (this park’s version of Tomorrowland) we caught a bit of the parade, which was just as beautiful as the rest of the park… but unfortunately we didn’t get an amazing front row spot like when we visited Hong Kong.

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Now, the most exclusive land in the entire park would have to be Discoveryland, home to the most intense Space Mountain in existence.  This sphere isn’t so much futuristic as it is steampunk, a science fiction style of what our world could be if it was operated  by steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

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In Space Mountain Mission 2 you are “catapulted” into the cosmos where you experience twists, turns, and loops, at a high-speed, while in the dark.

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After a little more exploring, a couple re-rides, and MORE shopping we decided to head back to our hotel a little early… Mostly due to the fact that our hands and faces were freezing and the rain was starting to pick up.

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Even though our day was cut a little short due to the weather, there was no better way I could have thought to spend my first time at Disneyland Paris and I’m so glad I got to be there with my best friend.

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Another Disney park down and another travel memory we’ll cherish forever.

C’est dans la boîte!

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