We have just returned from our first trip to Disneyland Paris. I would like to share with you a brief review of my own personal thoughts and feelings about the visit.
There are 6 Disney hotels set around a lake varying in style and price. We chose to stay in the Sequoia Lodge. This hotel is modelled on American National Parks and having stayed in a lodge in the Grand Canyon myself I have to say I was pretty impressed. The room was adequate, 2 double beds, a chair and table, a bureau with a flat screen TV, a small hanging
space with rental safe, a vanity area and small separate bathroom with a toilet and shower over the bath.
There Resort was air conditioned, but this is not available in every hotel. The beds were comfy, the shower was ok and the room was not noisy. A note to UK travellers, there is no kettle or any kind of tea making supplies. We had asked for a cot but there was not one. As it was late when we arrived I just let our toddler sleep with me but I was a bit annoyed.
There was a small gift shop which also sold a few sundries such as milk. There were also 2 restaurants we did not use. Members of our party did have a buffet breakfast at one of the restaurants which was included in our Resort fee. The breakfast was continental style and included croissants, rolls, cheese, ham, and cereal and was highly regarded.
The Resort was very conveniently located within a 10 minute walk to the Disney Village (Disneyland Paris’ “Downtown Disney”) and about 15 from the parks. Overall I would definitely stay at this Resort again but bring along a travel kettle. (We British sure like a cuppa when we wake up!)
The Theme Parks:
This park is the Walt Disney World equivalent of the Magic Kingdom. There are a few similirities between this park and the Disneyland located in
California. Just as in California, you find beautiful architecture along Main Street and Fantasyland. At the end of Main Street, you find Sleeping Beauty Castle is what I imagine Disneyland in CA to be like with beautiful architecture. Fantasyland and Main Street were in particular stunning. It is Sleeping Beauties Castle.
While on holiday in Disneyland Paris, there were times when I could easily have believed that I was in Walt Disney World, as many of the attractions were similiar enough for my imagination! Though it was also nice that there were lots of differences to the Florida park too so I wasn’t constantly comparing.
Disneyland Paris has many classic signature rides such as It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, Dumbo, the carousel, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Big Thunder Mountain but there are many different ones too. The only French ride we went on this time was the Phanthom Manor which is very similar to the Haunted Mansion yet a lot darker. With this
one being a bit scary, we were glad we left our 2-year-old with her grandparents.
The shops were amazing and we spent far too many Euros. We did find things a lot more expensive than the United States. For example, a kids tee-shirt was €20 (about £18) which is about $27!!! We loved looking at all of the 20th Anniversary merchandise and some of it was too good not to buy *winks*.
We did find eating in the parks was an issue. A LOT of the counter service places were shut and we often had to walk all the way back to Main Street just to get a sandwich. This brings me on to customer service. Most of the Cast Members (CMs) we met were nice and helpful. However, we had a disgusting encounter with 2 CMs in the Main Street Deli. It was Extra Magic Hours and we were the first customers in line. We ordered a coffee and a coke in a souvenir cup. The cash register would not working. Two members of staff pushed at the buttons trying to fix the register. Meanwhile, we stood there like idiots on our last morning and watched our 2-year-old got more and more fidgety. In the end since nothing was happening I said we would have to leave. Now had we been in Walt Disney World, I truly believe the CMs would have apologised and given us the drinks for free. But no, they took the drinks off of us without even a sorry. I was not happy!
The parade – in a word, fantastic!!! I cried thoughout and our daughter loved it. The crowd around us? Awful. We waited for almost an hour to get a decent spot and as soon as the music people started pushing and shoving, crossing barriers, climbing onto the grass, screaming in your face to get out of their way even though you’d been there for ages and had a small child in your arms. Appalling. We stood our ground and did not let anyone get in front of us, but it almost spoilt it. I’m not blaming Disney for rude patrons but they need more staff to marshal this.
Overall impression of Disneyland Park? Beautiful scenery (but start pumping some cinnamon and candy smells in, too much cigarette smoke and not enough to disguise it), great rides, lots to buy but please open more eateries (they were there but not open!) and please train CMs better. Oh and do something, anything about the blatant rudeness of people when it comes to lack of manners and queuing etiquette.
Walt Disney Studios Park:
We only spent about an hour in this park on our last morning and by no means did it justice. I doubt we saw even one fifth of the park. One of our party watched the parade and said it was good but the Disneyland Park one was better. The only ride we did and even saw properly here was the Tower of Terror which is my favourite ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (HS) in FL. It did not disappoint and was really good. The rest of the park did look really great and I look forward to exploring it next time. We didn’t buy anything from a shop or eatery here except ride photos from ToT so I can’t comment on the shops or restaurants or the theming of the rest of the lands, but what little I saw was very impressive and similar to HS in FL.
Overall impression? Can’t wait to see more especially the Toy Story Playground.
The Disney Village:
We really like it here. This is Paris’ equivalent of Downtown Disney and had a number of shops and restaurants/cafes. We ate at: Annettes (an American style diner with yummy burgers), Rain Forest Cafe (FAB!!!), Earl of Sandwich (can’t wait for another caprese at Downtown Disney) and Starbucks (very slow, remember to ask for milk and you can’t take it into the parks). Lots to choose from and nicely done. There are bag checks here which make sense as the main train station is here too. I did find that a little strange as there were a few street sellers around which you’d never find at WDW.
Overall? Liked it a lot but not as much as Downtown Disney. Worth it for the yummy Earl of Sandwich alone though *lick lips*.
So, that’s it. My first impressions of Disneyland Paris. We had a great time but would stay for 3 nights next time instead of just 2 nights. We found that even using the extra magic hours, there just was not enough time to see everything with a 2-year-old. But it gives us a great excuse to go back 🙂