You join me today with an exciting 2 weeks left until our first family trip to Disneyland Paris. Living in the UK with France just across the Channel, you may wonder why we haven’t been before, especially as we holiday in France every year. The only excuse I have is that to me thus far Disney has been synonymous with the USA and I haven’t really been too bothered about Disney in Europe. But as we hadn’t expected to be returning to America for some time and the fact it is the 20th anniversary of DLP this year we have decided to give it a try and we are really excited about it!
DLP is a lot smaller than Walt Disney World and is more what I imagine Disneyland CA to be like. It only has 2 parks – Disneyland Park and the Disney Studios. These are similar to the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood studios at WDW but have different rides and attractions too. Some of the big names are – Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Space Mountain: Mission 2, Star Tours, Tower of Terror and the Rock n Roller Coaster. There is also a Disney Village which is like Down Town Disney complete with Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, McDonald’s and Starbucks. There are also lots of shops here too and a World of Disney will be opening soon.
There are many differences between the parks of the one but one thing about DLP is that if you become a Shareholder you get certain member benefits (so long as you join the Members Club) as well as financial dividends. One of these perks (along with money off in shops, hotels and restaurants – like I imagine Disney Vacation Club and Annual Pass holders gets at WDW) is use of a members only area called Salon Mickey where you can get a free coffee and pastry first thing in the morning. There are also extra perks through the year to look out for, one being a VIP Fast Pass. I have been lucky enough to secure one of these for one of the days during our stay and am super excited, it is an unlimited Fast Pass ticket for up to 4 people. With a ‘can’t keep still for 5 minutes’ 2 year old the Fast Passes will be invaluable!
There are 6 Disney hotels all set around the big lake, varying in style, cost and amenities. We are staying in the 3rd most luxurious and expensive called the Sequoia Lodge. It is themed like it would be found in an American National Park and reminds me slightly of when we stayed in the Grand Canyon. This is our first time on Disney property and we are looking forward to making the most of Extra Magic Hours. Our stay also includes a continental buffet breakfast each morning, I’m looking forward to tucking into a nice croissant.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that we don’t have a Touring Plan in place for our stay at DLP. This is because we want to treat this visit as an introduction to Disney to Tink and just soak up the atmosphere, take the time to smell the roses as it were. Now that we are shareholders and get discounts on tickets and hotels, I can for see a trip there becoming an annual adventure. Therefore we do not want to spend our limited time there (3 days and 2 nights) rushing around trying to do everything and spend more time in queues with a tired, stroppy 2-year-old then just enjoying ourselves. That doesn’t mean we won’t do any rides or attractions, but I think it’ll be a real case of, Hey, that looks good and there is no queue, let’s go there. And I’m really looking forward to going with the flow and not having a Rope Drop style itinerary to follow.
Be sure to check back upon my return to see if I stick to my words and if so, will I live to regret attending a Disney park without a plan?