Paris, Travel

Good Friday? No, AWESOME Friday.

Something we discussed as winners of the Travelscene American Express Facebook Fan Trip was that we wanted to experience Paris in as many different ways possible, so we could report on the city from multiple different perspectives. For people that might be interested in the major sights, those looking for something a little deeper, backpackers who might want to spend their time bar hopping, and when it came to our Good Friday plans, we looked at it from the perspective of a family in Paris.

How much of a family perspective? Well Sarah became the adopted mother of Ally and I for the day as we headed out to Disneyland Paris. (Coincidentally celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year!)

We organised our tickets through our absolutely wonderful concierge at the Hotel California. That meant we paid 8 Euro to him, and then the remaining 56 Euro at the park. He told us it would be the same price as anyone buying a ticket the normal way at the park, but this would give us access to a quicker queue. However when we got to the park we found out there had been a price rise, and were expecting to pay 10 Euro more. Not the case! We did only have to pay the extra 56 Euro! Disney discount? I’ll take it!

Getting to Disneyland Paris is incredibly easy. There’s a train! It wasn’t covered by our Visit Paris pass that we’d received as part of our prize package, but a quick visit to the ticket office at the train station and 14.20 Euro later we had a return trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. It takes about an hour by train and you pass through the wonderful suburban France where the architecture is significantly different to Paris, but still wonderfully French. On our train we even had an accordion playing busker, and the video footage of the passing French landscape I took from the window only feels more cliche French with him playing in the background. While I may have uttered “Are we there yet” like a child the minute we hopped on the train, the truth is it takes around an hour to get there. Not bad at all.

Disneyland Paris opened at 10am, and we were there at half past ten. There was a bit of a line for tickets, but it seemed to move pretty fast. Once inside we realised we were freezing and immediately fell for the shops standing next to the entrance gate. Good one Disney. While we looked at the jackets there, we decided not to buy, and headed further into the park, down Main Street USA, which had a very colourful San Franciscan feel to it.

It was at this point we couldn’t take the cold any more, and all bought matching Disneyland Paris Jackets. From that moment on we referred to ourselves as TEAM DISNEY, and wore them everywhere.

Our first stop was ‘Discoveryland’ the Tomorrowland of Paris. My favourite aspect of this part of the park was that instead of being all space-agey it took it’s futuristic inspiration from celebrated French author, Jules Verne. Steam-punk inspired visions littered this area of the park, including retakes of the classic Space Mountain to incorporate a giant Steam Cannon ‘The Coloumbiad’, and the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. It was to Space Mountain that we headed first. Mum (Sarah) held our bags whilst Ally and I bolted for the line. It was a very short wait, which was great because the ride was SO AWESOME that we had to go again straight away. “Mum Mum Mum can we go again?” We chanted upon returning to Sarah. She’s totally the best Mum ever because we got to ride again.

Next we headed for Star Tours, the Star Wars themed motion ride. The wait was a fair bit longer than for Space Mountain, but worth it because of the detailing put into the queue. We entered a room where Admiral Ackbar and C3-PO were watching over a recently returned tour shuttle, with R2-D2 making repairs. There were also big advertisements for the tour being played on a giant screen. This is the thing with Disney, it outdoes itself with design. It’s what makes every aspect of the park so magical. Also, I never knew C3-PO spoke French.

Our next stop is a Disneyland Classic- The Mad Hatters Tea Party. Again the wait time wasn’t particularly long, which was great. As we spun around on our Tea Cups we snapped photos of each other in our Team Disney Jackets. Ally and Sarah were the perfect companions for this trip, making the day an absolute blast.

After a few more rides around the park we sat down for lunch, paying about 28 Euro for the buffet in Main Street USA. We decided this would be the best option, especially for families who may be budget conscious, as you could eat as much as you wanted, which would probably cut down the need to purchase expensive snacks out in the park. The food was ok, not the best meal I’d had whilst in Paris, but I definitely filled up, and the raspberry mouse cake in the dessert buffet was incredible.

We had the two park pass so next we headed over to Walt Disney Studios, a Hollywood Inspired park, home to stunt shows and some of the more wild rides including the Tower Of Terror, which we all decided we weren’t riding. Ally and I lined up for the Finding Nemo themed coaster, but it sadly had a breakdown whilst we were in line.

Next we headed to the brilliantly themed Toy Story Playland. Here was the RC Racer, featuring RC from Toy Story. You rode backwards and forwards picking up speed on a semi circular track. The line was deceivingly hidden behind the attraction and thus was longer than we expected, but the ride was worth the wait.

Whilst the girls looked after my bags I headed for the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, the ride I’d been most looking forward to all day. Sadly, as I approached the front of the line there was a medical emergency and I didn’t get to ride after all. So the Walt Disney Studios Park wasn’t as much fun as Disneyland Park for us, but I’m sure when all the rides are working it’s a lot of fun. Before we left I took the opportunity to pose for a ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ photo, and buying that jacket in the morning turned out to be the right decision, because two kids in front of me turned on the water before I got out to it, so I got wet!

To make the most out of both the parks it’s probably best to hop back and forth throughout the day, that way you’d get to see the stunt shows and studio experience, and all the fantasy adventures of Disneyland Park. We had plans for the night, so didn’t stay until park close, but if you want to experience as much as you can, it’s probably best to be at the park from open to close.

Mum packed us onto the busy train home, and soon we were back in Paris, pooped after an exciting, adrenaline filled day at the Happiest Place On Earth.

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About Sean Bryan

Creator of Mortimer Sparks, one part of Duck and Mouse.

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