Thursday, 13 December 2012

Disneyland Paris

The whole family woke up in excitement for our transfer to the Disneyland Hotel today. We went downstairs just before 8am to find our private van waiting for us. Our journey of 35 minutes to Marne La Vallee went by in a blink. We checked into the Disneyland Hotel where we were greeted by a friendly CM. Upon hearing that it was our visit to Disneyland Paris, he proceeded to explain to us the salient points of the priveleges  of being a Disney Hotel guest as well as the attractions of both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney studios. Even though we knew how fastpasses work, we continued listening as there was something beautiful about the french accent describing it as a 'reservation' for the 'game'. He gave us our all important park passes, generic fastpasses for each day of our visit and directed us to the park entrance. The only point of confusion was a request about child swap allowances - after a brief description he exclaimed; "Ah, oui! Baby switch!" We made  a brief stop at the concierge to make our tour and dining reservations and raced out of the doors. We had extra magic hours to capitalise on!

Our big red car

Out the door of the hotel and there's the entrance!

We're here!

The Disneyland Hotel has the distinct advantage of location, being directly over the entrance of the Disneyland Park. Thus we were in Disneyland in less than one minute, delayed only because I dared suggest that we take a photo...Photo taking for the rest of the day proved to be a challenge as the family moved very quickly! However, we were once again blessed with good weather. The sun graced us with her presence for the entire day along with blue skies. It was cold nonetheless, with frost on every surface, some of which lingered throughout the day. Not a single child argued about keeping their gloves and beanies on.

Walking onto Mainstreet, decked out in Christmas fineries, with a view of the castle in the backgroud was very special. We couldn't hold the children back from running towards the castle whilst singing along to the Christmas carols. We took a right turn at the hub into Discovery Land for an encounter with Buzz and Zurg. The nearby Orbitron was next. I am still unsure if going on it so early in the morning was a good idea. Spinning around so quickly so high up was absolutely arctic! We then took turns on Space mountain which would have to be the best out of all the parks. By now the park had opened to the general public so we entered Star tours where Jonah asked earnestly if we were really in space.

The first thing we saw upon entering

Beautifully detailed Main Street

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Excitement running rampant!

Our very first ride of the day

Never going on this again so early in the morning...

Proof of the cold temperatures

Walking back out through one of the two undercover walkways running parallel to main street

Just as gorgeous on the inside as on the outside

We exited the park to visit Salon Mickey, one of the perks of being part of the shareholder club of Disneyland Paris. We fortunately bought our minimum of twenty shares to qualify for membership at around 4 euros per share. Very shortly after, rumours of a Walt Disney Co (check name) buy out surfaced, sending share prices rocketing up to double its price. After receiving our membership card, an announcement was released advising that shareholders now need a minimum of 100 shares to be able to be part of the shareholders club. 

Salon Mickey was a little lounge just outside the entrance of the Disneyland Park. It was smaller than I expected but elegantly decorated much like a gentlemans club of yesteryear. Members were able to help themselves to hot drinks to help thaw their frozen fingers and there was a selection of juices and water for the children. We were also given a selection of pastries and cookies to choose from which were delicious. They also had the cleanest toilets in the park. When we finished our morning tea, we were able to exit straight into the park.

Elegantly decorated but oh so dark

Free drinks and snacks

Let's eat!

Enjoying the comfy chair

We hopped on to the train enroute to Fantasyland. As soon as we pulled out and we rounded the corner into Frontierland, young Jonah called out in amazement, 'Is this America?' This is proof that Jonah did pay attention on our American road trip and that the imagineers certainly got something right!
Jonah truely 'lives in the moment' and he found it hard at times to distinguish make believe from reality which was quite sweet. He thought we were really flying in Peter Pan, and asked several times during various rides if it was "magic". He absolutely loved the dragon beneath the castle. Surprising he remembered "Its a small world" from our last trip. He didn't know what the ride was called and instead sung the song and then asked if we could go on that ride. They had a Christmas theme within the ride which was lovely integrating Christmas carols into the famous song. 

We had such a full day that I thought I'd just write down some random thoughts as I remember them. The Alice's Curious Labyrinth and Adventure Isle were a surprise hit with the whole family. Lara was happy that she didn't make the height requirement for Indiana Jones.  We saw Belle walking by and she had the most divine winter jacket on. We put our shareholders card to further good use by buying merchandise and exercising our entitlement to a 15% discount.

We thought we'd make use of the good weather and stalked a space for a parade. The upbeat music and perky music never fails to make me feel good. Watching snow fall Main Street made the parade that extra bit more special.

The Disneyland railroad taking us to Fantasyland

The view which had Jonah wondering if we were in America

Frost everywhere...plant selection must be difficult. Surprisingly the park was still mostly green!

Had to take Jonah here so that he could stop singing the song

A surprise hit!

Rubbing the lamp...

Lunch stop

Trying to decipher the menu

Many walk through attractions which were great to enjoy as a family

Had to take more photos of the castle against blue sky!

The children loved the dragon

The carousel

Gorgeous signage everywhere including for the toilets

More to explore!

The other big hit

Excited troops

A real suspension bridge

A different Indiana Jones ride...

A roller coaster!

See if you can spot Elliot

Stalking our parade spot

Last shots of Main Street as we leave the park

By 5pm, we trudged back to the lobby to get keys to our room. We were allocated a room on the third floor with no particular view. This was alright as I don't expect that we'd be in the room much and I don't expect it to be light when we return to our room at the end of each day. The room itself was a decent size with enough space for all our luggage, day bags and coats. Not long after our suitcases arrived, the ladies came for the evening turn down service where the lounge was converted into a single bed. The highlight for Jonah was finding gold coins with Disney characters on them. He proceeded to collect the "chocolate money" declaring them all to be his. Lara and Elliot were more engrossed in the TV and determining what channels were available.

The Disneyland Hotel

The lobby

The greeting on our TV


The converted sofa 

Chocolate money

We didn't have long to enjoy it before it was time for our character meal at Inventions. We were glad that the restaurant was within the hotel for we were cold and tired. We were given a table  by window with a view towards the park, where we were able to see a sneak preview of Dreams. The food at Inventions was delicious. The prawns were especially good. Big, juicy and sweet. The children did us proud by making full use of the buffet and eating a lot! They also learnt how to time their runs to the buffet so that they didn't miss their opportunity to meet the various characters. We had visits from Mickey, the penguin from Mary Poppins, Goofy, cat from pinocchio, and Minnie. I have to admit I was a little disappointed that there were not more characters. Mickey and Minnie were fantastic with the children, taking the time to interact with them before moving on. We went back up to our room and crashed after a most wonderful first day at Disneyland Paris.

Character meal at Inventions

Awesome food


Need to find out the penguins name...

The fabulous Minnie

Don't know his name either!

Wall-E. Don't know why this photo is here but too hard to move it!

Disney details everywhere...including the bed covers


  1. Space Mountain at Paris is definitely the best version of the ride. The takeoff is just awesome!