One Day in Disneyland Paris!
Like the song says! “We’ll do things and we’ll go places”! While I was visiting friends and family in London, I snagged a great FlixBus deal for overnight busses to and from Paris. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last week or so, so a trip to Disneyland seemed like the perfect thing to cheer me up! This also seemed like the perfect opportunity to wish Mickey a happy 90th birthday! Here are some tips and tricks for people who are more familiar with the OG Disneyland to make the most of their time in Disneyland Paris!
My bus arrived into Paris a bit before 9 AM and I got to the off the RER A at Disneyland Resort with about fifteen minutes to spare before 10 AM (when the park officially opened). The gate to Walt Disney Studios Park was already open when I arrived, so lines for some attractions were already filling up, bringing me to my first tip! If you do only have one day to dedicate to Disney while you’re in Paris, get there early! The park usually opens early and popular attractions get long lines fast!
Crush’s Coaster, in particular, fills up insanely fast. This was my second trip to DLP and the number-one tip I read was to get to this ride early and to go single-rider. Crush’s Coaster, if it’s high on your list, should be your first stop. The way the ride loads means long, slow-moving lines all day long. Single rider is trickeyer. I was there solo, so I relied on the single rider line a lot. This line was actually longer for Crush than the regular rider line, as I watched a group of four that got in line around the same time I did load about 10-15 minuets before I did. I waited for probably an hour for the coaster and I can’t say that the ride really lives up to that expectation. It is a short ride, but it is a really good coaster and has some great theming. In the future I probably will not ride Crush unless I get in line early enough to make the wait worth it, but I do think everyone should go once if you’re a Nemo or indoor coaster fan!
While you’re in line for your first ride (or even earlier - bookings for the day start at 8 AM), do yourself a favor and download the “lineberty” app and book a character meet-and-greet! I don’t know if such an app exists at Disney World, but I have not seen anything like it at Disneyland. You can only book one character at a time and they do fill up fast, so make sure you pick your favorite character for this one. I was able to cheat the system a bit by booking my meeting with Mickey in person with my phone number and booking my meeting with Minnie on the app. It was really nice to have these meet-and-greets booked early instead of needing to wait an hour plus in Disneyland Park to meet Mickey!
Unfortunately though, I was overwhelmingly disappointed by the photopass photographers at DLP resort. Both my phone photos and the official photopass photos did not really capture the joy I felt meeting Mickey and Minnie. Most of my photos came out wonky and neither photographer got my favorite poses with these characters. This was particularly disappointing with Mickey who really took his time with me because I was the last one in line. I’m glad I didn’t buy the photopass and I would not recommend counting on the character handlers to get you the photos you want. My photos with Mickey from Disneyland Park from my last trip also did not come out well, so be wary about waiting an hour for photos you won’t even want to post! My experience with Minnie, though, was a bit better, I got photos of more of our poses and I do love her Paris dress!
One great thing about Disneyland Paris is how easy it is to park-hop! I went to Disneyland from Disney Studios for a parade and some Halloween decoration photos between the standard can't miss WDSP rides (like the Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror) and my Mickey meet-and-greet and the walk was easy (and beautiful! I love this Disneyland hotel, staying there one day is definitely on my Disney bucket-list). Don’t be afraid of switching parks a few times in a day!
Between my Mickey and Minnie meet-and-greets, I had a late-lunch reservation at Bistrot Chez Remy! WDSP kinda falls into the world of Disney parks that don't really know what they want to be (California Adventure, anyone?) but the Ratatouille land is a real gem of the park. It is so uniquely Paris and the ride, restaurant, and atmosphere come together beautifully! I wish the sight-lines were better for photos, but you take what you can get. I love the vibe of this little land and I cannot get enough of it! The first time I was in Paris the Ratatouille movie had just come out in France and the Disney Store on the Champs Elysees had rat plushies from top to bottom of every window - the people of France could not get enough of Remy's story and that is reflected beautifully by this land! Disneyland Paris is known for not really being a food park, which is a real let-down because Paris itself is home to some of the best food in the world and Disney parks have really been upping their food game across the board (Disney Food Blog, anyone?), but Bistrot Chez Remy is, again, a real exception to this rule. Was it the best steak-frites I've ever eaten? No, especially not the best I've had in the City of Lights, but where the food is not the gourmet experience one might hope for, the theming is probably the best I've ever seen at a Disney dinning establishment. You walk in to the host/ess station of the restaurant Remy and his human friends open at the end of the movie, full of fun props like the rolling pin the little old lady chases after Remy with at the beginning of the film and Remy's certificate of graduation from a prestigious culinary school (I could have stayed in here forever looking at everything, honestly), but when you cross into the dining room you are shrunk down to the size of a rat and get to experience the restaurant-above-the-restaurant reserved for Remy's exclusive friends and family. From champagne muselet chairs to giant fairy-lights, every inch of this dining room is outstanding. I'd recommend eating here for one meal and snacking the rest of the day - nothing else on-property lives up to the standard this place sets (though that standard is reflected by the price). It's the cutest place in the world and everyone should go.
After this and meeting Minnie, it was back to Disneyland for me. DLP has all your Magic Kingdom favorites with a bit of a twist! The castle walk-though features a sleeping dragon, for instance. The biggest difference, though, is that Tomorrowland is Discoveryland at this Disney park. The land is very Jules Verne inspired and this is what originally drew actual Parisians to the park upon its opening. I love this theming and can't get enough of it, I think it is a great fix to the problem of Tomorrowland that anything built to represent the future will inevitably become outdated. Discoveryland embraces a stylized view of the future and is uniquely French to boot. My only gripe is that both times I've visited, Space Mountain has been Star Wars themed ("Hyperspace Mountain") and the theming overlay does not work for the rest of the land. The bronze of Space Mountain: Mission Two does not mesh with the chrome finish we associate with the Star Wars universe and it seems lazy and out of place. I know there are plans to return the ride to its former glory, and I don't think I'll return to the park until that is done. From what I've heard, Mission Two is a true feat of Disney Imagineering (believable with the twists and turns of the ride and that cannon to the moon you get shot out of at the beginning of the coaster!). Space Mountain is probably my favorite Disney attraction and I hope one day I'll be able to really experience the Jules Verne-inspired rocket to the moon I have heard so much about! (It really is an awesome coaster though, wow).
Phantom Manor was closed for this visit (unfortunate due to the season) but it, too, is a fun twist on a Disney classic! It's the only Haunted Mansion that isn't a replica of, well, The Haunted Mansion, and is worth a stop if it's open when you're there! The whole park was really decked out for both the holiday and Mickey's upcoming 90th birthday! The parade I went to was a wonderful celebration of both the holiday and the big cheese himself. It's always fun to go to Disney during a party and this mashup of celebrations was no exception! There are giant birthday cakes for Mickey in every land, fun Halloween decorations all down Mainstreet, USA and around the castle, and fun Coco-inspired Dia de los Muertos decorations in Frontierland!
I watched a seasonal performance by some favorite Disney villains performed in combined French and English before settling in on Mainstreet for a view of the Illuminations nighttime spectacular. I love how this nighttime spectacular really makes use of Sleeping Beauty's castle and her stylized square trees for projections, but some of the animation is a little bit dated. All in all though, it's hard not to love fireworks set to your favorite Disney songs (half English, half French). This display closes down the park, so it's a bit of a mad rush out, but taking your time to really drink in the castle and say a nice goodbye to the park is usually enough time to avoid the cattle call. If you aren't too tired to finish out the Illuminations music from your spot, I recommend letting people clear out before you and drinking in the atmosphere at the end of a Disney day!
One of my favorite parts of this whirlwind trip was getting to flaunt some Mickey True Original fashion! I grabbed these Mickey expression jeans from the children's section of Primark a few days before I left London for Paris and I am obsessed with them. I paired them with the cropped, striped Mickey turtleneck from Forever 21's collection (which I'm obsessed with, by the way). I brought these ears from home; a basic, fluffy Mickey Ears headband from the Disney Store in NYC, in case I needed something for halloween while I was with my pals in London. I'm glad I brought them, because DLP really is not a Mouseketeers hat kinda park. They have picked up the viral rose gold ears since my last visit, but those and the classic Minnie ears were just about all I saw in-park - a warning for those of us who like to bring a pair home to commemorate every trip!
I hope this helps some loyal Disneyland fans navigate Disneyland Paris! Have you visited the park? Any tips or tricks I should try next time I'm there? Let me know! Keep an eye out for a writeup on my second day in Paris as well as my week back in London Town!