Seeing Disneyland Paris on the television as a child, or Euro Disney as it was known back then, always captivated me. The place just seemed so magical and everyone so happy. It was like nothing bad could happen there. I didn’t get to go as a child but I knew that if I had children some day I would love to take them there and see if the magic was real.
Since having my girls I’ve been desperate to take them, but my much more sensible husband wanted us to wait until they were older, to be the ‘right’ age so they could get the most out of it. Earlier I finally convinced him that with the girls being five and eight that time had surely come, so we booked our break for at Disneyland Paris for October half term. Unfortunately my girls don’t miss a trick and they soon caught wind of it so we weren’t able to do that magical surprise reveal, but they were wonderfully excited nonetheless, and gleefully counted down the days.
Prepare yourself now for a whole lot of Disney, I’m going to share with you our favourite things about our trip to Disneyland Paris at October Half Term.
We flew into Paris which was very exciting as it was the first time my youngest had been on an aeroplane and as my eldest girl was just a toddler on her last plan trip it all felt new and exciting to her too.
N’s new Jurni case was packed with her clothes, shoes, ipad and colouring books for the flight. She was so pleased to be responsible for her own things and thanks to the fact that it’s perfect hand luggage size she had it with her all the time. E’s Trunki on the other hand was full of toys and princess dresses, essential items, obviously! Don’t worry, all her clothes were safely packed in our main case. Having cases that the kids could sit on and in E’s case be pulled along on really helped with all the waiting around and queuing, especially when there was no where to sit in the departure lounge on the way home.
After a flight where the youngest girl squealed with excitement while the eldest held on for dear life, we arrived in Paris and made our way to Disneyland. We were staying at the Newport Bay Hotel, which is one of the onsite Disney hotels, and it was beautiful. We didn’t have tickets for the Halloween party which was happening in the park that evening so we headed out to a very busy Disney Village for dinner while feeling very tired.
In choosing October Half Term I was worried about the weather being bad, but we were so fortunate with the sun coming on all but our last day. Visiting during the Halloween period meant that much of the park was decorated with pumpkins and the ‘baddie’ characters came out to play. My two were so excited by this as it meant they got to meet Maleficent. As the week went on it transitioned to Christmas at the park and it was so exciting to see the little changes each day. Honestly the attention to detail at Disney is astounding.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that my two girls are very different, the youngest loves bright colours, glitter, princesses and general silliness, while the eldest is a massive Star Wars fan, loves fast rides and thought she’d grown out of princesses and Disney characters, though if you saw her face during the parades you’d never have guessed that. I was keen to see how this would play out during the week, would there be enough for us to do as a family or would we spend most of the day split in half.
For those that haven’t been before the main park is split into different lands, each with a theme Fantastyland, Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland. While we were there most of Frontierland was closed for redevelopment and half of Discoveryland was the same – this is where Star Tours is. Of course my Star Wars mad eldest was disappointed that the Star Wars part was closed off but she still got to be a Jedi – more on that later! Here are our favourite bits from each land.
This was by far my youngest’s favourite, from the iconic castle, to meeting her favourite Princess, not to mention the teacups and Small World ride. She enthusiastically queued for nearly two hours at the Princess Pavillion to meet her very favourite princess, Ariel. I can’t say I was quite as happy about the long wait as she was but seeing her face when she talked to Ariel and hugged her
kind of made it all worthwhile.
The highlights of this were the Buzz Lightyear ride, Space Mountain and Jedi Training Academy. We were really happy to find out that the Jedi Training Academy was still on despite the rest of the Star Wars attraction being closed. I must admit that it wasn’t really well organised or promoted. We relied heavily on other people in the queue that had done it before to explain the process. Basically you queue in the morning to book a time slot for the training and also for the show that follows. It’s also worth noting that your child must be between the ages of 7 and 12 for this activity. We queued and despite the confusion we booked our place for later that day.
The children get to ‘train’ as a Jedi and then come out to do a show for people to watch afterwards. Now we had no idea what to expect and were all shocked when the Storm Troupers and Darth Vader himself arrived. Each child got to put their Jedi skills to the test and fight Darth Vader! Honestly you should have seen their faces when that was revealed – they had no idea. I apologise for the blurry photos but I hadn’t got my camera settings right in time to capture the brief time N was centre stage.
I’m sure you’ll agree that some special memories were made that day! If you have a Star Wars mad child then I really recommend you get them onto this.
Adventureland and Frontierland
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is really the only bit worth noting here for Adventureland. The Blue Lagoon restaurant is situated about halfway round it, it’s like you’re in a cavern, and the hanging lights make it so atmospheric. We ate there on our second night and loved it.
With much of Frontierland closed we didn’t spend much time there but we did get to meet Jessie from Toy Story, another of my youngest’s favourites. This time it was a much more manageable 20 minute wait!
We saw two parades while we were there and they are definitely worth trying to get a front row spot for. Our best view was at the start of the parade in Fantasyland. We managed to be right at the front and had a great view. Even our eldest girl, who’s ‘too old for princesses’ got swept up in the magic and excitedly waved at everyone!
We made so many magical memories during our five days at Disney and all will admit that it lived up to our huge expectations. Keep an eye out for more posts on our Disney trip over the next couple of weeks, including our top tips for making the most of it as well as some restaurant reviews and our favourite bits of Disneyland Studios.
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What do you think of our trip?
Have you been to Disneyland Paris before? I’d love to know what your favourite bits were if you have.
This post is written in association with Jurni who provided my eldest girl with one of their brand new cases for teens. Don’t tell my daughter but I’m totally borrowing it for my next trip away! 😉 For more information find them on social media here – Twitter, Facebook. All views are our own, as ever.