A few weeks ago we had a week away with all the family to Disneyland Paris. I loved Disney films as a child, (and still do!) and I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland. My kids have been bought up on Disney, and my little girl especially was excited to meet her favourite princesses. As you can imagine we were all very excited! We had a great week, but it wasn’t all pixie dust and fairytale dreams.
Our Week at Disneyland Paris
We were lucky enough to be able to take the kids to Disneyland Paris for a week, along with my mum and dad, brother and sister in law, and their little boy.
We were so excited (me especially!). In the build up to the holiday we watched lots of Disney films, and Isla talked about the princesses she wanted to meet, and we all couldn’t wait to see Aurora’s castle in real life! In the adverts on the TV there was Cinderella whisking down the hotel steps, and storm troopers marching through reception (which pleased Oliver), and seeing this heightened our excitement.
We did have a lovely week and it was a great holiday, but I couldn’t help being a little dissapointed if i’m honest. Maybe I built it up too much in my head? I don’t know. So I thought I would write what I feel are the good, the bad and the ugly points about Disneyland Paris.
So lets start on the good points, because it’s always nice to be positive.
- The excitement. As I said during the build up and arriving at the resort we were all so excited. After getting into the park we headed straight to the first vendor and doned Minnie and Mickie ears to get into the Disney spirit and headed straight for the infamous castle. It didn’t dissapoint, just like at the beginning of every Disney movie there it was, in it’s full splendor and glory. We did what I think every family does, and tried to get a family selfie in front of the castle, with only limited success!
- The rides. The rides definitely catered for the younger age group. My children are 3 and 4 and most of the rides were for their age group and size, with a few white knuckle adult rides thrown in. They loved the little cars, and spaceships and little boat rides. One of our favourites was It’s a Small World. The kids loved the bright colours, and there was so much to look at.
- The Parade. At 5.30 every day there was a parade. The floats were amazing and the costumes really good, and the kids enjoyed spotting their favourite characters. I particularly liked the fairies on hoover boards which gave the impression they were floating along.
- The Fireworks. Every evening at 10.30pm after it was dark there was a laser show and firework display at Aurora’s castle. It was in true Disney style colourful and dramatic, and worth keeping the kids up for.
- The queues. Inevitable at any theme park I know, but I dread queuing with 2 kids. Isla isn’t too bad but Oliver can be a nightmare. On the whole we were quite lucky, and being out of school holidays it wasn’t too busy. However on the first day we ended up queuing for one ride for 40 minutes, and I vowed that we weren’t going to go on anything with more than a 10 minute queue time in order to keep my sanity!
- Disney characters. I expected that there would be loads of people dressed as various Disney characters wandering around the park, but there wasn’t. There were dedicated places were you could queue to have your picture taken, but the queues were huge (not going to happen with Oliver!). There was only one place were you could queue to meet a princess but the queue was always over 90 minutes! It got to the end of the holiday and Isla hadn’t even meet a princess. So we ended up paying to have dinner at Cinderella’s castle so she could meet some. She loved it, but it did cost us 230 euros for the pleasure. Oliver was less than impressed about meeting princesses though!
- No Frozen. One of Isla’s and Oliver’s favourite Disney film is Frozen, but there was a severe lack of the icey sisters and other characters from the film. They did appear on the parade, but that’s the only time we saw anything Frozen related. There were no rides or anything that featured them. I would have thought that ‘Let it go’ would have leant itself nicely to the firework and laser show on the castle, but it was no where to be seen. Of course the shops were full of related merchandise, but I was expecting it to be a big feature seeing as it’s one of their most successful film. It’s been out for 3 years now, so I would have thought that would have given them enough time to encorporate it somewhere.
- Hotel and dining-we stayed at the Newport Bay hotel. It was nice, but other than the mickey mouse shaped headboards and Disney wallpaper boarder, you wouldn’t have known you were in a Disney hotel. There was definitely no princesses swooping down the stairs, and no storm troopers marching through reception. The pool was small and had nothing in it to appeal to children (a few floats but no slides or other activities), my local pool is better suited. The food was OK, but none of the restaurants had child sized cutlery. This is a big bug bear of mine, that so called family friendly restaurants produce child sized portions but expect them to eat it with ginormous forks!
- Closed for refurbishment. I would say that about a third of the Disneyland park exhibits were closed for refurbishment. I know maintenance needs to happen, but surely it could be stagered so only a few rides are closed at any given time. When we went the following were all closed: The whole of Adventure Isle except the Indianna Jones ride(not suitable for children) ; virtually the whole of Frontier land except Phantom manor (not suitable for young children); Peter Pan’s flight and 3 of the 4 train stations of the train that goes round the perimeter of the park.
- Burglary- We ended up hiring a stroller for Isla (I already had one for Oliver) as she was getting tired. The park ones were all the same and had your name on a large label at the back. We parked our strollers and went on a ride. On returning we found that our hired stroller had been taken. Fortunately there was nothing in it other than the kids beakers, but it’s not the point, and we ended up losing our deposit as a results. Not Disney’s fault admittedly, but just shows you there are horrible people everywhere.
- The inflated prices- I expected there to be a lot of shops and merchandise on offer, but there was tons! All over priced and praying on stupid parents such as myself who is a sucker for anything Disney. The prices were obscene though, the ugly side of the Disney empire. I promised Isla I would buy her a new princess dress, but was horrified to find the one she wanted was 70 euros!! I did end up buying it for her, and it was worth it to see the smile on her face, but I still feel a bit peeved that they can charge that much for a kids dressing up costume!
These are just my personal views of Disneyland Paris, based on the week that we spent there. Don’t get me wrong we did have a great holiday, but it wasn’t the holiday of a lifetime that I was expecting it to be. Unfortunately all my dreams didn’t come true.
Have you been? What do you think of Disneyland Paris? Would love to hear your opinions.