Honeymoon Pt. 3 ➮ Disneyland Paris!
I've said it many times before, and I'll just keep on saying it...
DREAMS. COME. TRUE.
And OMGGGG Disneyland Paris is without a doubt a place that makes DREAMS. COME. TRUE. Our day was filled with 11+ miles of walking and 17+ hours of Disney magic, and we'll never ever forget how amazing it was.
AHH...Where do I begin?!
First of all, Disneyland Paris is totally NOT in Paris. If you take a look at it's location on a map, you'll notice that it's significantly far away from the city itself. Knowing this ahead of time, we had planned to take some sort of public transit out to where it is. This resulted in our taking the RER train ( a €7 fare each) about 30-35 minutes out into the countryside to the Disneyland stop - which is also the very last stop this train goes to.
Nick and I both absolutely loved taking the Metro with the morning commuters. It was about 8am when we got to the station. For a moment it felt like we were "real" Parisians, communiting to work alongside them. Our Disneyland tickets had been purchased weeks ago, so when we arrived at our stop, all we had to was walk out of the Metro Station and right up to the entrance! TRÉS convenient!
It was explained to us on our first day in Paris that the Parisians are very committed to maintaining the history and feel of their city - even creating laws protecting their skyline from any towering buildings. So with that information, you should able to imagine that Disneyland, along with its soaring castle and many other towering buildings, couldn't be anywhere all-too close to the city. Disneyland Paris is absolutely on its own waaaaay out there, with plenty of property and land to grow the parks in the future!
Oh yeah, did I mention there are 2 theme parks?!
One is obviously Disneyland Paris, which has all the things you'd imagine - a castle, Main Street, Space Mountain, etc. - and the second park, Walt Disney Studios - more of an adult vibe, similar to Disney California Adventure Park here in Southern California, but still having plenty available for the small people, er... children.
You should also know that Disneyland Paris is only 25 year old, while the original Disneyland here in Southern California is turning 62 this year, and Walt Disney World in FL was opened back in 1971. DLP's 25th anniversary is a big deal and they have all the decor to remind you that they're celebrating! This is also significant because it speaks to the advancement of their attractions themselves, which I describe more below!
Nick and I absolutely consider ourselves Disney experts by now, having been to the parks here in the U.S. more times than we can count and me having worked for the Walt Disney Company for a handful of years. This was our first time going to a foreign Disneyland where BOTH of us we're going in blindly. Yeah, we kind of had an idea of what to expect but because Disneyland Paris is made to cater towards a European guest, it's quite different from the American parks while still maintaining a consistent "familiar" vibe!
Upon arriving at the Disneyland Paris Resort, we followed the crowds to the front of the Disneyland Paris Hotel, which serves as the entry plaza for Disneyland Park. It's this beautiful pink building, busy with windows and balconies - completely blocking any view of what awaits you on the other side! We stopped near the fountain before heading underneath to the turnstiles to snap a quick Instax photo before the insanity began, because I'm sure you can imagine both of us losing it entirely once we got our first glimpse of the Parisian Magic Kingdom! Asking for photos was a hilarious and nerve-wracking task, as you have no idea who speaks English, French, or just about any other language! Again, my French served us well and got us tout les photos (alllllll the photos) that we wanted!
Ah, entering the park was SO crazy! You walk in and see another building blocking your view, but it's the railway station for the Disneyland Railroad that circles the park. Once you cross underneath to the other side, it's like the Twilight Zone - so familiar but so different! Like you've been here before, but you've never been here before! If you kept up with us on our socials, you may have seen our Instagram Stories from that day which absolutely convey the excitement we felt walking down Main Street towards Cinderella Castle!
First stop was fuel - espresso and beignets! JUST LOOK AT THIS PRECIOUS STAR-SHAPED BEIGNET! Call me bonkers, but this lil donut-hater found love in my beignet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Note: we did not wait in line ALL DAY, with the exception of 1 ride - Crush's Coaster.
If you've read our past Disney posts, you know this couple is 100% about strategy and efficiency! We always make the very most out of our time in the parks and utilizing FastPass is key to achieving ultimate fun! We head on over to Discoveryland (which is what they call their Tomorrowland) and snatched up some FastPasses for Space Mountain - Nick's faaaaaaaaavorite ride! Going on this Space Mountain was a big deal for me as well, so we set it as tip top priority. There's a Space Mountain at every Disney Resort around the world, and we plan on riding every. single. one. of. them. With FastPasses in hand, we could then go see a few other things and then return to Space without having to wait in any line. Aprés... uh oh... my French is sneaking back into my brain... AFTER that, we hustled over to see the dragon living underneath the castle!
YES, THERE IS A DRAGON UNDERNEATH THEIR CASTLE!
We had read and hear plenty about the Dragon's Lair beneath Cinderella Castle and omg you guys, it does NOT disappoint! This thing looks as real as it gets, from its moving belly as it breathes, to its long twitching tail, and heavy blinking eyes. If you go to DLP, definitely pay this a visit!
Onward to Fantasyland!
Nick and I truly needed a map for this adventure. Although certain things are in familiar places as I mentioned, they have very different attractions and more a spread out park-layout. Fantasyland is in the familiar location you'd assume (behind the castle) but it has a totally different set of attractions than we are used to and everything is in an unfamiliar spot. We wandered around, trying to get the literal lay-of-the-land and decided we'd walk to the edge of the park to ride Indiana Jones! Super important: It's nothing like the one here in California - it's a full blown rollercoaster! This ride was SO fun and even had a loop in the middle! Though a little rough and slightly janky, we loved it.
Next up, we consulted the map once again and head for a few things we had made tippy-top priority - Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Alice's Curious Labyrinth, and then head back to ride Space Mountain.
Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris completely BLEW MY MIND. We rode it without really knowing what the ride entailed - so Nick and I were both losing our minds when we ended up coasting through an underground tunnel, not once but twice, and popping up on an inland where the entire ride takes place. It's amazing and everything you would want it to be! Since this was my absolute favorite, we ended up riding it again later than evening as the sun was going down! Highly, highly, highly recommend!
It's important for us to also share our thoughts on the Phantom Manor because it is both highly bizarre and dramatically different from ANYTHING we have here at our Disney Parks in the United States. If you've been on the Haunted Mansion at either Disneyland in California or Disney World in Orlando, FL, then you're probably familiar with the attic scene featuring a bride who has murdered all of her husbands. The Phantom Manor in DL Paris stars this same murderous bride as you travel throughout her haunted home on the hillside. I can't emphasize enough how truly terrifying this attraction is. Seriously. Don't believe us, go there and see for yourself. I suggest going while it's still daylight outside...
When we rode Space Mountain, they had just recently modified to the Star Wars version where you're apart of a battle in outer space, assisting the Rebels in fighting the Empire! The audio accompanying this extreme rollercoaster is fantastic and very fitting with all the visual effects and projections throughout! It's also worth sharing that unlike what we have in the States, this Space Mountain has many corkscrews and inversions, flips and even rockets you through a skylit-tunnel upward, as if you're launching into space. Uh-MAZE-iNG.
If you're a little bit older or you're just a full-blown Disney addict, you may remember a live-action Disney film by the name of Island At The Top Of The World. A replica of the airship from this film can be found outside of the restaurant without Discoveryland! We stopped there for lunch, where I giggled with excitement over my "25th Anni" cheeseburger.
Sooooo they totally have a massive love for Alice In Wonderland over there. The Queen of Hearts even has her own mini castle deep inside a hedge maze known as Alice's Curious Labyrinth. Another really fun and different activity that contributed to our fantastic day!
Having purchased park-hopper tickets for the day, we were able to go back and forth between Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. Walt Disney Studios proved to have their own versions of a few of our personal favorites - Rockin' Rollercoaster ft. Aerosmith and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! We loved both, though they were quite different from ours here in the U.S. and set our sights on trying out some Paris-exclusive Disney attractions - Ratatouille and Crush's Coaster!
OMGGGGG these rides are almost too incredible to accurately describe!
Of all the incredible rides we went on, these two absolutely melted our brains the most - no contest! Crush's Coaster only seats 4 people at a time. 2 facing forward and 2 facing backwards. It's a rollercoaster that spins and twists throughout the ride, simulating the way Crush rides the East Australian Current! It was absolutely hilarious because we had NO idea what this ride even was until it was happening to us and we couldn't help but scream our lungs out the whole time! Partially out of confusion, and partially out of excitement! Like I said before, this was the only real wait we experienced. Close to about 30 minutes or so. It was so well worth the wait and we definitely give it a million thumbs up! Take into account that Nick usually gets sick on spinning things, and this still was in his top 2 of the day, alongside Space Mountain.
The Ratatouille ride was bonkers, as well! It's a 3D ride where you travel throughout the attraction in a rat-shaped vehicle THAT HAS NO TRACK. That's right.... there's no track! I totally geeked out on this because I spent a good amount of my time working for the Walt Disney Company operating and learning the engineering of advanced attractions just like this! We absolutely adored this innovative and exciting kids' ride! Nick and I both exited the ride with brains melted and huge smiles to go along with them! It's a must-do!
The rest of our day was spent wandering through some really unique attractions like an Aladdin-themed storytelling experience, exploring the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (complete with giant squid attack) and trying any and all the Parisian Disney snacks we could manage! There was a special 25th Anniversary blue popcorn we kept seeing all day, so we couldn't resist investigating! It turned out to be a blue kettle-corn type popcorn, and it was delicious!
Nick and I stayed until the parks both closed, getting in plenty of time for some souvenir shopping! We always try to bring back Christmas tree ornaments from our various adventures. It makes for a really special decorating experience, as we unwrap the different ornaments we've collected and recall the amazing memories, and best of all, hilarious moments from our travels together. We maaaaaay have brought home 3 ornaments from DLP... someone (I won't name names) couldn't decide on just 1 or even 2. ;) So we totally scored 3 rad little unique Disneyland Paris baubles for us to place on our tree every Christmas!
Oh one last funny things to share, we didn't realize what time it was or when the train stopped running... so we bought our tickets at an automated machine inside the station for our return trip, only to realize the LAST train had left about 10 seconds before. Thank goodness for Uber. I'm glad Nick and I can laugh about it now, because there was a moment of panic where we wondered if we'd be stranded there all night! Yikes!
Though Nick is on tour right now, he wanted to make sure he was apart of this post! So the next section is Nick's 2 cents on our day at Disneyland Paris! ⇩
NICK, HERE! So many things to say about Disneyland Paris.. I don't know where to really start. First off, I had heard from a few people that it's not much fun to visit -- that is completely absurd, because we had the time of our lives there. From the the food, to the rides, to the overall fun environment; it's two thumbs up.
I, personally, thought the rides were top notch and completely destroys the rides in the states. Not saying that the rides we have here aren't fun. I love them. But since Disneyland Paris isn't as old as the other Disney parks, the technology & overall build of the rides are much more advanced. My favorite was Space Mountain. As a child, before going on Space Mountain @ Disneyland, you have these scary thoughts that it's going to be full of loops & corkscrews while fearing for your life of falling out -- THAT is exactly what it's like in Paris.. and I loved every bit of it. Also, Jenna gets a kick out of hearing me scream like a small child on rides like this. Mission accomplished.
I can't say enough great things about Disneyland Paris. We were lucky enough to visit on a day that wasn't too busy, which allowed us to experience everything. I highly recommend going on a weekday. If it's insanely busy, I'd consider going two days. But if you're balls to the wall like Jenna & I, you can crush it in one day.
Eat the nutella crepes.
The coffee is delicious.
Get there when the park opens.
Be mindful of the train times since we missed the last one for the night.
That's about it from us for now!
We could go on forever about how fantastic this day and experience was but we'll leave it at that!
If you have any questions, or just want to know more about Disneyland Paris, leave us a comment below!
Thank you everyone for following our endless adventures and we can't wait to share more very soon!