The One with Disneyland Paris


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last weekend was a 4-day for Army soldiers stationed in Europe so we took advantage of our time off and booked a trip to Disneyland Paris way back in December! We were counting down the days (so was Fox, although every time we mentioned it he'd say, "No Pirates!") and March 13th finally arrived!

DAY ONE
Chris went to work in the morning, came home at lunch, loaded up the car, and we were off!
Fox wearing Chris' shades. Jane just being cute, as always.

Disneyland Paris or bust!

It was sooooo surreal to be driving along the autobahn and then signs for "Paris" showed up. PARIS! THE Paris! Unreal! We entered France, making our country count since we've lived here 8 (Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, France). We're trying to go to as many as we can in our short 3 years here!

Beautiful French countryside.
We stayed at the  Cheyenne Hotel - over-the-top country western-themed and you know what? I loved every inch of it.

We were in the Billy the Kid building.

Everything was cowboy themed. The rugs, the wallpaper, the bedsheets. It was so corny it was awesome.
There was a bunk bed and Fox was soooo excited to sleep on the top bunk!
We got in pretty late so we washed up the kids then went to bed. I could barely sleep I was so excited - it felt like Christmas!

DAY TWO
Our assigned breakfast time was at 8am but they said we could probably get in earlier. We were up and at 'em at 6am so we hoped to get into breakfast at 7:30 and they let us in! Getting breakfast was like the running of the bulls. It was complete and utter madness! All for bread and cheese, haha!
Jane tried Nutella for the first time. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 
It was a foggy morning making for cool pictures. These teepees were right outside our room.
The resort across the river is the Hotel Santa Fe. We debated between this hotel and the Cheyenne but ultimately Cheyenne won but I can't remember our reasons. Same price, same number of stars. Maybe we flipped a coin. But it was fun to have the "Cowboys vs Indians" right across the way from each other.

We walked 15 minutes to the parks (we never took the bus, we figured walking was much easier, faster, and less of a hassle with a big stroller) and saw lots of pretty sights along the way including Disney's Newport Bay Club/Hotel on a lake. 
If there's ever a "next time" we totally want to stay here at the Disneyland Hotel! You have to pass underneath it to even get into the park, it's that close! And so beautiful! It's pink and Victorian and lovely.
Panoramic phone shot.
Underneath the Disneyland Hotel is where you buy tickets. But we purchased ours online cuz we live in the 21st century :)
Love the coffered ceilings.
Hello Disneyland Paris!
Yay! My favorite quote plaque!
We did LOTS of comparing and contrasting to Disneyland California and Disneyworld! We decided Disneyland Paris is much more ornate, detailed, and pretty, but also more run down (chipped paint, broken windows, missing lights, etc). But I loooove all the beautiful and extra frills!

Main Street USA.

Charming!

Pretty pink Sleeping Beauty Castle.

More views of the castle from throughout the day. The trees were blossoming and matched the pink castle perfectly.

Okay, down to business. The park is open to hotel guests only (AWESOME!) from 8-10am so we had the park practically to ourselves for two hours. Only a select few rides were open, but that's all we needed. Fox chose to go on Dumbo the Flying Elephant first. We could feel the kids' excitement and anticipation!
Next we hopped on over to Peter Pan's Flight. In CA there is always a two hour wait. Here we got on in just a few minutes, but only because we were there early. There's definitely a Fast Pass for a reason! (Which, by the way, we didn't get Fast Passes because you have to pay extra for them...).
Then Fox wanted to go on Lancelot's Carousel. Jane took naps on Chris all throughout our trip.
Check out how awesome the horses are decorated - to the nines! Fox wanted to sit on a dragon-themed horse of course.
Then we walked through Sleeping Beauty's Castle - or rather, La Belle Au Bois Dormant.
Pretty stained glass depicting parts of the story.
A view of Fantasyland from the castle. The fog was holding on by its teeth!

Fox trying to pull the sword out of the stone.
Underneath the castle is the Dragon's Lair. This scary-looking dragon was so life-like I seriously got nightmares from it! The animatronics were impeccable. Fox loved it, surprisingly, since as we found out over the next few days, he's kind of a big wimp :)

It was about 10am then so the rest of the rides were open and we checked them out one-by-one. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

The Voyages of Pinocchio!
Signs of spring. Beautiful.

Next - It's a Small World.

All of the boats sailed under covered canopies - California could take a hint cuz the sunshine that beats down on you upon exiting is killer! The ride was very similar and also included a California/Hollywood section.
French-inspired buildings that are places to eat. And Mr. Toad isn't a ride here, it's a restaurant.

A year-round Christmas shop! And at this windmill we got the most delicious waffles with sugar. Mmmm just thinking about it makes me want another.
Then we headed over to the Land of Fairy Tales - like unto the Storybook Boats.
The boats weren't sailed individually and narrated by a human, instead they went around a rotating dock and went along a track in the water. The line was MUCH faster because of the constant stream of boats.

The miniature displays were different too, it was a fun change of pace.
Cinderella's Castle. I want to live there :)

Then we went on the Casey Jr. Train - it was a roller coaster, fast, and FUN! We got good views of the boats below. And that concludes our morning in Fantasyland!
Next we walked over to Adventureland which is Arabian-themed at the entrance.
No words for her cuteness!! Ahhhhh!!

Fox is terrified of the drop in Pirates. He's been saying "no Pirates" for months now. But we HAD to go on Pirates! It's like the epitome of Disneyland! So into the queue we went. I think because it looks different than CA Fox wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he eventually figured it out and really didn't want to go... We're so mean for making him go on it!
You can tell by his face how much he "loved" it... :( Poor boy! We told him we won't go on it again.
Scenes in Adventureland.

For lunch we went to (this is the literal translation) The Cottage of the Puppet. Chris got a Bavarian-style brat which is funny because we're from Bavaria. I got a burger of some sort and the kids got chicken and fries.

The kids needed a break so we took them to the playground called Pirates' Beach.

I think Fox had fun. Maybe. I can't really tell :)


View of Big Thunder Mountain and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

We were pretty tired at this point so we took a turn around the park on the Disneyland Railroad.
We were still tired so we walked back to the hotel and took a nap. Then we came back and went on the Phantom Manor.
As a Halloween-loving lady I was in LOVE with the exterior of this haunted house!
What are these trees called and where can I get some? Because they're the PERFECT spooky tree!
Chris and Jane had a little love fest waiting in the short line to get in.
We had a hard time trying to find some place that was actually open for dinner! Weird! But we found an Italian place over in Fantasyland called Pizzeria Bella Notte and got, well, pizza!

The lines to go on any more "fun" rides were hours long, so we ventured back into Fantasyland to see some things we missed that morning. We passed these cute chairs along the way.
We meandered through Alice's Curious Labyrinth.

View from the top of the structure in the hedge maze.

These gates and towers as you exit Fantasyland remind me of the gates and towers we've seen at real castles in these parts of the world.
We walked to Discoveryland to go on Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. The wait said 40 minutes but only took about 10 - we'll take it! Super fun.

Then Chris let me go on Space Mountain while he watched the kiddos. Oh. My. Goodness. This Space Mountain is soooo different! It goes upside down and corkscrews around and is AWESOME. Total adrenaline rush. So fun.
And then we called it a night and enjoyed the festive lights on the way back to the hotel.



DAY THREE
On day three we woke up, got breakfast, and walked to the park. Fox was all ready to go!
Hot air balloon ride that's closed for renovations right now. City Hall on Main Street.

We wanted to go to the other theme park, Walt Disney Studios, but it didn't open 'til 10. Disneyland was open like usual from 8-10am for hotel guests so we went to Fantasyland to see if there's anything we missed. And so, for the first time ever (I never once went on it in the 4 years we lived in CA) I went on the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups! Spinning around is not my thang! But seeing how pretty the pavilion is with all the colored lanterns and cups made it worth it. I took a video while on it but it might make you spew so I'll spare you :)

By then it was almost 10 so we walked over to Walt Disney Studios.
You have to walk through Disney Studio 1 to get into the park to "soak up the film studio's magical behind-the-scenes atmosphere".
We went straight to Toy Story Playland because Fox loooooves all things Toy Story.

We went on the Slinky Dog Zigzag spin first and realized that Fox is just not into roller coasters. Wah wah.

Chris and I took turns going on the RC Racer. Man oh man it was FUN.

The kids at the various Toy Story statues.

We love the Backlot Tour in Florida's MGM Studios and thought this would be fun. The lady said the wait was 40 minutes and the ride was 20 minutes. 
An hour and a half later... we got on. And Fox again was terrified. He did NOT like the fake fires and rushing water. He thought it was real. Poor boy.

Time for lunch! We ate in the Studio 1 "Behind the Scenes" Restaurant.
We thought it'd be fun to see some shows. So we got in line for Disney Junior Live.
Fox and Jane loved seeing characters from their favorite shows.

Then we watched the Stunt Show Spectacular featuring Lightning McQueen!

Waiting for the show to begin.
A motorcyclist performed some AMAZING stunts to open. How does he do that? And seeing a life-sized Lightning McQueen was pretty cool, even I, a full-grown woman thought so.
Again, Fox was surprisingly SCARED by the loud noises and at one point there was a big explosion with fire and what not and he was shaking he was so scared. It's so sad!
Crazy drivers!
Time for a nap. We walked back to the hotel.
For dinner we went to the Rainforest Cafe!
My tortellini was delicious - probably the best thing I ate all the time we were there. At one point the lights got all dark and there was a fake rainstorm and Fox freaked out. What's with that kid? :( Why is he so traumatized?

We walked into the park and checked out the miniature scenes that tell the story of Aladdin.


I loved all the Moroccan lights around the entrance to Adventureland.

We went up into the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. It's crazy how REAL the tree looks!

At the top, Chris beckoned me, pointed out, and asked, "Is that the Eiffel Tower?"

Good eye Chris! It HAS to be! Paris is only 30km away, what else could the tall, lit up structure be? We asked around and everyone agreed. We saw the Eiffel Tower!!! So awestruck. I've actually been to Paris before so I've seen it and been to the top, but it was still a sight to behold, even teeny tiny. Chris on the other hand, has never been to Paris so he was also pretty stoked. We're planning to go to Paris over the 4th of July so stay tuned.

It was way past the kid's bedtimes so we headed back to the hotel after a long and fun-filled day.


DAY FOUR
What's better than sipping from one drink? Sipping from two! Milk AND orange juice no less :)
We found out that parts of Discoveryland including SPACE MOUNTAIN were open from 8-10am for hotel guests! Why didn't we know this the first two days?? So we were at the park waiting for the gates to open at 7:45.
Once we got through one set of gates, there was another to get into the park.
We ran straight for Space Mountain. While Chris went on that I took the kids on Buzz Lightyear. Then we switched. Still just as fun as the first time! Then we went on Orbitron. Another spinny aroundy ride, blech, haha.

Wally and Eve!
The rest of the park opened at 10 and I wanted to go on Big Thunder Mountain so we waited at the gates for it to open.
Oh. My. Goodness. When the rope was dropped people BOOKED IT like they were being chased by dragons to get there first! I didn't run, so I ended up waiting for about 15 minutes to get on. Crazy people :)


Totally worth it though, the ride was awesome.

Details from Big Thunder Mountain.

By the time I got off the wait was like an hour so Chris didn't get to go on at this point.

So we took the kids to the Pocahontas Indian Village playground.

And they had the time of their lives running around and going down slides.
There was a little river by the park that a bunch of ducks and Canadian geese were swimming up and down. These geese were sooo close! I almost stuck my hand out but was afraid they'd bite it clean off.
We rounded the corner and saw Pluto and Goofy with virtually no line so we got to meet them up close and personal!

Then we took a turn around the lake on the Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing cruise.
Fox was so scared it was going to "drop" like on Pirates. I had to hold him the entire 20 minutes to comfort him. Pretty scenes from the ride.

For lunch we went to Fuente Del Oro Restaurante for good ol' Mexican food! The mini churros were the bomb.

Autopia is only open from 12-7 so we headed over there after lunch, waited in line for an hour, then rode. Jane's first big kid ride!! So fun.

At that point we'd done pretty much absolutely everything you can do in Disneyland (aside from go into shops and eat at every single cafe/restaurant) so we went back to Walt Disney Studios to see more shows. First we saw Animagique which of course scared Fox cuz it was dark. But then once he realized it wasn't scary he liked it. You know what's funny though? Phantom Manor doesn't scare him at all. He loves ghosts and skeletons. That kid...
Next we saw Stitch Live! which is like Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot.

It made us laugh out loud, which is always a good thing.
For dinner we ate cheesy hot dogs back at Casey's Corner on Main Street USA in Disneyland. Lots of walking back and forth! The Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril ride is closed until the end of May (on my birthday, the 28th actually!) but we still wanted to SEE it. As we were walking over we noticed Big Thunder Mountain must have been closed and just barely reopened because the line was very short. Chris booked it to get on. While waiting for him I bought the kids Woody and Jessie dolls. I live vicariously through my kids and like to get new toys :) When Daddy's away, Mommy will play spend $$!
Janey and Jessie.
So then we tried to go see Indy but it was blocked off pretty far from it so all we saw were fences. Oh wells. We passed the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse in the daylight and saw the fanciest pizza place I've ever laid eyes on.
We felt complete and satisfied with our Disneyland adventure and made our way back to the hotel. I stopped to take last minute pictures of enticing shop windows.
Liberty Arcade and Dapper Dan's Hair Cuts.
We found plaques with all of the Disneyland locations around the world. We're checking them off one-by-one!
Good bye Disneyland Paris! You are AWESOME!
Hopefully there will be a "next time" :)
Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN