3 April 2018 – Disneyland Paris…….. [France]
On our 4th trip to Paris in around 5.5 years we finally made it to Disneyland Paris with the kids. They had been to Disneyland Hong Kong a couple of years earlier, in what was an excruciatingly hot and humid day in the mid 40’s. Well, the Paris experience certainly proved to be the opposite, cold, grey and raining on a April (Spring) day. There was still some Disney magic though!
After our excursion to the Easter concert at Madeleine cathedral the previous evening, we managed to all sleep til around 7.30am then had a quick breaky in the apartment before getting ready and trying to be out early for the trip out to Disneyland, hopefully arriving just before opening time.
The kids were very excited about spending the day at Disneyland but Soren was already whingeing about being tired, which didn’t bode well for a long day out! We had deliberately avoided going to Disneyland over the Easter long weekend but were now running out of days before we headed to Iceland, so had always planned to go today. Despite the fact that the weather forecast was rather terrible, with 8mm of rain and 50km/h winds forecast. Given the weather had been average at best most days, we figured it wasn’t going to make much difference and took coats and warm clothes with us.
We left the apartment by 8.40am and metro’d down to Les Halles station where we caught the RER A out to Disneyland. The RER trip was about 45 minutes and once we were out of Paris city we traveled through some nice towns we’d never seen before.
The RER was rather busy when we first got on, being commuter peak hour but the train was only Disney visitors by the end as it’s the last stop on the line.
Once we were off the train it’s a very short walk to the Disney parks. Already there were a lot of people milling around. We had predicted it would be busy due to it being close to Easter and the UK, Spanish and US school holidays…….. and sure enough it was already busy by 9.45am.
The line for security was moving fairly quickly and soon we were in lining up to buy tickets. All the ticket lines were rather long, and there was a reasonable wait to buy tickets, so we were regretting decision not to pre-buy them. We’d gotten away with buying on the day in Hong Kong, but weren’t quite so lucky this time.
The kids were restless but excited and while the wait was frustrating it was one of the shortest of the day. We were eventually inside the park proper by 10.20am, and surrounded by swarms of people and over-excited kids!
We had no real plan for which areas we wanted to hit first, we tend to try to see what the kids want to do and where the lines aren’t too long. With the wait to get in we had unfortunately missed the quiet period where ride lines are short. We made a quick decision to go to nearby Frontierland.
The paddle steamer in Frontierland was just loading for a trip out, so we walked straight on. The kids enjoyed the rather leisurely cruise around Frontierland and watched the Big Thunder Mountain roller-coaster as we cruised around, and they decided that they definitely needed to go on that next.
We figured that we’d go and check out how long the lines for Big Thunder Mountain were. Once we arrived it was a 30 minute line so we figured that was worthwhile trying to get on now and lined up. Soren made the height limit for the ride (just) and they had even convinced me to go on (and Granny). Both of us were a little reluctant but at least it didn’t go upside down. The line was moving fast and when we weren’t too far from the front it stopped due to a breakage on the ride. We waited 10 minutes without moving an inch, and then they decided to close the ride and made us get out of the line which took another 10 minutes! After all that waiting and no ride the kids were rather disappointed but these things happen.
There wasn’t much else we wanted to see or do in Frontierland so we headed to nearby Adventure Land next. First stop was Pirate’s beach and through the caves. There were no lines and we wandered through in different directions, getting lost. The kids had fun but had spied the treehouse on Adventure Isle ‘Les Cabane des Robinson’ and wanted to go up that. We eventually found how to get into the treehouse and there wasn’t much line so climbed up the many stairs. There were good views from the top, but it was rather windy.
So far we had been at Disneyland for over 2 hours and we hadn’t been on a ride yet. At this point every line was at least 60 minutes long, which was rather irritating (if not unexpected). Soren wanted to do the Dumbo ride as we hadn’t managed to get on this in Hong Kong due to long lines. We instead negotiated the Peter Pan ride (which we also hadn’t done in Hong Kong) as the wait time was the same length and it was probably more exciting for the rest of us.
Standing in line for another hour wasn’t much fun but we had some lovely home-made baguette with ham & cheese and tomato & cheese to munch on. It’s easy to pack a nice picnic lunch in Paris! Finally we got into the ride, which was quite fun. Lots of zooming through the dark, with the sky all lit up with stars. I didn’t even bother trying to take photos but the kids quite enjoyed it and Di and I agree it was about our pace.
Next we wandered through the Sleeping Beauty castle. Again there were lovely views across the park and the kids had fun climbing the turret stairs.
After an explore of the castle we made it over to the nearby outside stage to see the 25th anniversary Mickey show, which was about to start. There was no seating so sitting on cold concrete wasn’t grand, but the kids cheered up when they saw all the characters singing and dancing. Soren adores Mickey and we hadn’t yet managed to meet him but Soren was absolutely mesmerised when Mickey came out onto the stage.
It was starting to get cold and looking like it was going to rain. All the lines for rides were now approaching 75-90 minutes long, which was a rather long wait in the cold with kids. The kids and Anto voted for trying Astroblasters, which we had done twice in Hong Kong because everyone enjoyed. As a bonus the line was ‘only’ an hour, which seemed like a good deal at this point, so we lined up. Again the lines were moving slowly but the kids weren’t being too badly behaved, even if they were whingeing about being hungry and eating all the biscuits we had stashed in our bags.
Finally into Astroblasters after only 50 minutes of waiting and again we all enjoyed it. Anto is the best shot by far but both kids managed to beat Granny.
On the way out of the ride we stopped by the souvenir shop to buy some Mickey ears for both kids. Astrid scoring a 25th anniversary pair and a Soren a wizard set. With Mickey ears on it was time to attempt another line and try to get another ride in. At this point of the day, every ride was a long wait so we asked the kids to prioritse what they wanted to do for the rest of the day.
Astrid had been begging to go on Hyperspace Mountain again after loving it in Hong Kong. The Paris, Star Wars version, is a slighty different to the Hong Kong one, but again Soren was way too short. He instead wanted to go on the Orbitron rocket ride (I had done the equivalent ride with Soren in Hong Kong and he loved it). Both rides had lines of around 45-50 minutes so we split up and Anto went with Astrid and Di and I with Soren.
Once our group eventually reached the front of the Orbitron line I went in on a rocket on my own and Soren with Granny. Soren was a great flyer and took Granny too high for her liking and she quickly requested he take her back down. The ride was rather vertigo inducing for me but again it was a Soren favourite!
We got out about 5 minutes before Anto and Astrid reappeared from Hyperspace mountain. apparently Astrid loved it yet again, and this one even went upside down, unlike the Hong Kong version. For a child that gets motion sickness she loves roller-coasters!
With a few rides now under our belt the kids day was finally improving. Soren was desperate to do the Autopia (car driving) ride but the line was over an hour and we needed coffee and food and somewhere to sit down for a bit, so decided we’d see how the line was looking later in the day.
In search of coffee and food we wandered back towards main street for some food and coffee. We realised the princess and pirate parade was about to start at 4pm on Main Street so decided to watch it, getting a fairly good vantage spot. Soren got up fairly close to Pirate Mickey, which again made him happy.
By now we were really in need of coffee, so we found some overpriced donuts, muffins and coffee, and a seat for our tired legs and consumed some calories before the next parade. We were wishing we’d bothered to bring more food with us, as the kids were rather hungry with all the standing around.
With a little time on our hands before the main parade, we did a little souvenir shopping in one of the main street stores and went outside back to Main street for the 5pm parade. It was pretty busy but the kids got a spot on the side of the road and had good views. Just as parade was about to start the heavens opened…..
Lucky we had rain coats but it was getting miserable sitting in the rain. Like all Disney parades the floats and costumes were impressive and there was plenty of dancing and spectacle. It was amusing watching all the characters getting wet, but being Paris they were no doubt used to this kind of weather!
By the time the parade was over everyone was soaked. We’d originally thought we might leave after the parade as it takes an hour to get back into Paris to our apartment…….. but the kids were holding up well and due to the rain there was a mass exodus out of the park straight after the parade, and the trains would have been crowded. We thought we’d try our luck and see if the lines for the ride had gotten shorter.
We were all now rather damp but when we went back towards the Autopia ride the line was only 15 minutes and the kids voted to go on. It was the shortest wait we’d had all day, so the rain had finally worked in our favour. I decided to sit it out and take a few photos. As the cars had been soaked in the downpour they all ended up with wet bums but both kids had a ball driving around, Soren with Anto and Astrid with Granny.
The kids, getting a second wind, then voted for the Star Wars ride and the line was apparently only 20 minutes so we headed there. As there was a warning for motion sickness and vertigo I decided to pass as did Di, so Anto took the kids and we went and stood in a warm shop and did some souvenir shopping until they reappeared.
While they were in the ride it poured on 3 separate occasions. It was now freezing and windy so we were getting a bit impatient waiting for them to come back, but they eventually appeared about 40 minutes after we left them. Apparently Soren had found the ride a little scary and Anto said it was lucky I didn’t go as he even felt motion sick!
It was now after 6.30pm and we figured we needed to feed the kids as it was going to be late before we got back to Paris. The closest place was a burger food court within Discovery World, and various combinations of burgers, nuggets and fried food was purchased. We tried not to think about what delicious things we could get for the same Euros in Paris. We were all cold and the food wasn’t too bad and gave us the required amount of salt and fat to keep us going.
The kids were definitely tired and we were all cold so we decided to head back out, after one last walk through main street in the rain. All the ride lines were back up to 45 minutes or more, so more rides for day wasn’t a great idea giving how tired the kids were. Soren had somehow gotten a second wind and was skipping around like a crazy kid but we knew they were about to crash.
We set off on our final walk down the wet and cold down main street and bid farewell to the Magic Kingdom. In the end we managed a decent amount of rides giving the length of lines, but had still failed to manage to meet any of the characters at the character meets. All the lines were over an hour each time and the kids opted for rides instead. Soren had been desperate to finally meet Mickey but was happy with seeing him in the shows and parades. We managed 1 show and 2 parades which is always a worthwhile use of time. We also lasted much longer than we did on the Hong Kong day. The cooler (if more miserable) weather made it easier to tolerate standing around, and the kids being a bit older helped too.
We made it to the train station at 8pm for the 40 minute RER back to Les Halles. The train on the way home was full of wet and tired looking kids. Astrid had been doing well while in Disneyland but was immediately asleep on Granny’s lap for the ride back. Soren just talked non-stop driving everyone insane. He did not stop asking questions for entire trip back!
Astrid was so asleep that she refused to wake up and had to be carried off the RER onto the metro, giving Anto a good arm workout as she isn’t small these days. Luckily she woke up enough to walk back to the apartment once we were off the metro!
We arrived back at our apartment just after 9pm and kids were ready for sleep. We were all glad to be out of our wet clothes and resting our legs that were tired from an awful lot of standing in lines!
All in all the kids had a good day. They enjoyed their second Disneyland experience. We were all frustrated by the length of lines. We knew this was going to be a problem but we still managed to see a decent amount of things over the course of the day. We are glad we didn’t even try to attempt the Walt Disney Studios in the same day. We knew we wouldn’t see all of even the main Disney park in a day but ticked enough boxes to make it a good day out for the kids. We all agree that while it was a good day out for the kids, it’s an expensive day out, and of all the things we did during this trip it wouldn’t have been their absolute favourite. They enjoyed a lot of our adventures in Iceland and the Scottish Highlands more. We would return to Disneyland Paris another day but would definitely aim for an off-peak time to beat some of the crowds!
Daily statistics for Tuesday 3 April, 2018 in Paris, France – the temperature range for the day was 8 to 12 degrees, with 40km/h winds and rain. Not the nicest day out, but actually better than the initial forecast suggested. The total walking for the day was 9.75km. People always comment on how much walking they do at Disneyland, this was one of our shortest walking days to date, although we did an awful lot of standing around in lines to make up for it!
Up next, the final instalment of our Paris adventures in 2018, with a tour of some of the passages, more patisserie, a visit to Laduree and then jetting off to London!