Monday, July 16, 2012

Nine's Report on her First Visit to Disneyland Paris

Hello!  If you've been following this series, you know that we have just returned from our first trip to Disneyland Paris.

I would like to share with you a brief review of my own personal thoughts and feelings about the visit. 

The Hotel
This the first time we chose to stay on-site while at a Disney Park, both for proximity and Extra Magic Hours (EMH).  There are 6 DLP hotels and we stayed in the Sequoia Lodge.  This hotel is modelled on American National Parks and having visited the Grand Canyon myself, I have to say I was pretty impressed.  The room was adequate: 2 double beds, a chair and table, a bureau with a flat screen TV, a small hanging space with rental safe, a vanity area and small seperate bathroom with a toilet and shower over the bath.  

A small note, there is no kettle or any kind of tea making supplies.  I have since learnt you can buy a refreshment pack at the front desk and you will then be given a kettle for the duration of your stay.  We had asked for a cot but there wasn't one. As it was late when we arrived, I just let Tink sleep with me but I was a bit annoyed.  There was air conditioning (there isn't in every hotel), the beds were comfy, the shower was ok and it wasn't too noisy.  You can't ask for too much more.

There was a small gift shop, which also sold a few sundries such as milk and 2 restaurants.  We didn't use them but the rest of our party had the buffet breakfast that was included (continental - therefore croissants, rolls, cheese, ham, cereal etc) and said it was very nice.

Sequoia Lodge was very conveniently located to the Disney Village, about a 10-minute walk and about 15 from the parks.  This was great for getting back for nap time.  Overall I would definately stay there again and would pay the extra for the tea and coffee supplies/kettle.

The Parks

Disneyland Park
This park is the Walt Disney World equivalent of the Magic Kingdom.  It is what I imagine Disneyland in California is like.  The architecture was beautiful.  Fantasyland and Main Street were in particular just stunning.  It is Sleeping Beauty Castle here, as is it in CA, and it was gorgeous.  There were times when you could easily have believed that you were in WDW.  It was also nice that there were lots of differences to the Florida park too though so I wasn't constantly comparing it.  There are many classic signature rides such as It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Dumbo, the carrousel, Pirates of the Carribean, Big Thunder Mountain etc but there were many different ones too.  The only French ride we went on this time was the Phantom Manor, which is very similar to the Haunted Mansion, yet a lot darker, and we were glad we left Tink with her grandparents.

The shops were amazing and we spent far too many Euros.  We did find things a lot more expensive than the US.  For example, a kids tee shirt was approx €20 which is about £18 which is about $27!!!  There was a lot of 20th Anniversary merchandise and some of it was too good not to buy *winks*.

We did find eating in the parks was an issue.  A LOT of the counter service places were shut and we often had to walk all the way back to Main Street just to get a sandwich. (Where was Cosmic Ray's when you need it, huh?)  

This brings me on to customer service.  Most of the Cast Members we met were nice and helpful.  However we had a disgusting encounter with 2 CMs in the Main Street Deli.  It was Extra Magic Hours and we were the first customers.  We ordered a coffee and a coke in a souvenir cup.  The cash register wouldn't work.  Two members of staff pushed at buttons while we stood there like idiots on our last morning while Tink got more and more fidgety. In the end since nothing was happening I said we would have to leave.  Now had we been in WDW I truly believe the CMs would have apologised and given us the drinks for free since they were only going to throw them away anyway right? But no, they took the drinks off of us without even a sorry.  I was not happy and will be complaining.

The parade - in a word, fantastic!!!  I cried throughout, and Tink loved it.  The crowd around us?  Awful.  We waited for almost an hour to get a decent spot and as soon as the music started all hell broke lose with people pushing and shoving, crossing barriers, climbing onto the grass, screaming in your face to get out of their way even though you'd been there for ages and had a small child in your arms.  Tink was terrified and clung to me.  Appalling. We stood our ground and didn't let anyone get in front of us, but it almost spoilt it.  I'm not blaming Disney for rude patrons but they need more staff to marshall this.

Overall impression of Disneyland Park?  Beautiful scenery (but start pumping some cinnamon and candy smells in, too much cigarette smoke and not enough to disguise it), great rides, lots to buy but please open more eateries (they were there but not open!) and please train CMs better.  Oh and do something, anything about the blatant rudeness of people when it comes to lack of manners and queuing etiquette.

Walt Disney Studios Park
We only spent about an hour in this park on our last morning and by no means did it justice.  I doubt we saw even one fifth of the park.  One of our party watched the parade and said it was good but the Disneyland Park one was better.  The only ride we did and even saw properly here was the Tower of Terror, which is my favourite ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios in FL.  It did not disappoint and was really good.  The rest of the park looked really great and I look forward to exploring it next time.  We didn't buy anything from a shop or eatery here except ride photos from ToT so I can't comment on the shops or restaurants or the theming of the rest of the lands, but what little I saw was very impressive and similar to HS in FL.

Overall impression? Can't wait to see more especially the Toy Story Playground.

The Disney Village
We really like it here.  This is Paris' equivalent of Downtown Disney and had a number of shops and restaurants/cafes.  We ate at Annettes (an American style diner with yummy burgers), Rainforest Cafe (FAB!!!), Earl of Sandwich (can't wait for another Caprese at DTD) and Starbucks (very slow, remember to ask for milk and you can't take it into the parks).  Lots to choose from and nicely done.  There are bag checks here that make sense as the main train station is here too.  I did find that a little strange as there were a few buskers and street sellers around which you'd never find at WDW. Cafe Mickey is here which is the closest DLP has to Chef Mickeys in the Contemporary Resort at WDW.  We didn't do it this time as we are waiting for our FL trip in September for Tink to meet the Big Cheese.  The World of Disney shop was just being completed and wasn't yet open during our stay but it was due to open on July 12th.

Overall?  Liked it a lot but not as much as DTD, not as much to to and not as scenic. However I didn't spend 3/4 of the holiday spending allowence here like i usually do at DTD (um, WOD and 12 Days of Disney Christmas shop??? How could you say no?).  Worth it for the yummy EOS alone though *licks lips*.

Being a shareholder
Well, well, WELL worth it.  I had discounts on all the merchandise bought from shops (not from the carts as they need to call for a supervisor) and all Table Service non-Franchise eateries, as well as EOS.  We also had access to a members only club for coffee and cake between 9am-12pm and the chocolate and nut pastries were worth buying the shares for by themselves...

We also had a VIP Fast Pass one morning with unlimited Fast Pass access on all Fast Pass rides.  That was again amazing.

Overall?  I got my money back and more with the savings we made.  A great decision.  And I'm proud to say I own a bit of Disney!

So, that's it.  My first impressions of DLP.

We had a great time but would stay for at least 3 nights next time.  We didn't arrive until 5pm and left around midday on the last day.  Even with using the EMH there just wasn't enough time to see everything with a 2 year old.  But it gives us a great excuse to go back :-)

We also learnt some valuable lessons for the trip to WDW -
1. Go to all the other parks first and do MK last or Tink will refuse to go anywhere else and cry when she doesn't go to see the castle.
2. When we do go to MK ride IASW last or Tink will refuse to go on any other ride and cry when she doesn't see "the little people".
3. Only attempt to meet face characters and mice.  Big bears and monkeys are especially scary to a 2 year old.
4. Make use of the Baby Care centres and First Aid (no private rooms for nursing at DLP it would seem, so you can ask to go into a room with a curtain in the First Aid station which is next door instead). Do not worry if child won't eat anything apart from junk, they're on holiday.
5. One present a day is MORE than enough.
6. Take more photos!  FIL took loads but we shamefully took hardly any.
7. Have a wonderful time!

Contributed by Janine P. of Swindon, England. She is a proud wife, mommy to Felicity and one of our Minnie Moms.  Check out her  monthly series which followed her as she planned her family's first trip to Disneyland Paris.  Learn more about Janine here.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  2. Thanks for sharing yout trip. Probably as close as I'll get to DLP

  3. We were at DLP about 1 month ago...totally loved it but totally agree with everything about your review! We stayed at The Disneyland Hotel which was just the best! We enjoyed our trip, but being from the US, can't say I'm anxious to make another trip here.....but maybe to another overseas Disney Park!


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