As a die-hard Disneyworld fan, (I bet some of you didn’t see that one coming) I was reluctant to visit her younger sister in Paris…
When I say reluctant, what I really mean is that I’d spent the last three years since my first trip to Disneyworld Florida 0telling my boyfriend that I wouldn’t set foot in Disneyland Paris on the basis it “would be a total anticlimax” and that it was “nothing compared to the real thing.”
Of course, when I found out that my boyfriend had booked flights to Paris for my birthday, I couldn’t help but question myself. I needed my Disney-fix and the opportunity to get it was suddenly staring me straight in the face.
Not to mention we were headed across on the park’s 20th anniversary…
Obviously I caved. But I’m so glad I did!
Now, I’m not saying that Disneyland Paris is as good as it’s Floridian counterpart because, quite frankly, it’s not. How could it possibly be as good at only a mere fraction of the size, with just two parks and having European weather rather than the Sunshine State’s trademark rays? The clue is in the name people; to compare the two would be like saying the UK is as good as the whole world.
But that’s not to say it’s not pretty spectacular in it’s own right.
So, for all of you looking to get your European Disney fix this summer, welcome to
The Scarlett (Twenty-something) Tips For… Disneyland Paris.
Splash out at the Blue Lagoon…
The Pirates of the Caribbean cruise is one of Disney’s most iconic rides (and one of my all-time favourites) but I was shocked to see how real the pirates were as we entered the ride… until I realised they were actually real people! Yes, at Disneyland’s Blue Lagoon restaurant you can actually have lunch in Tortuga itself, amidst the buccaneers and a a chorus of “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum“.
Speaking of rum (god I love starting sentences like that); unlike The Magic Kingdom in Orlando which is the only park not to allow alcohol, this one does, (welcome to Europe, hotties) so get some of the good stuff down you. This is by far the coolest Disney restaurant I’ve ever been into, and whilst the meals are pretty expensive, it’s worth popping in for a couple of side orders and a wine at lunch just to give it a try!
Go to Hollywood Studios in the morning…
If you’re looking for the Disney magic, The Magic Kingdom is the place to be – so it goes without saying that the families and kids flock to Main Street USA as soon as the gates open in the morning. Take advantage of the lack of crowds by heading over to Hollywood Studios first thing, and save yourself hours of queuing for The Tower of Terror and The (fucking awesome by the way) Aerosmith ride! Plus; by the time you head over to The Magic Kingdom around lunchtime, the families with children will be contemplating food and a much needed rest – giving you the perfect opportunity to hit the main attractions!
Similarly, take full advantage of the Fast Pass machines which allow you to return to your chosen ride an hour or so later to jump the queue!
Hit the Buffet…
If you decide to swerve the Pirate extravaganza at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, but still fancy a sit-down meal, there are plenty of other choices available. If you’re looking for value for money, it’s worth hitting the La Grange text-mex buffet at Billy Bob’s Saloon in Disney Village. It’s 27 Euros per adult, but the food is amazing and I swear to god I ate enough to last me a week!
Don’t stay in the hotel…
Anyone who I’ve ever spoken about Disneyworld to, will know that I’m the number 1 advocate for staying in Disney hotels… in Paris however, it’s so easy to get in and out via the metro line there’s really no need to fork out a fortune to stay on-site.
Yes it can be a bit scatty travelling an hour+ home on a busy metro, especially after a long day of walking – but travelling in and out from the city allows you a bit more freedom and gives you the best of both worlds; a Parisian break and a Disney fix!
(That said, if you have the money to spare, the hotel does look amazing – and keep in mind I don’t have kids that I’ve got to pack onto a train when they’re tired.)
Most importantly, enjoy yourself… I don’t care how old or sceptical you are, the magic of Disney is something that draws everyone in – and Disneyland Paris gives us non-Americans a cheaper and more accessible way to experience it first hand.