A Trip To Disneyland Paris...& A Disney Merchandise Haul

Hello everyone!

I recently came back from a mini break to Disneyland Paris (DLP) and I wanted to share with you a quick run down of the third Disney park that I've been to, as well as a couple of my pics. I'd been looking to visit DLP for a good number of years now (as far back as 2012 I believe) after I came back from WDW in Florida and decided to make it my mission in life to experience every Disney Park property on the planet. I've now achieved half of my goal, having been to Disneyland Hong Kong in 2008 and WDW twice in 2007 and 2012, and now DLP in 2015. There's only Shanghai, California and Tokyo to go! 

I scoured the internet looking for the best price to book my DLP package, from the DLP Disney website, to using tour operators like Thomas Cook, before I decided I would go it alone and book the components of the holiday separately. I got return Eurostar tickets for £66pp, a hotel in London for £27pp, return coach tickets to London for £25pp, 3 nights in the Explorers Hotel at DLP for £150pp and then 3 days of park tickets for the price of 2 at £97pp. All in all, my friend Catherine and I paid just over £350 each for our 5 day, 4 night adventure. Which, if you ask me, is a bargain - I've seen some people pay the same amount of money to go to DLP as they have to WDW!

We embarked on a journey to London via the coach from the South West and arrived just before midday into Hammersmith. I gave a quick wave to Disney HQ before boarding the tube to Aldgate East, Whitechapel to make our way to our Ibis hotel. I'm not one for negativity much here on Confetti Letters so I'll leave my review short and sweet: I won't be staying there again. That is all.

The next day our experience of the Eurostar was effortless at 0530am, the RER slightly confusing once in Paris, but the welcome sight of Disney at the end of the train line at Marne-la-Vallee was amazing. We boarded a (free!) bus to our hotel, The Explorers at Disneyland Paris and was told that although our room wasn't ready yet, we were welcome to leave our luggage (also free!) in a safe room at the hotel and hot foot it into the parks. We did so, and we in Disneyland Park by midday!

Fast forward 10 hours and we'd visited all of the attractions in the entire park, from It's A Small World, to Big Thunder Mountain, to Pirates of the Caribbean and Snow White, eaten a Casey's Corner hotdog and sampled an all you can eat buffet at Plaza Gardens, and watched Disney Magic on Parade. I was in complete awe throughout the day, soaking up the pixie dust and just being incredibly, genuinely happy to be back home in a Disney Park. <3

I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet the park was for a Friday, our longest wait time was 45 minutes for Big Thunder, which pales in comparison to a WDW queue! The whole park seemed much less rushed too, people were ambling around, no-one was pushing through to get somewhere fast, there were hardly any queues that used the overflow lines for the attractions and people were just generally enjoying the slower pace of Disney life. I definitely also welcomed the later park times, where Disneyland Park opened at 10am and closed after the culmination of Dreams at 1130pm, and Walt Disney Studios park opened at 10am and closed as early as 7pm!

On day two we ventured next door to the Studios park, arriving just after 10am. As it was Saturday we were expecting huge queues, but again our longest wait time was just under 60 minutes for the Ratatouille experience (definitely a must-do!). Again we also managed to complete the whole park in one day, and instead of taking a break back to the hotel as planned we went right through to midnight and watched the nighttime spectacle, Dreams at Disneyland Park after Studios closed. My highlights from this park of course included the Rock & Rollercoaster, screaming on Tower of Terror and meeting the boss, Mickey Mouse. What I didn't enjoy so much was riding Crush's Coaster backwards (I fully expected a calm experience type attraction, akin to Peter Pan's Flight or something, but this was before I read the ride description properly and realised that there would be darkness, drops and spinning!!), the fact that no smoking rules are completely ignored and not enforced, and the amount of rubbish that littered the parks. These latter two aspects tarnished the seamless Disney experience for me that I know and love if I'm honest. You just shouldn't see a lost Coke bottle on the Indiana Jones set because someone's been too bone idled to put it in the bin - it made me sad!

That said, I had an amazing time at Studios park, and so for our third day we went back to Disneyland Park to meet Princess Ariel, have lunch at Pizza Planet and ride Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Blast. We inevitably had to say goodbye to the parks, and did so after watching the parade for the second time, and meandering around Disney Village before heading back to pack up our hotel room. I would honestly go back to DLP in a heart beat, and I'm happy to report that I don't have too bad of a Post Disney Depression this time round because I know that my WDW CRP begins in 18 weeks (4 months!!), but I will definitely plan to go back to DLP in the future. I'd also definitely recommend the Explorers hotel, and would probably choose to stay there again above a Disney owned hotel as it has a lovely breakfast included in the price, very comfortable rooms and free wi-fi. It also has a pool, and big soft-play areas for kids, as well as some lovely restaurants and seating areas. The free bus service was also reliable, well run, and very easily accessible. All in all, a fantastic trip!

I also managed to make a like a good blogger and do a little shopping whilst in Disney. If you're from a country where Euros aren't you home currency like I am, then you'll probably have fewer qualms about handing over lots of money for Disney merchandise and Disney food just because you can't work out the exchange rate fast enough in your head before you pay (I am speaking directly from experience). For example, upon reflection, I was handing over £2.50 for bottles of water, paid nearly £30 for a set menu meal, and was going to buy a tank top before I calculated that the 45 euro price was the equivalent to £32. Disney isn't cheap...roll on my Cast Member discount! However, as you can see I did pick up lots of little keepsakes to add to my Disney merch collection, including a musical jewellery box, a gorgeous pink Disney Princess scarf, some Tsum Tsums, stationary, sweets, chocolate, popcorn, pins and more. I was in Disney merch heaven, and can't wait to get some bigger items in Florida in October.

So that was a little snippet into my DLP mini break. Of course I still wish I was in Paris, tearing up over Dreams and celebrating the magic but I must come back to reality with a bump and return to work...*sad face*.

Have you ever been to a Disney Park? Or DLP?
What's your favourite Disney film?