I just returned from a last minute trip to Disneyland Paris and wow, was it one of the most incredible trips to a Disney park I've ever had. This one was a bit harder to plan for because I didn't find a lot of resources with comprehensive advice, so a lot of what I ended up doing was a bit of trial and error. I'm hoping that the next several posts will really help those of you planning a trip to Paris in the near future.
First, I chose to stay at the Newport Bay Resort. I chose it for its theming and close proximity to the parks but also because it was renovated over the last year and I figured it would be the nicest of the "Deluxe" resorts. I was really happy with my decision. It was a great resort and I plan to do a full review of it soon.
I was planning to stay in the parks for 3 nights but when I went to book my room, Disney was offering an incredible deal and I ended up getting 4 nights for the price of 3. I'm really glad I had that extra day in the parks because I ended up arriving at the tail end of a French holiday and the parks were PACKED. Based on this I would definitely avoid planning a trip from Oct. 23 - Nov. 5 (or whatever the last 2 weeks of Oct. end up being next year) unless you have no problem dealing with heavy crowds and long wait times. I arrived on a Friday and spent the majority of the day just becoming acquainted with the park. The lines were really too long for me to want to wait for any of the rides. Saturday I decided to go to the Walt Disney Studios Park as I figured the crowds would be slightly less intense there.
For those debating whether to stay on property or not I would HIGHLY recommend staying on property for access to Extra Magic Hours. The parks don't open until 10am and when they do, people tend to come to these parks early. The extra hours from 8:30 - 10am made a significant difference in the quality of my trip.
Sunday and Monday were a dream for me because the parks were essentially dead due to the end of the holiday. On Sunday I spent the full day at Disneyland and really attacked the park riding as many rides as I could. On Monday I started the day back at Walt Disney Studios Park again and went on a few rides I missed the previous visit and then headed over to Disneyland for the rest of the day. Tuesday I did my final magic hours and then spent the afternoon at my hotel before heading to the airport. All in all I was REALLY glad I had the full 5 days. I wouldn't have gotten everything in without them.
Another thing I heard before coming to this park was not to expect much from the food. Even though this is Paris, the food in the parks is abysmal. So with that in mind, my expectations were very very low for the dining experiences I had booked. I'm happy to report that that was not my experience at all. I had some incredible meals here and would totally repeat my dining decisions again. I plan to do an entire post dedicated to the food I ate in the parks.
As far as the rides at the parks go, I had SO many favorites. I really felt like most of the rides were far superior to the versions we have in the States. This may be because Disneyland Paris is a much newer park, having opened in 1992. Of course ride preference is completely subjective so these are only my opinions. My favorite rides at Walt Disney Studio Parks were Crush's Coaster and Aerosmith's Rock 'n Coaster, and my favorite rides in Disneyland Paris were Hyperspace Mountain and Phantom Manor. Surprisingly these are NOT all the most popular rides at the parks so it was easy for me to ride most of them multiple times.
Because Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, there were so many wonderful new shows that really made my experience extra enjoyable. In Walt Disney Studios Park, Mickey & the Magician is a MUST-SEE spectacular (this is not new for the 25th anniversary but amazing none-the-less)! In fact, this is my favorite Disney show I've ever seen. I wish we had this here. In Disneyland Paris the Princess Waltz is so beautiful it made me tear up. The parade is equally wonderful though and Illuminations is just beyond beautiful. If there is still a chance to go and check out the 25th anniversary, GO GO GO!
All in all I had the most wonderful trip and can't wait to share more with you in my in-depth reviews.