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Lia Vincent

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Disneyland Paris-What I Liked and Didn’t Like

What I liked and didn’t like about Disneyland Paris, including staying on-property.

We are a Disney family. We aren’t annual pass holders level, but I would say we are almost there. We go often and sometimes I personally go more than once a year with work events. My kids have stayed on property at Disney in all levels from Deluxe to Value, and at Grand Californian in Anaheim.

We headed on a European adventure and made Paris one of our stops. At the time of the trip my three boys were 9, 7 and 6. We flew from London to Paris and then took a cab to the hotel. The cab line was easy to find and cost about 90 euros (in a larger van since there was 5 of us).

Upon arrival, it doesn’t have the warm fuzzy feeling like at Disney World. There wasn’t a welcome greeting but a direct to take our bags to a X-ray machine. We then went through a metal detector. We had Compass Club so we were able to check in right to the left. This was a great time saver as opposed to the main check in desk so I highly recommend this.

We chose to stay at Newport Bay. It sits walking distance from the parks (about 10 minutes) and has a shuttle. We walked each time, but they said the shuttle came every 1 minute. Our room had 2 double beds and 2 sleeper chairs, which worked great for our family to spread out. The bathroom had a shower and a separate tub all in the same little bathroom so that was odd, but convenient. The room was stocked with a couple of bottles of water and bathroom toiletries including robes and slippers.

The hotel is kind of dated. The wall paper in the halls needs to be redone and a lot of the hotel is a little tired. I can only imagine how a kid oriented hotel is treated on a regular basis. The beds were comfortable, though so no complaints on that. I can just see some being surprised especially given the price point.

The hotel had surprise meet and greets, so our first hour of being there my kids met Pluto, which they were excited about. The staff was good about transitioning between French and English. I noticed there were a lot of UK families staying, but not many from the USA, which was expected.

The hotel has both an indoor and outdoor pool. It’s a whole check in where they ask your room number, which is different than in the USA. The most startling thing to me - the unisex locker rooms for the pool. This, I’m sure is the norm in France, but I can see this being awkward for American travelers. The European guests are also not as modest as most Americans. My kids were like “why aren’t they wearing a swim suit top?” and things like that.

For having a club level room we had access to the lounge. In club level rooms at Disney hotels I’ve stayed in previously the club lounge is in the area of the rooms. This was on ground floor close to the lobby. They served daily breakfast and then snacks from 4-530PM. Snacks included different kinds of cakes, cake pops, pastries, fruit, cherry tomatoes with mozzarella and a lot of yogurt. My kids ate so my croissants. I was glad they would try new things like this banana Mickey cake they had. My biggest shock is they didn’t serve wine or beer. I would have thought in all places like France that wine or champagne would flow like water. It did not. Ha! You had your option of Coca-Cola products, Fuze Tea, coffee or hot tea. The drinks were always available.

In case you’re not totally familiar Disney in Paris is 2 parks connected to Disney Village which is their version of Disney Springs. We chuckled at all the American brands in Disney Village from McDonalds which was always hopping to a 50’s style dinner, a BBQ place called Billy Bobs, Planet Hollywood and more. Disney Studios kind of reminds me of Hollywood Studios. Disneyland is laid out very similarly to Disneyland in California but with some fun differences.

One of the things we loved was you are able to climb up in and around the castle. The castle is Sleeping Beauty’s castle. There are stairs going up and it tells her story in stained glass. You can also go out and wave on the balcony like you see characters doing at other parks. There’s a neat glass blowing shop also in the castle with a door in the back of the shop that takes you downstairs under the castle with an animatronic dragon. My kids probably talked about this the most since they thought they discovered something on their own.

The kids loved Skull Island which is their version of Tom Sawyer’s Island with playground and caves to explore. There is also a cute Pinocchio ride.

Just this last year they completely refurbished and changed Space Mountain into HyperSpace Mountain. This is all Star Wars themed with the song blasting you off at the beginning. A big change for HyperSpace? This ride takes you upside down on one loop. My oldest said it was pitch dark and he only knew he was upside down by how his cheeks felt. I was too chicken to ride it.

Another unique part of Disneyland is the Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. This is the Queen of Hearts garden maze complete with card characters popping up, cute photo stops and a fun castle to climb up at the end. If you’re a big Disney person just coming for the unique experiences I think is worth it.

One thing about the park is from my perspective it’s very understaffed. I’m going to assume this is a worldwide issue caused my the pandemic. I'm used to being greeted at rides. I’m use to a lot of staff everywhere. It was sometimes hard to find someone. It was surprising when we had that amazing Disney service from an employee. This was probably the most disappointing. It wasn’t the same. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing but it wasn’t the interactive chatty happy workers like what we experience all the time in the United States.

Park hopping is common and you don’t pay extra for it here. You easily can walk between the parks. Over at Disney Studios they have a great Cars and Toy Story area. There are some unique rides including a race car ride from Toy Story that does this half circle fall. It reminds me of the boat rides at the fair that swing.

Disney Studios of course has a lot of shows from Frozen to a magician Mickey show. Their new attraction for the park is Avengers Campus. They have modified Rockin Roller Coaster into Avengers Assemble: Flight Force an Iron man and Captain Marvel ride and also added WEB to the campus just a couple weeks before we arrived. This is the same Spider-Man ride at Disneyland in California. It was a resounding favorite of everyone. It can sense your movements so it looks like you’re really throwing webs to help Spider-Man fight off some evil spiders. It’s so cool. We said we need a quick trip to California just to ride this one again.

Here’s some important info. We were there over a weekend in the summer. The parks were at capacity. They do reservations just like we do in the United States. We wanted to be able to maximize so we upgraded to Premier Access Ultimate. This is something not in the USA parks so let me explain with a list to make it easier:

-Cost was 140 Euros per person on top of park admission
-There was a list of 9 rides at Disneyland and 4 at Disney Studios that are included.
-With Ultimate you can walk up to any of these rides on the list at anytime during your day and go to the Premier line (what we like to call Fast Pass or Lightning Lane).
-You only could use your Premier once per ride per person.

There was an option that was less expensive that you could schedule each ride and come back during your time slot. With us not loving making a plan, this wasn’t ideal for our family, but it would be a way to save money. You can also purchase premier access one by one with specific time slots. They ranged from $9-$18 per person per ride. This is all done on their APP.

We really loved the Premier Access. The PA lines were minimal, if anything while the regular lines were over an hour or more. I was calling it a mini-VIP guide day.

Overall, we are glad we went to Disneyland Paris. We had a great time! It was a great highlight for the kids on a European itinerary.

I tried to be as transparent and honest with our experience so you know what you’re getting. If this sounds like a vacation you would love, then please reach out. My office would love to help you plan a European vacation with Disneyland Paris as part of your adventure.


Lia Vincent

OWNER of Vincent Vacations

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I have been in the travel industry since 2002. I manage our store front travel agencies and locations for All Inclusive Weddings - Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Vincent Magical Vacations - Disney, Vincent Events - Groups & Corporate Incentive Trips, & Vincent Vacations!I also manage our large group of independent travel agents, who work from home.  I LOVE helping couples with their Destinatio...  Read More >>>

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