03 November 2011

Disneyland Paris--Part Two. . .

We decided to spring for a stay at the Disneyland Hotel--first because it will most likely be the only time we visit Disneyland Paris and second because its location is so convenient to the parks. . .you walk under the hotel to enter Disneyland Park. It was so nice to be so close to the park because it made it was much easier to run back to the room to get something, go change clothes, or just recharge for a few minutes.

Here's the lobby--the hotel was immaculate, and it smelled absolutely delicious!  They actually sold bottles of the home fragrance that fills the air.  I got one. . what can I say--their marketing worked.  It is called "Disneyland Bouquet."  It's pretty cool to be able to take a little whiff and remember Disney!!

We got to Disney at 7:35am on Thursday and it couldn't have worked out better!  It was still early, so the lobby was quiet--no queues.  I went to check-in and Keith started unloading our bags at the luggage check.  We assumed that we would get into our room sometime during the afternoon but were pleasantly surprised that our room was ready.  We headed up stairs to drop things off, and then it was off to the park!!

We took the older two girls to Disney World in May 2009, so Hannah would have been 5 and Maggie almost 3.  Hannah remembered a lot of the trip, and had been telling Maggie and Charlotte all about it.  Maggie remembered a few things, but in many ways, it was her first time at Disney.  And Charlotte, our Disney baby, is enamored of all things Mickey, so we couldn't wait to see her reaction!  But, I don't think it matters how many times you have been or how old you are, the magic sucks you in!!

Disneyland Resort Paris is much smaller than Walt Disney World and is made up of two parks: Disneyland Paris (just like Magic Kingdom) and Walt Disney Studios (Hollywood Studios).  Disneyland Paris has Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland.  It was the better of the two for families with small children, so it was the first place we headed to on Day One!

 First views of the castle. . .
 Well. . I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad! :)

 It was straight under La Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty's Castle) into Fantasyland for us.  It is the busiest area of the park, and later in the day we could wait an hour and a half amongst screaming children to ride rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  With the Extra Magic Hours, we arrived ahead of the crowds and were able to hit Fantasyland favs one of two times quickly!!

Then it was off to Frontierland, where we found Big Thunder Mountain. It quickly became one of our favorites. . .I think the final total of all times we rode it was 7!

The meal plan at Disneyland Paris is not nearly as generous as the one in Orlando. I made the mistake of assuming we would get the two meals (which was a ton of food) plus snacks (which are more like meals) that we had last time we Disneyed. . .but in Paris, even the top meal plan only gets you one meal a day.  To be sure, it is a very nice meal, but you have to fend for yourself the rest of the day.

We decided to have a character meal --where the characters visit your table--for lunch on the first day.  Once again, our American stomachs paid off.  We are always ready 1 1/2 to 2 hours earlier than Europeans for our meals. . and that is really nice because we almost always avoid the crowds.  And lunch this day was no exception; when we arrived there were only 3 other families there, so the girls had a somewhat private and unusually long visit with the characters!!  They got to dance and play with Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Woody, and Jessie--it was awesome!!  Charlotte wasn't a big fan of the characters, but she got used to them after a while--especially with Daddy there to protect her!


Off to Disney Village for supper. . .we never made it to Disney Village in Orlando, but since this is a smaller resort and everything is so close together, we headed that direction for dinner Thursday night.  (Food is cheaper there!)

We decided to have the Tex-Mex buffet at Billy Bob's Saloon. . and I am so glad!  It was delicious--and it tasted like "real American food". . .just don't get that in the UK!

Disneyland Hotel in the background.

It was time to call it a night--what a great first day!!  The weather was beautiful, the kids were happy, and we were EXHAUSTED!!

First day attraction tally:  Le Carrousel de Lancelot, Peter Pan's Flight, Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, Dumbo the Flying Elephant (x2), Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast(x2), Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Le Passage Enchante d'Aladdin, Fort Comstock, Phantom Manor, and Big Thunder Mountain (x3)