Travel Diary | Disneyland Paris 2018
4th December 2018
If you follow me on social media then you will know that a couple of weeks ago I went to Disneyland Paris with my friend Becky.
I first visited Disneyland Paris with my parents when I was about 7 years old (so 17 years ago!). We went on an organised coach trip all the way from Shropshire to Paris (yeah, I know 😲), and altogether we only had a day and a half in the park. We didn’t even get to stay late enough to see the fireworks.
I’ve been wanting to return for a while, especially now that I’m tall enough to ride all of the rides, so when Becky suggested we go this year of course I said yes! We decided to go in November so that we could enjoy all the Christmas festivities before it got too busy, and it gave me something to look forward to during my latest favourite month of the year.
We flew from Liverpool to Paris and spent 4 nights at a Disney hotel. It was such a lovely, magical holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The only problem is now I really want to go back. Or even book a trip to Florida…🤔😂
We decided to go all out and stay in one of the Disney hotel for our entire trip. We stayed at Sequoia Lodge which is based on American National Park lodges, and the rooms are Bambi themed. It has really cosy vibes and it was so beautiful all decorated for Christmas.
The hotel is only a 15 minute walk from Sequoia Lodge to the the parks, but there is a shuttle bus that runs from the hotel to the parks. Although we didn’t realise that until the end of the trip!🤦♀️
We’d booked to stay in one of the lodges at Sequoia Lodge as they are cheaper, but during check-in we were told that we had been upgraded to the main hotel building! It was a lovely surprise and it meant that we were closer to all of the facilities.
The room was so spacious and we had a double bed each which were really comfortable. We also found it quiet for sleeping. I was expecting to hear kids screaming all night and I bought earplugs just in case, but I didn’t need to use them!
In the hotel itself there is a bar, a buffet-style restaurant, a shop, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. We didn’t really make use of any of these facilities during our stay because we spent most of our time in the parks.
One thing that we weren’t told about but discovered on our own was that we had credit on our Magic Passes that we could use on the hot drinks machine in the hotel, and we could have up to 4 free drinks everyday! I’m not sure if this is for all hotel guests or just those on the dinning plan, like us, but it was a nice little perk that we didn’t expect.
We really enjoyed our stay at Sequoia Lodge. I honestly couldn’t fault it and I would definitely stay there again.
We decided to book the half-board plus dinning plan as we managed to get a good deal with our hotel package. The half-board plus dinning plan includes breakfast and lunch or dinner.
We thought that breakfast would be served in the hotel, but on arrival we found out that it was a counter service breakfast served in Cafe Hyperion in the Disneyland Park itself.
At first I was disappointed, but then we realised that it meant we didn’t have to get up as early to have breakfast before the parks opened; we could get up, go straight to the park and have breakfast when we wanted.
I have to admit there wasn’t much choice when it came to breakfast. It was a set menu and you had a choice of either sweet or savoury. The sweet breakfast included a bread roll with butter and jam, and the savoury included an omlette burger with bacon and cheese. Both options also came with a hot drink, a cold drink (apple juice, orange juice, etc) and either a pan au chocolat or a croissant. It was ok, but nothing special. It kept us going in the mornings.
For the lunch/dinner part of our half-board dinning plan we made sure we got out moneys worth! You can use your lunch/dinner credit at the majority of restaurants inside the parks and the Disney hotels, and you can use them on buffets or set menus. We picked out a few restaurants that we wanted to try and booked them in advance. I do recommend booking in advance because they get very busy.
We ate at the Yacht Club restaurant at the Newport Bay Hotel, Captain Jack’s and Silver Spur Steakhouse. All of these meals included starters, mains, desserts and a non-alcoholic drink.
I was so impressed with the food in these restaurants. The portion sizes were much larger than I was expecting and I always felt really full after each meal.It wasn’t what I expected for Disney at all.
I think my favourite restaurant food wise was the Yacht Club, but in terms of experience it was Captain Jack’s. The restaurant is actually inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so you can watch the little boats go around while you eat your food. And all of the staff are dressed as pirates!
Apart from breakfast we only had one other experience with counter service when we had lunch at Pizzeria Bella Notte (the same day we went to the Yacht Club). We probably queued longer for food in that restaurant than we queued for any of the rides during our stay. It was so busy! And it doesn’t help when you have people trying to push in. As with breakfast, the food was ok but nothing special.
I also just wanted to comment on the vegetarian choices, because even when I’m without Tyrone I’m thinking about him. 👩❤️👨 Every restaurant we went to had a vegetarian option, although quite often they only had one option. The veggie dishes sounded really nice but I would have liked to have seen more choices for vegetarians.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
As a bit of a treat we decided to do Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. This is a wild west themed show where you get a three course meal to eat while you watch the show.
You can put your half-board plus dinning plan lunch/dinner credit towards the cost of your ticket but you have to pay the rest yourself. It’s about £20 if you go for tier 2 or £40 if you go for tier 1. We paid the extra for the better seats but if I were to do it again I would have just gone for the cheaper seats because they were still great seats.
When you arrive at the arena (located in the Disney Village) you are given your seat number and a cowboy hat with the colour of your team on. In the arena you are sat in teams so you can cheer on your team in the show. We were on the blue team.
We then went into the arena where we were shown to our seats which already had cornbread and nachos ready for us to eat. The waiters then came around with drinks for us. You could have beer, coke or water. Obvious, I went for beer. I thought we only had one drink included with the meal but they just kept coming round and giving us more. I’m not complaining!
For our starters we had chilli, then for our main we had chicken, ribs, sausage and potatoes. To finish we had apple crumble with ice cream, and tea and coffee was available if you wanted.
The food was fantastic and the show was really enjoyable. The time just flew by. I’m really glad we paid the extra on top of our dinning plan to do it because it was great experience.
Again, I just wanted to touch on the vegetarian options. There was no option for vegetarians on the menu, but I imagine if you asked they would accommodate you. The people next to me had a different meal to the rest of us so it does look like they are happy to accommodate dietary requirements.
Yes, Hyperspace Mountain is getting it’s very own section within this post!
When I visited Disneyland Paris when I was 7 years old I was too short to go on Space Mountain. I wanted to go on it because I remember seeing my brother’s photo from the time he went to on it, and it looked so cool. Also, the building it lives in is pretty spectacular.
Ever since then I’ve wanted to return to the park to ride it. I followed it over the years as it changed from the Jules Verne inspired Space Mountain to Mission 2 and more recently to Hyperspace Mountain. I watched documentaries about it being built and listened to podcast interviews with the imagineers who designed it. It was truly a bucket list item for me.
It took me a few days of being in the park for me to work up the courage to go on Hyperspace Mountain as I’m not a big rollercoaster fan. Prior to this trip I’d only been one ride that had an inversion in it and it was horrible. It really knocked me around and I banged my head when it went upside down. It had put me off rollercoasters that went upside down for years. But I knew I had to do it. I had to tick it off my bucket list while I was there!
By our third day in the park I felt more excited than nervous about riding it, so we grabbed a FastPass and waited for our time slot.
I think you can tell from this photo just how happy I was to ride Space Mountain at long last…
It was incredible! I loved it so, so much! I was expecting to be really thrown around but you are so well secured in the car that it was actually a really comfortable ride. The launch at the start was terrifying, and I closed my eyes for the loop-the-loop, but I smiled the whole way around! I enjoyed it so much that we went on again the next day.
I’ve heard rumours that they are going to remove the Star Wars overlay, like they have done at the California park, and return it to the Mission 2 theming. If they do, you can guarantee I’ll be booking another trip!
Other rides and attractions
Obviously we did go on some other rides!
My favourite ride as a child as Big Thunder Mountain and we managed to ride it twice on this trip. It’s a lot rougher than I remember, but I love it! Definitely one to get a FastPass for. I also enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.
The worst ride we went on was Tower of Terror. I knew exactly what it entailed but it was much worse that I was expecting. I don’t like that dropping feeling at all, and there isn’t really anywhere to hold on to. Saying that though, I’m glad I went on it, and I probably would do it again if I had to.
The only rides I didn’t manage to do, but would have liked to, were Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and Crush’s Coaster mainly due to the wait times. Also Phantom Manor was closed which was a shame because I love that ride.
It was my first time visiting the Walt Disney Studios Park as it was still being built the last time I went to Paris, and I have to say I wasn’t that impressed. It’s nowhere near as magical as the original Disneyland Park, and it just feels a bit soulless. I’ve seen that they have plans to expand the Studios Park and I really do think it needs more.
Show wise we watched the stunt show in the Studios Park, “Moteurs … Action!”, as well as Mickey’s PhilharMagic, which is a 4D show. We also watched Disney’s Christmas Parade quite a few times (it features such a catchy song!) and Disney Stars on Parade.
In the evenings we watched the famous Illuminations show in the Disneyland Park which was spectacular, even though it was freezing and crazy busy, and we also caught Goofy’s Incredible Christmas show one night in the Studios Park. It was really cool to see all the projections on the Tower of Terror building.
If you missed my Instagram stories from my time in Disneyland Paris, don’t worry because I have saved them as a highlight which you can watch here (it’s called DLP 2018).
Also, stay tuned for my second Disneyland Paris post! I’m going to share my top tips and advice for anyone else out there planning a trip to the parks.