Disneyland Paris in Pictures

Disneyland Park Paris is a replica of my favourite park, Magic Kingdom (Florida). The land themes are nearly the same and few of the rides have also been replicated. However, there are some big differences. The castle in the centre of the park is Sleeping Beauty’s castle, there are also many unique rides, amazing walk through exhibits and the restaurants are all unique.

I really enjoyed this park. I love Disney princesses and Disney movie themed rides and exhibits. I also really love the parades, shows and fireworks show that feature my favourite classic characters. Being that this park is in France, you may be wondering will anyone speak English. Well yes, the staff in the restaurants, shops, rides etc all speak English. The attractions and entertainment are primarily in French but they do include English, so it is easier to follow.

My favourite attractions in this park were It’s a small world, Big Thunder Mountain, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. It was my first time experiencing all of these attractions, but I really felt like they were worth the wait. Octavia’s favourite attraction was strangely the La Taniere du Dragon. I also really loved the Disney Illuminations show. I went alone since it started at 11pm, but it was definitely worth the hour I sat in the crowd and the walk back.

After visiting Florida parks I did have a few disappointments with this park. Firstly the restaurants and fast food were nowhere near as good. The restaurants were beautifully themed but nothing blew me away in terms of flavours and uniqueness. On the bright side, it was less completive to get a booking. Also, the app does not allow you to book your fast passes. It’s really just a map with wait times that wasn’t always reliable. There were not many rides that had fast passes, so the wait times were really long and you have to take a fast pass ticket from outside the ride so you could not choose the best time available. Despite this, I did get to go on nearly every ride available in a day and a half. I didn’t bother with character meets since they were ridiculously long. Since I stayed in a Disney hotel this time I also had extra magic in the morning, which was only for a few rides but still worth going before the crowds arrived even to line up for rides. Another plus was the Baby Switch, which we utilised for rides that Octavia couldn’t go on.

Probably my biggest disappointment with Disney Paris is that people are allowed to smoke in the park. Although it’s only permitted in smoking areas it does not stop people smoking in lines for rides and even in crowds where children were watching shows. Even in the evening show, it was advised over the loud speaker in five languages not to smoke. Yet I had two ladies behind me smoking and they were seated next to a toddler.

We visited four restaurants at this park, which included Walt’s – an American Restaurant, Silver Spur Steakhouse, Market House Deli and Agrabah Cafe. I wasn’t blown away by Walt’s or Market House Deli. I had a delicious pork chop at Silver Spur but the highlight was definitely Agrabah Cafe. This buffet had many great Moroccan and Middle Eastern savoury and sweet options. My only regret is that I wasn’t famished when I visited. It was also the only place my toddler liked the food. Everywhere else she was offered baby food or ate part of my meal, both of which she didn’t like. Unfortunately, Blue Lagoon and Victoria’s Home-style Restaurant were closed the days we visited.

So here is my day at Disneyland Paris in pictures. If you are planning a visit or want to know more about the attractions see my Guide to Disneyland Paris. I have also written a Guide to Walt Disney Studio Park Paris and recently wrote a post on Walt Disney Studios Paris in Pictures.

 

Continue reading “Disneyland Paris in Pictures”

Walt Disney Studios Paris in Pictures

I’m back from my month long holiday in Europe and I have so much to share with you all. Our first stop was Disney Paris. This was our first visit and a great year visit, being that it is the 25th Anniversary.

We arrived quite early in Paris, but we didn’t get to our hotel until 9:30. Since we arrived after the parks opened we decided to start with the smaller of the two parks, Walt Disney Studios Park. I thought it would be more low key and we could do everything in that day.

I really didn’t love this park and it was probably my least favourite of all the parks I’ve visited. It is such a mishmash of themes. There are limited choices of restaurants and not many fast passes available for the attractions. This means long lines and large wait times. I guess I feel a bit negative towards this park since our experience on the first day was great. We first got Fastpasses for Ratatouille: The Adventure ride, which was quite late in the afternoon. We then decided to line up since the wait was 30 minutes, which wasn’t so bad. However, the ride broke down and when we were nearly at the end of the line. It was not known when the ride would start so we had to leave after wasting 45 minutes there. After that, we were faced with over an hour wait times and not a lot that we could do with a toddler.We did later revisit Ratatouille which was really great. It did malfunction while we were on it though for a few minutes but it wasn’t a big deal.

We did end up seeing the Mickey and the Magician Live Show and Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. I loved the Mickey show, the other show was a bit boring for me. We missed Disney Junior when the Moteurs show ran late. So after that, we decided to walk over to Disneyland Paris to get to know the park. Surprisingly at the time in the afternoon, there was plenty to do with minimal wait times, which was not the case Walt Disney Studios.

We did end up revisiting this park to see Disney Junior Live on Stage! and did nearly all the other attractions. The only regret I have is that I didn’t get to go on Crush’s Coaster Roller coaster and Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic Tour. The wait time for Crush was 70 minutes just for Single Rider so with a toddler it was impossible. If I didn’t have a daughter I may have just waited. Unfortunately, because there are not a lot of fast passes it is difficult to avoid lines with long wait times. I did enjoy the park better the second time we visited. I guess after visiting Florida parks I had some higher expectations. I do still recommend you check it out if you visit though.

We dined at the two most highly recommended eatery and restaurant. For lunch, we went to Cafe des Cascadeurs for burgers in a 50’s style diner. It was nice but not great. It was quick though. For dinner, we went to Bistrot Chez Remy. The decor is quite amazing, the food was not though. It was nice but not mind blowing. The ratatouille itself was really delicious though.

Disney Village is an area with restaurants and shopping with free admission for public and is located just outside the parks. We didn’t eat at any of the restaurants. I did notice that Annette’s Diner was always really busy. I did visit all the shops though. There were not really large Disney stores. I much preferred the shopping in Disneyland Park for the variety of merchandise and clothing.

This was our first time staying in a Disney hotel. We stayed Disney’s Newport Bay Club and I’m really happy we did. We had the breakfast buffet included in our meal plan which was quite nice. The room was simple but comfortable. The good service, proximity to the parks and extra magic time (morning) really made it worth it though. I don’t think I would visit a Disney park again without staying in one of their hotels.

So here is our experience at Walt Disney Studio Park in pictures. I also included some photos of Disney Village and Disney’s Newport Bay Club. I have also written up a Guide for Walt Disney Studio Park and Guide to Disneyland Paris. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on Disneyland Paris in Pictures.

 

Continue reading “Walt Disney Studios Paris in Pictures”

DisneySea in Pictures

A couple of years back when I visited Japan I had my first Disney park experience at DisneySea in Toyko. It was the most beautiful theme park I had ever visited and really reanimated my love of Disney.

Unfortunately, we didn’t do any research before our visit, other than how to get there. We didn’t know anything about the park until we turned up. Big mistake, especially since we were visited a park in a non-English speaking country. Other than riding the boat across the harbor and taking the steam train, we only saw one show and went on one ride. When we lined up for the Tower Of Terror we weren’t even sure it was a ride. Nearly 3 hours later we finally got to find out. Ok, it was awesome, but I’m not sure it was worth the wait time. We didn’t get Fastpasses, so I was confused seeing people skip ahead of lines. We also didn’t book a restaurant, so we had a really long wait to get a table in a warm restaurant. We were visiting in November, so it was pretty cold too. I still enjoyed the outdoor day and evening live shows. Fantasmic! still has to be the best Disney evening show at any Disney park we been to so far. We also enjoyed just walking around the different lands and taking it all in. However, had we planned out our day we might have made the most of our visit.

These are some of the photos I took on my visit to DisneySea. I hope to return one day and also visit Disneyland Tokyo. I have also written up a Guide to DisneySea Tokyo, which goes into detail about the rides, shows and character experiences. Stay tuned for my upcoming trip to Disneyland Paris, in next month and a guide to those parks.

 

Continue reading “DisneySea in Pictures”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Pictures

If your an animal lover and not crazy about Disney princesses you’re going to love Animal Kingdom. This park is dedicated to natural environment and animal conservation. It showcases animals from Asia, Africa, the conservation efforts by Disney and the animals of the past. It was also probably the least busiest of the parks, although the day was so hot it was easy to see everything.

My favourite entertainment was the Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. The Lion King showcased amazing African singers, beautiful costumes and high energy dance troupe. Finding Nemo was probably the best combination of puppetry and acting I have ever seen. The actors performed for both the puppet and themselves. The storyline followed the movie on point. Both were really enjoyable and I recommend the Fastpass for these shows, for better seats. The evening show, Rivers of Light was probably my least favourite of all the parks. Maybe we were just tired after 5 whole days of Disney, but I could of skip it for a nice dinner.

Our favourite attraction was definitely the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We did a couple of times, so we got to see different animals and as we were taken on different trails. It’s amazing how animals have created their own African habit by treating the land as they would back at home. The reserve that the animals live on is so extensive, so they have plenty of space between each other. I also enjoyed cooling down on the Kali River Rapids. I really didn’t enjoy Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. It was themed really nicely but the ride itself was too rough for me. Marco and Sally really enjoyed it, but the did get a sore neck after going on it again.

I also enjoyed the walk through exhibits. I was able to do the ones in Africa and Asia. The Discovery Island exhibit was closed on the day. Another attraction I would have loved to see was DINOSAUR, but unfortunately it was also closed for refurbishment.

For lunch we dined at Yak and Yeti Restaurant. We ordered the Asian dishes, which were really fresh and delicious. For dinner, we ate at the Flame Tree Barbeque, which was not as good as I expected. I would have preferred to go to a restaurant as the counter food was not that impressive. This park probably has the most snack and drink stops, which is really handy on a hot day. I wish I would have taken more time to relax and have a mocktail.

So here is our day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in pictures. You can click on the photos for a closer look. If you’re planning a trip to the park check out my Disney’s Animal Kingdom Guide and my Tips for Florida Disney Parks.

 

Continue reading “Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Pictures”

Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Pictures

If you like live shows, old world Hollywood nostalgia and Disney franchises like Star Wars, the Muppets and Indiana Jones, this is the park for you. It is perhaps the least disneyesque park, but there are still a few live shows featuring Disney princesses. I really enjoyed it and was perhaps one of the more relaxing compared to the rushing, running and crowd sizes.

My favourite show was definitely Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage. It had dancing, singing, a large cast and was right on point with the movie. It didn’t feel rushed or leave out any of the important moments from the film. I also loved that it was in an open-air theatre, as the other dark theatres scared my toddler. Octavia thoroughly enjoyed it and was dancing and beaming the whole time. We also really enjoyed The Great Movie Ride for the film nostalgia and the Tower of Terror. The improv of the Citizens of Hollywood was also really entertaining to watch as your walking through.

We went to two restaurants in the park, which were less competitive to book than the other parks. For lunch, we went to 50’s Prime Time Cafe. The 50’s kitsch decor, family-like atmosphere service and comfort food really make you feel at home. The food was surprisingly really great, comfort food done really well. For dinner, we went to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. The dark atmosphere was really nice and I had the most amazing pasta dish. For dessert, I receive a ‘spaghetti and meatball’ cupcake as a gift for my birthday, which was a really nice surprise.

The evening show was Fantasmic!, which we had previously seen in Japan at Toyko Disney Sea. It wasn’t as speculatively but it was still really enjoyable to watch as it was done at a smaller scale. Due to limited seating and timing clash, we weren’t able to go to the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular as well which was a shame.

So here is our day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in pictures. You can click on the photos for a closer look. If you’re planning a trip to the park check out my Disney’s Hollywood Studios Guide and my Tips for Florida Disney Parks.

 

Continue reading “Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Pictures”

Epcot in Pictures

Epcot was perhaps the Disney park I was least excited about visiting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. After the Magic Kingdom, Epcot comes in second as my favourite park. I love the fusion of human achievement, technology, nature and unique world cultures. The Future World beautifully demonstrated how far we have come, yet instilled an appreciation for nature, plant foods and the sea. World Showcase on the other hand, beautifully depicts a host of cultures completely true to their form. The architecture, the food and the people all come together to give you an authentic experience, that you almost forget you are in an American Disney park.

My favourite attractions in the Future World was the informative boat ride, Living the Land and the spectacular journey on the ride, Soarin’. My favourite experiences in World Showcase was the delicious meals I had in Italy and Mexico and the window shopping I did in each ‘country’. I would go back just to wander around and sample all different cuisines. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a Fastpass for Frozen Ever After and the wait was just too long to do with a toddler. We did get to meet Anna and Elsa however, which was really nice. Elsa was a bit cold but Anna was really lovely, warm and friendly.

For morning tea we bought a few Swedish sweet treats from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. We tried the Lefse (Potato Flatbread rolled with a Sweet Cinnamon Butter) and Sweet Pretzel with Almonds. They were nice, but if I had more time I would have journeyed all the way to France for some pastries. Unfortunately, I had limited time to run there and back since we spent the morning in Future World.

For lunch, we went to Via Napoli. The food was so delicious and authentic. We just ordered a few simple dishes but they were executed perfectly. Later we had dinner in Mexico at La Hacienda de San Angel. Again the food was amazing and perfectly authentic. Both of these restaurants were highly recommended and I’m so happy we got to try them, rather than having counter food.

So here is our day in Epcot in pictures. You can click on the photos for a closer look. If you’re planning a trip to the park check out my Epcot Guide and my Tips for Florida Disney Parks.

Continue reading “Epcot in Pictures”

Magic Kingdom in Pictures

The Magic Kingdom was my favourite of all the Disney parks in Florida. It was really a dream come true. It pays homage to all the classic Disney characters and films, including my favourite 2D Disney princesses. There was just so much to see and do that we had to do it in two days.

My favourite rides were Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarves Mine Train, which were most difficult to get Fastpasses for. I also really enjoyed Enchanted Tales with Belle and having breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant. The 5 year old girl in me really felt like I was in her world. Octavia’s favourite ride was definitely riding the horses on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel. She did enjoy sitting on our lap on most other rides. We got to go on most rides at least twice, which is a feat considering we had a toddler.

Our best meals was at Liberty Tree Tavern.  My Pilgrims’ Feast tasted exactly like I imaged a true American thanksgiving meal would taste like. The Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake was also pretty great. The other restaurants we were choose weren’t bad, but not as memorable. We weren’t able to get better booking since we only had two weeks from purchasing the tickets. Next time we would definitely stay at Disney hotel to take advantage of early restaurant booking and Fastpasses.

So here is two day at the Magic Kingdom in pictures. You can click on the photos for a closer look. If you’re planning a trip to the park check out my Magic Kingdom Guide and my Tips for Florida Disney Parks.

 

Continue reading “Magic Kingdom in Pictures”

Tips for Florida Disney Parks

My love to Disney was invigorated with my recently trip to the Disney Parks in Florida. It truly is the happiest place on earth, well at least my happiest place. The characters, the rides, shopping, food, it was all amazing and went above and beyond my expectations.

I did a lot of planning before we visited the Disney parks. I’m so happy that I did take this time since I didn’t do this when I visited Disney Sea in Tokyo. Besides the language barrier, we were very confused seeing people go ahead of the line, didn’t get good positions for performances and waited so long for a table in a restaurant. We also lined up for 2.5 hours for a ride that we weren’t really sure was a ride.

So if you’re planning a trip here are some of my tips. Do as much research as you can to maximize your time and less stress on the day. If your budget allows I really recommend the Disney restaurants. Each is really unique and I enjoyed the food at most of the restaurants. Some of which were the best food memories from our entire trip. We also had some bonus Character time we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

For Guides to each Theme Park view links at bottom of this post

Before you get there:

  • Do you ride and restaurant research
    • Demand will be high for the best and you don’t want to be waiting all day
    • Age and Height requirements
    • Make a list for recommended and time permitting
  • Consider staying at a Disney Resort
    • Extra ‘magic time’ means arriving and leaving before crowds
    • Easier commute to hotel
    • May save you money in car hire and tipping hotel bus driver
    • Hotel’s that offer free trip to Park may do many stops before arriving
    • You receive a ‘MagicBand
  • Book-in everything as soon as you buy your tickets ei. FastPasses, Restaurants
  • Fastpass for busiest rides
    • Eg.The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had no FastPass available closer to visit and was 70 min+ wait times
    • Book in three FastPasses as early and close together as possible
    • You can’t book another until you have used all three passes first
  • Research most recommended rides and Average wait times
  • Restaurants are not a must, but nice to get away from crowds (aircon), experience themes, cuisines and try the best food Disney has to offer
    • Some Restaurants have 6-month wait ei. Cinderella’s Table
    • Booking times should be adequately spaced between meals times
    • Consider a meal plan, might save you money
    • Look at menus and consider your budget
    • Look up Restaurant ratings
    • Beware of cancellation policies for each restaurant
  • Keep checking your Disney account to alter FastPass and bookings as new times become available.
  • Bring a pram with shade cloth
    • Disney hire prams are made of plastic = hot
  • Allow two days for the Magic Kingdom and one day for each of other Parks
  • Get to know the map, long walk between areas
  • Factor in Live Shows, Parades and Night performance in your schedule
  • Download My Disney Experience app on your Smartphone
    • Easily view and alter Fast Passes and Restaurant bookings
    • View wait times

When you arrive:

  • Get up early to get in quicker and get on as many rides
  • Be aware once you arrive to drop off you will still need to take a Disney boat, tram or tourist road train to the Disney parks = Get up early
  • Bring a pen and get your map
  • Go directly to FastPass or best rides if wait times are minimal this early
  • Don’t get too caught up in taking photos when you arrive, you will have plenty of time
  • As you are using your FastPasses, see if you can alter for early times
  • As soon as all FastPasses are used book next pass
  • Visit Characters when wait times are low or you have space before next FastPass
    • May need to prioritise on a busy day
  • Restaurants may still require waiting even with your booking
  • Each shop will have items that aren’t anywhere else
    • Most character items available at World of Disney (Disney Springs)
    • Convenience stores near parks will have old Disney merchandise for much lower price eg. T-shirts, keyrings
  • You can’t see it all, but then you just might if you plan well!

Wow I didn’t realise I had so much to say. I will share some more posts of my photos.

For a more detailed information on each Theme park check out my guides:

Guide to the Magic Kingdom

Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

epcot

Guide to Epcot