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Jimmy, MJ and I are avid Disney fans and were excited to see Disneyland Paris. Here is our list of the expected and the unexpected from Disneyland Paris.
What We Expected
Traditional Attractions: For the most part, Disneyland Paris Park has the traditional attractions that Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom are famous for. We rode Dumbo, Haunted Mansion (Phantom Manor as it is known in French), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and Space Mountain. We stood in line to see Mickey Mouse. There was an afternoon parade, but we chose to skip it in favor of It’s a Small World. However, you lose some of the magic in translation – unless you are fluent in French. For example, Phantom Manor loses some of its charm if you can’t understand your “ghost host.”
Beautiful Castle: Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is similar to the size of her castle in Anaheim, but the design is quite unique. Wendy even noted that some of the interior architecture reminded her Gaudi’s work. You can tour the inside of the castle and even go down to the dungeon to see…the dragon!
A Fun Day: No matter whether it is raining, blazing hot, crowded, in America, or in Paris, Disneyland is always a fun day. The cast members were all exceptionally friendly and attentive, especially to princess MJ. The crowds were average the day we were there. MJ got a beautiful face paint design that we all agreed was the prettiest one she’s ever received at a Disney park. After bopping around from one attraction to the next, we were ready to call it a day around 7pm.
And Some Unexpected Surprises
Economical Ticket Prices: The first thing we noticed about Disneyland Paris was in the planning stages. Tickets are remarkably cheaper than the American Parks. At less than $60 a ticket, we felt like we easily got our money’s worth even without staying from open to close.
The Food: Our counter service lunch was full of unexpected twists. In my mind, counter service means jockeying for seats, eating with plastic utensils, and elbowing your way up to the condiments bar. We were all pleasantly surprised by the seating after ordering. Our waitress showed us to a table that was already stocked with a condiment station in the middle. Our drinks came in glasses, and we even got real silverware. The meal included a sundae for dessert, and a puppet show mesmerized MJ while we ate. So much more relaxing than the counter service I know! As far as snacks go, they were also different. We didn’t see a single Mickey-shaped treat which bummed out MJ as she loves a Mickey ice cream on a stick or a Mickey pretzel in the afternoon. She did a have candy apple that was beautiful but not as tasty as we hoped. By the time we were getting hungry for dinner, it was an easy choice to leave the park and head back to our arrondissement for dinner at our favorite café.
Keep Your Expectations in Check: Let’s be real. It doesn’t even come close to the American Disney Parks. The rides and attractions and friendly cast members are similar, but it’s not the same, especially if you are used to visiting the American Parks. It was a fun day, and I am so glad we got to experience Disney in another country, but now that I’ve seen it, I probably wouldn’t return. So much more to see in Paris. But if you have kids in tow on a trip to Europe, I am certain they will thank you for putting a little Disney magic in their vacation!