On a spur of the moment, my friends and I decided to go on a weekend trip to Disneyland in Paris. A local coach company (Herman & Vandamme, Menen) organised one the first weekend of October, and the minute we read about it in their folder, we were convinced. Only one day later, the trip was booked and the countdown to October could begin.
I had never travelled by coach before – except with school – so at first I was very reluctant to give them the reigns. Those who know me, know that I like to have control over the situation, especialy when travelling. The thing that bothered me most were that we had to leave the park before it actually closed, and that I couldn’t control when we would arrive at the park. That could of course be arranged by taking a cab to and from the park every time, but then what’s the use of going by coach, right? Especially since our hotel was about 15 kilometers away from the park and the fare would be a lot, we decided to give in and adapt to the hours of the coach company.
The hotel we stayed at one night was the Novotel Collegien. It’s a really nice hotel – with a rain shower! – but I wasn’t really impressed by their kitchen. We had dinner there on Saturday evening because we had to leave the park at 8pm already, and I had a simple spaghetti bolognaise. It was one of the least good spaghettis I had in my life, I think. And we were also in France, so prices for a 33cl coca cola went up to 4 euros. So yeah, disappointment. Other than that it’s a really nice hotel.
The first day, we arrived at the park around 9:30pm, half an hour before the actual opening time. That isn’t a bad idea at all, considering that it’s still a sort of long walk from the parking lot to the entrance. By the time we were through bag security and through ticket control, it was a little past 10. On Saturday, we had planned to visit the Disneyland Park and on Sunday, we were going to explore the Walt Disney Studios Park.
Instead of just writing storywize what we did, I’ll just list the attractions and stuff we’ve done in three categories for each park, and of course, I’ll give a little explanation as to why they belong in that category. This way, it’ll be more clarifying, I think.
Must do attractions:
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast: It’s just so much fun to compete against your friends in this really fun laser shooting game. We were “lucky” that the attraction had a technical problem when we were on it, so we could shoot continuously, to get our score really high!
- Space Mountain: Mission 2: Because if you haven’t done the space mountain, you haven’t lived. It’s the one big thrill rollercoasters you must have done, especially because in my opinion this is one of the most known attractions in Disneyland. I remembered there to be more lights during the ride, but nonetheless, it’s still a really cool rollercoaster.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: This is just one of those typical rollercoasters which you just can’t miss. It’s not one of the best rollercoasters, but it’s still pretty fun.
- Big Thunder Mountain: A really cool, fast rollercoaster that takes you to the mountain island. So much fun!
- The Parade: There is nothing more Disney than the Disney parade. We saw three parades. Two Halloween ones – because it was already halloween season duh- ; the Villains parade and the actual Halloween parade which both aren’t that spectacular, but it’s just so much fun. But you just can’t go to Disney without seeing the main Disney parade with all your favorite Disney characters. When we were there, the parade took place at 5:30pm, and we were at the parcours at 5pm, which is a definite must if you want to have nice places and actually see something of the parade.
- Just walk around the park: Take some time to actually walk through all parts of the park and enjoy the decorations and beautiful buildings. This is definitely one of the most beautiful amusement parks, and when we were there, they really did a good job with the Halloween decorations. Totally awesome!
It’s nice if you have some time
- Captain EO: I doubted a long time whether I would put it in this category of the one above. Captain EO is a 3D movie from the eighties starring Michael Jackson. I really enjoyed this show because it was just so amazing to see what they already could do thirty years ago. And it’s also really cool to check out Michael’s moves. Nonetheless, the introduction before the actual “movie” was just a bit too long and started boring me, which is why eventually I dropped it under this category.
- Star Tours: This attraction is basically a flight simulation that turns and shakes you around. It’s a nice attraction, but it wasn’t ‘wow’ to me.
- Le Pays des Contes de Fées: This is really nice quiet boat tour along some miniture Disney movie scenes. I remembered there to be more places, so I was kind of disappointed. It’s still a nice way to just enjoy a more quiet side of the park.
Do not recommend
- Casey’s Corner’s famous hotdog: We went to have one of those famous hotdogs with cheese and onions because my friends are following a blogger called Masha who said it was delicious. But apparantly our idea of delicious was entirely different from hers, because neither of us really liked the hotdog. It even upset my stomach for the rest of the day which wasn’t really ideal with the fact that we were in an amusement park.
- La Cabane des Robinson: I climbed this three because I was hoping once on the top it would offer me a nice view of the park, but no. I could only see fake leaves. The actual Robinson things that were made in the three weren’t that bad, but to me, it felt like a waste of time and I wish they had made it into some viewing point as well.
And of course; some pics (which I do recommend; to take pics ;D)
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS PARK
Must do attractions:
- Rock’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith: Best. Rollercoaster. EVER! When I went to Disney eight years ago, this was already my favorite attraction of Disney and this trip only confirmed it. If you love rollercoasters, you’re going to love this fast ride to the beat of the music. It’s the best.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: This is a definite must-do. It’s like a free-fall attraction but so much better, because it immediately pulls you up again so the feeling in your stomach is really awesome. It’s not very heavy and the drop isn’t that big, but it’s just really cool. And when you’re all the way up, you have a view over the entire park, which is really, really beautiful.
- Meet Mickey: In a few different places in the park, you can have a shot at meeting Mickey. We passed one of those places by accident, but I just couldn’t stop myself from queuing for a picture. It’s Mickey Mouse, you know!
It’s nice if you have some time:
- Armageddon: Special Effects: In this attraction, you’re starring in an extra scene of the film Armageddon. They’re using special effects with fire, wind and water, which is really cool. Unfortunately, the introduction was too long. And you’ll walk out surrounded by crying people because parents are stupid enough to bring their children into an atrraction that clearly notifies that it might be scary for the little ones.
- Studio Tram Tour, behind the magic: This tour shows you different filmsets and props, and also lets you attend the “shooting” of special effects of an action movie. It’s really nice to see, but in my opinion, the waiting queue was just a little too long in comparison to what the attraction only offers.
Do not recommend:
- Disney Blockbuster Café: This is the place where we had our lunch on Sunday, and the food wasn’t tasty at all and still cost a lot of money. I had a chicken wrap and it tasted like a carton box. So I definitely don’t recommend this place. Unfortunatelly you don’t have a lot of other options in this park, because the other restaurant are even more expensive or you’d have to make a reservation…
Lastly, I also want to mention Crush’s Coaster. We queued over an hour for that attraction because it looked like a lot of fun. But luck wasn’t on our side because right before we were going to board the attraction they had to close it down entirely because someone had had what seemed like a heartattack. I was very sad that we weren’t able to do this attraction, especially because I hadn’t done it before and we had queued for an hour. But up until today, I still wonder how that woman is doing. I really hope she’s okay.
Oh and I’m also sad that I didn’t get to check out the newest attraction of Ratatouille. The waiting queue was over two hours and that was just a little too much for me. On top of that, there were no fast passes available anymore before the time we had to be back at the bus, so no Ratatouille for us.
- If you have a top attraction that you want to do, but you don’t feel like waiting really long to get on it; make it one of the first things on your list for the day. In the morning, it’s a lot calmer in the park than in the afternoon. (We got really lucky with the Rock’n’Rollercoaster, and only had to wait 5 minutes around 10am because it’s situated really deep into the park and people usually tend to do the closest things first.)
- Use the fast passes. With a fast pass, you can get quicker on a ride, and all you have to do is swipe your entrance ticket in a machine and it will give you a ticket with a time on it on which you can come back to the attraction and get quicker access. You still have to wait fifteen minutes sometimes, but that’s definitely a lot better than the hour and a half you sometimes have to brave.
- Bring your own sandwishes if possible. Food in the park is really expensive, and we didn’t really have any nice experiences with it. Also bring your own waterbottles and don’t throw them out once they’re empty. There are water fountains in the park where you can drink from, so you can just fill your bottle up again once it’s empty. That way you don’t have to spend 3 euros on a bottle of water or soda.
- If there is a new attraction, go there first thing in the morning or get a fast pass. If not, you’ll end up like us; really disappointed that we weren’t able to do the Ratatouille attraction.
Anyway, that’s it, I guess. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything, and that you’ve all got some tips out of this.
As for the organisation with which I went to Disney; While at first I was very scared about not having control about every aspect of my trip, I don’t regret going to Disneyland with this coach company. It’s just so easy that you don’t have to worry about anything. And the bus driver was also the nicest man. He was so eager to provide us with information etc.
But I’m fairly sure that next time I’ll just go on my own by train – because the station is right at the entrance of the park – and just stay at a hotel in the park for the extra hours you get in the park.
Nonetheless, I had a really really lovely weekend and I’m sure I’ll go back one way just to relive the magic once more.
Until next time,
With love, Ellen