I couldn’t contain my excitement as I stepped off the RER at Gare de Marne-la-Vallée, surrounded by many other Disney fans. I was literally skipping through the barriers after scanning my ticket, probably as I did when I last visited at eight years old. It had been a decade since I was last at Disneyland Paris and I was so overwhelmed to finally go back, even though it was only for a day.
I wanted to buy a pair of Mickey ears before we did anything else so that I could wear them all around the park. I had my heart set on a pair of rose gold ears that I had seen on Instagram but I never actually found them, except for on one girls’ head. I didn’t in the Instead I bought black and gold sequin pair, created specifically for Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary which I was still super happy with.
Now that my outfit was complete, first on the agenda was the Princess Pavillon because I hoped we could avoid queuing for an hour is we visited soon after the park opened. We arrived there before 10:30am due to a couple of detours we had, there was still an hour long queue to meet a Disney Princess. Dan, bless his heart, still agreed to wait with me rather than going off to do something else instead and made the excessively long wait somewhat bearable. When the time finally came to meet Royalty, we turned the corner and were greeted by Ariel, as a human, not a mermaid.
I was speechless.
She hugged me and asked me how I was whilst I stood there with my mouth slightly ajar, taking far too long for words to escape my mouth. I had an autograph book with me, bought by my parents when I was eight and Ariel kindly signed it, complete with bubbles. It was over too soon after a few photos because it was time for someone else’s dreams of meeting Ariel to come true.
Due to the queue we had been in at the Princess Pavillion we had missed our FastPass slot for Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast. Instead, Dan and I took our time around Fantasyland and went on some of the rides there, first being It’s a Small World. I know some people hate the song but my first jewellery box played it when it was wound up and I’ve loved it ever since. I also think the ride itself is hugely enjoyable because of how colourful it is as you travel through so many cultures. with my favourite scene being the fairground at the end.
Next was Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, which I had never done before. I was expecting it to be more maze-like rather than following a path but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I loved all the statues throughout the labyrinth from the different parts of the film and the red queen who popped up over the hedge every now and then. It was great to be at the top of the castle and look out across the whole park and see Big Thunder Mountain in the distance.
In Fantasyland, we also went on Le Carrousel de Lancelot. We snacked on TUC crackers until our turn and we ended up being at the front of the queue. I had my heart set on one horse in particular person so I pretty much ran to it like a small child would do.
We were slowly making our way back to Main Street USA for lunch so popped past L’Auberge de Cendrillon to see Cinderella’s carriage. We walked around the castle to admire the stained glass windows and popped into Merlin l’Enchanteur where you can watch some seriously impressive glasswork being made. Of course, we couldn’t visit the castle without seeing the dragon that sleeps below. It’s such an impressive animatronic and thankfully not hugely known in the park so it’s a less busy spot than anywhere else.
As we went to Discoveryland for some more FastPass tickets, we caught some of the show called, ‘Mickey presents: Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris.’ that was on the Royal Castle Stage. It was wonderful to see so many characters together at once from Winnie the Pooh and Piglet to Peter Pan and Smee, I was clapping along and adored the performance.
I was craving hotdogs after seeing so many people eating them during the show so we picked up some more FastPass tickets for Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast and headed to Casey’s Corner for some food and a seat. We had a great view of Donald’s Meet and Greet from where we were sitting and so many little faces filled with joy as they hugged him.
This time around we made it for our FastPass and hopped on the ride almost straight away. I had only ever done normal laser tag before so I thought that I would so alright in defeating Emperor Zurg. With no indication yet as to what was a good score and what wasn’t, I was very proud to see that I had gotten 5800 points. It didn’t last long because when I looked at Dan’s he had 98500…
As Disney has bought the Star Wars franchise I was curious to see how they had incorporated it into the park. I chickened out of Hyperspace Mountain so instead, Dan and I went to, ‘An Encounter with Darth Vader.’ Honestly, he was probably scarier than what the rollercoaster would have been. Dan and I were in a small room with four British guys until waiting to be called forward by the cast members. I had no idea that Darth Vader himself was going to walk in and I basically pooped my pants as he appeared. He was definitely a foot and a half taller than me and he just looked over us all, not saying a word but silently ordering us around with his hands. I’ve never felt more intimidated in my life but it’s pretty cool to say that I’ve met Darth Vader.
I’m a sucker for anything Disney and I was dying to get a Mickey shaped snack so before the parade started, we wandered through some more shops on Main Street USA and went for a bite to eat in the Cookie Kitchen. Between the two of us, Dan and I had a delicious doughnut and chocolate stuffed biscuit.
We had to wait quite a while for Disney Stars on Parade to start but it was totally worth it as we were right at the front and could see everything clearly, which isn’t always the case when you’re short like me. It began with dancing from a few characters including Mary Poppins who I adore because I aspire to be as sophisticated as her. They were followed by parade floats dedicated to Peter Pan, Finding Nemo, Toy Story amongst many others.
My personal parade highlights included a wave from Snow White’s Prince and mini conversation with Kristoff when he came up to talk to me and I could barely say a word back, just like when I was with Ariel. The coolest thing of all was Rapunzel who pointed out the top I was wearing from her carriage next to Flynn. At first, I thought she was trying to tell me that my top was unbuttoned (like it may or may not have been in the Louvre the day before) but she laughed as I realised that it was because my t-shirt said ‘Smile,’ on it. Not many people can say that their wardrobe is Disney Princess approved or at least I hope not because I want to be special. The music for the parade is incredible too and I often have it on repeat because it keeps me in a really good mood and reminds me of one of the best days of my life.
We had spent most of our time in Discoveryland and Fantasyland so we went up around the other half of the park to Frontierland and Adventureland. Two of the attractions I really wanted to visit, Pirates of the Caribbean and Phantom Manor were both closed, much to my dismay so we didn’t really do much else in the park except wander around. Peter Pan has always been one of my favourite characters growing up so I was thrilled to see Adventure Isle and the Pirate’s Galleon in person again.
I really wish we could have stayed for the Disney Illuminations and fireworks but as we still had to travel back into central Paris it wasn’t practical for us to stay so late. We had another few stops by some shops because I wanted to look at souvenirs before we got the train back into the city. To remember the day by, Dan bought me a little Mickey charm for my charm bracelet which matches my favourite dress perfectly.
I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was one of the best days of my life so far and I wish it could have gone on for longer. Ideally, I’ll be back next year for a few days so I can explore the Studios Park as well as Magic Kingdom and see the fireworks. Until then I shall be dreaming of my last visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
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