The Airplane Ride
We arrived at Paris early in the morning and went straight to the bus stop to catch one of those red designated Disneyland buses that drop you off at your hotel and finally at the juncture between the two theme parks, and the recreational area. Note that the bus ride takes about an hour, especially due to rush hour traffic. The plan was to check in asap and rush off to the parks. The sun was shiny and the weather was good. The best thing was that we already had passes to the park and therefore we avoided all the waiting in lines…and so we arrived just in time to watch the parade!
My son was shocked; at first because of the crowds and the music…and then as George placed him high up on the shoulders – he got a glimpse of Buzz Lightyear! Oh, my! His reactions were priceless! He went numb for at least a couple of minutes trying to process all the new info. Could it be that he was actually seeing all those cartoon characters in flesh? He couldn’t believe his very eyes! I could tell that he felt a little awkward, because he wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, he began waving at the parade and getting into the mood.
- Buy your tickets to the theme park ahead. It saves you a lot of time! The day begins early and if you don’t have a ticket then you will be stuck in a rush hour line for some time (15-20 minutes).
- Dress in layers. Wear comfortable apparel, especially shoes. I highly recommend sneakers. By the end of the day your feet will be aching! (Imagine your kid’s)! I used to brag about my son’s endurance and “hard core” attitude but even he had aching feet on day 3. Be sure to have a rainproof jacket. Even in the summer you might have an occasional shower rain and even so you don’t want to miss out on the fun.
- Get yourself a map of the parks. It helps to plan ahead your routes. Notice I’m using plural. That’s because you’ll definitely be going back and forth from ride to ride in every possible direction across the parks and that means a lot of routes. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if one of the rides is temporarily out of service 🙁 That means that you might be going to and fro to check several times during the day. We ended up doing so…with the new Ratatouille ride.
- Have a small water bottle with you at all times. (Buying bottled water isn’t as cheap as in Greece). You can fill it up at any water fountain you might come across. Besides, if you’re at some remote part of the park, you really don’t want your tired kid nagging about water and having to walk back and forth just for that. More walking will only add on tiredness.
- The benefit of staying at one of the Disneyland’s hotels is the proximity to the parks. However, staying at one the hotels nearby and catching the bus shuttle might be an even better option. If you love stuffed chocolate croissants for breakfast then Disney’s hotels are super dandy. If you want though a bit more than just the basic breakfast staples (bread, butter, jam, croissants and juice) then I’m pretty sure that other hotels offer more. I think that we will be exploring the option of staying elsewhere next time.
- If you’re not on a one-day excursion, then have a SIESTA! Take a nap! It will help you and your child to get your acts together (less complaining)!
- Mid July is the beginning of the summer vacation season for the French. That meant a lot more people than usual. Avoid the weekends altogether if big crowds and long lines is not your thing. Also be sure to use your fast pass wisely! (That’s a system for fast track line-ups where you can return to a particular ride at an appointed time).
Disneyland has two theme parks and an “after-the-parks” recreational area. The first park is dedicated to Disney’s flag cartoons. The second park is all about Disney’s movie studios. Disneyland’s theme parks have a lot of different “theme-regions” stretched over a pretty large area with their respective rides, restaurants, and amenities. That means that there is a lot of walking about all day long (especially since everyone wants to spent as much time as possible at these parks). Now trust me, there’s quite a bit of distance to cover between the two parks. So, my advice is to try to do as much as possible in one park before you decide to move on to the other. Thankfully, if your children get hopelessly tired, they rent out these big-size strollers that even older children can get on thus, making it a little easier for the parents to cope with all the fatigue that adds up during a busy day of running about. Another idea, is to catch a slow train ride that takes you around the Disneyland theme park. It’s a hop-on-and-off ride at any station of your choice. This will give you all a chance to sit and rest for a while! So, save this for early in the afternoon. Believe me it really helps. Besides it gives you a great chance to gaze at the park’s layout.
|The train’s central station just after going through the ticket booths.|
|A view of Peter Pan’s house|
|Restaurant by the Frontier Land. It was remote and quiet but surrounded with lovely greenery.|
|The steam boat|
|View from the steamboat at the frontier’s train ride|
|The suspended bridge at the Frontier Land|
The Pirates of the Caribbean
It’s a Small World
|A view of the Dutch!|
This ride is our second favorite. It was ideal for my then three year old – a smooth, gentle ride in a wide boat where you get to see little doll creatures dressed up in their national outfits dancing about. It was playing a sweet tune over and over again that stays with you long after you exit the premise (by the way: the exits are all denoted in French as ‘Sortie’).
Getting an Autograph from Mickey Mouse
|The dancing cups! Sit and twist! A great ride for the little people.|
|Waiting in line to hop on this motor car ride where your kid gets to drive you! We definitely enjoyed this one!|
The Studio Theme Park
As soon as you get to this theme park, check the Motor Show timetable. This is one show that you shouldn’t miss. All three of us enjoyed this one a lot. You get to see real stunts with bikes and cars just like in an action movie. My best advice would be to schedule this one hour show right after lunch. It is good entertainment, although a little slow at first.
One of the most memorable rides was the parachute. Oh gosh, I gasp just at the thought of it! It didn’t look that big of a deal and no one warned us. Even my son was cool about it at first and he made fun of me. But it is a big deal and no, I don’t want to do it again and neither does he. There was one particular ride though, that we really wanted to have a go at. It was a new ride that had launched that very summer – a roller coaster based on Disney’s movie Ratatouille. We wanted to try it out but unfortunately it kept on breaking down every single day! Unbelievable! That was a huge disappointment for we kept on checking at least twice every day and ended up leaving without the thrill! Maybe next time…