The idea of writing a trip report has never really interested me in the past, however I do really enjoy reading them. I’m not going to do a day by day break down because I struggle to keep focused when writing them and it ends up days if not weeks between each post, so instead I’m going to break our trip down into sections such as where we stayed, what we ate, entertainment, rides, characters etc and hopefully someone will find it interesting enough to read!
When & Where
As I mentioned in the title, we visited 29th August – 2nd September 2017. This is our 4th trip this year and longest one to date. It’s also our first time visiting during the summer holidays. When pricing up, this week was actually the cheapest out of the whole 6 weeks LB was off. It’s always nice to do something fun before she heads back to school so it made sense to book. We travelled there and back by Eurostar arriving not long after midday on the Tuesday and leaving shortly before 11am on the Saturday.
On the Tuesday when we arrived the temperature reached 32 degrees and was actually hotter in Disneyland Paris than it was in Walt Disney World that whole day. It was too hot really. We have never actually experienced that heat in Orlando before so after queuing to see Peter and Wendy for over an hour she was exhausted. Thankfully it cooled off the rest of the week and was a lovely 25 degrees most days but sadly dropping to 15-17 degrees in the evening which meant carrying coats around all day. It also rained a couple of times, most noticibly on Wednesday when it POURED.
It’s unlikely we’ll ever visit again during the summer holidays. It was so busy. I’ll definitely delve into it a bit more later on in regards to rides and characters but having visited in the Easter school holidays and May half term and finding it busy but not beyond enjoyable we really struggled with the wait times this past week.
We stayed in Hipark an offsite hotel in the Serris area that has a free shuttle to and from the parks. We stayed in May and had a great time and it’s so cheap (we paid 297e for 4 nights) however I felt it wasn’t up to the same standard this time. I will be reviewing it here later on in the week and going into the problems we had. HOWEVER for a cheap base, it’s perfect as the rooms themselves are great and I love the little kitchenette that is standard.
Where We Ate
As we were staying offsite and using our Annual Passes we didn’t have a meal plan of any sorts. I took with us crackers, cookies, popcorn (as I knew we had a microwave in our room), cuppa soup and cereal to bulk out what we’d be eating in the parks. The counter service restaurants we ate were Last Chance Cafe, Hakuna Matata, Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost and Cafe Hyperion. Hakuna Matata and Colonel Hathi’s are personal favourites of ours and places I can guarentee that LB will eat. The chicken strips meal at Hakuna Matata for 13.99e and the cheese pizza meal for 14.99e at Colonel Hathi’s are perfect size for sharing between the two of us, they’re also super tasty and the restaurant theming at both is great. We only ate at Cafe Hyperion as LB loves watching the Jedi Training Academy which you can see from the eating area. We both had the chicken burger (one adults, one child) and I probably wouldn’t rate them, they did come with loads of fries though and the brownie desserts were great. My favourite find was the Creamy Sweetcorn Soup at Last Chance Cafe! You get a huge container of it for 3.99e and it was delicious. Cannot wait to get it when we’re back in October, I imagine it’s perfect when it’s cold out.
We also picked up crisps and sandwiches a few times from the Relay shop in the station. The big bags of Lays are 1.70e and you can get a pack of two small subs for 3.20e which were great for LB and I.
There was only one table service restaurant we ate in and that was Auberge de Cendrillon. This was our third time eating here and the only time we’ve ever had a bad experience. Late me state now, it wasn’t the restaurant itself.. it was actually reservations that messed us up. I won’t go into it all but it did put a huge dampener on the last day or our trip and I spent a lot of the morning and afternoon in tears because we were so messed around. HOWEVER please don’t let this put you off, I recommend you read about our fantastic experience back in April instead.
As I mentioned above it was so crazy busy. Our first day we managed one ride due to the queues, one ride in the space of 1pm to 9pm. This was Casey Junior. Our second day we managed to get Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain so Livvy Bird and I rode that for the first time however this wasn’t at the FP time given due to it breaking down in the afternoon, instead we rode it at night. It was SOOO much faster than I though it would be and seemed to last forever. LB is determined to go back on it though so I guess it’s a new favourite. We also did Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World as a lot of the park had emptied after all the rain. Thursday we got FPs for Peter Pan’s Flight and Star Tours so we rode both of those along with the Le Pays des Contes de Fees and the Teacups. Again, all of these were email rides as the queues during the day were insane even for rides like the teacups! We arrived for EMH on Friday to try and get the rest of the rides out of the way, we did Carousel, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Casey Junior (again), Teacups (again) and Alice’s Labyrinth. In the evening we had a FP for Buzz Lightyear. And that’s it. We got nothing done in the Studios as the queues in there were even worse than the main park! I did notice there seemed to be a lot more Fast Passes available on this trip, you could get them right up until late afternoon where as on past trips they were usually gone by lunchtime. The only FP we picked up in the morning was Big Thunder Mountain, the others we didn’t get until 3/4 and Buzz we even got after the parade!
Who Did We Meet?
As you all know, LB loves character meets. In fact that’s one of the biggest things for her and it seems to be this way for every single other person visiting the park these days haha. This trip we queued for the longest time so far for a character and that was Moana.. we queued for just under 3 hours. Livvy Bird was an absolute star through it all and was so thankful to finally see Moana. We also queued for over an hour for Peter Pan and Wendy and over an hour and a half for Ariel. We also saw Minnie, Jessie, Chip & Dale and Merida. At Auberge de Cendrillon she met Suzy, Perla, Cinderella, Tiana, Rapunzel and Snow White and “unofficially” she met Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora, Ariel and Prince Eric and Tarzan. I’m so beyond thankful for the magical moments LB was able to experience especially with the park being so busy.
This trip we carried around her Adventure Book along with mummy’s Instax which isn’t something we’ve done before. She seemed to enjoy getting autographs and was obsessed with the Instax camera. We’re going to be decorating the signature pages and sticking in the photos over the next couple of days so I can’t wait to share that with you all.
This trip we finally caught up with The Forest of Enchantment again having not seen it since February 2016 on it’s opening day! Livvy Bird remembered very little of it but she enjoyed it so much this time we watched two shows back to back and she did a bit of Tarzan stalking while dressed as Jane Porter. The performers were unbelievable and it brought tears to my eyes. I hope Disneyland Paris brings it back or something similar. We also watched Starlit Princess Waltz at night when it was dark and the stage was all lit up which was truly beautiful. We watched Stars on Parade every day too. On our first day we saw the special guest pre-parade which was Lewis and Bowler Hat Man from Meet the Robinsons. LB didn’t know who they were but we have since watched the movie at home and she loved it so I guess that made it all worth while.
We still haven’t seen Mickey and the Magician and we missed out Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris because we just couldn’t fit everything in and most days it was so hot sitting in the sun at that castle stage!
Already we’re looking forward to the Halloween Entertainment offerings, I know not everyone is looking forward to this season but we think it looks great!
Would I visit again during the summer holidays? No probably not. The lines for everything from characters to rides and trying to get a spot for shows and the parade was a nightmare. If this had been a one off holiday I’d have came away feeling so disillusioned with how little we managed to get done. Of course the heat on the first few days didn’t help either. I did love being there for five days, I didn’t feel as stressed out and it was nice for LB to receive such wonderful magical moments.
One thing I noticed is the last day of our trip (Friday 1st Sept) so many restaurants closed at 6pm despite the place being open until 11pm. It made it hard to find somewhere to get dinner in the evening and it was particularly stressful with a 5 year old. I get they do it in the off months but I’d still consider the beginning of September high season especially given the amount of people around.
Overall, it was great. But hey, we were at Disney, I try to not complain because just being there and surrounded by the magical atmosphere is enough for us!