I think I’ve caught the ‘Disney Bug!’
I blame my sister, Kerry- it was all her idea, after all…Ever since she and her husband, Joel, visited Walt Disney World, Orlando, with their three kids a few years back, she’s been desparate to get the rest of our family there. And this year, after much planning and deliberation, it finally happened.
We didn’t make it to Florida. Instead, we took a cross-channel ferry from Dover to Calais, and then drove approximately 3 hours to Marne-la-Vallee, a new town located 32km east of Paris, specially created to host visitors to the Disneyland Resort.
There were fifteen of us in total, 7 adults and 8 kids, spanning three generations! We had an absolute ball!
Parks & Tickets
We booked our park tickets before arrival – which is a good idea, considering the queues – using the following link: http://www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk.
There are two main parks at Euro Disney – Disneyland Park (the one with the castle, which everyone has heard of) and Walt Disney Studios – which is more of a movie-themed park.
The two parks are located right next to one another, within easy walking distance. On the outskirts of the parks, lies ‘Disney Village,’ a large shopping, dining and entertainment complex.
There are a number of options when it comes to booking your park tickets – so it can feel a bit confusing if you’ve never visited before. Basically, the more days you book, the better the rates.
We booked a three-day, two-park pass – which means unlimited entry into both parks over a three day period. Our plan was to spend one day in each park, with a third day for revisiting our favourite rides and shows, or seeing anything we’d missed.
On booking the tickets, we were emailed a bunch of E-Vouchers to print off. These E-Vouchers then had to be exchanged for actual tickets at the kiosk near the turnstile. And phew! Finally we were inside!
A Whole New World…
Once through those gates, you enter a lovely little Disney Bubble. It’s set out a bit like an American Town, with a Main Street lined with interesting shops and cafes, leading towards the focal point of the whole park – Sleeping Beauty’s Fairy Tale Castle.
Rides & Attractions
The Park is divided into five different ‘lands:’
- Main Street, USA
Each of these lands boasts a huge number of different themed rides and attractions. Some of the most famous/popular are:
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Pirates of the Carribbean
- Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom
- Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
- Small World
Something for Everyone…
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or not, there are rides to suit everyone. Some of them, such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Walt Disney Studios Park, will literally propel you from 0-57 mph in 2.8 seconds! Others, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, take you on a gentle ride over London at night.
Parades & Shows
There are also daily shows and parades which are a real spectacle of colour, music and fun. You can check your daily programme for times & details.
Meet & Greet
You can also queue up to meet & have photographs taken with your favourite Disney characters! Anyone who follows this blog will probably have noticed that our Em is plum crazy about Winnie The Pooh..so as you can imagine, our hearts melted when this happened…
Fast-Passes & Queues
When I first heard about fast passes, I must admit, it all sounded incredibly confusing.
But they are a MUST if you visit in the School Holidays. The Parks can get extremely crowded and queuing times for popular rides can reach up to 80-90 mins!
Most of the popular rides offer a Fast Pass option (included in the cost of our park tickets). With a Fast Pass, you can access most rides within 10-15 mins – sometimes even quicker.
How it works:
- First, check that your chosen ride offers Fast Passes.
- Locate the ride – and go to the Fast Pass Kiosk.
- Admit one Disney Park Admission ticket for each rider – the machine will print off your fast passes, giving you a specified time-slot for the ride.
- Visit the ride within the specified time slot – using the Fass Pass Queue.
The Illuminations also take place in Disneyland Park. But – as I’m aware that this post is becoming quite lengthy, I have decided to cover the illuminations in my next installment, featuring Walt Disney Studios. But until then, here’s a sneak peek…