Disneyland Paris, Here We Come!

15 Feb

How is it that weekends can whiz by at the speed of light, yet Mondays are on par with waiting your turn at the dentists’ office? Sheesh. We just got back from our Valentine’s Weekend in Paris and let me just say, it was a WHIRLWIND! And it was SO much fun. The three of us had the best time and I don’t think we could’ve crammed any more into our 51 hours there, in fact, I know we couldn’t have! Always the sign of a good holiday, though- sliding into your own bed when you finally make it home and feeling so content- and exhausted!

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Train ride home = TIRED!

Just so you guys don’t hate me too much with my bombardment of pictures, I decided to break up our Paris weekend into two parts- Disneyland for today, then Paris itself for tomorrow. Trust me, you’ll thank me 🙂

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So, we’d been planning for the last year or so to take Neve to Disney World in Orlando, FL, sometime around her 4th birthday. Well, obviously that was out when we ended up over here for the duration, so we wanted to come up with a suitable alternative in the meantime. Enter Disneyland Paris. In the last year or so, Neve has really gotten into alot of the Disney characters- most of the princesses, Mickey and Minnie and the majority of their friends- and Disney affiliates like Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, castles in general…So we knew it was the perfect time we’d been waiting for.

We decided to really set the bar high by making it a surprise. She knew we were going to Paris for the weekend (she’s really into the Eiffel Tower at the moment after getting a mini replica in her monthly ‘Little Travelers’ kit- thanks, Aunt Kathi!), but we waited until the night before, in the hotel, to let her in on the secret plans for the next day, including a new princess dress to wear for the occasion ❤

Is she not the cutest thing EVER?!

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Opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris is a 4800 square acre complex about 25 miles outside of Paris. It’s home to two theme parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios, as well as several hotels, plenty of restaurants and shopping and even a golf course. It’s the largest amusement park in all of Europe. And one of the happiest places on Earth 😉

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That smile says it all. ❤ ❤ ❤

Notice she’s not (yet) in her new princess dress for the day as originally planned. That’s because it POURED rain and was just above freezing ALL. DAY. LONG. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. There wasn’t one moment we were outside without our hoods up and an umbrella overhead! She has on 2 pairs of pants, thick socks, three shirts under her waterproof LL Bean ski jacket and a stocking cap under her hood. Jeez. But even with all the weather woes, look at that face. She had a BALL.

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Her current favorite movie is Aladdin, with Genie being her favorite character. She loved this mural.

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On the Tea Cups with Mom

We were thrilled to find the classic ‘It’s a Small World’ all the way across the pond. I don’t have many memories from visiting Disney as a small kid, but I do remember this ride and couldn’t wait to share it with Neve. And this one is newer and brighter- really, really pretty. She LOVED it- has been singing the tune and talking about it ever since. Her little face was mesmerized.

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USA representing! 🙂

So how does Disneyland Paris compare to Walt Disney World? Well, I think that depends on who you ask. Statistics-wise, it’s smaller and has fewer people (obvs), though still close to 15 million visitors a year and still 90 minutes to wait for some of the rides. Some of the rides are better (due to being newer and different safety laws), but there are fewer of them. Main Street USA is about the same, but Disney Village is much smaller (mostly due to space, I think.) Prices are WAY higher here, which isn’t a shock considering the prices in Paris (Gah!). Much of the food is ‘Americanized’ because that’s what the people want, although we were really unimpressed with the food and certainly didn’t find it a good representation of home in that regard. Also, the people aren’t near as friendly as in Florida, but again, you can’t really compare Floridians to Parisians! Luckily, we weren’t there to make friends 😉 The biggest difference we noticed- and this may not even be the case in Florida anymore since it’s been decades since we’ve been to Disney World- is that none of the characters just rome the park anymore. You have to check the schedule and locations for where specific characters will be throughout the day, make a reservation to see them, then stand in line to meet them for four seconds. No bueno. But for all intents and purposes, we were pleased with Disneyland Paris and it definitely gave us the experience we were after. And it just makes us that much more excited to take her to Disney World when we get back home!

We opted to do long-line-to-meet-a-character once, for the King of Disney…Mickey Mouse himself. We waited for over an hour for her to hug him, kiss his nose and tell him how happy she was to finally see him ‘for real.’ Totally worth the wait.

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The other highlight of Neve’s day was having lunch with the Princesses. Because we made our plans pretty last minute, we knew our chances were slim for getting in, but we were determined. Starting over a week ago, we called the restaurant (inside the park) daily to see if they’d gotten any cancellations. Lo and behold, on Thursday, they did. And we got a reservation. The Universe was on our side 🙂

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Yep, we brought the dress and tiara in the backpack so we’d have it just for our special lunch date! They even had a little awning over Cinderella’s coach so we could get a quick picture before heading inside.

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How neat to have an entire restaurant geared toward little girls and their princess dreams! So many poofy dresses, golden slippers and face glitter all under one roof. Neve was in HEAVEN before she even spotted the different Disney princesses mingling amongst the tables! Then it was just a matter of waiting until they made their ways to our table- or stopped along the way to dance with their princes!

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Meeting Ariel. Neve kept telling us, ‘She’s SO pretty. Her hair is SO pretty. And look at her dress. She’s SO pretty.’ ❤

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Meeting Cinderella. 

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Can’t forget Cinderella’s mice!

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Neve’s favorite princess of the day was Snow White, which is surprising because that’s not one of the movies she’s watching alot of at the moment. I think it was how similar the actress looked to the actual Snow White, as well as how genuinely sweet she was to Neve. They talked for at least 5 minutes! And yes, she liked the Prince, too 😉

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Royal Desserts!

We finished lunch just in time to hop over to the other park, Walt Disney Studios, and catch the ‘Disney Junior Live’ show, something we knew Neve would love since she’s grown up watching all those characters for the last four years.

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Definitely another highlight of the day- John and I were even impressed with how great a job they did putting on this show! So many characters represented, lots of interaction with the kids, the perfect voices for each character (they own the rights, afterall!)…It was a lovely half hour show that Neve is also still talking about! She knew every word to every song they sang, all the dance moves…It was precious.

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That’s Neve just left of center under the yellow ear, doing the Conga line with Jake and Sofia!

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Look closely, down near the stage floor, and you can see all the Tools, complete with eyes and mouths!

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Next, we caught a neat show on animation (no pictures, sorry), then made our way back toward Disneyland, stopping in some shops and to meet some characters along the way.

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Shop on Main Street

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We were pumped to see another familiar favorite, the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! Neve thought it was the coolest to go all through it and see under the water!

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Surprise, surprise. Her favorite part was the giant squid attacking us! Ha!

John had fond memories of this one from his childhood and talked us into going on it saying that it was just like ‘It’s a Small World,’ but with pirates. What he neglected to say was that it was pitch black with lots of fire and skeletons and spiderwebs and steep drops throughout. I may or may not have pinched him and stared at him in disbelief during various parts of the ride as Neve was gripping my thigh for dear life! Ha! But to end it on a happy note, she asked repeatedly to go back on this one after we left and called it, ‘the coolest.’ That’s my girl! Oh, and that bottom left picture gives you an idea of lines. Lawd.

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I kid you not. This was like the most fun day ever. And not just for Neve, although I’m pretty sure she’d say the same thing. But for John and me, to be able to do this for her- with her- was just so awesome. It was up there with Christmas where you, as a parent, get more enjoyment out of seeing your child so happy and so in awe, than just about anything else. I’m pretty sure I got misty-eyed at multiple points during the day, it was that awesome. We were on our feet for 12 straight hours- minus the Princess Lunch- in the rain and the cold and it was still that awesome. And something we’ll remember forever.

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Sign of a great day: looking like a crazy, muddy, wet ragamuffin after devouring your American-style nuggets and french fries. ❤

Don’t forget to stop back by tomorrow for Part 2 of our Paris Weekend Getaway! Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!

7 Responses to “Disneyland Paris, Here We Come!”

  1. Georgia February 17, 2016 at 5:19 AM #

    Such great fun. So happy for you

  2. Tina February 16, 2016 at 1:47 PM #

    All i can say is how wonderful you guys are enjoying everything you do

    • Erin T. February 16, 2016 at 2:18 PM #

      Tina, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you! Means alot.

  3. Robin February 15, 2016 at 7:34 PM #

    Your blog often makes me feel like I was there. Thank you for that. The excitement in Neve’s voice as she talks about her weekend says it all. What a great trip for all of you. (And could she have been any cuter that in her new princess dress?)

    • Erin T. February 16, 2016 at 2:19 PM #

      Will never forget our Parisian girls trip no matter what! 🙂

  4. Eleanor February 15, 2016 at 6:19 PM #

    Incredible adventure for Neve (and her parents too)! This is something she will remember always. A very lucky and loved little girl!

    • Erin T. February 16, 2016 at 2:19 PM #

      We hope she remembers it! We definitely will!

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