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  1. #1
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    Wink The Ultimate Disneyland Paris Trip Report!

    THE ULTIMATE DISNEYLAND PARIS TRIP REPORT

    Be prepared....this is a very long report. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or beer, I won't judge) and enjoy!!


    A LITTLE BACKGROUND:
    If we haven’t met already, allow me to introduce myself! My name is Jenn and I live just outside of Toronto, Canada. I’m married with two kids, DD (13yrs) and DS (10yrs). I have been going to WDW since I was three years old. I have honestly lost count of how many times I have been to the most Magical Place in the World. In 2015, we made our first visit to Disneyland in California and loved visiting a park that was both new to us, yet familiar. Beyond the usual Caribbean vacation, we have twice visited my in-laws in the Azores (a group of islands owned by Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic). If you haven’t heard of the Azores, stop now and google it! It’s a beautiful place and definitely worth a visit! All of those vacations aside, we have never been to mainland Europe so this was going to be a new experience for all of us.

    Our plans for this vacation included three nights at the Disneyland Resort Paris (DLRP) and then we would move to downtown Paris to spend another three nights before flying back home.

    Back in February of this year, I booked a package on the Disneyland Paris website for October. I figured this was going to be a once in a lifetime trip, so go big or go home! We booked a three-night package at the Disneyland Paris Hotel which gave us 25% off our hotel room and park tickets and a free half-board meal plan (meaning buffet breakfast in our hotel and dinner somewhere around the resort for each night of our stay). Staying at the Disneyland Paris Hotel also entitled us to the “Premium” half-board dining, which basically meant we could pick from a “premium” section of the fixed price menus.

    Just like at the American Disney parks, don’t forget to book your dining ahead of time! I found on the DLRP website which restaurants we could make reservations at with our dining plan and made the call 60 days ahead. That call turned out to be a wee bit complicated. I spoke with one man (in English) to make one reservation (the Wild West Show I wanted), but then he transferred me to another woman to book the other two. That was a hilarious “Franglais” conversation as I spoke a strange combination of French-English and she did the same. The conversation ended with me asking for confirmation numbers and her saying I didn’t need any. Uh oh. Well, I guess we would cross our fingers and hope our reservations were all set.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

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  4. #2
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    HERE WE GO!

    Monday, October 7 - Tuesday, October 8

    Our Air France flight left on the Monday night at 9:30pm from Toronto, direct to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. It was about a 7 hour flight. We intended on sleeping on the plane so that we would be somewhat refreshed upon arriving in the morning. NOTE: Paris is 6 hours ahead of Toronto (Eastern Standard Time). We arrived around 10am Paris time on Tuesday. My husband and daughter slept well on the plane, my son got about 2-3 hours sleep and I got what I expected...about half an hour. LOL! I’m such a light sleeper that I just couldn’t! The adrenaline from our upcoming adventure managed to get me through and I seemed to fair just fine on the minimal sleep.

    For those of you wondering, yes, we do have two official languages in Canada (English and French) but let me assure you, I have not used my French since I graduated high school. Do not worry if you cannot speak fluent French. You should know how to say “Bonjour!” (Hello!), “Merci” (Thank-you) and “Parlez-vous anglais s’il vous plait” (Could you speak English please?), but beyond that, most of the French people we encountered would speak to us in English once they realized we did not understand. Much of the signage was bilingual as well - French and English. We made our way off the plane and followed the signs to get our baggage and go through customs. We had to board a little monorail-type train in the terminal at one point and were a bit hesitant that we were going the wrong way. A quick question (in English) to an airport employee assured us we were on the right path. Upon reaching customs, the man in the booth didn’t say a word to us. He just took our passports, stamped them, and we were on our way to get our suitcases.

    After getting our baggage, we stopped by a tourism booth on the Arrivals level. I had preordered a travel wifi device so that we could stay connected during the trip. They had convenient pick-up right at the airport and allowed up to five devices to be connected all at the same time - great for my whole family. Once we had our phones reconnected to the internet, off we went to DLRP.

    There are several options for getting to the resort from the airport, each with their own varying costs. You can take a Disney bus (sort of like Magical Express but with a fee attached), a taxi or private shuttle (approx. 45 min to an hour trip), the RER train (about a 45 minute ride on a regional train), or the TGV (a 10 minute ride on a high speed train). Knowing my kids have gotten air sick on our previous trips to the Azores, we opted for the quickest method of transportation - the TGV train - in case we were dealing with upset tummies. I had watched several Youtube videos on how to purchase TGV train tickets at the airport so I was pretty well prepared. We went down to the lowest level of the terminal to the train station, found the line-up for TGV train tickets and made our purchase. The next train was leaving in about 20 minutes so we made our way to the track. I would say this was the most complicated part of our whole week. We found our way to the track but I didn’t understand where we were supposed to wait
    along the track so that we’d end up on the correct train car. The tickets were entirely in French and the overhead digital screens made no sense to us. Fortunately a nice woman waiting for the train took pity on us and explained where we should stand. Phew! When the train pulled up, we loaded our suitcases into a little luggage holding area on the train car and sat down in some empty seats. But then people came on and said that those where THEIR seats. Oops! We were still on the wrong train car! Haha! But at this point our suitcases were buried under other ones so we just opted to stand around the luggage. We knew we only had a ten minute train ride and would be getting off at the first stop.

    Literally ten minutes later, we were there! The station is called Marne la Vallee Chessy. We hauled out our suitcases and got off the train, along with many other Disney-loving passengers. Upon leaving the station, you know you’ve arrived. Disney Village (a MUCH smaller version of Downtown Disney) is right outside. And steps away you can see Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Paris Hotel (which doubles as the entrance to the Disneyland park).

    The weather was not cooperating with us. It was raining upon our arrival but not to be deterred, we pulled up our hoods and headed in the direction of the hotel. Before getting onto official Disney property, all people must pass through a security tent. This requires walking through a metal detector and all luggage/backpacks/purses/etc must pass through an x-ray machine, similar to the airport. Upon clearing security, you’ve arrived! There are no more security checks because you are now in a secure area, whether you go between parks or to Disney Village.

    We stopped in front of the beautiful Disneyland Paris Hotel to take a couple pictures. Then we found the (unmarked) entrance to the hotel to the right. Once inside, a friendly cast member directed us (in English) to the check-in line and entertained us with various Disney jokes while we waited. The cast member at the counter was quite pleasant and thoroughly explained the dining plan, park tickets, extra-magic hours, etc. Although we arrived around noon and check-in time isn’t until 3pm, they did have a room ready for us. Hooray! We headed off to our room to get refreshed before heading to the parks.

    NOTE: I asked the woman at the check-in counter if she was able to check that our dinner reservations for the trip were in the system. She told me to go to the concierge desk and they could help me. I went to the other counter and he found all three reservations in his system. Hooray - my franglais conversation was successful! He printed out a receipt for each one that included my name, the restaurant name, date and time. I brought those with me to each reservation just to simplify the check-in process.

    So first things first, we headed up to our room. It was quite nice. I booked a standard room and we lucked out with a partial view of Main Street USA! Our room had two double beds (double beds are the norm in Europe). The bathroom was lovely with two sinks, a huge mirror adorned with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the frame, a tub and toilet. We discovered the audio from the bedroom television would play on a speaker in the bathroom as well which was a fun touch. The bathroom had a hair dryer...but it was awful! It looked like a strange vacuum hose instead of a hair dryer. I don’t know how else to explain it! It really didn’t work well. The television in our room had horrible reception as well. I know we didn’t travel half-way around the world to watch TV in our room, but it would have been nice in the evening. There were only a few English channels but the reception on ANY channel sucked. It seemed like it must be coming from a satellite dish that was pointing through trees. Every ten seconds or so there would be digital break-up that made viewing television virtually impossible. I know...first world problems.

    NOTE: Remember that outlets in Europe are different than the outlets in North America. Be sure to pack the appropriate adaptor if you want to plug things in...like phone chargers!


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  5. #3
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    Once we freshened up, we realized we were quite hungry so we headed down to the park. It was so amazing being able to step outside of the hotel and to have the park entrance RIGHT THERE! That was worth the price alone! Our hotel room key doubled as our park tickets so off to the entrance we went. Once in the park we made our way up Main Street USA. Just like in Disneyland California, it was familiar, yet different! It’s always a thrill seeing a new castle at the end of the street. This one didn’t disappoint either. It is built into a hill with magnificent square trimmed trees and made for a wonderful sight!

    Hungry tummies and rain made us stop at a familiar location: Casey’s Corner. Located where you would find it in Florida, we headed inside. Here is where we noticed a difference from the US...service is SLOW. Don’t expect to get your hot dog (or popcorn or ANYTHING) in a hurry. There was hardly any line and yet it seemed like half an hour before they got through the four people ahead of us. I believe I posted a picture of the prices. Since our dining plan did NOT include lunches, this one was coming out of our wallet. A simple hot dog was 8.49 Euros (about $9.50US) and that did NOT include fries or drink. I just checked the WDW price for a classic hot dog and it’s $9.99 for a classic dog and fries. So fine, it’s not crazy more expensive, but just be prepared to pay more for food.

    After eating, we decided where we would head next (in the rain). Let me stop here. Something we found at DLRP which made me fall in love with this park is the “Discovery Arcade” and “Liberty Arcade”. The easiest way for me to explain what these are is to say they are parallel INTERIOR hallways to Main Street USA. You know how when you are trying to leave the park in the evening and Main Street is crammed full of people? Well behind the shops, on either side of Main Street, are covered indoor hallways. They have washrooms in them, they allow access to the shops from the backside, and they give you direct access from one end of Main Street to the other without all the hassle of tripping over people gawking at the castle or pushing your way through the crowd at parade times. I believe I posted a pic of the Discovery Arcade in the Instagram/Facebook feed. Plus, if you use the “Liberty Arcade” on the left side of Main Street, at the end closest to the castle, it continues with a covered path that takes you all the way to the back of the park! Great for rainy days like we experienced! This was obviously an improvement made when designing DLRP based on all the issues still being dealt with at DLR and WDW.

    So off we went under the covered pathway to Frontierland. Unlike WDW, Frontierland and Adventureland are flipped in DLRP. Our first stop - Phantom Manor. Recently renovated, I was excited to see what this spooky French version of the ride was all about. The lineup winds through the outside gardens and reminded me of the DLR mansion by entering through the front doors. Without spoiling too much I hope, the story behind this version is an overbearing father who apparently kills all the men the daughter marries. At least that’s what I got from it. Vincent Price narrates the English portion. There are many similarities to the American version with the biggest exception being the graveyard scene. Instead of a graveyard, the Frontierland theming comes in with a visit through a ghostly old mining town. Family consensus was that we enjoyed the changes!

    From here, we decided to head across the park to Space Mountain. Located in a similar spot as Florida, instead of being in Tomorrowland, in Paris it is named Discoveryland. The outside of the building has a Steampunk/Jules Verne look to it which I guess is in keeping with a “Discovery” theme. Space Mountain currently has the Star Wars “Hyperspace Mountain” overlay. Now let me prepare you - this Space Mountain is wilder than the American counterparts. It has more in common with Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster. It starts with a blast off and does a loop and corkscrew inside. We loved it!

    NOTE: In case you were wondering, the lineups were thankfully pretty short on the days we were there. We never ended up using fastpasses but they are available. They are the old style fastpasses where you insert your park ticket and the fastpass spits out.

    We went on a few more rides that afternoon before leaving for dinner. A highlight for me was “It’s A Small World” where they had a little scene for Canada! Pirates of the Caribbean was definitely a thrill as well. With an actual pirate ship out front and caves to explore, the theming in the area was a delight. There is a restaurant similar to Blue Bayou with this one named “Captain Jack’s”. The ride has its own little surprises but the biggest difference I noticed was how smoothly the animatronics moved on this attraction. Considering this park opened in 1992, I guess that would make sense when comparing it to the states!

    Our dinner reservations the first night were in Disney Village at the dinner show “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with Mickey and Friends”. Quite the long name! This dinner show reminded me of one we have in Toronto called “Medieval Times”. You and your party are assigned to a “team” upon your arrival whom you will cheer for throughout the show. We were assigned to the green team and were given cowboy hats (to keep!) adorned with a green ribbon. Then we were seated in the green section of the dining arena. We were served a hearty meal of chili, ribs, fried chicken and cornbread all while being entertained by Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, real horses, and fantastic stunts. Our premium dining plan covered the cost of this meal. After two hours of eating and entertainment, this family of weary travellers were ready for a good night’s sleep.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  6. #4
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    Wednesday, October 9th

    I got up bright and early at 7am (although being a little jet-lagged, it was funny thinking I was waking up at what would have been 1am back home). We enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant with all your regular fare; cereal, waffles, bacon, eggs, croissants, yogurt, fruits, etc. I personally adored the little glass jars of jams, syrups and ketchup!

    Taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours, our plan was to get to Walt Disney Studios Park before the crowds in order to ride Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille. It was another wet and chilly day so we put on our fall coats and walked the five minutes from Disneyland Paris Hotel over to the entrance of Walt Disney Studios Park.

    Walt Disney Studios Park is the smallest Disney park in the world. Most information I read online said that this is only a “half-day” park. I’m not sure I agree with that. I suppose with no line-ups, then yes, you could do much of the park in less than a day, but even with light to average crowds during our visit, I’m not sure we could have gotten through everything.

    Upon entering the park, different from Hollywood Studios in Florida where you walk up the outdoor Hollywood Boulevard (similar to Main Street USA), in Paris, you enter a big soundstage-type building. Inside is a nighttime Hollywood Boulevard type atmosphere, complete with shops on one side and multiple counter service restaurants on the other. I’m guessing since the weather in Paris isn’t as nice as it is in Florida, it makes sense to put this area indoors.

    After exiting this building, we hightailed it over to Crush’s Coaster. We were thankful to get on during Extra Magic Hours because the line was over an hour the rest of the day. It was such a fun ride!! Groups of four (two and two) ride back to back in a turtle shell with spins its way through the EAC. We would have liked to go on it again but didn’t want to spend our precious time in line.

    Ratatouille was equally enjoyable. I don’t want to spoil this one because I know a lot of you will be going on it at Epcot in the near future. All I will say is that the theming in the queue was great and the integration of the trackless ride with the set decorating and 3D effects is fantastic.

    Next to where Ratatouille was located is Toy Story Playland. I can definitely see where Florida got its theming from for their Toy Story Land. There is a larger than life Buzz Lightyear statue greeting visitors to the area. Coloured blocks and larger than life Christmas lights line the pathways. I suppose the biggest difference are the rides in this area. Here there are three attractions: RC Racer (loved this one), Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin (kinda boring) and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop (never made it on this although it looked like it would have been fun).

    A blast from the past was the Studio Tram Tour which involved a visit to Catastrophe Canyon. And let me be honest, really, there is nothing to this attraction beyond Catastrophe Canyon. We rode past props from Pearl Harbor (hello, this movie came out in 2001) and then Catastrophe Canyon. My daughter screamed her head off when the water came crashing down, so that made for a good laugh. Catastrophe Canyon was then followed by more props from Pearl Harbor (you think I’m joking…). I recently read that this ride is going to be reimagined into a Cars themed Route 66 attraction. I would say it’s long overdue for a refresh.

    A treat for us was Paris’ brand new version of Tower of Terror - “A New Dimension of Chills”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow integrated it into Florida’s ToT in the future. While the backstory is the same about the five people who tragically died when the hotel elevator tower was struck by lightning, on the ride itself are three new horrific versions. Ours involved the little girl who was killed. I just remember the little ghost girl saying “if you scream, it’ll only make it worse!”. Needless to say, that statement was followed by a lot of screaming.

    By this point, we were all soaked from the rain and chilled to the bone. We decided it was a good time to have a mid-afternoon break. We decided we would leave the park and head to Disney Village to find something to eat for lunch.

    Disney Village is a very small version of Downtown Disney. It has several familiar locations; World of Disney, a Lego Store, Rainforest Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, McDonald’s, Starbucks. It also has a movie theatre, several unique restaurants and clothing stores. You can easily walk from one end of Disney Village to the other in less than ten minutes though so keep that in mind for size. As we discovered, at the far end of Disney Village (furthest from the Parks) is where you will find the other Disney hotels. They are situated around Lake Disney. Although we didn’t go around the lake, it appeared that walking paths surrounded it so that hotel guests could easily walk to the shopping village and the parks. In doing my research, I read that there are also buses to take guests from those hotels to the parks, although I don’t know much more than that. I will say I never noticed any buses on our visit so I’m not sure where they drop guests off or pick them up at the parks.

    After a quick lunch at the Golden Arches, it was back to our room to change out of our wet clothes and have a nap. Then we were off to Disneyland Park in time for our dinner reservations. Tonight’s dinner was at the buffet restaurant Plaza Gardens which reminded me a lot of Crystal Palace, minus the Winnie the Pooh character greet. It was typical buffet food...nothing terribly exciting. This meal was covered with our meal plan as well.

    We finished dinner just in time for a torrential downpour. We took shelter in the Liberty Arcade and found a secret room (okay, maybe not secret, but a somewhat hidden room) commemorating the Statue of Liberty’s dedication, complete with wax figures commenting on the event (in French) while a recording of Grover Cleveland’s speech plays in the background.

    Once the rain let up, we made our way back to Discoveryland and onto Star Tours. I mentioned in another post, but perhaps I haven’t been on Star Tours in awhile in the US but I swear there were scenes from the new movies on this one that I hadn’t seen before. And this ride finished in Batuu as opposed to on some starship where everyone stands around clapping (forgive my lack of knowledge of Star Wars ship names lol). So maybe it’s like that already in the US...I just can’t remember!

    My son at this point wasn’t feeling great so I took him back to the room (again, it only took about five minutes to get there!). My husband and DD hung around to watch part of the castle/fireworks show and then they too came back for the night. And that marked the end of another day.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  7. #5
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    Thursday, October 10th

    So my son who wasn’t feeling well the night before ended up being up all night sick to his stomach. I’m not sure what caused it. Maybe it was something he ate or the jet lag. Who knows. Thankfully by morning, he was feeling back to himself, minus a few good hours of sleep (same goes for me!).

    Today we decided to hustle to Big Thunder Mountain for Extra Magic Hours. Thunder Mountain is another popular attraction at DLRP and it is quite understandable. This was my most favourite version of the ride. Where one would picture Tom Sawyer’s island in Florida or California, here in Paris the island contains Thunder Mountain! You board the “wildest ride in the wilderness” on the mainland (for lack of a better word) and the train immediately shoots down under the “Rivers of the Far West” through a pitch black long tunnel to head over to the island. Upon reaching daylight again, the ride becomes familiar to the American versions, complete with the hill where the burning dynamite stick chases you up to the top. At the end, the train accelerates you back through a pitch black tunnel under the river, arriving back at the mainland station. This makes for a much longer version of the attraction to its American counterparts.

    Today was our last full day at the parks so it was our goal to ride as many attractions as we could at least once. We made a funny observation throughout our vacation as we stood in various queues. The railings in the lineups had something different about them. Where a weary visitor may want to rest their behind on top of the railings, there was a pokey metallic strip to discourage that activity. My kids christened them “Butt Blockers”. I posted a picture of several versions on the Instagram/Facebook feed. I guess the French discourage sitting on top of the railings. LOL!

    Another attraction I have failed to mention in depth is Sleeping Beauty Castle. This French version has surprise lurking in its depths. Under the castle, if one finds the path to follow, you can see a sleeping dragon. Be careful not to wake him as he stirs quite easily. We spent a fair bit of time under there as my husband shot a little video for the Instagram/Facebook feed. You can seriously convince yourself that this dragon is real in this dimly lit cave. Be sure to visit this unique feature. Upstairs in the castle, you can climb up to the top and see the beautiful stain- glass windows and head out to a balcony overlooking Fantasyland to take some great photos.

    Disneyland Paris also has several other walk through attractions that are worth checking out. In addition to the walkthrough upstairs in the castle, and the dragon underneath, there are three more worth visiting. The entrance to Frontierland, visitors must walk through an old fort. Take time to peak in the buildings and walk up the old fort stairs to check out the rooms above. Here you will find various wax figure cowboys doing various cowboy activities. A sheriff sits in his office, a miner sifts through his rocks, and another cowboy cleans his gun. In Adventureland, be sure to visit “Le Passage Enchante d’Aladdin”, a walkthrough past miniature scenes from the movie Aladdin. And in Discoveryland, one can visit a walkthrough of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea called “Les Mysteres du Nautilus”. One will spot a familiar sub docked in a little pond just outside Space Mountain. While there is no moving boat ride, that sub marks the entrance to the walkthrough attraction. Take the stairs down underground and walk through what feels like the interior of a submarine, complete with an attack by a creature from the deep.

    The rest of the day we hurried from ride to ride, enjoying favourites like Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Pinocchio, Dumbo and more. These attractions were just as you’d imagine with the biggest difference being the names had been switched to French, like “Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains” and “Les Voyages des Pinocchio”.

    Dinner tonight was back at Walt Disney Studios Park at Chez Remy. We were really looking forward to this meal. We managed to squeeze in a ride on Ratatouille again just before our reservation. Then it was time to check-in for dinner. Such a cute place! The server, before taking us to our table, told us that once we crossed the line, we will have shrunk down to the size of a rat. And with that, we entered the dining room. The area is decorated with gigantic plates as table dividers, bottle corks as chairs, gigantic cutlery and bottle caps all the while the area is lit with gigantic white Christmas tree lights. Our meals included side dishes of Ratatouille, a side dish of zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers. I didn’t think I’d like it but I gave it a try. It was actually quite good!

    By the time we finished dinner, the Walt Disney Studios Park was closed. It actually closed quite early in our opinion, at 6pm. Perhaps it was because it’s a slow time of year? So following dinner we went back to Disneyland Paris to buy last minute souvenirs and to watch the fireworks/castle show for our last night. Disneyland Paris closed at 8pm so we didn’t have long to wait. The castle was lit up with various scenes of different Disney movies and included fireworks and actual balls of fire at times! While the fireworks may not have been as spectacular as the ones in Florida, it was still quite good...and maybe even brought a tear to my eye. Lol!

    Once the fireworks ended, we scooted down the Discovery Arcade, avoiding the crowds along Main Street, and we were back in our room five minutes later. Again, I can’t stress enough how incredible it was being able to do that!! No long lines to fight our way through to catch a monorail or boat to get to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then to catch a tram. Lol!!

    Once back in our room, it was time to get things packed up for check-out the next morning.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  8. #6
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    Friday, October 11th

    This morning we had our final buffet breakfast at the hotel. Following that we packed up our luggage in time for our 11am check-out. Our park tickets were still good for this day so we decided to go back into Disneyland park for a couple more hours before heading into the city of Paris. The hotel allows you to leave your luggage with them for this exact situation. So after dropping off our bags, we went one final time into the park. A final ride on Phantom Manor and Pirates, followed by a quick lunch along Main Street, we were off to get our bags and to meet our shuttle driver.

    We decided to book a private shuttle to drive us into Paris and straight to our hotel, rather than having to deal with hauling luggage onto the regional train and then dragging them down the streets of Paris to our hotel. The valets at Disneyland Paris Hotel helped us to find our shuttle driver and helped us load our suitcases into the minivan. We had a pleasant 40 minute ride into the city and were all smiles seeing the city’s famous landmarks with our own eyes.

    As this is a Disney website, I won’t bore you with a lot of details about our non-Disney portion of our vacation. But we enjoyed this portion of our trip just as much as the Disney half. I booked our hotel in the Marais district, ten minutes walking distance from Notre Dame Cathedral. We loved the location. Our hotel was called “Hotel de la Bretonnerie”. It was perfect for us. We managed to get one of the last junior suites, which with a family of four was more convenient for us than booking two seperate rooms. When doing my research, I noticed most rooms would only fit two people, so getting a suite at a decent price was a bit of a challenge. But this hotel was fantastic. There was a “Monop” right under our hotel (a convenience store) which allowed us to grab late night snacks. There were cafes, shopping, a big mall, the metro, all within very easy walking distance. If you’re looking for a quaint place to stay, check out this location. I highly recommend it!!

    That evening we took the metro to the Louvre. Being the planner that I am, I discovered that the best times to visit the Louvre are in the evenings when they stay open later. At this time, that is Wednesdays and Fridays. We pre-purchased our tickets online at chose 6pm as our time of arrival. Many of the museums in Paris are free for kids 18 and younger so we only required tickets for my husband and I. We managed to figure out the metro (again, I watched Youtube to learn how it works) and got to the Louvre in just a few short minutes. Seriously, that place is HUGE. Thank goodness we went when we did. There was hardly anyone there! I can’t imagine going in the middle of summer when the lineups must be ridiculous. Highlights from the Louvre for us was the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Liberty Leading the People. We loved looking at the many ancient greek statues. The age of them was unbelieveable! There was so much to see that I was thankful I made a list ahead of time of the specific pieces of art we hoped to view. After 2-3 hours, you will be ready to leave from exhaustion. Back on the metro to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  9. #7
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    Saturday, October 12th - Monday, October 14th

    The remaining two full days in Paris were packed full of touristy things. We did the Big Bus Tour (hop on, hop off) to see many of the main sights in Paris; Notre Dame (it’s surrounded by fencing right now due to the fire, but still worth seeing it in the state it’s in), Arc de Triomphe, Champs d’Elysee, Eiffel Tower, Opera House, etc. We visited Sainte Chappelle to see the beautiful gothic cathedral with its stain-glass windows. We walked along the Seine River. We visited Musee d’Orsay to see famous paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.

    My personal highlight was taking an Uber to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I wanted to visit the Catacombs but my kids thought that would be too creepy. We compromised with this cemetery and I’m so glad we did. I have been visiting cemeteries my whole life doing genealogy research and let me tell you, this was by far the most beautiful yet creepy I have ever been too. Bring your camera! Many of you may look at me in disgust for thinking a cemetery is a tourist attraction, but trust me, this place was crowded full of fellow tourists. If you like the Haunted Mansion, oh my gosh, this cemetery must have been the theming for it. It is lined with creepy old crypts and crumbling tombs as you wander down cobblestone paths. The many black crows we spotted flying around the cemetery added to the creep factor. Obviously we treated the location with the respect it deserved, as did the other tourists we passed. We had a map of where famous people are interred and let me tell you, we needed that map. This place is huge! Many of you may know that Jim Morrison is buried there, along with Oscar Wilde (author), Chopin (composer), Bellini (composer) and George Melies (film director...remember the old b&w film “A Trip To the Moon” - “La Voyage de La Lune” where the spaceship lands in the eye of the man on the moon?) and many many more. Those were the highlights for me.

    As with most vacations, the end arrives quickly. We enjoyed the shuttle service we had to downtown Paris, so we booked them again to take us to the airport on our last morning. Our travel wifi device was simple to return - it came with a postage paid envelope so we just turned it off, slipped it inside the envelope, and dropped it into the mailbox across the street from our hotel. The shuttle arrived on time and got us to the airport approx. 2 ˝ hours before our flight. I had done online check-in and just needed to print out our boarding passes and luggage tags. We dropped off our suitcases onto the proper conveyor belt and headed to the security line. This was THE LONGEST LINE EVER! Oh my gosh. This line rivaled peak-summer queues at Flight of Passage. We zigged and zagged back and forth in this line for an hour and a half, starting to get panicky looking at our watch, worried that we were getting bloody close to boarding time for our flight. It seemed weird to me that you had to clear customs to LEAVE the country, but a co-worker explained to me once I was home that it has something to do with the European Union. Please don’t ask me to re-explain it because I don’t quite get it. Something like you pass through this customs and enter the Schengen area. I dunno. NOT a world traveller here. LOL. But yes, it took us forever to get through that, then you went through the security check, and then we practically ran to our gate. I despise using bathrooms on airplanes so I hurried to use the one in the terminal, and by the time I finished, it was time to board our flight. Phew. NOTE TO SELF: Get to the airport earlier next time!!


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  10. #8
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    CONCLUSION

    If you have made it to this portion of my trip report, I thank you for sticking it out!
    Here are my final thoughts on this vacation and tips for you. Overall we had a great vacation. For having never travelled to (mainland) Europe before, it was actually pretty straight-forward. Our “just go with it” attitude helped us to not get up-tight when we didn’t understand something or when something was not as I had planned it. It’s all part of the adventure we figured! Ignore the stereotypes and know that the French, at least the ones we encountered, were friendly and helpful and spoke to us in English. I had read that Paris is a dirty city but found it no dirtier in the touristy areas than it is in Toronto where I work.

    As for the Disney aspect, if you can afford it, treat yourself to a stay in Disneyland Paris Hotel. The convenience of its location to the park is unparalleled. And if you can get a free dining plan, go for it. The cost of the meals at the sit-down restaurants will boggle your mind (check out the menus on the DLRP website). There is no way we would spend that much for our family of four otherwise. For example, my meal at Chez Remy was 62 Euros ($70 USD), but times that by four family members, it’s close to $300 USD every night at dinner! Um, ya, I wouldn’t be doing that normally. But heck, with a free dining plan, you’re darn right I would!

    I want to leave you now with a final DEEP THOUGHT to give you all with a little hope for this chaotic world we share. We were standing in the queue for Tower of Terror and I took a moment to look around me. Here we were, far from our home back in Canada, surrounded by people of all different skin colours, speaking all different languages, all sharing a wonderful afternoon together. When you set our differences aside, we are all so much the same; kids giggling with their parents, teens playing on their phones, couples holding hands. We have so much in common with each other, no matter where we are from. And if Walt Disney can help us remember that “it’s a small world”, then maybe there is hope for this Spaceship Earth after all.


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  11. #9
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    Apr 2005
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    Thanks for posting!! I did have a coffee while reading as you suggested. In fact I needed two, just got off the night shift and the caffeine levels were extremely low.

    We are planning a driving trip around France next summer and are wanting to visit DLPR before we fly home, so your trip report came a good time for our planning stage. What airline did you use? We also are from the Toronto area and will be flying from Pearson.

    I will be going back and rereading your post several times to ensure I get full retention!!
    Brian (aka CanadianWDWFan)
    INTERCOT Staff:Theme Parks, The Water Cooler & Trip Reports
    DVC-BWV
    Next Trip:
    BWV then DCL Fantasy Aug, 2019

  12. #10
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    Jun 2002
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    Hi Brian! We flew with Air France. Air Canada had direct flights as well but it came down to which airline had return flights at a time I liked. Air Canada's return flight was at 10:30am but I figured we'd be rushed getting up and to the airport three hours early which pushed me towards Air France's departure time of 1:30pm. Having never flown with them before, we really liked Air France. The planes were nice, the flight attendants were great, and the food wasn't bad either.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!!


    Disneyland Paris Hotel - Fall '19!!

    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

  13. #11
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    Mar 2004
    Location
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    Thanks for taking us along on your trip. I would love to hear more details about the rest of your trip. There's a thread for trips outside of Disney if you ever are so inclined to right more.

    Sounds like you guys had a great time.
    We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together

    Not
    We believed in our idea - a place to line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders

  14. #12
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    Jan 2004
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    I truly enjoyed your trip report, it was extremely informative and helpful. Thinking of venturing to France now that I'm inspired by your good experiences there.
    Journey into your...Lego® Imagination Center
    If you can dream it...you can build it!

    Still journeying & dreaming for over 25 years now to Legoland & WDW.

  15. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    PA, Amish Country
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    Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed reading about your trip!!
    We'll Go On....Off To Neverland

    Wishes!

    It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow....Where Dreams Really Do Come True

    Never Forget It was All Started By A Mouse....TTFN

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