So now for the second part of my holiday! So I’ll keep going with this date thing, if only to keep it all straight in my mind. Lol.
4/8 – So I was supposed to fly out of Pisa and get into Paris that night. As it turns out, that wasn’t in the cards. I had already taken the bus to the airport and was trying to check in when they told me my flight was cancelled. -______- So I went on to find out that there was a massive airport worker strike in France that day and the next and that all evening flight were cancelled. Ryanair put all the passengers up in a hotel for the night and were fortunately able to switch us to a flight the next morning. So it all worked out in the end, but it meant that I only had half a day in Paris.
4/9 – By the time the flight had landed, the bus had taken us to the city, and I had found my way to the hostel and gotten ready for the day it was already 1 pm. So I just took the metro down to Notre Dame, walked to get Laduree macarons from there and walked along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. PARIS IS SO SO BEAUTIFUL. Easily my favorite city I’ve been to so far, other than London of course. It didn’t hurt that it was 70 degrees and that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. After getting a baguette from under the Eiffel Tower (!!) I laid in the grass and promptly fell asleep. I was there for about 3 hours, intermittently falling asleep and reading my book. And I ate my macarons! The best things I’ve ever eaten. They were ridiculously expensive but I got a souvenir box so it’s all good. After I decided I was sunburnt enough, I walked across river to the Arc de Triomphe before heading back to my hostel to get dinner.
4/10 – This will probably just be me rambling because I had SO MUCH FUN and I don’t want to forget anything about my time in Disneyland Paris! It wasn’t very hard to get to at all, I just had to take the Metro and connect to the RER, which are trains that go all out throughout France (I think). It only took about an hour. If I lived in Paris I would definitely have an annual pass. Disneyland Paris has two parks, Walt Disney Studios & Parc Disneyland as well as Disney Village which is like Downtown Disney. I went to Walt Disney Studios first, because I wanted to end the night in Disneyland to see the firework show. The whole idea of Walt Disney Studios is that you’re at a movie studio (duh) so after you get your ticket checked, you walk through a sort of courtyard that has guest relations and a store before going into this HUGE building where your eyes are promptly assaulted by neon lights. It was TOTALLY not what I was expecting but I loved it! There were a few shops and a few quick-service restaurants and a stage that a band would play at later.
There are four sections of Walt Disney Studios, the building being called the Front Lot, with a Back Lot, Production Courtyard, and Toon Studio. Both parks have rides that are at WDW and Disneyland in California and I really wanted to focus on rides that I couldn’t go on back home, other than a few of my favorites. Walt Disney Studios was pretty small respectively and didn’t have that many rides but it was really cute and well done. I went on Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, which I actually hate, as well as the Ratatouille. Of course, Ratatouille being set in Paris, there was a whole section in Toon Studio for the movie. The ride was SO COOL! For anybody that has been on the Hogwarts ride in Wizarding World, it is very similar but instead of flying, you’re shrunk down to the size of a rat (not literally) and are in a little rat car thing. It was SO CUTE and I love Ratatouille so it was super fun. There is also a whole store as well as a restaurant dedicated to Ratatouille. Another really cool feature of this park is there is a Toy Store Playground where all the props are blown up so you feel like you’re the size of a toy.
After spending about 2 hours at Walt Disney Studios, I stopped in Disney Village to do some shopping and get lunch. It definitely is not as big as Downtown Disney, but was still stuffed with lots of shops and restaurants. It also had the same hot-air balloon thing that you can go up in and see across both parks.
After Disney Village, I headed over to Parc Disneyland!! Another really great thing about Disneyland Paris is that everything is right next to each other, so no wasting time on the monorail! To actually get into the park though, you get your ticket checked underneath Disneyland Hotel, which is the massively huge and fancy (read: expensive) hotel that you basically go downstairs and you’re in the park. SO SO beautiful. I should have gone in and asked for a tour of a suite. It also had a great pond thing with lots of flowers and bridges and good photo opps. So you get your ticket checked under the hotel and walk through and THEN you see the Walt Disney Railroad, so similar to how Walt Disney Studio has a little courtyard, so does Parc Disneyland. If that makes any sense as all. But anyway, I got my first glimpse of the castle and don’t tell Cinderella but this one is much more beautiful than the castle in WDW. It’s built up and the moat juts up right in front and it has this great waterfall thing along one side. This park has four lands, other than Main Street, USA. Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland. It was all pretty similar to WDW other than the fact that some of the rides were in all French, including the name of the ride. There were some of the classics, like Big Thunder Mountain, it’s a small world, Peter Pans Flight and others but also a few of its own, just like Walt Disney Studios. Another thing this park has over WDW is you can actually go inside the castle at any time. And not just walk through it when the stage isn’t there, but there are shops inside and you can go upstairs to a balcony and stained-glass windows telling the story of Sleeping Beauty. Another great thing is you can actually go UNDER the castle where Maleficent in dragon form will growl and blow smoke on you. SO COOL.
I walked around, and went on a few rides before sitting down to wait for the parade, which I LOVED! And also cried at. What was so cool about the parade, the firework show, and Disneyland Paris in general, was that movies and characters were featured that don’t get a lot of love back in the States. For example, the parade was opened with Fairy Godmother and the Blue Fairy, the latter which I had never seen a face character for before. It also had a Toy Story float as well as a Lion King float, both ones that wouldn’t be back at home. So that was pretty cool!
After the parade, I went on a few more rides before getting dinner and reading for a bit and then going to find a spot for the firework show, Disney Dreams. I got a spot right in the front and was surprised to see the castle was roped off so you couldn’t get that close. But for good reason I learned after the show started. And OMG WAS THE SHOW SO GOOD. It was AMAZING. It was basically Celebrate the Magic, Wishes, and Fantasmic all wrapped up in one. Meaning that it was a castle projection show, a firework show, and a water show all at once. The whole premise was that Peter Pan’s shadow had escaped and accidentally knocked all the magic out of the second star to the right. There were clips and songs from various movies before Hook and Peter faced-off and the shadow returned all the magic. UGH. It was SO MAGICAL. All the movies set in France (Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback of Notre Dame, & Ratatouille) were spoken/sung in French while I think the rest of them were in English. Again, there were movies and characters that wouldn’t be in any shows back home, like Quasimodo sang a song from Hunchback of Notre Dame, Remy said some things that I didn’t understand because they were in French, and Dr Facilier had a moment. I would totally go back just to see the show again, it was that good. If anybody really wants to, watch it on YouTube.
All in all, it was the most PERFECT & MAGICAL time in Paris. I will definitely be back before having to go home. Most of my heart is in London, but a piece of it is in Paris as well.