Disneyland Paris – the epilogue!

This has been in my drafts for FOREVER – so thought I should finally get around to actually posting it!  We’ve been away twice since then!! #holidayaddicts

So, I’ve blogged about our half term trip to Disneyland Paris, from my proposed behaviour plans in the prologue, to the ‘fun’ in the rain for Day 1, the lunch with Princesses on day 2, the ‘sod Mickey when there’s Messi’ of Day 3, the Snapchat filtering of a world famous painting on Day 4, and an emotional balloon release on Day 5.

But I thought I’d compose some advice on matters learned from our trip (and I will try and be the bigger person than just to say don’t bother with Paris, save up for Florida as they do Disney properly…………..)

If you can – stay in the Disneyland Hotel, and if you can – book a Castle Club room.  This means you get characters at breakfast every day


(the Disney ones – and sometimes the world famous footballer ones too!! #LionelMessi) which reduces the need to queue for them at other times.


The fact that you’re between the parks means you can pop back for a battery recharge (metaphorically and for your phone) during the day.  You also get to enter the Disneyland Park earlier than the general public (although only certain rides are open for these Magic Hours).

The one thing I would say is that having a Castle Club room with a park view is fantastic (we stayed in Walt’s Apartment with a connecting room as there are 6 of us) but it is noisy.  You have a great view of the fireworks from the comfort of your room – but equally little kids may not sleep through it!  Then when the hoardes leave the park it can be quite raucous (and it’s not very ‘Disney’ to shout at them to shut up from your window……..).  Then the Disney music plays until around midnight and starts again at 7am – and for us this had a Halloween ghostly theme (last time it was Christmas music though!)



We struggled keeping everyone happy (but we do have 4 kids with differing tastes!)

We had an absolutely amazing meal in the California Grill in the Disneyland Hotel – but the kids meals didn’t have fries, which immediately meant child 3 had a meltdown.  The food was beautifully presented and the wine exquisite (but it is really, really expensive!)

Lunch with the Princesses in the park was also excellent in terms of quality (again no French fries) and a great way to get a few more characters off the tick list.


The best all rounder meal, though, was in Chez Remy in Walt Disney Studios – great quality food – INCLUDING FRIES!!!!


If you’re staying in a Castle Club room – and I think most of the Disney Hotels – you get unlimited Fastpasses for all of the rides that offer that facility.  At certain times of the day these are great (generally in the mornings) but at some points, the Fastpass queue can be longer than the regular queues – madness! And not all rides have the Fastpass option.
Sometimes using single rider queues can also be a way to beat the queues if you’re happy not to sit together in a group – I guess this depends on kids ages and such like.

Going into Paris
We paid to do a Disney trip into the centre of Paris.  This involved queuing for a coach at another hotel and driving through really slow traffic to get there.  Once in Paris we were dropped off to reconvene a few hours later.  We couldn’t face the coach trip back and ditched them in favour of the very reasonably priced train (double decker train at that) back to Disneyland Paris.  It was a straighforward, easy train ride – and so much better than hanging about and a coach.

Once in Paris then there are loads of different options for hop on / hop off trips – or even just walking – which we did loads of!


The kids loved seeing some of the historic sites (although I’m not sure Leonardo was expecting teens to put Snapchat filters on the Mona Lisa……..)


I am sure there are loads of other top tips I can offer – so if you think of anything then ask away – but there we go.

We’ve done Disneyland Paris…………….








Disneyland Paris – day 5!

Our last day in Paris – and the husband’s birthday!  He got to wear a Disney badge proclaiming this all day!!

After packing, breakfast and checking out we decided that the one thing we hadn’t done were any of the shows at Walt Disney Studios – so after a quick Fastpass on Ratatouille (yet again, it’s the youngest’s favourite!) and the magic carpets we headed to Moteur – Action!  Stunt Show Spectacular – and the name was very correct – it was really spectacular.  The 11 year old in particular really enjoyed it.


It was supposed to last 35 minutes – so we hoped to whizz straight from there to Disney Junior Live (run in English and French at different times).  However time was ticking by so the husband and girls tried to escape leaving me and the boy there – but the French security team were having none of it.  There was lots of Gallic shrugging – and ‘computer says no’.  I assume it was health and safety (although goodness knows why, as the way out was nowhere near the vehicles!)  Anyway – that meant we missed Disney Junior which prompted a 4 year old’s strop!

Thankfully we spotted that Stitch Live was on and so attempted to placate her with that (again it runs in English and French throughout the day).  It was actually surprisingly good!  Stitch was animated, but there was a real life person in the room being his assistant.  Initially I assumed that there were standard questions Stitch would ask – but it was actually really clever, and the person voicing him could obviously see the audience – and deviated with different conversations – and all in all it was really impressive!  A surprise hit with the Price family.

Then we let Daddy chose the restaurant – and we went to Bistro Chez Remy right by the Ratatouille ride – and supposedly the rat’s restaurant and you magically became smaller as you went in (or as the 4 year old pointed out ‘they’ve just made everything else seem really big’!!)


The food – and drinks – were great!  And the whole family were content as the grown up food was delicious, and there were fries for the kids #winwin.  They made a fuss of the birthday boy – and even wrote a special message on his pudding (happy birthday – not anything else – that would have been weird!!)

On the way out the 6 year old was given a Minnie Mouse balloon by a random couple – still not entirely sure why (she was given sweets by a man on the train the day before, so she must have a face for gifts!!)  As we were about to head off to the airport we couldn’t really take it with us – so the kids asked if we could send it up to the sky to Nanny Carol (my mother in law who passed away in 2002).  It seemed like a particularly apt thing to do, given 45 years ago Nanny Carol had been giving birth to their Daddy (cue hysterical weeping from me!!)


And that’s pretty much a perfect way to end our few days in Disneyland Paris.
Creating magical memories with my family has been wonderful.




Disneyland Paris – day 3!

Day 3 started with another Messi breakfast (and again we didn’t let the 11 year old get a photo or autograph – and the pressure was starting to build from friends and family back home about what cruel parents we were)!  Thankfully there were characters galore – Gepetto, Pinocchio, Mr Smee, Pluto and the big 2 – Minnie and Mickey Mouse.  All very exciting.


Then we magic houred it into the park for the husband and big 2 to do Space Mountain whilst I took the little 2 on Buzz Lightyear.  And here comes whinge 1:

We paid 60 Euros when we arrived for all of the photos from the photographers out and about around the park and for the photos on the rides.  This has proved to be quite a rubbish investment.  In our 3 days thus far we haven’t seen a single photographer out and about!  We’d hoped for a Price family photo in front of the castle, but have had to make do with a rubbish selfie rather than a professional one.  Today on Space Mountain we had a photo taken, and it could be viewed after the ride, but the shop was shut and so it wasn’t possible to get the photo.  All seems a bit rubbish – and miss-sold.

Whilst I am in whinge mode (some would say I’ve been firmly in that mode for 42 years?!) – smoking!  People wander round the parks cigarettes – traditional and e cigs – in hand.  Theoretically there are smoking areas and the rest of the park is non smoking, but this rule does not appear to be applied at all. It truly is gross, compounded by the fact it would appear many more Europeans than Brits smoke *based on no research whatsoever, just the gut feeling I’ve got from our travels!!

Our concierge had booked lunch for us at Planet Hollywood (it seemed safer to book, as Rainforest Cafe was turn up and wait – and the only prerequisite from the kids was it was a restaurant with chips!!) But we were early and so went on Panoramamagique – a tethered balloon ride that takes you 100m up above the park.  On a clear day you can see the centre of Paris and the Eiffel Tower – but it wasn’t a clear day!  However, it did give you a feeling of the scale of the parks and the huge number of beds the hotels in the surrounding areas must provide.  The autumnal colours of the trees were also amazing.  Half of the kids were scared, the other half were trying to rock the balloon to scare them further – you’ve got to love siblings!

We popped in to the Lego shop then, which the 4 year old was excited about as the boy she loves from school is a big Lego fan – so we took her photo in front of the Toy Story characters made out of Lego to send to him!!


Planet Hollywood was the same as Planet Hollywood the world over (although disappointingly no zucchini fries on the menu here!) – but the decor right down to the loos, is the same no matter which branch your in.  Anyway – there were chips, so the kids were happy.

The back to the hotel for a power nap (for Daddy anyway!) and we got to see some of the Halloween parade from our balcony.  At afternoon tea the 11 year old’s dreams came true and we let him ask Lionel Messi for a photo (when he wasn’t with his kids) – sod Mickey, this was the highlight of his holiday – possibly life to date (he had a photo with Arjen Robben last New Year’s Eve, so is doing pretty well for world famous footballers on holiday recently – apparently only Ronaldo or David Beckham will top this #pressure)!



We headed off to the Buffalo Bill Wild West show in the evening.  You are divided into 4 teams – this time we were blue (last time we came 6 years ago we were green and after kicking around the house for the best part of 5 years, we’ve only just chucked out the hats!!)  It’s a great horse / buffalo / bison show (cue rubbish joke – what’s the difference between and buffalo and a bison???  You can’t wash your hands in a bison
(this is better if you’re from the Black Country (West Midlands rather than being racist in any way) as bison sounds more like basin then!!)


My highlight is that you are told your meal deal includes a soft drink – and they offer beer to the adults #beerisasoftdrinkinFrance!! The horse show is great (and I remembered to take an antihistamine this time!!) and the children enjoyed it loads.  The ‘highlight’ was Daddy being a volunteer – so he got to go down into the arena and go in a coach and then be tied up with a woman from Liverpool (standard night out?!)


The 6 year old was hysterical the entire time thinking Daddy was actually going to be hijacked – but in true Disney style the bad guys were defeated and all was well – phew! Quick visit to the ‘World of Disney’ en route back (shockingly badly staffed again – Paris really is the antithesis of Orlando) and then back to the hotel room for turn down chocolates, room service wine and potentially the fireworks for a third consecutive night (re-setting them each day must be a task)

Tomorrow is Disney free (yay!) as we’re off in to Paris for the day to see the sites.  I’ve never done the proper tourist thing in Paris – I did a quick driving tour once with a Deloitte partner when I was considering a transfer to the Paris office (I told him I could only come if I had red wine on tap, as it’s the only way my French is any good – it did not seem that this was impossible!  I was also a bit of a Princess and told him to slow down whilst speeding through the underpasses #PrincessDianareference!) so I am looking forward to seeing all the sites / sights – it should also minise the chance of characters being punched, and improve the quality of food on offer. #winwin

Disneyland Paris – day 2!

Day 2 of the Disneyland Paris adventure started with a character breakfast – which ended up being more exciting than expected.

This was not due to the arrival of Tigger and Eeyore – but more to do with the fact that Lionel Messi (world famous footballer) and his family were sat at the next table.  The 11 year old was beside himself, but we were killjoy parents and didn’t let him go and interrupt Mr Messi’s breakfast to get a signature or a photo – he had to make do with the Winnie the Pooh characters providing both!!


Then, as we’re staying in one of the Disney hotels we are allowed to access the Disneyland park 90 minutes before the general public, so we headed in to try and get on some rides that we couldn’t Fastpass later – Dumbo being the first one, and then the carousel.  Much fun was had.

After that the Disney classic ‘It’s A Small World’ beckoned. We then went on Pirates of the Caribbean – which starts as a similar boat ride, but then has a couple of drops like a sedate-ish log flume.  The whole ambience down there is quite scary, and the 6 year old had her head inside her Dad’s coat for the entire ride.

At that point I realised I’d left the vouchers for our Princess lunch back in our hotel room – so I had to power walk back to get them (annoying – but the silver lining was the additional steps for my Fitbit workweek hustle #competitive)  Back at the park we got the 4 year old ready for lunch in her full on Cinderella garb – her plaits even had to be replaced by a bun.  The food at Auberge de Cendrillon was amazing (although again the 6 year old refused to eat anything as it was too ‘French’ and, ironically, with no option of French fries!!  The one thing the French totally have right over the Floridians is that you can get booze in Disneyland Park whereas Magic Kingdom is dry – the Disneyland branded champagne was a great addition to the prepaid lunch!  We got to see LOADS of characters (and I didn’t punch any!).  I’m not sure if the husband seeing Ariel or the 4 year old seeing Cinderella was the most exciting?!?



After lunch we headed across from park 1 to park 2 – Walt Disney Studios.  Ratatouille and Slinky Dog were revisited #deepjoy.  Even kids rides make me want to hurl….


Then back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.  The hotel room provides children’s bathrobes as well as adult ones – although the 4 year old was still almost drowned in hers (and she reckoned she looked like Master Shifu from Kung Foo Panda #nonDisneyreference)


Due to rubbish eczema (and a hatred of swimming) I stayed in the room and did some ‘important work’ (although spent most of the time cursing the slow wifi – why can’t hotels have decent wifi?!?!?)

The final excursion of the evening was out to the Disney Village area (where the restaurants were as rude as ever).  Small toys were purchased for small girls, and I headed back to the room with them – where they had their best meal thus far (pizza and fries on room service!) and the husband and big 2 did a couple of roller coasters at the Studio Park whilst the queues were less.  Being able to park hop, and come and go to the hotel is such a massive bonus.

So day 2 has been survived.  Wondering which international superstar can be at breakfast tomorrow to make sure the big 2 can keep their Snapchat stories exciting!!!





Disneyland Paris – day 1!

So it was an early start – but the flight all went fine (apart from quite a lot of annoying kids on the flight – other people’s not my own – although they did try too!)

The first problem was our pre booked Disney driver wasn’t there to pick us up.  Now I have to say this wasn’t a huge shock as exactly the same had happened to our next door neighbours when they’d last been.  I phoned to query this and was told to get a taxi and the hotel would pick up the tab as our driver was ‘stuck in traffic’.  We had a lovely driver – who said it should only take just over half an hour as there was no traffic today!!!  He was very informative – although spoke little English – but thankfully I understood enough of the French to translate for the rest of the car.


Possibly the highlight of the car journey was when the Vanessa Paradis classic ‘Joe Le Taxi’ came on – being the only French song I know!! Reminded me of when The Proclaimers were playing in a pub in Scotland in May.  Got to love a good stereotype!!

We arrived at the hotel and were given all of the relevant passes and tickets even though our room wasn’t ready (well, after a minor confusion when they tried to check us in as the Brice family rather than Price family!)

We decided to do a bit of a recce of the Disneyland Park ready for hitting the parks hard tomorrow – but the benefit of staying in a suite in the Disneyland Hotel is that you get to permanently Fastpass the rides!  No limit of a certain number per day, or only one every 2 hours, anything that can be Fastpassed you can join the queue.  However, it would appear that MOST OF THE WORLD has Fastpasses.  I began to question whether FAST meant something different in French?  “F*cking absolutely slow thanks” was my suggestion……

We tried to order some drinks and donuts from a stand and it took about 15 minutes – again, this backs up my opinion that the French just don’t do the service levels Disney needs as well as the Floridians (I am yet to do California).

Buzz Lightyear was a hit with everyone – as always – and obviously Mummy and Daddy were the most competitive (Daddy won – boo!!!)

Then our suite was ready so we unpacked before deciding the only way we could keep everyone awake until dinner was to go out again – this time to the Walt Disney Studios.  By now it was raining – deep joy…


The big 2 wanted to go on the Tower of Terror, whilst the littlest wanted to go on the Toy Soldiers parachute drop – with Mummy (oh how my day was improving!) but we survived.  Then we Fastpassed Ratatouille – which was as efficient as all previous Fastpass attempts.  The highlight of the queueing was our 6 year old’s incredulousness that the French family in the queue in front of us had 5 kids – it’s pretty rare for us to find families with more children than ours!!

Finally it was back to our hotel for dinner (although we all needed a change of clothes first as we were soaked through).  At this point the husband and I fell off the wagon – and had the first booze for a fortnight – a lovely New Zealand Sauv Blanc – but we stopped at one bottle between us (high five to us!).  We ate at the California Grill – which the concierge said was the best restaurant at DLP.  The food was exquisite – BUT – no chips, and the 6 year old was gutted by this (she is renowned for being *slightly* fussy with her eating!!) however this did lend itself to the comedy comment of the night.

Husband “Oh, I think that boy’s got chips?  Oh no, it’s actually pasta”
11 year old “You should have gone to Specsavers”
6 year old “We should have gone to McDonalds”

Aside from that it was a lovely meal (and from hearing about the food my friends’ kids have in French schools, I guess they have much broader tastes than British kids!!) but the 4 year old was asleep before her main course.

We’re back in the room now and after catching the fireworks and laser show from our balcony (which could not be a better view)


the rest of the family are asleep, which pleases me as:

a) we have a long day planned tomorrow and
b) with them all asleep and off their devices, the wifi is much more efficient for me #priorities

So day 1 has been survived.  And as far as my plans go from my prologue:

1) No characters have been punched.
2) You can not Fastpass the ass out of the parks as the Fastpasses are not fast.
3) OK – so I’ve moaned about queuing – but I have not had any fights with anyone in a queue – as yet!
4) The food has been amazing in the hotel (but with an amazing price tag too!)
5) The rain dampened the magic – but even I thought the fireworks and laser show were great.
6) It is not possible to stay on the wagon when combining Disney, rain, European queues and hotel rooms.

Here’s to day 2……..









Disneyland Paris – the prologue…..

I am somewhat renowned for being a bit bah humbug when it comes to certain things – primarily Christmas and Disney!

I am also known for sucking the fun out of things for being over competitive.  There were the owls in and around Birmingham in the summer of 2014.  Way after the kids had lost interest I was still insisting we travel around the greater Birmingham area to ensure yet more inanimate objects were ticked off our master schedule (I’m still quite annoyed we didn’t see them all!)  And then there was a friends’ wedding recently where I managed to drop the f bomb in front of the entire reception.  There had been a quiz, but 3 teams had drawn and so there was a round of ‘heads and tails’ to decide who won (deciding a quiz with a game of chance somewhat rankles!)  Anyway, I’m still *almost* sure that the coin was ‘f*cking tails’ as I announced to everybody present……..

Anyway, back to the whole bah humbug about Christmas / Disney thing (which is mostly to off set the fact that my husband is obsessed with both – just imagine him in the Disney Christmas shop!)  We’re off to Disneyland Paris this half term.
Last time we went it was Christmas – so at least this time it will be Halloweened up rather than that (small mercies and all that!).
We’ve been a couple of times before.  I have just about recovered from the first time – about a decade ago – where 2 glasses of warm milk on room service cost 38 Euros!  Admittedly the exchange rate was better than the practically parity it is now – but still!
So – I’m going to try and embrace this trip.

I will:

1. Be pleasant to all characters (I almost punched “Mary Poppins” at Epcot)
2. Not stress about the order we go round the rides (although I want to Fastpass the ass out of both parks!)
3. Be patient when queuing (hey, I did queuing theory as part of my maths degree – but that isn’t about how rubbish Europeans are at the entire concept)
4. Not moan about the food (you’re in France, where amazing cuisine is prevalent, but everything available at the park is either simple carbohydrate, fried, or often both!)
5. Generally have a ‘tres’ magical time

And I plan to do all of this whilst *possibly* staying on the wagon.  We shall see.

More updates coming soon…….

[Edited to add – this would not post from Birmingham airport this morning, so we’ve already done half a day at Disney.  I have already struggled with items 3 and 5…….]