We recently spent 5 days in Disneyland Paris and stayed at Sequoia Lodge. This is an overview of our trip.
Sam had booked this by himself and kept it a surprise as an early birthday trip for me. We headed to London the Sunday before we travelled and stayed in a Premier Inn a couple of minutes away from St Pancreas station. Our Eurostar train was at 5.40am and we arrived to Paris at 9.14am. We then used the RER trains to get to Disneyland Paris and that took around 45 minutes. Within 5 hours of leaving London we were in the Disneyland Paris Parks.
On our journey home we got the last Eurostar back at 9.17pm. If you are travelling by train from Disneyland Paris to Gard de Nord, I recommend purchasing your ticket for the RER train earlier in the day. We got to the station at 6pm and had to queue for 45 minutes for a ticket.
You can also get the Eurostar directly to Disneyland but Sam had used an offer of £29 one way per person tickets to Paris which was a really good deal. Booking via the Eurostar website directly rather than the Disneyland Paris website can work out cheaper for Eurostar ticket prices.
We stayed at what we considered a moderate hotel, Sequioa Lodge, but in relation to walking to the parks I would consider it a deluxe, the walk takes around 10 minutes if that, the same as the New York hotel and Newport Bay hotel (all these hotels are in close proximity to each other). The only hotel closer is the Disneyland hotel which is built over the entrance of the park.
When we visit any Disney park, we do not like to rush, we like to take our time taking in the theming, immersion, attention to detail and hidden details the average guest might not notice. This to me is one of my favourite things we can do, explore. Any guest can rush from attraction to attraction, meeting character after character but to us as Disney fans, this is what a Disney trip means to us.
The first day, we only rode one ride, the rest of the time we were looking at the attention to detail and seeing things we had not seen before. We also visited the California Grill for our dinner.
For the duration of our stay Sam had purchased the premium meal plan which entitled us to 5 breakfasts each and 4 premium dinners. The meal plan cost a little over £500, but by the second day we had already made our money back from it, I would recommend it and say it was good value for money.
All our table service were prebooked before we arrived, booking starts 60 days before your arrival day and the only way to do it is by phone.
During our last visit February 2017, a lot of the attractions were closed, this trip they were open and we were super excited. Sam rode Hyperspace Mountain, (it is the only Space Mountain that goes upside down). The Star Wars overlay is very similar to the Hong Kong overlay. Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast, a slow moving lazer shooting ride, it is waaaaaaaay better than Florida’s Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. Pirates of the Caribbean again way better than the Florida version, but not better than the Shanghai version. Phantom Manor was still closed, there have been recent reports that the February opening has been delayed again!! I have never been on Phantom Manor, it is an attraction that I really want to go on. I might have to go back for the opening 🙂
The first day of our trip was the first day of Christmas within the parks and hotels, there were Christmas decorations everywhere, characters dressed in their Christmas outfits, Christmas parades, snow on Main Street and plenty of Christmas merchandise. The decorations were elaborate and fitting for the holidays. The Christmas parade runs twice a day along with the normal parade. Santa, Mickey and Minnie and even Duffy visit the festive parade. Inside the Disneyland hotel is a huge gingerbread house that is made from scratch, it even blows a gingerbread smell from the chimney.
As we were hotel guests we got Extra Magic Time, similar to Extra Magic Hours and Happy 15, guests staying in the hotels on property are allowed access to the park up to one hour before the park opens, this is great for photos around the park with minimal crowds and low queues for certain attractions and character meet and greets. There are limited rides open in each park during this time and food and drink locations do not open until 10am. I think the idea of Extra Magic Time is great but more things could be open so we could utilise our time better. If you wanted a coffee before 10am, good luck finding it in the parks. Regular day guests start to get let in around 15 minutes before that park officially opens.
It was our first time watching the new night time projection show, Illuminations, which started around 7pm each night we were there. Similar to Happily Ever After, fireworks are paired with projections upon the castle. I enjoyed the show as it mixed French and English versions of some Disney classics. Sam and I both preferred the show they oresented before this, that used projections on the water sprays infront the castle, it used lesser known and lesser popular scenes and songs from Disney classics.
There were no speciality treats within the parks, usually I will do snack reviews on my Disney trips, but there were none here. The food locations I enjoyed and would eat at again were California Grill and Walt’s. We have eaten at Bisto Chez Remy before and loved that, however due to minimal opening times we were unable to get reservations here.
The Ratatouille section of the Disney Studios park was my favourite thing about the trip, it is so well themed, they are also recreating the Remy ride (Ratatouille L’Adventure Totalement Toquee De Remy) in EPCOT too. Fast passes go rather quickly and it is not unusual to have a 60 minute wait. The best thing to do to ride this attraction would be to go single rider, or arrive early for Extra Magic Time. We must had gone on it atleast 10 times. Inside you board a rat-mobile and race along the building tops of Paris to meet Remy in his kitchen. The attraction uses trackless technology, as does Mystic Manor in Hong Kong and Pooh’s Honey Hunt in Tokyo.
Fast passes here work like they do in California and Hong Kong, you present your park ticket at the fast pass machine by the ride and you are provided with a paper ticket with your allotted time to return to ride the attraction. On the fast pass ticket it will also tell you when you are able to obtain your next fast pass. Fast passes for Peter Pan’s flight, Big Thunder Mountain and Ratatouille L’Adventure Totalement Toquee De Remy are a must. These can easily reach over 60 minute waits daily. Unfortunately there is no Princess Pavilion fast pass, again this can top a 120 minute wait daily.
I love Disneyland Paris, the only thing and I mean only thing that disappoints me on each trip, is the service, all aspects of the service, within restaurants every server is so chilled and laid back, it takes a long time to get served and a long time for a drink to come. If you are in a line for a coffee with 3 people infront of you, it can take up to 15 minutes to be served and waiting inline to buy merchandise can take so long. I don’t know whether is it just a laid back approach they all have or if it is training or lack of cast members, I am going to say lack of cast members because that is how it felt.
Overall, we both enjoyed our time here, seeing new shows, experiencing the festive period and decorations, going on new attractions that we had not been on and eating at new restaurants. We were able to take things at a nice leisurely pace as we were on a longer trip. However, the next time we visit, will be after the Marvel and Frozen land have been completed.
Have you been to Disneyland Paris? What are your thoughts? What are you favourite thing to do, see or even eat? Where did you stay? Have you been to another Disney park to compare it too? Let me know in the comments.