Last spring all your Disney Park Princesses embarked on the ultimate girls’ trip – Sara & Sharla accompanied me on my dream trip to Paris. And, well, you know us – we couldn’t go all the way to France and NOT visit Disneyland Paris. That would be terrible! I think it’s safe to say we all fell in love with the Paris parks – they’re charming and magical and oh so French. Here are just a few of my favorite things at Disneyland Paris, because, honestly, the entire resort is my favorite thing!
SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE
Even though every Magic Kingdom park around the world has a castle at the center, there’s something so charming about Paris’ Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant. Maybe it has a little to do with the name sounding so romantic in French, but I think it’s mostly because it’s built up onto a hill with trees shaped to look like those famous Eyvind Earle backgrounds from the film. And this castle has something NO OTHER castle has. If you venture deep under the castle you’ll encounter a sleeping dragon there. If you’re not quiet, she *might* wake up – and if you look closely you’ll see she’s broken her chains, so don’t upset her! The animatronic is so gorgeous we made a point of stopping in first thing each morning and last thing each evening just to say hello and goodbye to her.
DISNEYLAND PARIS CHAMPAGNE
The French really love their wine (my kind of people!), and so at every restaurant at Disneyland Paris you’ll find alcohol on the menu. But what I wasn’t aware of before I went is that Disneyland Paris actually has their own special wines! There’s a red and a white, but my absolute favorite is the champagne. It makes so much sense – you HAVE to have champagne in France, so why wouldn’t Disney make their own variety? And it’s delicious (I may still have a bottle in my kitchen, and I definitely brought home more than a few). This very special cuvee was made for Disney by Champagne Lanson and it is exclusive to Disneyland Paris – you cannot get it anywhere else. You can purchase bottles at any of the resort gift shops (when I was there it was 65 Euros per bottle), but here’s a secret. If you just want to enjoy a glass, or you simply can’t wait to purchase a bottle, head to Walt’s Restaurant over on Main Street. Walt’s is the only place that sells the champagne by the glass. But warning – take one sip and you will be hooked!
ALICE’S CURIOUS LABYRINTH
If you read my post last week about Shanghai Disneyland, then you’ll remember that the only thing I wanted to change about the Alice maze there was that it wasn’t themed to the classic characters. Well, Disneyland Paris fixed that for me. I’m almost positive Alice’s Curious Labyrinth was the first attraction I ran to after seeing the dragon under the castle. I basically dragged Sharla and Sara behind me, forced them to take a picture of me at every turn, and mostly behaved like a 5 year old pretending I was Alice. Because I am. There are figures of all your favorite characters from the movie, the soundtrack plays according to what scene you’re in, there’s the Queen of Hearts castle to climb and get an epic view of Fantasyland, and at one point the Queen herself pops up out of nowhere and tries to help you lose your head. It’s absolutely wonderful and I was in full on heaven!
RATATOUILLE: THE ADVENTURE
I know all of you Walt Disney World fans are excited for this to come to Epcot, and I am, too! But this is the original and I fell in love with it. The music is peaceful and the ride vehicles operate off RFID technology – it’s completely trackless and it looks as if the cars are dancing around the space to the music. Once you board the ride you’re shrunk down to the size of Remy and his friends as he gives you a tour of Gusteau’s. But as you’d guess, not everyone is hospitable to a bunch of rats frolicking in their restaurant! I won’t spoil the ride for you, but there are 4D effects that have you screeching and laughing and having the time of your life.
Walt’s is located on Main Street and is fully titled Walt’s – an American Restaurant. However, the menu is as French as could be and that’s a good thing because it’s DELICIOUS. You can order a la carte, but there are three prix-fixe menus that are a great value. Plus, here’s where you order that glass (or three, I’m not judging) of the Disneyland Paris champagne and sink into pure bliss. But beyond the great food, the décor is wonderful. In the lobby it feels like turn of the century America, with gas lamps and a piano with personal photos of Walt and his family all over. Head upstairs to the dining room and each room is themed after the lands of the park, but all with a very turn of the century feel, as if all the décor was collected on travels around the globe. It’s fancy, but not pretentious, and a wonderful way to spend a few hours or a special occasion at the parks.
MAIN STREET, U.S.A.
Main Street at the Paris park at first glance looks like all of the Main Streets at the Disney parks. Cobblestones, turn of the 20th century buildings lining the streets, horse drawn carriages making their way down the road. But what Paris has that other parks don’t are these absolutely beautiful arcades hidden on either side of the street. Instead of walking ‘right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.’, instead veer off to either side, behind the shops and restaurants. Here you’ll find ornately decorated arcades designed to protect guests from inclement weather and offer and easy way to stroll out of the elements. They are so very authentically Parisian that you cannot help but fall in love with them. In fact, we exclusively only walked through the arcades instead of going right down the center street because they’re just so special.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with my favorite things at Disneyland Paris? I’d love to hear what yours are! Let me know in the comments below.
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