First things first, you’ll need a good hotel. Ours being the Disneyland associated hotel, Kyriad. Disney hotels can be extremely pricey, and we wanted to keep this quick getaway to a budget. Because of this I wasn’t expecting a lot from the hotel, but I was rather pleased. The hotel was well presented and it delighted me to see that they had put up Halloween decorations a plenty. The staff were welcoming and helpful and we settled in quickly. They had a bar, which while very pricey, offered cocktails and snacks until late, which came in handy when we were peckish getting back from the parks. The first night we arrived at around 10PM and they even ordered pizza for us which had free delivery, as their restaurant was shut. We also decided to get breakfast included with our room, and while it wasn’t outstanding, it was all you can eat and definitely a good idea. We’d fill ourselves every morning on coffee, a fry up, croissants and a pain au chocolat. We even ended up looking forward to breakfast the next day and not having to spend €15 every time we ate. The lobby had a few arcade type games including Air Hockey and a Foosball table. On nights when we left the park early due to exhaustion, a self-made tournament became our evening entertainment. The hotel also had a small Disney gift shop, which we purchased some playing cards from to create more late night entertainment in the bar.
Decorations and Atmosphere
When entering the park it’s like you’re transformed into another world. Everything seems for lack of a better word ‘so Disney’. That’s not to say that everything has a Mickey Mouse plastered on it, but the painting and the detail in every wall, ceiling, light and prop is incredible. There’s no detail untouched and everything is clean and well presented. Although not necessary, I highly suggest going at a time of year that is themed. Last time I didn’t, but this year I went during the Halloween season which improved things for me. There were pretty pumpkins, banners and other small details added all over the park which made the cold days feel more autumnal and festive. I imagine that this would be similar during the Christmas period, although more expensive. I feel that it also makes each visit more unique and different.
Parades and Shows
Another perk of going during a themed season means that the parades are different, although if you’ve never been to Disney before then the usual parade is a must see too. This October they had Mickey’s Halloween Celebration parade. It seemed to be rather quick, but the costumes and colours of the parade are so mesmerizing and the music played is so incredibly catchy. It really makes you want to join in. So you’re keen for the parade now, but that’s not all Disney has to offer. During the Halloween period they also had a stage show of ‘It’s Good to be Bad with the Disney Villains!’. As a lover of all things Halloween and Villains this was great for me. The show lasted 15 minutes with Evil Queen (Snow White) fronting the show, (lip) singing and dancing with other popular villains. The characters then took turns with singing different parts from their movies, which was followed by the villains joining the crowd for a meet and greet. This isn’t something we took part in as we decided to not meet characters this year, but it may be something you or your party would like to do, especially for good photo opportunities. Last but certainly the must see of them all is the Disney Dreams firework display. This is shown (I believe) every night at park closing time. Projections of different characters and scenes are projected onto Sleeping Beauty’s castle, with water effects, fire and fireworks. Last time I went we didn’t watch it (I don’t remember why), but this time there was no way my sister and I were missing it. It was worth the standing in the rain and waiting around as it was definitely one of the biggest highlights from the trip.
Rides and Rollercoasters
One of the most obvious things for you to do at Disney is the rides. After all, Disney is a theme park. If you haven’t been before it’s a good idea to just try out everything you can and see what you like. However, as we had been before we decided that this time we were going to cut down time by only going on rides we know we’d enjoy. We cut out storytime type rides such a Pinocchio and Snow White, and worked our way through the park by each different ‘land’. The most enjoyable rides at the parks for us ended up being the rollercoasters, Space Mountain, Aerosmith and Indiana Jones. My sister and her boyfriend are not keen on rollercoasters but I think that it actually gave them a frill being scared and even concurring some of those fears. Aerosmith was possibly my favourite ride, followed closely by Space Mountain, although I did get a little battered and bruised, but it was totally worth it. Other rides we all enjoyed included Buzz Lightyear’s Lazer Blast (compete to get the best score), The Tower of Terror, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom Manor, and Ratatouille (despite the 2 hour wait) and even Mad Hatter’s teacups (we had a lot of fun all trying to fit in one cup). There are also other great rides such as Crush’s Coaster and Thunder Mountain which were down when we went. We also didn’t do the Toy Story rides due to the long waits. These rides are probably the best for the older visitor, and although they are all spread out, there is a lot to see, do and photograph in between while you are walking around.
Finally why not save up your pennies or work an extra shift before you go, so you have more to splurge on yourself in the shops. After all, you’re going somewhere that sells the cutest merchandise and souvenirs. Going in the Autumn/Winter season meant it was a perfect opportunity to start a bit of early Christmas shopping, and I also used the shops to help kick start my Tsum Tsum collection. I was slightly disappointed that a lot of the merchandise was the same in every shop. However, you may find something that tickles your fancy, adds to your collection, or is a great memento or gift so it’s worth checking out. Even my boyfriend ended up spending quite a lot on gifts and time searching for a mug for himself.
- Meet and greet with characters.
- Watch the Stunt Show Spectacular – features a realistic Lightning McQueen.
- Learn about Disney animation with the Art of Disney Animation.
- Walk to the top of Sleeping Beauty’s castle to see some beautiful stain glass scenes from the movie or get a nice view of the park.
- Or you could go under the castle and visit the Dragon, just make sure not to wake it.
- Check out the beautiful miniature scenes from Aladdin in Le Passage Enchanté d’Aladdin
- Take a ride on the Disneyland Railroad.
- Go for a walk through Wonderland’s hedge maze
- Cruise through scenes from fairytales on Le Pays des Contes de Fées
- Take the Studio Tram Tour