Now it’s pretty safe to say that I love Disneyland Paris, I mean of course I do, I created a whole blog dedicated to the place, but lately I have been feeling extra reminiscent about the Happiest Place on Earth and with the news that the parks are staying closed even longer than originally predicted, I’ve been thinking about all the things that I miss the most. So alongside warm copper kettles, warm woollen mittens and brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things… about Disneyland Paris.
I’m going to start my list the way I would start any trip to these two glorious parks of joy. Extra Magic Time. If you are staying in one of the Disney Hotels within the Disneyland Paris grounds or if you have a Magic Plus or Infinity Annual Pass, you have access to probably the best resource the whole resort has to offer and that is Extra Magic Time. This means that you are free to roam about the park for an hour or two before it opens to the rest of the public, and it is just so magical, it always makes me feel like some sort of VIP when I walk through the parks when they’re practically empty. I can’t find the current times for this with the parks being closed and all, but the last time I visited, Extra Magic Time started at 8.30am with the parks opening to the public at 10am.
I really love using this to the best of my advantage, all the popular rides are practically walk-ons, throwback to me riding Big Thunder Mountain five times in a row at nine in the morning and Hyperspace mountain all in under an hour. It is also the best time to ride Crushes Coaster in Walt Disney Studios since that ride doesn’t offer fast pass. Head straight for the ride when the gates open, the ride doesn’t open straight away so the line will spread out to the Monsters Inc scream section but after a couple of minutes the ride will open and the ride will be about a half hour wait, and it is very unlikely that it will get smaller than that for the rest of the day. So if you love Crushes coaster but hate the enormous hour and a half wait times, go during Extra Magic Time. If rides aren’t your thing Main Street is practically empty so it is best time to get that perfect castle picture. They also sometimes have characters out. I managed to meet Minnie Mouse with almost no wait at all in the Walt Disney Studios Park. I definitely recommend using Extra Magic Time if you are staying in one of the Disney Hotels, it is 110% worth it, even if you do have to get up a little early to make sure you’re ready on time!
My next favourite is rather specific and it is the chicken strips, not just any chicken strips but rather the Hakuna Chicken Strips from Restaurant Hakuna Matata. You might be thinking, ‘Maeva, what is so special about these chicken strips?’ Now my dear friend let me tell you, honestly… I don’t know. There’s just something about them. They’re absolutely delicious, they’re kind of lemony and peppery and delightful in every shape and form and they somehow transport you to another dimension full of happiness and joy. Like seriously I haven’t been able to have them in over a year and I’ve been craving them so bad! They also come with crinkly chips so if that excites you then there’s an extra wee bonus for ya. I had these for my first meal on my last trip and it was just the perfect start if you ask me. Also the restaurant itself is really cool. It’s counter service and it has two seating areas so you have to pick if you’re Team Pumba or Team Timon, however I can’t remember which side I sat in because I hadn’t eaten since I was in the airport that morning on my way to Paris so all I could think about was eating those chicken strips. Okay I’ll shut up about the chicken strips now but they are magnificent, trust me.
Now for a complete 180. We have gone super specific and now we are going to go super general, my next favourite . . . is the left hand side of the park. Frontierland and Adventureland are just spectacular and I wanted to include them both but together if that makes sense. All the best rides are here, you have Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, what’s not to love? Also you have the best restaurants, the best shops, and don’t even get me started on the scenery. Basically everything about these two lands just amaze me, and they somehow blend seamlessly into one another, hence why I’m including them in the same section. There’s always that spot in-between the two lands and you’re not entirely sure which one you’re in but it’s so beautiful. Also to be quite honest with you all that I always get lost in that little in-between bit… I’ll be walking to Phantom Manor from Pirates of the Caribbean and somehow end up at Indiana Jones, but then I just go on Indiana Jones as well so it’s a happy accident. It’s always the first place I head when I enter the park and can easily spend the whole day going between the two. Plus during the Halloween festival, Frontierland has the best decorations so if spooky season is your fave then you just have to head straight to Frontierland when you enter the park.
Okay so I know I’ve just spoken about Adventureland but I want to give Captain Jack’s it’s own shoutout. If you don’t know about Captain Jack’s it’s a table service restaurant that is INSIDE the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, yup you read that right, inside the actual ride itself. The restaurant is decorated to look like it is outside at nighttime in the Caribbean, and it’s absolutely stunning, you have the seating to the left and on the right hand side you have the water of the Pirates of Caribbean ride where all the boats sail past. The atmosphere is indescribable and it’s honestly so cool to see the ride boats float on past while you’re eating (extra points if they wave, that always amuses me). The food is really good too, we ate from one of the set menus and I think it might have been my favourite meal out of my entire trip. Looking at the menu as I’m writing this, they seem to have reduced their set menus down to one but when I visited we had a couple more to choose from. This is definitely one of those places in the parks where you have to book a couple of months in advance because reservations disappear incredibly fast! This restaurant does have a higher price point but to me personally, Captain Jacks is a must do for the parks, because it is an experience like no other and would be perfect for celebrating a special occasion.
Last but certainly not least we are going to go for a bit of an obvious one and that is Illuminations. The atmosphere in the parks is always amazing but the atmosphere when everyone is gathered in front of that beautiful castle watching all the projections and fireworks is truly magical (obviously in pre-Covid times when you could still do that, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer until that is possible again). Personally, I hate crowds, I don’t like being surrounded by people and it always makes me feel super anxious and uncomfortable, but when I’m watching Illuminations its’s different, it always makes me feel so calm and just in awe of everything. I also always end up tearing up a bit when watching them, but to be quite honest with you I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t cry when watching them, it’s that frozen section . . . it’s deadly, it gets the tears escaping my eyeballs. Every. Single. Time. The one negative I do have, and am going to give a warning to you about, is parents who put their kids on top of their shoulders then choose to stand directly in front of you, but I mean, you want the lil kiddos to see castle just as much as you do so it doesn’t annoy me too much, I just try and move to a spot where I am able to see. But the music is still there and you can still see the fireworks and other special effects so it is still magical even if your view gets obscured a little bit.
So there are my top five Disney faves for Disneyland Paris, do you agree with any of these or totally disagree? Let me know what your favourites are in the comments below. Also for today’s unnecessary information that no one asked for, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean while I was writing this and High School Musical 3 whilst editing it (the best HSM in my opinion). I like to watch Disney films while writing these Disney blogs so I might add in whatever movie I’ve watched each post… like a film of the fortnight type deal. Anyway I shall leave you lovely lot here, thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, please give it a like if you enjoyed it and follow if you would like to be notified when a new post goes live. If a blog every two weeks just isn’t enough Disney content for you, head over to my Instagram (@ maevasdisneyadventure) for more. See you all next time!