Disneyland Paris- Valeria’s Experience

Growing up in Florida, it was not rare for me to hear any association or discussion of Disney World. In fact, Disney World is a staple in Florida. I mean can you blame us? Florida is home to the biggest Disney resort and has a total of 4 different parks. Although I am from Miami and the resort is located in Orlando, meaning it was at least a 3 ½ hour drive to get there (on a good day with little to no traffic), it was not uncommon to go to Disney. In fact, it was our go to destination whenever we had a school field trip and a majority of my friends hold Annual Passes and go to Disney World whenever given the chance (some even go once a month)!

However, my family are not huge fans of Disney and once we already went a few times when we were younger, the urge and willingness to go for family vacations quickly faded. They would always complain that it was too far away and that it was always crowded and full of people, making the average wait time for any ride at least an hour, which is just unbearable in hot and humid Florida weather. Therefore, as I grew up, I developed this mentality of being against going to Disney World, even though I loved it as a child, mainly because of my family.

 

Photo by Valeria

So when my friend, Rena, suggested that we should go to the Disneyland resort in Paris, I was a little hesitant, due to this mindset that I had engrained in me from my parents. Rena is a Disney enthusiast and it is her dream to go to all of the Disney resorts throughout the world. Currently, there are 5 resorts in 5 different countries and cities worldwide: one in California, one in China, one in Florida, one in France, and one in Japan. Rena has already been to 2 out of the 5 Disney resorts, making the one in Paris the third one on her bucket list. She kept begging me to go with her and eventually, I caved, still not ecstatic about my decision. It was definitely a spontaneous trip. We ended up buying our tickets at 11:30 pm the night before and the next morning, we hopped on the RER and made our journey to Disneyland Paris. It was a shorter commute than the traditional commute to Disney World in Florida (no more than 40 minutes on the RER versus 3 ½ hours driving), which was definitely a relief. Throughout the journey, I found my excitement growing, as Rena and I planned our itinerary and developed a fool proof strategy in order to ride all of the attractions, in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at our destination and made our way past the gates in order to enter the “Happiest Place on Earth”. My hesitation and original expectation of dreading this day, quickly faded. Instead, it flipped 180: Excitement and energy paired with a hint of nostalgia consumed me. Strolling down Main Street, made me feel like a kid again! Disney was always a big part of my childhood. At least once a year for 18 years, I always found myself going back to this magical place, whether it was for a school field trip or a childhood family vacation, before my parents became anti-Disney of course. There is just something about Disney that will never fail to put a smile on your face, no matter how old you are. Maybe it is something in the air, but it is impossible to feel anything other than happiness while wandering through the park.

 

Restaurant from Ratatouille

Rena and I bought the two park ticket, so we had a long day ahead of us if we wanted to stick true to our goal of riding all of the rides the resort had to offer. We did not want to waste a single second, so we ran to the first park on our list: Walt Disney Studios. Now when I say ran, I am not kidding. Rena and I sprinted and pushed through any little kids that were in our way in order to beat them to the lines for the rides. Still unsure if that is embarrassing or something to be proud of, but we were just so full of excitement and just couldn’t wait to begin our Disney experience.

Disneyland Paris only has two theme parks: Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disneyland Park, making the overall resort smaller than the one I am used to in Florida, so we were able to experience both parks fully within a day, something that is impossible to do back in Florida. Walt Disney Studios is the smaller theme park and has less rides and attractions in comparison to Walt Disneyland Park. Thus, making it practical for it to be our first order of business. Once we went through all of the rides in Walt Disney Studios, we headed over to Walt Disneyland Park. This was definitely our favorite theme park out of the two. Not only was it bigger and had more rides, it also had Sleeping Beauty’s castle and our Disney experience would not be complete, without a visit or at least a picture in front of a princess castle.

It was cool comparing the differences in the rides, attractions, and set up of the parks between Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Paris. Disneyland Paris had a few similar and classic rides to those in Orlando such as the Tower of Terror, the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion. It also had different attractions such as the Ratatouille adventure, which was cute to see a Paris themed village and ride, within the Paris resort. My favorite rides were the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We went to the resort on a Monday morning in early May and fortunately, the average wait time we had was no longer than 15 minutes for all of the rides. Some were even as short as 5 minutes, especially Space Mountain, which just encouraged us to ride it more than once. Rena and I went a little overboard and actually ended up riding Space Mountain 6 times, no regrets though.

 

Valeria and Rena

Our day ended with the parade and firework show in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle. It was a beautiful show full of colors, fireworks, music, and animation. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day! It was bittersweet when we had to leave the park because I just did not want this day to end. I think my cheeks were sore from smiling all day. Rena and I loved Disneyland so much, we were even planning on coming again if we had time before the end of our program. If you’re looking for something different than your go to tourist attractions while you’re in Paris, I recommend going to Disneyland for a day full of fun, excitement, and adventure. It is truly a magical place and will not fail to put a smile on your face!

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