I got back from Disneyland Paris two weeks ago now, but in truth have felt a bit intimidated about trying to document it with over 1500 photos to trawl through! I wanted to do it before it became a distant memory though, and with the dread of having to throw myself back into the real world next week looming, I thought I should make the most of clinging to the magic while I still can.
Disneyland was just as magical as I remembered. It's funny how the parks change but they also remain exactly the same, which is comforting in it's way but at the same time I couldn't help but feel a little bored by this aspect. I've been spoilt this past year by really pushing myself by going on adventures and discovering new places, something I've enjoyed immensely, so I have to admit the predictability felt a little dull in comparison. Going into the shops and seeing things I bought four years ago is a little uninspiring. They're still using the same parade floats from the 15th anniversary which was eight years ago. I don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, I truly had a lovely, magical time, but I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by these aspects.
It also didn't help that so much of the park was closed, which I couldn't help but feel let down by. You would expect them to better plan maintenance around the busy festive period, but they'd closed It's A Small World, Disneyland Railroad which I always enjoy a lot, and the majority of Frontierland including my favourite Big Thunder Mountain. It's quite a small park to begin with, so to have so many large attractions closed at once shrunk the park considerably. Also, with so much work being done to Frontierland it meant their usual Christmas display didn't exist, so the only decorations were in Main Street USA which made it easy to forget it was even Christmas at all.
I loved Disney Dreams of Christmas though, a wonderful display where scenes are projected onto the castle with a firework display in the background. I don't normally like the music of Frozen, but seeing Let It Go projected onto the castle was a hugely emotional moment and had me choked up! I love Elsa a lot, she's grown to be possibly one of my favourite Disney characters which feels eye-rollingly typical to admit but it's the truth. I can connect with her "conceal, don't feel" upbringing, how it leads her to isolate herself, and her later acceptance of her differences and how that frees her both emotionally and physically. I recorded the show and even watching the whole thing back is just as powerful.
I also enjoyed seeing the new Ratatouille area set up in the Walt Disney Studios, which was an amazing ride and instantly became one of my favourites. Ratatouille is my favourite Pixar film, I love every single aspect of it from it's adorable characters, it's uplifting message and beautiful art style. Rats are also one of my favourtie animals which no doubt helps! For the ride, you're 'shrunk' down to rat size and sit in your little rat shaped car which takes you around the roofs and gutters of Paris and Gusteau's kitchen. You have to wear 3D glasses as things are projected to make it feel even more immersive, and it's just so much fun!
It was really foggy on my first night there, which was so atmospheric. The pirate ship looked particularly amazing.
I loved how well the Christmas decorations fitted the building inside my favourite Disney restaurant, Hakuna Matata. It's given the vague description of being 'African themed', which basically means it's spicy, but it's absolutely delicious. I'd been dreaming of their Hakuna fries and wasn't let down!
Disneyland Paris is the only Disney park with an animatronic dragon living underneath it! It's a chained up Maleficent, and she's rears up and growls and those who disturb her. You can see her in action on my vlog I recorded whilst there. I'm not sure vlogging is for me, but I had fun putting this one together and really love the footage of the park I captured.
The inside of the castle, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
Instead of 'Tomorrowland' like the other Disney parks, Disneyland Paris has Discoveryland which is inspired by Jules Verne's visions of the future. It's a beautiful area of the park full of Victorian charm.
I got far too excited spotting all of the different music related things in the queuing area of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, especially this Queen gold disc! It was for We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions.
I've also visited the Disney parks in Anaheim, Orlando and Tokyo, and still believe our castle the be the most beautiful. More thought was put into it's creation as European's are used to seeing real life castles quite often, so it was given a more intricate, fantastical design and made from real materials instead of fibreglass. I've also heard it's the tallest.
I loved these Christmas tree dresses so much! It was the mini Christmas parade which happened a few times per day.
On one of the evenings it was raining lightly and some of it got on my lens and created some really beautiful bokeh effects. They ended up being some of my favourite photos.
Phantom Manor is my favourite ride in the entire park. It's inspired by the Haunted Mansion, but is a hundred times better because instead of being a random haunted house it tells a story and is much darker in theme. I just love everything about the ride, it's so beautiful and I love it's soundtrack too. You can hear the medley here.
It's A Small World reopened on my very last day there and I queued up for a stupidly long time to ride it!
I don't like riding the teacups, but I'm obsessed with how the lanterns look at night. The Mad Hatter himself came out and told me I had a wonderful hat (I was wearing a hat with Minnie Mouse ears!)
I usually love to ride Big Thunder Mountain in the dark, it just feels more thrilling for some reason, to be whizzed around the tracks in the night air. As it was closed I went on the Indiana Jones ride in the dark instead as it's the only other open air rollercoaster and it was just as wonderful! I usually end up overlooking the Indiana Jones ride as it's tucked away right at the back of the park but I really made the most of it this time. My only complaint is I wish it were longer!
The evening parade was wonderful, and I loved all of the changes, such as keeping it updated with the newer films and the new soundtrack, and I loved how the fairies appeared to float.
I adore Chip 'n' Dale, they're my favourites of the classic characters.
This was the most perfect Tink, she had her mannerisms down perfectly!
I took so many photos this is just a fraction. I also took my film camera, but unfortunately I had it developed and the film was damaged which is a shame, that's why there's barely anything of the Walt Disney Studios.