My experience of doing Disney - in 23 hours!

Written by Ashleigh Gent

After a long time coming, an old friend and I decided it was time for a catch-up. It was long overdue and we had a lot to talk about! We decided that a girls day in London would do the trick - lunch, cocktails etc. After careful consideration (none at all... it was very spur of the moment) the decision was made to fly to Disneyland Paris and do Disney in a day!

Initially, this seemed fairly irrational and completely out of reach, as the Eurostar only goes twice a day and would give you around 4 hours in the park (no thanks, we have lots to see!). So we began flight hunting and found flights to Paris arriving at 11.35pm, perfect for after work! We then booked ourselves into a hostel, which seemed like a good place online... I’ll return to its downsides later!

We then booked our Disney tickets, and just 5 days before we were due to travel, all was booked and we were very excited to go like the oversized children we are!

The flight to Paris was very quick - just 40 minutes in the air - but that was quite enough for a nervous flyer like me! We left the airport and decided an Uber was the best idea. The hostel was just 20 minutes from the airport, and when we arrived it looked more like a club entrance than a hostel... which it turns out was exactly what it was. The hostel was in fact attached to a club downstairs, which was handy for our sleepy heads to rest as we had a busy day ahead! Not... but we slept surprisingly well, given the pumping music until 4am, and the other guests in our eight bedroom shared room going in and out at all hours!

We woke excited and ready to make our way across Paris like the young independent women we are, but we needed to find the train station. After some difficulty navigating the French railway network (people who say that the London tube system is confusing clearly have never been to Paris because that train system is something else!), it took just an hour on the train in total to arrive at the land of magic and happiness.

Obligatory pictures were taken and we walked through the magic gates into Disneyland! First on the list of things to do was buy ourselves some Minnie Mouse ears. After all, did you even go to Disney if you didn’t get a headache from the tight headband of the Minnie ears you’ve worn all day?

We purchased our massive fluffy ears and proceeded up Main Street to take as many Instagrammable pictures as possible.

Next on the list was food. We hadn’t had breakfast in our excitement to get to Disney so we were pretty hungry. It was only 11am but we opted for hotdog and fries and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint! After this, we spent some time looking in all the shops before watching the Christmas parade soon after.

We found some good spots and stood - freezing! - as we waited. We had significantly underestimated how cold it would be, and even in a woolly hat, jumper and coat I was still very very cold, so a word of advice: dress for snow even when there is none for winter in Paris! We watched the Christmas parade and had the best time singing along to the one song they played on repeat for almost 10 minutes, which I’m quite sure will never leave my head! We saw all of our favourite childhood characters and I almost lost my mind when I saw Winnie the Pooh and friends! It all had a really nice Christmas feel and they even made snow, which dusted the street as they paraded.

After the parade, we wandered around all the different 'lands', including a ride on the giant boat that takes you around Frontier Land, and planned the rest of our day. We decided to wait 50 minutes for the Indiana Jones ride, which was completely worth it and very fun! We then made our way around the rest of the lands, returning to the castle to watch Stitch's Magic Christmas show with Stitch, Micky, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Daisy. We both agreed that seeing the shows was more important to us that the rides themselves, as you don’t get to see these shows very often.

We then did some shopping before making our way to the Star Wars section, which was the last thing on our list. We had to queue for almost 30 minutes, but we did get to meet Darth Vader which was very cool. He told me I must have been part of the rebellion as I merrily slipped into the room with him in my Minnie ears. Anyway, the pictures were good quality but definitely not worth the €20 being charged for them, we both agreed that we really didn’t need a picture of that hanging on any wall anywhere! We finished up with some shopping in the Star Wars shop, followed by a final trip down Main Street before exiting the park, doing one last stop at the Disney shop and then getting our train back to the airport.

We left the park fairly early as there were concerns over trains after the protests earlier that day, but as it turned out it was an easy journey and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

We grabbed some questionable dinner from Pret and sat talking about how much we had both enjoyed the trip and how genuinely easy it was to do Disney in 23 hours!

Top tips/things we learnt:

  • Don’t stay in hostels with clubs attached, it will take you forever to sleep.
  • If you're stuck... talk to a human! They're usually pretty nice.
  • Uber was great and easy to use.
  • The trains were a breeze once you got the hang of the system and very cheap all things considered!
  • Layer up for Disney in December (it’s cold!!!).
  • If you want to do all the meet and greets and the rides you’ll need at least the weekend.
  • We didn’t stay for the fireworks as we had to fly home - if you wanted to see them you’d need at least the weekend we think.

Overall a very fun trip that both of us would happily repeat!

Have you travelled somewhere interesting, or in an interesting way, and have tips you'd like to share to encourage others to do the same? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram, or better yet - write us a blog about it!

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