Getting to the age of 30 and not having been to any of the Disneyland parks was my one big regret in life. I’ve been completely obsessed with Disney my entire life and I’ve always dreamed of going there but for some reason it was never financially possible for me.
So when my partner asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday, it was number one on my list. I never would have expected to be ‘treated’ to such a big thing for my birthday but he made that dream come true. Turning 30 in Disneyland Paris was the one of the best days of my entire life.
We were spending the week before my 30th birthday in Europe for our friends wedding in Italy and we managed to time it perfectly to spend the last 2 days at Disneyland Paris which happened to land on my birthday. It was such a huge dream come true, we had 2 days to fully explore the parks and the weather complimented the trip with it’s beautiful summer warmth.
I intentionally did little to no research about the parks. I really wanted to explore and see the place for myself first hand without other people’s influence. If you’re going to Disneyland Paris for the first time I highly recommend this for everything but the big rides you want to go on.
We stayed in a little AirBnB about a 15 minute walk away, it was much cheaper than the Disney Park hotels and had a huge shopping and food district to take advantage of. I actually quite liked the little walk there and back everyday, it definitely built my excitement both mornings seeing the castle and rides slowly getting bigger as you approached. We were also staying opposite the most amazing bakery which definitely helped fuel us in the mornings!
On day one we had a bit of a lazy morning, we’d been travelling for a week staying in camp sites up to this point, so we fully enjoyed a little lie-in and a slow morning getting ready. We also knew we wanted to stay in the park late for the illuminations, so felt it was acceptable to take it slow.
We decided to start off by exploring Walt Disney Studios. We literally just wondered around the entire park for the first hour taking it all in. It’s pretty overwhelming finally being in a place you’ve dreamt of your entire life. We grabbed a coffee and consulted our map and decide what to head to first. We really enjoyed all the Toy Story stuff before hopping on the Studio Tram Tour to see some of the props and behind the scenes set, which was really impressive and super cheesy! I was actually a little disappointed as I really wanted to visit the Art of Disney Animation but it was closed (I guess put it on the list for next visit!) so we ended up heading to watch the car stunt show. It was really fun and Chris loved it as it was all about cars. By the time we’d finished there, we had just enough time to head to the main park for the parade.
After this we went and explored the Disneyland Village and grabbed some food. This is just outside of the parks with lots of shops and food stalls to relax and regain some energy and spend my money on Disney pins….
We then started exploring the main park. We decided to tackle it anti-clockwise and head to Frontier Land first. Where we did the Phantom Manor and rode the Riverboat. We managed to get a reservation for Silver Spur Steakhouse and went and killed some time by riding the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril ride. So controversial statement here but I absolutely hate rides. Chris managed to convince me to go on this one somehow and I hated it, so I can re-affirm I don’t like roller coasters with loops. We did wander slightly into Adventure Land but headed back for our dinner reservation.
After dinner we headed for Main Street to browse some shops and get a look at the castle. We didn’t want to go too deep into the park knowing we had another full day tomorrow so we just wandered around enjoying the atmosphere until the evening Illuminations. We managed to find a spot on Main Street to watch it but I was a little disappointed if i’m honest, it had alot less fireworks and more projections onto the castle, which I wasn’t expecting. But it was a nice way to end the first day before we escaped the crowds and wandered back to our hotel. If I remember correctly we walked 22k steps and we only started at 11am!
Day Two, my birthday!
Day two was actually my 30th birthday! So we woke up early ready for a full day in the main park, I opened my birthday cards with a cup of tea in bed before embarking on part two of this magical adventure in Disneyland Paris.
We headed straight to Adventure land in the morning, I really love the set dressing for this place and it has the coolest photography spots. As we’d already looked around this place a little the day before, we didn’t stick around long and headed into Fantasy Land. We started out at Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and went on to the Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs ride before making our way to Discovery Land.
I actually found Adventure and Fantasy land to be more aimed towards the kids, so we didn’t spent too much time in there. We did manage to grab a Mickey shaped snack though!
We had lunch in Planet Hollywood, which was actually a really interesting venue! The food was nothing to particularly write home about but as a movie nerd it was really cool seeing loads of props around. I was that annoying person walking around reading everything. We headed back to Discovery land after food so that Chris could go on HyperSpace Mountain where whilst I was waiting, a bird pooped on my head, so not sure if that’s a good luck birthday charm or not! Autopia was shut which was a shame and I had no idea how to work Fast Passes so we missed out on Buzz Lightyears laser blast, which is one we’ll defo be going to next time we visit. But we headed back over to Frontier Land so that Chris could ride Big Thunder Mountain whilst I made some purchases in the shops. I kinda wish I hadn’t had such a bad experience on the Indiana Jones ride because I think I would’ve enjoyed Big Thunder Mountain, so i’ll give it a go next time for sure.
Then last but not least, we headed to explore the castle and take some photos. Sadly the dragon was out of action but the inside of the castle more than made up for it. All of the stained glass was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could see that Castle every day, it honestly would make me so happy!
We had one last wander around before deciding to call it a day and head back to the hotel to pack and relax before driving back to the UK early the next day.
Honestly? I was kinda blown away by Disneyland Paris. I know people talk about it being their ‘happy place’ and I didn’t really understand it but being there in person, I.Get.It. There hasn’t been a day gone by since coming home where I haven’t thought about it or wanted to be there. It’s such a magical experience and spending my 30th there with my amazing boyfriend was the best experience ever. Chris isn’t even a big fan of Disney but he loved it! We’re already planning on going to Disney World Florida in 2021 (which means we have to book it next year, eek!). We were both really impressed by the level of detail everywhere. From the props, the layout, the immersion, there was just so much to do all the time. We honestly didn’t realise how much there was to do but I think 2 days was absolutely the perfect amount of time to enjoy it for the first time.
What would we do different next time?
I’d definitely get up earlier and get to the park before most people arrive to try out the rides we didn’t do this time. I’d also like to experience the things that were closed this time round too. I didn’t meet any characters because it didn’t really seem like my kinda thing, but it would be nice to do that at least once! I’d also like to stay in a Disneyland Hotel next time to get the ‘full’ experience but we’re planning on doing that when we go to Disney World.
What tips do you have for visiting Disneyland Paris for the first time?? I’d love to hear them for my next visit.