Disneyland Paris Experience at Half Term Feb 2017
This week’s blog post is slight late because I spent the first five days of this week at Disneyland Paris. It was a tiring holiday, but my kids seriously enjoyed Disneyland Paris, so it was worth doing.
We’ve had a fab time, although Disneyland Paris was a bit busier than I’d expected at February half-term. Some of this was because a lot of the bigger rides were closed for refurbishment over the winter. So more people were trying to get on the rides that were still open.
Star Wars at Disneyland Paris
I think the highlight of the week was probably Alexander doing the Jedi Academy. Disneyland Paris is getting a Star Wars themed makeover, two of the big rides are being re-vamped to bring them up to date with the Star Wars franchise (Star Tours and Space Mountain). There are also signs of a Star wars focus in the Studios, where there were hourly shows with Captain Phasma and First Order stormtroopers as well as appearances from Chewbacca, Darth Maul & Darth Vader.
Alex’s best bit was participating in the Jedi Academy, he was in the 13:45 show on 14th February, with fifteen other kids. Here’s the video of the stage show, which followed a half hour rehearsal and prep. All the kids get to fight Darth Vader, Alex is on at 7m 20s.
Disneyland Paris disabled access
We took my mother in law to Disneyland Paris with us. She’s in her 60s and has mobility problems, she’s officially disabled and has a blue badge. It was her first time out of the UK, and she really enjoyed Disneyland Paris. It’s a big place, so we borrowed a wheelchair (from home, not Disneyland Paris).
The parks have a green pass scheme for people who have officially recognised disabilities. You take the appropriate government/medical paperwork with you, and all the accompanying adults, and Disney give you a green pass that lets you use the disabled access. For the most part this skips the queues, although most rides you still have a short wait for, one or two times round typically.
We found that there weren’t many rides that my mother in law couldn’t go on (there were quite a few that she didn’t fancy, but that’s a different thing). I was impressed by the level of organisation and forethought that Disneyland had put into this. On one of the rides they even had a special bay to insert a disabled car into the ride. So this gave more time to get on and settled, particularly useful for someone with limited mobility.
I’ve been to most of the major theme parks in the UK more than once, and I enjoyed them. But there isn’t anything really like Disneyland in the UK. You can spend several consecutive days in Disneyland and not repeat your experience. You can also spend days being entertained and not go on a single theme park ride. We did both in our visit. The rides are all good too, the thrills are more extreme than the equivalent rides in places like Alton Towers or Thorpe Park.
Another outstanding feature of Disneyland Paris is the attention to detail. Everything is spotlessly clean. All the rides have had their workings hidden away. Even the set backdrops are done so that they pass inspection closer than you would expect to see them.
That said, it is more expensive than anywhere else. Most of the merchandise in the shops is about 30-50% more expensive than it is available from the Disney Stores in the UK. There’s also almost no internet connectivity for those not wishing to pay for international roaming data (hence no picture uploads while I was away).
Overall though it is an excellent holiday and relatively good value for money (other than the merchandising). You pay more, but you get an outstanding experience, and the food is better than you’d get in a UK theme park. Well worth doing (although I suspect that the US versions are even better).