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Disneyland Paris

This time last week Grant and I were sat in Auberge de Cendrillon, a Cinderella themed restaurant tucked behind Sleeping Beauty's castle in Fantasyland, having a decadent lunch with a number of Disney princesses. We've come to the agreement that it was one of the best meals we have ever had as a couple. Disneyland Paris are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and as such they had a special menu to order from; we had lobster to start, beef and polenta for our main course, and a beautiful blue dessert that tasted of chocolate and hazelnut. As we ate we were visited by Cinderella, a couple of her mice, Belle, Ariel and Aurora. It was all hugs, compliments, pretty dresses and indisputable magic. I even wore an Aurora inspired Disneybound (including crown), which resulted in two little girls at the table beside us asking for a photo with me. It was the ultimate compliment.

There was something so special about this holiday. It might have had something to do with the fact that we haven't been to Disneyland since our honeymoon almost four years ago, or that since I've become invested in cosplay and costumes I have far more of an appreciation for the thought that goes into creating and maintaining the magic. 

We travelled by Eurostar and stayed in Hotel New York, our usual Disney haunt. Each morning we woke at an uncivilised hour to eat an early breakfast and be at the park gates by 8am when they opened for hotel guests. The days were long and exhausting, but entirely worth it. We juggled Fastpasses and got thrown around on roller coasters and baked in the sun staking out our places for the parades and shows. It was far more warm and sunny than had been forecast, with temperatures reaching 30°C. At it's peak it was too hot for us to maintain our stride in the parks, so we returned to our hotel and cooled down in the outdoor pool. As people who typically visit Disneyland in December and have seen the parks completely frozen over, it was novel to be having to cool ourselves off from the intense heat.

The parks were every bit as pretty as I remembered them, hence I would steal moments wherever possible to stop and take photos of all the dreamy details. As the place where we got engaged, Disneyland Paris will always be somewhat romanticised to me. We're hoping to visit the original Disneyland and Walt Disney World someday soon, however I'm certain Le Ch√Ęteau de la Belle au Bois Dormant will always be my favourite Disney landmark. Despite my love of thrill rides and good food and cocktails, some of my best Disney memories will always be of sitting at the end on Main Street, looking out towards the castle and simply basking in the atmosphere.
We experienced a number of new shows, some as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations and others that had simply arrived since our last visit. The new parade, Disney Stars On Parade, was so much better than I'd anticipated. It's predecessors, Once Upon A Dream Parade and Magic On Parade, would both leave me in tears within moments of the music starting up. When I first heard a clip of the Stars On Parade soundtrack online I knew it wasn't going to be in the same vein. The music didn't make me cry, but I could feel it in my chest and it made me feel energised in a way the others never did. It was big and bold and it drew me in. The design choices were wonderful, and the energy was infectious. Every night I would walk back to the hotel singing the music, much to Grant's entertainment.

There was also Illuminations, a new night time show projected on the castle. Impressive as this was, I must say I didn't enjoy it so much as the previous show, Dreams. There were three parts in Dreams that would have me in floods of tears (I cry a lot at Disney), whereas there was only one part in Illuminations where I felt choked up. It's still a spectacle of uniquely Disney proportions, but we only felt the need to stake out good places for it the one time.

Other shows, including The Starlit Princess Waltz, Mickey and The Magician and the Star Wars events in Walt Disney Studios were equally impressive. Grant enjoyed the scale and technical feats of it all, and I just loved getting to see the characters in action. Despite seeing a good number of characters through our meal at Auberge de Cendrillon and another character meal at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel, we also managed to catch a few characters out in the parks. First thing in the morning we managed to meet Donald and Mickey whilst crowds were quiet, and one morning having seen Snow White would be in the Princess Pavilion we decided to join the queue early out in the sunshine. Shortly before we were due to leave we spotted an unscheduled meet with Belle in her blue provincial dress, which was the perfect, unexpected end to our trip.

We've not been back long, but I already miss Disney terribly. I shed a few tears on our walk back to the hotel to collect our suitcases, and upon returning I shamelessly fantasised about (and priced up) trips for either Halloween or my birthday in December. I know there is no shortage of adults who wouldn't dream of a child-free holiday to Disneyland, but for us there is nothing better. We've always been of the 'work hard, play hard' mindset, and Disneyland allows us to do exactly that. Once we're checked into our hotel, we are completely immersed in the Disney bubble. Adult responsibility is left at the train station, and we make the most of every last magical minute.

2 comments

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