Monday, 25 September 2017

A Magical Time at Disneyland Paris - Walt Disney Studios Park

A few weeks ago we had a wonderful family holiday at La Croix du Vieux Pont in France. One of the main reasons we chose that holiday park, was because of its close proximity to Disneyland Paris, which was just 90 minutes drive away. Riley has never visited a Disneyland park before and with him being at the lovely age of 4, where everything seems so magical to him, I was adamant that we would be taking him during the summer.

We knew that we would only have one day spare to visit, so I wrote down a list of all the rides, attractions and shows available in each Disneyland Paris park and asked my three children to decide which park they would like to go to. The choice was between the Walt Disney Studios Park or the Disneyland Park where the beautiful castle is located. It is possible to get a one day ticket which allows admission to both parks, however Riley is always tired by around 6pm, so it made more sense to just focus on the one park, without feeling rushed to do both.

After much deliberation, they made a unanimous decision on the Walt Disney Studios Park. They chose this park as it had a great selection of thrill rides for Emma, shows for Ben and smaller rides for Riley to enjoy, so it ticked all the boxes. Both Mr F and I were happy with the decision, as I had heard great things about the Mickey & the Magician show which is held there, so I was excited to be able to watch this.

I checked online on various sites to try and find the best deal on tickets, but ultimately ended up buying them direct from the Disneyland Paris website. We were visiting on Friday 1st September, which happened to be classed as off peak. This meant that we could buy a mini-ticket off the Disneyland Paris website, which was part of a deal where adults pay the same price as children. This ticket was only £32.50 each, which I felt offered extremely good value for money, given the amount of attractions that were on offer. I purchased these online and printed them off the day before our visit.

The journey from La Croix du Vieux Pont to Disneyland Paris was really easy. There were a couple of toll booths along the way, but the roads were all relatively quiet and we didn't come across much traffic at all. As we got nearer to the theme park, there were also plenty of signs by the road, so it was very easy to find our way. On arrival at Disneyland Paris, we stopped at one of the entry booths to pay our parking fee. This is quite excessive at 20 euros for a car and feel that this should be much cheaper. For guests visiting on 3 day tickets, this would cost them 60 euros alone just for parking.

We arrived at 9:30 and joined a short queue that led into the car park. There were car park attendants everywhere showing you where to park, so it was very structured and not a free for all with cars driving here, there and everywhere. Within a short amount of time, we were parked up and embarked on a short ten minute walk to the entrance of Walt Disney Studios. Our tickets allowed us to go straight to the turnstile and scan them on entry, so we made our way straight to the entrance, ready to enjoy all the fun on offer.

We entered Walt Disney Studios right on the opening time of 10am. This meant that the queues were very small initially. My daughter Emma and I, walked straight on to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ (one of my favourite rides) with no queue at all, which got our day off to a great start. Whilst Emma and I enjoyed this ride, the boys made their way to Les Tapis Volants - Flying Carpets over Agrabah®. Riley loves rides, especially ones that go up and down, so this ride was perfect for him. Again they walked straight on to this ride, before moving over to the Cars Quatre Roues Rallye to enjoy a ride with Lightning McQueen. Emma and I then met back up with the boys over at this ride.

We all then made our way to Toy Story Playland, where we all queued for the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. Riley absolutely loved this ride and said it reminded him of when you drive over a bridge and your tummy goes funny. This was the longest queue we had all day, which was 40 minutes, however it did not feel that long and I am sure the line moved quite quickly.

After the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, we made our way over to the Slinky® Dog Zig Zag Spin. This was great fun for little ones and Riley loved going round in circles. It was great that there was so much to do for all ages, so that we could enjoy the majority of the rides all together as a family. Whilst in the small queue for this ride, we downloaded the app as suggested in the park map, so that we could plan which shows we wanted to go to. We realised that we would have time for one more ride before the Mickey and the Magician show started, so once we had finished in Toy Story Playland, we made our way over to the Studio Tram Tour®: Behind the Magic.

The queue for the tram tour looked large, however it moved really quickly as the trams can seat plenty of guests. We were seated on a tram within five minutes of joining the queue, excited to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. We initially drove past numerous props from popular movies, before the tram took us into a huge set called Catastrophe Canyon. The tram parked up and soon after, the floor began to move, water began to flow and a large tanker began to slide down the set. It was amazing to see how these kinds of scenes in movies are created and we all enjoyed the experience. 

The tram tour continued and took us past some memorable vehicles such as a life size RC Racer and the 4 x 4 used in Con Air. Once we had travelled past these, we were taken to another huge set that replicated London city. Parts of the set were in pristene condition, simulating a lovely city area, whilst the other half of the city had been hit by disaster and you could see cars buried amongst rubble, derailed trains and lots of construction damage. Again it was very interesting to see how these kind of sets can be created and the on board commentary provided additional information on some of the production techniques that are used.

After disembarking from our tram, we stopped for a drink, before heading to the Mickey and the Magician show. I am purposely not going to go into too much detail regarding this show, in order not to spoil it for anyone thinking of attending, but I will say that this is one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen. Despite it only lasting around 20 minutes, it is crammed full of magic and music from start to finish and was absolutely incredible. I would personally pay the entrance fee twice over to simply watch this show alone. My initial thoughts prior to watching was that it would just be a magic show featuring Mickey Mouse, but wow this show was so much more. If you are planning a visit to Walt Disney Studios, then this show simply cannot be missed!

Once our incredible experience at the show at finished, we ran straight over to some more live entertainment, which was Disney Junior Live on Stage. Riley is a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so he was very excited to get to see the clubhouse on stage. Numerous other guests were introduced throughout the show including Winnie the Pooh and friends, Handy Manny and the Little Einsteins. Emma and Ben were both familiar with all these characters as they had been on Disney Junior when they were younger, where as Riley hadn't heard of some of them before. Although Riley watches Disney Junior, his favourite shows include The Lion Guard, Miles from Tomorrow and PJ Masks, so it would have been nice if the show had included at least one of these. Riley still enjoyed the show very much though and was still delighted to be sat in, what he believed, was the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Following on the theme of the shows, we made another mad dash over to the opposite side of the park, just in time to catch the Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. This show took place in the Backlot and was a fantastic insight into how stunts are directed and created. It was high energy and breathtaking from the very start and my children were absolutely captivated from beginning to end. We saw high speed motorbikes and cars, whilst also learning more from the director and production team in between stunts. The cast and stunt artists involved were incredibly talented. This show lasted about 45 minutes and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in vehicles, or with an interest in show and stunt production.

After all the excitement of the shows, we decided that now was the ideal time to stop for a bite to eat and have a drink. My husband picked up a fast pass ticket to the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and we sat just outside the restaurant opposite. The fast pass tickets are a great idea as they are free of charge, but also prevent you from needing to queue for an excessive amount of time. You simply scan your park ticket and the machine then issues you with a fast pass for the ride, which states a particular time for you to return. These time slots are over a half an hour period, so you simply return within the time slot and join the fast pass queue, which gets you on the ride in a short amount of time. Once it was time for my husband to go, the kids and I stayed sat outside enjoying our food, whilst Mr F went to experience the ride. The Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, is a very fast thrill ride, which reaches speeds of up to 100 kmph in less than 3 seconds. Mr F loved it, though I think he regretted having something to eat beforehand!

Just as Mr F came out from the ride, there was a large bang and eerie music began to play. We noticed a lot of guests running to the centre walkway and so we decided to follow the crowd. Riley was fascinated to see a large group of Stormtroopers marching through the park. He has never watched Star Wars, but has heard a lot about it from his friends and has seen their costumes before. He watched open mouthed as they continued to parade through the park with guests excitedly following and photographing them.

Riley then asked to go on the Les Tapis Volants - Flying Carpets over Agrabah® ride again, since Emma and I had not been with the boys earlier. The queue was only 20 minutes, so we were more than happy to take him on this again. He enjoyed soaring through the sky and putting his arms in the air. His smile was absolutely priceless.

Time had literally flown during our day at Walt Disney Studios Park and Riley was now starting to get a little tired. It was 4:30pm and this particular park was due to close at 6pm, so we asked the kids to choose what they would like to do as our last experience. They had the choice of selecting something new, or returning to their favourite part of the park. Riley asked that we went back to Toy Story Playland to go on the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop again, which Emma and Ben were also both happy with. So we returned back there to enjoy the last half hour of our visit before making our way out of the park at 5pm.

We didn't get the chance to try everything in the one day and so we would definitely like to return again in the future, though we would probably allocate more time and take advantage of a 2 day ticket so that we could visit both parks over the 2 days.  We thought that all the shows we saw were absolutely fantastic, as well as there being a great choice of family friendly rides. The whole family enjoyed our experience and Riley found the entire day to be magical, which was just what I had hoped for. Overall we had an amazing time and will definitely be returning soon.

For more information, or to book tickets please visit the Disneyland Paris website here.

Disclaimer: All opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise. We have received no payment for writing this post and it was written of my own accord, based on my experience. Attractions and shows were correct and available on the date of our visit (01/09/17) but can be subject to chance. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website when planning a visit. Ticket prices vary depending on date of visit.

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