Paris – Day 14 & 15 – Disneyland Paris!!! & The End…

With Days 1-6 of Paris at our backs (as well as 7 days in London), we were running through a gamut of emotions – happy to have seen so many sights, ready to be “home,” sad to be leaving, excited about our final day and a half.  When we where initially discussing our trip to London and Paris, we spent some time making a list of things we really wanted to see and do.  Some of the key points on that list: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, anything Doctor Who related, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and one other place we both wanted to go…Disneyland.  Brittany and I are suckers for all things mouse, but this idea was about more than that.  It gave us an opportunity to kick back and relax without worrying about the history or heritage of this place or that.  Even though we both love learning about the places we visit, it was time for a bit of Disney magic.  (Plus, Disney offered us a little bit of home.)

(If you enjoy reading about our Disneyland excursion, our final half day in Paris is included in this blog post as well.)

Day 7 – Paris (Chessy) – 4/13/2016

So…day 7…Disneyland Paris.  Really the only question was: “Will it rain or not?”  If you’ve read through our previous blog posts about this trip, you’ve seen that we were in a constant battle with the Weather Channel app about rain or sunshine.  And, sure enough, when we got up raring to go to the theme park, the app was calling for rain most of the day…it was also calling for cooler temperatures than it had been.  So we put on our sweatshirts (sweatshirts + Disneyland = weird), threw our umbrellas into a bag, and headed for Chessy, which is a suburb about 20 miles east of Paris and home of Disneyland Paris.

We got to the park just as the doors were opening, but we decided to forego the mad rush to the gates.  Instead we walked through Disney Village to get to the McDonalds, where we got breakfast and coffee.

It was indeed chilly, and I think we both initially regretted not wearing our coat, but if at some point it did get warm, neither of us wanted to lug those around.

Disneyland Paris is divided into 2 parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios.  On the day we were there, Disneyland stayed open until 10PM and Walt Disney Studios was open until 7PM, so we went to the Studios Park first.  We walked around the park for a few minutes before deciding that we should just hop on a ride and get started, so we grabbed a Fast Pass for The Tower of Terror and then went to the Studio Tram Tour ride.

(Sorry, most of the pictures from our day in Disney are just going to be Brittany and I having fun, but that’s what this is all about.)

On the Studio Tram ride and ready to go…


The Studio Tram Tour takes you “behind the scenes” of a movie set.  You get to see various props and sets from real and imagined films, and at two points you get to see some explosions…the warmth from the explosions was very nice.

During the tour we ran into this lady…hadn’t we already seen her somewhere before?


FYI…if you sit on the left side of the tram during this ride you will get wet.  Who sat on the left?  Brittany.  As if she wasn’t cold enough already…


We rode the Tower of Terror…which is a great way to really get the adrenaline flowing at 10 in the morning…and then headed for Ratatouille: The Adventure.  This ride was really fun.  You put on 3D glasses, sit in your coaster, and ride through sections of the movie as if you were the size of a rat.

Plus, the 3D glasses are really stylish…


A Ratatouille fountain in front of the ride…


It’s a little weird…some things at the Studios side of the park are really, really new (like the Ratatouille ride) while other things are kind of dated (like the Armageddon Special Effects area…I mean Armageddon came out in 1998, the year I graduated from high school, and my favorite actor from Armageddon (Michael Clarke Duncan) has been dead for almost 4 years).

It’s also very interesting to walk by a giant Buzz Lightyear and here him say “Welcome, Slinky Dog, Army Men, and RC have successfully completed their preparations.  Now it’s up to you.  You’re mission…explore and have fun.” in French.  Same goes for the Genie…with a different monologue of course..

We were passing  Crush’s Coaster (based on Finding Nemo) and thought it looked fun.  The ride was, the hour and a half we waited in life to ride it…not so much.  We were fully prepared to wait in some lines, but it was weird, none of the Fast Pass booths (other than Tower of Terror) were in operation.  That was pretty much our adventure in Walt Disney Studios Paris.  After that, we both decided that most of the iconic Disney things we wanted to see were in the other park.

The Mouse himself was waiting for us…


And almost as soon as we got into the park we got our first glimpse of the castle…


Euro Disney was the original name of this park, which opened in 1992, and combined with the Studios Park, the resorts, the shopping centers, and a golf course covers 4,800 acres. (Walt Disney Studios opened in 2002.)

We went to the park two weeks after Easter, but they still had their character-themed eggs on display.  Goofy…


Mickey and Minnie…




Donald and Daisy…


Chip and Dale…


I’m not sure what was going on here…


At the center of all things fairytale lies Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty’s Castle)…


Brittany with a few topiary Aristocats in front of the castle…


A really cool feature of Paris’s castle…an animated dragon lives underneath.  A picture of the Dragon’s Lair…


We didn’t see any characters at meet and greet locations, but we randomly ran into Abu and Dale…


The Pirate Galleon was closed, but we got a few pictures of it.  And it sure looks like Ariel is serving as the Jolly Roger’s figurehead.


The absolute longest wait that we had in the Disneyland park was to ride the Disneyland Railroad…seriously…we have no idea why.  But the wait gave us an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view with stunning Cherry Blossom trees.


It also gave us a nice view of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth…


After watching the parade from It’s A Small World (and then riding It’s A Small World) we took a back way to Discoveryland…where everything was closed…everything.  Well, that’s not quite true.  Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Orbitron, Autopia, The Mysteries of the Nautilus (which is not fun), and Space Mountain were open, but half the area was walled up and closed to renovate the Star Tours ride.

But we did manage to find an alien and space ranger…



Buzz Lightyear…


A Stitch as Yoda hat…awesome.  The price of said hat…not awesome…


On a side note…see that nice Paris France hoodie I’m wearing in the photo above?  Well, there’s a story about me getting it.  I’d been looking for a Paris souvenir and thought a hoodie would be something both nice and functional.  We found Italia hoodies in Rome for €10…so I was looking for a similar deal.  Well that kind of deal doesn’t exist in Paris, not that we could find anyway.  We looked in every souvenir shop we passed trying to find something that was 1) good quality and 2) cheap…yeah I understand the conundrum.  Anyway, we found lots and lots and lots of I ♥ Paris sweatshirts, but that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.  There were several places that had the Paris, France hoodie I eventually purchased, but they all wanted €40…way more than I was willing to pay.  Anyway, we finally found a shop just down the hill from the Sacré-Cœur that had them a bit cheaper, and we managed to haggle him down to €25…still more but at least doable.  Okay, that’s the backstory, here’s the real story.  We’re at the shop and the guy has agreed to €25, now it’s time to try on the hoodies to find a size.  Normally I wear a Large in t-shirts, but I always have to get X-Large in anything long sleeve because of my arm length.  Well this guy immediately goes to an XXL hoodie, and starts telling me how big of a guy I am.  I tried to say no and ask for the XL, but he insisted.  Turns out, he was right.  Now what makes this funny, to Brittany and I at least, is the amount of times this vendor insisted on telling me that I was a giant…he had to have said it 5 or 6 times.  My ego was taking a bit of a beating until the guy actually stood up to give us the hoodie…in ratio to this guy, I wasn’t a big guy, I was a huge guy.  So I felt a little better.  I just happened to be wearing my Italia hoodie when we made this purchase…it’s XXL too.  Apparently I’m fairly large compared to average Europeans.

Back to Disneyland…

We took a break from riding (as an adult you need a break after riding Space Mountain…a break and some Tylenol), and took some photos in front of the castle…


After that we realized we hadn’t ridden Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion), and we headed to Frontierland to check it out.  We also realized that we hadn’t been to Frontierland at all so far…what kind of Disney fans are we?

In Frontierland we found Woody and Jesse…


But that was all we found there.  No joke, everything in Frontierland was closed (shops, restaurants, rides…everything)…including the Haunted Mansion.  The cast members around the ride said that it had been shut down a few days earlier and no one knew when it would reopen.  At least we got a picture…right?


Things were starting to wind down by this point.  We headed back to the center of Fantasyland to get on a few of the more popular, but less thrilling, rides.  To honor our adopted Italian heritage we wanted to ride Pinocchio’s Fantastic Journey.


But it was closed…


So we hopped over to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves…


And then onto Dumbo the Flying Elephant…


Did I say less thrilling???  (Ha, this photo looks like Brittany is wearing a tiny Dumbo hat!)


The joystick in our Dumbo (that raises and lowers the ride) wasn’t working really well.  We got stuck in the highest position for most of the ride.  Did i mention that I’m not a huge fan of heights?


When Disney says the park closes at 10, what they really mean is that the rides start closing at 8 and by 9 they want everyone in front of the castle for the firework show that begins at 10.  Because of this we missed out on some of the Fantasyland rides close to the castle (Lancelot’s Carrousel, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, etc), but it gave us an opportunity to walk through the back hallway of the shops.  This area is actually kind of nice because there is information about the idea, construction, and transportation of the Statue of Liberty (which was a gift from the people of France to America in 1886).

And of course, no one knows how to close down a party like Disney.  This particular park’s show was the story of Peter Pan searching for his shadow through several other Disney movies.


It was incredibly beautiful (and also odd…throughout the story Peter Pan spoke English and Wendy spoke French).


We took a few videos, which are much more impressive, but I’m on the free version of WordPress…so no video uploads are allowed…however, we posted a clip of our video on youtube, which can be viewed here Disney Dreams.


So Disneyland Paris was pretty spectacular.  It was odd that so many sections of the park were closed, but we enjoyed the parts that were open immensely.  And…it never rained!!!

And one last photo, just because we had such a good time…




The Next Day…

Wow…15 days in London and Paris were finally coming to an end.  We saw all of the “must see” (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey) and “have to” (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame ) sights that we could, and even made time for a few extra excursions (Doctor Who Shop, Catacombs of Paris, Disneyland).  So with all of those things behind us, what did we do with our final day?  Nothing…absolutely nothing…

Day 8 – Paris – 4/14/2016

Well, nothing isn’t quite right, but it’s close.  We started off by packing, of course.  Our final day was only a partial day, and we had to be out of the apartment by 4PM.  So we packed, cleaned, and got everything in order.  Then we went and had brunch in front of Notre-Dame.

The day started out absolutely beautiful, so we decided to walk up and down the Seine River where the Parisian Riverside Bouquinistes were set up.  These used book shops are attached directly to the railing overlooking both sides of the river and have been selling in or around this position since the 16th century.  The Seine is thus described as ‘the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves.’  (Wikipedia)  All are painted the same color green, and all sell used books along with magnets, prints, and other Parisian souvenirs.

We had a few postcards that we wanted to send so we went in search of the post office.  Along the way we found the Fontaine Saint-Michel which opened in 1860.


We had already packed the camera, luckily Brittany’s phone takes exceptional photos.  Here’s a close up of one of the fountain’s “dragons”…


And the Archangel Michael and the devil (originally the centerpiece was supposed to be of Napoleon)…


After that we walked all the way down to the Louvre, which was a beautiful walk, and then headed back home.  All in all, it was a very nice, peaceful, relaxing day…it did eventually get cold and start raining, but that’s about it…that’s pretty much the end of our little adventure.  We got home safe and sound, and even stopped to get Chinese takeout before going to the apartment.  Not a real climactic ending, huh?  That’s okay though, a climactic ending would have involved plane troubles or lost luggage…I think I prefer a peaceful, nonchalant ending

So our trip finally came to an end.  We hope you’ve enjoyed “seeing” some of the sights that we visited.  As always, click Bologna if you’d like to see more photos of our overall stay in Italy, or London and Paris if you’d like to see our two week adventure in those cities.


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