Merry Christmas you wonderful people! About a week ago I got back from the cutest little mini break to Paris with my boyfriend Jack – we went specifically to see Disney at Christmas, but also managed to get in a little bit of Paris on the way home. I absolutely love Christmas and am a complete sucker for anything and everything Christmassy. Stick some tinsel on it and I’m there – there I said it! Disney can be notoriously busy around any holiday and peak season, and usually you’ll end up paying even more money to go at this time. Whilst I am a complete advocate to go over off-peak times as it’s cheaper and you get to cram more in – more rides, less queues, it’s an easier time for sure – I couldn’t resist the call of the twinkling lights and jingling bells when I felt most festive. Here’s what happened and if we would recommend visiting during this time!
As tickets are more expensive during this period we decided to try going for everything in one day – two parks one day? Easy, we thought, we can do that, we thought, we are professional Disney goers, we thought. Well my first tip would absolutely be do not attempt this over Christmas! It is so busy that if you want to do everything, well you’re not going to do everything in just one day. If you have a couple of highlights in each park and are on a budget then it might be worth it. But if there’s any way you can stretch to two days, a park for each then you’ll be in much better standing. For us, we spent 90% of the day in the main Disneyland park, we had such a lovely time here going on different rides, looking at all the lights and wandering around, and then we ran to Hollywood Studios for a quick run around and to ride the Tower of Terror. Jack had never ridden it before and I really wanted him to experience it, it’s definitely one of the best rides here in Disneyland Paris! Let’s talk about the things we got up to!
Initially we were hit straight in the face with the pure beauty of all the decorations and lights. Christmas music was playing away and there were wreaths everywhere – including a huge Christmas tree just through the entrance. This is one of the strongest memories of the whole trip, years on, and the decorations alone make me want to return! I really wish we had tried as much of the Disney Christmas food as possible as they have some epic limited edition treats. Normally I don’t mix stuffing my face with rides but in hindsight, screw it! Next time I’ll be eating a lot more of the snacks. We initially headed to our first ride – space mountain. The queue here was really short which was amazing seeing as the rest of the park seemed really busy. We arrived late morning as well so it wasn’t like we had rushed for the park opening. Jack absolutely loved this ride!! I do enjoy it but there’s something about a coaster in the dark that sets of my stomach a little bit – still a whole bunch of fun but I’m more about light rollercoasters where I can see where I’m going! Jack’s thrilled face made it all the more better though as he fell in love with this ride!
We went to take some pictures around the castle next – so many of the little flower patches were covered in faux snow and decorations which was so cute and festive to see. We had a mooch around and saw a Jack Skellington meet and greet outside the haunted mansion. This is limited to Christmas time and I’d never seen him in Disney before! After having a chat and some pictures, we headed for the Phantom Manor. The ride actually broke down after we’d entered the first part, just before you get on the little carts. Although it meant a fair amount of waiting, the cast member had to take us all backstage to get out which was cool to see. Since working in Disney I’m so fascinated how everything works behind the scenes, so I’m glad I got to see a peek of it in Paris!
After more rides and some quick food, we headed to Alice’s curious labyrinth. I’d never done this maze before and really enjoyed walking around, I didn’t expect all the characters around each turn! It’s funny how you can go to Disney loads of times and still always have something new to explore. Now they’ve extended Hollywood Studios a fair amount and some new attractions and festivals, there’s even more to go back to as well.
We stayed around this park to watch the parade, all the Christmas floats, music, outfits and decorations were so sweet to see. This is the sort of thing you don’t get to enjoy year-round and really does start to help justify that extra price point. It was (perhaps obviously) blisteringly cold here in December and I’d bring even more layers and thermals next time, but we enjoyed it so much all the same. We also managed to get a fairly unobstructed view of the parade even though we hadn’t there to secure a spot.
We tried to ride Thunder Mountain but unfortunately it had shut early, I did really want Jack to get the chance to experience this so it was a shame. But in terms of thrill Space Mountain here in Paris is definitely more intense so I’m glad we got to squeeze that in right away! As this was closed we decided to rush to the Hollywood Studios park to try and cram in the Tower of Terror before the park closed – we were cutting it fine but thankfully made it and had such a fun time. What do you do on rides? Are you a screamer? A laughter? I always love seeing everyone’s reactions around us! We usually just chuckle the whole way through!
As it was very close to the park closing times by this point, we headed out to Downtown Disney to get some food, and opted for the Rainforest Cafe. All the restaurants here are super pricey and by the sounds of it, if you’re a burger fan Anette’s Diner is really the place to go for a bite! The food at the Rainforest Cafe is usually okay – nothing to shout about but decent fast food. You’re really paying for the ambience and after being surrounded by Disney magic all day we were okay with doing that! We opted for some burgers and finished off the meal with a ginormous brownie tower, topped with caramel, chocolate, cream and ice cream. An absolute heart attack on a plate and actually so worth the intensity! This is sadly where Jack first discovered his dairy intolerance though! (Sorry Jack but it’s kind of amazing – I think it would push anyone over the edge!!!) No accidents though, just a painful stomach, I’ll leave you there on this point! (hahahahhahah.)
The next day, we hopped on a train from Disney into central Paris – we were held up for a long time here as they investigated some things. No one quite told us what was going on and there were loads of people looking worried around, but it must have all been okay in the end as nothing happened from it. These things can’t always be helped, but we definitely ran into a few more issues during this festive period. I guess that makes sense with the rise in crowds! Before catching our flight back home, we saw the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and a Christmas market in Paris.
Overall, I would definitely recommend going to Disney near Christmas time – if you are mad about Christmas and can’t think of anything better than those twinkling lights and festivities! I would definitely choose to go in the least busy times, throughout this peak period. You can Google this online as I’m sure it varies over years, but generally avoid the days just before Christmas, New Years eve and day, and the very start of the festivities where everything launches. We visited earlyish December – around the tenth, and it was well worth the crowds for us at this time! I would definitely go back at Christmas!