8 May 2017

Disney 25th Trip Day One: Travels, Small World and Dislocated Toes

It's time for another instalment of Disney trip reports, and I sure hope you're as excited as I am! 
Since I last spoke to you, I've been on a trip to Disneyland Paris for four days with all of my Disney friends. If you didn't already know, Disneyland Paris turned 25 on 12th April and I was lucky enough to be in the park on that day to celebrate with them. It was one of the most beautiful, emotional, magical trips and I don't know how I'm going to write about how amazing everything was because I know I'm going to miss something out. But, I'm going to give it my best shot. 

We started our trip on Sunday 9th April at Liverpool Lime Street Station. I met Michelle and Emma, two of my friends who I would be travelling and staying with, and we jumped on a Virgin Train to London. We were travelling to Paris by Eurostar so it was a lot easier to stay overnight rather than travelling to London super early on Monday morning. When we arrived, the sun was shining and it really felt like summer. I was very excited to be in London on my own as every time I've visited, I've been with my parents. It really is like a different world down there, much different to the North! 

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Kings Cross due to us getting upgraded from the Holiday Inn. Our hotel was beautiful; we had a stunning view of London and the bathroom was absolutely massive. Included in the room was 2 of the comfiest king sized beds, a very snazzy tap and the thickest, fluffiest bath towels I have ever wrapped myself in. As we only had a short time in the city, we ventured to Leicester Square and had a delicious meal at TGI Fridays before heading back to the hotel for an early night.


At 4:00 am on Monday 10th April, my alarm sounded and I jumped out of bed like an excited child, ready to start my Disney adventure. I'm not really a morning person unless I'm going to Disney. We met Cara at St Pancras, printed off our tickets and headed for security. That was one of the only stressful things about the trip, I hate going through security because it means me having to haul my massive case onto the scanner and that is a mammoth task in itself. Once we were through, we met Megan and Mark and within 20 minutes our train platform had been announced and we were sat waiting to depart. 

We travelled on the 7:19 am train to Lille and then changed to a TGV for Marne La Valle. We had one of the new Eurostar trains and they are so classy, plus the onboard wi-fi is a bonus. The change at Lille was easier than I thought it was going to be, and once I'd got that over with, my anxiety melted away. I find double decker trains absolutely fascinating and as it was my first time on the top floor, I was absolutely thrilled. It really is the little things. I think that the TGV took longer than anticipated, just because we were so desperate to be in the parks. It was one of those situations where you looked at your watch and 2 minutes had passed when it really felt like 15. But soon enough we arrived at Marne La Valle and jumped on a shuttle bus to our hotel. 

We stayed at Disney's hotel B&B and I would definitely recommend it. We arrived at lunchtime and our room was ready which meant that we were able to dump our things and then head into the park. The hotel is one of the cheaper off-site hotels meaning that you have to get a shuttle bus to the park, and the rooms are pretty basic. They don't have any tea or coffee making facilities and there's only one mirror in the room, this didn't affect us but I know this is something some people want in their hotel rooms. A top tip from me is to take an extension lead with you so that you have more places to plug in phones and cameras as there aren't many plugs in the rooms either. Overall, I would definitely stay in the B&B again, it was such a lovely hotel for the price! 


Once we'd checked into the hotel, we made our way into the park. It was a lot quieter than I was expecting which was lovely because it meant that we could spend longer taking photos and looking at the beautiful decorations. On my last trip in October, Disneyland Paris was work-in-progress for the 25th anniversary but walking down towards the beautiful, pastel Disneyland Hotel, it was like looking at a totally different place. The colours were so vibrant and vivid, the music was louder and more magical and the fountains were as graceful as ever. I had to take a moment when walking towards the park because I couldn't actually believe that I was back home. 


Once our annual passes had been scanned, we were greeted by the beautiful LED screen which hangs above the Fantasyland Station. It has a little Tinkerbell next to it and every few minutes the screen changes to something different, celebrating the 25th anniversary. I could already hear the band playing from the bandstand in Town Square and I got goosebumps straight away. We stood and watched them for a while, singing and dancing along to the classic Disney songs they belted out one after another. 

Main Street USA was a carpet of blue. Every shop window had a different display commemorating the 25th. My personal favourite was the Peter Pan window display, and if you spot it as you're walking down then you'll understand why. There's nothing that screams 'HOME' more than the feeling you get when you're walking down Main Street for the first time. It's indescribable but it feels like you belong. You completely forget about your troubles for a little while, you can escape from the horrible reality we live in at the moment. 

The castle glittered as we walked towards it. Central Plaza looked so beautiful with its purple, blue and white flowers and statues of classic characters in their 25th attire. Disneyland Paris was a complete breath of fresh air and just from walking down Main Street and seeing how beautiful everything looked, I couldn't wait to see what they had in store for us for the rest of the trip. We'd heard that Baloo and King Louie were meeting near Hakuna Matata, so we decided to head over to see if we could have a boogie with the King of the Swingers! 


Sadly, we were too late to meet Baloo but as we were so hungry, we decide to walk over to my favourite quick service restaurant; Colonel Hathi's. And we all know what this means. Garlic Bread! 
As we were walking, we saw Pluto bounding towards us and he randomly got hold of me and gave me the tightest hug. We hadn't been in the park for 20 minutes and already I'd been reduced to tears and magical memories were being made. It's the small things like random hugs and interactions that make the most special memories. I didn't stop smiling for the rest of the day. 

My excitement was then heightened by the garlic bread in Colonel Hathi's. It was more delicious that I remember it being and I don't think any restaurant will ever beat it. We sat and talked for a while, and all I could talk about was the fact that Pluto had just run up to me and given me the biggest cuddle. I'm still not over it to this very day. 


There were rumours that Rapunzel was in the Pavillion that afternoon so after our food, we walked over to Fantasyland to have a look. Our suspicions were confirmed, Rapunzel was due to be in the Princess Pavillion from 4:30 until closing. If you're a big fan of Disneyland Paris or if you go regularly, then you'll know that Punzie being in the Pavillion is a very rare occurrence so we had to make sure that we spent some time with the lost Princess. 

To waste a bit of time before Rapunzel started to meet, we took Cara and Michelle on Casey Jr as it was only a 20-minute wait, another rare occurrence. Although it's not the most thrilling ride in the park, it's definitely the most aesthetically pleasing. I've got some lovely footage of it on my Disney Vlogs which are up on my Youtube channel. If you get a moment then you should go and check them out because they really are great, even if I do say so myself. The girls absolutely loved the ride and I'm sure we all screamed louder than the 5-year-olds that were sat in front of us. 

By the time we'd queued and had the time of our lives, it was almost time for Rapunzel to start meeting. We walked back over to the Pavillion and sat down on the royal carpet, ready to start our 45-minute wait to meet one of our favourite Princesses. 


The Pavillion has one of the prettiest queuing systems in the park. It feels like you're in a castle. Each window is stained with a picture of the different castles belonging to different Princesses and then at the side of them are different objects to represent the different films. This includes a lamp for Jasmine, a rose for Belle and a glass slipper for Cinderella. 

It was in the queue for the Pavillion that we made friends with the loveliest girl called Marie. She's friends with Michelle and Emma and her favourite Princess is Rapunzel so when we found out that she was meeting, we invited her to come and queue with us. I didn't know when we met Marie that she would become one of our favourite people ever, we spent so much time with her and I'm so thankful to call her my friend. I could rant on about how much of an angel is, but I'd be here all day. All I'm going to say is that she is the nicest most caring person I've ever met, and Disney are very lucky to have her as such a wonderful Cast Member. 


Punzie was the most flamboyant and beautiful Princess. I walked up to her and we had the biggest hug. Then we talked about Pascal, and Flynn and how we were all having the best day ever. I asked her for a video message for my best friend Liv, who absolutely idolises Rapunzel and she was more than happy to say hello. Sometimes when a big group of people go and meet a character the interaction can be rushed, but Rapunzel spent so much time with us. We all had amazing interactions and got some really cute photos. I absolutely love these girls. 

Also, I have to say that watching Marie meet her idol was the cutest thing. I think we were all pretty much crying. Rapunzel told us that we all looked like Princesses and my love for her just grew and grew. I'm smiling just thinking about it right now. I really hope we have the chance to meet her again in June, I'm sure Liv's reaction will be priceless! 


By the time we got out of Pavillion, it was time for the parade. As this was my first time seeing Disney Stars on Parade, I was quite apprehensive. I loved Disney's Magic on Parade, so I was curious to see if they could do anything better than that. I'd also managed to avoid spoilers so I was watching the parade with fresh eyes, I had no idea what the music was like or what characters I was going to see. We stood near the bandstand in Town Square and waited for it to start. The crowd was big, but as soon as the music started, my feet began tapping along. 

I'm not going to talk a lot about the characters on parade or all the special effects as I don't want to ruin anything for anyone, but I'll give you a small review on what I thought. Obviously, it was never going to be Magic on Parade, but it really is just as good. The music is so catchy and the characters you see are absolutely beautiful. There's definitely more characters, but the interaction isn't as good which is probably one of the only downsides. The attention to detail on the costumes and the floats is stunning and I cannot wait to watch the whole thing again in June. I'd also just like to mention that we saw our lovely friend Rachel and her seashell and Denise and her friend Cinderella who both looked so graceful and beautiful. It was such a proud moment for us all. 


We watched as the crowds dispersed. Most people actually left the park after the parade which meant it was the perfect time to go and have a little photoshoot on the bandstand. If you want a perfect photo opportunity then try and get a photo of the castle from the bandstand. It's stunning. The music from the parade was still echoing around the park, so we had a little boogie and then headed over to Discoveryland to see if we could have a ride on Autopia. Or as I now like to call it, Au-TOE-pia. 


When I mention Autopia to people, they've always told me that it's a complete waste of time so I wasn't expecting much. This was my first time on the ride and we got on it pretty quickly. Cara decided that I should be the designated driver which I was more than happy to do, although I'm very surprised that she trusted me due to the fact I haven't yet passed my test and on my first driving lesson, I almost crashed into a tree. We got into the car, strapped ourselves in and I pressed the pedal as the car started to move. Then, all of a sudden, I got a shooting pain up my leg. I just thought it was a little bit of cramp so powered through the pain and got myself and Cara around the track with no injuries. I honestly don't think I've ever laughed so much on one ride, Cara and I were almost wetting ourselves laughing because I'd either stalled the car or we were about to crash into a bush. I must say, the Autopia route is very picturesque. 

As we got off the ride, the shooting pain in my foot became worse. I hobbled up the stairs and stopped on the balcony to have a look at my feet to see what was going on. I'd only gone and dislocated my toe. Yep, you read that right. I dislocated my toe on the tamest ride in Disneyland Paris. Do I deserve a medal? Yes, I think I do. Cara found the whole thing hilarious, as you have probably seen on her vlogs, and I just hobbled around for a bit until my toe clicked back into place. It was one of the funniest memories we made and I will forever be known as the girl who dislocated her toe on Autopia. 


In order to overcome my small trauma, we all decided that it would be a wise idea to take a ride on Small World. I think we all know that this is one of my favourite rides, so I was thrilled, to say the least. Cara and I sat in the back of the boat and sang along to the infamous song, we also broke down for a little while but we soon got going again. At the end of the ride, there is a section that says 'Goodbye' in different languages in order to represent the purpose. We're sailing along and trying to pronounce the different languages when Cara turns to me, pronounces the phrase and says 'I wonder what that means?'. We both burst into fits of laughter because it was obvious to her then that it meant goodbye. It was such a daft moment, but I swear we spent a good 20 minutes laughing. 

When we came off the ride, we ran straight over to the Small World photo location and took some very cute, very squinty photos. We sound so vain, but we thought that our outfits matched the aesthetic which was why we wanted photos at that particular time. Plus they're super cute! I then went and purchased some of Disneyland Paris' 25th Anniversary ears for myself and threw some coins into Cinderella's fountain whilst making a wish. I took me a long time to think of what I wanted to wish for, and if it ever comes true I'll let you know. According to Marie, the wishes really do come true! 


And now it's time to talk to you about my favourite thing in the Disneyland Paris park for the 25th Anniversary and that is the Princess Starlit Waltz. We walked over to the Castle Stage and took a seat behind three horrible people who refused to sit down. I must note here that the majority of people sit down to watch this show which is a lovely thing because it means that people get a chance to see. However, these three idiots were having none of it and ever after being asked to sit down by a cast member they refused. This meant that the people behind us couldn't see so we had to move. Nevertheless, it didn't spoil how wonderful and spectacular this show was. Be prepared for an obsessive and emotional rant. 

I am completely and utterly obsessed with this show. I cannot fault anything about it, it's beautiful and the Princesses are so stunning. I'm trying not to give too much away, especially with the photo's I've posted as I want my blog posts to remain as spoiler free as possible. The soundtrack actually brings me to tears and I know that this is one of those shows that will make every little girl believe that they are a Princess. I left with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart. It's honestly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I now listen to the music every single day when I need a little happiness or confidence boost. It actually makes you believe that a fairytale happy ending is possible if you just believe. I think I'm almost crying just thinking about it. I got really emotional the first time I saw it because it was pure Disney magic and I think it hit me that I was back in my favourite place. But seriously, if you do go to Disneyland Paris, PLEASE go and watch the Princess show. I promise you won't be disappointed. 


The sunset was the perfect backdrop for a photo of the castle. There's something about Disney sunsets that always look so calming and beautiful, it's like the pixie dust helps the colours to be just right. After the Princess show, we went into the Main Street Bakery and got ourselves some Nutella-filled doughnuts (as you can tell from my failed photo) and had a little photoshoot in front of Donald's 25th meeting location. Marie is the best photographer ever and she took some really cute shots for us! 

We then had a browse on Main Street and looked at all the beautiful merchandise that we couldn't afford. I love shopping in Lily's Boutique because of all the memorabilia of her relationship with Walt. It's the small details of the family photos on the fireplace, which actually come from Walt's office, that make the whole place just that little more magical. Then, we found a spot on Main Street and waited for Disney Illuminations. 


Again, I'm not going to post any spoilers, but I will give you my honest opinion on the show. Disney Dreams was my favourite thing about Disneyland Paris and I'd queue for hours beforehand just to get the perfect spot. It's the show that never failed to make me smile and it left me feeling positive about everything. So obviously, when they said that they'd be replacing Dreams with Illuminations I was gutted. I don't think I was sad about the fact that she show was going because I knew that was inevitable, I just didn't like the fact that Peter Pan wouldn't be the host anymore. 

As with everything, I didn't know what to expect when it came to Illuminations. I'd heard a lot of mixed reviews so I was unsure if I was going to like it. In my honest opinion, I would have much rather they updated Dreams. Illuminations is the one thing that lets the 25th down. It's not the worst, and I did enjoy watching it, I just found it extremely boring in parts. There wasn't a story to it and they basically just used it as a canvas to promote upcoming Disney films rather than celebrate the classics that made the company what it is today. I was so disappointed with it, and it's definitely not something I'll be rushing to see again. However, that's not to say that you guys shouldn't go and watch it because I would love to hear your opinions! 


After Illuminations, we had one last look in the shops on Main Street and then headed out of the park. But to our surprise, there was a special mouse waving goodbye to us. Mickey stands on the balcony and waves the guests out of the park on a night and it's the most heart-warming, magical thing you could end your day with. We stood waving at him for a while and then met up with Eleanor and Sammy who took us for a walk around the Disney Village. The Disneyland Hotel looked so beautiful as we left the park and I couldn't wait to get back and make more magical memories! 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first day, and that I haven't spoiled it for you if you're planning on going and are wanting to stay spoiler free. 

Lots of Love,
Meg
xox

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