Thursday, 9 May 2019

Day Four at Disneyland Paris - Character Dining, Toy Story Land & A Special Birthday Celebration

So far, I have shared what we got up to on our first day, second day and third day at Disneyland Paris, and today I’m back to tell you all about our last full day – Day Four! If you haven’t seen my first post, my family and I went to Disneyland Paris back in September 2018 to kick off my 30th Birthday celebrations. 

We woke up to a bit of a rainy Disney on Thursday morning, although thankfully it was only drizzle. As we had a Character Breakfast booked for 9.45am, my sister, Rosiie, and I decided to make use of the Extra Magic Hours and go into the park to look round some of the shops. It’s quite a nice time to do it because most people are focussing on getting to rides or getting photos, so the shops were really quiet and much easier to get around in a wheelchair! There are so many cute stores down Main Street and dotted around the parks, and although you do find some of the same stuff across different shops, you will also find items that are just limited to one store. So it’s well worth having a good look around if you get a chance.

After a bit of time mooching around some shops, we made our way over to Plaza Gardens Restaurant for our Character Breakfast. Although we’d been advised to get there early, we actually weren’t allowed inside until 9.45am, so ended up having to wait outside in the rain for a while. It’s a very busy and hectic atmosphere inside, but you can really feel the excitement, especially from all the little ones who are desperate to meet their favourite characters. We were told to stay at our table (except when we went up to get breakfast from the buffet) and that the characters would come to us (although some people didn’t seem to listen to this rule and were quickly told to go back to their tables!) The actual breakfast is pretty similar to what you might have in a Disney Hotel, so you’re really just paying extra for the character interactions. But it does mean you get to see a lot of characters in a short space of time, without having to queue for them in the park. 

During our breakfast we had a whole host of characters come to see us for autographs and photos including Daisy Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Mickey Mouse, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger. I’m not going to lie – it does feel quite rushed and you don’t get much time with each character, but the Cast Members do make sure that they go to every table, so they won’t miss anyone. If you’re looking for a gentle relaxed breakfast then this probably isn’t for you! But if you want to see lots of characters and get all your photos and autographs without having to queue, it’s definitely worth it. It’s also a beautiful restaurant with fountains and cute Disney decorations. As we were leaving they were starting to get ready for the lunch sitting, and were putting out the most amazing watermelons, which had been carved into different Disney characters – they must have taken ages to do!

Once we’d finished at Plaza Gardens, we made our way out of the Disneyland Park and over to the Walt Disney Studios, as we hadn’t really done anything (apart from eat!) over there yet. The Studios are definitely a lot smaller than the other park, and for us, we only really needed half a day to do everything we wanted there. We started off by doing the Studio Tram Tour, which I had vague memories of doing when we went ten years ago. It’s a really lovely ‘ride’ where you get taken round the Production Courtyard in a tram and see full-scale movie sets and props from various films. Just don’t get too comfortable! Round the corner you will become part of a film set and be faced with fire and water as an explosive disaster unfolds!

Then it was time for the part I was really excited about – Toy Story Playland! I absolutely love the Toy Story films and as this area is fairly new, it wasn’t there when we went last time round. As we made our way down towards it, we were greeted by a huge Buzz Lightyear, which, of course, I had to have my photo with!

I absolutely loved all the tiny details in this part of the park. From the lights that look like Christmas fairy lights to the fences that are made from K’nex, you really feel like you’ve shrunk down to the size of a toy! Looking round, it made me even more desperate to visit the Toy Story Land in Walt Disney World one day. Unfortunately, the only ride we went on was the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop because none of the others wanted to go on the Slinky Dog or RC Racer, which I was a bit disappointed about. But the Parachute Drop was good fun (even in the rain!) You buckle up in your parachute; get taken up in the air and then drop from 82 feet. It looks like a kids ride, but believe me, it’s higher than you think!

Our next stop was The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ and it was every bit as scary as I remembered! We went through the disabled entrance, so didn’t see all of the theming in the queue area. But as soon as you start watching this little film before-hand, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up (well, it does for me anyway!) I think the scariest bit is the anticipation of knowing there’s going to be a big drop and just waiting for it to happen. It’s also pretty cool being able to see out across the park from the top of the tower before you plunge 13 floors into the Twilight Zone. As you can see from the picture, my sister, Rosiie (bottom right) had a slight issue with her top not being very secure!

After Tower of Terror, we wanted something a little more relaxed, so went round to Ratatouille: The Adventure, which I had been so excited to go on. But when the rest of my family saw that it could cause motion sickness, they decided they didn’t want to go on. Because I needed to use my wheelchair to get to the ride, I had to have a carer with me, which then meant I couldn’t go on either, so I was a bit disappointed about that. Instead, we decided to split up, and my Dad and I went to watch Moteurs…Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. I’d seen it last time we went to Disney, so wasn’t feeling particularly excited about seeing it again, but I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The stunts are amazing and it’s really interesting to see how they do some of the car and motorbike action sequences on the big screen. I would definitely recommend it for anyone that enjoys action, cars and brilliant stunts.

By this point we were feeling pretty hungry, so we met up with my Mum near Ratatouille and got some lunch at one of the little food stalls, which sell traditional foods from different regions of France. It’s such a beautiful space around there – you almost feel like you could be in a little French town – and it’s really nice being able to buy traditional foods like crepes, pastries and ciders. 

As we made our way out of the Studios, we made the most of a few more photo opportunities, including finding a huge Toy Story Rex and also getting a photo with Mike by the Monsters Inc. door. I know Sulley sometimes stands there to do meet and greets too, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to see him this time. My Mum and I also looked in some of the shops, including the Pandora store. I was hoping to get the exclusive Disneyland Paris Castle charm, but they told us it had sold out everywhere. However, I did manage to get the other exclusive charm, with is Minnie Mouse by the Eiffel Tower.

The others decided to head back to the hotel, but my Mum and I went back into the Disneyland Park so we could watch the parade again before going home. We sat in a different place this time (just at the top of Main Street) and actually, I feel like our view was better here than it was in the disabled area. We did have to get there quite early to get a good space, but it meant no one was standing in front of me this time and I managed to get some good photos.

After the parade, we looked in a few more shops and my Mum also took some photos of me with the big bunches of Minnie and Mickey balloons that seem to be dotted around everywhere!

By this point, it was time for us to head to the Disneyland Hotel for our character dinner at Inventions. It is the most beautiful hotel and it smells amazing. I’m determined that, one day; I will get to stay there! As we were a little bit early, we had a look around the lobby while we waited for the others. They weren’t far behind us, so we then went upstairs for our dinner. This was a much more relaxed affair than our character breakfast and we didn’t ever feel rushed. The food in the buffet was delicious and there was so much choice too. Pretty much as soon as we had sat down, the characters started coming round to see us at our tables. They spent so much time with each person and in my opinion; the interactions were so much better than the morning ones. We had Mickey sitting down at our table with us and falling in love with my Mum, Pluto seemed to love having his nose scratched by my sister and Chip and Dale kept stealing our Minnie ears! The characters also interacted with each other and the Cast Members, who often had to chase them around because they kept being ‘naughty!' They had all the diners in hysterics! We saw some characters several times as well, so managed to take loads of photos and have some fantastic interactions. 

We were just finishing our desserts when a Cast Member, Mickey and Tigger came to our table with a birthday cake for me. We had booked it when we first arrived, and I’m so glad we decided to have it at the Character dinner. Music started playing through the speakers and the whole restaurant (as well as the characters) sang Happy Birthday to me! Once they’d finished singing, Tigger got me up out of me seat and started dancing with me. The photos are ridiculously blurry, but they remind me of such a lovely time that I wanted to share them. I was exhausted (and a little embarrassed!), but couldn’t miss such a brilliant opportunity. I mean, how many people can say they’ve danced with Tigger and been sung to by Mickey Mouse?!

But I think the best part of the evening (and possibly the whole holiday) for me, was the fact we were sat right by a window that looked out onto the castle. So, as the fireworks started, Mickey and Donald came over to us, took my hand and stood with me to watch the fireworks out of the window. I actually get a bit emotional whenever I watch back the video of it because it was just such a surreal and special experience. I never expected to be holding hands with Donald Duck while we watched the most beautiful display of fireworks and listened to some of my favourite Disney songs. It’s a memory I will never forget, and whenever I think of starting my 30th Birthday celebrations, I will always remember this part of our holiday so fondly. I think Donald especially will always have a special place in my heart after that evening.

Check back again soon to find out what we did on our final day at Disneyland Paris! And don’t forget, you can also check out my vlogs from our trip on my YouTube channel

Have you been to Disneyland Paris or are you planning a Disney holiday soon? I’d love to hear your favourite things about Disney!

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