Who would believe it’s March already?! Honestly where is this year going? As the all important 12th of April draws ever closer, it’s almost impossible not to reflect on our memories of Disneyland Paris over the years, I have been lucky enough to have so many great experiences over my 9 trips since 2010 and it’s so difficult to narrow it down to a few stand out moments.
But without further waffle from me, here’s my top 5 Disneyland Paris moments!
5. My first trip – I think everyone can agree your first trip to the magic will always hold a special place in your heart, getting to experience everything for the first time is so incredible, I’m pretty sure I spent the entire 4 days in awe of everything that was going on around me, and not entirely believing this was all happening for real!
My first visit was in 2010 during the new generation festival, I went with friends using holiday vouchers I had won at work, up until that point I had always thought a Disney holiday would be out of my reach financially, so to finally walk through those gates was a huge moment.
We stayed at Santa Fe, and spending was on a rather tight budget, we’d done little to no research and were pretty much winging it the whole time, but we had the best holiday, and I knew then I’d found something special in DLP.
4. Meeting Peter Pan – Believe it or not, this moment only happened on my 5th trip, and I haven’t managed to meet my favourite lost boy since. I think we can all agree there are certain characters we hope to meet every trip, and for me Peter is pretty high on that list, I adore the film and for me there’s something about his never grow up attitude that strikes a chord with me, so meeting this lost boy was a huge goal of mine.
It wasn’t until I started to take more of an interest in the online Disneyland Paris community or fandom that my dream of meeting Peter became more of a reality, I got to grips with where was best to get information from, where to find the park program before I arrived and was able to start planning my days and knowing where I needed to be.
So it was on my May trip in 2016 that I finally got my chance to meet Peter, we arrived at his meet location in Frontierland around 20 mins before his meet was due to start to ensure we were nearer the front of the queue, I had my autograph book ready and was wearing my Peter jumper and top, so imagine my disappointment when the meet started and everyone’s favourite Cod Fish Hook showed up! We decided to stay in the queue and meet him anyway, and the interaction was great, when we got nearer the front of the queue I was able to ask one of the CMs if Peter would be meeting at all that day, and luckily he was due to come out about an hour later.
We met hook rode small world and came back in time to get in the queue so that we would be near the front when it changed to Peter and boy was it worth the wait. I had the best interaction with him and it was so worth waiting 6 years and 5 trips for. He was so fun and friendly and I loved his autograph in my book, not only this but Hook came back out to join Peter so we got to see him again which was really special.
And the best part of our Peter meet, at the end of the day when we headed to Main street to watch magic on parade, guess who remembered us! A truly special DLP moment.
3. Halloween 2016 – Now this trip was something really special, but perhaps not for the reasons you would expect. After deciding I wanted to get into blogging in March last year I realised the best first step was to get involved with the Disney community online, and honestly? That was one of the best decisions I’ve made, everyone has been so friendly and welcoming and I’ve made some of the best friends.
So Halloween 2016 I finally got to take a trip to DLP with some of the people I’d met through the community. This was huge and not something I could have predicted when I started talking to people but I’m so glad i did it. Sharing the trip with so many Disney fans who were just as excited as me was an incredible experience. And the Soiree was something else entirely. I have so many amazing memories from this trip and feel so genuinely lucky to have been able to share it with so many people I consider friends.
Highlights from the trip include meeting Duffy for the first time, thanks to Alyssa and Gaetane, Inventions on the first night with a whole bunch of great people, and eating at Auberge with Steph, Kelly and Gabi. Everyone I met on that trip made it special and I look forward to taking more trips with you guys! Here’s some of my favourite photos!
2. The “Early” night – Now maybe this one is a cop out choice, because its part of the Halloween trip I mentioned in my last moment. But this night was so special I wanted to give it a mention of its own.
It was the last night of my Halloween trip, and having spent the afternoon with Kelly and Steph we had promised ourselves we’d get an early night in ready for our last day in the parks and to make sure we were there for extra magic hours, so the plan was to leave once dreams started at around 10. It was getting late so we decided to take the opportunity to ride Buzz lazer blast while the queue was short, and as we came off the ride and headed towards the hub dreams was just starting!
As it was the end of the October half term for most people the park had really emptied out after Magic on Parade earlier that day, so the view we had for dreams was actually really good despite turning up right at the last min. We decided to stay and watch with the rest of the group of stragglers that were still going strong, and boy am I glad I did! I don’t often stay out for dreams, I try to fit it in once a trip, but to be honest with you, I don’t like fireworks and I really like sleep, but watching it on the last night of my trip, with a bunch of the kindest most lovely people I’d met through our mutual love of Disney, was something special, I was close to tears at times.
After dreams the majority of guests left the park really quickly, as we’d already stayed out later than planned we decided to wait and take some shots of the castle and an empty main street, as we slowly worked our way up and stopped for more pictures in town square it quickly became apparent that we were the only ones left in the park, as we moved closer to the exit security followed us, they were really great and didn’t rush us out, just ensured we didn’t go back further into the park.
Once we’d taken a whole bunch of photos in the park we stopped in Fantasia Gardens to appreciate the lit up fountains, we slowly made our way through the village popping in and out of each shop and then walked back to the hotel. We finally got back around midnight, and though it wasn’t the early night I had planned for it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable evenings I’ve spent at DLP and I’m so glad I shared it with so many friends!
1. Run Disney – Not only was this perhaps my favourite DLP moment over the 7 years I’ve been visiting, but this is perhaps one of my favourite ever moments so far. This was something that to begin with seemed like too crazy an idea to ever be able to pull off, it was a year in the making and pushed me to limits I didn’t know I had, but hands down it was the most rewarding experience, and honestly I can’t wait to get out there and do it again!
I won’t go into a huge detail about the whole weekend, you can check out my trip report starting here, but in short, what a weekend! So many fantastic experiences packed into a whirlwind 4 days meant this was a trip I’ll never forget, I met 50 different characters, ran 26.1 kms and earned 2 Incredible medals, and better than that I did it all in the place I love best and met some incredible friends along the way.
Special shout out to Steven and his family for travelling with me and spending their weekend with me, and to Gaetane who encouraged me in the starting corral when I’d convinced myself I couldn’t do it.
If anyone out there is thinking of taking part in a RunDisney event I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough, the atmosphere was incredible every one was friendly and helpful and the whole experience felt special. And I can promise you, nothing will ever compare to crossing that finish line and getting those medals. Of course training is essential, there’s only so far you’ll get on faith, trust and pixie dust alone, but it was worth every single training mile.
A special thank you to Deandre over at PlayWearTalkRed for letting me use some of his Halloween 2016 photos!
Thanks for reading, hopefully when DLP turns 30 I’ll have a whole bunch more memories to share! What are your best DLP moments?