The alarm went off at 7.30am and we got up and dressed, taking some chocolate croissants with us as we had a character’s breakfast booked for later that morning. At 8.10am we left our hotel via the very handy entrance located beside the exit gates of the Disney park and headed for the entrance gates. I had decided we were going to make the most of Extra Magic Time, as it is now called.
There were a few people already in the queue which was for residents of the Disneyland Hotels and made our way into the park to be met by the amazing looking Christmas tree and snowmen in the Town Square outside City Hall. BattleDad had first taken me to Disneyland Paris ten years ago for my 30th birthday and we’d visited in December, but I had forgotten how beautiful and well decorated they make Disney at this time of year.
There weren’t many people already in the park and as we walked down Main Street, the excitement in me was building. I had been looking forward to visiting Disneyland with BattleKid since he was a baby and it was finally happening. We headed towards the castle and got a spot at the rope to take some pictures of it.
BattleKid was in awe of the castle. I don’t think he fully understood what was going on. We waited patiently for the ropes to be lifted at 8.30 and once they were we made our way into Fantasyland and headed for Peter Pan. In my research before our trip, many people had said Peter Pan was a great ride but should be done in EMT or that you should Fast Pass it as the wait time for it is always long.
The ride wasn’t quite ready when we got there and the cast members suggested we could either wait in line until it opened or come back. As we were only about ten people from the front we elected to wait. We said we’d give it half an hour and if it still wasn’t ready by 9am we’d Fast Pass it later. We didn’t have to wait that long and we were in about the third or fourth boat for the ride.
BattleDad hadn’t been on the ride in 25 years and this was my first time on the ride. BattleDad, having been a member of the opening crew, had ridden the Peter Pan ride before the park had even opened to the public back in 1992. Now we were all sharing that ride together. And it was amazing. Lots of people had said it was a must-do and I can see why now. Flying above the scenes from the film was brilliant. And before we knew it, our first Disney ride together as a family was over.
As we came out of the ride, BattleKid was literally lost for words. Between having his mind blown and not fully understanding what was going on, I think he was having a “WTF just happened” moment and got a bit emotional. He wanted to go back home.
That said, once we mentioned the Dumbo ride, he was all for staying. After Peter Pan we went on the Dumbo ride, the Tea Cups and the Carousel before starting to make our way to Plaza Gardens for our character’s breakfast.
Now, I had read on a few of the Disney Facebook groups that the character’s breakfasts were rather chaotic, and I was a bit apprehensive. I had booked two so that we could share one with our friends who had come to Disney as well and one for just ourselves. When we arrived shortly before 9.45 the queue to get in was very long and I thought this was a sign of things to come. However, once we showed the lady on reception both sets of vouchers we were soon seated at our allocated table.
Now, a word of warning. If you are booking a character’s breakfast on top of a normal hotel breakfast, make sure you have two vouchers per person with you. You need BOTH your hotel voucher AND your character’s breakfast supplement voucher in order to gain entry. If you forget either you can gain entry but will have to pay for the breakfast and get a refund when you return with both sets of vouchers. This happened to the couple in front of us and also our friends, whose hotel hadn’t given them the correct information at the time of check-in.
I have to say, the gentleman at the check-in desk in the Disneyland Hotel where we were staying was very efficient. He stapled our vouchers together and fully explained the ramifications of forgetting one or the other. I so think you sometimes pay for what you get.
Once seated, Mickey made a beeline for us and his was the first ever signature in BattleKid’s Disney autograph book. Daisy Duck soon followed before we started getting our breakfast from the buffet. And despite the warnings from people on the various Facebook groups, I didn’t find the breakfast too chaotic. In truth, yes, it is busy, and the characters can only spend a few minutes at your table before they have to meet and greet other guests, but that’s really all you need in order to get their signature and a few pictures. As long as your expectations are to get an autograph and a picture or two you won’t be disappointed. You just need to keep in mind that it is a large restaurant, there are lots of tables and other families, and the characters have to try see all of them in the short time that breakfast is on for.
Breakfast itself was quite nice. There is a good range options from a cold continental breakfast, to cereals, fruit and yogurt, to a hot buffet. There are delicious pastries too, so there is something for everyone. And we never found a section lacking in anything. My only gripe for this breakfast was only one tea and coffee machine was working so it took a while to get our hot drinks.
Shortly after we had eaten our breakfast, the characters switched sides of the room and we got to meet Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. Each of them signed BattleKid’s autograph book and we got a picture taken with each of them. I think BattleKid enjoyed this breakfast after his mind-blowing morning on the rides.
Suitable refuelled, we left the restaurant and decided to stake a claim to a spot for the Christmas parade at 11.50. I checked online where might be the best place to watch it. Our friends’ husband missed it due to a missing bag.
The parade was brilliant and was on for about 15 minutes. One cast member came over to BattleKid and played with his Kylo Ren mask from his costume which we’d dressed him in after breakfast.
A much-needed toilet break was taken before we wandered through Adventureland and headed towards the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. BattleDad and I have always gone on this ride whenever we visited, and we wanted to go again. So, we took a chance and brought BattleKid with us, talking him through what we were going to see when we got into the boats. This ride is by far my favourite ride and I didn’t want to miss it.
One thing that surprised me was there was barely any queue for the ride. In previous visits we’ve queued for 40 minutes to go on this ride, but we were on within 5 minutes. Handy when doing it with a toddler. He was a bit unsure at first but we pointed out things that we knew would pique his interested and after the ride he said he enjoyed it. I’m not sure if that was true or whether he was saying it after buying himself a pirate’s sword in the shop.
After we’d finished Pirates our friends’ husband rejoined us with the missing bag and we made our way towards Discoveryland. We wanted to tick off the Buzz Lightyear ride and also meet Darth Vader. The Buzz Lightyear ride was first up and BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed this. Again, the queue was not as long as we’d imagined, and we were soon shooting Emporer Zurg’s henchmen with our lasers.
Then, it was time for the one thing BattleDad had said was on his non-negotiable list. A meeting with Darth Vader. We had bought BattleKid a Kylo Ren outfit in Portland and this was why we’d dressed him in it after breakfast. We only had about a 20-minute wait for this meet and greet.
As you enter the waiting area, you are met by an assistant, who I might add was very serious. We had been talking and laughing with the couple in front of us about BattleKid’s outfit and it was frowned upon by the assistant. Lord Vader then came into the room to invite the couple before us onto his bridge and he spotted BattleKid and, despite no words, I think was impressed by him.
We waited our turn before Lord Vader ushered us in. BattleDad got into the first few pictures. Then Lord Vader indicated he wanted a picture with the little man by himself before we got one or two family pictures. It was a very serious affair but one of our best meet and greet pictures from the entire visit came from this visit.
While we waited for our friends to come out, the boys went into the Star Wars shop and came out empty-handed. I really thought there would be a bag or two with them. Afterwards, the boys and dads went on the Autopia ride before we decided to head to Annette’s in the Disney Village for dinner. We detoured via our room to layer up some more and grab our hats and gloves as it was getting colder and our intention was to see the Illuminations that night.
We arrived at Annettes about 4pm and were seated straight away. There were plenty of seats available as I think most people were getting ready for the main parade at 5pm in the Disney park. We had a lovely three course meal, all the adults opting for tasty burgers. And while all the food was very tasty, it again came out lukewarm.
After dinner we headed back into the Disney park and found a spot to watch the Illuminations from. And what a show that was. The combination of music, lights and fireworks was brilliant and once again, the little man’s mind was blown.
After the show we browsed a few shops before attempting to get ‘The Picture’. We sort of managed it by blocking out some stranglers with a strategically placed BattleKid. To me, it would do as it was cold, and I didn’t want to hang around anymore. We headed for the exit past the fabulous Christmas tree, said goodbye to our friends and headed to our room for a bath to warm up. We were completely satisfied with our day and ticked off so many things from our timetable.
BattleKid had been great too, enjoying himself despite being in awe of everything, and also, was quite good not wanting everything he saw in the shops. I really thought we’d have tears over leaving shops without certain things, but he didn’t. He had gotten a pirate’s sword after our ride and he was treated to a Buzz Lightyear interactive doll after the Autopia ride and he seemed happy with them.
We all went to bed exhausted but thoroughly happy with our first family day in Disneyland Paris. Next up was to be Studios!
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