Last November, one of my girlfriends and I had the chance to spend a week in Paris. We were of course excited to see the dazzling City of Lights, but our main motivation for traveling was to experience a new Disney park. After a few days walking along the Seine, prancing through Versailles and the Louvre, sampling an afternoon of luxury with a tea service at the Shangri-La hotel, and cramming our faces full of as many other pastries as we could manage, we took the train outside of the city to begin our jaunt in Disneyland.
On the evening we arrived, we checked into our room at Sequoia Lodge (looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t take photos of the property!!) and then we walked over to Disney Village. It was like the budget version of Disney Springs, but the shopping and dining options were very sparse in comparison. Having just come from Florida, we were more than a little spoiled and mostly underwhelmed, but it was nevertheless exciting to be experiencing France’s version of Disney! We were excited to explore both theme parks over our next 2 days.
Our first full day started at Disney Studios. Again, we were underwhelmed, but we’d been warned not to expect too much here, so it matched our expectations overall. It was a small park, the theming was not super immersive, and many of the attractions were just so-so. However, the attractions that weren’t mediocre were absolutely amazing! We loved the Ratatouille trackless ride and the Finding Nemo roller coaster. The Art of Animation attraction was a true homage to the art and animators of Disney through the ages, and I don’t even know where to begin with Mickey’s Big Band Christmas Show!
This production featured some of my favorite 1940s songs as well as some holiday classics. I was absolutely in love with this amazing lineup of holiday outfits and songs as the characters, singers, and dancers pranced around the stage. Mickey was the first of the gang to join the performers onstage.
Then Goofy graced us with his presence.
Minnie cheerfully twirled around stage next, and Mickey soon joined her.
Then it was time for a wardrobe change.
Aaaand a final costume change.
In the words of my friend in our group chat: “YALL DONT EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW GOOD THIS SHOW WAS IT WAS AMAZING”
After our day at Disney Studios, we had just enough time to visit the Disneyland park in its final hour before closing. Despite the winter chill, it was enchanting to walk into the park after dark and see the beautiful shimmering castle rise at the end of Main Street USA.
After a good night of sleep, we entered this park once again the following morning and were just as entranced by the view.
Overall, Disneyland was like a French version of Florida’s Magic Kingdom. It was a lot of fun to enjoy the classic attractions while also spotting some of the differences (like how Big Thunder Mountain felt more intense and Space Mountain actually went upside down!) and soaking up the holiday ambience all the while!
We weren’t aware ahead of time about the Christmas parade, but we happened to be in place at the right time to watch it. Mickey and the gang were all about spreading the Christmas cheer.
Pooh Bear and friends were in charge of delivering letters to Santa.
Floats of other holiday helpers followed our favorite Disney friends, and the parade wrapped up with Mr and Mrs Claus.
Within the castle, there was so much magic to be found. The shop contained sparkly goods such as glass items and gem-studded tiaras. It even contained a glassblower who made customizable tubes of pixie dust.
Other merchandise could be purchased at the shops along Main Street USA, which was bordered with beautiful arcades.
Out on Main Street, elegant blue and silver decorations adorned the storefronts, and garland was strewn across the walkway.
Main Street was where my friend and I decided to watch the late afternoon Stars On Parade spectacle. It had some similarities to Florida’s Festival of Fantasy parade, but there were many differences that made it feel new and exciting to us.
We loved seeing the mighty Maleficent float, given that her Florida version was currently on hiatus while recovering from a fire.
The princes and princesses brought up the tail end of the parade.
Although it was absolutely freezing on this trip, I’m so glad that my friend and I got to experience Disney magic and holiday charm in Paris. I’m already dreaming of my next Parisian getaway!