I did it! I left the country! For the first time in foreeeeveeer! (okay a year and half feels like forever). Aaaand yes, it was a trip I can’t really afford and yes, it was a present for Gigi that was also a present for me, and YES, it was my favourite spontaneous decision of 2016.
Planning NYE at Disneyland Paris
Because the website is WILDLY unhelpful and there was barely any information online except ‘hey, you should book this set dinner that’s ten thousand pounds’ we just decided to wing it. We booked a hotel 15 minutes from the park (because we couldn’t quite afford to sleep in Disney-style just this time) and we were just going to hop on public shuttles and buses to get us to and from the airport and park. HOWEVER, we decided to treat ourselves and book the Magical Shuttle – BIG mistake! Although the nearby hotels (like ours) are listed on their website and you ‘book’ from the airport to your hotel, in fact the bus only stops at Disney hotels and the park and then… LEAVES YOU STRANDED WHEN IT’S MINUS 3 OUTSIDE.
We stayed in the Ibis in Noisy-Le -Grand*. It was simple and the staff were absolutely AMAZING! Our room also had a bath. So I was very, very happy.
Gigi had set our going home alarm an hour behind so we also missed our bus back to the airport on the 2nd and had to get a very overpriced taxi the whole way instead. Oh well. Lesson learned in many respects (i.e. set my own alarm and don’t trust Magical Shuttle).
I totally recommend getting the trains from the airport to the hotel, the Paris RER system is exceptional and pretty cheap, too!
What even happens in Disney at New Year?
Well the Christmas lights are still twinkling, and it’s full of festive magic, there’s the parks and parades and rides and everything you expect from Disney. The park is open until 1am rather than the usual 10pm. It really does has that Christmass-y feel, and it was busy, but not too busy during the day. The longest we had to wait for anything was 45 minutes and that was the very short Peter Pan ride (worth it). It was freezing (minus 4 at one point! MINUS 4. Pack your thermals and seventeen pairs of socks, everyone.) I got us tickets for both parks so we spent the two days with chattering teeth and frozen toes wandering between the studios and theme park. Gigi is not a fan of rollercoasters (she’d never been on one) but she went on Space Mountain -which she will never go on again- and Thunder Mountain – which she frickin’ loved. Anyway, enough rambling… on to:
THE MIDNIGHT SHOW(!!!!!!!!)
Midnight. Crowds. Soooo many people. A glowing, massive castle. The show went on FOREVER! This was the only photo I managed to take.*** Music, fireworks, and an amazing show which was projected straight onto the castle with all of our Disney character favs (and lots and lots of Frozen bloody hell. So. Much. Frozen.). For the past few years my midnight moments have been a cheeky New Year’s kiss with some bloke who’s just been there. This year was so much better, so much more real, and utterly magical. Me and Gigi also made out as the fireworks went off. We’re getting married. It was always going to happen.** Just before the fireworks went off Gigi nudged me and said “oh no, her phone just died!” about the girl in front of us, who was from China, studying in Italy, and visiting Disney alone. I tapped her on the shoulder and passed her my portable charger. She was my very first hug of 2017!
Eating Vegan at Disneyland Paris
I’m not going to lie. I struggled. I did not pre-plan. Gigi struggled. She also did not pre-plan (but given her credit it was a surprise trip). I’m vegan and she’s soy, gluten and dairy free. In the park, a lot of the places were extremely fast food-y, with a vegetarian salad option. I had heard to check out the Aladdin restaurant but we honestly could not find it (we were terrible at using the map) and the nicer restaurants were really reppin’ their New Year set meals, too.
New Years Eve – everywhere was PACKED. 10/10 would recommend booking somewhere, oooooor you could do what we did and rock up to the Rainforest Cafe, which doesn’t do bookings (6/7pm is a good time if you don’t want to wait too long). We joined the queue, and 45 minutes later we were sat in a cute little corner with an exceptional waiter who was so on our dietary requirements and helped us find the perfect dishes. I’m still a sucker for themes, so every time the elephant moved and a ‘thunder storm’ happened I got way too excited. We had some amazing burgers and I had a ‘Sneaky Snake’ cocktail which was bright blue and bloody amazing. 12/10 would recommend this place it was FABULOUS.
New Year’s Day – we just inhaled snacks. Trek bars, chocolate, cookies, Pringles.
Gigi: Do you remember the taste of strawberries?
Me: I can’t recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass.
My advice: pack fruit beforehand. Most shops were closed on New Year’s Day. We missed fruit.
Yes, it’s cold at NYE. But it’s worth it, because it LOOKED MAGICAL. CHECK THESE BEAUTIFUL PICS:
*Noisy-Le-Grand was kind of weird. Like an office-y ghost town. There was a ton of corporate buildings, and quite a lot of traffic… but, like, NO PEOPLE?! Nobody walking down the street. Just nobody. There was also a ton of trash just chillin’ in the streets, and loads of abandoned prams. So many prams. Why?!
**Just in case you’re wondering, me and Gigi didn’t make out and we’re not getting married. But I do not doubt that we’d be wonderful parents to a pack of dogs and two cats.
***Check out my instagram for some firework videos and more Disney pictures ^.^