We set our alarm for 6.30am and made it to the Chuck Wagon Café at around 7.15am for our buffet breakfast. Breakfast was included with our hotel reservation, but from the end of March hotel guests will have to pay for their breakfast. Whilst we were there the food was your typical continental style breakfast with pastries, breads, meat, cheeses and cereal. This was fine for us and a good way to prepare for a day in the parks, but I’m not sure I’d want to pay extra for it unless they added hot food including pancakes and Mickey Waffles etc.
After eating around five croissants and pain au chocolat’s we caught the bus to Disneyland Park. The bus service at Hotel Cheyenne is very good and we never waiting more that 5 minutes for a bus to arrive. The journey is about 5 minutes. We arrived at Disneyland Park around 8.30am during extra magic hours (for hotel guests only) and went straight to Peter Pan’s Flight which was showing a wait time of 15 minutes. After the short wait we boarded our pirate ship and flew over the street of London to Neverland and back again. Last year this attraction was closed due to refurbishment, so we were keen to do it and it was worth the wait. The attraction looked stunning and we really did feel like we were flying. This became a family favourite for us all this trip.
Excited from our trip to Neverland decided that we quite liked flying so we walked over to Dumbo the flying elephant and after a 20 minute wait we were flying again, this time on an elephant! Last year our little lady was afraid to do Dumbo due to it going high in the air and she still was a little anxious at first, but once we were up high she didn’t want to come down again. Following this, we went on Sir Lancelot’s Carousel and then went on The Pinocchio dark ride, which is surprisingly dark and sinister (cigar smoking kids turning into donkeys plays on the mind!), but being that bit older our little lady did not mind this.
Dumbo the flying elephant
After experiencing four Fantasyland attractions in a relatively short time, it was now 9.30am and we still had another 30 minutes until the rest of the park opened (only selected attractions in Fantasyland and Discoveryland are open during this time). Our plan was to get a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain as soon as Frontierland opened. Being mindful that our lunch reservation was not until 2.30pm, we decided to go to the Cable Car Bakeshop and have a snack to keep us going. I had a Nutella muffin, Mrs Geeky Dad had a blueberry muffin and my Mum and our little lady had a doughnut. We were all very happy with our choices and we enjoyed the décor and theming inside the shop.
At 10am we strolled over to Frontierland which had just opened and attempted to get a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain but were told they were available from 11am. We decided to have a look around Adventureland where we saw The Genie from Aladdin at a meet and greet which had just opened. We waited a few minutes and then met The Genie. He was great at interacting with our little lady including hugs and high fives. Our little lady asked The Genie to sign our autograph book which he of course did and we then posed for some great photos. We then decided to take a look at the Swiss Family Tree House, which was looking clean and recently refurbished. Whilst not the most interesting attraction, it’s little things like the treehouse that make Disney stand out from the rest. Again the theming was great including waterfalls and of course the great views of the rest of the park from the top of the treehouse.
It was now around 10.45am and I decided to queue up or our fastpasses whilst the others had a browse in the shop in Frontierland. I managed to get a fastpass return time of 12pm. I met up with our little lady who had been treated to not one, but three Aristocat plush toys (Marie, Toulouse and Berlioz), which came as a set. Our little lady remembered them from last year and wanted them to go with her plush Figaro (the cat in Pinocchio) which she got last year. We had a quick look at the park schedule to see what we could do before our fastpass time and noticed that Woody from Toy Story was doing a character meet and greet in Frontierland so we found him near the Cowboy Cookout BBQ restaurant and joined the queue to meet him. After a 40 minute wait, which actually went quite quickly as we watched the fun interactions Woody was having with everyone, we met Woody for a photograph and of course got his signature in our autograph book.
It was now time for the newly refurbished Big Thunder Mountain. We had made the decision that despite being over the height requirement our little lady would likely find this attraction too intense, so my Mum took her on It’s a Small World whilst we used our fastpass tickets. We went straight to the front of the line and were on wildest ride in the west within minutes. My initial thoughts were how much more intense the ride is compared to the Big Thunder Mountain at WDW, which for me made it a much better ride. Sure its still pretty tame compared to some rollercoasters but the sections in the dark parts underneath the rivers of the Far West were pretty intense. The whole ride including the mountain itself and the splash down looked fantastic, and the dynamite explosion at the rides finale added a little extra spark (pun intended) to the ride. After the ride we met up with our little lady and Mum, and we went over to Discoveryland to see if Stars Tours the Adventure Continues was soft opening (the ride wasn’t officially meant to open until after our trip but we saw it had been open on our first day). We were in luck and with only a 15 minute wait we decided to go on a trip to a galaxy far far away.
Big Thunder Mountain
The newly refurbished queue area was fantastic, with both C3PO and R2D2 present, and other droids including one who was in charge of scanning luggage. On the screen we were able to see inside the luggage, and there were often little jokes to look out for. For example, in one piece of luggage there was the silhouette of Buzz Lightyear and in another Chip and Dale. Mrs Geeky Dad and I were both unsure how our little lady would cope on this ride as she has not really done ‘thrill rides’ before. Once we boarded our Starspeeder, we put on our 3D glasses and were treated to a thrilling trip to Tatooine and Coruscant meeting Princess Leia along the way. The new ride was fantastic, it really felt like you were going through hyperspace and it was a very smooth ride. We all enjoyed it but I don’t think our little lady and Mum were keen to ride it again. As there are different variations each time you ride Star Tours I was keen to ride it again and hoped it would be open on other days during our trip.
The Luggage Scanner Droid – Star Tours
We had promised our little lady that we would watch the Frozen Sing-a-long show today, and a performance in English was about to start in 20 minutes, so we had a swift walk across the park and took our seats for the show. Our little lady had decided to wear her Elsa dress today because of the show and she loved every minute of it, singing along to the words of all the songs from the film whilst Olaf and Anna danced on stage. Personally I didn’t think too much of the majority of the show (although I’m hardly the target audience), but the finale of ‘Let It Go’ with fake snow falling from the sky as Elsa arrived on stage was fantastic. Watching our little lady as she looked on in awe was quite emotional.
The show finished at 2.10pm and with us all feeling peckish we were grateful that we only had 20 minutes until our dinner reservation, The Princess Meal at Auberge De Cendrillon.
We arrived at the restaurant and were seated after a short wait. As we walked through the restaurant we caught a glimpse of Ariel and Aurora. Our little lady was very very excited. Once sat at the table we were given ‘The Princes Cocktail’ which was a non-alcoholic fruit drink and fairy nibbles, which were cheesy choux pastry bites. We then ordered all three of our courses from the set menu. For starter Mrs Geeky Dad and I had the prawns in saffron butter, whilst my Mum and our little lady had Pumpkin soup. For main course we had the Veal, our little lady had the chicken with roast potatoes and my mum had the turbot in champagne sauce. Then for dessert our little lady had a white chocolate Cinderella slipper with chocolate mouse inside, Mrs Geeky Dad and Mum had mango or passion fruit ice cream in a mini pumpkin and I had the cheese board. We all enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. The menu is very French, and overall the food was decent. My only complaint would be that some of our prawns were very mushy which made me paranoid that I’d get sick, but thankfully I didn’t.
Throughout our meal we met Perla and Susy (the mice in Cinderella), Cinderella herself, Aurora with Prince Phillip (no not that one!) and Ariel. Each character spent nearly 5 minutes with our daughter and she had some fantastic interactions. Of course each of them signed our autograph book.
Meeting Aurora and Prince Phillip
Auberge De Cendrillon is not a cheap place to eat and is probably not worth the price for the food, but at the end of the day you are paying for the interactions with the princesses. Our little lady loved it and we got some great photographs, so to me it was worth the expense. To meet three princesses in the park would probably take at least 4 to 5 hours queuing and even then you would not be guaranteed three different ones. I probably wouldn’t do this experience again in future trips but am pleased we did it this time.
We decided to walk off our dinner by having a look through Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. Last year when we walked through this attraction it looked very faded and in need of some TLC. This year it looked almost brand new. It was brightly painted and all the effects were working. Like the Treehouse this was a pleasant walk through attraction with great views of Fantasyland from the top of the Queen of Hearts castle in the centre of the maze. We had great fun bumping into characters such as the Cheshire cat and the caterpillar in the maze as music from the animated film played in the background.
Curiouser and curiouser
As we left the maze it suddenly dawned on Mrs Geeky Dad that we had the left the bag with our little Lady’s new Aristocat plush toys in the restaurant, so we darted back and thankfully they had been handed in. Phew! Little lady and kitties reunited!
It was nearly time for Magic On Parade which started at 5.30pm, but we managed to sneak in another ride through It’s a small world first. We then picked our spot for the parade and waited for it to begin. Our little lady loves this parade. She likes the song and the number of characters that she gets to see, especially those who respond to her waves. The song is amazingly catchy and gets stuck in your head (“Magic everywhere!”). I think we will miss this parade (this was it’s last week) but I look forward to seeing the new 25th anniversary one with the steampunk dragon.
Magic on Parade
After the parade we walked over to Discoveryland and rode Buzz Lightyear laser blast again. However, this time Mrs Geeky Dad beat me by a considerable amount and admitted that she found a way to get a really high score but she wouldn’t tell me! We then decided to go on Autopia as out little lady quite liked going around in the little car, driving by turning the wheel while I did the gas pedal. As a non-driver I also quite enjoy this ride.
It was starting to get dark and we were all feeling very tired, so we decided to spend a little time sat in Café Hyperion to have a snack and a sit down. Mrs Geeky Dad and I shared a Darth Vader Burger which is a burger in a mustard sauce in a black bun. We both found it very tasty. It also came with a Yoda cupcake which is chocolate cake with green butter icing on top. It was delicious.
Darth Vader Burger
With Dreams due to start in 45 minutes we picked our spot in front of the castle. Mrs Geeky Dad held our spot whilst Mum and I went off to look through some of the shop on Main Street USA. I brought my first Disney Pin of the trip, a Buzz Lightyear laser blast pin. I always collect pins when I go to Disney Parks and I was hoping to buy some more to put in a frame, to go alongside our pins from our WDW honeymoon which are already framed.
After a quick perusal we walked back to our spot and waited 20 minutes for Disney Dream’s to begin. For those who have not seen this magnificent show, it is a combination of fireworks, lasers, fire, water fountains, high quality projection mapping on the castle and music.
Sleeping Beauty Castle before Dreams
The story is about Peter Pan’s shadow spilling pixie dust from the magic star on the castle which results in the shadow going through scenes and music from different classic Disney animated films, including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Brave and of course Peter Pan. There are plenty of familiar songs throughout from both heroes and Villains. It is simply a stunning show and in my mind, the best Disney night time entertainment I’ve ever experienced. My favourite scene features The Genie from Aladdin singing ‘Friend like me’ and doing all sorts of interesting things with the castle including turning it in to a casino. All of us really loved this show. I don’t see how it will be possible for Disneyland Paris to top Disney Dreams but I’m looking forward to seeing the new show in the future.
Once Dreams finished we made our way out of the park (using the Arcades either side of Main Street as a short cut). Fantasia Gardens outside Disneyland Park looked fantastic at night, with the music and fountains lit up. With our feet aching and tiredness setting in after a busy day, we caught our bus back to the hotel and it wasn’t long before we were all sound asleep.