For our first full day inside Disneyland Paris, we woke up bright and early so we could take advantage of free Castle Club breakfast before Extra Magic Time. A good night’s sleep had done wonders for my attitude, and I sprang out of bed full of optimisim and enthusiasm despite the blanket of snow that still covered everything.
Breakfast at the Castle Club Lounge is the real deal, with a wider variety and more extensive menu than anything I’ve seen at Walt Disney World’s club lounges (though, sadly, without the egg salad I loved so much at the Ambassador Hotel Club Lounge at Tokyo Disney!). In addition to pancakes, waffles, crepes, bacon, sausage, potatoes and eggs, there was a custom omelette station, oatmeal/porridge, fruit, cereal, tons of pastries, English breakfast items like tomatoes and baked beans, and super-swanky charcuterie/cold cuts that even I wouldn’t turn my nose up at! Also, if you go at the right time, they have characters visiting each table, making it basically a small, relaxed and exclusive character breakfast. So if you’re trying to make the cost calculations come out ahead, you can throw that in the balance.
We settled into our favorite table by the window and enjoyed a view into the park that I forgot to photograph for you (“Can’t shoot… Eating!”)
Things were looking rosy when we stopped back by the room to pick up our 86 bazillion pieces of paper for admission and access around the parks and resort.
Disneyland Paris’ Extra Magic Time is available to all Disney hotel guests every morning, in both parks simultaneously. The hours are a bit funny: They tell you that Extra Magic Time lasts from 8:30am to 9:30am, but the park opens at 10am. Nobody kicks you out during that last half hour or anything, but why not just say it lasts from 8:30am to 10am?
Right at 8:30 we took the special Club Level elevator to the park entrance, and then hoofed it all the way back to Fantasyland, which is the only part of the park open for Extra Magic Time. It was pretty icy out that morning, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sunrise made for some fabulous photos.
Not many other hardy souls made it out to the park that early!
This upper gallery was closed for refurbishment during our visit. Maybe it’s a good thing, cuz I’m betting Patrick woulda been compelled to take a million photos of all that amazing stained glass!
Boy, if you thought Fantasyland was cute already, wait til you see it in the snow!
Our arch-enemy, Yellow Safety Cone!!!
Yes, those are real live icicles! Could it be any more perfect?!
Frozen water! I totally threw a snowball in there.
This beanstalk is nuts! Why can’t we have crazy stuff like this in the US parks? Oh yeah… Because it would have to have a security fence around it and 15 lawyer-approved warnings about not climbing….
Enjoy this path before it turns to mud-slush.
Look at the quilting on the roof of the Mad Tea Party! It is literally a blanket of snow!
Foie gras/souvenir stand….
I dunno why we thought Alice’s Curious Labyrinth would be open, but we got our hopes up again. I’ll bet it looked amazing inside in the snow.
I can’t decide which is cooler: Seeing incongruous places like Adventureland in the snow, or seeing places that actually would have snow, like Toad Hall…
Peter Pan’s flight really came through for us that morning. We rode it four times in a row, much to the cast members’ delight.
My eyes automatically go to this load-area rooftop on whichever version of Peter Pan we ride, because Disneyland’s has had a broken finial for at least 10 years now…
And then Patrick had another acid trip!
I really gotta find out where that guy is getting all this acid!
I loved all the light effects in Disneyland Paris’ Peter Pan! Disneyland’s effects have never worked this well… It was our first taste of what would become a running theme on most of the rides we did manage to experience: Disneyland Paris has the very best version!
The perfect Christmas tree….
Next we rode Pinnochio twice (which is about as much as I can handle of children being turned into donkeys and shipped off to the salt mines).
The murals in these Fantasyland rides are just fantastic. Prepare yourself for many more mural shots….
Ah…. a cheerful fire to warm our hands on a snowy day in Disneyland!
Translation: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”
Another fabulous mural…
I love the blue sky and colorful teacups in this shot Patrick took. Plus, icicles!!!
Unless those cups have actual steaming-hot tea in ’em, I’m not interested!
I stole Patrick’s shot….
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (ba-da-bump!), but when there are only five rides open in the whole park, you kinda gotta do the Mad Tea Cups!
Patrick had fun playing with the camera settings on this ride.
This is what *I* see when Patrick has an acid trip….
We spilled outta the teacups and into the snow, then headed for it’s a small world.
Our boat got stuck on the way into Small World, so we got to see the full clock show while we waited. I love all the figures!
A tiny peek at what the landscaping looks like under all that snow…
Neither of us had been that impressed with photos of Disneyland Paris’ Small World. It seemed like an extended version of the reviled “America” addition they gave ours at Disneyland a few years ago. But in person…. it is GORGEOUS!!! When the whole ride is done in that newer style, it looks amazing. We were so knocked out, we rode it three times in a row.
And now I am going to show you 1 bazillion photos of a ride that looks better in person than in photos…
Apologies in advance for the shots that are out of focus. I thought you might still like to see the color-splosion!
The only place we raised an eyebrow was at the reductive depiction of the US as nothing more than New York, San Francisco and Hollywood, but I’m sure denizens of other countries have been doing the same at their representation for years. (“Le sniff! France is more than can-can girls and the Eiffel Tower. We also have wine!”)
I do love that the Hollywood Bowl made it into the Imagineers’ narrow requirements for depictions of America….
Où est la Goose Girl?
Apparently the fourth Can-Can Girl is playing hooky with the Goose Girl.
Check out the cray-mazing icicles dripping down the left side of the canopy!
Even the country that gave us Daft Punk prohibits disco dancing aboard it’s a small world!
On our final trip through the ride, Patrick focused on closeups and got some pretty great ones!
Uh…. one of these things is not like the others… Is this some kind of Grumpy Cat tie-in?
Why is this hat not available in the gift shop? I demand that this hat be available in the gift shop!!!
I adore the happy cactus! (Also, “The Happy Cactus” would be a great name for a Tex-Mex restaurant!)
So… much… GLITTER!!!
At this point, the park was finally open, so after getting our fill of the Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed, we headed off to Adventure Isle for the Sloppiest Cruise That Ever Sailed: Pirates of the Caribbean!
Ahoy! Ye be headed fer the Widowmaker Steps!
I love these costumes! I feel like we’ll never see anything this elaborate again at Disneyland since they started cutting costs by having cast members launder their own costumes. Either Disneyland Paris still cleans all its costumes in-house, or they just trust French cast members to know what to do with them!
No drink for you!
On the way into Pirates, we spotted the craziest icicles yet!
We didn’t take photos this time around, but I’m pretty sure we have some later in the trip. Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Paris is AWESOME! Until I see the one in Shanghai, I have to declare this one the best version anywhere in the world. It has everything you love about the original, with some fun twists. (The caves come last! A high flume takes you right over the loading area!) And everything is bright and fresh and in good working order. We both loved it!
Back we went to Fantasyland, stopping in at Au Chalet de la Marionnette for a drink of water that wasn’t frozen.
It feels a lot like the Village Haus in Disneyland, minus the Beauty & the Beast makeover.
Back out into the cold to admire Skull Rock from afar (since it didn’t open til our last day).
Another off-limits gem: La Cabane des Robinson/Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Patrick was particularly bummed about that one….
Back to Fantasyland for a spin or two on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!
This one had another appealing mural, so here are too many shots of that…
Whoa, something did NOT translate to 3-D! Snow White looks like she’s snapping her fingers for the waiter…
Still, it’s better than Disneyland’s grim Evil Queen death followed by an abrupt “And they lived happily ever after” mural!
Happy looks a little too happy here… Maybe he got into whatever Patrick’s been doing!
On our way back to Main Street for our lunch reservation at Walt’s, we stopped at the lavishly themed gift shops inside the castle, which would look SO much nicer without all the merchandise!
Putting this mantel on the list of features for my imaginary Disneyland mansion where every room is themed to a different land or ride….
BUN-BUN!!!! What happened to your HEAD?!!!!
This shop has a back exit that leads to the dragon’s lair underneath the castle (La Tanière du Dragon), but it was closed.
Sorry this one’s out of focus, but I wanted you to see this amazing display inside the shop—an almost-full-size Dwarfs’ Cottage with a fabulous little pond vignette.
I love that this is here for no reason other than whimsy. The Imagineers would never get away with something like that now….
I have to warn you: It took us a while to figure out how best to shoot inside the Dragon’s Lair, so these first photos aren’t great. But we have a TON more coming down the pike….
Teams of cast members were out in full force to shovel snow. I often wondered what their regular jobs were that they could drop everything and do this. Maybe running the rides that were closed?
OK, I can’t end on that unglamorous photo. How about a sneak peek at my favorite room inside Walt’s Restaurant?