After lunch at Auberge de Cendrillon, we made our way back up Main Street to meet representatives from Disneyland Paris’ Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings department at the Disneyland Hotel. Originally we were supposed to meet them on the day we arrived, so that we wouldn’t have to break up a full day in the parks, but they rescheduled due to snow. As it turned out, it was probably snowing even harder when we actually did meet them!
Along the way, I got to do a fun little shopping spree for our pals the Roots, who had requested an assortment of Peter Pan, Thumper and/or Muppets-themed baby clothes for their adorable son, Ollie. After scouring every boutique in both parks, I’d discovered that Disneyland Paris sold NONE of those things. Fortunately, they did still have this fabulous ensemble, which made him a LOT of friends when he eventually wore it to Chef Mickey’s!
After getting such a lovely VIP tour of wedding locations at Tokyo Disneyland, I was excited to be able to do the same in Paris. We were also interested in learning about the new options for weddings and vow renewals at Disneyland Paris for a possible future anniversary celebration. Until now, Disneyland Paris hasn’t really been in the wedding business due to France’s stringent residency requirements for legal marriage (you have to be married in a civil ceremony at the French county office where you live, and you need to have been living there for at least 30 days). Even the couple I interviewed on my Disney Wedding Podcast who won a Disneyland Paris wedding had to arrange for a special ceremony at their country’s consulate in Paris.
But Disney finally figured out that they can sell weddings to foreigners if they are technically vow renewals—you just have to get legally married at home before your trip. So they’re building up their wedding department and partnering with Disneyland’s Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings team to create a new set of offerings. One of the folks we met with is actually from San Diego, but she’s been in France for three years and now has the dream job of living in Paris and planning Disney weddings!
We met the DFTW representatives at Cafe Fantasia, the bar inside the Disneyland Hotel. They were super-friendly and so enthusiastic about planning a fantastic event for us. I was excited too, but I couldn’t seem to pin them down on specific pricing. Unlike Walt Disney World, where there are flat-rate packages or at least minimum expenditure requirements for each type of wedding, Disneyland Paris appears to treat every wedding as a bespoke event with completely customized pricing. So you can have whatever you want almost wherever you want it, but they won’t be able to tell you how much anything will cost until you actually start planning.
Eventually I was able to pry out an estimated starting price for an event of any size, and—hang on to your butts—it’s €19,000! There’s no budget vow renewal package like the Memories Collection here, folks! They do have a PDF of sample wedding ideas, so if your eyes aren’t watering at that number, this is a good way to see what you might get at various price points. But, again, these are all just suggestions.
Due to the weather, we weren’t able to visit more than one wedding venue, but one of the DFTW reps gamely hoofed all the way out to the Newport Bay Club with us in the snowstorm to inspect the wedding gazebo.
Granted, we were seeing the venue at what you might consider its worst—nobody’s actually going to get married out here in the freezing snow!—but I couldn’t believe anyone would want to hold a wedding at this glorified bus shelter even in the best weather! Brides sometimes complain that Walt Disney’s World’s Sea Breeze Point is too close to the path from BoardWalk Inn to Epcot, but this place doesn’t have a lawn or hedges or even a step separating it from the main walkway to Disney Village and the parks.
Here, maybe this Google Street View will show you what I mean…
Which is all to say that if we ever stumble on 21 grand and want to blow it on a Disneyland Paris vow renewal, it ain’t gonna be at the Newport Bay Club!
The resort itself seemed pretty nice. After thanking our DFTW guide profusely for venturing out in the blizzard with us, we poked around in the lobby briefly.
We thought about taking a resort bus back to the park but decided we’d better at least take some photos of Disney Village, so we walked back that way.
WHOA… Is this the World’s Largest Earl of Sandwich? I’m saying that it is. No lines for a Holiday Turkey sammich here, I’ll bet!
Let me consult my notes to see what we thought of Disney Village…. Ah yes, here it is: “Disney Village looks like GARBAGE!”
“It is a very bland, with huge empty restaurants and ugly shops.”
Apparently these pillars are remnants of a Frank Gehry fever-dream involving America’s railway-adjacent power stations (always great inspiration for an inviting entertainment district!).
I guess they used to have 3,600 low-wattage bulbs strung between them to create a starry sky effect, which sounds gorgeous! Now they just seem like a vaguely sinister physical manifestation of the ’90s looming overhead, reminding you of all your bad fashion decisions.
Starbucks is like, “Yeah, I don’t know these guys. I’m just here doing my own thing…”
The snow was working overtime trying to pretty up Disney Village.
We stepped into the Disney Store, hoping it would sell a different assortment of merchandise the way ours and Japan’s Disney Stores do. No such luck—it was all the same stuff we’d found in every gift shop in the parks.
I do like how unafraid of color they were in the ’90s!
I have absolutely NO idea what is supposed to be happening in these decorative vignettes, but I love how bonkers they are! At least they shout (in an Ed Wynn kind of voice) “Disney!!!” Meanwhile, the recent drab, factory-chic makeovers of the World of Disney stores at Disneyland and Walt Disney World make it seem like the company is trying to trick customers into thinking they’re anyplace BUT at Disney!
Back we went, out into the theme roulette that is Disney Village: Put a castle next to a mural of Hollywood Boulevard? Sure, why not?
I’m guessing that adding the Jonas Brothers and the stars of Twilight to this mural was somebody’s idea of a Disney Village renovation back in, like, 2009.
These guys were having more fun than anybody else at Disney Village that day!
When we got back to the Disneyland Hotel, Patrick ran out and took a bazillion photos of one of the other wedding venues for me while I took a break in the room. I don’t remember what I did, but it was probably “sit on the balcony drinking hot chocolate and looking at Disneyland to get my $$$$ worth of that room”!
This little courtyard off the hotel is another place where you can have a wedding at Disneyland Paris. I feel bad now that I made Patrick take so many photos of it because no couple is ever actually going to have a ceremony there in the snow, so these give you no idea what the venue would look like for a wedding. But he took ’em, so by golly, I’m gonna post ’em!
Way to go, Elsa! It’s like a crime scene out here…
The hotel’s pool is in this greenhouse, so I guess that means you’ll have lots of little princesses in soggy bathing suits pressing their noses against the glass to get a look at your wedding.
At last, we went back inside Disneyland Parc!
We dashed to the back of the park to take some photos inside Toad Hall before it closed, but when we got there (just before 5pm) it was already closed! A nearby cast member said he thought it might’ve been closed all day. I sure hope so, cuz otherwise I’ll feel even worse about missing our chance to see inside this place!
Alice’s Curious Labyrinth was also still closed, but Patrick somehow managed to get these photos over the hedge—perhaps by launching himself off a bench a few times?
This one’s blurry, but look! Even snow can’t keep the caterpillar from indulging in the national pastime!
Something we didn’t notice yesterday….
Next we were scheduled to have dinner at Chez Remy. But it was our last full day at Disneyland Paris and we couldn’t bring ourselves to hike all the way back to the furthest reaches of Walt Disney Studios to waste 2+ hours sitting in a restaurant. I apologize, Dear Reader, that I do not have a Chez Remy review for you. But I’m pretty sure it would have gone something like this…
[35 dark, blurry photos of the interior]
“Chez Remy has great decor!”
[Seven flash-blitzed photos of various gray and brown lumps]
“The food was just OK.”
[Photo of Patrick looking grumpily at his watch]
“It took forever to get the bill.”
[Photo of me having the vapors while Patrick fans me with the bill]
“It was really expensive!”
Instead, we decided to spend every last second of the remaining park hours in Disneyland riding whatever was open. Of the attractions that we’d been able to go on, Big Thunder was our favorite. It was so beautiful in the snow, and it’s such a long ride that you really feel like you get your money’s worth, so to speak. So we rode it four times in a row!
But before we could do that, we had to slog all the way from the exit—which yesterday had been the FASTPASS entrance—to the regular entrance on the opposite side of this huge mountain, because at 5:35 pm on February 8, 2018 FASTPASS was being combined with the regular line. After our first ride, FASTPASS was magically being accepted at the exit again! You know, because it was 5:43 pm now!
Patrick wasn’t complaining, though, because it was his first trip through the main queue, which meant new photo ops!
On our third and fourth rides, Patrick was emboldened to try taking photos on the train. They didn’t all turn out, but they definitely capture the feeling of being whipped around a snowy mountain at 35 mph!
Blurry burros…. (which, BTW, would be an awesome name for a band!)
Pretend this is a shot of me and Patrick snuggling on Big Thunder. Cuz we totally were!
Bad show, Walt Disney Studios! Bad show!
Dang it, Patrick! ANOTHER acid trip?!!
WHOA! Break out the Dramamine!
Even the mountain is feeling a little woozy in this one!
Shall we go again…?
Let’s go again!!!
I cannot get enough of these bright green cacti in the snow! Here are 734 more photos of them…
As we lurched off our last ride on Big Thunder, we saw that the Lucky Nugget Saloon was finally open and took a peek. It is so crazy-detailed in there, it makes Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe look like a Claim Jumper!
Next we enjoyed using our FASTPASS on Star Tours, where there’s a whole separate FASTPASS queue, not just three steps inside the front door before they merge you with the regular line. And we got to see all the new clips again, which made Patrick very happy.
At the end of the night, we skipped the IllumiNations: Projections ‘n’ Stuff Laser Light Show to ride Pirates of the Caribbean one last time. It was so dead in there that when our boat got back to the dock, we asked to go again. They actually let us! And we were the only people on the ride! It was a really wonderful way to end our last night in Disneyland Paris.
After that we collapsed in our room and ordered what tasted like THE BEST THING I’D EVER TASTED because it was THE ONLY THING I’d tasted in more than eight hours. We went halvsies on French Onion Soup, Burrata & Tomato Salad and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Oh, and the celebration cake that our travel agent had added to our reservation finally showed up. But instead of being the vanilla I’d asked for, it was the SAME chocolate-orange cake our neighbors had shared with us at Auberge de Cendrillon that afternoon!
“Just yer average ordinary spaghetti with meat sau—OMG THIS IS AMAZING!!!!”
“Ant-covered bread? Yes, PLEASE!”
I sincerely hope that one of us bounced a tomato and/or a cheese ball off that plastic wrap on the soup before we removed it.
No, camera, the messy bowl is NOT the most interesting part of this photo!
The cake was presented very nicely. At least it didn’t say “Happy Anniversary, Carrie” on it!
Creepy American Apparel Photo…
There’s something almost macabre about this shot… The cake’s missing an eye and its guts are spilled everywhere….
After dinner it was straight to bed so we could get up and pack for our move to Paris! I guess I was pretty sad about leaving Disneyland, because the last thing I wrote in my journal was, “I know a lot of adults would be excited about this next leg of our trip because Paris to them is like Disneyland to us, so I’ll have to remember that.” That’s right, me: Grit your teeth and remember to enjoy Paris!
Up Next: Farewell, Disneyland Paris! Hello, Real Paris!