Tom and I are not big New Year’s Eve celebraters and it was by happy accident that we ended up in Disneyland Paris for New Year’s Eve, but I’m so glad we were there.
Since New Year is part of the high-season tickets were £69 each for both parks, so we were up early and queuing outside the park gates for 08:30 to make sure we made the most of New Year’s Eve.
Our first port of call was one of the gift shops to pick up the PhotoPass+, which honestly was a waste of money for us. If you’re there for more than one day, it’s probably worth it, but for one day it is probably not going to be worth it for you as Disney photographers are not at every character meet (which annoyed me).
Photo by a Disney Photographer
We then joined the queue to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was a long, cold wait, but it was something we both wanted to do, so it was worth it.
After Tom had his hat stroked by Mickey Mouse, we had a quick wander around the park and I asked Tom if we could possibly rebuild the giant pink castle in our garden. He said he’d think about it.
We then headed off to Space Mountain and regretted it about 10 seconds in to the ride. Both of us got off feeling pretty green around the gills and we decided we were too old for rollercoasters, so we decided to take it easy for the next few hours and enjoyed wandering around the park.
The only other ride we went on during the day was Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast, which was fun. I’m a big fan of laser gun games because 1) laser guns are cool, 2) glow in the dark stuff FTW and 3) I’m competitive, and yes, I beat Tom.
In the afternoon, we watched the afternoon parade and to my delight, we managed to get a good spot with a view right down Main Street.
Dinner in the park itself was not really an option as most, if not all, of the restaurants in the park were doing set menus for New Year’s Eve, that were around 100 Euros per person. As soon as the parade ended, we hot footed it out of the park into the Disney Village, where we ate at Annette’s Diner.
This was a really good choice because about 10 minutes after sitting down, there was a queue out the door of the restaurant as everyone else had the same idea. If you’re going to Disney at New Year or at any other time where you need to book at the restaurants in the park, I recommend eating at one of the restaurants in the village as soon as the afternoon parade is over. There were queues at all of the restaurants we walked past in the village until around 10pm, so an early dinner is a wise choice; it’s not like you can’t get a snack later on if you’re feeling hungry later in the evening.
Both of us felt so full after dinner that the best we could manage was a slow meander around the park before getting in position for the lighting of the Christmas tree. It wasn’t quite as impressive as the afternoon parade, but it was a nice thing to see, even if the references to Christmas felt pretty out of place on the 31st of December.
We made it over to Walt Disney Studios for the first time after watching the lighting of the tree, and turned up just in time for the Stars in Cars parade which featured characters from Toy Story, Lilo & Stitch, the chipmunks, 101 Dalmatians and more.
By 9pm, we were feeling brave enough to try another rollercoaster and went on the Rock n’ Rollercoaster ft. Aerosmith. Bizarrely, I didn’t feel ill after that at all which doesn’t make any sense to me because that ride is in the dark and disorientating, just like Space Mountain.
There was an awkward hour and a bit after that when we were at a bit of a loose end because there wasn’t much else to do. Around 11pm, we picked a spot in front of the castle to watch the midnight show and bounced on the balls of our heels to keep warm. Luckily for us, we were kept entertained by some guy shouting about how his fireworks were better than Drayton Manor’s and were probably going to be better than Disneyland’s also. He also reckoned he almost had to knock out a member of Disney’s security staff too….yep. One of those guys. New Year’s Eve fireworks at his this year, I think!
10 seconds before the start of 2016, a countdown was projected onto the castle and as the clock struck midnight, Disney’s Dreams of Christmas show began. Again, it felt a little out of place given that Christmas had been and gone, but it was special and a pretty different way to celebrate the new year.
Behind us, we could see the fireworks from the Walt Disney Studio’s being set off. It was a fantastic way to ring in 2016.
We were both so glad we ended up in Disneyland Paris for New Year’s Eve, and I’d definitely recommend it. There’s something quite fun and special about spending the first few moments of a new year humming along to Let It Go with a few thousand other people.
If you’re going to visit Disneyland Paris for New Year, or at any time of the year, here are a few things I found useful:
- Save money by eating at the restaurants in the Disney village, and eat early on to avoid the queues.
- Photopasses aren’t really worth the money unless you’re there for more than a couple of days – and you could always ask a member of staff, or the person behind you in the queue to take the photo for you.
- If the queues for rides are long, take advantage of the free Fast Pass system.
- To get a good view of the parade, get a spot on the top corners so you can see the floats coming up Main Street.
- Wear comfy shoes, layers, and keep your bag light.
- Pass time in queues by hunting for hidden Mickeys.
- Save money on drinks by refilling water bottles.
- If you need to take a shuttle bus in from your hotel, it’s worth getting up early to avoid being crammed in like sardines in a tin.
- On NYE, there are more shuttle buses put on back to the hotels but if you don’t want to be stood in the cold, don’t waste any time getting to the bus stop. We waited around 50 minutes to get a bus back to our hotel and we were fairly fast out the park. Unfortunately it’s one of those things that can’t really be helped, but don’t take longer than necessary if you don’t want a huge wait.
What did you do for New Year’s Eve?