New Year's Eve in Disneyland Paris

Disneyland in Paris entrance Christmas

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.

Disneyland Paris Christmas

Disneyland Paris at Christmas

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.

Space Mountain Disneyland Paris

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.

Disneyland Paris parade

Disneyland paris christmas parade

Disneyland Paris parade Toy Story

Disneyland Paris parade The Lion King

Disneyland Paris parade Mickey and Minnie Mouse

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.

Disneyland Paris Merry Christmas

Disneyland Paris Christmas lights

Disneyland Paris Christmas tree

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.

Disneyland Paris Walt Disney Studios

Disneyland Paris Stars In Cars Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Disneyland Paris Stars In Cars Parade Toy Story

Disneyland Paris Stars In Cars Cruella

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!

Disneyland paris New Years Eve Countdown

Disneyland Paris New Year's Eve show

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.

Disneyland paris New Year's fireworks

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.

Disneyland Paris new year's eve

Disneyland Paris New Year's Eve

Disneyland paris New Year's Eve

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.


Tips

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?

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Sunset over the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower

We managed to pack a lot into 6 days in Paris, so here’s a quick overview of our itinerary. I’ll be doing individual posts about some of the things we did and places we saw, but for now, here’s a short look at everything we crammed into our stay in Paris and Disneyland. 

Moonrise over Paris

Sunday

We got an early morning flight out from Birmingham to Charles de Gaulle, took a train into Paris city centre, and arrived at the Mecure Tour Eiffel for around 2pm.

On check in, we were told we’d received a free upgrade which was a wonderful way to start our holiday. We dropped our bags off, and headed straight out to the Eiffel Tower, which was just a few hundred meters away from the hotel. Tom was feeling energetic, so we walked half way up (the top was shut) the Eiffel Tower, and took in the moonrise over Paris, which was wonderful.

Afterwards, we strolled through the Champ De Mars and the Christmas markets, avoiding illegal street vendors selling roses, questionable bottles of win and light up Eiffel Towers.

 

Sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Monday

We had great intentions of getting up early on Monday morning to watch the sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower, but it didn’t happen. Happily, I discovered that when I pulled back the curtains at 08:20, the sun wasn’t quite up yet – I had completely forgotten about the one hour time difference between England and France.

Tom was showing no signs of getting up, so I grabbed my camera and raced to the Eiffel Tower to capture the sunrise –  I wasn’t the only one who had the same idea because there were quite a few photographers there. I’d forgotten just how stylish and photogenic Paris is.

Sacre Coeur

I went back to the hotel, dragged Tom out of bed and we stopped at one of the Christmas stalls on the Champs Elysee for breakfast before catching the metro out to Sacre-Coeur. While the building itself is a beautiful, and the view is breathtaking, our trip to Sacre-Coeur was tarnished by the sheer amount of scammers and scumbags around the site. There are a couple of paths that go up to the building, and there were groups of men trying to block the paths so that you’d have to interact with them. A couple of them tried to grab Tom’s wrist and tie a string bracelet around it (I think it’s so they then demand money for it), which was quite intimidating and we didn’t feel entirely relaxed there after that.

After a morning of walking, we did some more walking and went to the Hard Rock Cafe, which is a must wherever we go on holiday. In the afternoon, we went to Pere Lachaise, which is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. Perhaps a cemetery is a morbid place to visit on your holiday, but I needed to see why so many people visited it.

 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Rose window

Tuesday

We got up early and caught the train to Notre Dame, which was well worth the early alarm because there was hardly anyone around, and it meant we didn’t have to wait too long to go up the tower. I will definitely do a separate post on our trip to Notre Dame, so all I will say for now is that it is breathtaking and definitely worth getting up early for.

We found a bakery near Notre Dame for lunch and then spent about an hour walking around Shakespeare and Co, which is basically heaven for bibliophiles.

View of Eiffel Tower at sunset from Montparnasse Tower

After that, we went to the Pantheon and explored the area around there a little before walking to Montparnasse Tower, which provided us with a beautiful 360 view of the sunset across Paris.

 

Statue of Liberty Paris

Wednesday

Check out was at noon, which gave us a couple of hours to find the Statue of Liberty and wrestle our cases shut. We caught the RER A out to Disneyland Paris and arrived at the Dream Castle Hotel for about 2pm.

Due to tickets costing around £70 per person, per day over Christmas, we only had tickets to the park for Thursday, so we spent Wednesday afternoon and evening exploring the Disney village, filling our faces in Planet Hollywood, and watching the new Star Wars film.

 

New Year's Eve at Disneyland Paris 2015 - 2016

Thursday

The alarm went off at 6 on Thursday morning as we wanted to make the most out of our only day in the park. By 8am we were full on breakfast (crepes, duh) and were on the free shuttle bus into the park. The downside of being early was that we had to wait just under an hour for the park to open, but it was worth it to avoid an absolutely crammed shuttle bus later on in the morning.

Our first stop was to pick up a PhotoPass+; I thought it would be a good idea, but it actually turned out to be a big waste of money for us. Unless you can go on all the rides covered in the pass (some of them were shut when we went) or are there for more than a day – it’s not worth it. Mostly because Disney photographers aren’t present at all character meets, which I was really disappointed about when I found that out because that wasn’t made very clear. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

With the pass around my neck, we joined the queue to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who were decked out in festive attire. The queue wasn’t really that long but it took us well over an hour and a quarter to get our photo taken – mostly because people were taking the mickey (pun intended) having a family photo and then separate photos – I thought that was taking the mickey anyway.

The first ride we got around to going on was Space Mountain, which made us both feel far too old for roller coasters. We both got off looking green around the gills and took the next few hours easy. We watched a couple of parades and milled around until midnight where we rung 2016 in with fireworks at the castle.

 

Friday

We got back to the hotel around 2am in the morning and hastily rammed everything into our cases. It was another early morning to catch the TGV into CDG to get our lunch time flight home.

 

This is the second time I’ve been to Paris, and there are still things I’d like to go back and see – I always thing it’s nice to leave a city wanting more.

Where are you hoping to travel to this year?

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