Before I start this post I want to throw something out there – I am not a Disney fan girl.
As in, I like Frozen – heck, I’ve even watched it twice and y’know what? Olaf *might* be my fave Disney character of all time. I sometimes wander into the Disney store to coo at princess dresses and stroke the floor-to-ceiling displays of cuddly toys, and I used to own a Sleeping Beauty tiara and wand but I got so drunk at my 16th birthday that they somehow ended up in the sea.
I like Disney, but, well, I like other things more.
So when I was invited to go and explore Disneyland Paris (there’s also parks in Orlando, California, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai) I was like sure OK why not. I was mildly excited. The way you would be before any trip. I wasn’t dancing around my living room wearing per-ordered Minnie Mouse ears whilst screeching the lyrics to A Whole New World, Katie Price-style.
Maybe because I thought I was a grown-up. A sassy grown up who likes eating avocado on toast in a swish Manhattan joint, rather than y’know, someone who vacations at a Disney-themed holiday resort.
But oh sweet diggity did all that change on arrival. Like, ten times over.
Even Chris became a different person. He became chatty. My boyfriend, chatty.
And, just before I go into detail about why it is now number two on my fave destinations of all time (crammed between NYC and Mykonos, obvs), I thought I’d give a little more info about the set-up of the place. In case you’ve never been before.
The park itself is about 40 miles outside of Paris – you can get a direct train for about seven euros and it takes 35 minutes. There’s also a direct Eurostar train from St Pancras, which I *think* only runs once a day – the station at Disneyland is called Marne La Vallee Chessy.
Upon entering the complex there’s Disney Village to your left – which houses lots of souvenir shops and resturants ranging from McDonald’s and Starbucks to Rainforest Cafe – which you don’t need a ticket to enter.
There’s also a smattering of hotels of different themes and price points (we stayed at this one), as well as the two theme parks (I know, TWO – whodda known?) that make up Disneyland Paris.
There’s Walt Disney Studios Park (which is themed like a Hollywood production set and home to possibly my fave ride EVER – The Tower Of Terror) and Disneyland Park (you can get tickets that cover both here), which features the iconic pink castle designed to look like the one from Sleeping Beauty. And it’s this park that really did it for me. It tipped me over the edge and made me bring home blinkin’ Disney decorations for our Christmas tree and made me say ridiculous things like: ‘Do you think we should make our spare room Disney-themed?’
FFS who am I and what did you do with the chic, sassy version of me, Disneyland?
You enter the Disneyland Park in a place known as Main Street, an area that’s pastel coloured and themed like a turn-of-the-century American town. It’s lined with cake shops and ice cream shops and people selling cute balloons and Disney tea sets and sweatshirts and mugs. Oh and Nutella crepes. V important.
And then the park splits into four ‘lands’ with themed rides and attractions.
There’s music playing, grown adults everywhere wearing sequin Minnie ears, children dressed in tiaras and floor-length gowns who are squealing because OMG BUZZ LIGHTYEAR IS OVER THERE. There’s fairy lights and selfies and sugar and LOTS of smiling and laughter. And there’s colour, lots of colour. Which, when you’re used to grey concrete buildings, makes a massive difference on your mood just because everything feels just that little bit more welcoming and friendly.
It’s hard not to instantly forget about the real world hidden behind the other side of the gate and pretend you’re living in a real-life Disney film.
I get it, it sounds a *bit* twee. It sounds like something your sofa-loving, grown-up self might find a bit full on, and, well, fake – but it’s the opposite.
It is the perfect sprinkling of light relief in a world that’s full of questionable presidency choices, social media envy and heinous credit card statements.
We stayed for two nights and three days at Disneyland Paris and it made me feel like I wanted to skip and sing. It made me feel twinkly and glittery and I guess the phrase you’d use is that it ‘brought out the child in me’. Vom.
It was AMAZING. I’m not really sure I can get across how much I loved it without using a long string of swear words and somehow that doesn’t feel appropriate.
We’re already planning a trip back in spring when it’s a teency bit warmer (it snowed and decided to remain at a v cool one degrees celsius whilst we were there – magical yes, comfortable no).
So I guess the answer to the title of this post – the reason millennials seem to be flocking to Disney parks across the globe (or at least, it seems that way on social media), is because it just makes everything feel that little bit better. It makes life feel easier, more innocent. It makes you feel light and free and giddy and happy. And anything that can do that, and instantly remove any of the stresses or worries taking up space in your brain, gets a big fat juicy yes from me <3
Disneyland, I’ll be back. So save me some ice cream and a ride on the Tower of Terror, won’t cha?
Side note: I was going to write some tips on visiting but seeing as I’m already at 900 words I think I’ll save that for a second post to come next week. Just one thing? It’s 437564375 times cheaper (approximately) to book your tickets before you go (it’ll also save time faffing about on arrival when you could be riding a rollercoaster). Attraction Tickets Direct have them from £35 a day, just FYI.
I was super fortunate enough to be a guest of Disneyland Paris and Attraction Tickets Direct but this in no way swayed my opinion and sweet hubba, I’ll be back <3