Thursday, 3 October 2019

2 Months To Disneyland Paris

Hey lovely! Time has been absolutely flying by this year - can you believe it's already been four months since my last Disneyland Paris countdown post? In no time at all, I'll be embarking on my happily ever after with my very own Prince Charming and then a few weeks later, the three of us will be boarding the Eurostar and heading off to visit the world's favourite mouse! Let's not waste any time, continue reading to find out where we're at with planning our magical Disney-moon!

Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris

Note: Thrice Upon a Dream has now moved to Wonder and Grey!

Travel Insurance

Sorry! I had to start with the boring admin stuff. It's better to just get it out of the way so that we can all move on and have some fun, am I right?

Last month we finally organised our travel insurance. It has been stressing me out for months to the point that I had to delegate the responsibility over to Matt so I have no idea which company we went with, how much we paid, what our excess is or any of that stuff. But hey, it's done!

Top Tip: Don't underestimate the importance of travel insurance. It's a minimal cost in comparison to having to rebook something, out of your own pocket, because circumstances have changed somehow.

The Test Run

Last week we made the most of some of Matt's employee benefits and spent the weekend at Chessington World of Adventures in a sort of "test run" for our Disneyland Paris trip. It was Mini's first time in a theme park setting and my first time since chronic illness started making things more difficult for me and so it really was a learning experience for us all.

I don't want to go into too much detail as my Chessington posts aren't live yet but here are a few things that we learnt during our mini break:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean might not be a good option on this trip
  • Extended breaks are essential
  • Loose itineraries are needed as plans will change at short notice
  • Toddlers don't like being in pushchairs all day long
  • The quietest things are often the most enjoyable
  • One meal with an additional side is normally enough for the three of us to share for a cheap light lunch

Chronic Illness at Disneyland Paris

The one thing that has been making me the most anxious about our Disney holiday is that this year has been a real struggle for me. There have been days when even changing out of pyjamas was out of my reach so how the hell am I supposed to manage five days at Disneyland Paris?!

I had a great time at Chessington but I suffered greatly afterwards and that pain was bad enough to almost ruin those precious memories we'd made. Even though we were technically on-site from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, I don't think we even spent seven hours in the theme park collectively. And that was more than enough to break me.

When I started writing this post, I was in the blissful position of not being concerned about my endometriosis derailing our holiday and then last Friday, I was struck down with the worst endo flare-up of the year. I had been more anxious about my other symptoms (migraines, chronic fatigue and musculoskeletal pain) being the conditions that would give me grief, since I believed my endometriosis to be well-managed, but I guess that I should be prepared for it all.

At the recommendation of Emma from Me, The Man & The Kids, I've recently joined a few Facebook groups that advise those with disabilities or special needs who are planning trips to Disneyland Paris. Using the search function alone, I've found some invaluable tips that might make a huge difference. It's clearly going to take a lot more planning that I'd first anticipated but if I can make it to the other side relatively unscathed, that'd be great!

If you have any tips that might help me out, please do get in touch.

The Itinerary

Yep. It's time to talk strategy. There's no right or wrong way to plan out your Disney days, only what works best for you. Some folks like to completely wing it while others will meticulously strategise every minute of their day in order to get the most out of it. I like to think that we fall somewhere in the middle.

As I've already mentioned, it's become apparent that our family's needs need to come first which means there are a lot of things to take into account that we might have overlooked if we weren't the planning types. We'll have a very rough plan of action in place and then we'll prioritise the attractions we want to see or do the most as well as those with low wait times.

Frequent breaks, unrushed meals and several hours resting in our hotel room are all priorities for us too. The latter sucks when there's magic on your doorstep but the opportunity to recharge in the peace and quiet is priceless so I'll just have to get over my fear of missing out that would only result in my inevitable demise. Less is more, right?

Opening Times

The biggest benefit to going out of season other than the lower crowds? Parks closing early! During our stay, Walt Disney Studios closes at 6pm while Disneyland Parc closes an hour later which means that we're able to maintain our normal routine! The only downside is that we'll be waking up early to make the most of extra magic time!

Christmas at Disneyland Paris

In the time between countdown posts, the seasonal offerings were revealed so here are a few things we're looking forward to:
  • Disney's Christmas Parade
  • Mickey's Magical Christmas Light
  • Mickey's Christmas Big Band
  • #SurpriseMickey
  • A Fairy Tale Waltz with Disney Princesses
  • Christmas at Disney Village

Frozen: A Musical Invitation

The announcement of the Frozen Celebration season next year left us scrambling to sort out another trip but we ultimately decided it wouldn't be worth it for what we could manage in terms of time and money. So the new show, Frozen: A Musical Invitation, is right at the top of our must-do list. 

Usually I'd avoid new openings like the plague due to crowds and queues but since it's Mini's birthday and the kid is obsessed with Frozen, we're going to have to bite the bullet. Now just to figure out the Lineberty app to secure one of these Olaf meet and greets. Going to need a miracle I think!

Planning Our Meals

Planning out meals is hands down one of the best parts of planning a Disney holiday and it's one of the areas that Matt is most interested in. We were fortunate enough to benefit from the free half board offer which means that we get breakfast in our hotel and a buffet meal for either lunch or dinner for every night of our stay. That leaves us with four buffet meals and five non-inclusive meals where we need to decide where we'd like to eat.

For the half board meals, I think we'll be focusing on eating at Plaza Gardens at Disneyland Parc, Restaurant des Stars at Walt Disney Studios, La Cantina at Hotel Santa Fe and of course, Chuck Wagon Cafe at Hotel Cheyenne which is where we're staying. I suspect our other meal will be fairly light allowing us to top up with snacks.

So that's where we're at for now! As you can see a lot has changed since our previous countdown post and I imagine that things will continue to change over the next few weeks. Since there's not all that long left to go, I'm going to aim to do one final countdown post and this will go live around the 1 or 2 weeks to go mark and this will be in addition to a few other loosely connected posts I have planned.

If these posts interest you, and you're not already following me on Twitter, then I do strongly encourage you do so as Twitter is where I share new (and old) content the most!

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