We returned from an 10-night trip to Disneyland Paris (and Paris) two weeks ago. Our visit encompassed the grand reopening of the resort and the opening of the rethemed Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. This was our first trip since March, 2020 – I never expected our first time back on a plane to be going to France, but we have so many friends there and it has become my favorite place to visit. Plus our Infinity Annual Pass is still valid, so that was an expense we didn’t have when visiting. Park reservations were pretty easy to get as well.
You can read my more general article about traveling to Paris here.
There were a lot of challenges with the trip that have nothing to do with being in Paris. That was the easiest part. We had a 2-day delay due to weather and lack of help from Expedia. That will be another article. On our return, we found that lightning had surged into the house and we are still dealing with that. So my articles are a little later than I planned.
Now for our trip. We stayed again at Hotel L’elysée Val D’europe. This is the hotel we’ve stayed at most in the Disneyland Paris (Serris) area, with a great location near the RER and the Auchan hypermarket – and much more like restaurants and a ton of shopping. The RER is just one stop away from Disneyland Paris and we used our Navigo weekly passes. There is also a free bus.
I was asked after I posted the article why we chose to stay offsite. We usually do, it is almost always significantly less expensive. Also, there was only one hotel open on Disney property when we arrived, the Newport Bay Hotel. We did stay at Hotel Cheyenne a couple of years ago for a holiday trip when it was competitively priced. I would like to stay a night or two at Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel but that wasn’t possible this trip since we booked less than a week out from leaving (once France had finalized plans for Americans to visit).
Hotel L’elysée Val D’europe
When we booked the trip, we planned to attend the two Annual Passholder days prior to official opening. That didn’t work out, but we did spend the afternoon of the second one in the parks. Our first stop was Cars ROAD TRIP, which is a retheming of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic. It is a cute attraction, it could use some more scenes but there is still a Catastrophe Canyon that we no longer have in Florida (just with Cars theming).
Our Cars Road Trip video
Walking into the main park, the Disneyland Hotel is closed for a full refurbishment and retheming that will be a multi-year project. Inside the park, Sleeping Beauty Castle is behind a scrim as it gets a major refurbishment through probably much of this year (no date has been given for it to be complete). The dragon and gallery are not accessible right now, but guests can walk through the castle and the shops are open. There are floral topiaries and sculptures that are from Swing into Spring. The parks look gorgeous and the horticulture is so on-point.
Disneyland Park entrance
Sleeping Beauty Castle behind scrim
Tinker Bell floral
During our visit, masks were required inside and out at Disneyland Paris. France dropped the outdoor requirement in public areas while we were there. Social distancing markers and plexiglass were being fully utilized. I’ve been asked a number of times about health and safety, I felt very comfortable during the entire trip. COVID tests are now available (for a fee) at Disney Village. We went to the pharmacy across from our hotel and had our antigen results in 30 minutes for our trip back.
Standing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel is gorgeous. We didn’t stay there but dined at Manhattan Restaurant, Downtown Restaurant and the Skyline Bar. Disney’s Hotel New York felt very dated and now it doesn’t. Jeff was able to tour the hotel as part of a grand opening media event prior to its opening and we have a number of videos posted.
Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel
Our Spider-Man Suite video
The Manhattan Restaurant chandelier
Jeff was in the park for the grand opening moment on June 17th as part of a small media group. None of the days we visited were too busy. Just like at Walt Disney World, cavalcades run throughout the day. What I love about Disneyland Paris is that Main Street U.S.A. transportation mixes in with them. The Omnibus and other vehicles took guests while we were there. The Cheshire Cat train cavalcade was my favorite, with characters from “Alice in Wonderland”.
Cast Members celebrate on Disneyland Paris grand reopening day
An omnibus travels down Main Street U.S.A.
Cheshire Cat train
Our video of the Cheshire Cat train cavalcade
Stitch in a cavalcade
Speaking of characters, there are characters greeting throughout the parks in more distanced ways – indoors, outdoors, some special like at the Mickey and the Magician meet and greet area at Walt Disney Studios Park. There are Marvel characters, Star Wars characters, a dedicated Frozen area along with so many more. The Mysteries of the Nautilus also had a selfie spot inside with Mickey, Minnie, Donald or Daisy (revolving).
Mickey Mouse in the Mickey and the Magician selfie spot
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in Fantasyland
Restaurants were one of the biggest surprises – most were open while we were there and well staffed. We almost never waited more than 5-10 minutes in line for counter service food. Getting a table service restaurant reservation was more of a challenge, but we booked our Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel restaurants when those opened up and we ate at Plaza Gardens with friends who had booked it.
Cowboy Cookout meal – it was nice to see the restaurant open!
Also in regards to restaurants – whether counter service or table service, contact tracing information was taken. We gave our information online for counter service and I think on paper for table service.
Contact tracing information outside Restaurant Hakuna Matata
Contact tracing form online
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast received a major refurbishment and looks great. Refurbishments and maintenance had been happening during the 8 months the parks were closed on a variety of attractions.
Our Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast video
It was great to see Cast Member friends and acquaintances, most back in the positions they had previously or at least similar. This is Raphael, who works Guest Flow. In the usual times, he deals with parades and such and is extremely visible but I didn’t see him quite as often on this trip.
Raphael points to the characters
I mentioned early on that park reservations were pretty easy. Once Disneyland Paris limited the reservations to three at a time, it became very easy to secure weekday reservations. The weekend took a little more work, but we still found the days we wanted while there.
I took 5000 photos while I was at Disneyland Paris and have shared just a very small amount of them so far – we also have many videos and more coming. I will write more articles in the coming weeks, sharing a look at what we experienced during our visit.
I am really glad we made the trip to Disneyland Paris (and Paris). The parks were well maintained, we caught up with dozens of friends and it was just a pretty relaxing trip. The weather started out hot the first few days, then very rainy and then it got colder (60s during the day on some days) I had hoped to make it into Paris more than the one day we did, but due to weather and such we didn’t. Next time!
If you have any comments or questions, let me know. I expect to be tweaking this article with any other thoughts I have on the trip.