Last week I turned 30 and, to celebrate, myself and Ciara went on a bit of a whirlwind trip to Disneyland Paris, where we stayed at the gorgeous Newport Bay Club and spent a wonderful two days in the parks before heading back home again. It was totally magical, and just what I needed to see off my twenties.
I’ve been to Disneyland several times before, as a child myself and with my own children, but I hadn’t been before as just adults, and it was really fun to have the time and freedom to just do what we wanted. I would recommend a visit for a birthday or special occasion – it would make a fantastic alternative hen party location!
Born in 1989, I grew up with the classic Disney films. I remember watching The Little Mermaid and Aladdin on VHS, singing along, and my favourite Disney film of all time is Beauty and the Beast – I wanted to be Belle. So, for me, Disneyland has always been my happy place, and it was incredible to be able to wake up there on my 30th birthday.
Ciara picked me up from my house at around 6.30am on Wednesday 1st May as we needed to travel the 2.5 hour journey to Ebbsfleet International, where we would be getting the Eurostar. We arrived at Disneyland at around 2.30pm and headed straight for our hotel, so that we could check in and drop off our luggage. We walked across to the hotel, as there is a beautiful view across the lake, just outside of Disney Village, but you can get a shuttle bus if you prefer.
Previously I have stayed at hotels off-site, or the more budget friendly Disney hotels, such as the Cheyenne. As Ciara is an annual pass holder, she gets a discount on stays at the Disney hotels (as well as on-site restaurants and shops – would seriously recommend an annual pass), so our room at the Newport Bay Club came in at under £200 for both of us for the one night. The hotel is stunning, I would definitely recommend. Our room had two double beds, a bathroom and a small balcony.
After dropping our bags, we headed back to Disney, excited to get into the park. I had to buy my ticket first, as I was able to get a discounted rate as a guest of an annual pass holder. This didn’t take long as it was already mid-afternoon, and we were soon walking towards that iconic castle and taking all the photos!
As we weren’t at the parks for that much time, Ciara and I had discussed which rides, parades and restaurants were on our ‘must do’ list, so that we could prioritise these, and make sure both of us enjoyed our break.
For me, top of the list was Pirates of the Caribbean. It has been my favourite ride for as long as I can remember, and I just love it. It had a verrrry long queue when we first got to it, so we decided to go on something else until the wait time had died down a little.
We went around Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, which is something I don’t think I have done before, or at least not since I was a child. It was extremely busy, even going around the maze, and we soon discovered that 1st May is a national holiday in France, which meant we had picked one of the busiest days to spend in the park – oops!
We were pretty hungry by this point and decided to get something to eat and drink before the parade. Ciara went for a waffle, and I just grabbed a bag of crisps. We both had slush puppies, and I regretted this decision halfway through when the drink froze up and the paper straw broke in half – fail!
It was really nice weather, around 22 degrees and sunny, so we enjoyed the sunshine whilst waiting for the parade to start. Ciara is queen of the parades, and knows all the best places to get the best views. We were stood just to the side of It’s a Small World, right by the parade starting point.
After the parade, we pretty much ran to get onto It’s a Small World, to beat the crowds, and we managed to only have a few minutes wait time, which was great. The ride is another of my favourites, it never fails to make me smile and it personifies Disney for me.
We tried Pirates again next, and this time the queue was much shorter.
Afterwards we decided to walk over to Phantom Manor to see if we would be able to get me on the ride, which wasn’t due to open for another two days, and was only currently available for Annual Pass Holders to ride. When we got over there, however, they had decided to open the queue up for everybody, with pass holders having a Fastpass. Phantom Manor is another of my favourite rides, and had been closed for a long time, so I was really excited to go on this one.
By this point, we were both getting quite hungry. We headed back to Mainstreet to pick up some treats – I couldn’t resist the Mickey snack I had when I visited over New Year, and then decided to go for dinner.
Ciara recommend the Fuente del Oro Restaurante in Frontierland and I was not disappointed. I don’t usually eat much in Disneyland itself, opting to pick up a McDonalds in Disney Village on the way back to the hotel usually, and I didn’t know you could get Fajitas on-site! We both went for these, and shared a portion of loaded fries too and it was so good!
Bellies full, we decided to find a place to watch the Illuminations in front of the castle. It was around a 40 minute wait, but Ciara was right about getting a space early enough to get the best views. It was such a magical show and the perfect way to round off our first day in Disney.
Back at the hotel, we went for a drink at the bar so that I could see in my 30th with a cocktail. We were both absolutely knackered, but it was a lovely way to start my birthday.
The next morning, I woke up in the most comfortable bed and had croissants and madeleines with a mimosa before we headed off to the park for day two.
Ciara had bought me a big 30 badge, a sash and a tiara, and I was wearing the most ‘extra’ tutu skirt, so I attracted a fair amount of attention walking into the park – a little girl even gave me a kiss and wished me a happy birthday, which was so sweet!
We had extra magic hours as we were staying in one of the Disney hotels, and we decided to use this time taking photos in front of the castle without all the crowds and going on Big Thunder Mountain, something I had never done before as I was scared. I was absolutely terrified going around, even though it isn’t actually that bad and kids were going on it, but I was glad I had pushed myself to do something new on my birthday.
We picked up a Fast Pass for Buzz Lightyear, as the wait times are always long for this one, and went on Casey Junior and the Les Pays de Contes de Fees (story book boats) whilst we waited.
After a few more photos, we left the park to go to the studios, where we picked up a fast pass for Ratatouille and then queued to meet Sully from Monsters Inc. I have never really done the meeting characters thing before, but Ciara always does and I can see why, it is really fun and the photos are lovely to look back at!
We watched the Marvel show next. I am not into Marvel and didn’t really know what was going on, but it was a good show and gave my legs a bit of a rest from all the walking we’d been doing!
Next up was Ratatouille. Our fast passes were actually for later in the afternoon, but we managed to get in earlier thanks to my birthday badges. This meant that we could then finish in the studios park, as by this point we only had a few hours left before our train home.
We split up for a little while so that I could do some souvenir shopping for my mum, Ed and the children, and Ciara went and got in the queue to meet Mickey. I was very jammy and managed to meet her at the front of the queue, and we had some photos together.
It was raining by this point, but in Disney the rain doesn’t bother me as much, and we went on It’s a Small World again before meeting Darth Vadar in Discoveryland and watching another show.
Next up was a second ride on Pirates of the Caribbean before we went for dinner at Restaurant Hakuna Matata, which is Ciara’s favourite on-site restaurant.
We both had the chicken and chips, which was really tasty, and then it was time to head back towards the train station, via the shops, of course. We caught the end of the parade too and obviously took some more photos on the way out.
It was sad to leave, but we had fit so much into our two days and I had the best birthday in Disneyland!