20 Questions with a Disneyland Paris Fan – Katie D’Arcy
1. When did you first visit Disneyland Paris?
1992 I think. When I was growing up we used to go pretty much every year (apart from when we went to America) and I’m pretty sure the first trip was in the first year (not 100% as I was only 9 and details aren’t as important when you are 9). It was a long time ago anyway!
2. How many times have you been in total?
Again I’m not 100% sure. A lot of times. Working back I think I must be on about 16 or 17 trips. We used to go pretty much every year and then I missed a few years while I was a poor student. It must be around that figure though!
3. What’s your first memory of Disneyland Paris?
Walking FOREVER along the moving walkways to get there. I remember it seeming like such a looooong way. I’d been to Walt Disney World before I first went to Disneyland Paris and was expecting a ferry! I also remember the first time I saw that amazing castle and just feeling so so excited and happy.
4. What’s your favourite attraction and why?
This is like asking me to choose my favourite child. Seriously. But if I HAD to pick just one I think it would be Big Thunder Mountain. It’s exciting and fast without being too scary for my Mam and it’s a much better version of the ride than at Walt Disney World. I just love everything about it, the story, the theming, the details – all of it.
5. Where do you stay when you visit Disneyland Paris?
It varies. On my next trip I’m staying at Newport bay Club Hotel. I’ve also stayed at the Cheyenne before. I’ve also stayed at the Ibis Budget in Val d’Europe, commuted in from a hotel in Paris and done it lots of times while camping at various campsites close to Disneyland Paris! I like staying on site but sometimes we go as part of a bigger camping holiday and so a campsite works better.
6. Where’s your favourite place to eat?
Cafe Mickey simply because of the characters! The food is not gourmet but I don’t go there for the food (we’ve been known to just split a pizza) – I go for the atmosphere and the chance to meet lots of characters without queuing. It’s a must do for us. For a nicer meal I do really like Walt’s and my trip isn;t complete without a visit to Casey’s Corner
7. What you do first when you get to Disneyland Paris?
Head straight for Disneyland Park, have a little moment when I first see the castle and then straight to whatever we’ve decided our first ride of the trip will be. Depends what time we arrive but it’s often Big Thunder.
8. Pins, Vinylmations or neither?
Pins. I buy pins I like and have built up a little collection of pins I’m not fussed about so I can feel free to trade them. I’m not a serious collector but I love trading pins with Cast Members and love to trade for pins I really like (which then go into my keep collection). So every pin I have in the keep pile has a story which I like. I just don’t really get vinylmations at all.
9. Do you want to see the Captain Jack Sparrow brought to the Disneyland Paris Pirates of the Caribbean like they have in Walt Disney World and Disneyland?
I don’t mind. I have to say it is really good in the Walt Disney World version. It’s so realistic and very impressive. And it does make it more relevant for the less die hard fans. But I do like the attraction as it is. I wouldn’t be upset either way as I will always love that ride.
10. Is there anything in Disneyland Paris you have never done that still would like to do?
One day I will stay at the big pink hotel! And eat at California Grill.
11. Before you go do you plan yours days or just see what happens when you are there?
For Disneyland Paris I loosely plan the days in so far as I know which park we will go to and if we want any dining reservations. But we’ve been enough times now to just go with the flow a bit too. It takes a lot less planning than Walt Disney World which I like in some ways but I also miss it a bit! I do plan but mainly because I like planning than because I need to!
12. What piece of music or song do you most associate with Disneyland Paris and why?
Dancin’ a Catchy Rhythm. It was my alarm for years so I’d wake up singing it “Hey there, hi there, ho there, it’s a Disney kind of day!”. And Just like we dreamed it as I have fond memories of singing it at the top of my voice leaving at the end of one of our trips to stop myself crying. The great ting about Disney is no one cares if you just burst into song.
13. If you had to make someone a fan of Disneyland Paris by showing them 5 attractions/buildings/shows – what would they be?
I will be doing just this in December when we take my Mother in Law for her first trip. The attractions I think may have a chance of converting her are Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a small world, Buzz Lightyear, Animagique and Disney Dreams! of Christmas. I can’t wait to find out if I’m right!
14. If you could add one new attraction to Disneyland Paris what would it be and where would you put it?
Splash Mountain in Frontierland I think. It’s just such a fantastic attraction it has EVERYTHING! I do miss it when I’m at Disneyland Paris. Jungle Cruise would be a close close second.
15. If you could spend one night anywhere in Disneyland Paris, except the hotels, where would it be?
In the white room at the end of it’s a small world. It’s just so pretty in there, I’d never get sick of looking around it. Or the castle obviously, that would be awesome.
16. Are you planning to visit Disneyland Paris when Ratatouille: the Ride opens?
Not when it first opens but we will be there in December and one of our first stops will be Ratatouille: The Adventure! I’d like to go earlier but I’m excited for Christmas and can hold on until then.
17. If you could be a Cast Member for a day in Disneyland Paris, where would you work?
I’d seriously work anywhere. I’d just love that chance. If it was a one day only thing I think I’d be one of the stewards of the parade so I could interact with guests and sing and dance along to the music. OR a balloon seller I bet that’s a lovely job on a sunny day.
18. Is there anything you dislike about Disneyland Paris or would change?
I do wish that they had a bit more of the American cast member attitudes – I don’t find them rude really but I do miss the Cast Members going the extra mile to make the day extra special. I’d also ban smoking in the parks or at least enforce the rules. I embrace the differences between Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World but I think these are 2 areas where Disneyland Paris would be greatly improved by following the American example.
19. What’s your single greatest memory of Disneyland Paris?
I have so many! One really special time was when I was about 10 or 11 and on a camping holiday with my parents. We were camping just outside Paris and my Dad told me that this year we wouldn’t be going to Disneyland as they wanted to spend time exploring Paris instead (actually the Pope was in Paris and they said they wanted to see the Pope which should have set off alarm bells but didn’t!). I was REALLY disappointed but didn’t want to upset them so I kept it to myself. So the next day we got up early to head into Paris. They told me that we had to get the train to Marne La Vallee and change for the Paris train. This was painful to hear as I knew that was the stop for Disney but again I didn’t complain. So we got off the train at Marne La Vallee and my Dad said let’s go and get some breakfast from the shop outside the train station so I just followed him. When we got outside it was a beautiful day and I could see lots of people excitedly heading for Disneyland. We walked out and round towards Disney Village when he turned round and said “I’m not sure I want to go to Paris anymore, shall we go to Disney instead?”. I didn’t know what to say I was totally gobsmacked and 5 minutes later I was on Main Street USA with a whole day of Disney magic ahead of me. They’s planned the whole thing and had the tickets already and everything but they put on such a good show I really didn’t have a clue. It was so special because it was so unexpected and we had a fabulous day! I cried when we had to leave because it had all been so overwhelming (I still cry when we leave the parks to this day!). That was pretty great.
20. In no more than 20 words I love Disneyland Paris because…
It’s beautiful and I can embrace my Disney geekdom and just play all day long
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