“Imagination has no age. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway” – Walt Disney
The second instalment in our Disneyland Paris Diaries comes from Nicolai, the Disneyland Paris geek extraordinaire (his words, not ours!) who runs one of our favourite DLP blogs – disneylandparistreasures.com.
Nicolai has visited Disneyland Paris over 50 times since its opening in April 1992, so we thought he might be the ideal person to quiz on what it’s like to visit the park as an adult…
1. Do you think you can ever be ‘too old’ for Disneyland?
“I don’t think so. Disneyland is for children of all ages! At Disneyland you can escape the hustle and bustle of the outside world, and who doesn’t love feeling young again?!”
2. As an adult, how many days do you recommend spending at the park? Is it worth leaving some time to explore the city of Paris too?
“If you can do it, I’d strongly recommend 4 days/3 nights for your very first visit, especially if you plan to pay Paris a visit as well, which is of course always worth doing (even though we now have our own little Paris at the Walt Disney Studios Park with the brand new Ratatouille themed area and attraction).
“You have to take into account that you can only make partial use of your arrival and departure days due to travelling. Whilst it is true that almost everything could be seen and done within 3 days/2 nights, that extra day makes everything so much more relaxed and takes off a lot of the time pressure. We have stayed at Disneyland Paris for 5 or 6 nights in the past and we never got bored!”
3. How do you think Disneyland Paris caters for adults? What are the must-sees for an adult-only trip to DLP?
“Definitely watching the Disney Magic on Parade! procession while having a romantic dinner at Walt’s – an American Restaurant. Ask for a table with a window looking onto Main Street, USA and time it so that you can comfortably watch the parade from up there (maybe make a reservation 45 minutes before parade time so that you have finished your main course when the parade starts).
“Or maybe an elegant dinner at the exquisite California Grill at the luxurious Disneyland Hotel (you can park at the hotel for the time of your dinner if you reserve a table at the restaurant).
“Disneyland Paris also offers several guided tours which offer some interesting insights which might be boring for most kids. I especially recommend the guided tour of The Tower of Terror as it is unique to Disneyland Paris and it allows you to enter the Walt Disney Studios Park approximately one hour before the park opens to regular guests! But be aware that the Tower Of Terror Guided Tour is only available in French while all other tours are available in several languages.”
4. What’s on offer at DLP for adults after the park closes?
“Sadly Hurricanes – the only nightclub at Disneyland Paris – was closed a few years ago, but there still is a lot to do at Disneyland Paris once the parks are closed.
“Of course you should make sure you see the amazing Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. Or you could learn how to line dance at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon.
“Right after the park closes we also like to stop for a nice drink at the Disneyland Hotel’s Main Street Lounge, and in summer we end the evening on one of the balconies of Café Fantasia with view over the Disneyland Hotel’s Fantasia Gardens while everyone else rushes to the car park, to the buses or to Disney Village.”
5. Disney proposals and Disney weddings have become really popular – what do you think is so appealing about Disneyland Paris as a backdrop for these momentous occasions?
“My wife and I actually had our honeymoon at the Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Paris and also several anniversaries.
“There is a very romantic side to Disneyland Paris, after all there is a fairy-tale castle, princes and princesses. Sadly, unlike at the American parks where weddings are big business, it is not possible to get married at Disneyland Paris, but it makes a great location for a proposal!”
6. If you’re visiting the park without children, what’s the first ride you head for?
“We always stroll down Main Street, USA and then walk right through Sleeping Beauty’s castle first thing.
“Most of the time we then head to Peter Pan’s Flight, which is my wife’s favourite ride, and after that we go for Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of mine.”
7. What show would you recommend seeing for adults visiting Disneyland Paris without little ones?
“I’d recommend the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – an amazing dinner show which can be enjoyed after the park has closed (the show is performed twice a day, at 6.30pm and 9.30pm).
“Originally this show was designed to be a very authentic recreation of the original show that toured Europe at the end of the 19th century. A couple of years ago they threw in “Mickey and Friends” (i.e. Disney characters) to make the show more appealing to a broader audience, but it is still an amazingly exciting show featuring a buffalo hunt with real buffalos, Indian rituals, horse stunts, lasso shows and shooting competitions!”
8. Is it better to stay off-site if you’re visiting the park without children? If so, what hotels do you recommend for easy access to the park?
If your budget allows it I’d go for one of the Disney Hotels. A great feature of the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris is that you can easily walk to both parks from them, which really adds to the overall experience and which would not be possible at Walt Disney World, for example.
“If a Disney hotel is not an option I can strongly recommend from personal experience the Radisson Blue Hotel at Disneyland Paris, the Magic Circus Hotel at Disneyland Paris or the Hipark Résidence Serris-Val d’Europe. They all offer a great service for a much more affordable price and also a free bus shuttle service to the parks.”
9. What’s your favourite restaurant to eat at when you visit Disneyland Paris?
“Hmm, this is a tough one. We love the great service at Walt’s – An American Restaurant and the amazing atmosphere of the Blue Lagoon. But we also love a good steak at Silver Spur Steakhouse or a burger at Annette’s Diner or even a sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.”
10. Finally, what is it about Disneyland Paris that has you returning time and time again, even as an adult?
“Enjoying Disneyland Paris as an adult is one thing, but to be returning time and time again of course is a bit unusual, I admit, so I asked this question to the approx. 3.000 Disneyland Paris fans that follow the Disneyland Paris Treasures blog on Twitter and Facebook, and these are some of the fascinating answers I received:
“Definitely the escapism. Immersion of fantasy. Non-stop entertainment, fun and enjoyment. Don’t need to worry about a thing!”
“The magic, the great rides & beautiful castle. Plus the music, awesome cast members and the wonder”
“The magic, the excitement, the atmosphere, and the food!”
“The magic feeling, like being in a little happy bubble!”
“Just feeling like a kid again, without a care in the world”
“The escapism from the real world and general atmosphere it holds. You’re in a bubble at DLP.”
“I don’t know what it is exactly but it just feels like home”
“The Park’s level of escapism, which I don’t get at UK parks, as well as nostalgic glee”
“Atmosphere and theming. Nobody in the theme park game creates these things like Disney does.”
“It seems Disneyland Paris really is not just for kids. But then I guess we’re all still kids at heart, aren’t we?”
Nicolai’s blog is a must-read for any Disney-fanatic, and he regularly updates his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel with all the latest Disney buzz, so if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland Paris, make sure you take advantage of his expertise by following him below: