Sven: During the low season, there are a select few parks that are still open. This includes Europe’s largest resort Disneyland Paris! Even though many rides can be closed, there’s quite some extra entertainment going on. Meet the Princesses, Pirates and Galactic Heroes and Villains!
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First tip of the trip, if you’re an annual pass holder and you don’t want to call the resort to book a Disney hotel: check the last minutes deals on Booking.com or similar sites! Starting from about 80 dollar (70 euro) a night for a room, you can book one of the on property hotels. This also includes the Disneyland Hotel which you can find around 452 dollar (400 euro) a room.
We chose to do just that by spending a night at Hotel Santa Fe, the cheapest of the 7. Since the last time I went, I had not seen the Cars layover yet. (So it’s been a few years).
The rooms look at least more fresh than before. Yet there was one big downside: the beds… Not suitable for people with back problems as you could feel the springs right against your spine.
The biggest asset is the distance towards the park. Santa Fe is the furthest away, which means a 20 minute walk. However, you walk past the other hotels on a decent walkway. One of them closed their doors earlier this month for the big renovation: Hotel New York will get an additional title: The Art of Marvel. Scaffolding has been nicely decorated with lots of cartoon Marvel drawings. These also included Daredevil, Spider-Man villains and even X-men.
We started our visit in the main park with Extra Magic Time in Discoveryland. First ride of the day: Hyperspace Mountain! Once again, I was surprised how smooth the experience was compared to before!
After getting our annual passes, we had a look in Frontierland to see how things were going with Phantom Manor. The little square in front of the Manor will now be used to make you choose between the regular queue and the new probable Fastpass queue There’s still no official date announced but it should reopen before the summer season.
Speaking of the summer season, also in Frontierland the works continue on the new and improved Chaparral Theater. It’s a bit out of place, but the Lion King Show will be playing as part of the Summer Lion King Season. Compared to the old theater, it looks a lot bigger!
So in the park, they were holding the Pirates and Princesses Festival for the second time. This time however, not during the Spring season but in full winter low season. Most likely to attract more guests during this calm period.
Pretty chilly for the Princesses who were equipped with a lot warmer costumes than normal.
On the other side however, you have the Pirates coming up.
They meet at Central Plaza for a kind of battle. Team Princesses shouts out “Heigh Ho”, while Team Pirates sticks with the regular pirate call. Honestly nothing too special, but great for the kids to see all their princesses in action, or pirates of course.
Interestingly, Mickey is part of Team Princesses while Minnie is part of Team Pirates!
We jumped to the other park, which was very much Scaffolding Land. The following rides were closed: Crush’s Coaster, Studio Tram Tour, Cars Quatre Roues and Art of Disney Animation (which is closed for good). On top of that, only two restaurants were open in the whole park: the big counter restaurant in Studio 1 and a buffet restaurant Restaurants des Stars. Obviously, the first one was overflowed. The only upside was that in the Ratatouille area, they still had the winter season stands open with French culinary delights. Different treats of the “Gourmand d’Hiver”.
Other upside was the return of the Season of the Force but since this year under a new name: Legends of the Force. They renewed some of the old shows with new characters such as Rey, BB-8 and Boba Fett!
The exterior of Tower of Terror also shows scaffolding as it’s under renovation to repair the … Luckily, the ride was open otherwise the Studios would even be hardly worth a visit.
The week before our visit it wasn’t playing yet, but luckily there was another important reason to visit the Studios: Mickey and the Magician! The show never disappoints and here’s trip tip number two. If you have a Mastercard, go to City Hall or Studio Services at the beginning of the day to reserve the best seats for the show. This is free of charge, but best to be there at least 20 minutes before to ensure that the seats aren’t given away if you show up late.
The most important ride that we wanted to do was Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster! We need to enjoy every ride while we still can. Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy that the Marvel overlay is coming. Yet, we’ll miss the rock music playing in the queue and the theme which feels very unlike Disney.
As we’ve seen Disney’s Illuminations before and will see it again later this year, we chose to end the day in the Studios with Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration. It had a few new scenes of the Last Jedi movie!
Once again, Legends of the Force wasn’t too extensive. It no longer had the fan made space ships on display but they did add new Star Wars themed snacks. The highlight however remains this show.
Depending on how you look at it, this period during the year is a great time to visit. Yes, you’ll miss out on some of the rides. But especially during the week, wait times are very low. That means you can take your time to sit down and eat, watch the shows, meet characters and more. Plus prices will be low too! So consider this our last trip tip!