Visiting Disneyland Paris As An Adult

Disneyland - the most magical place in the world. I remember going to Disney as a child and I must have been around 5 years old. But how is the park different when visiting 17 years later?

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 Truthfully, I can remember very little about Disneyland from when I visited as a child. The only memories that spring to mind are: that I was too small to ride Space Mountain and that Goofy made me cry in the character banquet. Even those memories could be born from word of mouth – they might not even be mine! That, I think, is the main reason that visiting Disneyland as an adult was so much better. I can actually remember it, which is a plus.

I am 22 years old and I am a sucker for a Disney film. Moana, Brave, Inside Out, The Incredibles, Hercules, Disney have made so many truly incredible films. However, I am by no means a super fan. I know people my age who still don Disney t-shirts or carry Disney bags, who live, sleep and breathe the franchise. These are the people that I can imagine going to Disneyland. Me on the other hand, it was never my intention to go, that is, until my best friend got a job there. After that, I jumped at the chance to visit this magical place. 

I went with 2 friends and I won’t lie, as cool and exciting as the prospect of the park was, I was clearly there to see my best friend. She is best friends with many of the characters and I am so incredibly proud of her! 

We went for 2 days, which I feel is the minimum you should go for, yet still enough time to do everything.  There is a euphoric kind of joy upon entering the park. All of the excitement I felt at seeing my friend was now rivalled with a sheer level of excitement about being in the park itself! The layout of the entrance really cleverly blocks the view of the castle, so you can’t see it from outside. The anticipation is crazy! Seeing everyone in their Mickey or Minnie ears, in their Disney clothes, seeing the Disney inspired flower banks, fountains and hearing the music – it is impossible not to get excited! Walking through the gates, that feeling is magnified. 

You enter the park onto Main Street, an adorably cute collection of shops and restaurants, all inspired by Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. It feels like stepping into a different age. Right at the end of Main Street sits the Disney Castle. 

(Now this is a little sneaky Disney trick that I found out. Main Street actually uses a method called forced perspective to create the illusion of a larger space. When you enter the park, the castle seems really far away, even though it’s only a few hundred feet away. This is because of the facades of the buildings along Main Street, which widen out as you move down the street.)

Now Disneyland has both good and bad parts. As a child, all of the bad was probably overlooked, but now I’m grown up, it is clearer to see. Firstly, everything is ridiculously overpriced. A pair of Minnie Mouse ears cost €14.99, however, I rationalised that outgoing by telling myself I was paying for the experience. Secondly, crowds. I guess this is obvious when you book a trip to Disney, so I went prepared. I am usually pretty good with crowds, obviously from having lived in London, but it can be pretty overwhelming. We even went in a slightly off-peek time and it was still crazy. Thirdly, off-peek season. If you can whether an on-peek time, I’d recommend it. Many of the rides were closed since we visited just after the summer. This meant that there were only a few big rollercoasters that we could ride.  

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All this aside, I had a truly incredible time! I think Disney is made for adults as well as children. It may be a family friendly place, but there is still so much you can enjoy as an adult. For instance, unlike when I was a child, I could now ride Space Mountain – finally! And it didn’t matter that, since I’m older, I’m smart enough to realise how much of the magic works - it still feels magical. I met Cinderella and Pluto and couldn’t hold back my smile! I know they’re costume characters, I’ve worked as a costume character before, but they still felt real and magical. The parade is truly breath-taking and just like all the children, I waved and called out to the characters to get their attention! Finally, hand on my heart, I actually cried during the illuminations. Stunning projections on the Disney Castle, fireworks, lights and music. The most incredible light show I’ve ever watched – that is just as magical now as it was when I was a child. 

That is what I’ve fundamentally realised. That even though there is now the realisation that you know a lot more about the park, that you can see and recognise the draw backs and negatives. What truly makes the park magical, what made it incredible and awe inspiring to you as a child, that is all still there. This is combined with all the elements that you couldn’t appreciate as a child.

So although you can now see the negatives, you realise that they don’t matter. So what if there’s queues, the ride is incredible. Does it matter that you paid €14.99 for Minnie Mouse ears, no because they will forever remind you of Disneyland! 

Amongst all the negatives and drawbacks, there is a magic and an atmosphere that cannot be rivalled. That is the reason that Disneyland is far better to visit as an adult – because now you can look back at your Disney experience and actually remember it!! 

Stay Perfect, Messy People