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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

5 Things Nobody Tells You Before Your Disneyland Trip...

Hey lovely Disneys,

I hope you’re all having a wonderful autumn… Christmas fever is well and truly upon us at the moment! Have things already started feeling festive in your home?

It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Christmas fan – usually, I’m definitely more Buddy The Elf than Scrooge however, for this post, I’m channelling my inner Grinch and will be discussing the less glamorous side of Disney parks with those little niggles that nobody ever really shares. Plus, a few nuggets of wisdom that will hopefully help you to combat the problematic scenarios listed below.

Enjoy – and if you have anything to share to this list, remember to add your thoughts in the comments section below!

- Mercedes x

Five things nobody tells you about visiting a Disney Park

1)   Queuing sucks...

So this one is not exactly a huge secret – we all know how rubbish queues at Theme Parks can be, and Disneyland is no exception to this.

After finding that all the fastpasses had sold out for the recently opened Toy Story Mania during my 2012 to Walt Disney World, I unwillingly entered the three hour queue for the attraction only to be thoroughly disappointed and underwhelmed at the attraction which – whilst awesome – only lasted a measly few minutes…

Would you queue for an hour to ride the teacups?
Image Credit: Skylar Sahakia

Do not let yourself become this person.

Plan ahead. Utilise fastpasses, visit the parks off peak, ride during parade time, bring activities for little ones, and big kids too! Do not get caught out by queuing, which sadly, can be inevitable.

During my last trip to Alton Towers with my Sister and Grumpy, we rather naively decided to go the Saturday before Halloween… you can imagine how busy the place was. The shortest queues were between 60 and 90 minutes long and some of the longest… over three hours.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT let your holiday become standing in line. Not worth your time.

2) Everything is expensive...

This is another point that you probably think goes without saying but it is SO true. Whichever Disneyland you visit, no matter where in the world you are, Paris, Shanghai, Orlando… expect to spend a lot of dollar.

That Hot Chocolate I'm holding there? Yeah, that was expensive. I bought it for the 25th Anniversary Souvenir Mug. Pretty much as soon as this photo was taken, I took a swig only to find that the lid wasn't on very securely, covering myself in Hot Chocolate... Magical!

Merchandise, food, drinks… it all adds up and due to the fact that you’re ‘kinda stuck’, the clever people at Disney can charge pretty much whatever they like and they know you’ll buy it. It also doesn’t help that everything is so freaking adorable!

As my wise Boyfriend Grumpy says, ‘stick that mouse on anything and you’ll buy it!’

…sadly, he is right.

If you’re doing Disney on a budget, do not let this alarm you, just plan ahead! Purchase your snacks ahead of time from local supermarkets or before you travel; bring refillable water bottles along with you (Bobbles are fantastic as they filter your water for you!) – and when it comes to merchandise and clothing, buy before you travel! Primark have some wonderful, affordable Disney bits and pieces available so there is no reason to go without – just be smart about it!

3) You will do a lot of walking

Now, depending on who you are, your fitness levels and who you are bringing along with you, this may not be such a bad thing but nevertheless, it is something that is seldom talked about.

During my trip to Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, I walked a total of 50,000 steps across the two days that we were there. As somebody that is constantly fretting about weight (and who loves to eat!) this is a huge positive for me but I am aware that for those less able or with small children, this may be something to be concerned about.

Plan your route around the parks ahead of time to ensure that you’re not doubling back on yourself unnecessarily and make sure you are wearing super comfy shoes. Flip flops won’t cut it, nor will dolly shoes or pumps and whatever you do, now is not the time to try and break in those new trainers!

4) The food can be very hit and miss

Mickey Waffles, Beignets, Dole Whip, Candy Floss, Popcorn…

Disney food is famous.

White Chocolate and Strawberry Minnie Ice Cream at Shanghai Disneyland

It’s one of the most exciting and enticing aspects of a trip to Disneyland and now, in an age where we’re constantly snapping and gramming our adorable eats, Disney food just lends itself perfectly to millenials and the social media wave.

In reality however, be careful where you dine. The majority of the food at Disneyland is fine… just fine, but when you’re spending upwards of £50 per head at some of the onsite restaurants, you want a little more than ‘just fine’! I have had exceptional food at Disneyland for as little as £10 and some really mediocre offerings and my bill at the end has been three figures!

Do you research, scroll through TripAdvisor, speak to friends that have been and watch YouTube… a lot of YouTube, and then I am sure you will find some delicious treats!

Delicious Pumpkin Ice Cream from Auberge De Cendrillon, Disneyland Paris

5) You will want to go back again as soon as you have left...

You will not understand this feeling until your last day in the parks. It’s inevitable. Everything in life must come to an end eventually and Disney is no exception, but there is nothing quite like leaving Disneyland – not knowing when (if ever!) you might return...

It’s bittersweet – on the one hand, you have just had the time of your life, on the other, you want to relive it all again. I'm often jealous of my former self... the self that had a few days of pure magic to look forward to.

It may sound like I’m being overly dramatic (and perhaps I am!) but honestly, as somebody that really suffers with the idea of ‘time passing’ and apprehension about the future, the Disney blues are a very real thing for me.

Beautiful Shanghai Disneyland at Night
Photo Credit: Pan Xiaozhen

In an ideal world, I would always have a Disney trip planned and booked to look forward to in order to combat this, but sadly reality (and finances!) get in the way of that.

The only advice I have for you if this is something that you're worried about too is to fully enjoy your trip, live every moment to it's fullest, take it all in and relish in the magic!

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