Disneyland Paris Magical Run Weekend 2017 – The Review

You can find Practical Information about the event in our other blog post, here, and the ‘non-runners’ review here.

 

Background

I took part in the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon races at Disneyland Paris this September.  I do consider myself a ‘runner’ but I am far from a fast runner!  Disney Races suit me perfectly as they are not geared towards running competitively.  This was my fifth half marathon, and  I also took part  the inaugural Race weekend in DLP in 2016.  For the purpose of this review I will draw some comparisons between the two.  There will almost certainly be some changes made for 2018, so please take my review as just that – my reflections on the events so far, rather than a guide to 2018!

 

Booking

My friends and I booked an onsite room at Sequoia Lodge with an Annual Pass Discount and were able to add race entries (bibs) on to this booking.  There were other options to book.  You could a package with hotel, tickets and bibs directly through Disneyland Paris, or through several nominated Travel Agents.  Some people also booked offsite hotels, and purchased bibs separately in June.

 

Registration

In July, RunDisney emailed all participants with details for registering their details for the races.  For those entering the Half Marathon, a Medicate Certificate had to be completed by a doctor and submitted by the end of August.  Most GPs facilitated the completion of these certificates, usually for a fee.  Due to technical difficulties encountered by some, the deadline was extended.

 

The Official Run Weekend Guide

The Official guide for the weekend was emailed to all participants in the week leading up to the races.  It included the routes for all races plus practical information about the Expo, Spectators etc.  You can see the guide for 2017 here.

 

The ‘Expo’

The Expo was located between McDonald’s in Disney Village and Newport Bay Hotel.  It opened on the Thursday at 3pm and queues for this both years started a few hours before opening but died down later on.  At the Expo I collected my race bibs, t-shirts and gEAR bags.  you get a t-shirt for each race you enter, plus an extra one for the challenge if you were doing that.  I purchased my Photopass for the races (€35 for up to 3 bibs, and €60 for up to 6 bibs).  I was also able to collect my limited-edition race pin that I had pre-ordered online.  Last year the pins sold out very quickly and a lot of people were left disappointed.  I was delighted to see RunDisney listen to feedback from this and this year to give the option to order in advance.  I didn’t have to queue for very long for any of this, but it is a hot and stuffy tent, with very loud music.  Not my favourite part of the weekend so I was glad to get it over and done with on the Thursday.

The Expo also hosted a variety of Run Disney merchandise for sale, a Speaker Series, various exhibitors, sports massage / KT taping, wristbands for spectators of the races, poster-making and a pop-up Starbucks.

 

The ‘Bibs’

A bib is allocated for each race, except for those who took part in the 10k and Half Marathon ‘Challenge’, which was just one bib.  On each bib was a letter, A, B, or C, which corresponds to the corral you are in before starting the race.

 

Spectators / ChEARleaders

Spectators were encouraged to come  to the races to chEAR on their family members and friends.  There were two main areas for this; on Main Street USA (10k and half marathon only) and near the finish lines.  To access these areas, wristbands needed to be collected from the Expo.  For the 10k race and especially for the Half Marathon, there were lots of other locations for ChEARing outside the parks.

 

The 5k Race

This year saw a change to the day, time, start line, finish line and route of the 5k race!  It was held on Friday evening at 8pm and started in front of Sequoia Lodge Hotel.  We had to access the corrals at the other side of the lake, near the Expo.  Corrals A and B closed at 7:30pm and Corral C closed at 8pm.  I was in Corral C.  The race was a few minutes late getting started and it did seem to take some time for all corrals to go over the start line. I started at around 8:35pm and the last runners crossing at approximately 8:45pm.  This race was not timed.

The route went though Disney Village, into Walt Disney Studios, around the park and through some backstage areas.  There were several character meets/stops along the route including Cinderella and Prince Charming (alternating with Belle and the Beast), backstage, Quasimodo, Esmerelda and Clopin (alternating), The Three Little Pigs, Gaston, Aristocats, Remy and Emile.  The queues were long-ish but moved relatively quickly.  There were also Photopass photographers at the Finish line.  There was one water stop along the route.  The backstage areas were not well-lit and I found this to be a huge drawback of the race.  It was nice to see the parks all lit up while running, but I really think this race would be better if it were held in the morning like the other ones.  (Unfortunately it has already been confirmed that next year it will also be held at 8pm on the Friday again.)

The finish line was inside the Studios, in the Production Courtyard.  I found the finish to be quite disorganised.  It was unclear as to where to collect your medal and where to go after that.  Here; we encountered a huge problem.  There were not enough 5k medals for everybody.  Several hundred people were left disappointed.  The staff, not knowing quite what to do, collected names and email addresses of those left without.  There was supposed to be post-race refreshments but these also ran out, with only water left by the time I got there.

All in all, while I did enjoy the 5k race, I felt like it could not compare to how good the previous year’s race was.  Out of this year’s races, it ranks at the bottom of the pile for me.  It took us quite a while to wind down after the race.  We got some food in Earl of Sandwich to bring back to the Hotel and it must have been 1am before we got to bed.  Not too bad; if you don’t have to be up at 5am for another race the following morning!

 

The Studios Kick-Off Party

This party was held from 9pm on the Friday night but I did not attend.  I had been to the one last year and didn’t have a great experience, and with the extra race this year I decided to give it a miss.  I believe it was late starting and it was difficult to find out what was happening.  There were some character Meet and Greets (mostly the same as the ones from the 5k race), access to rides, face-painting and a DJ.  This event is NOT scheduled for Run Weekend 2018.

 

Breakfast

If you had breakfast included in your package (with a meal plan, or by staying Club Level), there was a runner’s breakfast provided in the hotels on both Saturday and Sunday morning.  This was a continental buffet breakfast.  Runners were also given a wristband in case they wanted to return for second breakfast after the races.  Breakfast hours were extended to 12pm.

 

 

The 10k race

The 10k race was held at 7am and the start line was beside Vapianos at the side of Disney Village (Ave. Paul Séramy).   Again, we were divided into Corrals to await the start of the race.  Corrals A nd B closed a 6:30am and Corral C closed at 7am.   I was given Corral B but moved back to C to be with friends (Moving back a corral is allowed, moving forward is not).  The race started on time and we were on our way by 7:24am.  This race was not timed.  The route went into Walt Disney Studios, then into Parc Disneyland and then back into the Studios again for the finish.  Some of the route also went backstage but not too much.  Some of the later runners had a few hundred metres of their course cut off; no explanation was given but we can assume it was to get runners out of the parks to get it ready for opening.

Again there were several Character stops on the route.  Jack Skellington and Sally,  Remy and Emile, Woody and Jessie, Fairy Godmother and Merlin at one of the old Magic on Parade Floats, The Three Little Pigs, Stitch and Angel, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, Aurora and Philip (alternating with the three good fairies) at Maleficent’s Dragon Parade Float, Aladdin and Jasmine (alternating with Genie and Sultan), Kuzko, Kronk and Yzma (alternating with Karl, Doug and Russell from Up), Alice and friends.  One certainly couldn’t complain about that selection!  The queue lengths varied, some being quite long and others being short.   There were also lots of Photopass photographers at various locations around the parks, including in front of the castle, at Rex in Toy Story Playland, and at the finish.  There were two water stops along the route.

The race went very smoothly, save for the finish line which got a bit congested with people taking photos with Mickey & friends in their running gear.  It was my favourite race out of the three that I did.  The route was unbeatable, the characters plentiful, and there was enough medals and post-race refreshments for everyone!

 

 

The Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Challenge

Prior to the races, those entered into the 31k Challenge (10k and Half Marathon) had been told to collect a wristband at the end of the 10k race and wear it the next day in order to receive the Challenge medal.  After the 10k, Cast Members told us that there were no wristbands, and all we had to do was present our Challenge bib the next day to get the medal.  Potentially, this meant that one did not need to finish, or even start the 10k in order to get the Challenge medal!  I believe they are more strict about this for the US Challenges.

 

The Kids Races

I did not attend the Kids Races this year as I did not have my children with me!   They took place from 11am-12pm around Lake Disney.  There were three distances depending on the age of the child: 100m, 200m and 1km.  I learned from friends that were there that the organisation of them had not improved from last year; in fact they had worsened.  The races ran over time, leaving children standing out in the direct sun for a long time.  They ran out of medals.  This was a huge disappointment for the children involved.

 

 

 

 

The Half Marathon

The Half Marathon was another early start, commencing at 7am.  Again, Corrals A and B closed at 6:30am and Corral C closed at 7am.  We saw some people trying to climb over the barriers well after 6:30am, only to be sent back to C by stewards!  We were in Corral B and couldn’t believe our luck when we crossed the start line at 7:08am.

The route could be broken up into approximate thirds – first third in the Disney parks, middle third in the surrounding area including the partner hotels, and last third around the Disney Hotels and through Disney Village back to the Studios.  There were around 8 beverage/fuel stops along the route.  Some just had water, some had water and Powerade, and two of the stops had food, which included Balisto bars and cereal bars.

We stopped for lots of photos in the parks.  Again, characters and Photopass photographers were plentiful.  Along the route were The Three Caballeros (alternating with Kuzco and friends), Tinkerbell!!! (alternating with Alice), Hyenas from the Lion King (alternating with Rafiki and Timon), Stormtroopers, Joy and Sadness (alternating), Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps (alternating), Mickey and Minnie in their Anniversary outfits, Scrooge, Rapunzel and Flynn with Snow White and Prince Charming.  Plenty for everyone and some of the queues were very short (non-existent in some cases!).  There were plenty of other Photopass photographers at this race too; including in front of the castle, and the 25th Anniversary Car and the finish.  According to my Garmin watch, I was stopped for 25 minutes in total, a very long toilet stop (this was the longest queue!) which included at least 6 character stops, plenty of photos and lots of hugs with ChEARleaders along the way.

Entertainment was also provided outside Disney property in the form of live music.  This was great for keeping us going during that section.

At the finish line, Mickey and Co. were there again for some selfie opportunities.  Everyone was presented with their Half Marathon medal after the finished, and then instructed to move along to a separate area for the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and Castle to Chateau Challenge medals.  Again there was plenty of refreshments available in the form of a box of snacks for everyone and bottles of water and Powerade.  There were also foil blankets to keep the heat in.

I could not fault the Half Marathon Race in any way.  It was very well organised and it ran like clockwork.  As I said already, my favourite race was the 10k, mainly because of the route.  It would be impossible to have an entire half marathon inside Disney property but that middle section does drag!

Allez!  Allez!

A special shout out has to go to all the ChEARleaders, friends and cast members alike, who got up early just to cheer the runners on.  You’ll never know how much of a boost it gives us to ‘Just Keep Running’.  Thank you.

 

Photopass

Photopass photos from the races were due to be available by 2nd October.  This was delayed by two days.  I did manage to download all my photos but some of my friends had trouble registering their passes and have not yet resolved this.  The photos themselves, as with all Photopass photos from Disney, are excellent quality and high-resolution.  Well worth the money.

 

Changes for 2018

As I mentioned already, the Kick-off party will not go ahead next year.  The format of the races appears to be the same as this year.  Once welcome addition is the 36k Challenge medal for runners who complete the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon.  The 31k challenge also makes a return, which means that you could potentially get 5 medals for running 3 races!

The Challenge is not for the faint-hearted.  With the right training, it is achievable for most people; but it does need to be taken seriously.  On top of running three races in 36 hours, you have to contend with early starts, reduced sleep and the usual tiredness that comes with spending time in Disney parks!  That said, it is definitely worth the effort, and I am very much looking forward to returning next year.

Roll on Magical Run Weekend 2018!

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Sejours et Affaires

Having stayed here in October of 2016, my honest opinion is that I probably wouldn’t return. It is very close in price to the Hi-Park Serris, which in comparison is utterly stunning for the price. If the Sejours et Affaires was considerably cheaper, I’d consider it, but the little extra money that can be spent on staying at the Hi-Park is definitely worth it.

Location

The location of the hotel is pretty good; to get to and from the parks one can either get the RER A from Val d’Europe, which is one stop from the station at the parks. The hotel is around 10-15 minutes’ walk from the station. It is also possible to get the shuttle which goes from the Hotel l’Elysée, as this is on the way from the hotel to the RER station. A downside to the location is that the hotel is opposite a high school which does tend to be quite loud before and after the school day.

Room

The room itself is very basic; I stayed in a double room which had a huge queen-sized bed. There was storage shelving and a small table attached to the wall. Personally, I felt that it was a little dingy; there wasn’t much light, and it wasn’t decorated at all, just painted with a hard linoleum floor.

There is a small kitchenette in each room, consisting of a hotplate, fridge, microwave, crockery and cutlery.

Amenities

My major turn-off for the hotel is that the reception isn’t manned throughout the night. I’m not sure why but as a result, I did feel a little uncomfortable knowing that there weren’t any staff around if we needed anything in the night.

The hotel does have free Wi-Fi, which was of a good enough standard to use FaceTime, watch videos and also do the usual browsing on a few devices at once.

A buffet breakfast is available for a charge; however, I didn’t have breakfast at the hotel and hence can’t comment on it.

Sequoia Lodge – Standard

In recent years, if we’re staying onsite, we tend to go with the Sequoia Lodge. Priced slightly lower than the Newport Bay but more expensive than the Cheyenne and Santa Fe, I personally believe it’s the best value for money hotel of the seven onsite. I’ve only stayed in the winter, and most of the time it’s been Christmas (hence the decorations in most of my photos), but the hotel is beautifully cosy, and really feels lovely, warm and welcoming.

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Location

I think the location of the hotel is brilliant; you get the opportunity to walk through Disney Village, but it isn’t too far, around 10 minutes from the park entrance. The hotel is split into the main building, 5 smaller buildings, and the pool/gym building. The five smaller buildings are a little walk from the main part, and hence to get to breakfast you do have to walk outside, however these rooms are cheaper and I like the quietness and the fact they’re smaller. The five outbuildings are named after national parks; Yellowstone, Yosemite, Big Sur, Monterey and Sierra.

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Check-in area

Room and amenities

The rooms consist of two double beds, much like most other Disney hotels and are themed around Bambi and the Canadian forests; think lots of pine trees, exposed wood and roaring fires in the evenings.

The Sequoia Lodge has an indoor and outdoor pool for guests staying there, with a hot tub, a slide, and sauna. The small fitness suite is also in this building. Towels provided in the room are not to be taken to the pool, so either take your own or you can hire them there for 2€ each.

The Redwood bar is a really lovely place to relax in the evening; situated in the main building its relatively large, but not imposing, has huge leather sofas, a roaring fire and is ever so cosy – perfect after a chilly day in the parks!

There is a small play area near the bar to keep little ones entertained, and it is possible to meet characters in the hotel also.

In-room amenities are detailed on the amenities post, which you can find here.

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Redwood Bar at Christmas

Food

If you choose to have breakfast at the hotel, it is a buffet with cold meats and cheese, croissants, pain au chocolat, yoghurts, fruit, toast, cereals and other similar items. They do not serve hot food at the Sequoia Lodge breakfast unless you opt for a Golden Forest room.

In the evening, Beaver Creek Tavern and Hunters Grill offer buffets (they offer the same food). I have been impressed with what’s been on offer; often a roasted meat with potatoes, some rice dishes, fish dishes and then some dishes you wouldn’t necessarily find at all buffets such as ribs, fresh prawns, and/or beef bourguignon for example.375400_523993137619256_1167606491_n

 

Overall, I really recommend the Sequoia Lodge; it feels personal and not too corporate, caters for all in my opinion, and is well priced given how lovely and cosy it is!

Lucky Nugget Saloon

See the current menu here.

I ate in the Lucky Nugget Saloon last year, and really was pleasantly surprised. I’d not researched it whatsoever, and was expecting the usual counter service style place; queue up and pay, collect your food and then find a seat, but the Lucky Nugget is actually more of a counter service and table service hybrid! It is located on the left as you pass through the entrance to Frontierland that is near Casey’s Corner, and offers a Tex-Mex style cuisine.

Setting

Upon entry, you are handed a menu from which you order right at the door. Once you’ve ordered and paid, you are shown to a seat – the inside of this place really is stunning! It’s like a theatre, and throughout the day they have puppets on the stage, and a Toy Story show at certain times. The puppets tell the story behind the Lucky Nugget Saloon; I won’t spoil it but it focusses on Diamond Lil, who stumbled on a lucky golden nugget and decided to spend it on building the saloon. It’s really good entertainment – not too loud or intrusive but nice as a background to a nice lunch.

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Inside the saloon, seating consists of tables in the centre and also a long bar all around the edge which is slightly raised higher than the centre area with tables

 

Food and service

Once ordered, this is where Lucky Nugget varies from other places. Food is served in little baskets, and your drinks and mains are brought to your table, as opposed to you collecting them. Once done your baskets of food are cleared for you, and desserts then brought over. The food was exquisite – I had the ribs and the meat really does fall off of the bone, which for me is absolutely perfect. The ribs come with onion rings and chips, as well as a drink and dessert, for 21,99€. Yes, it is expensive, and subsequently, I wouldn’t eat there every day, but it is reflected in the sort-of table service you receive, the show you watch, and the portions you receive. I would definitely recommend it, and if you’re looking for something between a sit-down table service meal, and a quick counter service meal, and you’re happy to pay the price which also sits between table and counter service, I’d definitely pay the Lucky Nugget Saloon a visit.

Pizzeria Bella Notte

For the current menu, see here.

I absolutely love Bella Notte, for a whole multitude of reasons; the portions are great, the food is delicious, the location is brilliant, and the prices are wonderful!

Bella Notte is a counter service restaurant, with three set menus plus a kid’s menu. As far as I’m aware, there is not an A La Carte menu at present. Menu 1 (12,99€) is pasta, a side and a drink, Menu 2 (13,99€) is lasagne, a side, a dessert and a drink, and Menu 3 (14,99€) is a pizza, a side, a dessert and a drink.

The pasta is delicious; either Neapolitan or Bolognese. I had the Neapolitan and it was yummy – it didn’t taste artificial or like it had been sitting around for ages and was piping hot. My only gripe was that my sauce was on top of the pasta and mixing it through in the little box was a pain.

The pizzas are my go-to; big enough to share, or great if you’ve got a late dinner reservation and need to keep yourself going all afternoon. Both the Royale and 3-cheese are delicious, loaded with cheese, and the ham on the Royale is so nice – thick and yummy, not watery or artificial. They’re filling and well worth the money, even more so if sharing! My only wish is that they were Mickey-shaped, like the kid’s ones are!

The sides are salad, or a large slice of garlic baguette, which I always go for! My knowledge of the desserts is limited due to my allergies, but I can definitely recommend the Greek yoghurt!

I had the Hotel Meal Plan in February, and vouchers can be used at Bella Notte. To ensure we had food for both the first and last day, the group of 4 I went with used 2 vouchers on the day we arrived, and shared pizzas, garlic bread, a dessert and drink, and saved the other 2 vouchers for our final day. I can assure you despite only having half a pizza each, we definitely did not go hungry either!

Setting

I personally think the location of Bella Notte is brilliant; it’s at the entrance to Fantasyland, so not on the edges of the Disneyland Park and can hence be reached quickly from wherever you are really. Also, it’s a brilliant place to nip into before or after the parade as it’s right at the end/start of the route (depending on which way it’s going). It is a little dark inside, the place would definitely benefit from more lighting, but the servers are efficient and I go back time and time again, so would definitely recommend it!

Allergies

Being allergic to both nuts and some fruits can make the set menu counter services a little difficult, as I can’t have the brownie, the ice cream or the fruit cup which is often the dessert on offer. At Bella Notte, I normally get Menu 3 and cannot have either dessert. On multiple occasions, I’ve explained this to the CM serving us, and they have offered any of the other desserts. The only thing I sometimes find when getting a dessert switched is that they don’t always put it through the till, and so I’ll sometimes be given the wrong dessert when I collect the food, but a quick explanation and it’s all sorted and I’ve never had an issue.

Cape Cod

See the current menu here.

Priced at 34,99€ for adults and 24,99€ for children it does specialise in fish, and does an excellent job of it, but still caters well for those not big fans of fish, just maybe not as amazingly as other places. This buffet is really wonderful , and I would happily eat here if I didn’t want the price tag and characters that Inventions offers, it really was delicious and a lovely meal. I last ate in here in February 2017, and had a wonderful time.

Starters

This was heavily fish-orientated; king prawns in shells, bullots, smoked salmon, various patés and some pasta salads as well as a small selection of salad-y bits such as leaves, croutons etc.

Mains

I was seriously impressed with what was on offer here. For the fish lovers, the showstopper was a whole salt-encrusted sea bass, carved in front of you which was incredible. Cod in a creamy sauce, salmon with tomatoes, beautifully cooked tuna steaks and mussels in white wine sauce were on offer, and it all looked stunning. For those not so fussed about fish, there was still a wonderful selection. Pasta dishes, both vegetarian, and with meat all looked delicious, a personal favourite was the tortellini. On top of this a curried beef stew and a joint of lamb carved in front of you were also available. Sides such as chips, various vegetables (green beans, carrots, baby corn to name a few) and roast potatoes were available. Finally, for kids, there was the usual pizza slices, fish or chicken nuggets, chips, and pasta with either a pesto or bolognese sauce.

Desserts

If it serves île flottante, it’s a good restaurant in my eyes! However, for those whose lives don’t revolve around meringue and crème anglaise, I think you’d still be happy here. Crème brûlée, rice pudding and coulis, jelly, fresh fruit, fruit tarts, waffles and chocolate sauce to name a few!

Service

Service here was good – it is a large restaurant and was very busy and so service was slower than I’ve had in other places at Disneyland. However, the servers were all cheery, welcoming and made conversation with us, which made up for things like the drinks and bill taking a little longer to arrive.

Allergies

In terms of allergies, this was a little different to other restaurants. After having seen the allergy tick sheet at previous buffets, I was surprised when I was told there wasn’t one in Cape Cod. However, the CM took me to the head chef, who took me around the buffet at a lovely slow pace, and explained very clearly what was and wasn’t safe for me, and also said that he could do me plain grilled fish or meat of my choice with vegetables, or he could remake anything in a sauce without the nuts in it so I could have the cod in creamy sauce that was available.

 

Walts – An American Restaurant

See the current menu here.

Setting

I have only been lucky enough to eat in here once, and it was honestly the best meal I’ve eaten at Disneyland. Most of the restaurant is on the floor above shops such as Lilly’s Boutique etc., but the entrance is on Flower Street. The entrance features a grand lobby full of artwork and images detailing the start of Walt Disney’s work; from creating Mickey Mouse to Snow White. The dining area is split into rooms, each of which is themed as follows; Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Disneyland Hotel and Grand Canyon. We ate in the Fantasyland room, which has a gothic edge to it, whilst concept art from the early animations adorn the walls.

The whole restaurant is beautiful, and I liked that it’s split into rooms, as it feels more cosy and intimate despite being a pretty big restaurant. I would recommend booking in advance, we were incredibly lucky to get the reservation we did on the day (it was a spontaneous decision to eat there) as it was the only slot left.

Service

The service we received was absolutely impeccable, we had a 16:00 reservation on our last day. The parade at 17:30 goes past Walt’s and it is recommended to get a window seat if you want to watch the parade from your seat. We did not have a window seat and planned to have finished our food before the parade. However, due to no fault of Walt’s, we had not had our dessert by 17:30, so the staff were more than happy to hold off on our desserts and keep our table reserved so we could go and watch the parade and then return to have dessert. Service was efficient, but not rushed, and I plan to return as soon as I possibly can.

Food

The food was incredible, the closest to fine dining I’ve had at Disneyland Paris. @boothillcheshie and I both had the smoked tomato velouté, which had a little tower of tomatoes, basil, and slightly cooked onions, and the velouté was poured over it at the table from a glass teapot, which was a nice touch. My main course was a beautifully tender lamb shoulder, with macaroni cheese, vegetables and one of the most delicious red wine sauces I’ve ever eaten. For main, @boothillcheshie had the Charolais beefburger with chips and homemade chilli, which was delicious also. For dessert, we both had the pineapple upside-down cake with basil sorbet, a vanilla cream and passion fruit coulis. My only fault was that it wasn’t an upside-down cake like I expected, it was more of a cake with a piece of cooked pineapple placed on top. The pineapple hadn’t been cooked into the cake, and didn’t have that syrupy sauce that tends to come with an upside-down cake. Despite this, it was phenomenal – the basil sorbet was sublime and had that lovely sort of “weird but wonderful” taste you get with unusual foods.

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Smoked tomato velouté (no longer available on current menu)
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Lamb shoulder (no longer available on current menu)
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Charolais beefburger with chilli
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Pineapple upside-down cake

Allergies

In terms of allergies, we were catered for fantastically. We had an great CM as our waiter, I could not fault him he was absolutely brilliant. I said I was allergic to nuts, to which he replied, “I better leave then” making us really laugh! He brought over the allergy tick sheet, and luckily everything I wanted was all fine, with one exception. I really wanted the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, which had nuts in.

On the tick sheet, peanut is classed as one allergen, and all other nuts as another allergen. I’m not allergic to almonds, and so asked which nuts were in the cake. He then showed me another page in the book, which has all items on the menu and every single ingredient in every dish on offer, which is a brilliant resource. The specific nut in the pineapple upside down cake is almond, so I was all good to have it which was great, and it was so delicious.

I genuinely could not fault my meal there, there is not a single aspect I thought could have been improved on and cannot wait to return to sample more of what looked like a delicious menu which seemed like it would cater to a lot of people.

Disney with a mobility scooter!

 

This was our first holiday with the scooter and we felt a little apprehensive about how accessible Disneyland Paris would be – we needn’t have worried!

Getting in and getting around!

Getting into both parks was nice and easy – the cms just open the kiosk doors as they did for pushchairs.  Our first stop was city hall to get a green pass and husband just drove in – no problems at all in getting in and manoeuvring August was always going to be busy but the crowds were somewhat annoying at times because people just walk out in front of you – happens to us all I guess but they don’t seem to like it when their toes get trampled so we are investing in a horn for this year’s trip! Navigating around Disney itself was great – the paths are all wide and it was even fine over the cobbled areas.  Where there are steps, there are also clearly signposted wheelchair accessible areas.  Main street was really easy to negotiate around although we couldn’t find our way down to Goofy during EMH, so he ran to get us!

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Rides and Shows in Disneyland Park 

Husband isn’t able to go on all the rides because of his health needs but those he could were very accessible.  The rides have a signposted disabled entrance, often the ride exit.  CMs were great and very welcoming.  So sometimes parts of the theming is missed but you can’t have everything! Getting into The Frozen Singalong was easy! There were spaces alongside the bench seating for a wheelchair/mobility scooter to slot into and we hope it has stayed the same for the Forest of Enchantment this year!

Fantasyland

Moving around Fantasyland was simple – occasionally needing to find an alternative route where there were steps.  We were able to enter Peter Pan’s Flight right by the ride exit and park the scooter close to the ride so only a very short distance to walk.  It’s a small world has a disabled entrance where we were shown to the ride.  Dumbo had a few small steps up to it.  La Taniere du Dragon was completely accessible.

Adventureland

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of our favourite family rides so we were really pleased to be able to drive the scooter straight to the ride exit.  It couldn’t have been any easier.  Around by Pirates of the Caribbean, we looked out for the sloped areas and the walkways were a little narrower.

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Discoveryland

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is another firm favourite in our house but we were a little unsure of using the scooter at this stage so parked it outside and walked in through the disability entrance.  It was a longer walk than we anticipated so next time we will ask to take it through with us as there certainly was space.

Rides and shows in Walt Disney Studios

I had read that the disabled entrance to Ratatouille was problematic – that it was long and narrow and the same as the fastpass.  However, it was more than wide enough for the scooter and we drove it right down to the ride entrance.  Staff moved it for us to the exit.  There was enough space to manoeuvre.

Mickey and the Magician has a separate disabled entrance to the left of the Animagique theatre and then drive straight in! The scooter didn’t quite fit in the first space and staff were keen to help us find an appropriate space.  Husband stayed in the scooter and the rest of us were alongside and didn’t feel at all separate and very much part of the audience.

Everything Else 

Plaza gardens were fantastic.  I popped in to ask how to get in with a scooter and we were directed to the side of the restaurant which has a slope right into the back of  the restaurant.  We then headed over to the entrance and were seated.  The positioned us close to the buffet so I didn’t have to walk far to get husband’s food and showed him where he could park the scooter – inside the restaurant and we could see it at all times.  Again we took it into Restaurant des Stars although this time they removed a chair and he sat in the scooter and got his own food.  When shopping, lots of the larger shops were accessible and in the Walt Disney Studios store, he was able to take it into the changing rooms!

Overall, we were really pleased with the accessibility and the staff and very much looking forward to returning this Summer.

Click for the Disneyland Paris Accessibility Guide

Photos (c) Disneyland Paris

 

Cafe Des Cascadeurs

See the current menu here.

My eldest daughter has a real interest in anything American retro so I was thrilled to read about Cafe des Cascadeurs. Research led me to find out that it was an authentic fifties diner that was brought to Europe from America, just outside of New York in the nineties. However, it found itself in The Walt Disney Studios,  in 2002. By this stage, we didn’t really care what they served we just knew we would love to eat there! I had read that it had odd opening times so we didn’t build our hopes up! However, we happened to be there on a day it was opening and, knowing it was tiny, we made our way to join the short queue. We were shown to a booth, complete with checked curtains and slid in.   There are booths on one side, and on the other is the counter and the grill where the chefs were waiting to cook! As ‘cascadeurs’ is French for stuntmen, the walls had a lot of Disney stunt photos, including some of Herbie, which was great to see.

Food

The menu is simple, burgers and chips.  We ordered our burgers and they were happy to accommodate our fussy tastes – a mixture of removing pickles and sauces. I opted for the chicken burger which was delicious, beautifully cooked piece of chicken.  Everyone else in our group ordered the beef burger and I’m sure the children’s burger was the same size.  Service was fast but not rushed. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the surroundings and we would definitely visit again. On the way out,  we noticed that there was a small decking area for al fresco eating but eating inside, whatever the weather, would be our preference.