To begin with, what can I say but - wow! What a trip, again! Disneyland Paris still continues to amaze and deliver in it’s ever growing record of new and different things that it offers up to it’s cautious fans.
I say cautious because as late there have been some decisions within Disney that have left people a little bewildered, but overall satisfied I guess with the outcomes.
This trip though did not fail in impressing Jon and I. At Halloween I talked about the vast array of characters that were out, including many special and rare ones for the spookiest season of them all. This time round it was the turn of St Valentine’s to get the special treatment.
St Valentine’s for the most part could almost be overlooked, and certainly not be seen as a major holiday or event. But this is Disney. And not just Disney - this is Disneyland Paris.
We had arrived on the Saturday, the day before Valentine’s, hoping that they would be doing their Valentine’s events the whole weekend, but alas it was discovered that they weren’t, and when we enquired at City Hall they told us that no special events or characters had actually been planned at all for Valentine’s this year! We knew from last year that they do have special Valentine’s events, and we also knew that City Hall isn’t always the most reliable source of information!
So the next day, Valentine’s Day, we headed into the parks again, expecting to see all the special character roaming around, but it got to about 11am and we had so far had no luck. While waiting at the Small World gates for the 11am character sets to come out, we started to talking tp a Dutch guy - with whom we are now good friends - and he informed us that he was waiting for characters too; and they would be coming! He knew some CM friends and they had told him that the sets started at about 11.30am. So we waited with him, and are extremely glad we did, because as you are about to find out, there were some extraordinary events that day!
On Valentine’s Day this year, Disneyland Paris for some reason pretty much unknown to anybody, had hired just for the day probably the most incredibly rare characters from Tokyo Disneyland - Bernard and Bianca! Yes, they were flown in from Tokyo especially for Valentine’s at DLP! What is even more incredible is that they only ended up being used for one set! They flew half way round the world for one set! And we got to meet them! Amazing!
Also this year there were many other special characters. Jaq and Gus, and Quasimodo and Esmerelda!
We got to meet them all. Of course all the princesses and princes were out too throughout the day, but the princes aren’t so rare at DLP as they are at the other parks.
Mickey and Minnie had also been given special outfits for the day, but not just one - three!
In the parks they were meeting in their “hearts” outfits (kind of like their regular outfits, but with hearts on the shirts where thee is normally just red or white).
Over in the Disneyland Hotel they had two! In the morning, much to my excitement, they had them out in their royal best - Prince Mickey and Princess Minnie!
In the afternoon we discovered something that we didn’t know that the Disneyland Hotel did. Apparently every afternoon around 3 or 4pm they have a song and dance routine in the main lobby where random characters come out for meets and fun. Of course this being Valentine’s Day, Mickey and Minnie were there, and they had yet again different outfits. They were actually their old Main Street USA outfits, which are red and white striped; but nonetheless they were only for the day.
Later in the Disneyland Hotel, Belle and Beast were doing a special one off set, dressed in their finest too. Belle in her yellow dress, and Beast in his ball outfit, as opposed to his cloak and rags like he usually is.
Belle of course we ‘d met many times, and indeed Beast in his rags, but never Beast in his ball outfit, so that was cool.
The Parade on Valentine’s Day had a special “pre-parade” before it which basically involved all the special characters from the day coming down the parade route greeting people. Despite their very brief appearance only for one set, Bernard and Bianca were there too.
Although we didn’t get to visit all the hotels on Valentine’s Day to see the special events, we know that they all did do something. I later saw pictures of Snow White and the Prince meeting over at the Sequoia Lodge, and we know the Cheyenne had something (although we don’t know what), because we saw the poster in the lobby.
Throughout our trip we made a point of going over to all the different Disney Hotels every morning to see which Disney Characters were out. We managed to meet a variety of special themed characters this trip, including Sequoia Lodge Mickey and Minnie, Newport Bay Mickey and Minnie, and Cheyenne Mickey and Goofy. There were of course other characters too who were not in special outfits (such as Eeyore, Chip, Dale and more), and we did meet some of them, but our main focus was to try and get the different costumes.
A new experience for both Jon and I on this trip was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Disney Village. I had never done a dinner show before (no, not even a Disney one!), and I know we were both keen to see Buffalo Bill’s, so when we received a special offer leaflet for being AP holders, we decided to go for it this trip.
Normally the price is about 60 Euros, which I have to say is a bit much even for a dinner show at Disney. But for the 29 Euros we paid it was actually pretty good value. If the regular price was 29 Euros, I’d probably want to do it more often.
So we were told to be there an hour before the show. We arrived, and waited for a little bit then were eventually let in. From the outside the building that houses BBWWS is not too inspiring. It shares its main entrance with the cinemas, and looks very plain by all accounts. Even when you’re checking in inside and waiting, it is not too themed. There are some posters and information, and a couple of props, but again nothing really great. The doors open and you have to make a line to exchange your entry ticket for your seating ticket. As you turn the corner once having got your seat number, you move forward and are given your “free” cowboy hat and you are presented with the most incredible sight! You are in a very old, western looking saloon style corridor. There are those little twinkly blue lights they put in trees all around you, lots of posters and information on the walls, neon lights, and statues. It is quite cool actually! There is a bar area, and a stage. There are the different entrance areas depending on your seat number. Before you reach the end of the corridor area (before you actually get to the bar), there is a special character meet and greet area, where a very cool looking western Mickey Mouse is meeting his fans! We of course had to get our picture! There is a photographer there, and you can pick up the picture later in Disney Village if you want to buy it.
I have to say the bar prices are a bit much, as you’d probably expect, but you aren’t waiting around too long in any case.
Just before you’re allowed into the main arena there is a little show up on the stage in the bar. A man who slings ropes, and a band come out to play, joined by cowboy Goofy a few minutes later. It’s good old fashioned country fun with guitars, dancing and clapping.
You are then called to your gates for entry into the arena, and this is where the fun really begins!
You are shown to your designated row, which is a big long bench with plates, cutlery and cups already laid out. The benches are staggered quite generously so every row gets a very good view of the arena overall.
The show starts, and involves characters, stunts and music. There is a lot of action, and I have to say it was very good! I really enjoyed the whole experience. The food itself was ok. It wasn’t anything special. If you like BBQ Tex-Mex sort of food all on the bone, then you’ll be fine. I’m a fussy eater and found myself picking at it, which in the dark is hard to do! I think if we do the show again, I’d go for the vegetarian option as so that I am not worried about what I am putting in my mouth without being able to see it!
Overall a very fun experience, one that I would highly recommend - especially if they have the 29 Euro deals again!
We normally try to do at least one character meal per trip, and this trip we were able to go to Café Mickey again. Café Mickey was ever lively, as always! The Europeans certainly have a different idea about dining in theme parks compared to the Americans, and it can make for an interesting experience for those not used to it! With the table dancing Goofy, the loud music and the large variety of more unusual characters compared to the US, Café Mickey never disappoints! Ok, so the food isn’t wonderful, but it’s fairly good value, with no set price and pizzas starting from 15 Euros, it is one of Disney’s cheaper character dining offerings. In the restaurant this trip we met Prince John, Stitch, Baloo, Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie. From what I can remember, there were a couple of others there, including Dale, but they didn’t manage to get round to our table before we left.
We had an amazing trip as always, and look forward to seeing what the next one brings! New Generation Festival here we come!…