Disneyland Paris, Garbagnati Style

I feel like it’s safe to say that I’ve earned myself an okay amount of travel cred over the years. I feel I chip away at that credibility whenever I visit any of the Disney Parks and I am 100% okay with that. Besides, Samantha Brown has been posting from Disneyworld, so it’s all good.


When Chris and I visited Disneyland Paris back in September, there was some early talk about coming back when the whole group was out here. It was why I almost upgraded my ticket to an Annual Pass back then. I still kind of regret not doing that, but we still weren’t sure the trip would have happened. It would have been the first time since my Irvine days that I would have held the status of Annual Passholder, though.

The trip to Paris was interesting to say the least. I’ve taken that same Friday night train between Basel and Paris before and it had been generally uneventful. This time around, it was like a full on happy hour. There was a cast of weird characters during the whole ride. The trip between Paris and Disneyland Paris was significantly less eventful, as was the bus from Disney Village to the hotel (once we found where that was).

We got the two-day park pass and the itinerary I planned for everyone was relatively similar to the one Chris and I did when we were at the parks in February, where the focus was on the rides that are different from what we get back home. I, of course, brought my hat from our trip last fall in a vain attempt to not buy new mouse ears.


We started the day at Walt Disney Studios and charged towards the Ratatouille Ride for Fast Passes. For some reason, however, the line to get Fast Passes for the ride looked incredibly long. Instead, we opted for the 30 minute Single Rider line. The ride was just as charming as it was the first time around. Also of note, they had mulled wine in that part of the park this time around. Having had my fair share of mulled wine over the past few months, I have to admit that this was probably one of the better ones that I’ve had. I was surprisingly impressed.


We did a round of the Toy Story section with the intention of riding one of the rides there, but none of them stuck out as being rides that would not get us sick. Instead, we made our way to Crush’s Coaster and waited in the single-rider line for the ride. It took a little longer than the Ratatouille ride did, but I think it was less than the predicted 80 minutes.

Now, when we visited the parks in the fall, there was a big Marvel event going on and there was Marvel stuff everywhere, including giant statues of the Avengers. I hyped that a lot to everyone, and was partially disappointed when we crossed the park to find that the Marvel set up was replaced with a Star Wars event. Now, the Star Wars stuff was cool, but there also were no statues of Darth Vader and no one wanted to try the Star Wars themed food with me.

On the upside, I did take what was probably the closest I will ever get to a selfie with Lin-Manuel Miranda.


We did an assessment of the rest of the park around this time. The line for the Rockin Roller Coaster was too long for a ride we’d done before (although I’m still curious if Ken Marino is in this version of the ride), no one seemed into the idea of doing Tower of Terror, and the Backlot Tour / Studio Tour (?) was closed, so we decided to leave the park. After I raided the Captain Marvel section of the store, of course.


We made our way across to Disneyland and into the park. Unfortunately, we learned on our way in that Phantom Manor was closed for renovation. I was so sad to have missed it when we were there in the fall and so stoked to see it this time around. Instead, it was disappointment all over again. We made our way to Adventureland for Indiana Jones Fast Passes and then jumped in line for Pirates, which got us out just in time to get onto the Indiana Jones ride. Neither Mia nor Umma wanted to ride the ride, so we had two extra passes that Gianni and I used to ride a second time. Turns out, it’s not the best ride to go on twice in a row, but it was still fun.

Another thing I promised was a villains section of the store outside of Pirates, something that also no longer exists. We were told that it all moved to Frontierland, making it our next stop. This meant that Frontierland was our next stop. They didn’t have a villains section (unless you count the Nightmare Before Christmas stuff), but I did end up getting a Maleficient hat. I guess the promise I made myself was not to get ears…didn’t say anything about goofy hats.


It was almost four at this point and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so we were getting pretty hungry. It didn’t hurt that all of Frontierland smelled like some solid barbeque. We’re all suckers for good BBQ, especially Gianni, so we made our way there. Except both of my brothers grumbled about how they were in France and eating American food as soon as we ordered the food. I felt bad until they started talking about how they really wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant to get the California-style burritos. Nerds. The barbecue was good, though. They even had pecan pie.

After we ate, we wanted to try to get Space Mountain Fast Passes, so we wound around the crazy parade via Fantasyland to Tomorrowland (except it’s called something else there) to try to get them. Unfortunately, they were out of passes for both Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear, by that time. Dejected, we went back to Fantasyland to do the Alice in Wonderland maze.


We did a stop by Sleeping Beauty’s castle as well to see the dragon and the tapestries, where I took a photo with Maleficient and my hat. Was trying to go for her look in the photo, but I somehow don’t have the presence/swagger/fierceness/(__fill in the blank____) to pull that off.


We decided to dare the line for Buzz Lightyear, but it was broken down by the time we got there. There was a short-ish line waiting outside of the ride, so we thought maybe the ride would be opening soon. We waited there for quite some time until they pretty definitely told us the ride was actually closed. It worked out, though, because Hyperspace Mountain also was momentarily shut down. This time around, we waited for about five minutes before the ride opened, saving us what could have otherwise been a long wait. Also, this my be my favorite iteration of Space Mountain of the Disney parks I’ve been to. It’s chaotic and dark like the other versions, but there is also a loop and back to back corkscrews. If the ride didn’t almost instantly fill up, I would have tried to ride again. Instead, we met up the other half of the group, who really looked like they were having a grand time in Disney.


The timing worked out too, because Buzz Lightyear was open again. The ride kept breaking down, so it may actually have been a problem with a ride and not secret Disney code. Mia scored an obscene 420k points. I couldn’t even break 100k. Ugh.

The park was just about to close around this time and they were ending with the final show of the night. I have to say, the show was kind of fantastic. They mostly relied on projections on the castle with very well choreographed fireworks. It was fun. Disney certainly knows how to put on a good show.

Things were packed as we left the park, but we did make it out. There was some chaos afterwards trying to figure out how to get everyone else to the airport early the next morning. There actually is a 10 minute train between Disney and CDG, but the trains they wanted were sold out. They ended up taking a taxi and I took a bus and series of trains back to Basel.

The Disney day was a good day all in all and it’s hard not to become an absolute nerd when I’m there. It’s been a long time since all four of us Garbagnati siblings have been to a Disney park together. The last time we went to Disneyland Paris together, we were also all under ten (or didn’t exist in James’s case).


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