Stressed-out from exams and papers, tired from the ongoing metro strikes, and a tad bit homesick, my friends, Stephanie and Brooke, and I decided to travel to a mini-America located 45 minutes outside of Paris, also known as Disneyland Paris, this Saturday. Luckily, the metro strike ended Friday, so we were able to take the RER (a suburban fast-speed train) out to the Disneyland Paris stop.

julia-disney1.pngMainstreet USA
To our excitement, Disneyland Paris has most of our beloved Disney rides as well as a few extras that have a European flair to them. We were so excited to see Mainstreet USA and the Christmas decorations lining the road. For about two seconds, I felt like I might have actually been in a very small town somewhere in America, until I heard children yelling in German, Italian, Czech, and French. The whole park is set up into the exact same “lands” as Disneyland, which was nice considering our California resident, Stephanie, knew exactly where everything was without having to look at a map!

julia-disney2.pngDisney Goes Upside Down!
Wanting to hit all of the big rides before the crowds, we immediately went to Space Mountain. From the outside, Space Mountain looks exactly the same, but the ride is VERY different! I was expecting the rickety old roller coaster where I would be spun around at weird angles and have my stomach drop a few times, but oh no, the Europeans do it much differently! When we sat down into the ride, I was wondering why we had the type of safety bars that went around our heads and neck, but didn’t really ask questions. About 20 seconds later I was doing corkscrews, 360-degree loops, and flying through the air at about 70 miles an hour. Needless to say, when we got off the ride, Stephanie, Brooke, and I all stared at each other and went, “Are we at DISNEYLAND!” It was an exhilarating ride, but unexpected. Several other rides were like this too, which was really fun!

julia-disney3.png3, 2, 1 … ACTION!
Disneyland Paris contains two parks: Disneyland and MGM Studios. Since we were staying for the whole day, we decided to buy a two-park pass. The MGM Studios, wasn’t that great considering there were no shows going on and most of it was under construction, but they had a brand-new Finding Nemo ride called Crush’s Coaster, which was so much fun! Even though the three of us were definitely the oldest ones going on the ride without a 5-year-old, I really enjoyed it.

Disney Christmas
Starting in the middle of November and going through early January, the entire Disney park is decorated for Christmas. Lights are hung from Mainstreet USA buildings, the castle is ornamented in white lights, and there are Christmas trees scattered in the park. It was absolutely beautiful at night when they turned on all of the Christmas lights and the park just glowed off the twinkling lights of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. To celebrate Disney Christmas even more, we all bought matching Mickey Mouse Ears that had a Santa hat attached. I would never wear it anywhere but Disneyland because we looked like such dorks, but it was so fun. Plus it kept our ears and heads warm in the 30-degree weather!

Disneyland was a great break from the hustle and bustle of Paris, but now it’s time to start cracking down for finals!