Friday, February 24, 2012

Chat With a Disney Guru - Manda's Disney Blog

Weekly series!

Welcome to a great new way to compare notes, pick up some helpful tips for your next Disney visit, and discover some fantastic Disney bloggers!  Each week I will be highlighting an interview with a certified, pixie dusted fan of The Mouse.  

WARNING:  Their enthusiasm for all things Disney is, in fact, quite contagious!  So come along for the ride with us ... you may learn something new, and it's sure to put a smile on your face as you read about the good, the really really good, and the "you absolutely can't miss this...."!
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This week:  Manda's Disney Blog!

Ok, you guys - I have been thoroughly enjoying all of these "Disney Guru" interviews!  BUT... Manda is from Scotland!  And I am so excited to hear more about her home park - Disneyland Paris!  Make sure you read to the end - where I ask her some extra questions about this exclusively.

Tell us a little about you, and your website (blog).
Hi! My name is Manda and I run Mandas Disney Blog! I just love Disneyland Paris and I use my blog to share my experiences with other Disney fans! I love that I’ve got to know many Disney fans from across the pond in America – I’ve made them all want to venture over to my home park here in Europe!

Which is your favorite Disney Park, and why?
Disneyland Paris! (No surprise there then lol!) I visited in 1992 when it opened – I was just 5 years old! So Disneyland Paris has a lot of nostalgic qualities for me – it’s my favourite place to go as a family because it always creates the most brilliant and magical memories! I’ve been to Disney World in Florida too, which was fantastic! But for me it just doesn’t beat the charm of Disneyland Paris :)

Top 3 characters you’d like to meet on an ideal day at Disney:
Believe it or not I’ve done very little character meets – I always feel bad queuing up along with all the kids! If a character had to finish up and I had met them before some kids behind me had I would feel terrible! I’ve discussed this before with Disney fans from America – it seems that it’s a lot more widely accepted that people of all ages can meet characters in the American parks, where as in Disneyland Paris it seems to be more for kids than adults! If you queue up as an adult you sometimes get funny looks from parents! :P

If I were going to meet characters though I’d love to meet Mickey and Minnie too! I’d also love to meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider! They always seem so much fun in meet videos I’ve seen online. Ok so that’s 4 but hey ho! :P

Your 3 favorite Disney attractions, and why you love them.
I can’t choose only 3!! I love Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris – it’s just the best! It’s more like a roller-coaster than the one in Disney World – it has loops and big drops and everything! And the soundtrack is just awesome! 

I also love Big Thunder Mountain! Again, I love the Disneyland Paris one more than Disney World – the DLP one has a cool section at the start where you go into an underwater tunnel because the mountain is in the middle of the huge lake that sits in the middle of Frontierland! You also get some amazing views up there during the day and also at night! 

Finally, I would probably choose either Phantom Manor or Peter Pan! Phantom Manor is a favourite for my boyfriend and I, and Peter Pan is always family trip must do! I also love Le Carrousel de Lancelot! Ok I’ll stop now because I’ve gone way over 3!

Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris

Favorite time of the year to visit?
I love to visit DLP at the end of August/start of September – it’s still the summer season so there’s still fireworks and night-time parades … and the weather is still kinda warm and it’s usually quiet because all of the schools have gone back by then. I’d love to say Halloween of Christmas but I haven’t been lucky enough to visit during any holiday seasons yet!

The Park snack your day is not complete without.
Popcorn!! I LOVE fresh DLP popcorn! It’s the best! I always have it for parades and the fireworks! :)

Favorite Character Meal?
I’ve never had a character meal (aaawww) but I sure hope I can some day!

Top 3 Disney Property restaurants you like to eat at.
Ohh this one is tough! I dined in ‘Walt’s – An American Restaurant’ in DLP once, which was awesome! The theming in there is just brilliant – there are different rooms themed to each of the Parks Lands! 

I’ve also dined in ‘Auberge de Cendrillon’ in DLP, which is a Cinderella themed restaurant – perfect for any budding princess! The walls are adorned with gorgeous painted scenes from Cinderella and the food is amazing! 

I also love ‘Casey’s Corner’ on Main Street in DLP – here you can grab one of the best hotdogs around! And there are loads of cute baseball decorations throughout!

How do you keep the Pixie Dust flying at home, in between trips?
With all the Disney souvenirs I have! There are constant reminders of my trips dotted all around my room :) I always buy a DLP Calendar when I can to keep the magic alive all year long! I watch Disney movies, I bake and do crafts from Disney websites … oh and I always visit the Disney Store!

 Sometimes I don’t look out the window on purpose and pretend I’m in a store in Disneyland Paris!

Any tips for people planning their 1st trip to Disney?
Take it easy! I always find that if I plan my days in the park too much and they don’t go how I planned them, I get stressed out! What you’re going to be able to do always depends on how busy the park is … so just relax and see where the day takes you! Also take the time to really appreciate all the detail in Disneyland Paris … I’ve been going for years and I still spot things I haven’t seen before!

How long have you been blogging about Disney?
A year this April! It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done! I’m the only Disney Geek in my group of friends, so no one gets as excited about Disney things as I do – so it’s been so much fun to meet so many people who share my passion!

Do you take your own pictures, and if so – any tips for getting good shots?
I do! I take loads! I’m not the best photographer in the world lol … I don’t think I could recommend any tips for good shots! Although one thing I like to do is hit the park super early for some shots at the castle – it’s always so much easier to get a good photo when it’s quieter! One thing I want to master is taking photographs of fireworks! It never seems to work all that well for me!

Where do you find inspiration for blog topics to feature?
The best thing to do is to look through Disney photos every so often – this way I can maybe spot something I haven’t blogged about before! I also do Disney Lols on Mondays (cause everyone needs a laugh on a Monday morning!) and I take part in a Disney Wordless hop on Wednesdays! This gives me a little structure to the week, leaving the other days in between for blogging about other topics! I blog about my previous trips to Disneyland Paris and Disney things I do in everyday life as well like recipes or crafts or Disney related things that have happened at home!  :)

What is your motivation to keep blogging – or any final advice to share?
I sometimes have dry spells – real life can get in the way sometimes! But I always try to make sure I do Disney Lols on a Monday and Wordless Wednesday as a minimum.

For the most part don’t need much motivation to blog about Disneyland Paris or other Disney things I get up to because it comes naturally! I get so excited about it that I have to share it on my blog!  :)

The best advice I can offer is that I’ve learned not to put too much pressure on myself to blog – there’s no point in blogging just for the sake of it! Quality is better than quantity in my eyes. 

Now some extra things I've wondered about Disneyland Paris...

My first, silly question is - if I were to visit there, do they speak English?  Are all the announcements and songs on the rides in French?

This isn’t a silly question at all! You’d be surprised how many cast members speak English – some might not know a lot but they know enough to get by! They usually have small flags on their cast member badges indicating what languages they can speak – many speak more than 2!

All the announcements for parades and on the rides are in a variety of languages including French and English. When it comes to songs, usually the main parade songs are sung in English. A good place to hear French is on Pirates of the Caribbean where the majority of the dialogue is in French!

All the menus and signs are shown in French and English and sometimes other languages too. Disneyland Paris Maps are available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and German.
Disneyland Hotel in Paris

What would you say is unique about Disneyland Paris compared to the other Disney parks?  But what seems the same to you?

I love that Disneyland Paris has its two parks within walking distance – it certainly makes park hopping very easy! I also love the entrance to DLP – you enter through some gardens and underneath the Disneyland Hotel and Main Street Station – so you can’t see the castle until you reach the top of Main Street. When I visited Disney World I could see the castle before I got off the Water Ferry – so I felt like it was an anti climax because I had seen it before I even entered the park! 

I also love the layout of DLP over Disney World. I’m probably biased but to me it not only makes more sense, but it’s also a lot more beautiful. Having Thunder Mountain in the middle of a huge lake is just one example!

Also – I really love all the different languages you can hear when in Disneyland Paris – it only adds to that sense of being in another universe that only Disney can create!

On the whole, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World are very different. Nothing is exactly the same as the other, but there are lots of similarities throughout – it’s great fun to spot them!  :)

Any tips on where to stay, if someone where thinking of a first time visit to Disneyland Paris? 
I’ve never stayed in an official Disney Hotel – I always stay in the official Partner hotels! They’re just as good quality but usually they’re a lot cheaper.

I’ve stayed in the Thomas Cook Explorers Hotel and the Kyriad hotel – both are fantastic and still offer the same frequent and free shuttle service to and from the parks as the Disney Hotels do. They are a bit further away than Disney Hotels, which means the journey is a little longer, but not much! There are two other partner Hotels - the Dream Castle and Magic Circus, which also look amazing!

There are some hotels at Val d’Europe – a shopping village near the Disneyland Paris Resort. However I wouldn’t recommend staying in any of these simply because the shuttle service is a lot less frequent, which can limit your time spent in the parks. You can get a train from Val d’Europe but it will, of course, cost you extra!

What is the weather like - what's the best time of year to go?  Do the crowds vary greatly during different times of the year?
I’ve been during June/July and also at the end of August/start of September.
The weather in DLP is never too hot – something I experienced when I went to Disney World in Florida! It still gets pretty warm in June/July but not unbearable :) So the best time for weather is the middle of Summer!

When I went at the end of August/start of September, the first thing I noticed was the drop in crowds! It was so much quieter than it was in June/July! The weather was cooler, I needed a cardigan at nighttime but it wasn’t freezing.

I’ve heard it can get pretty busy during holiday seasons but that’s only to be expected. Great times to visit are definitely while schools are on. Also weekdays are definitely quieter, since many French people visit on the weekends.  :)

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Thanks so much, Manda!  Who'se ready to head over to France?!  I am!  It was VERY exciting to hear your unique insider knowledge about Disneyland Paris.

If you want to hang out with Manda some more (you know you do) - you can find her at her blog:

Manda's Disney Blog

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Like the series?  Read more on these other Disney guru posts:

1 comment:

  1. Great photos!! I've never been to Disney before. One day, Lord willing, the hubby and I will take the kids :)



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