Updated: Jun 5, 2019
In proud partnership with Greatdays Holidays 🏳🌈
On June 1st 2019, Disneyland® Paris hosted Disney's official, world-first #Pride event, Magical Pride. As a family-friendly pride event, we were invited to experience and raise awareness of Magical Pride, which promised all the magic of Disney with the sparkle of Pride!
Naturally, Lyall and Richard were beyond excited and (spoiler alert...) we had the best weekend of our family's life so far!
Here, we'll tell you all about the whole experience from a family perspective, including the accommodation, theme parks and of course the spectacular Magical Pride party which took place on the Saturday night.
Travelling to Disneyland® Paris
We travelled to Disneyland Paris with Eurostar, which races between London St Pancras and Disneyland® Paris in just over two hours. Here's Tom and the boys looking very excited in the Eurostar departure lounge!
If you haven't travelled with Eurostar before (we were newbies, too), you can expect an exciting, comfortable experience. The trains are spacious - standard class is comparable with most first class services within the UK. This means plenty of space for the kids' activity books and devices and leg-room for us dads. Greatdays Travel booked Magical Pride guests' tickets so we were all sat together across two coaches - there was a pride-filled atmosphere with prosecco corks popping and lots of friendly chatter.
In just over two hours we arrived at Marne-la-Vallée - Chessy Station, right in the heart of Disneyland® Paris. A free shuttle bus collected us from the station to take us to our hotel - ten minutes away. We could hardly believe how far we'd travelled in such a small space of time!
We stayed in a family room at Disney's Hotel Cheyenne.
The hotel is themed like the wild west, complete with wooden verandas, sash windows and wagons. The theming is detailed - they even have pony-rides along the dusty roads between the buildings!
Our hotel room was basic but equally comfortable and cool, with a double bed for us and twin camp-beds for the boys, a modern bathroom (with a bath - phew!) and a safe.
The Disneyland® Paris parks
We'll talk about all the rides and theming in more detail in a separate theme park review (I'll pop the link here when it's ready), but we'll summarise here. Disneyland® Paris has two sprawling theme parks - Disneyland® Park and Walt Disney Studios® Park.
Disneyland® Park is incredible. On the approach to the entrance there are beautiful flower beds, bandstands and fountains. You enter the park beneath the grand Disneyland Hotel.
Once inside Disneyland® Park, the initial view is breathtaking. A town square with a bandstand (a brass band were playing), surrounded by quaint shops and cafes and an old wooden tram was making its way around. We took a few minutes to take it all in - it's wonderful.
Walking along the Main Street, U.S.A.® you approach Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the far distance. It's Disneyland® Park's centrepiece. Beautiful!
The rides in Disneyland® Park are impressive. Unlike most British theme parks, the rides at Disneyland® Paris last longer than you'd expect and are very immersive with a big focus on theming, music and lighting. You really feel immersed in the environment, even when you're queuing.
Our favourite ride in Disneyland® Park was Star Wars™ Hyperspace Mountain, in which we were launched upwards like a rocket into space, looping around stars and black holes, all inside a huge steampunk-space-themed building - with the Star Wars soundtrack blasting through speakers in the seats. Amazing.
Our other favourites were Pirates of the Caribbean; a boat ride through the land of pirates and Big Thunder Mountain; a high-speed runaway mine train on a rocky island.
By the way, the queues are very short during the parade and fireworks. On the first night, just before the fireworks display we raced around Star Wars™ Hyperspace Mountain three times! In fact, we decided to spend the day time exploring and taking in the atmosphere, saving the rides until the evenings to prevent queuing for hours.
On our second morning we hung out with Piglet, Pooh and (Daddy's fave) Tigger at the Character Breakfast. The Character Breakfast costs a little extra but we'd strongly recommend it as an opportunity to meet the characters in an intimate setting - they visit you at your table while you eat croissants and scrambled eggs! Here's Lyall and Rich with Eeyore 😍
Walt Disney Studios® Park
The Walt Disney Studios® Park takes ride theming to a whole new level. As its name suggests, it's a movie-themed park with several huge studio-style hangers containing rides and theatres.
The centrepiece of Walt Disney Studios® Park is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ - an absolutely bonkers (and unpredictable) journey in a possessed lift, up and down through a dilapidated hotel. I've no idea where they got the idea for it, but as you'll see from the video clip below, it's totally bananas and we loved it!
Also the Walt Disney Studios® Park is home to Toy Story Playland, a Disney Studios Tour and Daddy's favourite ride of all time - Ratatouille. I'll save that for our review of all the rides - coming soon.
The Walt Disney Studios® Park was also the exclusive venue for the Magical Pride Party on the Saturday night! Which brings me on to...
We arrived at the Magical Pride party at about 7pm on the Saturday evening, just after dinner and drinks with the Magical Pride guests.
The Walt Disney Studios® Park had been transformed into an exclusive pride festival, complete with a main stage, bars and street food stands, rainbow projections on the Hollywood Tower and Magical Pride billboards. We had a couple of hours until the parade and entertainment began, so we made use of the rides while the park was open only for Magical Pride guests - no queues!
There were thousands of Magical Pride guests, but the whole park had a very intimate, friendly feel and we didn't feel crowded or worried about the boys at all. Besides the occasional beer or cocktail, most guests weren't drinking or smoking. As we made our way around the Walt Disney Studios® Park, loads of other colourful LGBTQ people stopped to talk to us and ask about our family - we felt very welcome.
The Magical March of Diversity Parade was wonderful. Thousands of Disney 'Cast' (Disney word for colleagues) supported their LGBTQ guests - parading through the Walt Disney Studios® Park in colourful t-shirts, creating an enormous rainbow of colour. They were followed by floats with Disney Characters and VIPs. It really was incredible.
Next up, the Magical Pride concert! This was Lyall and Richard's first ever proper pop concert - they've been to our local pride festival a few times but this was their first experience of a famous line up with a massive audience and huge screens.
French pop star, Corine took to the main stage to perform first - a fantastic warm up. We didn't know the songs but they were catchy... the french Magical Pride guests went bananas for her. Boy George was up next with a DJ set - some old-school bangers for Tom and I and some new stuff. Glitter and confetti filled the air. Excellent!
The headline act, and the act we'd all been most looking forward to were Years & Years. They were extraordinary. They belted out all their biggest singles and album tracks, an acoustic Disney ballad and ending with Lyall's favourite ever song, King. We all danced and sang along until about 1:30am! They were absolutely spectacular.
Magical Pride is family-friendly and would suit families with kids of any age, although the evening entertainment is late and there's a lot of walking involved (not a problem for Lyall and Rich - they would stay up all night given the chance).
The travel agent, Greatdays Travel, group book transport, accommodation and entertainment so you become part of a familiar group of guests. There's a helpful team of Greatdays travel reps at your service (pictured below). This approach is fantastic for families because there are opportunities to socialise with other parents and guests while the kids run about and play.
The Greatdays reps were always on hand to ask about restaurants, pharmacies, directions and stuff. They really seem to know their Disney info! Speaking of which, the reps also organise meets at rides (and happy hour at the pub) each day - a good opportunity to mingle with the guests and try out the rides while the queues aren't too big.
We had the best weekend of our family's life so far, we honestly couldn't recommend Magical Pride enough. It's wonderful!
If you have any questions about Magical Pride, or to book your family a trip to next year's Magical Pride at Disneyland Paris, visit www.magicalpride.com.
Disclaimer time! Here at Daddy & Dad we supplement our core content by collaborating with family-friendly brands. Our trip to Magical Pride at Disneyland Paris was #gifted in return for social media and blog coverage. We'd like to say an enormous thank you to Nathan, Lucy, Megan and Adam from Greatdays Travel for all their hard work in making our trip unforgettable. Xx