We arrive in Paris at Charles De Galle at 8:45 Thursday morning Paris time after taking a red eye on Air Canada with a connection in Toronto. The flights were good, uneventful and I was pleasantly surprised by the food and the whole experience. We landed on time, went through customs swiftly and then proceeded to get our bags and figure out how to get to the hotel.
A few metro rides later were finally made it to our hotel, the Hotel Le Pavillon de Paris by HappyCulture in the 9th Arrondissement at 10:45. We took a bit to freshen up in their bathroom and then stored our bags because our room wasn’t quite ready but we were! That afternoon was a whirlwind of Parisian sites. Notre Dame, la Louvre, les parcs, le Museum D’Orsay, et le Tour Eiffel! C’est manifique! It was a long day but so worth it. Beautiful architecture everywhere, you are in a living, breathing postcard.
The next day we made our way to Versailles and I’m so glad we did, it is a wonder to behold! The beauty of the castle and the grounds was incredible. I highly recommend downloading Rick Steve’s walking guide, it helped immensely to explain the castle and the significance of each room we visited and it’s free!
Getting to Disneyland Paris
We then had to hurry to get over to Disneyland Paris to make it to expo, we didn’t leave the city until after 5 and we needed to take the metro to the RER line A, this is the route that goes to Disneyland Paris. We got there around 6:20, went through security to get into Disney Village and then hurried to the expo with our luggage in tow. Going to the expo with my big suitcase was a bit annoying but going straight there put my mind at ease.
First stop, bib pickup. They had the standard runDisney bib booths set up. Kids and 5k bib pickup were on the left side and half marathon was on the right as you walked in. When we got there, there weren’t any real lines and the expo was very comfortable to walk around for the most part with my large suitcase (could never imagine this anywhere else).
We then went over and had your photos taken at the official photos area with our bibs before being able to head to the desk to by the Photopass card (40 Euro). Hoping this process changes in the future because it makes just as much sense to buy the card and then take the picture but we were told this year we needed our picture first.
So got that all sorted out and then proceeded to the official merchandise area. Normally I don’t buy much of anything, just an “I Did It” shirt but not this time. When in Paris, right? They had a pretty nice selection, not a ton of stuff but enough. They had “I Did It” shirts for the 5k and half in both mens and women cuts (remember European sizes are a bit smaller), a selection of pins (only the I Did It pin for the half was still there when we arrived), coffee mugs, keychain, a princess theme running shirt, a men’s and women’s generic runDisney Paris tech shirt, a runDisney Disneyland Paris hat, a long sleeve mock turtleneck runDisney Disneyland Paris tech shirt, and some other general merchandise from Disneyland Paris (jacket, Ratatouille items, etc)
I bought my stuff and then we went to the back of the pavilion to get our race shirts. The 5k shirt was a cotton tee but it had a men’s and women’s cut which was really nice. The half marathon t-shirt also had gender cuts and was a light tech material.
Now on to the rest of the expo!
We had everything we needed (I later realized I had forgotten my Castle to Chateau wristband, doh!) so we mingled around and saw if there were any interesting vendors before finally heading to the hotel. At this point I was a little frazzled from all the travel to get there and then hitting the expo with my suitcase in tow. We didn’t mingle too much but my boyfriend looked at some fitness belts.
Castle to Chateau Band Pickup - So I forgot to pick this up the first time but when I went back they stamped the back of my bib, highlighted my name in a book and gave me my light blue wristband which would allow me to get my medal at the finish. Easy peasy!
We checked in at Hotel New York, settled in and then decided to explore.
At this point you might be thinking, "Wait, Katherine didn’t you say you had booked at the Santa Fe?" Yes I did, but about a week before they realized that because of the course the Santa Fe was going to be a bit difficult to access so they called and upgraded us. The room was fine, definitely in need of a refresh but it was clean comfortable and VERY close to the parks.
We then headed out to check out Disneyland Paris, on the way we decided to slip into Billy Bob's bar for a drink, it had been a busy and long day and we needed to unwind.
We might have spent a little bit too long here and by the time we left Disneyland Park was enptying out after the firweorks. So instead we made our way to the Fantasia bar at the Disneyland hotel. It was beautifully appointed and definitely felt like the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World but was a bit cozier.
We sipped drinks in the bar while the piano player sang 70’s and 80’s rock songs. I never thought I’d hear a Frenchman play and sing Bohemian Rhapsody, but now I can say I have. :)
We then wandered through Disney Village back to the hotel and we stopped in the King Ludwig's Castle restaurant’s bar area for a German beer. We are HUGE fans of kitzchy experiences especially if it has a Bavarian or Tiki feel.
Finally we decided it was time to hit the hay and prepare for the morning 5k. We didn’t get to sleep until about midnight and it was a restless night. I was too excited to see Disneyland Paris for the first time and run my first international race!