Thursday, March 22, 2012

20 Days to 20 Years- 2003

Welcome back to 20 Days to 20 Years; a blogger countdown hosted by BethManda and myself to commemorate the upcoming 20th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris.  Today, Steve- a long time Disneyland Paris expert and Webmaster as well as podcast host at Dedicated To DLP, shares a 2003 sweet honeymoon story at the Park!

A Wedding, A Castle and A New Parade – 2003 in Disneyland Paris

I have to come clean, the wedding didn’t take place in Disneyland Paris, unfortunately. That was actually our plan, to get married in the magic and then honeymoon there. However, to get married in France you have to had been a resident there for 3 months before the ceremony, and that wasn’t entirely practical. Disneyland Paris doesn't actually host weddings at the resort either – I guess French people don’t want to get married there and the 3 month rule counted out us foreigners.

So, no wedding, but we did the next best thing – just 15 hours after we said I do, my wife and I hopped on a coach to London, drove through the night, and took the Eurostar to Disneyland Paris. Now, when I’d booked the honeymoon they offered me the Bridal suite of the Sequoia Lodge, at an extra cost of £1,200 for our 6 night stay. We declined, a standard room would be fine for us, and then more money would be freed up for fine dining and bags of souvenirs. Imagine our surprise when we opened the door to our room, to find it was the Bridal suite!

I actually phoned the reception to make sure there was no mistake, and was told that as frequent visitors we had scored an upgrade, and what an upgrade it was! The room had something like 12 windows all facing across Lake Disney and towards Disney Village and the parks beyond. We could see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from our bedroom – it really doesn’t get much more romantic than that.

It was in early December of 2003 that we got married, a week later than we originally planned. The reason we shifted the date of the wedding is because the full Christmas season started in early December and we wanted every possible show, parade and decoration for our very special stay. Back then the area at the entrance of Disney Village (Annette’s Diner end) housed a mini village of little huts, all themed in a Bavarian style and selling arts, crafts,foods and other exquisite delights. An evening stroll around Disney Village was transformed into a romantic scene from a soppy film - perfect for a honeymoon!

One of the big changes for 2003 in Disneyland Paris was the departure of the Main St Electrical Parade, to make way for Fantillusion, all the way from Tokyo Disneyland. We’d actually visited Japan in 2001 and seen Fantillusion there, and even though not all the floats made it to Paris, it was still great to see it as part of the Christmas season in Parc Disneyland. I do have to confess though; I missed the Main St Electrical Parade, the music from which was playing in the delivery room in May 2008 when our son was born. It was on a CD I had made by the way, hospital radio wasn’t that good!

Fantillusion wasn’t the only new addition to Disneyland Paris, in place of Rock ‘n’ Roll America in Disney Village was the brand new King Ludwig’s Castle, complete with Bavarian menu and medieval theming. We had a drink in there which if I am remembering correctly was a mixture of beer, 7UP and grenadine – it might sound horrible but it was actually quite nice, well, I liked it anyway. My wife nicknamed it Devil’s Brew after one mouthful and I tipped hers into mine, and then watched as the potent red liquid frothed over the edge of my glass and all over the table!

Though it was very cold, Disneyland Paris was the perfect place to have our honeymoon, especially with a free upgrade to the Bridal Suite. For us 2003 was a great year at Disneyland Paris, with many great memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

The Bridal Suite and the Christmas season rolled into one stay- how truly magical!  We thank Steve for sharing his Disneyland Paris expertise during this very busy time at Dedicated to DLP.  You must give a listen to the site's recent podcast: The Big Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Show and join their 20th Anniversary Countdown.  Follow the excitement at @DedicatedToDLP on twitter and Facebook.

Kristof, brilliant photographer and blogger from Photo Magiques- "the magic of Disneyland Paris in photos" makes the year 2004 come alive... tomorrow.


  1. Yey!! Thank you so much for taking part Steve! :D What a great story! I didn't know that was the reason you couldn't get married in Disneyland Paris! That sucks! But at least you got the next best thing ... I hope I'll end up spending my Honeymoon there too!! :P x

    1. Now that's a trip report I'm looking forward to Manda! XO

  2. Steve, I love your personal recollections of this 2003. We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge this past June- and it was nice- but I can't IMAGINE what the Bridal Suite must look like!!!! Thank you for adding so much to the series. I'll be a constant visitor to your site now; especially during the next year of festivities...