After a failed au pair experience in France (read about that here) I entered my second year in college without having spent any adequate length of time in France. This was worrying- while I was doing my utmost to immerse myself in the French language in everyday life I knew that I would have to spend more time in France to fully master la langue. As I was unsure whether I would complete an Erasmus year in France at the time, I was becoming increasingly apprehensive about working in France.
I was in the Disneyland Paris “talent pool” at the time, but unfortunately had not been offered a job for the Summer. However, I received offers to work in Disneyland at Halloween (which I couldn’t do due to college) and soon after received an offer to work at Disneyland for fifteen days over the Christmas and New Year season of that year.
Needless to say, I was aux anges! I accepted the job without any real hesitation. Other people in my course had also been offered the job but had declined as they were reluctant to work abroad over Christmas. Personally I couldn’t wait- as far as I was concerned Disneyland seemed like a fantastic solution to my France dilemma. I must mention that I was slightly nervous- I didn’t know anyone else going and I also was slightly terrified about travelling alone from Paris to Disneyland.
However, I persevered and boarded the flight from Dublin to Paris on the 22nd of December. I should note at this point that you’re refunded up to €152 for your flights to and from Disneyland. Once you arrive at Charles De Gaulle airport, you’ll take the RER train to Disneyland Park. I’ve explained more about this here.
I’ve mentioned in other posts that there are many jobs available in Disneyland- working in hotels, shops, on the rides or in restaurants. Your job will naturally have a huge impact on your experience as much of your free time depends on the job itself. I personally worked in a restaurant, which was rather unfortunate given that it opened extremely early and closed late at night. 6.30 am buses to the park became a regular thing over my Christmas work, along with 11pm buses home on other days.
This did affect my socialising in the park, and probably negatively impacted on my experience. However I did live with a fabulous English girl and we’re still in contact now. We both worked Christmas Day together and our “Christmas meal” together consisted of a sandwich! 🙂
Another note to mention about working in Disneyland is that it’s EXTREMELY cold over Christmas. Make sure to bring plenty of warm clothes!
I’ll admit that I found Christmas in Disneyland relatively challenging. I would attribute a lot of this to spending such a short time in the place (the contract was only fifteen days long) and not having enough time to get to know other workers. Similarly, my working hours clashed with that of my wonderful roommate so unfortunately we often ended up accidentally waking each other up going or coming from work.
However, I’m so glad I done it for one reason- spending days off in Paris! Christmas in Paris is honestly well worth experiencing if you’re even slightly interested in visiting Paris. While it’s seriously, seriously cold it’s absolutely stunning and well worth visiting. I’m so glad that the job gave me the opportunity to experience Christmas markets on the Champs Élysées and ice-skating outside Hotel De Ville. I’d really recommend working the Christmas season in Disneyland for this very reason- unfortunately I’m not in a position to spend Christmas in Paris now so I’m so glad that I did when I could.
Regarding New Years, I actually worked in Disneyland until 11.30 pm- meaning a very swift change of clothes was necessary to make the countdown at 12am. Luckily I made it (only picking up a few bruises in the process……..) and I’m delighted to say that the countdown in Disneyland is truly magical- even for a non Disney fan!
You can read about the rest of my Disneyland Paris work experiences here, as well as some tips and tricks if you’re interested in working chez Mickey. In the meantime, feel free to comment or contact me with any questions- I’d be ravie to help!