Disneyland Paris: release your inner child in 3, 2, 1….
Welcome to Disneyland Paris!!! The Land when anyone can be a happy child for a day!
Weather you are a first timer or you are coming back to the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland will always make it to steal you a large smile.
Now, before I get too emotional, let’s get to facts:
The Park si 32 km east of Paris centre.
If you are not freaked out of taking public transports (Paris can be a bit overwhelming at first if you are not used to subways) or do not want to stress out in case the RER (Regional Express Network) is too full of Goofy’s hatted people and you won’t be able to find a seat, there are always packages that include hotel/airport pick up and drop off with a lovely air-con provided coach in the price of the ticket. Drama free for a higher cost.
We personally took the line A of the RER as it was just easy for us: you get the tickets from any ticket machine or office in the subways and just enjoy the 40 minutes ride on the train to Marnee-de-la-Valee. You can’t really be wrong: it is the last stop and literally throws you into the Disney Village.
As for the RER ticket, it’s up to you.
- Buy a comprehensive pass that covers until zone 5 (Disneyland) – a bit pricey, but if you are planning on exploring areas outside of the city centre can be good;
- Buy a single/return ticket on the go. We chose this option as all the things we wanted to visit (and our hotel) where between zone 1 and 2.
If you are considering Versailles too, option 1. may be good , but again sometimes it is included in the ticket, so always double check before spending lots of Euros in public transports. (Yes it is a bit pricey, but hey, it works well and covers many many areas).
You could check the prices here or just collect some brochures from the airport or an info point on your arrival, they are very well explanatory.
Disneyland Paris has two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park (more movies orientated), plus a free entry shopping district, Disney Village.
We had one whole day, and we chose to buy two parks tickets. We did not regret it: both parks have their own specialties and you can easily park-hop as they are just one next to the other.
Just check on the website if the attractions are open, in low season is very likely that some of them will be “under maintenance” so plan ahead and you don’t get disappointed. Many people get the pass for Walt Disney Studios just to do the Ratatouille ride (very highly rated) and if it is closed on that day, well, you do not want to waste your money.
We highly recommend to buy your ticket online, trust us, you DO want to skip the infinite line at the entry and use your first hour to actually enjoy the park.
There is a variety of tickets available as mentioned before, usually buying directly from Disneyland’s website turns out to be cheaper and have lots of hotel options as well if you are interested in spending a night or two there, but sometimes with a quick google search you could find some bundles which will give you a cheaper price or include a small gift etc. We found the best deal on this website.
Let me be clear on this.
It will have a LONG day and you will walk A LOT among A LOT of people. I understand that if you have a family you don’t want to waste your last 2 payslips on everyone’s snacks and meals but, for haven’s sake, do not be one of this martyrs with huge portable fridges and food bags roaming around the park trying to look like they are cool but are really dying inside and regretting when they said yes to this to save some money, which, let’s be frank, you won’t even save as you kids will still want a caramelised apple and a Mickey Mouse waffle.
So in other words, travel light. Bring a bottle of water which you refill anywhere in the park (and it’s ridiculously expansive in the shops) and, ok, I allow you one sandwich each (because how can you resist Parisian bakeries?) and snack bar. If you are going to pick a jacket, get a rain coat, also good for water attractions.
Save a dinner at the Disney Village in one of the numerous venues, so you can finally sit down and relax after a full day of walks (and your feet will only realise HOW SORE they are once you sit down, trust me).
We did not bring a camera, our phones were good enough and this saved us from carrying it around.
First of all, make sure you get there early. Disneyland Paris has a free fastpass system, so first in, best dressed.
You can only get one fast pass per hour though so you really need to work out a plan on which attractions you don’t wanna miss.
Our recommendation: If you have one attraction you REALLY want to go to that is in the World Disney Studios, go there first and get your fast-pass, because this park closes earlier.
Personal experience: we went to the Ratatouille ride (in the Studios) first, but they were having technical problems so the ride was closed. Everyone was rushing to get fast-passes so even though we got there five minutes after the park opening, we just managed to get a fast-pass for 5.30pm (just a bit before the park’s closing time in off-peak season).
Wait lines can be very long during peak times and not all the attractions offer a fast-pass system. So make sure you have your water bottle and snacks when entering a more-than-an-hour long line and you are with a talkative person (possibly).
There is an app for both iPhones and Android phones that tells you the current wait time for each attraction, so you can check real time before you head down to a ride. If you have a local sim card with internet it is worth a try. It did not work for us, not sure if there was a problem on that specific day, but the app was crushing all the time so I ended up erasing it.
Generally in the afternoon it will be easier to go on rides as families tend to leave earlier, but do not get fooled as some attractions will only get worse until they will have so much wait time that they will just close the line and you will miss it (it happened to us with the Crush’s Coaster – Finding Nemo’s Turtles – ride in the Disney Studios).
I will leave that up to you. Our personal favourites, because we are absolute Disney lovers, were actually the old ones more than the super technological ones: Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s a small World both in the Disneyland Park.
Most of the rides in Adventureland were closed for renovation which was a shame as I Looove rollercoaster rides.
Lucky enough we had the two parks tickets so we could enjoy the Rock’n’ Roller Coaster in the Studios. It doesn’t sound too appealing… but once you’re in… it’s WOW!!! Just one little advice, have a little dry snack ready for AFTERWARDS… your stomach will need it right after the ride, it goes up to 100km/h in less than 3 seconds.
And Last but not least.. the famous Ratatouille ride. It is a good ride, especially if you have never been on a 4D ride. You will see everything .. from a different perspective. Actually, a mouse perspective.
We were very disappointed as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was closed – and it was supposed to be open for the 25th year anniversary -March 2017 – which is when we went. Hopefully it will open by the time you get to there.
Oh, now my favourite part… SHOPPING. If you are a Disney lover even a quarter than how I am, in each store you will feel like Homer in the Donuts Land.
Every Store has a different theme/vibe, and oh the amount of different products you will find in UNBELIEVABLE. You will want them all.
I started to collect little Japanese-style Tsum Tsum Character. They had exclusive ones for the 25th Anniversary so I HAD to take them.
We recommend to still browse in shops, and, unless you find a very specific product that only belongs to a specific store (like a specific tea cup with an exclusive Minnie Parisienne drawing or personalised glass object) you can pretty much find anything at the Disney Village afterwards (they also have a very VAST collection of clothes.). This place is also open until later than the park, so you do not risk on missing out on some attractions.
I couldn’t find a better way to wrap up this article.
YES and YES. Both parade and fireworks are very well worth it. Do not miss them.
Disneyland Paris has a unique light show after the sunset, which no other Disneyland Park of the World has. Pictures are projected on the Sleeping Beauty’s castle for a spectacular show.
So, my dear Disney lover, adventure park appassionate, or loving father going just for your kid’s smiles, get all these info, get your tickets and enjoy the magic!!