If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland Paris then this is the guide for you. Whether you’re wondering the best time of the year to go, what to wear, or indeed some of the best-kept secrets of the Disneyland Park in France, then we have you covered.
I recently visited Disneyland Paris for the first time as a twenty-something year old with two of my good friends. Despite grey clouds overhead, we had an amazing time and I highly recommend a visit to families, couples, and friend groups alike as a trip to Disney is easily one of the best day trips from Paris.
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- Disneyland Paris Overview
- Disneyland Paris tips
- Purchase your tickets in advance
- Be prepared to wait
- Wear comfortable walking shoes
- Use the Disneyland Paris app
- You aren’t allowed to dress up
- Visit Disneyland Park second
- Decide what rides you want to visit
- Avoid visiting on national holidays
- Parking is expensive
- Bring your own food/ snacks
- You don’t need to know French
- Suggested packing/ what to wear at Disneyland Paris
- Frequently asked questions about visiting Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris Overview
Disneyland is a huge sprawling site that comprises of a series of different areas. It is easily walkable over the course of around half an hour and so this section will breakdown the different parts of the park, as well as what there is to do in each section.
Disneyland Park, or Parc Disneyland as it is so-called in French is the larger of the two theme park areas of Disneyland Paris. This is the oldest part of the park and is where iconic attractions such as the ‘pink castle’ can be found.
The pink castle is, of course, the Sleeping Beauty Castle (Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant) and is a must-see while in the park. Under renovation, and therefore covered by scaffolding, for part of 2021, as of mid-November 2021, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is once more available to see.
Disneyland Park is also gorgeous to visit as it is home to Main Street USA. This is the first place you visit once you enter Disneyland Park and is meant to resemble US towns of the early 20th-century. This part of the park is home to restaurants and boutiques.
The entirety of the Disneyland park is centred around the Sleeping Beauty Castle, with lands to the North, East, South, and West. Main Street USA is where the Parade takes place. The four themed lands are Fantasyland (mainly rides geared towards young children), Frontierland, Discoveryland (named Tomorrowland in California), and Adventureland.
Walt Disney Studios Park
The smaller and newer of the two theme park areas at Disneyland is the Walt Disney Studios Park. This part of the park includes rides related to Walt Disney Studios movies and so it’s here where you’ll find the Toy Stories Rides, Cars rides etc.
Walt Disney Studios Park feels a bit older than the other parts of Disneyland Paris and doesn’t really have the same kind of ‘magical’ feel as the rest of the lands. Of note, there is a Marvel rides section of the park which is currently under construction and is set to open in 2022.
Outside of the two parks, there is a small shopping area that includes merchandise shops, eateries, and other entertainment venues. This is similar to Disney Springs and Downtown Disney in the USA parks.
If you’re travelling from further away and are in France to see Disneyland as opposed to the city of Paris, then there is a hotel area of the park comprising of six hotels. There are also two newer hotels, though they’re located a little further away from the rest of the Disneyland Park.
Disneyland Paris tips
If it’s your first trip to Disneyland Paris, then there are a number of things to know before visiting. Having recently enjoyed the park for the first time, there were some things that I wish I had known sooner!
Purchase your tickets in advance
If you’re planning a visit to Disneyland, then you should know that my number one travel tip would be to reserve your tickets in advance. This will save you from wasting time waiting in line to purchase tickets. Purchase your Disneyland Paris tickets in advance with GetYourGuide.
Be prepared to wait
If there’s one thing that I had no idea about prior to visiting Disneyland Paris, it’s that you should be prepared for a day of waiting. Unless you purchase Premier Access (which is on a per ride basis and can easily add up to a small fortune), then you should be prepared to wait between 5 minutes to over 2 hours between rides.
If available and you don’t mind splitting up from your friends and sitting alone on a ride, then Single Rider access to rides can have a much shorter waiting time. For example, to access the Ratatouille ride it would have taken us 60 minutes as a group. Going as single riders meant that we only had to wait for 25 minutes.
Wear comfortable walking shoes
As I just mentioned, you can often be waiting for a long time in order to access certain rides. As such, I would recommend wearing your comfiest trainers and avoid wearing any shoes that might cause discomfort during the day. I also managed to walk over 20,000 steps during my time by simply walking around the site.
Use the Disneyland Paris app
One of the most invaluable tips for visiting Disneyland Paris that I received was to download the Disneyland Paris app prior to my visit. The app gives you a list of all the rides that are currently in operation (rides can often close at short notice throughout the day) and how long the wait times are.
The map available will also show you which rides are currently allowing Single riders (though it unfortunately doesn’t give you the single rider waiting times) and will tell you how long the queue for each ride will take.
You aren’t allowed to dress up
Guests over the age of 12 aren’t allowed to wear costumes to visit the park. Luckily, if you’re creative, you can still wear outfits ‘in the vein of’ your favourite characters. This is called ‘Disney Bounding’ and you can read more about it here.
Visit Disneyland Park second
If you’re planning on visiting both attraction parks in one day, visit Disneyland Park after visiting Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park closes much later and has more to see/ do.
Decide what rides you want to visit
If you’re only visiting Disneyland Paris for a day (and especially if you’re planning on visiting both parks over the course of a day), then you won’t be able to go on all of the rides. This can be disappointing to hear, but of course gives you the excuse to go back to Disneyland Paris in the future!
Get each person in your group to decide which rides they would most like to go on and focus on visiting those ones first so as to ensure that you have time to queue and go on them. I would also recommend trying to go on the most popular rides (such as Ratatouille and Space Mountain) earlier in the day as these rides tend to have the longest lines.
Avoid visiting on national holidays
If you want to visit Disneyland Paris and have the best chance at avoiding long queues to go on each attraction, then I would recommend avoiding French holidays. Since Disneyland Paris is so easy to reach from the UK, then I would also recommend avoiding UK bank holidays too. Avoid weekends too if you can help it!
Parking is expensive
Parking at Disneyland Paris costs €30. As such, if you’re able to visit the park by public transportation, then this is likely a much easier and stress-free option. The closest train station to Disneyland Paris is Marne-la-Valée-Chessy which is around a two-minute walk away from the entrance to the park. The station is on the RER A and provides a direct connection to central Paris in around 45 minutes.
Bring your own food/ snacks
I won’t be the first to say that the quality of the food at Disneyland Paris is not the best! There are two options when it comes to eating at DLP. The first is that you can sit in a restaurant (book in advance as space can fill up fast), though this will set you back at least €30 per person.
The other option is to get food to go from one of the many vans/ stalls/ fast food joints from across the park. However, the vast majority of these options are unhealthy and pricey, with a hot dog costing €10. There is at least one vegetarian option at every restaurant.
One of the most overlooked Disneyland travel tips by first timers is that you can bring your own food and drink into the park (alcohol is not allowed). While picnics are not looked on fondly, you could still bring snacks and sandwiches into the park with you.
You don’t need to know French
As Disneyland is such an international destination, you don’t need to have any knowledge of French. All signs and attractions are bilingual (the information is available in both French and English). All staff members also speak good English.
Suggested packing/ what to wear at Disneyland Paris
Wear a backpack
Whether you want to bring an extra sweater in case of cold or if you’re looking to bring snacks, then be sure to bring a backpack. Bring a backpack that’s small enough to fit in the seat at your feet to go on the rides.
If you’re visiting in early spring/ late autumn/ winter
One of the most random facts about Disneyland Paris is that the original idea for the Europe site would be that it would be in a warmer climate to match the sites in the USA. However, Paris ultimately won the bid due to its proximity to so many millions of people.
As such, if you visit Paris in the late autumn/ winter/ early spring, then you should be prepared for all seasons. At these times of the year, the weather can change rapidly and you can easily experience rain and blue skies within the space of a single hour.
As such, I highly recommend wearing layers so that you can dress up against the elements as required. Other essentials include an umbrella (a small one to fit in your backpack), a hat, and gloves.
Frequently asked questions about visiting Disneyland Paris
Can you visit both parks in one day?
Yes. It is possible to visit both Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park in one day. They are right next to one another and so just a few minutes walk apart. Both have their own separate entrances that you’ll have to go through in order to access the parks.
With this being said, if I only had the time/ money to visit one park, then I would choose to visit Disneyland Park. This is the larger of the two parks and also the more traditional as it has a classic ‘Disney’ feel. You could easily spend an entire day exploring just one park, watching all of the shows, and enjoying all of the smaller rides on offer.
Is there single rider?
Due to ongoing world events, the single rider option for rides at Disneyland Paris was closed. However, as of November 2021, single rider is once again available. When you’re on site, use the app to check whether or not single rider is in operation on the day.
For example, when I visited Disneyland with friends, we didn’t have the option to go into a single rider queue for rides such as Crush’s Coaster in the Walt Disney Studios Park or the Big Thunder Mountain ride in Disneyland Park.
Is there FastPass?
FastPass has been retired and so you can no longer acquire it to reduce your wait times for rides. There is now the option to buy Disney Premier Access. Access can be purchased on a per ride basis and is typically priced from €5- €15 per ride. Find out more information here.
What is Disneyland Paris like in 2021?
Due to ongoing world events, there are a few things to note before visiting the park. Disney Paris reopened on 17 June 2021. You’ll have to wear a mask everywhere in the parks (apart from when eating).
This includes on all rides, as well as all indoor and outdoor spaces. Visitors are also required to show a health pass in order to access Disneyland. As of autumn 2021, parades are once more taking place.
Is it worth visiting Disneyland Paris if you don’t like rollercoasters?
Yes! There’s something for everyone when it comes to Disneyland Paris. From relaxing riverboat rides to rollercoasters with loops, and everything in-between.
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