My Top Tips For Visiting Disneyland Paris
Just before Christmas we decided that we would take the kids (toddler and triplets) to Disneyland Paris which seems crazy when i say it out loud, however it wasn't our first trip to Disneyland, in fact you could say we were a little bit addicted to Disney having been to Paris 5 times and Florida 3 times, however this was the triplets first visit so it was pretty special.
Having made the trip and actually surviving without murdering or losing any of the kids, i thought i'd share some top tips for a stress free trip.
1. Leave the kids at home!
Just kidding, well kinda, no seriously here are my top tips:
1. Avoid the weekends and holidays as much as possible. Obviously with school aged children this is hard. However, if you can use an inset day then you might find it quieter. Don't forget that the French school holidays may be different and will have an effect.
2. Get to the park early. If you are staying at one of the Disney Hotels you can use your magic hours which means you can go into the parks an hour earlier in winter and 2 hours earlier in the summer months which will allow you to do a few rides before anyone else (these are restricted though.) The park starts getting busier at around 11. If you want to ride Crush's Coaster then get to the Walt Disney studios as soon as the gates open and go straight there to minimise the queuing time as much as possible.
3.Utilise the ‘Fast Pass’ option – this allows you to get a ticket to return to a shorter queue on the busier rides later in the day. You get an slot in which to return which means you can avoid a queue and go and enjoy something else in the meantime. Just be aware you can only have one open fastpass at any one time.
4. Download the Disneyland Paris app to your phone. It gives you all the information you need, including maps, ride details and accurate queuing times.
5. Food in the parks is expensive, however if you book the Disney Meal Plan then you get breakfast, dinner and a snack included. It’s worth considering even if it doesn’t offer a huge monetary saving it is at least convenient. However as a note I would say for the meal plans that the included restaurants get very busy as the meal times approach.
Alternatively, take a picnic. It does state that picnics are not allowed in the parks but i don't think this is a heavily policed rule as there were loads of people eating picnics in the parks.
6. Take water bottles as there are plenty of water fountains around the parks and it'll save you a fortune compared to buying drinks at Disney prices.
7. Character meeting is great fun but can involve long queues. Study the park maps and try to be in position at the character spots and least 20 minutes in advance to avoid a much longer queue later. The characters will spend time with you/your child, sign autographs and pose for both official and your own photos. This means that each person can take up to 5 mins.
8. It's worth buying Disney clothing / dressing up outfits before you go or taking outfits you already have if the children are going to want to dress up. Mickey ears for example were on sale for 20 euros. Before we went i found loads of bargains in the supermarkets as well as eBay and even Sports Direct.
9. Make time to watch the parades, the main character parade and the Disney Dreams show. People will usually start lining the streets about 30 minutes before the parades start. We found that the best position was almost at the end of the parade route at the bottom Main Street or at the and of the route near It A Small World.
10. Guide to ride queue times:
Casey Jr. – le Petit Train du Cirque (Fantasy Land)
Le Pays des Contes de Fées:, (Boat Ride, Fantasy Land)
Shortish queues but tend to move quickly
It’s a small world (Fantasy Land)
Thunder Mesa Riverboat (Frontierland)
Mad Hatter’s teacups (Fantasy Land)
Slinky Dog ZigZag spin (Disney Studio)
Flying Carpets over Agrabah (Disney Studio)
Other Ride Tips
Always head towards the back of the park when you first enter (if you are not using the Magic Hours), there will be less people in the lines with you then starting at the front and working your way to the back.
I would see the parade in the first day if you are going for a few days. On the other days, it is perfect time to go on the popular rides as the queue times are much quieter. We went on space mountain twice in August 2006 as there was no queue.
After all the parade having finished people (especially those with younger children) often start to leave the park, this is again another good time to go on the more popular rides as it will usually be quieter.
Disneyland Railroad Train is a fun way to see the whole park, resist trying to get on at the entrance, instead find another stop and start your ride there. No lines and less crowds.
If you are there for a few days, I would suggest you take breaks between rides and pacing yourself. If you are on one of the site hotels, I would recommend returning for a nap or a swim (not all the hotels have pools though) as it will do wonders for recharging the kids batteries (and your own!)
None Ride Attractions (No queuing)
Cinderalla’s Castle (Upstairs)
Alice in Wonderland Labyrinth (Fantasy Land)
La Taniere… (Dragon’s cave located under Cinderlla’s castle)
Pirate’s beach (playground)
La Cabane des Robinson (Adventure Land)
Adventure Idle (Walkway and Caves – Adventure Land)
Aladdin Passage (Adventure Land)
Star Wars Jedi Training (Discovery Land): even if your child isn’t part of the Jedi training, you are still able to go and have a sit down in Videopolis and watch the other children do their show and training.
Most of all, Enjoy! Disney is truly magical if you let yourself become a kid again.