Last summer I fulfilled a childhood dream and finally made my way to Disneyland Paris with my best friends; finishing off 3 and a half weeks of adventures across Mainland Europe. A lifelong Disney lover, my heart soared as we stepped into the Disney “bubble” for a few short hours. If like us, you’re confined for time but still want to witness the magic firsthand, this short guide will help!
All roads lead to Disney…. or do they? As we were staying in the city, we made it to Gare Du Nord where we took the RER straight to Marne la Vallee (the literal last stop on the RER A) This cost around €7.60 one way and the trains are very regular, providing you’re going in the right direction! The stop is at the main gate of Disneyland and thus no frantic searching required!
If you are coming directly from an airport, you can make the journey to Disney using one of a few ways. DLP Guide (one of my favorite Disneyland Paris sites!) has a great guide you can read here!
One Park vr Two
Disneyland Paris is made up of two parks: Disneyland Park (the heart of the magic) and Walt Disney Studios (the more general movie making themed park). There is also Disney Village which is the shopping/retail area. Because we only had a few, short hours to spare, we choose to concentrate our time on Disneyland though if we had of speed up a bit and avoided reriding some of our favourites, we would have had time to pop across to the Studios too!
Considerably cheaper than visiting our friends in any of Disney’s US parks, Disneyland Paris park ticket prices depend on the date of visit, the number of days and also the number of parks you plan on visiting. We visited at an off-peak time (the first week in June) and our one park ticket for the day cost us €42 as part of a special offer (adults pay kids prices). The busier the time of year (summer, school breaks etc.) the more expensive your ticket shall be.
Staying With Disney?
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in a Disney property (even for the night), your tickets are covered!
Third Party Sellers
There are a number of third-party sellers that are authorized by Disney to sell park tickets, often at a discount and featuring “additional benefits”. I’ve heard good things about AttractionsTicketsDirect, MagicBreaks and 365 Tickets but please be wary and wise when buying from anyone not Disney certified!
If you’re planning multiple trips to Disney in a year, an Annual Pass may be a cheaper option! Passes start at €139 and each level has its only benefits and advantages. Another guide I love by DLP Guide explains this system in a way that’s not head-wrecking! Remember that with some of the lower tier passes, you may be barred from using them for the second and third day after intital activation…. avoid this by purchasing in advance from Disney’s ticket line!
Another this to note is that Annual Passes are changing in 2018. Check out ED92’s guide here!
Food and Drink
Our trip to Disney hit as we came to the end of our interrailing journey and more notably, the end of the disposable funds! Knowing the expensive nature of Disney’s food offerings, we stocked in the local Carrefour, packing fruit, sandwiches, and snakes that kept us going throughout the adrenaline filled day! Please remember to bring water as buying bottles in the park is costly and all that fun is thirsty work!
Did we See it All?
We were blessed to visit Disneyland on a super quiet day which helped us maximize our adventures! Arriving around 30 minutes before rope drop, we took our pictures (are you even at Disney if you don’t take a picture with the castle??) and continued on to visit each of the lands over the course of the day. Instead of a typical play by play, I’ve summarised my favorites by land!
Main Street USA
- Grab a First Visit pin and park guide in City Hall!
- Take a snap of the vintage vehicles that are dotted around
- Meet a star or two. We spotted Chip and Dale in their 25th Anniversary splendor but didn’t have time to stop and chat; our day was short and sweet after all!
- Grab a Cookie at Cookie Kitchen (DELICIOUS and worth the splurge!)
- Stroll through the wonderful art lines Liberty Arcade
- Shop ’till you drop in the beautifully fronted stores that line the street (we left this until last…. it’s easier to enjoy the park without being ladened down by shopping bags!)
- Big Thunder Mountain – my favorite ride of the park; we rode it multiple times and it was so worth it!
- Phantom Manor – as I write this, the spookfest is undergoing renovations but fear not (literally….) it’ll be back in the Autumn!
- Channel your inner pirate in the Adventure Isle (but don’t hit your head!)
- Visit La Cabane des Robinson and be a big kid again as you climb trees and wrestle robe bridges.
- Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril – I have vertigo so can’t do the whole “loop di loop” thing without ending up on a bathroom floor. I tried to brave it once but hit my head pretty bad and left the return trips into the unknown to my less dizzy friends…
- Le Passage Enchanté d’Aladdin – See a whole new world!
- Visit Aurora’s beautiful castle, see the sleeping dragon and the stunning walk through upstairs!
- Get lost in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth (and if you’re like me….. this means literally!)
- Get the damned song from It’s a Small World Stuck in your head (sorry Hannah, those dolls terrify the life out of me but the boat ride’s relaxing at least!)
- Fly over London on Peter Pan’s Flight (my favorite of Fantasyland’s offerings!)
- Meet the real-life me on Blanche-Neige et Les Sept Nains (Snow White!)
- Be the biggest kid on Dumbo The Flying Elephant
- Take a wild ride in the Mad Hatter’s TeaCups (where all the great cast members hide!) – again, if you have vertigo…. don’t let your friends go wild on the spinning…. ooops!
- Probably the most fun, non-thrill ride I’ve been on, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast was a last minute choice but such a fun one and certainly one that I can’t wait to try again next time!
- Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain – I wish I could have had a chance at this but sometimes you gotta listen to medical advice (boooo). All my friends adored it and I certainly loved people watching at the exit!
- Visit Star Trades – my favorite merch shop!
- Catch Wall-E (if you can find him!)
- Use the nicest toilets in Disney (okay…. this isn’t proven but they’re the best I found!)
Anything Else to Add Órla?
I’d live in the Disney Bubble if I could. While I appreciate the criticism of the Paris parks in comparison to their US predecessors, for people like me the Paris experience is magical. For one, short day I experienced what it was like to dream and adventure and explore like a kid again and that’s what Disney is all about for me. One day I’ll get to Disney World and I’ll walk the park in Anaheim like Walt himself. For now, I have memories of a perfect day in Paris to live with and that’s good enough for this Disney fan.
Can you do Disneyland in a day? Sure! But if you really want to capture the magic, treat yourself to a few days in France’s home of the magic!