Disneyland Paris is a popular choice for many, especially those living in Europe. BUT how to plan your Disney Paris Holiday can be a challenge, so we are sharing our top tips so that you can plan your next Disney trip without any troubles.
Tips to plan the perfect Disney Paris Holiday
Getting to Disneyland Paris
Plane – Unless you live in France, the quickest and easiest way to visit Disneyland is by flying. Compare prices on websites such as Skyscanner and look out for airlines such as RyanAir, EasyJet, Air France and Transavia; these are budget airlines that offer decent prices.
Train – You can also catch the train from London to Disneyland Paris using the Eurostar or you can catch a train from within Europe to Chatelet Des Halles then catch the RER A to Marne – la – Valle – Chessy. Disneyland Paris is a great way to finish a 2 days in Paris trip.
Car/Ferry – Alternatively, you can drive via the Euro tunnel or the ferry and drive to Disney. From Dover to Disneyland Paris, the journey will take between 4 – 5 hours if you take the Channel Tunnel whilst a ferry from Folkstone to Calais will take 35 minutes.
Stay on-site – to get the most out of your trip, staying on-site is a must. Disney days can be long, so having the option to return back to a hotel for a mid-afternoon before evening fireworks or just having less stress parking and getting to the resorts will be a massive help. All hotels included complimentary buses and you can enjoy Magic time – an extra hour in the morning before other guests arrive.
Make a trip out of it – Even with recent political upheaval, Paris is still a beautiful place to visit. Try to visit not only Disneyland Paris but the city of Paris and/or other nearby European cities. If you want to visit Disney but you are not fussed about all the rides, plan two days at the parks, even one if you really just want to ride one or two rides across the parks.
However, if you love Disney and want to experience everything it has to offer, book 4 nights and you can save money when booking packages through Disney.
It is also worth checking the history of your chosen hotel. Many of the Disneyland Paris hotels have recently been renovating or are part way through renovating – meaning some rooms will be renovated, some won’t and you will likely have building work going on too.
Look at the partner hotels – Although the Disney parks offer value, moderate and luxury options, it is still cheaper to stay at one of the partner hotels. Compare the prices but those recommended by Disney will offer shuttle buses too.
When to visit Disneyland Paris
We all want to visit Disneyland Paris without the queues but there are two key factors to thinking about – holidays and weather. Check the school holidays in Europe before booking; especially if you can avoid these times. Summertime, Easter holidays and October half term always seems to be the busiest times of the year plus hotel and travel prices rise.
Secondly, check the weather. Spring and Autumn will still require layers and an umbrella and make sure you bring a poncho or waterproof coat – ponchos are available but cost €10.
Great times to visit are May time as the weather starts to warm or September, when children go back to school but the weather is still warm and rain tends to stay off. December is also a great time to visit too (just wrap up warm), you get to experience the festivities and get excited for Christmas, just avoid visiting after December 19th – January 1st.
Finally, it is also worth noting when the best year to visit it. For example, over the next few years, Disneyland Paris will see massive renovations with a $2.5 billion revitalization of Walt Disney Studios which will see a new Marvel, Star Wars and Frozen area. The park will also see a lot of refurbishments and closures so it is worth checking the app and website to see what will be available during your visit. If you are planning a trip in the next few years, you are best to wait for 2024. The expansions are being prepared ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics, so arrive in the spring to see the completed lands but also to beat the Olympic crowds.
It also goes without saying that weekdays will always be quieter than weekends.
Are Disneyland Paris holiday packages worth it?
It really depends on what you are looking for.
The Disneyland Paris Holiday Packages are similar to a package holiday, where you can get your hotel, meal plan, park tickets and even flights or train included in the package.
If you are likely to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in or around the Disneyland parks, the discounted bundle may be worth it. Sometimes, offers are available for those booking in advance or extra promotions are available for those staying for longer – “buy 2 nights and get 2 nights free” is often advertised at various times throughout the year.
If you are visiting in low season, outside of school holidays and especially during the winter months, it is worth checking online to see what deals are available. Additionally, it is also worth checking these prices across the UK and the USA Disneyland Paris website because prices can differ between the two.
Once you have chosen how many days you wish to stay and the hotel you wish to stay at, it is now time to compare. Check prices of flights/trains, hotel individually, tickets individually and so on, to see if the deal you are getting is worth it. There are options to not include flights or train to Paris, which is often a better option – you may be able to find cheaper flights on cheaper airlines.
One park a day – The parks can both be visited within one day but, to make the most out of your time and to avoid missing anything, we would recommend saving a few euros and choosing the one park one day ticket.
Book in advance – you don’t want to spend the first hour of your day waiting in line for tickets. Use websites such as Picniq and AttractionTix to buy cheap day tickets – this is a great option if you are only visiting for one or two days.
Consider a FastPass – If you love rides, regardless of how many days you have at the park, it is worth getting yourself a FastPass. Ride waiting times can be as high as 90 minutes which can be frustrating, especially for families. There is also VIP FastPass available so you can skip the queues but this is only available if you stay in a suite or castle club room at selected hotels.
Food and drink at Disneyland Paris
Disney Meal plans – If you are staying on-site, you can take advantage of the half board or full board meal plan options. This means you can have breakfast and dinner at one of the all-you-can-eat buffets around the Disney resort (or breakfast lunch and dinner with full board). This is a good option if dining is an important part of your trip – if you are happy to eat at a quick-service or counter-service restaurant then these meal plans might not be for you, but if you love a sit-down moderate to high-end meal, opting for the premium meal plan may be the best idea for your trip.
Do your research – When we first went to Walt Disney World, we were impressed with how good the food was in every café or restaurant we ate at. Unfortunately, Disneyland Paris is not the same. Although standards are improving, the food at Disneyland Paris is just not that good. There are some really good restaurants you can eat at but most restaurants, especially in the parks themselves, fall short on standards. Do your research and choose the restaurants with the best reviews.
Book straight away – Make sure you book your dining times as soon as you arrive to get your preferred time at your preferred restaurant.
Breakfast – If you are eating at a hotel, you will want to plan breakfast for around 7 – 7.30am to avoid the crowds but also to get into the parks for Magic time on time.
If you have chosen to not include breakfast in your package, then it is a good idea to pack cereal bars or pick up some groceries so you can eat a quick breakfast before heading into the parks. There is a Mcdonalds or Starbucks in the Disney Village if you are looking to pick up some breakfast on your way into the park.
Dinner – If you are travelling with family, it may be a better idea to have an earlier dinner (between 4.30 – 6pm). Check the firework showtimes for your visit to avoid disappointment and, as I mention above, book your dining time as soon as you arrive.
Water – Take a refillable bottle or pick up a bottle of water from the Relay Store inside the train station. Disneyland Paris is expensive (I would say perhaps THEE most expensive Disney park you could visit). Expect to pay €4 for a bottle of water. You are better off bringing a refillable bottle of water, using the water fountains or asking the staff at the cafes and restaurants around the park to fill up your water bottle.
When to eat lunch – Avoid eating between midday and 2pm, the restaurants are busy but the rides are often quieter. Take advantage of shorter queues and eat before or after.
Restaurant times – Check when your chosen restaurant is open till. During low season, restaurants can close at 5pm, causing more popular restaurants to experience exceptionally long queues. Book a table in advance or go for dinner early.
Themed restaurants – If you are looking for a good restaurant, check out the variety of themed restaurants. The detailing in these restaurants is fantastic so try to experience at least once during your visit.
Save money for your Disney Paris holiday
Disneyland Paris is, of course, expensive but there are ways to save money on your trip.
Staying off site will help you save, especially if you are only visiting the park for one or two days. There are lots of cheaper alternatives near Disneyland Paris and some even offer shuttles to and from the parks too.
Plan your day at the parks
Download the app – download the Disneyland Paris app so you can check the waiting times, parade schedules and nearby facilities.
Plan your rides – Check the rides for each park (you can use the app above and youtube videos) before visiting and decide which rides you want to go on. Choose your rides and make sure you head to those rides in the morning, when the park first opens. Alternatively, you can go on these rides from 7.30 pm to 9pm; the park tends to have shorter queues during this evening time.
Know which rides to head to first – There are some rides that are more popular than others and are worth heading to early:
Disneyland: Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Walt Disney Studios: Rock N Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Crush’s Coaster
Spend more time at Disneyland Park over Walt Disney Studios – the detailing and variety of rides is much better at Disneyland Park. If you have two days for the parks, you may find yourself spending half a day at Walt Disney Studios then heading over to Disneyland park for a day and a half.
Pack a battery – bring a battery pack with you to keep your phone charged during the long day. Using the Disney app and taking a million photos will definitely drain your battery so be prepared.
Fireworks – For a clear view of the Disney Illuminations show, head to the backside of a flower planter in the Central Plaza; this gives you a clear view of the show without heads getting in your way.
Celebrating? – If you are celebrating a special occasion; perhaps your first Disney trip, a birthday or wedding anniversary, head to the guest services at your resort hotel or in the parks and pick up a button.
Wear comfortable shoes – As with all theme parks, comfortable shoes are a must. If you are travelling with young children, hire a buggy and take every opportunity to sit; especially if you are spending the whole day at the park.
Bring a picnic – as I mentioned above, the food in the parks just aren’t that good. If you have the facilities to, prepare a picnic to bring with you into the park.
Watch the parades – The parades are always loved by everyone, they are fun and interactive and you get to see your favourite characters without having to queue.
Pick a baby switch card – if you are travelling with a baby, you can get yourself a baby switch card, allowing two adults to queue up and take it in turns to ride.
We hope you have an amazing Disney Paris Holiday and tell us all about in the comments below!
Have a great trip!