Our travel agent looked us like we were crazy in the head when we asked to book one nights stay at Disneyland on our romantic Paris holiday in 2014. But, let’s be honest, he probably doesn’t get many twenty-something child-less couples booking a romantic Parisian holiday and requesting at least one day at Disneyland. However, looking back now, it was probably one of our favourite days of our whole 10-day trip to Paris.
We will never be too old for Disney.
You might think it odd to go to Disney without any kids, but it’s actually a lot more fun than you would expect! If you’re looking for a day-trip as a couple — a chance to act like a kid again, you should do this. Disney is way more than kids-rides… it’s magical. You go there for the experience.
Getting to Disneyland:
From Paris Central:
We took a pre-booked taxi shuttle from our hotel in Paris, which I would highly recommend doing. While it cost around 60 Euros, it only took an hour and it was hassle-free and in my opinion, worth every cent. However, if you would like to save on the transport, you can take a 45-minute train (RER A train line) which runs straight to the park and costs 7.60 Euros. You will get at the train stop at Gare de Marne la Vallée Chessy, and take a 6 minute walk to the Park.
From the Airport:
If you’re travelling from Charles de Gaulle airport to Disneyland, you can take either a TGV train direct from CDG to Disney (Marne la Vallée) or first take the RER B train to Paris then at station Chatelet Les Halles, switch to the RER A train line towards Marne La Vallée. We didn’t find the trains confusing at all so if you’re wanting to save, it is a great option. Click here for a map of the train routes. There is also a Disney Magic Shuttle which leaves from the airport (and other venues) is an alternative option at 20 Euros an adult or 16 Euros a child.
If you’re coming from London, consider the Eurostar train, which also drops you off right outside Disneyland Paris’ gates.
Where To Stay:
If you want all the Disneyland feels, 100% you should stay at the Disneyland Hotel. It’s on the doorstep of the entrance of the park which means you don’t waste time waiting for shuttles or trying to get parking and it truly feels magical. They also allow you to check in your luggage earlier so that you can go into the park as soon as possible, and not wait until check-in time at 3pm. I will be doing an in-depth review of this hotel, because it deserves a post of it’s own! Check back soon for that.
If you would prefer a cheaper option, I would still recommend you stay at a hotel ‘onsite’. Staying at a Disney hotel offers a number of benefits: tickets to both parks for the duration of your stay including an 2 extra hours in the park everyday before the park officially opens. Characters also visit the Disney Hotels so you can do some meet and greets in the hotel. Here is a really great post which offers you a comparison on all the hotels.
That being said, if these benefits don’t appeal to you, off-site hotels are significantly cheaper. The Radisson Blu is a good option at a fourth of the price of on-site hotels (but without tickets and added benefits). You will have to weigh up whether the price of accommodation plus tickets (and lack of additional magic hours) is worth the savings.
When To Go:
Well.. out of season. But that choice may be out of your hands. We went in November, which is their winter, and felt that the park wasn’t annoyingly full like it can be. We didn’t have long wait times at any of the rides and on the more popular rides, we could use a Fastpass. The main events like the fireworks and parades still get really full (whether out of season or in), so go early and grab yourself a spot or you might not see anything. That being said, during Summer hours, Disneyland does stay open longer so technically you could get more value for money!
However, I would always recommend Christmas time. When we went, the parks were buzzing with Christmas cheer. IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS ON STEROIDS IN NOVEMBER!
FUN TIP: If you can wait your trip out until after March 26, 2017, Disneyland will be celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary and it will include a new nighttime spectacular, parade, attractions, and more.
How many days should you go for:
Two days was sufficient for us. With the smaller crowds and the Fastpasses, we were able to see and do what we wanted to. Any longer would be overkill. Remember, these two parks are nothing like the Orlando Parks.
What To Do:
Disneyland Paris is made up of two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park encompasses the traditional Disney favourites – Mickey Mouse, Sleeping Beauty’s castle and flying Dumbo elephants. Walt Disney Studios Park, on the other hand, has a few rides, with a focus on how films are made.
The Studios Park tends to be quieter then the main park but the Ratatouille ride is really popular so I would suggest you FastPass that attraction. We went to Studios Park on our second day and only really spent the morning there, before a quick lunch and our shuttle at 2pm back to Paris.
There is also a Disney Village, which has a few more commercial and well-know restaurant brands like McDonalds, Earl of Sandwich and Planet Hollywood. We tried Planet Hollywood and actually really enjoyed it. If you’d like to plan your visit, here is a great map.
Food & Drinks:
We weren’t exactly doing Disney on the cheap this trip. We ate in the Park, and at the Hotel’s restaurants which are as pricey as expected. None of our meals were particularly amazing but you pay for the experience and the fun, themed dining.
If you’re going with kids, definitely pre-packs snacks and/or meals. You can even bring in water bottles as opposed to buying inside the Park. But if you do want to plan one or two meals inside the Park, this site is great to check out menus or this site for a list of the restaurants. If you do want to eat at a restaurant in the Park, book in advance!
- The Disney Parade
- The Fireworks Night Show: The 20-minute nighttime show boats light, fountain, and firework displays transforming the Sleeping Beauty Castle into a spectacular canvas for video projections and special effects. While there are guest appearances of characters from most of the popular Disney movies, there was a particular emphasis on Frozen the year we went. At, 22, I wished I was Elsa!
- Any shows on. They’re always done so beautifully!
- Two days is sufficient. One day per park.
- You can bring food or drinks into the Parks if you want to save on food.
- But if you are eating inside the Parks at restaurants, do so at odd hours to avoid queues (and essentially wasting time).
- Fastpasses – Fastpasses give you a ticket to return to (and ‘book’ a time for) the attraction at a later time when you can effectively skip the queue. This can save so much time. BUT they are not available on all rides and you can only hold one ticket at a time – so if you go to a ride and the FastPass offers you a slot in five hours time you won’t be able to use another FastPass during that time. Also, on busy days, FastPass slots can run out very quickly so they are limited. So if there’s a ride you REALLY want to go on, get a FastPass as early in the day as you can.
- You can also buy a VIP FastPass for around 60 Euros, which lets you have unlimited access to FastPass queues – they’re not available every day, and the Park only issues a limited number in total each day.
- To skip the crowds, try visiting popular rides like Peter Pan’s Flight during your first hour at Disneyland (that don’t offer Fastpasses). Then book you Fastpasses closer to 10am, when the rest of the Park opens and it gets much busier.
- We did Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris but it was super fast and uncomfortable as it pushes your head down with the pressure. Then I found out that it is actually the fastest of the five in operation. It is also the only one that goes upside-down. Some other cool facts about Disneyland Paris can be found here.
- Let your kids dress up, there’s no better place to put on your Elsa Princess dress (Except make sure they wear commutable walking shoes).
- Some rides you do get wet on! Careful of your phone!
- As in most of France, smoking is a huge annoyance. While there are supposed ‘designated areas’, people still smoke in non-designated areas. Just something to keep in mind, if it bothers you.
- Everyone usually speaks English. Nonetheless, be respectful and at least attempt to say hello to staff in French. Bonjour in the hello or good morning, Bonsoir for good evening.
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