Having just returned from a family trip to Disneyland Paris I thought I’d put together my top ten tips to make your days at Disneyland Paris as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
1. Plan it! Even if you are one of those of people who likes to take things as they come, a little bit of forward planning helps because Disneyland Paris is a huge and bewildering place to the uninitiated, which included me! Luckily a single website is all you need to visit to get all your Disneyland Paris information. DLRPMagic.com is a fabulous site listing everything from details on the rides and their suitability for younger kids and even restaurant menus.
2. Travel by Eurostar Directly into Paris. The direct Disney train from St. Pancras International is the choice for many but we took the Eurostar to Gare Du Nord and transferred using the RER train to Disney. The RER was just one change and took just 35 minutes at the bargain price of 7 Euros. Time wise there wasn’t much in it either, don’t get put off as it was simple and a definite saving in our case versus the Eurostar Disney direct option.
3. Non-Disney Hotels are a great way to save. We stayed at the Dream Castle Hotel which was just a 5 minute shuttle bus ride from the parks, even at the height of the Easter holidays we never waited for more than 5 minutes for a bus! The hotel was great value and was considerably cheaper than the Disney hotels. As so much time is spent at the parks, I can definitely recommend this hotel as a great alternative.
4. Learn the Lingo! I don’t mean French either but Disney-speak such as Fast Pass and Baby Switch, both are brilliant ideas designed to save time queuing for the big rides. Fast Pass runs on the busy rides only, such as popular roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain. You basically pick up a ticket to return during a time-slot later in the day, there’s no charge and it saves lots of queue time. Baby switch allows one parent to go on a ride whilst the other minds the little ones, they receive a ticket to pass to other parent who jumps to the front of the queue…another great timesaver.
5. Don’t eat at mealtimes. This might sound a bit silly but the rides are much quieter when the restaurants are full around 6pm. We spent 40 minutes queuing for the famous Pirates of The Caribbean ride during the day but walked on later in the day when everybody was eating. We got on lots of popular rides between 6 and 8 in next to no time.
6. The Parade is a must-see! Now I wasn’t expecting to be a big fan of this but one thing I can say is that Disney really know how to put on a show. Disney Magic on Parade is on at 5pm every day and we saw it three times. The parade has been specially put together to celebrate Disneyland Paris’ 20th anniversary. You can watch a video here of Disney Magic on Parade in HD.
7. Top rides for an 8 year old. My son has thought long and hard about his tip for the best ride and winner is Pirates of The Caribbean – it’s a boat ride through a pirate inspired wonderland with a couple of small flume drops. Great fun for all, I think we went on this more than any other ride.
8. Top ride for a 5 year old. Again this has been a difficult decision, so much so that my daughter couldn’t actually narrow it down to one ride so we have two nominations. Peter Pan’s Flight and Snow White and Seven Dwarves (blanche-neige et le sept nains) are both located in Fantasyland where the majority of rides are tailored to appeal to small munchkins.
9. Take the time to visit Paris. After 3 days at Disneyland Paris, a day out in Paris went down really well with the whole family for a bit of a Disney break. We visited the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and took a river cruise on the Seine.
10. Finally, a shameless plug. I booked the whole trip through Superbreak who I work for, from our rail travel from York to London, Eurostar tickets, Dream Castle Hotel and Disney Park tickets. The package also included a free Seine River Cruise. All are available from our website or over the phone in our very friendly call centre.
The trip to Disneyland Paris was fabulous and I’m still surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Go on, go!