9 issues to learn about visiting Disneyland Paris when you’ve solely been to US Disney parks

In between touring the Louvre, strolling the banks of the Seine and ascending the Eiffel Tower, many guests to the Metropolis of Gentle additionally pay a go to to Disneyland Paris. Located to the east of town, the resort is residence to Europe’s largest (and most visited) theme park.

With China nonetheless closed to tourism and Japan solely beginning to reopen, Disneyland Paris is the worldwide Disney resort that’s presently probably the most accessible to the touring world. Mix this with the truth that Paris is ready to host the Summer season Olympics in 2024 and it is secure to say that many guests will doubtless quickly move by the theme park’s gates.

Whereas Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is my household’s residence park, we ceaselessly go to Disney locations around the globe. So, once we had the possibility to spend a number of weeks in France and the UK this summer season, we knew we needed to put aside a little bit time to see what France’s model of Mickey Mouse needed to ship.

Not surprisingly, we discovered that Disneyland Paris does lots of issues in a barely totally different means. Nonetheless, one element stays a relentless throughout all of the parks, Disneyland Paris included: Friends who pre-plan, know what to anticipate and perceive the principles will certainly have a magical trip.

Disneyland Paris fundamentals

Earlier than delving into all it’s worthwhile to learn about experiencing Disneyland Paris, it is necessary to have a lay of the land and perceive the logistics of attending to the property.

Situated about 25 miles east of Paris’ metropolis heart in Chessy, France, Disneyland Paris is straightforward to succeed in by prepare. The Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy prepare station sits a number of steps away from the park’s entrance and is accessible by way of Réseau Categorical Régional routes departing from downtown Paris and Trains à Grande Vitesse routes that go away Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and different locations in France.

As soon as on the property, you may discover that Disneyland Paris has an identical structure to Disneyland Resort. Two theme parks — Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park — comprise the resort, with every inside strolling distance of the opposite. There may be additionally an adjoining procuring and leisure district referred to as Disney Village, in addition to a number of themed motels with extra companies and eating areas.

Disneyland Paris’ entrance decor for its thirtieth anniversary. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Like all of the Disney parks, Disneyland Paris is a bucket checklist expertise for Disney followers, no matter if you go to. Nonetheless, now could be an particularly magical time to take a look at the resort, because it’s celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in 2022, with celebrations set to proceed till Sept. 30, 2023.

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Important Disneyland Paris suggestions

The Disneyland Lodge sits atop the doorway gates for Disneyland Paris. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

In case you are contemplating or planning a go to to Disneyland Paris, it is important to know concerning the resort’s distinctive guidelines and tips. At the same time as a seasoned Disneyland and Walt Disney World customer, I needed to study lots of new issues whereas at Disneyland Paris. Fortuitously for us, the items finally fell into place as soon as we recognized the key variations. This is what it’s worthwhile to know:

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Logistics are simpler

Not too long ago, Disneyland and Disney World have acquired lots of damaging press for his or her sophisticated post-pandemic guidelines and procedures. Whereas Disneyland Paris did implement a number of adjustments after its reopening which have caught, almost the whole lot is way simpler to navigate for the informal customer.

For instance, Disneyland Paris does require park reservations for some visitors, however if you’re reserving a Disneyland trip package deal for a keep at an on-property lodge, then no park reservations are required.

Ticketing choices are less complicated, extra versatile and total inexpensive as nicely. Friends who buy park tickets as a part of a trip package deal will discover ticketing to be as simple as exhibiting up and coming into. In case you are not buying a ticket as a part of a package deal, it is nonetheless a reasonably easy course of. As soon as you know the way many days you may be visiting, all that is left to determine is whether or not you desire a dated or an undated ticket. (Dated tickets are cheaper however require choosing your entry dates if you ebook, whereas undated tickets are pricier however allow you to select your park dates after reserving.) Should you choose a dated ticket, you possibly can then go for a park hopper or one-park possibility. That is about it. Ought to your plans change, tickets are absolutely refundable up till three days previous to their legitimate date.

Fortunately, tickets are cheaper than within the U.S. with one-day, one-park tickets beginning round $70-$80, relying on the date. Within the U.S., they are often roughly double that value.

Disneyland Paris additionally would not have arbitrary deadlines on its park hopping hours. Should you’ve bought a park hopper ticket, you might be free to commute between the 2 parks at any time of day.

In brief, there are fewer alternatives at Disneyland Paris to make a mistake and discover that you’ve got run afoul of some obscure new rule. We discovered that assurance comforting, particularly when coping with the larger logistical challenges already inherent in a global journey.

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Experience strains are principally manageable

Wait occasions for Peter Pan throughout early entry. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

The most typical complaints about theme parks around the globe are the crowds and lengthy strains. Disneyland Paris definitely has its justifiable share of each, however we have been pleasantly shocked to seek out that standby queues for points of interest weren’t as painfully lengthy as visitors may worry.

My household visited throughout a peak time of 12 months (the U.Okay.’s summer season recess from college), so we skilled experience strains at near their worst. Traces have been a little bit longer than I like to face in however have been not at all as horrible as strains you may discover at Disneyland or Disney World on a really busy day. Should you can time your go to for a weekday when children will not be on break, you may doubtless have an much more manageable time at Disneyland Paris.

In fact, there are tips to discovering shorter strains, together with arriving early for rope drop or staying late after many visitors retire for the night. Disneyland Paris additionally has single-rider strains for plenty of in style points of interest that may prevent time. We used all of those tips to nice impact.

Premier Entry line for Huge Thunder Mountain. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Moreover, Disneyland Paris has a skip-the-line FastPass-style program of its personal for choose rides, with two paid choices accessible: Disney Premier Entry One and Disney Premier Entry Final.

With the extra inexpensive Premier Entry One program, you pay between 9 and 18 euros (roughly $9-$18) per experience for expedited entry at a selected time by way of the attraction’s quick lane. In the meantime, the Premier Entry Final program routinely offers you entry to every experience’s quick lane everytime you need for the next value (often nicely above 100 euros, or $100, per particular person, per day).

Since fewer visitors use these pay-to-play choices at Disneyland Paris, they do not have as nice of an influence on standby strains for non-paying visitors. In consequence, my household determined to skip the excessive price of the upgraded Premier Entry possibility and as a substitute buy three common Premier Entry One passes throughout our three-day go to. We discovered them to be far much less complicated than Disney’s complicated paid Genie+ and Lightning Lane programs presently in operation at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Our most respected buy was for Crush’s Coaster, which traditionally has the longest line at both park.

The second park is weak

Entrance to Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Disneyland Paris consists of two parks, however visitors ought to know earlier than deciding divide their time that the parks are removed from equal. Disneyland Park is the property’s essential draw and the place most visitors spend the majority of their time. There’s additionally Walt Disney Studios Park, which solely has a few main points of interest blended in with quite a bit you possibly can skip, making it the a lot weaker of the 2 parks.

Recognizing this lack of star energy on the latter, Disney has began making incremental adjustments to Walt Disney Studios Park. Earlier this summer season, a model new land known as Marvel Avengers Campus debuted within the park.

Like its counterpart in Anaheim, the land has a brand new “Spider-Man”-themed attraction and lots of new characters and eating areas. Avengers Campus delivers a stable product similar to it does in Anaheim, nevertheless it’s not sufficient to redeem the park as a complete. Walt Disney Studios Park nonetheless has an extended strategy to go.


Fortunately, there may be extra coming, with a “Frozen” land set to debut in 2024. Nonetheless, till that space opens, Walt Disney Studios Park stays a half-day park at finest. Should you’re a frequent Disneyland customer like me and my household, odds are you may wish to allot even much less time for the park, as Paris’ Avengers Campus is not that totally different from what you may discover in Anaheim.

It may be carried out as a day journey

With so many different can’t-miss points of interest within the Metropolis of Gentle, it is understandably onerous to justify spending too many days at a theme park. So, lots of vacationers go to Disneyland Paris as a day journey from town, because it’s solely a couple of 40-minute prepare experience away from town heart.

In case your time shall be restricted if you go to, know that it is nonetheless attainable to get a stable overview of the parks in a single day. You can experience fairly a number of of the headliner points of interest in that point, particularly when you funds for a few Premier Entry One passes. Since Walt Disney Studios Park lacks the identical wow issue as Disneyland Park, you possibly can simply get by with a single-park ticket as a substitute of the park hopper improve.

That stated, Disney followers could be remiss in the event that they did not put aside a little bit extra time for the parks.

Disneyland Paris is almost as giant as Disneyland Resort, so you may want greater than a day to really see all of it, particularly if you wish to experience each distinctive attraction accessible. We allotted a full day and two half days (a night on our arrival and a morning earlier than flying elsewhere in Europe) for our Disneyland Paris go to and located it was nearly the correct quantity of time for a household of Disney followers.

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The meals just isn’t on par with the US parks

One of many new eating places in Marvel Avengers Campus at Disneyland Paris. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Vacationers come from around the globe to expertise France’s magnificent meals scene. Sadly, there may be little or no of that superb delicacies at Disneyland Paris.

I had heard from mates and fellow Disney consultants for a few years that the meals in Disneyland Paris was horrible, so my household had low expectations when it was time for our go to. A lot to my shock, the whole lot wasn’t inedible slop: Each quick-service meal and buffet we had was completely sufficient. In truth, the meals was fairly related in high quality to a mean quick-service meal you may get at Disneyland or Disney World. Costs weren’t excessively excessive, both.

The place the meals faltered most was within the sit-down institutions. For instance, my husband and daughter ate at Captain Jack’s, a superb eating restaurant overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean experience that reminded them of Disneyland Resort’s Blue Bayou. They discovered the meal was fairly costly, particularly since each of their dishes have been extraordinarily overcooked. I’ve heard related complaints from mates who’ve dined at Bistrot Chez Rémy in recent times as nicely.

We discovered another meals inadequacies at Disneyland Paris, too. The parks merely do not have lots of snack choices or selection, an odd state of affairs given how the U.S. parks churn out new, Instagrammable treats for each vacation or particular occasion beneath the solar.

Disneyland Paris additionally would not hold all its in-park eating places open full-time. Numerous quick-service choices shut earlier than the dinner hour, leaving fairly slim pickings for visitors who have not made reservations at pricier sit-down eating places.

To keep away from being upset throughout your go to, do as we did and make meals as little of a spotlight of your journey as attainable. Skip the costly table-service eating places and as a substitute plan upfront to eat some utilitarian theme park fundamentals like hen fingers, pizza and burgers at quick-service institutions. So long as you test upfront so you already know which choices are open, notably later within the day, you may haven’t any hassle filling empty stomachs.

Service is not fairly as much as Disney requirements

Lack of forged members made morning rope drop at Disneyland Paris very inefficient. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Whereas I hate to be a stereotypical American complaining about French service, the truth is that there are subjective cultural variations that many guests to Disneyland Paris will in all probability understand on the subject of service. France simply would not have the identical custom of effusive, overly pleasant customer support that visitors who frequent the American (and even the Asian) Disney parks are used to.

That is to not say that the customer support in Disneyland Paris is poor. We discovered most forged members fairly courteous and even had a few magical moments with a choose few. We have been additionally impressed by the truth that each forged member we encountered spoke English, which we discovered useful since none of us communicate French.

Nonetheless, forged members have been noticeably extra blunt in tone and fewer seen in all places within the parks. I received the distinct impression that there have been fewer forged members per capita within the Paris parks than in different Disney parks I’ve visited. This was particularly evident on the park entrances, the place forged members have been in brief provide for morning rope drop. Clueless visitors have been making an attempt to scan their tickets and passes on the turnstiles solely to come across errors and decelerate the strains significantly at a pivotal time.

In the end, park operations felt a little bit extra like a regional theme park in America than the gold commonplace of Disney effectivity and heat.

The parks’ magnificence is its personal attraction

What Disneyland Paris lacks in customer support it greater than makes up for in magnificence.

Disneyland Park is definitely probably the most lovely theme park I’ve visited. It seems like a microcosm of the well-designed metropolis of Paris itself, with broad pathways surrounded by colourful, meticulously maintained landscaping. Lots of the experience buildings have daring theming that instructions your consideration, such because the Jules Verne-inspired Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain.

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland Paris. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

This distinctive ambiance implies that visitors ought to strategy a go to to the resort a little bit in another way. Disneyland Paris is a park that’s meant to be savored. Should you run from experience to experience all day, you may miss a serious a part of what makes the property so particular.

We slowed down throughout components of our journey and made time to discover a number of the non-ride points of interest and specifically themed play areas (that are way more ubiquitous than within the U.S. parks). We discovered these areas sparked the curiosity of our children, who loved wandering the meandering pathways and enjoying in areas like Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and Cranium Rock.

Alice’s Curious Labyrinth play space is a can’t-miss spot for households. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

One other visible delight was the arcades — enclosed pathways that run behind the retailers of Principal Road U.S.A. These pathways serve the sensible goal of shifting huge crowds however in a visually gorgeous setting. In fact, the awe-inspiring Disneyland Paris citadel is one other beautiful function that no visitor ought to miss.

Many points of interest are acquainted — however uniquely totally different

A fast look on the map of Disneyland Paris might give the impression that the park is essentially a clone of the Magic Kingdom in Florida or Disneyland Park in California. Certain, fairly a number of points of interest, akin to Peter Pan’s Flight and Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, are just like what you may discover within the U.S., however plenty of rides at Disneyland Paris even have distinctive twists all their very own regardless of wanting like carbon copies of their American counterparts.

For instance, two thrill rides, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain and Huge Thunder Mountain, are way more intense than these within the U.S. As such, curler coaster lovers ought to make a beeline for them. Dad and mom, then again, will in all probability have to pause and contemplate whether or not extra cautious children within the household are prepared for the extra intense expertise.

Moreover, spooky rides like Phantom Manor (just like the Haunted Mansion) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror have very totally different storylines than those within the U.S. Each have an edgier and extra morbid vibe due to the French affect.

Phantom Manor is the Disneyland Paris model of the Haunted Mansion. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Even some kids’s rides have new angles. Casey Jr., for instance, is definitely a light kiddie coaster relatively than the slow-moving prepare that sits in Anaheim. Storybook Land Canal Boats brings visitors by totally different fairy-tale scenes than those that seem at Disneyland Resort, too.

Given what number of rides fluctuate right here regardless of their related theming, you need to err on the aspect of using as a lot as attainable whereas at Disneyland Paris. Although you could assume you’ve got skilled a experience earlier than in Florida or California, likelihood is it’ll provide a really new expertise.

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On-property motels fall quick

For visitors who plan to go to for greater than a day journey, there are seven on-property motels to select from.

As you could count on, Disneyland Paris isn’t any exception to the value premium you may pay to remain on property when visiting Disney. Nonetheless, there are a few key advantages, together with the proximity to the parks and the early entry profit (recognized right here as Further Magic Hours), that swayed our household to remain on the on-site Disney Sequoia Lodge.

A moderately-priced lodge with nationwide park lodge theming, the Disney Sequoia Lodge’s rooms and customary areas felt extraordinarily drained and dated. In truth, the lodge was nowhere close to as good because the newly renovated worth resorts at Walt Disney World akin to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, regardless of being dearer. In consequence, it did not appear to supply as a lot worth as what we’re used to getting when staying at American Disney properties.

Disney Sequoia Lodge, a average resort at Disneyland Paris. LESLIE HARVEY/THE POINTS GUY

Different properties just like the flagship Disneyland Lodge, which sits proper above the Disneyland Paris park gates, might present extra worth however are presently unavailable due to an intensive renovation anticipated to wrap up in 2024.

Within the meantime, probably the most luxurious possibility is the newly renovated Disney Lodge New York — The Artwork of Marvel. Whereas it’s visually gorgeous, my household could not justify paying peak summer season costs of greater than $800 an evening to remain in a small lodge room that had two double beds and was a 15-minute stroll from the gates.

Given the shortcomings of those motels, you could discover it onerous to abdomen spending tons of of {dollars} on a room that is formally on property. So, when you’re on a tighter funds, you could be higher served by staying off-property, particularly when you would not use the early entry profit.

Backside line

Whereas there have been a few methods through which the French parks underdelivered, Disneyland Paris is usually a constructive and gratifying expertise.

Disneyland Paris has plenty of stunning and pleasant variations that Disney followers will get pleasure from, from its lovely grounds to distinctive attraction variations. Visiting Disneyland Paris additionally requires much less preparation and touring the parks there feels much less annoying.

In a means, we discovered our journey replicated the expertise of visiting the U.S. parks a decade or extra in the past when the prices and the stakes of taking a theme park trip weren’t fairly so excessive. Due to this, Disneyland Paris is nicely price a Paris detour.

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