The Ultimate Guide to Disneyland Paris

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Everything You need to Know

Disneyland Paris is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. Truly, is there anywhere more magical and enchanting than a Disney park? Since I started going regularly back in 2015, I have wanted to share the tips and tricks to having yourself the best holiday you can when you are out there.

Since 2015, I have visited the parks three times and whilst it is not as much as some people, I certainly have picked up plenty of tips and tricks along the way which not only make your trip easier but can add more magic and fun whilst you are out there.

Let me tell you, this post has taken me months to write, I started to compile and plan everything back in August and then finalised the planning after I went on my most recent trip in September. I have tried to pour all my knowledge into this without making it a novel. So regardless of what you want to get out of your trip, this tips could definitely help you one way or another.

I hope you find these tips useful, I will update this page if I discover any new tips but please, if you have already been, do share any tips you have learnt in the comments! I would love for this to be a little portal of Disneyland Paris guides and tips that people can return to again and again! And of course, if you are going to Disneyland Paris for the first time ever or the first time in a while, I hope you have the best time! Please do let me know fit these tips are useful or if they helped in any way!

Without further ado, here is my Ultimate guide to Disneyland Paris. Let the Disney magic, commence.

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Download the Disneyland Paris App

WiFi still isn’t available in the parks yet in DLP (both a blessing and a curse, let me tell you!) but if you can afford to use a little data, it is worth downloading the Disneyland Paris official app. This becomes your eyes and ears for your trip and, if you ask me, is essential for planning your day. You can see open and closing times for the park and restaurants from here, book your dining reservations (you still have to call, but it’s easy to find the number) and probably most importantly, see the ride waiting times. As lovely as it is to wander around the parks from ride to ride (and you will do this anyway!) if you’re on a tighter schedule, it may be worth checking the waiting times at Big Thunder Mountain just as you’re walking off of Star Tours to see if it is worth making the walk over when Buzz Lightyear only has 5 minutes, this can simply mean, if you keep an eye, you can jump in cues at the best times and avoid walking to rides where the cues are too long.

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris
Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Get To Illuminations and the Parade Early

I would honestly recommend sitting down a good hour before for the best spot and believe me when I say a good spot is SO worth it. Whenever I tell people this, they regularly say that an hour is really long and you can spend it doing other things like getting on short queue, yes you can and by all means do that, of course, you can pick and choose but I do also find that that hour goes really quick!

You can get a beautiful view of the fireworks/parade without having to worry if someone tall is going to stand in front of you and if you ask me, I find it more of an enjoyable experience. If you want to sit down for Illuminations, get there that hour early, sit your tootsh down and if anything, let your feet have a break, after walking around all day they will appreciate it! It is also the perfect opportunity to catch up on social media, post a good amount of Instagram pictures, go through your photos of the day and just people watch. The atmosphere is always so lovely as well, and depending on what time of year you are there, you can watch the sunset around the park as you wait.

Invest in a Meal Plan

The second DLP announced they were incorporating meal plans I was SO happy. I know that not everyone likes them, but if you’re looking to save some pennies a meal plan is really ideal. Food in DLP is really expensive and can typically be one of the highest costs of your trip once you’re out there and if I’m perfectly honest… it isn’t even always that great.

With a meal plan, you can typically save a good amount of money (for instance, we’d always find that our meal plans were worth €25 and buffets, without a meal plan, would be €30, over a five-day trip you’ve already saved yourself €25 and the cost of a drink with each meal). You get a free drink with your meal and usually, the buffets and restaurants included in your meal plan are really lovely. For me, it’s just so ideal paying the extra money for the meal plan when I book, knowing that months later when I am there, I don’t have to think about paying for dinner. For more information about the different meal plans and what’s included: have a look here!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Plan Around the Weather

You never really know what you’re going to get with the weather in Paris so I find it is always a good idea to keep a check on the weather and plan your day/trip around it (if you can!). For instance, if it’s a rainy day, do the shows in the studios! The shows are brilliant (especially Mickey and the Magician!) and the perfect opportunity to stay out of the rain. They’ll try and keep character meet and greets in the dry if they can so you don’t have to miss out or stand directly in the rain, but rainy days are a great day to go and meet Mickey in his meeting place, the cue and interaction is all inside and whilst you cue you can watch old Mickey Mouse episodes, perfect for taking shelter. As well, if it is overly hot (which it definitely can be in the height of Summer!), avoid standing around in the parade or direct heat (the character meet and greets tend to be in direct sunlight – at least in the cue). Indoor cues (think Pirates (because of the water) or Hyperspace Mountain (because it’s dark for the majority of the cue) can be a lot cooler. In fact, last year we rode Pirates a ridiculous number of times a day because it was 30+ degrees outside with no breeze!

Bring a Powerbank For Your Phone

It may seem obvious, but the last thing you want to do is trudge back to the hotel to charge your phone during the day or wander around the parks if it is dead. Cast members will help out if members of your party get separated but it is just so much easier if you have means of communicating at all times.

I also found that if you’re perhaps going with a group of friends/family, there are never enough power sockets in the room, so sometimes someone has to sacrifice their phone charge so someone else could juice up. Power banks don’t have to be expensive but are so worth it when you’re out there. You can’t miss that Instagram photo opportunity can you?!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris
Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Book Dinner During Parade Times

That is if you don’t want to watch it that is! This may be controversial, but I always find the parade is only worth watching once on your trip. Both trips where I have seen it twice, the second time around seems to be never as good as the first viewing. So, booking dinner when the parade is on is ideal if you want a fuss-free dinner with loads of choice. Buffets especially can get so busy with people wandering around and so many parents like to let their little ones up on their own which can lead to chaos when people are already queuing. Getting there when the parade is starting/on means no cues, a less canteen-like experience and a calmer atmosphere to eat. You then also get the benefit of being able to wander around the park and do the tamer rides/photos whilst everyone is trying to eat dinner as the parade finishes.

Getting there when the parade is starting/on means no cues, a less canteen-like experience and a calmer atmosphere to eat. You then also get the benefit of being able to wander around the park and do the tamer rides/photos whilst everyone is trying to eat dinner as the parade finishes.

Let The Fun Continue In the Disney Village

Especially during non-peak times, both parks close quite early and sometimes, you just don’t want to go straight back to your hotel. But, it’s ok because the magic continues in the Disney Village for hours after the park closes.

The atmosphere just becomes alive at night; there is restaurants for those who don’t want to eat during park hours, loads of lovely shops (Disney themed of course!) an arcade, a sports bar and also a bookable country Western-themed show (again, Disney themed!), all perfect for a little late night fun before the parks open again the next morning! There’s also a Starbucks too if you need your coffee/pumpkin spiced latte fix.

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris
Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Do The Popular Rides First

The same with all the other Disney parks dotted around the globe, Disneyland Paris has rides that are guaranteed to always have a huge queue, no matter what time of year you go. Your best bet is to get these popular rides done first to save time cueing later in the day. If you have Magic Hours, take advantage of those and get yourself onto Peter Pan’s Flight first thing, the ride is beautifully enchanting but even I don’t think it’s worth the hour-plus long queues it can attract during the day. This is typically always a walk-on during Magic Hours and makes for a lovely riding experience, there have been some days we’ve gone on it two to three times in the morning just to make the most of it! For reasons I don’t really understand, Dumbo the Flying Elephants can also gather huge cues throughout the day, so if it’s your thing definitely one to jump on during Magic Hours. I also try and do Buzz Lightyear during Magic Hours. Again, less of a queue but this ride is notorious for breaking down so I like to get it done first thing! When the park opens at ten, it can be a good idea to get yourself waiting at the entrance of Frontierland ready to get into the Big Thunder queue or be ready in Tomorrowland for either Hyperspace Mountain or Star Tours.

As for the Studios, as soon as the gates open at ten (they sometimes open them a bit before as well), I would get yourself straight into the Crush’s Coaster cue. This is, without a doubt, the most popular ride in DLP and can gather cues over an hour and a half long (thanks to its lack of Fast Pass facilitates!). The same goes for Ratatouille, another incredibly popular ride that can gather cues for over an hour. This one has Fastpass but it’s always nice to ride it first thing to have the rest of your day to do whatever!

Grab Fastpasses Early

Unlike WDW, you can’t reserve Fast passes to a Magic Band or have more than one (unless you are at the Disneyland Hotel, I believe) and Disneyland Paris is still utilising the old system for the time being. Your best bet is to decide what Fastpass you want to grab first (Big Thunder, Peter Pan, Hyperspace Mountain etc) and head straight over to the machines when the park opens. Fastpasses go incredibly quick as I think a lot of guests will just grab one even if they are not sure if they are going to return, people like the comfort of having one and they will run out! A number of times I’ve gone over to the Ratatouille ride and seen the Fastpasses closed by 11 am is unreal, grab them first before they are all gone and typically, for the best times too!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Where To Eat?

Honestly, I’m not the best person to turn to here because I always eat at the buffets because this is what my previous meal vouchers have allowed. On top of that, for the most part, I haven’t heard a massive amount of good things about some of the restaurants at DLP. There are a lot better people and guide to refer to, here are some of my favourites: …. For me, I adore Plaza Gardens. Sitting right in the middle of Main Street this looks just like the type of buffet Walt himself would have sat at and dined at. The food has always been lovely too. A fresh selection of meats, salads and your typical buffet styles such as pasta and pizzas. Definitely my favourite, for food, atmosphere and decorations. I love that this isn’t ‘Disney-film’ themed, it’s classic and just a lovely place, ticks all the boxes for me.

The village also has some lovely food options. The Rainforest Cafe is just fabulous and I encourage everyone to go there at least once. Again, this one comes with beautiful food and a healthy dollop of a great atmosphere as you sit in the ‘rainforest’ surrounded by elephants and monkeys and all the noises and sounds you’d expect with that. It looks ever so slightly dated now, even I’ll admit that, but I really, really love it.

On my last trip, I was lucky enough to visit Chez Remy over in the Studios, which was incredible! There isn’t a huge amount of choice but if you love steak you are good to go! Beautiful food, such a lovely atmosphere and this was definitely one of my favourite nights – the restaurant just looks incredible for starters!

Book A Character Meal

Again, not so much for the food alone, but no matter how old you are, this is a great one for atmosphere and just general overall experience. Once again, I’m not great at this one as the only character breakfast I have done at Paris have been at Cafe Mickey which is no longer doing the character dining but Plaza Gardens now do breakfast with a selection of characters, Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel is a great all-rounder and serves dinner and Auberge de Cendrillon for Princesses. All are meant to be really lovely and they always have such a lovely atmosphere. For those who don’t want to stand around in character cues or just want a sure way to really meet a good selection of characters, having a meal with them is such a perfect option!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris
Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Visit The Dragon

So this isn’t as much of a ‘tip’ or ‘guide’ but it’s a fun little bit of Disney magic that so many people don’t know exist. If you ask me, the Paris castle is one of the best out of the lot, you can walk through it, explore the beautiful shops within or re-live the story of Sleeping Beauty through the beautiful tapestries and stained glass windows. But what so many people don’t know is that via a little quiet walkway, you can take yourself under the castle and visit a (gotta admit, very realistic) dragon that is waiting. It’s a lovely addition that not many people know is there and perfect for something quick to do if everything else is busy! It’s just the Disney detail, isn’t it?

Interact With The Characters

This is not going to be one for everyone, but character meetings can be so much more fun if you interact with them slightly. You don’t have to go full out but even asking something as simple as ‘have you enjoyed your day?’ can get a good reaction. Some characters will do their own thing, for instance, Chip and Dale will typically end up doing something cheeky (I had my Minnie ears taken off of me once and they ran all the way over to Minnie to show her – it was hilarious and such a lovely interaction that took away the awkwardness – vlog here). I know people like to ask where a character’s ‘friend’ is such as asking Peter Pan where Wendy is or asking Cinderella about the mice etc. However, you wish to approach it, having an interaction with them that is more than just a photo can be fun and create really lovely moments and memories! Plus, I think it might be more fun for them too!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Have Paitence

Whenever I talk to people about DLP, I can guarantee that someone will mention something along the lines of “people were smoking everywhere!” “the language barrier is hard work!” “people don’t know how to queue!” and for this reason, I’ve seen plenty of people complain about their trip. Honestly, what I’ve learnt is that your trip is what you make it. Disneyland Paris is full of different cultures and different people who may live their life different to you and the best thing to do is focus on yourself and don’t let anything you can’t change ruin your trip! Yes, the smoking thing is annoying and people don’t tend to smoke in the smoking areas (one of my pet peeves!) but I just try and ignore it or I guess you could grab a cast members attention and let them deal with.

Yes, the queuing can also be a nightmare but in ride cues or cues that have physical barriers, people tend to stick to them, again, Cast Members will occasionally kick people out of the cue if they are caught cue jumping or bringing people into the cue.

Regarding the language barrier, your best bet is to learn and pick up a few phrases so you can communicate even at a basic level. I’ve been three times now and I personally only had one issue where a woman with a big family missed their shuttle bus to the airport so decided to push in the cue for the next one a big handful of people were already waiting for. Try standing in a big cue already and then having one woman push her nine children in. It caused a huge argument and Becca and I was completely stuck in the middle of it. But considering how often I’ve gone to the parks, this is honestly the only major issue I’ve ever had. I try to look past everything else. You’re in Disney, enjoy it!

Avoid Weekends

Which leads me onto my next point. If it’s possible for you, definitely try to avoid the weekends when it comes to booking your trip away. Let’s be honest, Disney is one of the world’s most popular places to go so double that up with the fact that most people have the weekends off, it can make for a very busy experience. Monday/Tuesday is typically the best time to go if you can. There is a calendar here that has a pretty handy key of when the park is at it’s busiest and the best times to go. The general musing amongst most people is that is pretty legit so make sure to check this out before booking your trip!

Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris
Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Paris

Take It All In

With intense planning, the pressure to take a million photos and capture everything and trying to run around the parks to get everything done… my best tip is to make sure you take it all in! The sounds, the scenery, the atmosphere. My favourite moment on any Disney trip is that first moment you walk down Main Street. We always have somewhere in mind of where we are headed but this is the one walk down Mainstreet where I really take my time and take it all in. The shop windows, the music in the background, the sound of happy children, the endless sights of Mickey balloons and the castle. There’ll normally be an old-fashioned car transporting guests down Main Street and sometimes you get the hint of scents from the Ice Cream parlour and Caseys. Or, my other favourite place for the atmosphere is the Pirates queue, the decoration is lovely, the atmosphere is always good and I just really like that queue, it’s a gooden!

Take it all in. Enjoy that moment and remember that you are somewhere truly magical where this is no judgement or outside responsibilities (at least… even just for a little while).

One of my favourite thing about Disney trips is taking people who have never been and have been unsure if they are going to enjoy it and watching as they absorb the magic and the atmosphere. That is pretty magical on its own, to be honest!

Get In the Disney Spirit

I’m sure if you have already booked yourself a trip to Disney, you are already excited but if not, it’s time to get truly into the Disney Spirit! You are going to be visiting somewhere that is magical, is full of beautiful and lovely moments and memories you won’t forget. It truly is a remarkable place, with its slight flaws and all and fully allowing yourself to get immersed in it is all the fun. Who cares if you are an adult? Run around the parks, get excited when something magical happens, just let it take you away with it all. It’s literally what it is there for! Enjoy it and embrace it and you will have the most magical time. I promise!

I hope you find these tips useful, do feel free to bookmark this page to come back to! Also, feel free to ask ANY questions down below in the comments or over on Twitter,
I will be more than happy to help!

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