Bonjour! Disneyland Paris is a theme park located about 30-kilometres East of Paris, France in the city of Marne-la-Vallée. The park was originally opened as EuroDisney in 1992 with the name change happening in 1994. From the interior of the shops and the structure of the castle to the unique aesthetic of attractions, the park is full of different experiences that makes you instantly feel the magic come to life.
Getting to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is conveniently located adjacent to a train station, Marne-la-Vallee Chessy station, which makes going to and from Paris proper very easy.
There is a train line called RER A4 that goes directly from the centre of Paris to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy station, with frequent trains taking 35-minutes for the journey. The train ticket from center Paris to Disneyland costs around 9€ per way. Note that not all RER A stops at Disneyland even if you’re on the right station and direction. Make sure to check the screen to see if a little light box with the Marne-La-Vallée Disney is lit.
If you don’t fancy enduring public transportation, you may choose to take the Magical Shuttle airport bus, which takes you directly to the heart of magic. There are direct and regular departures from Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports between 06:30 am and 11:00 pm. The journey takes approximately 45-60 minutes and costs 23€ per way.
Best time to visit
There is never a bad time to visit Disney whether you are travelling to Disney in Hong Kong, or Paris. Try scheduling your visit for weekdays and not on weekends if possible. Wednesday and Thursday are often the best days to go for shorter queues. The most popular months are typically April, August and December, while January, September and November are normally quieter and tickets are usually cheaper too! To get the most out of your day, it is recommended to arrive early and leaving late. You may check Disneyland Paris crowd calendar for reference.
It is important to keep in mind that during low season, a lot of the restaurants and attractions at the parks might be closed for the season or for refurbishment. Make sure to check the Disneyland Paris website before planning your trip to see what will be closed while you’re there.
Cost of visiting Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is significantly less expensive to visit than Disney parks in the United States. For comparison, a one-day park hopper ticket costs the following in each park:
- Walt Disney World: US$172
- Disneyland: US$179
- Disneyland Paris: US$86
It is probably cheaper to buy your tickets from third party than from the entrance itself. There are a handful of reputable places to purchase Disneyland Paris tickets that are worth less than the official website; this is mostly from international Disney certified travel agents. Alternatively, it is worth checking the German, US, UK etc websites before booking to make sure you get the best price for your trip as there is a discrepancy in pricing.
Disneyland Paris has two parks
Disneyland Paris consists of two theme parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios right across from each other. There is also a dining and shopping district called Disney Village. Between the two Parks, there are a handful of differences; one is about Magic and wonder, and the other about Pixar movies and amazing Disney live-shows. There are also a huge number of unique rides and shows to both parks
Layout of the Disneyland Paris
There is a LOT of walking to do in the park, so make a plan and wear comfortable shoes to do the best out of it.
- Fantasyland – That is right ahead of you as you go through the gates – The Sleeping beauty castle is the entrance to that part.
- Adventureland – A theme to recreate the feel of the Caribbean, North-Africa, Africa and India, giving visitors the impression of being in a remote jungle.
- Frontierland – Features include desert and wilderness landscaping, large rock formations, a river, and frontier architecture, themed after the 19th century American Old West mining town of Thunder Mesa.
- Discoveryland – Reinvented the visions of famed European thinkers and explorers such as Leonardo da Vinci, HG Wells, or Jules Verne.
Walt Disney Studios Park
Walt Disney Studios Park is small and gets a bad reputation, because it’s not as good as Disneyland Park, but you definitely should not miss it because it does have some really fun and unique rides. Over at Walt Disney Studios Park, the main thrill ride is Crush’s Coaster, which seems to be a combo roller coaster and spinning tea cups. My personal favourite is Ratatouille: The Adventure which can only be found at Disney Studios in Disneyland Paris! It is a trackless dark ride that shrinks you down to the size of a rat and takes you on a wild adventure through Gasteau’s kitchen.
Half the attractions are in English, another half in French
This is actually a lot of fun even if you don’t speak French. You will still recognize the songs and follow along with the story-lines if you are a Disney’s fan, and the “plots” of attractions are all easy to understand. All of the employees at Disneyland Paris speak at least some English, so you shouldn’t encounter much of a language barrier if you don’t speak French. However, it’s still good to come prepared with some basic French phrases like hello, please, thank you, etc. to be polite.
The food is not that magical
This surprised me, as French food usually equates to great food. Disney food is usually unique as well. Therefore, I thought Disneyland Paris food would be great. The theme at most Disneyland Paris restaurants is mostly “American”, with cafeteria-level hamburgers, soggy fries and ketchup-tinged barbecue. Undoubtedly, the food is overpriced to the standard they are serving.
I would suggest you either take a picnic into the parks. Yes it is a myth you can’t bring food into Disneyland however you aren’t allowed to bring large coolers into the park but snacks and sandwiches are absolutely fine. Otherwise,you may go to Disney Village for food to keep costs down. In the Disney Village, there are a few decent options for a quick service meal like Earl of Sandwich and if you are on a tiny budget you can always try McDonald’s.
There are also water fountains around the park so be sure to take a water bottle and fill it up to save on the price of Evian bottled water!
Take advantage of FREE FastPasses
If you’ve been to other Disney parks, you are probably familiar with FastPasses. They are free “tickets” that let you skip the line for a ride at a scheduled time. You don’t have to pay extra for FastPasses as they are included with your park admission. Simply go up to the FastPass kiosk at the entrance for the designated ride, then insert your park ticket and select which time you would like to come back and ride the ride. Be mindful that you can only get a second one after you had utilized the previous one.
FastPass is available for the following rides in Disney Paris:
- Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril, Adventureland
- Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, Discoveryland
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Discoveryland
- Big Thunder Mountain, Frontierland
- Peter Pan’s Flight, Fantasyland
- Star Tours, Discoveryland
Walt Disney Studios Park
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, Production Courtyard
- Ratatouille: The Adventure, Toon Studio
Make use of the single rider queue
Some of the more popular rollercoasters have single rider line, so if you are okay with not sitting with your friends or family on the ride, this is a good way to skip the lines. Do note that this service does not give you immediate boarding or a choice of seat, but help to aim at reducing your wait times.
The Disneyland Paris castle is probably the most impressive of them all
Technically called Le Château De La Belle Au Bois Dormant, the Disneyland Paris castle is the most unique, interactive and beautiful Disney castle of all 6 Disneylands. Disneyland Paris is also the only Disney Park to feature a Dragon beneath the castle, La TanIère Du Dragon. The walk-through consists of a dimly lit passage where the large dragon sleeps, however she will occasionally ‘wake up’ puffing green smoke and growling.
Download Disneyland app
There are loads of apps that are really useful for when you are at Disneyland Paris and pretty much essential if you are going and want to do some character meetings in the Walt Disney Studios. The Disneyland Paris app allows you check ride waiting times, show times or character meetings throughout the day.
Fun facts of Disneyland Paris:
- There is only ever 1 Mickey Mouse present in the entire park, at any given time. This is to create the magical illusion of the mouse.
- Elaborate soundscape throughout Main Street, U.S.A.
- There are 450 different plant species at Disneyland Paris, and 35,000 individual trees.
- To guide the parade floats, there is a small cabin, utilizing cameras and monitors, the driver creates the magical illusion of self-driving.
- There exists a real barbershop on Main Street U.S.A. If you fancy a hair trimmed during your day out at Disneyland Paris.
- The designs of other Disney castles took inspiration from European castles. Disneyland Paris didn’t want to be compared to neighboring castles so they completely made this one up – it is one of a kind.
- The color choices were carefully planned according to its environment – Disneyland Paris’ Castle is pink because of the average French grey skies.
- Lighting on the 13 floats at night uses more than 700,000 bulbs.
- Floats are all battery-powered and must be charged each night.
- Disneyland Paris stores do not sell chewing gum, in order to keep the park clean and pristine.
- There is a department at Disneyland Paris called “Wild Life” and there are tasks caring for wildlife in the parks, this includes Bunnies, ducks, and foxes.
- The limousine outside Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic is the actual limo from the movie 102 Dalmatians.
- The castle’s stain glass windows were created by master glassmakers. It took months for each window to be created, and they used 12th century glass making techniques.
- Dancers have 1.5 hours to prepare for parades – Makeup, Dress, and choreography review. Cast Members need to jump into roles they haven’t played in a while.
- Parade Cast Members are all between the age of 18-25 years old – Mostly because the dancing is so taxing on the body.
- The sewing workshop creates 5,000 costumes per year – Some pieces can take up to 200-hours to create; Cinderella’s dress took 120-hours to create, whereas Tiana’s dress took over 200-hours.
- It’s a Small World ride has over 240 animatronic children, representing 5 continents; Pirates of the Caribbean has 72 characters.
- There are 150 firefighters on site at all times, 6 of whom are female. They are specialized in high-elevation rescues. They aid roughly 1600 injuries per year.
- Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris is the fastest of the 5 in operation and the only one to go upside down.
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!