Disney Nerd: The Magical Masterlist of Disneyland Paris Tips and Tricks
Last week was my birthday and I truly celebrated in style with a trip one of my most favourite places in the world – Disney! I thought that one great way to beat the Disney blues is to share my Disneyland Paris tips and tricks for those of you who are planning a trip to the happiest place on Earth.
Before I begin, I’d just like to say that we’ve travelled to Disney using almost every transport: coach, plane and Eurostar. We’ve also booked both package and DIY. I think it all comes down to personal preference as well as budget. We’ve mostly taken the coach as the packages we’ve been offered have always been super cheap but with our last trip, the flights were pretty much the same price and of course you arrive a lot quicker. Make sure you do your research on what’s available to you. Also, make sure your holiday is ATOL protected. I’ve just witnessed many friends lose their bookings because of the Thomas Cook closure and Disney actually honoured a lot of ATOL protected holidays, while others just had a refund and could book again.
Before you go…
1. When is the best time to go? Whenever is best for you!
Honestly, there isn’t any right answer. Having been both during seasons/school holiday time and quiet periods, there’s definitely pros and cons to both. Peak times it’s very busy, high queue times and a lot of planning to find the perfect spot for the parade over an hour in advance. In quieter times, a lot tends to get shut to renovate ready for the peak times. However, the quieter times there’s less crowds, it’s typically more affordable and queue times are really good. There’s also more going on in the parks during peak times, such as seasonal shows and more is actually open because most of the renovations have been completed. Of course, with kids in school, it’s best to go during the holidays, but if this isn’t an issue for you, it’s a matter of weighing out your options – are you willing to miss out on potentially your favourite attractions being closed to benefit from a quieter time in the parks? Can you brace the lengthy queues if it means more is going on in the parks? Prioritise what you want from the trip and check the peak calendars as well as the events going on in the parks over the year to help make the best decision for you.
2. How long is long enough?
I’ve been going since I was 3 and just celebrated my 24th birthday this past trip. We’ve found that for just the parks, 3 nights is ideal where you arrive the first day, spend the second and third in the parks, and leave the fourth. Some people tend to stay an extra day during peak times because the queues take up a lot of time or they want to experience attractions again. However, many people like to see Paris while heading to Disney and really, that’s a good call! It’s a beautiful city full of history and culture. One of our coach trips offered an excursion around Paris but for us, we didn’t get to see anywhere near as much as we wanted because we spent most of it in traffic or on the bus looking at the sights rather than exploring, though we did get to go to the Eiffel Tower (to it, not up it) and a beautiful trip down the Seine River. Perhaps consider a week to ten days if you want to get a lot of Paris in on the trip to get to truly experience it all, or 3-4 nights for just Disney. If you’re not actually all that keen on Disney yourself and have little ones, you could absolutely get away with 1-2 nights and mostly focusing on the main park (Parc Disneyland), as this has more for the younger audience than Walt Disney Studios (though, I’ve always loved both parks since the second one opened!)
3. Choosing where to stay
Much like choosing when to go, there’s both pros and cons of staying on-site verses off-site. We’ve done Disney hotels, partner hotels and completely offsite.
The pros of staying onsite are the extra magic hours (EMH) where you get to access the parks before those who aren’t in Disney hotels, a character in the lobby in the mornings who you can meet which is quicker than queuing in the parks and the magic pass (a pass which stores everything on one card: your room key, park tickets, group’s options such as meal plans and special events you’ve pre-booked and more). However, the cons are that they tend to be more expensive than other hotels.
Then there’s the partner hotels which are just on the outskirts of the resort but are more affordable, still have a Disney Store located inside most of them and also the free shuttle to and from the parks. The cons of this are that they don’t offer the EMH or the magic pass, meaning more paperwork to carry around (your room key, tickets, any reservation info that you don’t want to save to your phone, etc) and also slightly less time in the parks in comparison to others.
Finally, you have the off-site completely. If you find the right one, it can make your trip a lot cheaper, especially if your choice is to book a package hotel, they tend to include transfers in for you.Of course, the biggest pro with this is the price, with the cons being no Disney shuttle buses or any privileges at all, but is an ideal solution for those visiting on a tight budget as it can be considerably cheaper. There’s the area of Val D’Europe, which is the first stop from Disneyland Paris via the RER A line. It takes no more than 25 minutes to commute from your hotel to the parks via the RER A or 25-35 minutes walking distance, depending on the hotel.
You can also consider booking an Air BnB, an inexpensive alternative to a hotel and especially nice if you’re going to be visiting Paris as well as the parks, because you get the chance to live like a local! This has been a huge life saver for those really trying to be cautious of their budget when visiting Disneyland Paris, so it’s definitely something to consider. (Also, if this is your first time using AirBnB, you can use my sign up code to gain a free credit!)
4. Look at what offers you can get with your park tickets if you’re booking DIY
If you’re booking everything yourself, there’s a few different places you can get your park tickets. They should all be the same price no matter what (if you see an increase compared to the current prices, stay away as it could be a scam.) but what you may notice is that some offer things like discounts at restaurants in the Disney Village. Whenever we go DIY, we book with Attractions Tickets Direct. This trip, they offered us 20% off of both food and merchandise at Planet Hollywood as well as 15% off at Earl of Sandwich. Planet Hollywood is personally my favourite and where we decided to go for food when we arrived which also doubled as a birthday meal, so 20% was super handy for us.
5. Always invest in travel insurance!
Most of the time, you can expect your trip to go smoothly. But having been on one which ended up with my dad being rushed to hospital, I cannot stress how important travel insurance is! Too many people try and swerve around it, but I promise you it is so important. Between health, cancellations and gadget cover, it’s definitely worth it. We’ve always found CompareTheMarket.com and GoCompare.com to be the best. This trip just gone I managed to get mine for under £4, including my existing health conditions!
6. Flying to Paris? Always book transfers!
Something we have learnt from our many trips to Disney is to always prebook transfers. Do not, under any circumstances, rely on a taxi. Paris traffic can be ridiculous and you can end up paying prices so high that it will really cut into your Disney budget. When we booked with LoveHolidays this year, we added private transfers for around £30. This was a driver picking us up in a private car from our terminal and taking us straight to the hotel. There’s also the Magic Shuttle which is a public transfer that takes you to your hotel like a coach. When we went one year, we didn’t think this through and paid close to €100 one way because of the roadworks going on en route. It didn’t take too much out of each person’s spending money as there were a few of us but still, that could have easily have covered a meal or something else we wanted to buy and it easily could have doubled or tripled as time went on.
7. Join Facebook groups
There are some great Facebook groups where you can get plenty of advice, tips and support. It’s especially handy if you’re on your trip and need some advice. I recommend Disneyland Paris Tips for Brits and Disneyland Paris Advice as they are so popular and there’s plenty of support on offer.
8. Have a disabled member of the party? Know about the passes
There are currently two passes that disabled people can get to accommodate those who struggle with queues and enjoying the parks like an abled person. To obtain the right pass for you, check out the Disneyland Paris website, which will inform you of what proof of disability you need. Disneyland Paris really do go above and beyond to try and help those with disabilities. This was our first trip using the passes. My mother, who uses a walking aid, was provided a green pass which meant she could go straight to the front of the queues and get on the next available ride and I was given the orange pass for fibromyalgia which gave me a return time to skip the queues rather than standing there in pain. I was a little cautious about the orange pass before after being given false information on how it works, but it was super useful and meant I could go and grab a drink, browse some shops or go on rides with shorter queues while waiting. Also perfect timing for a toilet break!
Make sure you check all the information of what proof you need before travelling. The proof prevents people from forging a disability (yes, there’s actually people who will try and do that, even in Disneyland!) and also helps the cast members determine which pass works best for you.
9. Meal plans – are they worth it?
In Disneyland Paris, you have the opportunity to book a meal plan. This allows you to choose your meals in advance and savour each magical moment of your stay. Benefits of this mean that you don’t have to worry about your meal budget during your stay. It seems to me that the meal plans are quite like marmite; you either love them or hate them! Have a read about the meal plans and join Facebook groups (as mentioned above) to ask for opinions on those who have booked them. It really depends on your family and how you go about eating when it comes to going to the parks. Personally, my family and I have never found the plan beneficial. We eat as much at the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets, snack around midday and then pick somewhere in the evening for a bigger meal. It’s cost us pretty much the same, if not less, than the prices of the plans. However, as I’ve said, it really does depend on you and your party.
10. Pre-book character meals
Whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner with the characters, you should definitely pre-book these! They tend to book out days in advance, maybe even weeks during busier periods. Guarantee yourself a table by booking in advance. These are definitely worth it if you want to meet a lot of characters without the long queues. The most highly recommended one has been Inventions. It sets you about around €60, but you get to meet a lot of characters – more than those at breakfast – and it’s all you can eat. They also have themes on Sundays!
11. Know what to pack
Just a heads up; the weather in Marne-la-vallee is so unpredictable. I watched four different weather apps/websites/channels in the month leading up to this stay and it changed every few hours! It can rain down hard for like 30 minutes then be absolutely boiling for an hour, then get freezing cold. It’s difficult to tell! If you have the room for it, it’s worth rolling up a light set of waterproofs for those unpredictable showers. Also, try and keep an eye on both MetOffice and Accuweather as those seemed to be the most reliable.
Other things you need to consider is a plug extension socket for charging phones, cameras, portable chargers, anything technical.I like one like this because you can plug USB wires directly into the board rather than getting an additional socket. If you’re taking this or any electrical appliance, you’re going to need an adaptor. You can get 5 UK to EU ones here for just £6.99 which is a really good deal, since most of the ones I’ve seen in store are that much for just one or two.
A lot of what you take with you is what you’ll need to take to the parks, so check out my blog post on what to pack in your park bag.
12. Buy costumes for the kids before heading to the parks
If your child wants to take part in dressing up, you can make this way cheaper by investing in a costume before going to the parks because they can be super expensive. You can get Disney licensed outfits from supermarkets like Asda for a fraction of the price and they still look amazing!
While you’re there…
Here comes the fun part – all the tips and tricks to make your trip all the more magical (and practical)!
13. Pick up a timetable
In addition to the park map, you can also pick up a time table which will give you the times for shows, parades and character meets throughout the day. These can be life savers!
14. Find out what you’re entitled to as a disabled guest
When getting your green or orange pass at the Town Hall, ask for a disabled map or find out where specific viewing areas are for parades and shows to enable you to get non-restricted views. Also, make sure you look for disabled entries at all attractions!
15. Breakfast alternatives
Breakfast is now an additional cost at the hotels rather than included in the price. Some budget options for breakfast can be Starbucks or Earl of Sandwich in the village or arriving before the park opens (around 9:30am) or during EMH and heading to somewhere like the Cable Car Bake Shop for a pastry and drink. You can also pack your own breakfast to take with you!
16. Make the most of those extra magic hours!
If you’re staying in a Disney hotel, you are entitled to Extra Magic Hours (EMH) which means you can access the parks before other guests. Not every ride is open at this time, so some ideas to make more out of that extra time in the parks could be:
- Booking a character breakfast – there are two slots for the character breakfasts: one is during EMH and the other is when the park opens for other guests. You can book at either the Plaza Gardens or Auberge de Cendrillion where you can tuck into an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet while either Mickey and friends or the Disney Princesses (depending where you book) will come and share a magical moment with you. It’s a great way to meet a handful of characters meaning you have more time in the parks for other things such as rides, shows or meeting other characters who aren’t present at the breakfasts.
- Fastpass the popular rides – some rides are super popular so now might be a good idea to locate them on the map, head straight to them and be the first to fastpass them to skip the huge lines!
- Begin queuing for the Princess Pavilion – the princesses play a huge part in Disney magic, so it’s no surprise that you can face up to 2-3 hours meeting the princesses! The sooner you get in line, the better. If meeting a princess is at the top of your wishlist for this trip, get to the parks in time for EMH opening and head straight to the pavilion.
- Take those Instagram photos – when the parks open for all guests, it can for sure get busy. If you want to get those Instagram shots, now would be a great time to locate those aesthetially pleasing spots in the parks and snap away!
17. Download park-friendly apps
With the parks now using wifi (not of the greatest strength, but still!) it’s definitely worth downloading some useful apps.
- Disneyland App: The Disneyland Paris app has a list of closures, approximate wait times and maps of both parks. It’s not as good as the American park apps, but there are plans to eventually update it. You can also make a wishlist of the rides, shows, character meets, stores and eateries you wish to visit so you can find them quicker, as well as access the help center & FAQ, the call center and quickly call to make a reservation.
- Magipark – Regular attendees believe that Magipark has more accurate wait times, so it’s a good idea to download this too and compare to the main Disneyland app. You can also put notifications on for your favourite rides which will send you information about interruptions and re-starts until closing time.
- Lineberty – if you wish to meet characters in Walt Disney Studios such as Minnie Mouse, any Marvel characters, Buzz Lightyear & co, etc. you need to download this app. Minus one or two random characters that aren’t known to be scheduled, the way to meet characters in this park is by booking them. The aim is to kill off the queues and allow you to go and enjoy your time in the park until you get a notification letting you know it’s time to meet your character, so you can make your way over and get ready to meet them! To use it, you need to download the app, turn on the location settings and notifications. You can also add your phone number in the settings so you get sent an SMS ticket (ideal for when there’s a lack of wi-fi). Then at 09:45am (CET) you need to be on the app on the dot, go to Walt Disney Studios and select your experience. Meet and Greets can fill up within minutes, as I sorely found out when my phone decided to restart itself at that time exactly and therefore missed out! You need to let the application know how many people will be in your group so the cast members know how many people to expect. You can then go about your day before heading to meet your characters. No more long queues, yay!
- Twitter – the reason I say this, is because there are some fantastic Twitter accounts full of people who attend the parks every single day and update you as and when things happen – from unplanned character meet and greets and new product releases in stores to any disruptions in the parks or potential schedule changes. I absolutely adore @ED92Live because they are really on the ball and great to communicate with! Follow them and have notifications turned on for your trip to be in the know.
18. Always queue to the left
I don’t know why this is a thing, I didn’t believe it when I was first told, but I just witnessed it for myself… whenever a queue line is split in two, always choose the left lane! Apparently, because most people are right-handed, they naturally gravitate towards the right. I’m left handed and always pick the left, so I guess it does make sense somehow.
19. Bring your own wheelchair and/or stroller
You may not need a wheelchair on the daily basis, but when it comes to long days and lots of walking/standing, your disabilities may take a toll on you. This is something we found with my gran and so we decided to rent a wheelchair. However, to do this, we had to give a €200 deposit plus €50. We would get the €200 back when we returned the chair at the end of the trip. This is just to secure the chair and covers costs in case someone tries to not return it. Though we were allowed to use it for the entire duration of the trip, not everyone can afford to give €200, that can be a huge part of the budget for the entire trip! It’s best to bring a wheelchair yourself (you can get affordable second hand ones from charity shops or boot sales, which is what we did for my dad when he was in hospital so he didn’t need to rely on availability on his ward) so you don’t have to temporarily be without such a high price. Having a wheelchair for those with limited mobility means you can have a much more enjoyable trip and I know my gran enjoyed herself more this trip than previous trips where she attempted to rely on her walking stick.
For those with little ones, I also suggest the same thing for strollers. It’s been 20 odd years since our family needed one for myself, so I’m not sure what the principles are in terms of renting. There’s always the small chance of someone taking your stroller, so perhaps bring an old one you don’t care about too much. However, we did find that putting an old bag or jacket on ours during the rides meant people wouldn’t take it as they’re more likely to go for the ones that look like nobody is using them so they can use it for free.
20. Save even more money by taking your own food and drinks
Those on a budget will be pleased to know that you can take your own food and drinks! Though personally I do like to save to eat at least one meal in the parks as it’s part of the experience, it can definitely be a huge money saver – especially for big parties – to take your own food to the parks. I often see people in the Facebook groups creating “snack packs” for each member of the family for each day, full of cereal bars, sandwiches, crisps, anything! That way you can spend more on things to keep like merchandise and clothes rather than food. If you take reusable water bottles and buy something like the Robinson’s Squash’d, you can refill your bottles in the free drink fountains and add some squash for better flavour. Also, it’s worth noting that the train station in the Disneyland Paris resort that’s just outside the village and park entrances has a store where you can pick up sandwiches, crisps and other snacks for a fraction of the park’s prices, so if you have to pack light when travelling, be sure to keep some euros aside to head there everyday.
Another idea is to check things like Groupon because sometimes you can get discounts for the likes of Planet Hollywood or other places in the village to get meals a bit cheaper if you want a hot meal at some point. You can also get Planet Hollywood and Earl of Sandwich discounts when booking with Attraction Tickets Direct at the moment (subject to change), so be sure to print those off to use if you do want to get at least one meal somewhere in the resort.
One great tip to eat in the parks for a cheaper price is to buy just the entrees. Though they’re only listed on some menu boards, a la carte entrees are available at nearly all restaurants.
21. Eat at obscure times
While we’re on the subject of food, there are peak times where the eateries are going to be quite busy. Having food before or after the typical lunch/dinner times mean less queues! It’s also worth noting that most restaurants close at or around 5pm, which makes the dinner queues for popular locations very long, with 30-45 minute queues just to order actually common. It’s definitely worth waiting until after park closes or leave earlier to head for food in the village before returning in time for the Disney Illuminations.
22. Vegetarians; proceed with caution
As a life-long vegetarian, I can tell you that France – including Disneyland Paris – can be a tricky one. It’s not that there’s nothing to eat there, but it’s definitely limited and you have to pay attention. You often see lots of green leaf symbols signifying that something is veggie, until you realise that those were just saying that the fries on the meat meals were vegetarian. Uh, that’s not helpful! Take time in really studying the menu, ask questions on TripAdvisor beforehand and note that while you can find menus online, you don’t always see what’s there until you arrive. With there being a lot of closures during our trip as it was a quiet period meaning ideal for renovation times, we found one restaurant online which offered a veggie option. By the time it came to food, that restaurant was the other side of the park and we were exhausted. We happened to be next to Cafe Hyperion so we looked at the menu… low and behold, they had a veggie burger! And I must say, it was really delicious, too!
I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would be for vegans. I found this Facebook group which can be useful for both vegetarians and vegans, so be sure to check it out both before and during your trip.
23. Take advantage of parade times
Whether you have someone who isn’t too fussed on characters or you’re in the parks multiple days and saw the parade once, use this time to head to the rides as the queue times cut down dramatically. Once, we skipped the parade on the second day and managed to ride Phantom Manor with a 5 minute queue time rather than 65 minutes!
24. Make sure you check out the Disney Village
Whether it’s the evening of the day you arrive, after park hours, midday during the lunchtime park rush or on the morning of the day you leave, you need to check out the Disney Village! There’s so many stores and places to eat. A lot of the shops are connected so if it’s a wet day, you can stay (mostly) dry. It’s got a great atmosphere and you can also pick up most of what you find in the parks in these stores, meaning you can plan to do most of your shopping in the village so you don’t cart around everything you buy on rides and in queues. Hidden tip: for those of you who have read this far and in detail, a secret tip I’m going to give you is on questionable weather days, head to the Planet Hollywood merch shop as the rain ponchos are cheaper in here than the Disney branded ones in the parks and are just as good quality! When I visited, the adult ones were €8 whereas the Disney ones were €11. A little goes a long way!
25. Interact with the characters
Many people just tend to hug the characters, snap a photo, then leave. But what makes it 100 times more magical is interacting with the characters! Sing The Bare Necessities to Baloo and watch him scratch his back on a post, compliment Minnie and Daisy on their outfits, ask Pluto “who’s a good boy?”, there’s so much you can do and makes the experience so much better! Check out my post on how to interact with the characters to make your trip even more magical.
26. Arrive with plenty of time before shows and parades start
It can get busy quickly and all the best spots for the shows and parades. Some early birds like to queue up to an hour before they start! I’d recommend between 30 minutes to an hour is the best time to arrive before they start to guarantee a good space. Disney Illuminations is the end-of-the-day/park-closing show and a true nighttime spectacular. You can get a good view of this by finding a spot on the backside of a flower planter in the Central Plaza, so nobody is standing in front of you and no kids on shoulders to block your view! Another great viewing spot can be found by heading to the rockwork at the entrance to Discoveryland where you can choose a spot along the handrail with a clear view of Le Cháteau de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
The best viewing location for Disney Stars on Parade is along the curve of the sidewalk in the Central Plaza just outside of Frontierland. This will give you a direct view of the floats coming towards you with the castle in the background, making for fantastic photo ops.
27. Celebrating something at the parks? Get a free button!
You can get a badge/button by heading to the town hall and letting them know what you’re celebrating! Anniversaries, weddings, birthdays and more! But, of course, the one time I go to celebrate my birthday, they run out of badges, so it was a good thing my mother packed one just in case. In fact, the more of an effort you make, the more attention you get – get a personalised t-shirt, themed ears, anything! Characters and cast members love to make a fuss of your special occasion!
28. Photopass+ – is it worth it?
When you meet some characters, there can be a professional photographer on standby. There’s also some rides which take your photo to capture the action. You can buy these photos at specific locations and they are printed out for you to keep. Then there’s the Photopass+ – a magnificent little card which you hand to photographers or cast members at photo-friendly rides and they zap the barcode and poof! Just like magic, your photo is on the card, available for you to access both online and on the Photopass+ app. This little beauty will set you back €70. You get to access those photos for 365 days, can print as many as you want yourself or purchase them on products online such as on t-shirts, mugs, calendars, etc. You get a lanyard as well as two key fobs so if your party tends to split up, you can all use it and save the photos on one account.
But is that price really worth it?
Before making the purchase, you need to take some things into considerations: are character meets a big part of your trip? Will you be heading out to meet them or just going to a character meal? Character meals do not offer photographers and sometimes the odd character won’t have a photographer with them. However, if you plan to seek out characters, attend the Princess Pavilion and perhaps have some people in your party who will go on the rides with photo ops, then it’s definitely worth considering. You tend to get more candid-style photos as well as multiple high quality photos taken and they really do capture the magic.
Some people tend to be underwhelmed with the photopass because they don’t have the intent to use is as much as it’s intended for. If you’re really unsure, you could always Get your photos taken at the beginning of the trip, collect the standard photopass (a card to obtain your purchase of the photos taken) and if you want to keep/print 3 or more, upgrade to the photpass+ and get instant access to all of your photos!
However, if this isn’t something you’re interested in but still want amazing photos, take your own cameras and smartphones and ask cast members to take them for you; they’d be more than happy to capture the magical memories!
29. Meet an unexpected character
Take a left by the castle and head underneath, you can meet the dragon that lives under there! Not many people know about it and it’s definitely a cool and queue-free experience!
30. Use the Shopping Carry Service
If you’ve bought things in the parks but don’t feel like dragging them around the parks, make use of the shipping carry service! You can ask at the store to send them to the Disney Village to be picked up after 6pm as you leave the parks or to your Disney hotel after 8pm. Some selected partner hotels also offer this, so be sure to ask at the Disney Boutique in your hotel.
31. Try the best hot chocolate in all of Disneyland
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A little known fact is that you can actually head to a few of the locations within the Disneyland Hotel. One of my favourite places is Cafe Fantasia, a gorgeous cocktail bar which has a selection of drinks. But the most enjoyable in my opinion is the hot chocolate. It costs around €7 and is arguably the nicest beverage within the entire park. It’s also a great place to relax and unwind after a busy day. Also, while we’re on the subject of the Disneyland Hotel, there’s a little boutique in there where you can find exclusive products for sale that can’t be found anywhere else. My mother and I split €60 and bought the room spray that smells like the hotel – a bit pricey but it smells so good, it was worth it.
32. Ride Big Thunder Mountain before it’s too late!
By too late, I mean before it breaks down. Again. It’s quite common for the ride to break down a lot, so if this ride is a must-do for your trip, head to the fast pass kiosk at rope drop (aka park opening time) to ensure you get to ride it before it decides to pack in! However, another tip to consider if it doesn’t pack in is to ride 5 minutes before the park is due to close. As well as getting to ride one of the biggest attractions with a minimal wait, but you will witness the fireworks from Disney Illuminations exploding overhead.
33. Take advantage of the single rider queue
If you don’t mind riding in a cart without your party or you’re the only one who wants to go on a specific ride, join the single rider queues that some rides have to offer to cut your queue time by a substantial amount.
34. Head to Alice’s Curious Labyrinth for the ultimate views
After exploring the maze inspired by Alice in Wonderland, you will wind up in the middle where there is a little castle. Climb the stairs and you will get a magnificent view of Fantasyland and the Sleeping Beauty castle, where you can get some beautiful photos, especially at sunset. On the lesser busy days, you can enter the maze via the exit to get direct to the castle.
35. Make sure you witness Mickey and the Magician
While Walt Disney Studios is quite a small park, it’s absolutely worth visiting, even if you just head to see Mickey and the Magician. This award-winning show is on par with the likes of those performed at the West End and is truly beautiful.
36. Get places quicker through the arcades
There are two arcades – Liberty Arcade and Discovery Arcade- that run either side of Main Street USA. You cut the crowds through Main Street and get to the other side of the park by walking through these as well as avoiding the rain or snow. They also have beautiful details worth exploring and even link onto some shops.
37. Explore the park anti clockwise
For some reason, a lot of people explore the park clockwise. By starting at Fantasyland and working your way to the land on the left (which is Adventureland), you won’t have nearly as many crowds and it also makes it easier to navigate by completing things land by land.
38. Patience, please!
Out of the three Disney resorts I’ve visited, Paris can be the most infuriating. There are rude people who push, stand in the way, cut queues and even are rude towards those in wheelchairs and on walking aids. Why? I don’t know. But the more bad temper you show, the less magical your experience can be. Try and keep your cool where possible.
39. Parlez vous français?
Okay, you don’t have to speak perfect French and you’re not expected to, but being in another country, it’s common courtesy and polite to learn a bit of the lingo. “Je ne parle pas français. Parlez–vous anglais?” translates to “I cannot speak French. Can you speak English?” which lets cast members know to speak to you in English. Also, saying things like “Bonjour!” (hello!) “merci!” (thank you!) and any other simple phrases are greatly appreciated as it shows you’re at least trying and being respectful.
40. Time for a haircut?
In homage to his father, Walt Disney said he wanted barber shops in the parks. And it’s said that the one in Disneyland Paris is actually the best working barber shop out of all the 6 resorts around the world! You can go in for a trim if you have the time.
41. A ride without a queue!
In Main Street USA, there’s a few vintage-style vehicles which take you from the bottom of Main Street right up to the castle entrance! It’s a great little ride and saves you the walk if you’re heading in that direction, anyway.
42. Need a drink to let loose a little?
Disneyland Paris is the only castle park that sells beer and wine at counter service restaurants. This was a change made shortly after the park opened to bring it into line with French cultural norms. Public drunkenness is not an issue at Disneyland Paris.
43. Get that Starbucks fix!
As well as a Starbucks store in the Disney Village, you can also find one at both Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne. You can get a magic shuttle to these hotels which both guarantee shorter lines compared to the ones at the Disney Village.
44. Celebrate your birthday for free! (kind of)
It can cost around €32 for a cake/birthday dessert at Disneyland Paris, but if you’re on a budget, head to Planet Hollywood (with a discount if you can find one!) and order a dessert. Let the waiter know it’s your birthday. They will put a sparkler or candle in your dessert and get the whole service team and restaurant to sing to you as well as put a birthday message on the screens while a famous happy birthday song (such as Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday) plays in the background!
45. Cheap souvenirs, anyone?
Want to get something to remember your trip by or for someone back home? It costs €2 to press a penny at the parks or village and they have special designs which often change during different times of the year. My friend often collects these and then makes images with them (such as Mickey’s silhouette) and frames it in a shadow box. A great memoir of the trip!
46. Use the baby switch!
If you have a little one with you but the big kids (including adults) want to be more adventurous, queue for the ride together. You can then ask to use the switch, where one of you rides the ride, then instead of more queuing, once that person gets off, they then take the little one and the other rides the ride.
47. Keep the kiddos safe!
While there’s a lost child area in the parks, it’s always a good idea to help the kids find you easier and faster. You can get temporary tattoos with your number on as well as ID bracelets which helps Cast Members find and contact you much easier.
48. More shopping?
Val D’Europe Shopping Centre and La Vallee Village designer outlet is merely a stone’s throw away from the Disney resorts. You can ask your hotel reception to book you a taxi or book an Uber for around €11. It’s great if you have a few days in Paris or have time before your flight. There’s well known shops such as Zara, Primark and LUSH as well as some more known in France. The Village has designer brands at a fraction of the price, perfect for those with an expensive taste. There’s also the SeaLife Centre located in Val D’Europe for more fun for the little ones on a non-park day.
49. Pass the time in the queues
Sometimes queues can be long enough for us adults, but for little guests it can feel even longer! Make time fly by keeping the kids (or yourself) busy. Things like a game of Top Trumps were fun when I was in school and still enjoyable today. Or you can download games like Heads Up where you’re so invested in the game, you’re not all that bothered about it! Things like portable games consoles are also a good idea because sometimes you can be in a queue for a long time if you were unable to FastPass it, so it really helps in terms of the repeated “I’m bored! How long left?” Which, to be honest, the adults are just as prone to asking as the kids.
50. Get the ultimate Disneyland Park picture
If you’re able to stay until the end of Disney Illuminations and want to capture a truly magical moment, don’t leave when everyone else does. Stick around at the top of main street, take a seat on a bench or just wait around until the crowds have gone. Then, when Main Street USA is empty, pose in front of the castle. The best one is sitting on the floor in the middle of Main Street with the camera at the same level pointing up. You’ll get some stunning photos that not many others will have. I planned to do this on our recent trip but with my gran starting to feel the wear and tear of the day take its toll, we skipped out, but it’s something that is quite high up on my Disneyland bucket list.
I could share so many more tips with you, but these 50 should be enough – for now – to help make your trip even more magical and organised!
Which of these tips do you think you’ll find useful? Do you have any Disneyland Paris tips and tricks of your own?
Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.