This is a brand new blog series I’m starting called Disney Nerd where I discuss all things Disney, of course. Having been to Disneyland Paris 10 times since I was 3 as well as Walt Disney World twice and just being Disney obsessed since my escape from the womb, I thought it would be cool to share stuff- from tips to reviews and everything in between.
This first post is going to be some of my top tips for your trip to Disneyland Paris. I have a heck of a lot that I’ve picked up over the past 16 years, but I’m going to share some that come to the top of my mind right now. You may have picked some up from other websites as they’re fairly common, but there may be some not so obvious ones that I have, too.
1. Ensure you Fastpass your favourite rides
If you’re unaware of what the Fastpass system is, it’s basically a queue jumper and something you will really find handy on your visit to DLP. You basically go to your chosen ride, take your entry ticket to the Fastpass machine and swipe it. The machine will print you out a ticket with a timeslot of when you can get on the ride. Be aware that you can only Fastpass one ride at a time. To ensure you get the chance to go on the ride you want to go on the most, make sure as soon as you enter the park you head to that ride and Fastpass it as this will guarantee you an earlier time slot. Note: Some rides are extremely popular and can fill up on Fastpasses within an hour. From my last visit (Halloween 2014) I found the rides that ran out were Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Crush’s Coaster, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Big Thunder Mountain. It’s definitely worth getting to the park early to make sure you can get a Fastpass for those rides.
2. Not fussed on parades? Time to ride your favourite ride!
While the Disney parades are beautiful and get you in the Disney spirit, if you’re more interested in the rides you may as well just skip the parade and try and go on your favourite ride (or ride you have yet to have gone on but haven’t been able to) the queues are vastly cut down during parade times, so head over to your chosen ride about 10 minutes before the parade starts and you’ll see a massive difference. I went on Phantom Manor during the last parade and while there’s normally a 50 minute wait, this time it was merely 5 minutes! Massive difference.
3. Don’t want to spend much on food? Head over to the train station.
If you don’t want to take your own food (you may not have that option if you’re staying in a hotel) and wish to spend as little as possible on eating, then use the train station located outside the park entrances. There’s no denying that Disneyland is very expensive and food is no exception, so head to the train station where there’s a few small shops and pick up sandwiches, crisps and drinks at a much lower price. You are allowed to take food into the parks, so don’t worry about being caught during bag check.
4. Take note of closed rides
With DLP being open 365 days a year, some rides will be closed for maintenance. Check this Disney closure calendar before travelling to be aware of expected rides which will not be in use.
5. Don’t buy everything in the parks!
There’s so much to buy at Disneyland Paris, but there’s no need to buy it in the actual parks. 9/10 the item you want will be at the Disney Village meaning you don’t need to bother buying it in the parks and dragging it around all day. If you really want to purchase something there and then in the park and it’s small enough to fit in your bag, ask the cashier if it can be sent to be picked up at the Disney Village. Some hotels also offer the opportunity for you to send your purchases to the Disney store in your hotel, so ask about that, too.
6. Comfort over appearance
The temptation to try and look your best while at the parks for your holiday snaps is quite big, but you need to remember that Disney days are long and include a lot of walking and standing around, so make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable. From joggers and leggings to hoodies and baggy t-shirts, just make sure your choice of clothing doesn’t cause any discomfort. Walking shoes are also a really good idea.
7. Get the best view of shows and parades
To make sure you get the best spot for parades and shows, aim to arrive at the destination a good hour before showtime. This may seem like a long time, but it gives you a better chance to see everything with less people in your way. Why not have your lunch/dinner while waiting and take the opportunity to rest?
If there’s a restaurant you fancy dining at or want a character meal or even want to see Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the Disney Village, make sure you book it to avoid disappointment. Details to reserve are on the Disneyland Paris website or ask your travel agency in advance as they may able to make the booking on your behalf.
9. Arrange meeting points
You’re going to the most popular theme park in Europe, trust me, it’s going to be busy. In the unfortunate event that your family get separated, you need to make sure you have pre-arranged meeting points which are easy to find on the Disney map. Examples may be the Drawer bridge in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle or the Fantasia hat in Walt Disney Studios. Make sure every member of your party are aware of the meeting points and can get there. Remember- if you can’t find your way, speak to a cast member (member of staff) who can point you in the right direction. Don’t worry, they are all able to speak English and French at the very least.
10. Don’t overplan!
While you may want to try and plan every point of the day, it’s almost impossible to stick to the plan and there’s no need to worry if you don’t do everything in the order you choose. A basic plan to make is to get to your first ride to Fastpass, work your way around the park and meet up for lunch breaks and shows. Remember, you’re here for a holiday- don’t over stress! Just let loose and get into the Disney spirit!
Hope this was of use to you! Make sure you comment any tips of your own or if there’s anything you’d like me to talk about, comment below and I’ll conjure something up.If you liked these tips, please let me know and I’ll be sure to do some more in the future.