I’m going through major Disney withdrawals! We’re heading to Walt Disney World for the first time this December, but that feels so far away! Last Spring/Summer, we took the kids to Disneyland Paris and Disneyland California. But that was a whole year ago and I really want some more Disney in my life. So, I asked one of my European-based blogger friends to share her Disneyland Paris hacks and tips for first timers.
Guest post by Christine Leger of Mouse Travel Matters.
May contain affiliate links.
Planning a Disney vacation is not like planning a traditional family vacation. Disney has created an all-immersive experience that could easily take months upon months to fully plan. There is also a good chance that you will not see “Everything” that Disneyland Paris has to offer, the first time around. Here are a few Disneyland Paris hacks and tips for Disneyland Paris first timers.
Disneyland Paris Hacks and Tips for Disneyland Paris First Timers
1. Brush up on your French
While many Cast Members can speak French, their name tags will indicate with other languages they are able to speak. However, nothing shows more respect for a culture and your surroundings than at least attempting to communicate in the local language. This is also true of your fellow guests; being an international destination, there are bound to be a handful of foreigners alongside you but for the most part, there will be a large number of French speakers. If you have a problem with another guest, or want to give a helping hand, knowing a little bit of French can go a long way.
2. You are not exactly in Paris
Disneyland Paris is technically in Marne-la-Vallée, a town roughly 1 hour train ride from downtown Paris.
3. There are height restrictions
Even though this is a family park, there are a number of rides that have height restrictions. This means you need to know EXACTLY how tall your children are before making any promises. The Cast Members will also be measuring the kids themselves, twice; once at the entrance of the queue and again before boarding the ride. This is for their own safety so please do not do anything that will affect the child’s measurements.
4. Bring your own stroller
Even the well-traveled 4 year old is bound to get tired after a long day at Disneyland Paris. This will be the most they have walked in their lives, and couple that with the excitement of everything around them, and the late nights up watching the fireworks, you are bound to have a meltdown at one point or another. You can rent a stroller from Disney themselves, but they are not comfortable and can cost upwards of 20euro per day.
5. Check the weather
The weather in Europe is erratic a best, be prepared for everything. Winters are cold and summers are wet, back a poncho and plenty of water proof layers.
6. Check the EU school schedule
Not only will you be saving yourself the headache of massive crowds, but saving a few Euros too. As per supply and demand, prices tend to be significantly higher during school breaks, holidays and weekends.
7. Always have a pair of properly worn in shoes
Proper shoes are the key to your feet’s survival. Make sure they are worn in before heading off you on adventures in order to break in any rough spots, and return them if need be. Waterproof shoes are also very important in the winter months. Check out our selection of the best shoes for Disney.
8. Buy souvenirs before going to Disney
If it can be bought on Amazon beforehand, then do it. Surprise the kids with a “reveal” package the night before and give them everything they will need for the vacation. For everything else, have a budget and try to stick to it. Disneyland Paris is expensive, as are most Disney locations.
9. Head to the most popular rides first
While fan favorites vary from guest to guest, there are a handful of the most popular rides at Disneyland Paris and those are the ones you will want to head to first. With the kids, head to Fantasyland first. Without the little ones, or with older kids, head to Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Tower of Terror, for rope drop.
10. Reserve your character meals in advance
This is a fuss free, out of the elements, controlled environment way of meeting your favorite Disney characters while also enjoying an amazing meal. We all have to eat at one point.
Thanks Christine for these helpful Disneyland Paris tips!
Top Disneyland Paris Questions Answered:
What types of tickets are available?
If you will be at Disneyland Paris for several days, this multi-day ticket allows you to hop between both parks for either 2 days, 3 days, or 4 days. It’s the best way to take advantage of all the parades, shows, rides, and character meet and greets.
How can I get there from my hotel in Paris?
The Paris metro has a station right at the entrance of Disneyland Paris. It takes about 40 minutes from Paris Gare de Lyon station. There’s also the Disneyland Paris Express Shuttle. However, if you’d like a more direct mode of transportation, book a private transfer to Disneyland Paris.
Where can I stay at Disneyland Paris?
This is the closest hotel to the park entrance. It’s about a 5 minute walk away and is great for families wanting to stop at their hotel throughout the day. But, it’s also the priciest option. The rooms are in the style of the 1880s railroad era and you can rent Walt’s Apartment or the Sleeping Beauty Suite.
This is a 15 minute walk from the entrance or you can ride the free shuttle. It was renovated in 2016 and the rooms have a nautical theme. It’s right next to Lake Disney, which is pretty cool!
Want to feel like you’re in a cozy cabin up in the mountains? This hotel is a 15 minute walk from the park entrance, but also has a free shuttle. Their rooms features Bambi and friends, which is cute!
If you’d like to be next to Disney Village, this is the hotel for you! It’s a 10 minute walk from the park entrance, but also has the free shuttle. The rooms have a New York/Art Deco theme.
This is a more budget-friendly hotel and features a Route 66 theme straight out of the Cars movies. It’s also the furthest away at a 20 minute walk. Shuttles are available.
Also a budget-friendly hotel, this may be the CUTEST wild west themed hotel I’ve ever seen! Rooms feature Woody from Toy Story. It’s currently undergoing some renovations (as of June 2018.)
How can I do a weekend at Disneyland Paris from London?
If you are visiting London, it’s really easy to add a weekend getaway to Paris! You can join this Paris and Disneyland Paris tour from London. The tour includes stops at Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum, Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and more. Plus, spend an entire day at Disneyland Paris
What else can I do in Paris with kids?
Want to show your kids the Mona Lisa, but don’t want to deal with the crazy long line to get into the Louvre? This “skip-the-line” tour is tailored specifically for your family. It’s the easiest way to show your kids an art museum and guarantee that they have fun!
Not only can your family learn all about the history of chocolate, but you’ll also get to TASTE a lot! There’s even a treasure hunt to keep kids entertained!
The best way to experience a culture is through it’s food. However not all food tours are kid-friendly. This is a private food tour geared toward families with children that includes sweet treats and salty snacks. Plus, there are games and activities for kids.
After spending time at Disneyland Paris, your kids might want to see a REAL palace. This tour is geared for families with young children. You’ll learn a bit of French history, play some games, hear crazy stories, and skip the entry line!
Blog Posts about Paris with Kids
What to Do in Paris in 3 Days with a Baby and Toddler: Tips + Itinerary
Tuk Tuk Paris Tours with Kids
Get an Insider’s View of Paris with a Paris Greeters Walking Tour
Paris-Themed Holiday Gift Guide for Children
Take a Toddler’s Tour of San Francisco, Paris, New York and London with My Little Cities!
Dress like a Parisian with The Original Breton Shirt Company