Are you planning a trip to Paris? Get the scoop on everything you need to know about the best Disneyland Paris one-day itinerary from U.K. blog Holidays from Hels. Scroll for all the top tips!
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Guest Post By holidaysfromhels.co.uk
Disneyland Paris is on the minds of any true Disney fan when they start planning their European vacation.
I mean, Paris is the setting of Ratatouille and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A Belle is a true French Disney princess!
So, when I heard that local U.K. blogger Hels from Holidays from Hels recently explored Disneyland Paris in a day, I asked her to share her top tips for making the most of a Disneyland Paris vacation.
A Complete Disneyland Paris One-Day Itinerary
1. Hunt Out Ticket Deals in Advance
With a bit of Googling several months before traveling, you can get adult tickets for children’s prices. So, Disneyland Paris in a day cost us a pretty reasonable £55 each.
We did think buying in advance might also cut down on queuing time on the day itself, but the crowd at the entrance is pretty formidable whether you have a ticket or not.
2. Bonus Features of Staying in the Park
If you can afford the luxury of on-park accommodation, you are allowed in an hour before the rest of the world and have the run of the park, much like a real Prince or Princess.
As an added bonus, you get a great view of the fireworks from your bedroom window at the end of the day and, importantly, avoid the last-bus-home-with-tired-kids scrum.
We recommend staying at the recently renovated Disneyland Hotel.
3. Where to Stay Off-Park?
If the price of the Disney hotels is over budget (as it was for us) look for hotels just off the park but within short free-shuttle distance. Trivago is our go-to price comparison website.
Although there is a train directly to Disneyland from the center of Paris, the journey takes an hour and costs about 60E return for a family of four.
We didn’t want to have to get up too early on what would already be a long day, or risk getting lost in a capital city during valuable Disney ticket time.
The castle-themed, Vienna Dreams Hotel was chosen mainly because the family rooms sported bunk beds with their own royal red curtains.
It also came with a maze, formal gardens, an outside tented area and a pretty amazing bar balcony.
4. Get to Disneyland Paris Early For:
People-free photos on the outside
Off-site visitors arriving early get time to take un-peopled photographs of the exterior of the Magic Kingdom.
There are fountains and actual flowers painted silver and blue, as if you are the real Alice in Wonderland.
Front seat rides on the inside
The park officially opens at 10 am. I don’t know if this usually happens, but the gates opened about half an hour early on the day we were there.
Despite crowds pouring in around us, we were spoilt for choice between empty walkways to Fantasyland, and the possibility of front-seat rides.
5. Learn About Disney Premier Access
Do this before you go, so you aren’t reading the instructions while others are busy booking up all the rides.
Disneyland Paris no longer has the Fastpass ticket option included in your ticket. Now you’ll need to pay to play.
Basically, you’ll pay a fee in order to skip the regular line for some of the most popular Disneyland Paris attractions so you can hop in the faster line.
There are actually two options. You can go for maximum flexibility with Disney Premier Access Ultimate or just pick the specific attractions you want to ride with Disney Premier Access One.
Having the Disney Premier Access can make the day a bit regimented, always clock watching and making sure you get back to the right place at the right time, but pretty much eliminates the need to spend your holiday queuing.
6. Research Your Disneyland Paris Ride
Never having been to Disneyland before, and having done no ride research or even looked at a map, we stood on the threshold, dithering, while people swarmed in around us with determination and destinations in mind.
Lesson learned: look at the rides online the night before and pick a top 3.
On entry, go into the Disneyland Paris app and book your number one Disney Premier Access ride. Then run to the furthest edges of the most distant kingdom, to parts that others will not yet have reached, where you can get straight to the front of an empty ride.
For a fast-rider family, I would recommend the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril roller coaster.
7. Enjoy the Disneyland Paris Scenery
Between Disney Premier Access rides, we joined a series of increasingly lengthy queues for any old ride we came across.
On reflection, we should have just soaked up the surprisingly green scenery around skull island and the pirate ship, explored secret tunnels behind waterfalls, and ventured over rope bridges.
Wandering through the zones like Aladdin’s North Africa and having a go at a maze is part of the magic.
The queues build throughout the day, so maybe fit in any non-FastPass rides in the morning and become explorers as a post-lunch strategy.
8. Best Rides of the Day:
Fast, but not shockingly so. The mini-train does indeed thunder around a realistic-looking red rock island, through a flooded section of track and dark tunnels, without feeling the need to flip anyone upside down.
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Meet a giant Buzz then laser shoot neon aliens in the dark from a spinning carriage.
The Pirates of the Caribbean
Bit of a surprise this one. You snake around in an underground queue for so long that you suspect this may be an “experience” rather than a ride (the castle walls are just too realistic, maybe they are the whole point? In the North African section there is a cave system leading nowhere but out.)
Having traveled a worryingly long way in, with no evidence of an actual ride, we finally spied, over a thousand heads in front of us, a row of boats, and were bobbed around underground caverns and mini-waterfalls on a piratey journey.
Great ride in the end and all the better for the great relief that it actually was one.
Beware – this ride is, as you would expect, pitch black and fires you, quite possibly, at the speed of light around its twisty track. Know your personal speed limit.
9. Split Up
Sometimes, to cater or varying speed tolerances, this strategy can maintain family harmony.
Pair up the fast-rider child with the fast-rider parent. This way, no one has to wait by themselves at the bottom of a ride they are not prepared to go on and not everyone has to lose an hour in the queue for the too-tame-for-a-10 year-old-really, Dumbo
10. Meet and Greets at Disneyland Paris
Unless your child is demanding one, in which case you may have no choice, you may want to avoid these.
The Disney princess in the tower queue was a glacial hour and a half I will never see again. Apart from the odd glass slipper, there is little to entertain you along the way.
The outdoor meet and greeters only have about 30 minutes, so, if the queue is long, you may well wait and then have to watch them skip off at high speed (flanked by minders), to their next appointment, leaving a disintegrating line of disgruntled and disappointed children.
11. Where to Stand for the Disneyland Paris Parades
The regular parades of fire-breathing dragons and Disney royalty are popular. You would have to get to the parade route early to secure a ring side view and lose valuable time hanging around waiting for it to start.
Instead, get to high ground. The steps of the Sleeping Beauty castle worked for us.
12. Where to Stand for the Disneyland Paris Finale
As you would expect, large crowds gather for the biggest spectacle of the day, the fireworks.
Don’t decide, as we did, to grab a beer and a seat at a café in Main Street for the show, as they all close for the finale. They also take away all seating, like a really unfun game of musical chairs.
The show is amazing. The Sleeping Beauty castle is illuminated in themes from all the Disney films, before being backlit by a series of colorful explosions, possibly reflecting in the fountains in front of it (if you happen to be near that bit).
Lesson learned: stand by the water for the reflections, or at the back near the park gates, for a quick getaway. If you are staying on-site, watch from your bedroom window – with a chair and a beer and everything.
13. Beat the Crowd to the Bus Stop
With literally thousands of people leaving at the same time, it really does make sense to leave a little bit early to get to the front of the shuttle queue, or at least be very near the exit when the last firework fades.
Do not go to the toilet at this point. It would be quicker to walk back to Paris to find one than to wait in the queue, and will mean another million people standing in front of you at the bus stop.
Disneyland Paris Parks FAQs
Can I do Disneyland Paris in 1 day?
While it’s technically possible to visit Disneyland Paris in one day, it’s important to keep in mind that the park is quite large and there are a lot of attractions to see and experience. If you’re short on time, it’s definitely possible to prioritize the attractions that you most want to see and make a plan to maximize your time in the park.
What is the best way to get to Disneyland Paris?
Disneyland Paris is located about 32 kilometers outside of Paris, and there are several transportation options available, including the train, bus, and car.
Is a day trip to Disneyland Paris worth it?
Whether a day trip to Disneyland Paris is worth it depends on your personal preferences and priorities. If you’re a huge Disney fan and you’ve always dreamed of visiting Disneyland Paris, then a day trip could be a great way to experience the park and make some magical memories.
What is the best time of year to visit Disneyland Paris?
The best time to visit Disneyland Paris depends on your preferences. The park is typically less crowded during the off-season, but if you’re looking for special events or holiday celebrations, it’s best to visit during peak season.
Do you need a full day at Disneyland Paris?
While it’s possible to experience some of the highlights of Disneyland Paris in a half-day or a few hours, a full day is recommended to fully enjoy all that the park has to offer.
Disneyland Paris is a large theme park with two separate parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, each with their own unique attractions, shows, and experiences.
How much does it cost to visit Disneyland Paris?
The cost of visiting Disneyland Paris varies depending on several factors, including the time of year, the number of days you’re staying, and the type of Disneyland Paris tickets you purchase.
Is Disneyland Paris 1 day or 2 days?
The ideal length of a trip to Disneyland Paris depends on how much time you have and what your priorities are. While it’s technically possible to visit Disneyland Paris in one day and see some of the highlights, to fully experience all that the park has to offer, it’s recommended to spend at least two days there.
Can I bring food and drinks into Disneyland Paris?
Yes, guests are allowed to bring their own food and drinks into Disneyland Paris, but there are restrictions on certain items, such as alcohol and glass containers.
Final Thoughts on this Disneyland Paris One-Day Itinerary
A one-day itinerary for Disneyland Paris can be a fun and exciting adventure, allowing you to experience some of the highlights of both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.
With careful planning and the use of Disney Premier Access tickets, you can maximize your time and avoid long lines, ensuring that you get to experience some of the park’s most popular rides and attractions.
Don’t forget to take a break at Disney Village, and make time to snap a photo in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
While one day may not be enough time to experience everything that Disneyland Paris has to offer, it’s possible to make some magical memories and get a taste of the Disney magic in just a day.
In all, we found Disneyland Paris unexpectedly magical, even for grown-ups and it would have been even more fun had we known the above. You will love it!
My younger carefree self spent 2 and a half years pottering around the world. I am now all grown up and work in a school, which does allow me plenty of time, if not money, to keep exploring with my children and sharing the mishaps, surprises, stories, and lessons learned in my new family adventures travel blog.
Read about our Canadian family road trip – horse riding with bears, paddle boarding on crystal lakes, and hugging giant trees.
Or our family Moscow mini-break in the snowiest winter for 20 years – perfect whipped cream scenery for snow-topped onion-domed cathedrals and for tubing and ice skating in Gorky Park.