Disneyland Paris 101: My Review and Ultimate Guide [Updated 2020]

 

paris

The greatest places ever created are Disney Parks. Nowhere else will give you the same magical feeling as being at Disney. Disneyland Paris is no exception. From Disney Village to Fantasyland, the rides, shows, and all the characters. With a French twist of course. 

All of these can add up to a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. Shaking Mickey’s hand, eating at Auberge De Cendrillon- I promise you, you will still be talking about it in the years to come.

These are just a few of the many great aspects of a wonderful place called Disneyland.  But let’s dive and talk about the park, the cost, how to get there, and a touring plan.  

If you are anything like me then you have wondered about the Disney parks outside of the US.

  • Tokyo Disney
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Shanghai Disney
  • Hong Kong Disneyland

What are they like?  And are they anything like the US parks?  That’s why, when we planned a trip to London and Paris, I knew I had to visit Disneyland Paris.  Let’s go through the basics first.

About The Park

Disneyland Paris, originally called Euro Disney Resort, opened on April 12, 1992. The resort consists of two parks: Disneyland Park, much like the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and Walt Disney Studios Park, which is similar to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, focusing on movies and the like.

The area also has Disney Village, much like Disney Springs, and Golf Disneyland.

Disneyland Park has a castle called Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, which is their interpretation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The parks have some attractions that you’d find at Disney World or Disneyland, while others are all their own.

The most popular rides are Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Crush’s Coaster, Ratatouille: The Adventure (the same ride currently being constructed the French Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot), and of course, It’s A Small World. They also have their version of the Haunted Mansion, called Phantom Manor.

In 2018, the Walt Disney Company announced that there would be a huge, multi-year expansion for Disneyland Paris, including THREE NEW LANDS.

They will be adding lands themed around Frozen, Star Wars, and Marvel (Avengers Campus)One of the key changes for the Marvel section is a redesign of the Rock’n’Roller Coaster with Aerosmith to be a new thrill ride centered around an adventure with Iron Man. There will also be a new Spider-Man attraction called Spider-Man Slingshot.

Getting There

More often than not, people are going to Disneyland as a day trip from Paris.  Disneyland Paris offers a ticket with transportation to and from the park for a premium. However, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to get there from the middle of the city.  Here’s how.

Looking at the Paris Metro map can be a lot, but using it to get to Disneyland Paris is very simple. The map below shows all the different lines, but the only one you need to pay attention to is the bright red RER A-line.

Depending on where you are located, you might have to take a different line to a station that connects with the RER A-line. 

You then need to take the RER A line east, all the way to the Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy Station, which I’ve marked with a black star on the far right of the map below.

Here is a close up of the Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy Station’s location. The price of the trip is less than 10 Euros. The Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy Station sits adjacent to Disneyland Paris, so once you make it there, you’ve arrived!

The Marne La Vallée station is within the Disneyland Paris Resort.

Disney World on a Budget

Disney World on a Budget

Accommodations

Disneyland Paris has six Disney Hotels, and two Disney Nature Resorts. All of the hotels are within walking distance from the Disneyland Paris parks, while the two Disney Nature Resorts are further away, but within a 15-minute drive.

Disney Hotels:

  • Disneyland Hotel – A luxurious, Victorian-style mansion right at the front of Disneyland Park.
  • Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel – A 4 -star hotel that has recently been completely re-imagined, designed to fit the contemporary New York style while honoring Marvel artwork. The resort was scheduled to open on June 15, 2020.
  • Disney’s Newport Bay Club – Basically the Disneyland Paris version of Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort.
  • Disney’s Sequoia Lodge – A cozy retreat reminiscent of relaxing alongside nature in the mountains, with rooms themed around Bambi and friends.
  • Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne – A fun hotel themed around Woody and the Wild West.
  • Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe – I think the hotel’s name says it all.

The Disney Nature Resorts:

  • Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch – Located 15 minutes away from the parks by car, this resort offers cozy bungalows in the middle of nature, and an amazing indoor pool area, giving you an extra reason to visit.
  • Villages Nature Paris – About the same distance away, this resort offers so much. Alongside the beautiful accommodations, you have access to the Aqualagon, an indoor water park, BelleVie Farm, Extraordinary Gardens, Forest of Legends, and Lakeside Promenade.

Disneyland Paris Touring

There aren’t many in-depth DLP touring plans but there is a lot of tips and tricks out there that I used to figure out the best way to tour.  There were also A LOT of ride closures such as Big Thunder Mountain (which I really wanted to ride).  

Apparently, that happens often at DLP.  Make sure to google “Disneyland Paris hours” close to the date you go and click on the first link for hours and ride closures.  My touring guide was put together as such:

  1. List the rides I want to go on
  2. Check for ride closures, cross those off the list
  3. Note which rides have FastPass
  4. Follow this for your first 1-2 hours at the park.  Adjusting as need be.
    1. First thing you should do is get a FastPass for the Peter Pan ride in Fantasyland
    2. Here are the rides you want to make sure you ride in the morning:
      1. Phantom Manor
      2. Pirates of the Caribbean
      3. Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains
      4. Les Voyages de Pinocchio
    3. Once you ride Peter Pan with your FastPass, the next FastPass you should get is their Space Mountain, and then Big Thunder Mountain

With this generalized and short touring plan, or place to start, plus your list of rides to get done – you will be all set.

*FastPass at DLP is the old, paper version of FP, and not like Florida.  You are able to get unlimited FastPasses but can only have one at a time.

Price

Since this was a day trip from Paris we purchased 1 day-2 park tickets but just like all Disney parks, there are many options. They have a different ticket system with three different choices: MINI, MAGIC, or SUPER MAGIC. 

A one day ticket will cost you anywhere between $70-$105.  I am quoting US dollars here and not Euros. Here are the current prices listed on the official site:

My first thought when seeing these prices was NICE.  Can’t get better than this. If you are visiting soon, depending on how long you are visiting, I generally recommend the 1 Day/2 Parks ticket, as the parks are smaller than in Florida, and you can cover them both in one day.

Of course, if you are staying longer and have the time, doing one park a day might be more relaxing, and you’ll definitely be able to see everything. This can also be beneficial when you are trying to get on the more popular rides. 

When to Visit

Because Disneyland Paris doesn’t bring in the same amount of visitors each year as Walt Disney World, or even Disneyland, you can generally visit at any time of the year and not have to face horrible crowd levels.

One thing to always consider is the weather because the parks are definitely more enjoyable without the rain and cold. Also, as I’d recommend with any other theme park or resort, try to avoid the times of the year that are always busier, like Christmas or New Year.

Disneyland Paris Crowd Calendar

Crowd calendars are an amazing tool for helping you decide what time of year is the best for visiting various parks. These calendars show approximate crowd levels at the parks for each day throughout the year. There are many factors that go into these estimations, like new attractions and yearly events. For example, this year Walt Disney World had much larger crowds immediately after the opening of the new attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. 

I’ve previously talked about the reliability of crowd calendars. If you look at these with a good dose of skepticism, and an understanding that you can never fully predict how many people will be visiting throughout the year, crowd calendars can be very helpful. In particular, they show you what general times of year to avoid, like school breaks, holiday seasons, or popular events like festivals that bring in bigger crowds. Here‘s my Walt Disney World crowd calendar to give you an idea of how it works. 

My personal opinion is that Disneyland Paris crowd calendars are not as necessary as they might be for Walt Disney World.  If you are looking for one Queue Times has a reliable crowd calendar.  

Overall Experience

I made sure to do a ton of research before I went to DLP, I wanted to make sure that I did everything I could (and should) in the one day of time that I had.

Peter Pan is better done at DLP than in Florida for sure.

The rides at DLP are very similar to the ones found in the US such as Peter Pan, Small World, Big Thunder Mountain, etc.  A lot of the rides are better.  

When I say better I mean better details, more of a thrill, longer, etc.  Some of the rides are terribly done and feel like they are stuck in the 90s.  DLP was a park that cost a lot to make and is just not making enough for the staff, maintenance, and updates it needs.

There was nothing specifically wrong with DLP.  I just didn’t feel the magic there.   The cast members barely talk or interact with guests.  They occasionally look disheveled and are walking around in the wrong land with the wrong costume.  You name it. The rides were great but DLP felt more like a super well-done theme park and not a magical Disney park.

Disney World on a Budget

Disney World on a Budget

disney on a budget

19 thoughts on “Disneyland Paris 101: My Review and Ultimate Guide [Updated 2020]

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    Can I please please go there one day, that looks totally amazing! I would love to go see Disney in Paris.

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    I haven’t been to DisneyWorld yet (in FL) but I’ve been to California Adventure and Disneyland in California COUNTLESS times! I’d love to go to the one in Paris, how fun! xx Adaleta Avdic

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    I felt the same way about Disneyland Paris. There was nothing wrong with my experience but I felt like another tourist face in the herded crowd.

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    Oh my goodness this would be a dream!! Paris and Disneyland!! Totally sounds like a win to me. 🙂 BUCKET LIST.

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    This would be a dream vacation! Disneyland + Paris, where do I sign up? And with your tips!! BUCKET LIST!
    XO

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    I haven’t been to any of the Disney parks yet (waiting on my kids to get a little older to go) but I must say Disney Land in Paris looks just as fine as the one in Florida. Great tips for planning a visit. -Breyona Sharpnack

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    I agree with you – the Disney Paris is not as HAPPY as Florida Disney! We enjoyed it there, but it didn’t capture the magic for sure. Plus, the train ride there is so long!

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      Def was enjoyable! I fell asleep on the way back and almost missed our stop lol

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    Shame that it did not capture the magic and the cast did not interact. Still at least you did your research and Peter Pan was good!

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    Omg one of my biggest bucket list things is going to Disney Land Paris!!!! I’ve been to land, world and Tokyo!!!! My goal is to go to them all

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    I was at Disneyland Paris more than 15 years ago (I was a kid)! I barely remember any of my experiences, so I’m definitely pinning this for when I’m coming back! I think that I will also visit the one in Orlando whenever I will find myself in Florida hehe. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    Carlota | TheWandereuse.com

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    Great tips and thank you for your honest review on DLP! I’m also definitely very interested in visiting Tokyo Disney and Disney Shanghai one day!

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    I usually just think of Disney in Orlando or California, and didn’t even know Disneyland was in Paris. I haven’t been to one yet, but in Paris – that just sounds magical!

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    You must of read my mind as I was looking into Tokyo Disney. I think Disney Paris is cool too so thanks for the info on that an prices actually doesnt look too horrible.

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    We were there and it’s one of the best we’ve been to so far! I will always be a huge fan of disney and I’ll never get tired of going to their parks. It’s great to be able to experience the ones outside the US!

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