Most recently, Steve and I visited Disneyland Paris with no real plan or agenda as how we would tackle the park. It was not a hard task and was much like any other Disney park that we’ve experienced however there were some key factors that we wish we had researched and advance. Here’s a list of the top 10 tips that we think you should take in to consideration when you’re planning your trip to Disneyland Paris.
Make sure you have at least two full days to fully explore the parks
That’s right, parks, plural! Disneyland Paris is made up of two parks, the main park being Disneyland Paris and the other is Walt Disney Studios - a much smaller area that you can experience in about a half day. While the inspiration for Disneyland Paris is based on Magic Kingdom, the theme of Disney Studios is inspired heavily by Hollywood Studios and California Adventure in America. The theme is based on the backlot of a real working Hollywood movie studio. Entering the park, you’ll walk through a massive sound stage with “props” surrounding you, you’ll notice different scenes from some iconic Disney movies and some familiar attractions like Studio Backlot Tour and Tower of Terror. There’s also a mini Toy Story Land and Carsland there.
If you’re looking for the full Disneyland experience, we would recommend purchasing at least one park hopper so that you can check it out and make some time for this smaller park as they often have fun events and food festivals here.
Try to talk in French first
Don’t forget that most people in France speak French as their first language. It’s always polite to start asking questions in French first or at least ask “Bonjour ! Parle vous anglais ?” to start a conversation. Months before we went to France, I actually downloaded Duolingo and started cramming in those basic French terms! Plus, some French people find it rude to just start gabbing away in English. Here are some phrases that Steve and I survived on in France:
Bonjour - Hello
Bonsoir - Good Evening
Parlez vous anglais ? - Do you speak English?
Merci - Thank you
Excuse moi / Pardon - Excuse me / Sorry
Get your Fastpasses early
We got there on each day at park open and we were successful in getting a Fastpass for most of the rides without too much planning. Here’s a list of all of the rides you can get a Fastpass for:
At Disneyland Paris
Big Thunder Mountain
Peter Pan’s Flight
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
At Walt Disney Studios
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
You’ll notice that there aren’t too many major attractions to get fast passes for which is fine because the parks are usually pretty empty and not as crowded as your typical western Disney park. If you’re not into getting paper fast passes at the kiosks, you can always upgrade your ticket to have some basic fast passes on it with Disneyland’s Super and Ultimate fastpass upgrade. Guests staying in at the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York, Disney’s Newport Bay Club, or Disney’s Sequoia Lodge as a Suites or Castle Club guest also have access to a Hotel VIP FASTPASS during their stay.
Maybe skip the quick serve restaurants
It was tough eating quick service at Disneyland Paris during peak season and the food was not above sub par. The wait for the food was intense and took on average 45 minutes or more of standing in line - it would have been much nicer to have been sitting down and waiting instead. Eating as a couple was tough with Disneyland Paris’ limited vegan options. Steve didn’t really care for the non-vegan quick serve options either to be completely honest. As far as vegan options go, I was able to use this guide from The Vegan Recipe Blog. Because of the current food festival, Le Rendez-vous Gourmand de Disneyland Paris, they had an entire vegan cart with falafel and some vegan ice cream bars and Steve really enjoyed the other carts offering things like Parisian, Italian, and Belgian fare.
Disney Village had some pretty decent offerings at Vapiano (we ate there most often) and there was also an Earl of Sandwich, Rainforest Cafe, Five Guys, and a McDonalds as well for familarity’s sake.
In the park, buffets and fine dining restaurants are everywhere and seem to be the better option at Disneyland Paris. Buffets might be your best option because you’ll be able to choose from a variety of foods and find something that will satisfy you. Next time, I think we will just save a bit more money so that we can enjoy the higher-end options instead like Walts, Bristrot Chez Remy, and Captain Jacks Restaurants des Pirates. Of course we’ll report back and let you know which one was our favorite.
Don’t stand during the fireworks
I know this is a weird one, but standing during the fireworks is heavily frowned upon at Disneyland Paris. It is one of those etiquette things that you do not think about as an American. Normally at our parks we would stand up once the fireworks start going off however, we watched one woman stand up and get shouted at to sit down almost immediately! One guy almost got into a fight because he wanted to stand up and record and he refused to sit down. The hecklers were of course escorted out but that would still tarnish your experience!
Our best advice in this situation is to either get a seat close to the fireworks so that you don’t have to strain to see or you can stand somewhere in the back on the streets of Main Street where most people are standing anyway. The locals are not having it!
Look for on sale items
Disneyland Paris has clearance racks hidden within the stores! If you look closely, sometimes you’ll find stuff marked down by up to 50% in the back of the stores. This is something you definitely will not find in the United States parks! You should take advantage of the sales because the Disneyland Paris merchandise is absolutely adorable, unique, and high-quality. Pretty much every store we went in had an on sale item.
Buy all of the cute Christmas merchandise
Even if Christmas is not around the corner for you, we recommend scooping up as many of those adorable ornaments and homewares as you can! The ornaments at Disneyland Paris are absolutely charming and have so much more detail put into them for about half the price as they charge in America. We found so many cute ornaments for around 6€ to 8€ that would easily be about $20 in the states!
There is a Christmas store inside of the castle at Disneyland Paris as well as near the park entrance.
Do not take the random taxis!
Sometimes at park closing, you will see the random taxi drivers at the exit of the park trying to sell their services to you. Do not do this! Most of the time they will try to charge you $100 or more to drive 5 minutes away or they may have other malicious intentions. To avoid this, you can either take the transportation provided by Disneyland Paris or simply book and Uber on your phone.
Mentally prepare for smokers
Smoking in France is not frowned upon like it is in the United States - it is as common as chewing gum. If you are a smoker yourself, you’ll be happy to know that Disneyland Paris does not mandate smoking sections as strictly as they do in the United States. While you cannot smoke indoors, we often found people smoking cigarettes and vaping freely throughout the park. There are plenty of smoking sections in Disneyland to help keep that issue down a bit though.
If you’re not comfortable around smokers we would suggest ducking in stores, bringing an inhaler, or just avoiding the smoking sections in general.
Explore Sleeping Beauty Castle
At Disneyland Paris you can go both inside and underneath the castle. Inside of the castle you’ll find some cute details, a garden with woodland friends, and some shops where you can pick up some princess items and other fun merchandise. Underneath the castle is where you will find Maleficent the dragon guarding the palace with all of her might. It is a very cool experience and it must be explored (caw caw rawr)!
We hope that these tips help you plan your next experience at Disneyland Paris and we can’t wait to see your pictures at the parks! Make sure you tag us in your pictures using @TheDisneyFox and #TheDisneyFox on Instagram.
For tickets and information on Disneyland Paris visit https://www.disneylandparis.com/en-us/