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Top Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

There is nothing that beats the timeless magic of Disney so it is not surprising that Disneyland Paris is the most visited attraction not just in France but in the whole of Europe.

Disney's Fantasy Castle

Disney's Fantasy Castle

Disneyland Hotel & Park Entrance

Disneyland Hotel & Park Entrance

Meet Your Favourite Characters

Meet Your Favourite Characters

Originally known as Euro Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris covers 4,800 acres  and comprises two theme parks, a selection of hotels, a shopping, restaurant and entertainment complex and a golf course. Disneyland Park, the original theme park, opened on April 12, 1992. A second theme park,  Walt Disney Studio Park was unveiled in 2002.

Disneyland Paris is the second Disney attraction to open outside the United States,  after the Tokyo Disney Resort. It is modelled on  Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

If you are due to visit to Disneyland Paris, it is advisable to plan ahead to make the most of your experience. The park can be extremely busy and you can spend large parts of your day queuing for rides. The Disney characters do an admirable job of keeping the queues entertained but there are several ways to make the most of your time in the park.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Disneyland Paris comprises two separate experiences. Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Most visitors recommend that, to fully take in everything, you will need to spend one day at Walt Disney Studios and two to three days inside the Disneyland Park itself.

Plan Ahead

Queues at the gate can be lengthy and it can take up to an hour just to purchase tickets to enter the park. By booking online, you are able to bypass the line and access the park through a different entrance. The other advantage of booking online is that there is almost always a special offer available, such as discounted tickets, four days for the price of three or rail inclusive tickets. These offers are not usually available at the gates, so by planning ahead you can save money.

Speak the Language

Whilst it is not essential to speak French when you visit Disneyland Paris, bear in mind that you are in a different country and that some characters will only have a basic command of the English language. Although many rides also include signs in English, not all do and a small phrasebook may be of use if you have room to carry one.

Extra Magic Hours

If you have chosen to stay in one of the parks hotels, (beware this can be pricey) then take advantage of the ‘Extra Magic Hours’. Disneyland Paris opens exclusively to hotel guests two hours before they allow in the general public. Use this to attend character meet and greets and the more popular rides so you don’t have to stand in long queues later in the day.

Don’t Miss the Parades

The main parade is one of the must-see spectacles. It occurs only once a day but does  take place in both parks. Make a note of the time it is happening and grab your vantage point about 30 minutes before the parade starts.

Night-time Shows

The night-time shows are awesome colourful spectaculars, brightly lit and often including fireworks. Plan your vantage point as you walk around the park during the day and then return to take your place early for a magical experience you will never forget.

Avoid Queues

The shortest queues for the rides can often occur during the parades, or at mealtimes, but be aware the queues get much bigger immediately after these events. If you are visiting the park for more than one day and have already seen the parade, take advantage of this and queue for the ride at this time.

Fast Pass

The most popular rides in the park operate a fast pass system. You simply place your admission ticket in a special machine at the entrance to the attraction and you are given a time to return when you will be able to access the ride within minutes. Unfortunately, you can only have one fast pass ticket at any given time. However, once you have used it, you can then book your fast pass for the next ride.

Break the Day Up

If you’ve just spent a long time queuing for a particular ride, try to choose an attraction which has no queue immediately after, head for one of the timed shows, or even stop for lunch. You will find that your day feels much fuller and more enjoyable if you haven’t spent all day queuing.

Avoid School Holidays

Naturally, the park is much busier at weekends, so visit in the week if you are able. Also check the dates of European school holidays, particularly the French ones. If you can visit at a time when most European children are at school, you will find the park a little quieter.

Don’t Forget Your Autograph Book

One of the most magical things about Disney is the character meet and greets. You will lose count of the number of adults you see excitedly pointing out Cinderella or Donald Duck to a speechless child. Collecting autographs is a fantastic way for the children to engage with the characters, who assume the persona of their character from the second they enter the park gates.

Be prepared to queue, bring water and snacks for younger visitors, especially in the hot weather. If you are staying in one of the themed Disney Hotels, you can meet the characters in the lobby etc (check the schedule), avoiding the crowds in actual parks.

Splash Out

Visiting Disneyland Paris may be a once in a lifetime experience. If your child has their heart set on meeting a particular character, it may be possible for them to spend a little more time with them by booking a character meal.

Money

Set a budget and stick to it. It is easy to get carried away whilst in the park. Allow yourself a generous amount of spending money is you can (always allow more than you’d expect). You will have many fabulous memories of the day that will stay with you for a long time.

Trading Pins

Trading pins are a fantastic way of engaging with the park staff and other visitors. You can purchase inexpensive multi packs at many of the park shops and then trade with others, if they are willing, to obtain pins that you prefer to your own.

Take a Picnic

Whilst you are not allowed to take outside food and drinks into either of the parks, there is a picnic area located ’just outside’ the entrance to the gates. This is an easy 10 minute walk especially with younger children. The meals available in the park tend to be of the fast food variety and, if your child is selective about what they eat, taking a picnic is a great way of avoiding any hassle. Make sure that you check what the rules are for re-entry (usually a hand-stamp) before leaving the park.

Mickey Mouse in the Famous Disney Parade

Mickey Mouse in the Famous Disney Parade

Main Street in the Evening

Main Street in the Evening

Water

There are water fountains available throughout the park, which you can use whenever you need. If you have a small bottle with you, you are also able to fill this while you are there and take with you as you tour the park.

Absorb Your Surroundings

Every part of the park has been designed with Disney in mind. Every employee is considered an actor and expected to be in character at all times. The attention to detail in the shops (boutiques) is incredible and all around the park you will find ‘hidden’ Mickeys, whether it be in the way in which the flowers and plants are arranged to the decoration on the buildings. You will notice one large circle with two smaller circles above everywhere you go.

Photographs

Taking photographs at Disney is almost a requirement. You will find yourself clicking away faster than you thought possible. If you have a digital camera, make sure you have a large memory card and plenty of spare batteries to record those precious moments.

Leaving the Park

At the end of the day, the characters are often stationed near to the exits to help draw the crowds out of the park. This is a great way to meet several characters before you leave, although it can be a little hectic.

A visit to Disneyland Paris is a magical experience for young and old alike. Take the time to absorb your surroundings and soak up the atmosphere. You are making memories that will last a lifetime.

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