Everyone who is anyone knows what Disney is about, and Disneyland Paris is no exception. With that in mind I decided that you don’t need another rundown of the attractions in the park, but that it would be more useful to offer some tips and advice for getting the most out of your day / trip, based on my recent and not so recent experiences. So here are my tips:
For Getting There:
-If you are on a package holiday – you’ll no doubt be staying in the complex itself and so will have free shuttle buses or a short walk to the park.
-If you’re coming from Paris – the cheapest and easiest way is to go by train. Take the RER A line (the red one) from Les Halles or Nation metro stations. Make sure you check the train times and if there are any expected problems on the train lines the day before you go. The last couple of times I’ve been, there has been strikes and work on this particular lines that has meant sporadic services limited to early morning and late night trains.
-If you are staying in Paris – there is a promotion going on at the moment which gets an adult entry to the parks for the price of a child, saving you about 8 Euros per person, if you buy your tickets from the hotel you’re staying in. You put a deposit on your ticket at the hotel and they give you a slip that you take to the ticket office in the resort and exchange for a proper ticket on payment of the balance. It was an easy and cheap(er) way of paying, we found.
-If you’re only there for a day – it is unlikely that you’ll be able to get around both the Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios parks in one day, so it would be better to pick which one you want to visit and just pay for one park entry. Don’t be fooled by the extensive advertising for 2-park entry, it is possible to pay for just one park and it is about 12 Euros cheaper.
-If you go to Walt Disney Studios – it closes earlier than the other park, but you are then able to go into the other park for free for the rest of the day. This means that you will get maybe a couple of hours in Disneyland Park and you will be able to see the final parade, even if you haven’t paid for entry to that park.
-Don’t eat between midday and 2.30pm – that is when the queues are at their longest. We ate at around one o’clock and spent almost an hour queuing for food which, when you consider how long you get in the park against the entry costs, is a spectacular waste of money!
-Take a picnic – there are plenty of places around the park that you could eat it, both indoors and out. There are also lockers just inside the entrance to the park where you can keep things for a charge. Even with this charge, you’ll save a fortune – don’t expect to get a meal (even from a fast food stall) for less than £10 a person.
-Book in advance – if you are planning on having a sit down meal in one of the restaurants, then book ahead to avoid long waits. This is especially important if you’re planning on having one of the Disney characters join you for your meal.
For Thrill Seekers:
-Walt Disney Studios Park – is full of white knuckle rides including the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which will have you plummeting the tall building’s floors in a matter of seconds, and the Rock n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, which is a loop-the-loop ride that is accompanied by the sounds of the rockers themselves.
-Disneyland Park – is a much more family orientated and tame affair. But that’s not to say that there is no thrill seeking to be had here – aside from Fantasyland, each of the lands has its own white knuckle ride, including Indian Jones’ Temple of Doom, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.
For Avoiding Queues:
-Fastpass – is a relatively new service offered by both parks that allows you to visit the most popular attractions and jump the queue. All you need to do is swipe your entry ticket for a Fastpass voucher that tells you what time to return to the ride. You then return at your allotted time, use the Fastpass entrance, present your ticket and, hey presto, you’re in without the hours of waiting! You can only have Fastpass tickets for one ride at a time though, so use them wisely!
-Leave the parades – if you aren’t bothered about seeing the parades, then this is a perfect time to head for the popular rides as there is hardly anyone who isn’t at the parade! If you don’t want to miss them though, it’s still possible to take advantage. If you position yourself in the spot on the parade route that is closest to your favourite ride and leave just as the parade is ending you’ll get there before the masses return. It is a bit of a mad dash, but it is worth it to be right at the front of that queue with no waiting!
-Avoid Main Street USA – this is the most popular area for shopping as it is right near the entrance to the park, so you don’t have to carry bags around with you. But, they don’t sell anything here that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the park, so have a look at the other shops, where you’ll be able to shop much more peacefully that the bedlam that is Main Street USA!
-Pre-order your shopping – if you shop before 3.30pm, when it is much quieter, the shops will pack your stuff away and have it delivered to your hotel (if you’re staying in the Disneyland Resort) or have it read for you to pick up later (if you are staying elsewhere). This is an excellent thing to take advantage of if you are planning on getting some souvenirs.
So, there you have it, my advice for getting the most out of your trip to Disneyland Paris and making sure that it does remain the magical trip that it should be!