Heading to Disneyland Paris for the first time? It can be no less overwhelming than the American parks.
25 Tips for Disneyland Paris
Consider off-site hotels
If you’re planning a trip and you’re on a budget, one of the biggest tips for Disneyland Paris I can give you is to consider off-site hotels. Disneyland Paris has a partnership with of the off-site hotels such as the B&B, Kyriad and Vienna House Dream Castle. They have a bus that goes to and from the parks all day. There is also a selection of hotels in Val de Europe such as the Serris who also offer a shuttle and is walkable from the parks in about 20 minutes.
Don’t worry about not speaking French.
One thing that can make visitors to Disneyland Paris apprehensive is that, unlike the American parks, the native language is not English. No need to panic. Disneyland Paris cast members, if not fluent in English are pretty amazing at it and most signage is in English too. Most of the shows have either French or English showing (and you can find out which is which on the guide maps) or they’re the perfect blend of the two languages so the audience knows what is going on – Take Mickey and the Magician for example, Mickey speaks french and all the other characters speak mostly English. It doesn’t detract from the story or the magic at all!
Download the Disneyland Paris App and the Lineberty App
Like the other Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris has its own app. It holds a whole host of information including wait times for rides, show times, attractions that are down for maintenance and maps of both the parks (plus much more). Download the app here!
Download the Lineberty app to get your place in the virtual queue for character meets in Studios park. Lineberty is becoming more common across the Disneyland Paris parks so it’s best to get your head around it early. Meet and greets begin to show on the app at 9:45am. you can log on, select the character you want to meet then grab your place in the virtual queue for you and 8 others. Everybody in your party can choose different characters to cover all your bases. Then when the app notifies you, you just head over to the character to meet them. Tip: You will need to be on the app at 9:45am as the meets fill up quick. You also have to be in the park to use the app.
Use them. Disneyland Paris still runs on a paper Fastpass system meaning you will need to visit the attractions in order to obtain a Fastpass. Don’t forget that your Fast Pass will show the time you’ll be able to get your next Fast Pass. Try and keep to those times to maximise your day.
For those that don’t know what a FastPass is… it’s a ticket that allows you to come back to the ride in a certain timeframe and skip the majority of the queues. I certainly recommend using them to get the best out of any day at Disneyland Paris.
Make sure you go upstairs (and downstairs) in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
One of the lovely things about the Disneyland Paris castle is that upstairs there a beautiful gallery of stain-glass windows that depicts the story of Sleeping Beauty. This element gives the castle a unique spin that the other castles don’t have. There’s also a balcony at the back that overlooks Fantasyland, the Sword in the Stone and the Carousal.
One of the most unique things and one of the biggest tips for Disneyland Paris I can give you is to make sure you visit beneath the castle. Spoiler alert but they’ve got a dragon…. yep, you don’t want to miss that!
The best castle photos are to the side of the castle
If you’re looking for that perfect castle shot – head to the left of the castle. There’s a small patio where you can get the full castle in shot with no people in the background!
Meet your favourite Princess at Princess Pavillion
Currently, you can only meet the Princesses at Princess Pavillion in Disneyland Paris (unless you book the character dining over at Auberge de Cendrillon). As you can imagine it can get pretty busy in there. I’d recommend going first thing in the morning or during the parade as they tend to be the quietest times. Two Princesses a day meet there and they tend to switch over in the middle of the day so if you join the queue around the changeover period, by the time you get to the front, it could be a different Princess.
Try the Nutella Cookies from Boardwalk Candy Palace or the Mickey Waffles in at Victoria’s
If you’re looking for the perfect Mickey shaped snack in Disneyland Paris, head to the bakery counter in Boardwalk Candy Palace and pick up a Nutella stuffed Mickey Cookie. It tastes as good as it sounds and usually sells out daily. There’s also a white chocolate version which has caramel on the inside but I believe that one doesn’t make as many appearances.
If you’re looking for Mickey waffles, they’re available from Victoria’s at the end of Main Street and there are about 4 different options of toppings on the menu – sweet and savoury. Be prepared to queue for a table if it’s busy. While we’re talking about Victoria’s, they also do amazing milkshakes so even if you’re not peckish for a waffle, you’ve gotta try the milkshakes!
If you have a Disability, you may be eligilbe for a Disability Pass.
If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a pass that will help make your day easier and more enjoyable. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this subject areas and my own experience is limited so I suggest going to read this post from DLP Tips! This explains the two options of passes
Use Extra Magic Time if you’re Eligible
Every morning, either Disneyland Park or Disney Studios Park will have Extra Magic Time (some days, both parks will have it. Extra Magic Time give access to the parks an hour earlier than everybody else if you’re staying in a Disney hotel or are an annual pass holder. Extra Magic Time means quieter queues for some of the most popular character meets and rides. They also sometimes bring out a few characters who are not normally around for the rest of the day. Be sure to make use of Extra Magic Time to tick off a few things. The Minnie Mouse meet at the front of the park gets super busy when it opens to the general public so that’s a good one to do. If you’re in Studios Park, it’s a great time to head on over and ride Crush’s Coaster (which doesn’t have a fast pass return) or Ratatouille. most people do head for Crush in Studios but it is honestly worth it!
Not all areas of the park and rides are open so double check with a cast memebr if you’re heading on in during Extra Magic Time to do something specific!
Find the Best Food at Disneyland Paris…
While Disneyland Paris food is certainly not on par with the American parks, you can still get some tasty options that aren’t burger and fries. Try Fuente del Oro Restaurante for tasty Tex Mex or on the more expensive side is Captain Jack’s – which is described as exotic cuisine and from the name, you can tell it likely to be the Caribbean inspired – they do a great vegetable curry! Honestly, good food is available in Disneyland Paris but I certainly recommend doing a little research before your trip. I’d also pop a few backups in – especially if you’re going out of season where DLP likes to close a few of the restaurants.
Character Dining also offers a whole range of food. Inventions which is located in the Disneyland Hotel is
Restaurants at Disneyland Paris can be booked up to two months in advance. The bad news… it has to be done over the phone and the number is +33 1 60 30 40 50. I would advise booking as table service restaurants in the park are few and far between and can book up with very few
Don’t forget that Europeans tend to eat a little later so 8pm onwards can be super busy at restaurants around the park!
Single Rider Lines
There are few single rider lines to take advantage of in Paris. The two main attractions where they are is Ratatouille and Crush’s Coaster – both in Studios Park. If you’re travelling solo or don’t mind being split up, you can take advantage of these lines. Tip: out of the two, the Ratatouille line moved far quicker due to it being a ‘three per row’ layout. Crush can be a little slow.
Take a Water Bottle
Bottled water can be expensive in Disneyland so be sure to take your own bottle and make use of the water fountains and the free iced water from restaurants. This is especially important in the summer. A lot of Disneyland Paris is outdoors and I’ve been there in temperatures of 34 degrees. Make sure you’re staying hydrated!
Appreciate some of the Uniqueness of DLP
Disneyland Paros has a whole host of rides that you can’t find in any other Disney park so make sure you hit them up. If you’re a thrill seeker be sure to head on over to Studio Park to ride Crush’s Coaster for in the dark adventure or if you’re in Disneyland Park – you’ll want to try Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril! While Ratatouille will soon be available in Epcot, Disneyland Paris has the original and it’s easy to see why it’s popular. Staying in Studios Park, be sure to head over to ‘Mickey and the Magician’ – an incredible stage show that is well worth seeing again and again – I genuinely think it’s one of the best productions I’ve seen in a Disney park.
There’s so many unique rides at Disneyland Paris so be sure to spend some time checking them out.
Get a Good Spot for Parade
Stars on Parade, the Disneyland Paris parade takes place each day in the main park (be sure to check the Disneyland Paris app for the exact time each day!) . There are plenty of great locations to watch the parade from but you will have to make time to go ahead and wait. Try any snag your parade sport between 30-60 minutes before the parade if you want to be at the front. The end of the route fills up last as that’s where the parade ends!
Climb to the Top fo the Tower in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth
If you’re looking for the ultimate view of Fantasyland, be sure to head on over to Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and climb all the way to the top of the tower. If you can time your visit with sunset, you’ll be in for some amazing views as the park begins to go dark!
Christmas is all year round at Disneyland Paris
There’s a Christmas shop in the back of the castle that sells Christmas decorations all year around. Perfect if you’re like me and want to pick up a Christmas decoration to mark your trip!
Get a Good Spot for Illuminations
As with the parade, if you want a good spot for Illuminations, you’ll want to get there early. Most peope begin scoping out their spots about an hour before show time. If I’m honest, you only need to see Illuminations once – then I’d spend other nights getting riding Big Thunder Mountain in the dark!
Close Down Main Street
Always wondered how people get that empty Main Street shot at night with the castle in the background? They have to wait for it. If you want to close down Main Street and get those shots, you’ll need to wait anywhere up to an hour and a half after the park closes. The shops on main Street are still open after the park closes and it does take a while for people to filter out but if you have the patience, you will be rewarded with some lovely, empty shots of Main Street USA!
Mastercard Holders Get Special Privileges
If you’re in Walt Disney Studios and own a Mastercard (credit or debit) stop by Guest Services and see if there are any seats for shows. Mastercard holders can reserve the best seats for some of the shows in Studios park for free! I’ve sat front and centre at Mickey and the Magician and Big Band all because I own a Mastercard. You can get tickets for you and up to four other people. When you enter the theatre’s be sure to flash those tickets to the cast members who will point you in the direction of the reserved seating. Make sure you’re quick though as they do run out of these early on in the day!
Ride Big Thunder Mountain in the
Since it’s redevelopment, Big Thunder Mountain has become one of the most popular rides in Disneyland Paris. This means that it tends to have a long queue from when the park opens and the fast pass return runs out the quickest. However, one of the best times to ride Big Thunder Mountain is at night, in the dark! The thrill of the ride, combined with the lights of Disneyland Park make it a magic experience. Also, the queues tend to die down right as the park is about to close. If you ride during Illuminations, you can usually ride a few times in a row with the added bonus of fireworks!
Disneyland Hotel does the Best Hot Chocolate
If you’re visiting Disneyland Paris in the colder months, be sure to stop by Cafe Fantasia in the Disneyland Hotel for the best hot chocolate on property. It is
Upgrade to an Annual Pass
Before you go, look at the cost of your tickets
Don’t forget beyond the Village
If you’re all Disney-ed out by don’t want to go too far for food, don’t forget Five Guys and Vapianos which are situated just outside the Disney Village. If you walk straight past World of Disney and exit security, they’re just on the left-hand side. I’d thoroughly recommend Vapianos where the portions are huge! I’ve yet to have a bad meal there!
So those are my top 25 tips for Disneyland Paris. If you’ve been to Disneyland Paris, be sure to leave your top tips below.
Disneyland Paris is going through a huge period of change which started with the 25th Anniversary and is continuing over the next few years. This will bring new rides, lands and improvements and maintenance to some old favourites. It’s a really exciting period for the park and I can’t wait to see what it’s like in a few years. I hope that these tips for Disneyland Paris help you plan an amazing trip!
Don’t forget we have a Facebook group dedicated to getting all the tips for your Disney holidays including tips for Disneyland Paris! Head on over to CLROhana now – we’re a friendly bunch and there’s lots of people who are happy to help!