Jul 03

Disneyland Paris: Top Tips for a great day out

by in Accommodation, Holiday, Top Tips

2012 has a lot of celebrations and not all of them are in London. Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 20th anniversary and travel writer Laura Porter visited  for the first time with her young daughter.  She shares some some tips to help you make the most of your time at Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris Castle

Disneyland Paris Castle by Laura Porter

From Marne-la-Vallée train station you’ll see Disney Village and the two Disney parks. Disney Village is free to enter and is mostly shopping and dining but it’s popular at night too for the Wild West Show and cinemas. Do note, a sandwich and drink from the station is cheaper at €6-7. Keep your bottle and refill from the water fountains before you go to the parks.  In front of the station are the hotel shuttle buses.   There are plenty of hotels to choose from – book before you go to get the best deal.  My daughter absolutely loved the Magic Circus Hotel. You’ll need at least one day at each park so consider staying three nights.

Magic Circus Hotel

The Magic Circus Hotel

 Park 1: Disneyland Park

Arrive early, and definitely visit this park first as – yes, I know it’s a cliché – it’s magical!  Four zones branch off from Main Street USA: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. Grab a map as you enter, along with a daily events schedule.

Cinderella & Prince Charming

Cinderella & Prince Charming – by Laura Porter

Go to Fantasyland first as it’s best done in the morning before the crowds get too bad.  Ignore the carousel as it’s a common ride (and had ridiculous turn-around times) and head to Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo or the Tea Cups as they are close and all great fun.

Teacup-ride

Teacup-ride by Laura Porter

It’s A Small World is an indoor boat ride through displays of moving dolls with a repetitive song. That might not sound appealing but we went twice as little ones love it.  Captain EO, a 3D film, was OK but is only really good if you want to remember what Michael Jackson looked like when he was black.

Even with two days, we only saw Frontierland and Adventureland from the Disneyland Railroad, so plan your days well.

Disneyland Paris Parade

Disneyland Paris Parade by Laura Porter

Where to Eat At Disneyland Paris

Be prepared to live on high sugar treats for a few days. And even though the park is open until 10pm, many food outlets are closed after the 5pm Parade. The best option for dinner is Victoria’s Restaurant (near Central Plaza) where pizza, salad and drinks for two was €16.

Park 2: Walt Disney Studios Park

This smaller park was simple to navigate, easier to find toilets, and less crowded.  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was darn scary and not recommended for young children even with the 1m height restriction. The ride involves a hotel elevator freefalling again and again. The Flying Carpets over Agrabah is very similar to the Dumbo ride so there’s no need to do both.

Flying-carpets Ride

Flying-carpets Ride by Laura Porter

Where to Eat At Walt Disney Studios Park

Blockbuster Cafe has the best kid’s meal deals for €6, plus you get a voucher for a free hot drink later too.

FastPass

You can use your ticket on FastPass machines to get an allocated time to return. It’s not at all rides and you can only have one at a time.

Daily Parades

There’s a major parade in each park but get there early as staff (fun police) will constantly move you back, and get in the way of photos, if anyone goes 1cm over the line.

Disneyland Paris Main-Street Parade

Disneyland Paris Main-Street Parade by Laura Porter

It is slightly odd seeing adults wearing mouse ears – especially ones that light-up at night – but if you don’t give in to the fun at Disneyland then where can you?

Laura Porter is a freelance writer and has About.com London Travel, an online travel guide for visitors to London. You can follow her on Twitter at @AboutLondon All Images © Laura Porter. Disney provided her Disneyland Park Pass.

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4 Responses to “Disneyland Paris: Top Tips for a great day out”

  1. From Laura @AboutLondon:

    Thanks Zoe for letting me share these tips. I had so many questions when I was planning my trip and thought it would help to bring all the advice together in one post. Can I add a special thanks to @BritishExplorer who was a great help.

    Posted on July 3, 2012 at 9:21 am #
  2. From Zoë Dawes:

    Good tips – thanks. So wish I had taken my son there when he was your daughter’s age Laura. But then again, my first visit to Disney was in my 30s and loved it so it’s great for any age!

    Posted on July 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] We had a wonderful time at Disneyland Paris – there’s so much to see and do we could have spent a week there! You can read some of my Top Tips for a visit here. […]

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