We just got back from our first trip to Disneyland Paris with kids and are still on a little bit of a high. My husband is totally obsessed with Disney and grew up visiting the original Disneyland in California. I, on the other hand, had only gone to Disneyland one time before knowing him and was not nearly so jazzed about the experience.
Flash forward to getting married and I (jokingly) told him that we could go to Disneyland just three times during our marriage so to use those times wisely. Well, we went to Disneyland alone three times in the first three years of marriage plus Disneyworld once 🙈.
Needless to say, his love of Disneyland won me over and once we moved to Denmark, I found myself Disneyland Paris planning 😅.
Is a Disneyland Paris trip worth it?
This one is easy- YES. Disneyland Paris is definitely worth it. And this is coming from someone (me) who was still not 100% convinced before we got there. I thought it would feel ‘pretty much’ like Disneyland and be ‘pretty’ fun but that it maybe wasn’t going to feel like the authentic Disney experience.
And I’m so glad I was wrong! After being in Parc Disneyland for just a couple of hours, I turned to my husband and said, “I think this is as good or better than Disneyland in California’. And shockingly, he agreed ( I didn’t expect that since he loves the original Disney so much).
First of all, the castle at Disneyland Paris is absolutely epic- it’s often thought of as one of the best and prettiest Disneyland castles.
Secondly, Disneyland in Paris has most of the iconic Disneyland attractions you’d be hoping to see if you are familiar with Disneyland in California or Disneyworld (except for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.)
For example, you’ll find Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion. Plus The Teacups, Dumbo and It’s a Small World in Fantasyland.
And besides all of this, everything just is so cute and well done. The theming really is topnotch and even without the rides, it’s a very impressive place to walk around and feel a little of that Disney magic ✨.
15 Tips to Help Plan Disneyland Paris
1. Spend 2-3 Days in Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is made up of two different parks: Disneyland Park (Parc Disneyland) and Walt Disney Studios. Disneyland Park is the iconic Disney that you are used to and expect while Walt Disney Studios is trying to be Paris’ answer to California Adventure (but it’s really not that great).
We bought 2-Day Park Hopper tickets and spent the entire first day in Disneyland Park plus half of the second day in Disneyland Park and only half a day in Walt Disney Studios.
Even though Walt Disney Studios isn’t that great (it’s just wayyyy less cute and not as nicely themed as Disneyland) we did get to ride The Tower of Terror and Ratatouille. Plus, one of our favorite experiences as a family ended up being the ‘Mickey and the Magician Live Show’. It’s an awesome show of singing and dancing with many of the top Disney characters (including Frozen!).
However, next time we plan a holiday to Disneyland in Paris we will probably just spend two full days in Disneyland Park and skip Walt Disney Studios. I know some people can 3-5 days at Disneyland, but if you want to make sure you have enough time to get everything done once, I’d suggest 2-3 days.
If you’re a quick traveler with no kids, you could squeeze it all into one day if you really wanted to. If you get there right at opening and leave at the close you could even make it a day trip from Paris.
2. Choose the best way to get to Disneyland Paris for you
There are quite a few options on how to get to Disneyland Paris. Here’s a quick rundown of each option:
- High-Speed TGV Train from Charles de Gaulle Airport
- Taxi/Transfer Service (Baby Cabs is a taxi service in Paris with car seats and we absolutely loved them)
- RER Train
- Disneyland Magical Shuttle from the airports
- Disneyland Paris Express Shuttle from Downtown Paris
3. Book a vacation rental rather than a Disney Resort Hotel
One of my best tips on Disneyland Paris would be to book a vacation rental (aka Airbnb, VRBO, etc) rather than booking a Disney Resort hotel. In short, you’ll get way more space (and oftentimes, much nicer accommodations) at a fraction of the price.
This was our first time at any Disney park with kids and so I thought I’d look into the Disney hotels to see if there was something I was missing that would make our trip with kiddos easier. And to be honest, The Disneyland Paris hotels (from my research) are nothing to write home about.
I know, I know, some people are 100% committed to booking a Disney hotel… and that’s fine. But to me, most of the hotels seemed pretty outdated and pricey for what you get. Plus they are all (except for The Disney Hotel) a 10-20 minute walk from the park entrance anyway and none offer apartment-style accommodations which I am a huge advocate of.
That being said, Disney did recently (re)open the Hotel New York: The Art of Marvel which looks really nice and could be fun if you are a big Marvel fan, but it does cost a pretty penny. They are also currently renovating the main Disney Hotel which is a 5-star hotel right at the entrance to Disney.
I’m sure once the renovation is complete, it will be beautiful on the inside to match how pretty it is on the outside… but I’m guessing The Disney Hotel will never be in our price range 😅.
We booked an amazing, one-bedroom Airbnb in Serris just a 20-minute walk from the entrance to Disney. The separate bedroom, pullout couch, and full kitchen were lifesavers. When we travel (both with and without kids) we absolutely love having a full apartment rather than a small hotel room. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to not having a kitchen while on vacation.
We were able to buy groceries, eat breakfast at the Airbnb, pack a small lunch and come home for dinner which was a lifesaver traveling with two young kids. Having a large space to unwind and relax in after a long day at Disney was prime ( just say no to cramped hotel rooms).
4. Buy dated tickets ahead of time
In this day and age, I’m not sure who ISN’T reserving tickets online ahead of time for… really, everything. But just be sure that you do buy your Disneyland Paris tix ahead of time. There are a couple of reasons for this:
Reason #1: A limited number of tickets are available for the park and if you don’t purchase your ticket ahead of time (plus choose the specific date) you run the risk of not being able to enter.
Reason #2: I saw the line to buy tickets at the entrance of Disney and it was crazyyy long. I don’t know who these people are risking it the day of, but there were a lot of them and I really don’t recommend going that route.
When you buy your tickets, be sure to pay close attention to whether you are purchasing ‘dated’ or ‘non-dated’ tickets. If you buy ‘non-dated’ tickets you will need to reserve online the specific date you will be visiting the park, otherwise, your ticket will be invalid.
5. Pack an easy lunch to eat in the park
If you do much research on Disneyland Paris, you’ll quickly learn that the food in the park really isn’t that great. After scouring the different menus, seeing the prices, and checking out photos we decided to opt out of buying lunch in the park.
That being said, we still thought we’d stay in the park for dinner, but, in the end, we felt it was better for our kids if we ended our day right around dinner time and headed back to the Airbnb for food and some quiet time.
Instead, we packed some sandwiches, fruit, and chips and it was such a great decision. We were able to eat lunch immediately as soon as we noticed our kiddo needing a lunch break plus it was food that we knew she would eat. Plus after seeing some of the lines forming at restaurants during lunch or dinner I was so glad we didn’t have to wait in those as we all slowly got more and more hangry.
We did buy plenty of popcorn from the cute popcorn carts (they are seriously everywhere) plus a couple of other treats each day. Our 3.5-year-old loved snacking on popcorn while taking a break in her stroller.
You aren’t allowed to bring big coolers or large picnic baskets into Parc Disneyland (who would want to anyway?). But a small lunch that fits into your backpack is totally okay.
6. Use the Disney Paris app
Using the Disneyland Paris app seems like it should be obvious, but it hadn’t even crossed my mind until we had already arrived and my husband was using it. The app had a great map which is helpful (especially if you are unfamiliar with Disneyland parks) and you can even allow it to know your location so that you can see right where you are in the park.
Plus you can see all of the current wait times, which attractions are closed, a schedule of events for the day (like parades, shows, character meet & greets), and much more! We definitely whipped out our phones loads of times throughout the day to help us plan where we were headed next.
7. Make time for parades and shows
The parades and shows we saw ended up being one of our family’s favorite things we did in Disneyland Paris. I definitely recommend fitting them into your itinerary, especially if you are traveling with your family!
It’s like this wonderful event put on made up of all of the perfect things for kids to like: upbeat music, colorful costumes, fun dancing, and some of their favorite characters from stories they know.
The shows work the same way as other attractions, where you wait in line to secure a seat (or you can purchase a seat in the Disneyland Paris app if you really don’t want to stand in line). And for parades, you will want to secure a standing spot along the parade route about 30 minutes-1 hour before the parade begins to ensure you get a front-row seat. You can see the parade route in the Disneyland Paris app.
8. Know where to see Frozen characters
One of my first questions when planning our holiday to Disney Paris was, ‘Can you see Frozen characters at Disneyland Paris?’And yes, you can! On our trip to Disneyland Paris, we could do a meet-and-greet with Olaf or see the other characters in parades and/or shows.
The ‘Disney Stars on Parade’ parade that happens in the early evening had a super fun Frozen float with Anna, Else, Olaf, Sven, and Kristoff.
Walt Disney Studios has a live show, ‘Frozen: A Musical Invitation’ which is (as the name implies) a show completely focused on Frozen. It is very popular (as you can imagine) and we were unable to get in.
However, Walt Disney Studios has another live show, ‘Mickey and the Magician’ which is a 30-minute long show full of singing and dancing with Mickey and many favorite Disney characters. It was a lovely surprise that many Frozen characters were included in the show even though they were not in any of the descriptions or advertisements.
We were really looking forward to the Frozen-specific show, but in the end, I think ‘Mickey and the Magician’ was probably better! It was a fun, relaxing experience and our 3-year-old loved it.
9. Bring a stroller if you have young ones
If you’ve taken trips to Disneyland Paris (or any Disneyland for that matter), you know how much walking can be involved. If this is your first time, expect to walk many miles each day. We had a one-mile walk just from our Airbnb to the entrance (2 miles roundtrip) and that’s not counting the walking within the park.
On our most recent trip to Disneyland Paris, our phones said we walked 10+ miles each day. That’s tiring enough as adults, I can’t imagine trying to have young kiddos try and do that.
Not only will a stroller save your little ones from getting totally exhausted, but strollers also serve as a great napping spot. Our 3.5-year-old doesn’t usually take naps, however, she passed out in our double stroller each day in Disneyland Paris.
I don’t know what age of kids can handle Disney without a stroller, but I have multiple friends that have visited Disneyland with 5-year-olds and a stroller in tow.
If you don’t bring a stroller but end up needing one, you can rent a stroller for a fee from the rental shop located at Town Square Terrace, near the park entrance. Keep in mind, they don’t look like super comfy strollers, but it’s a stroller when you need one in a hitch.
10. Use single rider lines and rider switch
Single rider lines and ‘rider switch’ (sometimes referred to as baby switch) are two free ways to help beat some of the wait times at Euro Disneyland.
Single Rider Line: Single rider lines are a special line that some attractions have which enable you to skip a large amount of the line but the trade-off is that you will be separated from your group. Obviously, if you are traveling solo it’s almost a no-brainer to always use single rider lines.
However, you can still join the single rider line even as a group, but just know that you will not be sitting by anyone in your group. So, if you are someone who loves to experience things with others, you may not love the single rider line. However, if you don’t mind being on your own, it can be an awesome way to save some time.
Basically, the point of the single rider line is to help cast members fill empty seats on rides to make the queue as efficient as possible.
Rider Switch (aka Baby Switch): Rider switch is basically this amazing, thoughtful service Disney provides for those visiting Disneyland Paris with young kids. When one adult stays behind to be with a child and the other adult rides a ride, the adult on the ride can ask the cast member (upon exiting) for a rider switch card for their partner.
They will then be given a small card that grants access for one adult and one additional rider to skip the line. Then, the adult who was waiting with the child can skip the line for that same ride to quickly ride and not wait in the long queue. Isn’t that so amazing??
So for example, I waited in line for Big Thunder Mountain while my husband played with our two kids at the Frontierland Playground. When I was done, I switched him out, gave him the rider switch card I was given and he was able to skip the line to ride Big Thunder Mountain.
That was absolutely essential because I had about a 60-minute wait to ride Big Thunder Mountain, and it would have been ridiculous to then have my husband wait in the same long queue. We weren’t sure how to use it, so we just asked the cast member at entrance to Thunder Mountain and he let us know how it works.
All of the workers were happy to give us the rider switch pass and to explain where our partner needed to come in order to skip the line.
You can take advantage of Rider Switch whether you wait in the normal line, the single rider line or pay to be in the Premier Access line. Definitely be sure to do it if you are traveling to Disneyland Paris with a toddler or other young kids.
11. Understand how premier access works
What you need to know about Disneyland Paris is that the ‘skip-the-line’ system they use is called Premier Access (the Fast Pass system is no longer). Most of the top attractions have Premier Access such as Big Thunder Mountain, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and Peter Pan’s Flight.
How it works is you basically are purchasing a ticket to skip the line for a specific ride. You can go to the Disneyland Paris App to the Premier Access section to see all of the attractions which offer Premier Access. You can see which timeslot is available and how much skipping the line will cost and then you purchase it directly from the app.
After your purchase, you will then be able to get in the special Premier Access line which should have next to no wait. Then you will show the special QR code on your phone you received when you purchased the Premier Access ticket and you’ll be on the ride!
Be aware that wait times for rides do vary throughout the day. For the super planners out there, check out this Disney wait-time website to see when certain queues peak throughout the day and try to plan your day in the off-peak times (aka the morning, evening, etc.). After you click on the website, choose which ride you’re interested in in the right-hand column to see a graph of the average wait times throughout the day.
Personally, we didn’t use Premier Access during our time in Euro Disney. However, I can definitely see using it in times of desperation if one of the grown-ups really wants to ride a ride and it’s just not feasible to have them wait in line.
If you are traveling with kids to Paris Disneyland and both parents want to ride the ride that you buy Premier Access for, be sure to ask the cast members (aka employees) at the exit for a ‘rider switch’ card and you’ll be able to switch and have your partner ride with no wait. No need to pay for two Premier Access tickets!
I talk about rider switch in the point above- check it out if you have questions. It’s awesome if you are traveling with young ones.
12. Swing by The Cable Car Bake Shop or Cookie Kitchen for a Sweet Treat
One thing that is noticeably lacking from the Paris Disney experience is the abundance of cute, Disney-themed treats. That being said, you CAN find some! We picked up some yummy, Mickey beignets filled with Nutella from the Cable Car Bake Shop and some great cookies from the Cookie Kitchen (next door to each other on Main Street) 🤤.
I also saw some people with Nutella crepes and so wish we would have had time to snag some. If you’re looking for churro carts around every corner, you won’t find them, but you definitely can find as many popcorn carts as you’d like.
13. Explore inside the castle
Not only is the outside of the castle in Disney Paris totally epic, but you can explore the inside too! You can visit underneath the caste to see a huge animatronic dragon, up the stairs to see stained glass windows, a balcony with views of Fantasyland and on the main level you’ll find shops selling Disney trinkets and Christmas ornaments.
And the great thing is, there usually isn’t a queue to explore the castle! You can just wander right on through 😀 .
14. Take advantage of the playgrounds within Disney
Obviously, we all know that Disneyland is full of fun rides, but did you know it also has playgrounds? When I visited Disney pre having kids, I 100% did not understand the reason behind there being playgrounds at Disneyland. However, I 100% understand now 😂.
The playgrounds are a great way to let your kids get their wiggles out and a great place to hang out when the parents take some time riding bigger rides.
Our little one played at the Frontierland Playground for probably 1.5 hours while we took turns riding Thunder Mountain (me waiting in line and my husband using ‘Rider Switch’).
You can find two other playgrounds in Adventureland-Pirates’ Beach playground and Adventure Isle.
15. Visit Paris or London while on your holiday to Disney Paris
Paris Disneyland is located in Chessy, France about a 45-minute direct Metro ride to the Paris city center. And so this seems like a no-brainer, but if it’s your first visit to Disneyland Paris, be sure to add on a few days to actually see Paris (or other nearby cities).
On our Disneyland Europe holiday, we spent two full days in Disneyland and four days in Paris (but really like three days of sightseeing). If you travel to Paris with your kiddos, be sure to check out my 10 Fun Playgrounds in Paris Near Top Paris Attractions article- it’s a lifesaver.
This seemed to be the perfect length for our family and enough time to get a pretty good overview of the city. We definitely could have stayed much longer to experience way more, but we honestly wouldn’t have had the energy for much longer than one week.
And besides seeing Paris, did you know you can take a high-speed train from Paris to London that only takes 2.5 hours? That’s way more efficient than flying. By the time you get out of the city to the airport, fly, and then back into the city from the next airport way more than 2.5 hours would pass.
The Perfect Disneyland Paris Plan in a Nutshell
- Spend 2-3 days in Disneyland
- Choose the best way to get to Disneyland Paris that suites you and your situation (personally, we loved our experience with Baby Cabs but have also taken the high-speed TGV train)
- Stay off property in an Airbnb/VRBO or another vacation rental
- Buy tickets ahead of time and reserve your spot
- Pack an easy lunch to eat in the park
- Use the Disney Paris app
- Take advantage of single rider lines and rider switch
- Understand how premier access works
- Make time for parades and shows
- Know where to see the characters from Frozen
- Swing by the Cable Car Bake Shop or Cookie Kitchen for a sweet treat
- Explore inside the castle
- Take advantage of the playgrounds within Disneyland Paris
- Bring a stroller if you have young ones
- Add Paris or London to your Disneyland Paris itinerary
And those are my 15 Paris Disneyland tips! I hope you visit Disneyland Paris, have a total blast, and that these tips are helpful in your planning for your holiday to Disneyland Paris. Please comment below or reach out to me if you have any questions while you plan, I’m more than happy to help😊.
Check out these other posts, I know you’ll love them:
- 10 Fun Playgrounds in Paris Near Top Paris Attractions
- The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris with a Toddler: Things to do + Top Tips
- 22 Things to do with kids in Amsterdam + Where to Stay
- 10 Top Hacks: How to Enjoy Wintery Bruges Belgium with a baby
- The Best Double Stroller for Travel to Europe From Personal Experience