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Disneyland Paris Tips for First Timers

Planning and executing a Disneyland Paris trip can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers, but there are some tips that will make the process all that more enjoyable. 

Having visited Disneyland Paris several times in the past, I’ve learned to navigate the parks in the most efficient way possible. And in order to help your trip run more smoothly, I thought I’d share my favourite tips with you.

Disneyland Paris Tips for First Timers

Disneyland Paris Tips

Knowing some useful tips before visiting anywhere, let alone Disneyland Paris can make or break your holiday. So, to ensure you have the best time visiting the most magical place on Earth, here are some handy Disneyland Paris tips and tricks—many of which have saved me on my previous visits!

Disneyland Paris is two parks: Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park. You will need tickets to enter both.

Download the Free Disneyland Paris App

The Disneyland Paris app will be your holy grail when visiting the parks. So, I highly suggest downloading it before your trip so you can get to grips with its features.

With the app, you can book dining reservations, plan your ideal visit, begin your hotel check-in, and pre-order food. Plus, the app provides you with an interactive map (Disneyland Paris no longer hands out paper maps). So, you can find your way around the parks and browse current ride wait times. 

You can download the Disneyland Paris app via the Disneyland Paris website.

The Entrance of Disneyland Paris

Book Dining Reservations in Advance

Like Disney parks all over the world, Disneyland Paris restaurants fill up fast. So, it’s best to take full advantage of advanced dining reservations and book your slots 60 days before your trip.

Some of the busiest restaurants, like Bistrot Chez Remy, Walts, and Auberge de Cendrillon, can be extremely difficult to secure reservations for. And this reason in particular, is why you should make a brief plan of your Disneyland Paris days. 

Now, I’m not saying you need to plan your days down to a T. But knowing which restaurants you’d like to visit and being prepared at that 60-day mark can be the difference between securing a table reservation or not. 

For guests who are staying in a Disney hotel, however, then you can even book your dining reservations when you confirm your hotel booking. In my opinion, this is a huge perk to staying in one of Disney’s hotels, as some restaurants allow you to book reservations up to 12 months in advance

If you’re unsure which restaurants to book, here are the Best Themed Restaurants at Disneyland Paris.

Alternatively, the Disney Village offers cheaper options to eat. It is outside the park so you may want to have a break during your visit or inbetween parks or even before heading in.

3 Days is Enough Time at Disneyland Paris

When visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, sometimes, two weeks doesn’t even feel like enough time to explore the four parks and all their attractions. Let alone when you add in Disney Springs, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon. 

At Disneyland Paris, however, three days is more than enough time to tick off all major attractions, experience the shows, parades, and fireworks, and dine in some of the best onsite restaurants. A good spot to sit if its not rainy to watch the parades is on the pavement by City Hall – but you will need to claim your spot about 45 minutes before.

Of course, even a day in Disneyland Paris is better than none. But if you don’t want to feel rushed and you want to visit both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, then three park days is the perfect amount

At the Disneyland Park there are five ‘lands’ – Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland and then Main Street for shops and restaurants.

Budget Most of Your Time for Disneyland Park

Speaking of time in the parks, one park (currently) is better than the other. And that park is Disneyland Park. 

When planning your trip, I suggest spending the majority of your time in Disneyland Park and half a day to a full day in Walt Disney Studios Park, depending on the length of your trip. 

With that being said, Walt Disney Studios does have some exciting new updates coming to it in 2024 and 2025—one of those updates being the Kingdom of Arendelle—so this may change once the updates are complete.

But for now, in terms of a three-day itinerary, budget one day for Walt Disney Studios Park and two days for Disneyland Park

Stay At a Disneyland Paris Hotel

One of the best tips for visiting Disneyland Paris is to stay at a Disney Hotel. Unlike Disney hotels in Orlando, Disneyland Paris hotels are within walking distance of the park gates.

And the hotels’ close proximity to the parks are one of the major perks of staying onsite. There are also a few other perks I wanted to mention which may sway your decision. 

  • Included in your Disney hotel booking is access to both of the Disney parks for the duration of your stay.
  • Disney hotel guests can enter the parks before regular guests
  • Disney characters make their way around the hotels every morning, so you’ll get hotel-exclusive character encounters
  • You can book dining reservations up to 12 months in advance
  • Parking is free at the hotel for hotel guests
  • All the Disney Hotels (apart from Davy Crockett Ranch) have shuttle buses that take you to and from the park entrance at no extra cost

For more information on both Disney and non-Disney hotels, check out Best Places to Stay for Families Near Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris Hotel

Disney Premier Access

I think I speak for everyone when I say how gutting it was when Walt Disney World scrapped its fast pass feature. 

However, luckily, for Disneyland Paris guests, there is what’s known as Disney Premier Access. Disney Premier Access is an add-on at Disneyland Paris that allows you to skip the queue once on each of the participating attractions.

And the best part? There are no time slots, so you can ride whenever you want! 

Prices for Disney Premier Access range from €90 to €190 depending on the season and how busy the parks are. But if you’re looking to cram in as much Disney magic as possible, then it’s definitely a great way to do so! 

The Disney Premier Access pass gives you access to the following attractions: 

  • It’s a Small World
  • Avengers Assemble: Flight Force
  • Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure
  • Crush’s Coaster
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Autopia
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
  • Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
  • Phantom Manor
  • Cars ROAD TRIP
  • Orbitron

You can find out more information on Disney Premier Access on the Disneyland Paris website.

Beautiful Ceiling inside Disneyland Paris

Ride Single Rider

Another great way to skip long queues is to split up from your group and ride single rider. Single rider queues are typically far shorter than the ride’s standard queues.

So, if you don’t mind experiencing the ride next to strangers, then you can really smash out some of the most popular attractions with little to no wait times. 

Make Use of Rider Switch

And for parents visiting the parks with little ones, Disneyland Paris also offers rider switch, which allows both parents to ride the park’s biggest attractions without having to queue twice. 

Rider switch works with both parents and children queuing up as normal, however, one parent will ride the attraction first while the other waits with the children. Then, once parent one has finished on the ride, they will take the children to the exit, allowing parent two to take their place. 

Welly boots and jackets were needed for this visit!

Check the Weather Forecast

The weather in Disneyland Paris can be unpredictable. So, to ensure you’re prepared with the correct layers or sun protection, it’s best to check the weather forecast the morning of your visit.

If you want to be on the safe side regardless of what the weather forecast says, pack layers, a raincoat, and sun protection. That way you’re prepared for whatever the weather throws at you.

Baby Mickey sign at Disneyland Paris

Bring or Rent a Stroller

One of the most important Disneyland Paris tips that I will shout from the rooftops is to bring a stroller. Although the Disneyland Paris parks aren’t as big as the ones in Orlando, you’ll still be doing a lot of walking.

On average, you can expect to rack up 20,000 steps. So, if you don’t want to hear “my feet hurt” every five minutes, it’s best to take or rent a stroller. 

If you’re in the market for a new stroller, then check out the Best Stroller for Travel. Alternatively, you can rent one from the parks for €20 per day with a €50 deposit.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable shoes are a must when visiting any Disney park. And having made the mistake of choosing fashion over comfort, I can’t express enough how much of a difference a comfortable pair of shoes will make. 

If you’re buying new shoes for your trip, be sure to properly break them in before arriving. And if you’re stumped on which shoes to purchase, fitness-style shoes with ankle support in a breathable fabric will be your best bet—even if they don’t match all of your Disney outfits. 

Bring Your Own Food and Drink

There is no rule saying you can’t bring your own food and drink into the parks. So, if you’re trying to cut back on costs, pack your own food and drink. 

I always like to ensure I have some easy-to-eat snacks on hand, as well as plenty of water. But you can go all out and take along an entire picnic if you wish!

Take a Reusable Water Bottle

Regardless of whether you’re on a budget or not, a reusable water bottle will really come in handy when visiting Disneyland Paris

There is no doubt that you’ll be doing a lot of walking during your trip, and with that also comes a lot of rehydration. And as bottles of water are roughly €3 in the parks, staying hydrated will get expensive fast—especially if you’re visiting as a family.

You’ll find refill stations dotted throughout the park. Plus, the water from the taps in restrooms is also safe to drink!

Ride During Lunch Hours

One of my favourite Disneyland Paris tips that not many people know about is that you’ll find some of the lowest ride wait times during lunch hours. As people flock to the park’s various restaurants between the hours of 11 and 2, the queues for many of the most popular rides are almost half! 

Timing your rides when the fireworks or when parades are on will also ensure lower ride wait times. 

disneyland paris fireworks

Stake Out a Spot for the Fireworks

If you want a good spot for the fireworks, then it’s best to head to the front of the castle an hour or two before showtime. The fireworks showtime changes from day to day, so you’ll need to check the Disneyland Paris app for the schedule.

But if you don’t want to be stuck behind hundreds and hundreds of people, then staking at a spot may be in your best interest. 

We stood near the front of Main Street so we could make a quick exit without having to fight the crowds but it is busy. Another time we have stood to the right, near the wall, but people do, and will stand on the wall in front of you.

Bring a power pack

A power pack for your phone will be SO useful as I found my phone battery drained quickly with all the photos and video I was taking.

Avoid peak times

A no brainer but school term times are a LOT quieter and weekends are always busy.

Be prepared for security

The security queues at Paris take a LOT LONGER than at Disney World. We have taken over 40 minutes before. Be prepared and factor in this time.

Useful Things to Know About Disneyland Paris

Now that I’ve covered some Disneyland Paris tips, here are some other useful things to know if it is your first time visiting the parks. 

Smoking Is Allowed in Disneyland Paris

Did you know that there are more smokers in Europe than in America? And with this fact comes the reality that not everyone sticks to Disneyland Paris’s rules on where people can and can not smoke. 

Disneyland Paris does have designated smoking areas dotted throughout the park. But don’t be surprised if you see the odd person smoking outside of those areas. Sadly, it’s just something that happens. It was one of the most annoying things about the park for me.

Marne-la-Vallée Chessy Train Station, France

Expect to Travel Outside of Paris to Get to Disneyland Paris

Although Disneyland Paris is called Disneyland Paris, the parks aren’t actually in Paris. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

You’ll find the Disneyland Paris parks roughly 30 minutes out from the city centre. But they’re extremely easy to access thanks to France’s public transportation systems. 

One of the easiest ways to get from Paris to Disneyland Paris is by train. And you’ll need to head to the Marne-la Vallée – Chessy station, which is just outside the park gates.

For guests visiting from the UK, you can catch the Eurostar to Lille Europe before getting a connection to Marne-la Vallée – Chessy station.

Meet and Greet with Characters

Unless you’re meeting the Marvel characters, you won’t be able to book a specific time slot for a meet and greet. Instead, you can hop on the Disneyland Paris app and search for meet-and-greet times and locations. 

If there is a specific character you desperately want to meet, then it’s best to arrive 30 minutes before to ensure you don’t miss out. 

Alternatively, a really good place to randomly spot characters is by the castle. Head through to Fanstasyland and as you turn right you head through a gate by Cinderella’s carriage. Don’t stop there but walk a bit further toward the gates at the end. That’s where cast members go. Look at the app for show times and head there before to catch them walking over.

Be Mindful of Pickpockets

Although pickpockets aren’t prevalent in the parks, there have been a lot of reports of pickpockets on Paris’ trains, at the train stations, and at bus terminals. One of the main ways you can try and prevent your possessions from being stolen is to be vigilant.

Here are some other tips that can deter pickpockets during your time at Disneyland Paris.

  • Make sure your backpack is securely fastened. You may even want to purchase a padlock to lock the zips together. 
  • Keep your money, passports, and phone in a bum bag or money belt. 
  • Only keep essential items on you.
  • Beware of crowded places and distractions — e.g. someone may spike a conversation with you

Watch out for your stroller

There have sadly been a few instances of strollers being taken. You are not allowed to tie them to any fixture, so my best advice would be to take an old stroller, or use a lock to tie your wheel together. Some people sew in a Apple Tag so they can keep an eye on it too. NEVER leave anything in your stroller.

You Can Only Meet One Royal at a Time

Don’t expect to meet numerous royals at one time, as at Disneyland Paris, you will have to join the queue again to meet all the princesses at the Princess Pavillion. And for your information, queues can take up to 2 hours.

And you won’t get to choose which princess you meet!

Don’t Miss the Classic Attractions

Even if you’ve completed all the classic attractions at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the same attractions are extremely different in Disneyland Paris.

Rides like Space Mountain, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Haunted Mansion (called the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris) tell completely different stories. So be sure not to skip them!

Here are a list of classic Disney rides that are different in Disneyland Paris: 

  • Phantom Manor
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • It’s a Small World

And Don’t Miss the Attractions Found Only at Disneyland Paris Resort

Along with Disney’s classic attractions, Disneyland Paris also has some rides that you can only find in Disneyland Paris. Those rides include the following: 

  • Crush’s Coaster
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Alice’s Curious Labyrinth
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure
  • Cars Quatre Roues Rallye
  • Toy Story Parachute Drop
  • Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin

Make Time for the Shows and Parades

I always make time for the shows and parades when visiting the Disney parks. But I know that they aren’t for everyone.

Disneyland Paris’ shows, however, are some of the best that Disney has to offer. So, if you have the time, it’s worth scheduling them in. 

Shows like Frozen and the Lion King are all included in your ticket price just like in Disney World, but you can also pay extra to guarantee entrance to a show at a set time. I wouldn’t pay the extra € for that, unless it’s a big priority of yours.

Parking at Disneyland Paris

Something that really shocks Disneyland Paris first-timers is the car parking fees, as parking costs €30 a day! 

If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, then you can park at the hotel for free. But these extortionate parking fees are something to keep in mind if you plan on driving to Disney. 

The Best Time to Visit Disneyland Paris

The best time to visit Disneyland Paris will really come down to your personal preferences. And the answer will change depending on the type of trip you’re looking for. 

For guests who want to experience the parks with minimal crowds, then you’ll want to visit mid-week (Tuesdays to Thursdays) during mid-January through mid-March or mid-April through mid-May.

Visitors who want extended hours and more scheduled shows and events, then weekends, including extended holiday weekends, the summer months and seasonal events like Christmas and Halloween, will provide you with just that.

Maleficient the dragon at the Disneyland Paris Castle

Don’t Miss the Dragon Under the Castle

Disneyland Paris is the only park that houses a dragon underneath the castle. So, of course, it would be rude not to walk through the La Tanière du Dragon (“The Lair of the Dragon”) and witness the beast that guards Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. 

Get a Tax Refund on Disneyland Paris Merchandise

Now that the UK is no longer in the EU, UK guests can claim tax back on Disney merchandise!

In order to qualify for a tax refund, you will need to spend over 100€ in the shops and keep all receipts. 

You can’t claim tax back on things like food and drink, and you will need to get a tax certificate within three days of your purchases. But the process is as follows:

  • Take all your receipts, your passport, and the card you want your money refunded to City Hall in the Disneyland Park, Studio Services in the Walt Disney Studios Park, or Disney Fashion Shop in the Disney Village.
  • Accept the certificate from the cast member. And validate it at the train station, airport, ferry port, or Eurotunnel from which you’re leaving France.
  • There will be a machine clearly signposted as tax refund. And all you’ll need to do is select English and follow the instructions on the screen. 

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