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First Timer’s Guide to Disneyland Paris: Tips for American Visitors

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Like a lot of American families, our family has spent a fair amount of vacation time at Disney World and Disneyland. But we like to spread our wings and travel to a lot more than just Disney destinations. This summer, we spent two weeks in the United Kingdom and France on the kids’ first trip to Europe. While the bulk of our trip was focused on exploring cultural and historical sites, we knew we all needed some fun mixed in with the museums and churches. Naturally, we had to make a stop at Disneyland Paris part of our travel plans.

Disneyland Paris Castle

As a frequent visitor to the United States Disney parks, I suspected our experience and knowledge would translate into success at Disneyland Paris as well. But I also knew we had a lot to learn. Disney has very different rules and systems in place in its international parks. We discovered that we needed to do our research when we visited Hong Kong Disneyland years ago with our oldest, and the same was true for Disneyland Paris.

With tourism to China still essentially impossible for the foreseeable future and Japan only starting to open up, Disneyland Paris has been the only international Disney resort that many travelers have been able to visit easily in recent months. As a result (and also because of the resort’s ongoing 30th anniversary in 2022-2023), there has been a lot of recent interest in Disneyland Paris among Americans and Canadians. There will likely be even more as the 2024 Summer Olympics head to Paris.

If you are a visitor familiar with the United States parks considering a trip to Disneyland Paris, here is everything you need to know about and plan for – from hotels to line cutting strategies to transportation tips.

Mad Hatter Tea Cups Disneyland Paris

(Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through links in this post. See our full disclosure policy linked in the menu at the bottom of this site.)

Disneyland Paris Resort Overview

Many Americans, even those who are Disney fans, know very little about Disneyland Paris. So let’s start with the most basic of details. Disneyland Paris opened as the Euro Disney Resort in 1992. It is located in Chessy France, about 20 miles from the Paris city center.

Walt Disney Studios Park Paris
Entrance to Walt Disney Studios park.

The resort is made up of two parks – Disneyland Park (Parc Disneyland) and Walt Disney Studios Park (Parc Walt Disney Studios). The two parks are just a couple of minutes walk apart from one another, much like the layout found at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

Adjacent to the two parks is Disney Village, a shopping, dining, and entertainment district similar to Downtown Disney in Anaheim or Disney Springs in Orlando.

Disneyland Paris Disney Village Balloon
Balloon rides at Disney Village in Disneyland Paris.

There are 7 on-property Disney-owned hotels in the area as well. All but two of these hotels are located just beyond Disney Village within about a 15-25 minute walk from the gates of Disneyland park (more on hotels below). The resort offers shuttles that go to these hotels just outside the esplanade between the parks.

Also adjacent to the esplanade near the entrance to the two parks is the Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy train station. This station provides commuter train service to downtown Paris via the RER, high speed train service on the TGV to Charles de Gaulle Airport, and high speed rail service to a number of other destinations in France and Europe (via TGV and Eurostar).

How to Get to Disneyland Paris from Paris

For guests coming from or going to the Paris city center, the best way to get to the parks is via train. The RER (Regional Express Network) line A goes out to the Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy station adjacent to the parks. Look for the red colored line on maps. Be aware that line A splits so you have to make sure that you are boarding the correct train on the correct platform. Thankfully, the station signs are well marked with cute Mickey heads making it easy to navigate. (See more Paris travel tips.)

Paris RER Train Line A to Marne la Vallee at Disneyland Paris
Follow the Mickey heads on RER Line A to get on the correct train.

We happened to be staying in Paris right by the Châtelet Les Halles station which is on line A. This starting point made for a very easy journey to Disneyland Paris. The ride is about 40 minutes and costs just €5 for adults (children under 4 travel free and children 4-10 pay half fare). Be sure to hang onto your ticket as you will need it to exit the station upon arrival.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Uber from the city center, but they are far more expensive and can take longer with traffic.

Which Airports are Best for Disneyland Paris

For travelers coming in or leaving by air, Disneyland Paris is closest to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). We went straight from the parks to catch a flight there onward to our next European destination in Scotland (see more about our experience flying easyJet out of CDG). We just took Uber from our hotel to CDG, since we had several larger bags to carry. We ordered a larger van and paid €77 total for the ride, which took about 35-40 minutes.

Other ways to travel to Charles de Gaulle:

  • TGV Train: Mousehacking has this excellent guide with more details. The high speed train is only a 10 minute ride to CDG, but runs infrequently and can be confusing and pricey.
  • Magical Shuttle: Disneyland Paris offers motorcoach transport for an additional fee (can be booked as part of your vacation package). Transfers can take about 60 minutes, but this is an easy option for guests who don’t want to figure it out all on their own.

The other major airport guests might use to fly to Disneyland Paris is Paris-Orly (ORY). ORY is about a 45 minute drive to the parks. The Magical Shuttle is available there as well, but taking a train from Orly to Disneyland Paris requires traveling through the Paris city center.

How Best to Book a Disneyland Paris Vacation

Disneyland Paris Mom and Kids

Americans planning a visit to Disneyland Paris have a number of options for booking a vacation. We found them pretty confusing and hard to do a true cost comparison. Roughly speaking, here are the options:

  • Booking a hotel + ticket package through Disneyland Paris’s website for US visitors
  • Booking a hotel + ticket package through Disneyland Paris’s website for other country visitors
  • Booking a hotel + ticket package through a traditional travel agency
  • Booking a hotel + ticket package through an online travel agency (OTA) website (like Expedia)
  • Booking an off-property hotel on your own and purchasing tickets only through Disneyland Paris’s website

Booking a Hotel + Tickets Package

We ultimately booked our vacation through Trips with Tykes travel agency partner Get Away Today, whom I also use for much of our Disneyland and Walt Disney World travel too. While I usually am pretty DIY when it comes to booking my own travel (and we booked everything else on our Europe vacation ourselves!), I really valued using a travel agency for this booking. I had some hard questions about minor details like bed and room types in the on-property hotels. My travel agent was able to get on the phone with representatives at Disneyland Paris and get those questions answered for me. (Request a Disneyland Paris vacation quote from Get Away Today here!)

And best of all, booking a package meant that we didn’t have to worry with park reservations. Disneyland Paris doesn’t require park reservations like Disney World and Disneyland if you have an on-property hotel booked with a package. Your tickets are simply valid for any and all of the days of your hotel booking, including on both your arrival and departure days!

One Disneyland Paris idiosyncrasy to be aware of is that package bookings aren’t quite as customizable as you’ll find in the US parks. If you plan to book a package that includes 2 nights of hotel, it automatically is bundled with a 3 day ticket (and 3 nights = 4 day ticket, etc.). This is true regardless of whether you are booking through the Disneyland Paris website, a brick and mortar travel agency, or an OTA.

This makes split stays (where you stay at more than one hotel) tricky. It also means that an on-property hotel may not be the best place to establish as your home base if you plan to go into the city of Paris some days as well. We ultimately decided to stay 2 nights at Disneyland Paris and one night in Paris city center as a result of this package structure. This way, we didn’t overbuy ticket days and also could find cheaper accommodations for one night in Paris.

Ticket Only Purchases

Disneyland Paris Ticket Types

If you plan to stay off-site or maybe just take the train from the city center for a single day in the parks, you’ll want to make a ticket only purchase. Disneyland Paris sells dated tickets with a length of 1-4 days. Single day tickets are available for just a single park or for both parks. All tickets of 2 days or longer, however, automatically include the park hopper option. Note that Disneyland Paris has child discounts for kids ages 3-11 – two years longer than the US parks.

Disneyland Paris also sells one day undated tickets (both single park and park hopper). These tickets are more expensive and ultimately still also require guests to make a theme park reservation. As a result, they really don’t make sense unless your plans are very volatile.

Ticket prices at Disneyland Paris are pretty reasonable compared to the US parks. There are single park one day tickets as low as $67 on non-peak days. A 3 day adult park hopper during the most expensive dates of the holiday 2022 season is just $375 (compare that to $420 at Disneyland in Anaheim and $552 at Walt Disney World in Orlando).

Disneyland Paris Hotel Options

On-Property Disneyland Paris Hotels

Disneyland Paris Hotel and Gardens
The iconic Disneyland Paris Hotel is under renovation until 2024.

There are seven Disney-owned hotel properties that are part of the Disneyland Paris Resort. Those include (in rough order of most expensive to least expensive):

  • The Disneyland Paris Hotel
  • Hotel New York – Art of Marvel
  • Newport Bay Club
  • Sequoia Lodge
  • Hotel Santa Fe
  • Hotel Cheyenne
  • Davy Crockett Ranch (campground)

No matter where you choose to stay, American families are probably going to need to adjust their Disney hotel expectations, both in terms of price and in terms of service/amenities. We are accustomed to what Disneyland and Disney World offer, and we thought the hotel situation was definitely the weakest link of our Disneyland Paris vacation experience.

The Disneyland Paris Hotel is the flagship hotel in the similar style of the Grand Floridian or Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. It’s situated right above the gates to Disneyland Park so it has by far the best location of the bunch. It’s unfortunately closed for renovations in 2022. Its reopening date – some time in 2024 -was just announced. This closure is putting a squeeze on the other hotels in the meantime. This is likely where we would have stayed regardless of price had it been open. It’s a gorgeous property with a substantial location advantage over all the alternatives.

The Art of Marvel reimagining of Hotel New York was just finished in 2021. I’ve heard from sources I trust that it is quite well-themed and sleek. But it still can be as much as $800-900 a night for a smallish room that ultimately has two double (not queen!) beds. That was a no go for our family. And it’s still a 15-ish minute walk from this hotel all the way through Disney Village to the parks (farther than the Disneyland Hotel is from the Anaheim theme parks).

Art of Marvel Hotel New York Disneyland Paris
Hotel New York – Art of Marvel

Our family seriously considered both Newport Bay Club and Sequoia Lodge for our stay – both of which are just a couple of minutes walking distance beyond Hotel New York. Newport Bay Club is quite similar to the pre-renovation Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando which we stay in often so we decided to save a little bit more and stay in Sequoia Lodge. (We decided that the additional savings of Hotel Santa Fe or Hotel Cheyenne weren’t worth it though due to the longer walk to the parks.)

Disneyland Paris Newport Bay Club Hotel
Newport Bay Club is similar to Yacht & Beach Club in Orlando.

Sequoia Lodge is themed to look like a historic national park lodge, similar to Wilderness Lodge in Orlando or the Grand Californian in Anaheim. But it is very much not a deluxe property like those hotels. Price-wise, it is a moderate hotel at Disneyland Paris. We, however, found the rooms to be very dated and tired and certainly not even as nice as many of the recently-renovated value resorts at Walt Disney World. Again, standard rooms have only two double beds, so we decided we needed to book two rooms for our family of four to be able to sleep comfortably. The common areas of the hotel were somewhat nicer, but overall Sequoia Lodge was pretty disappointing for the price.

Disneyland Paris Sequoia Lodge Two Double Room
Dated and tired rooms at Sequoia Lodge.

Off-Property Hotels Near Disneyland Paris

If these Disney hotels don’t sound like your cup of tea given their limitations, there are plenty of off-property hotel options. Many are located in surrounding Marne-la-Vallée.

Some of these are centered around the Val d’ Europe shopping center and others are not much farther. Disney partners with some of these hotels with packages available for booking on the Disneyland Paris website.

For more luxury accommodations at a less expensive price, either the Radisson Blu Hotel Paris, Marne-la-Vallée or Marriott’s Village d’ile-de-France are excellent options as well.

If you stay off-site, however, be aware that you’ll miss out on the major perk of on-property stays which is early entry (more on that below). But you’ll probably save a fair amount of money and have nicer accommodations and/or more space.

Lines & Touring Strategies for Disneyland Paris

If you have read my other Disney parks content on Trips With Tykes, you likely already know about my aversion to theme park lines. Probably my favorite part about visiting Disney destinations is finding all the tricks and loopholes available. My aim is to skip the long lines that everyone else seems to get stuck in and devise the perfect touring plan. Naturally, I approached Disneyland Paris with this same goal in mind.

Since we were first timers at Disneyland Paris, we certainly made some mistakes along the way. Overall, however, we did quite well in our three day visit, even though we were visiting during peak summer season when United Kingdom schools were on an August holiday break. And other first timers certainly can too! Here are the hacks that worked for us for dealing with lines:

1. Early Entry (“Extra Magic Time”)

Disneyland Paris Entrance 30th Anniversary
Enter the parks early for shorter lines.

At all Disney destinations, starting early is the key to shorter lines. Not everyone can get up and out the door to a theme park at the crack of dawn. So if you can get up early (for one morning of your trip at the very least), you can beat the crowds.

Like the US Disney parks, Disneyland Paris offers early entry to on-property hotel guests – Extra Magic Time. Ordinarily, both parks open a full hour before regular park opening time (although when we visited, Disney temporarily suspended this benefit for the Walt Disney Studios park due to the recent opening of Avengers Campus. It has since brought it back.).

It’s definitely possible to squeeze in at least a handful of rides during this hour before lines get long. That said, we didn’t find Extra Magic Time to be as robust as it is in Disneyland and Disney World, so adjust expectations accordingly. Only a very limited number of rides are open at this hour. At least on the day we used it, a number of the rides that were supposed to be open were down for technical troubles.

Additionally, park gates don’t open until exactly an hour before park opening time. We found the ticket scanning process to pretty pretty inefficient, wasting a quarter of an hour before we could even enter the park and start moving towards rides. If you don’t arrive super early to be the first at the scanners, you’ll lose a fair chunk of the hour to this bottleneck.

Nevertheless, if you are staying on-property, use this benefit. And if not, be sure to at least be at the very front of the regular rope drop crowds.

2. Single Rider Lines

Single Rider line at Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure

Like the US Disney parks, Disneyland Paris has single rider lines to fill in extra empty seats on popular rides. If you have older kids who are okay riding alone, this is a great way to skip long lines for coasters.

The rides offering Single Rider can and do change, but here are the currently-available attractions at Disneyland Paris offering it:

  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
  • Crush’s Coaster
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure
  • Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure
  • Avengers Assemble: Flight Force
  • RC Racer
  • Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

At Disneyland Paris, most attractions actually have a sign at the Single Rider line entrance where the wait time is posted along with the regular standby wait time. No need to ask cast member for their estimate to gauge whether the time savings will be worth it.

Generally, more guests use Single Rider during the busiest parts of the day, so the lines will be longer in the afternoon and may not have significant time savings over the standby line. Using Single Rider lines mid-morning or later in the evening is often a better strategy.

3. Premier Access Ultimate & Premier Access One

Premier Access Line Remys Disneyland Paris
Remy’s is one of 15 attractions with Premier Access lines.

Disneyland Paris has two fairly new paid offerings to help guests shortcut long standby lines. So whether you are familiar with Fastpass of old in US parks or the newer Genie+ and Lightning Lane, you’ll need to learn something different at Disneyland Paris. If you are serious about avoiding lines, these are the way to do it. But of course, these options come at a cost.

Related: Disneyland Genie+ and Lightning Lane Questions Answered

Related: Tips for Maximizing Genie+ at Walt Disney World

Premier Access Ultimate

The first and most expensive is Premier Access Ultimate. It starts at €90 per person per day. On the days of our visit, the cost was €140! Premier Access Ultimate permits guests to access a fast lane for up to 14 attractions (limited to one ride on each attraction per day). No ride reservations or time slots are required. If you are familiar with Express Pass at Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood, Premier Access Ultimate is a close cousin.

Rides included are:

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

Obviously, Premier Access Ultimate is pretty cost prohibitive for most visitors. And it really isn’t necessary given that Disneyland Paris’s standby lines tend to be shorter than at the US parks. But if you only have a single day in the parks, a very generous budget, and a desire to ride everything, it could be worth the cost.

Premier Access One

More accessible price-wise is Premier Access One. It’s most akin to paid Lightning Lane at the US parks. Guests pay a price and are given the next available 1 hour time slot to return to a specific ride via a fast lane. The per attraction cost ranges from €9-18 per person per ride. Guests are limited to 3 Premier Access One purchases per day. Guests can only make a reservation for their next ride once the time slot for a ride previously booked has at least started. The list of rides available is the same 14 available with Premier Access Ultimate, but also includes one additional attraction – Orbitron.

Our family ultimately purchased just three of the Premier Access One passes during our three day visit. The three we purchased were: Crush’s Coaster which historically has the longest line at Disneyland Paris, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure which is my son’s favorite ride after experiencing it in Orlando earlier in the year, and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – a last minute selection when we had limited time to squeeze in one last ride before heading to the airport. The total cost for our family of 4 for these 3 attractions was €176. Certainly not cheap but far cheaper than 4 of us purchasing Premier Access Ultimate for a single day.

If you are serious about shortcutting a few longer waits, I highly recommend budgeting to purchase a couple of these passes. The one ride I absolutely recommend paying for is Crush’s Coaster. This is the best ride in Disneyland Paris, and it has the long lines to back that up.

As with paid Lightning Lane, just don’t pay to cut the line at times when standby lines for the attraction are short (like first thing in the morning or late at night). To maximize overall time savings, save Premier Access One purchases for mid-day when nearly every attraction in the park has its longest lines.

4. Rider Switch

Rider Switch Passes Disneyland Paris
Paper rider switch passes can be used all day long!

Like its US counterparts, Disneyland Paris has a program that allows adults to trade off caring for young kids too short or too scared to ride thrill rides. Rider Switch allows the second group of riding guests to skip the line via a fast lane so they aren’t penalized by requiring their party to wait twice.

While we don’t use Rider Switch much in the US parks anymore now that our kids are older, we found it especially helpful at Disneyland Paris. Its more intense coasters and thrill rides included a few my 9 year old wasn’t quite ready to brave.

Rider Switch is a more potent time-saving offering at Disneyland Paris than it is at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. So if you are traveling with younger kids who won’t do all the thrill rides, you absolutely should use it!

How is Rider Switch better than at the US parks? It’s much more like the offering used to be at Disneyland and Disney World a decade ago. The two most valuable features are:

  • It’s not time limited: guests are given a paper pass they can use to return any time later in the day. Save it for use when lines are longest! Or use it when part of your party goes back to the hotel for a mid-day nap or calls it a night early.
  • You request it from a cast member after riding the attraction (not before getting in line): this means you can get a Rider Switch pass even if you’ve ridden the attraction via Premier Access or via the single rider line for more time savings overall for your group (Note: on very popular rides like Crush’s Coaster, the non-riding child may need to be present by the exit to prove eligibility).

As with Rider Switch at Walt Disney World, the adult riding second with the Rider Switch pass can take one additional rider along, so big siblings get to ride twice (Disneyland in Anaheim allows two additional riders).

5. Late Night

Phantom Manor Disneyland Paris
No wait for Phantom Manor if you go late!

Last but certainly not least, another way to save time in line at Disneyland Paris is to stay late. Because the parks are a day trip for a lot of locals and there are a lot of families with little ones who can’t stay out too late, the parks empty out substantially by the dinner hour. You’ll find much shorter waits for most rides the longer you can stay until park closing.

Our first night in the park, we hit a lot of rides between 9-10:30pm. We found the following rides to be a walk on: Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Pinocchio, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Phantom Manor. We waited maybe 15 minutes for Snow White.

Note however that some rides at Disneyland Paris close before park closing time. So you need to check ride descriptions carefully for operating hours so you don’t miss out. We found that quite a few attractions in Fantasyland closed early (Snow White closed at 9:30pm on the days we were there when the park was open until 11pm). Most thrill rides, however, stay open until closing.

Disneyland Paris also has shorter park hours in winter months, so this late night strategy works best in the summer when the parks are open later.

Best Disneyland Paris Rides

Crushs Coaster Disneyland Paris
Crush’s Coaster crushes it – best ride in Disneyland Paris by far!

If you have limited ride time during your Disneyland Paris vacation, what attractions should you prioritize? Disneyland Paris has a few unique rides of its own, but most of its attractions may seem at first glance to be carbon copies of ones in the United States parks. Don’t be fooled – Disneyland Paris does these rides differently and they are absolutely worth prioritizing. Here are our family’s five favorite attractions at Disneyland Paris.

  1. Crush’s Coaster: This Finding Nemo themed coaster seats guests in a turtle shell that pivots as the vehicle goes along the track to position riders to view movie scenes. It’s a smooth ride with no inversions, but it’s in the dark so can be pretty intense. Definitely some worthy comparisons to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Walt Disney World to be seen here.
  2. Big Thunder Mountain: Big Thunder Mountain is a step up in terms of both intensity and ambiance from the versions of this attraction in Disneyland and Disney World.
  3. Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain: Space Mountain on steroids, complete with inversions (this is a real coaster, baby!) and a Star Wars theme.
  4. Phantom Manor: This is a French take on the Haunted Mansion that has a completely different story line. Much creepier and more macabre.
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Pirates at Disneyland Paris is an epic attraction with an immersive queue and several new scenes. We couldn’t decide if we liked this version a little better than Disneyland’s original – it was too close to call. But it’s definitely several steps up from the pared down version of Pirates at Walt Disney World.

Food and Dining at Disneyland Paris

Plaza Gardens Restaurant Buffet Disneyland Paris
Pleasantly surprised by the buffet at Plaza Gardens, but most food at Disneyland Paris doesn’t rate.

Disney parks usually have some pretty amazing food offerings and the entire country of France is filled with culinary delights. So a lot of visitors to Disneyland Paris expect the combination of those two to yield some amazing food results. Alas, Disneyland Paris completely fails to deliver on the food front. American visitors need to be prepared so that food is not be a focus of your time, energy, or money!

The word is out – at least in the Disney fan community – that the food in Disneyland Paris is just not great. So our family was warned, and we planned accordingly in how we approached dining.

We were pleasantly surprised though to find that counter service meals were entirely adequate. The food wasn’t really substantially any better or worse than at counter service restaurants in Disneyland or Walt Disney World. We had some solid sausages and fries at Au Chalet de la Marionnette, some decent pizza and pasta at Stark Factory in Avengers Campus, and were actually fairly pleased with the lunch buffet at Plaza Gardens.

Table service meals were where the reputation for bad food held most true. Just to test for ourselves, my husband and daughter ate at Captain Jack’s – a restaurant overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean that seemed similar to Blue Bayou at Disneyland. It was very expensive and they both said the food was darn near inedible – overcooked and flavorless. We were glad we didn’t spring for all four of us to eat there!

American guests should also be prepared to find only pretty limited snack options at Disneyland Paris. The trend of churning out new Instagrammable treats every other week apparently hasn’t hit there. Instead, you’ll likely find a few pretty pedestrian ice cream bars and basic snacks like popcorn and chips.

Key Dining Takeaways & Tips

Here are some more essential tips American visitors need to know to navigate food and dining:

  • Make plans 60 days in advance: If you must do a table service meal or two (including character dining), reservations open 60 days in advance at Disneyland Paris. Set a calendar reminder for yourself (and watch out for time zone changes), as these do book up quickly.
  • Try walkups: If you don’t have a reservation for a table service or buffet restaurant, arrive several minutes before the restaurant opens for the day and see if they can accommodate you as a walkup. This worked for us both times we tried.
  • Check restaurant hours: Strangely, a lot of counter service restaurants close even before the dinner hour at Disneyland Paris! Check hours carefully so you don’t miss a chance to eat where you’d most prefer.
  • Head outside the parks to dine: Disney Village has more dining options than the parks – especially for dinner. So when all else fails, dine there (ideally early or late as lines can be long).

How Many Days Should You Plan to Visit Disneyland Paris?

Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland Paris

If Disneyland Paris piques your interest, how much time do you need to plan to spend there? Our family visited the parks for three days, but the first and third days were only half days because of our other travel plans.

Here’s one rule of thumb to help decide. I consider Disneyland Paris to be roughly equivalent to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California in size and scope. It has fewer rides (and a weaker second park) but it has a pretty equivalent Downtown Disney space in Disney Village and more on-property hotels than Disneyland has. So if you are the kind of guest who would take a three day vacation to Disneyland, three days is probably also what you need to do Disneyland Paris justice.

That said, if you aren’t a Disney super-fan and just want to get a taste of the resort while you are on a European vacation focused more on non-theme park sights, a single day is absolutely doable. In that case, I’d probably skip Walt Disney Studios Park entirely (or hop over just to do Crush’s Coaster with Premier Access and hop back). If you already visit other Disney parks in the United States or elsewhere, focus on just what’s unique to Disneyland Paris with the time you have. I’d certainly plan to make it a very full day, starting at park opening and lasting as late as you and your kids can.

Ultimately, I felt like I was able to accomplish about 90% of what I had hoped to see and do in three days. We visited during a very hot time of the year, which made us have to slow down a bit more than we would have if the weather had been milder. And we did Disneyland Paris during the middle of a pretty ambitious and jam-packed European tour.

Additional Tips & Tricks for Disneyland Paris

Alices Curious Labyrinth Disneyland Paris
Alice’s Curious Labyrinth is a must-do with kids.

Not overwhelmed by all the advice yet? I have more! A few additional parting thoughts and tips for Americans visiting Disneyland Paris:

  • Get the Disneyland Paris app before your trip. Study the map (it’s just different enough that I promise you’ll get lost a few times!) and check out the app’s features so you can save time in the parks.
  • If you are purchasing dated tickets, they are fully refundable up until 3 days before their valid dates.
  • There are no time restrictions on park hopping at Disneyland Paris like the US parks currently have.
  • If you visit Disneyland regularly, you can skip Avengers Campus in Walt Disney Studios park. The land is pretty similar to Avengers Campus in Anaheim. The re-themed Rock N Roller Coaster (now an Iron Man and Captain Marvel attraction called Flight Force) is pretty “meh” as far as coasters go and not a must-do.
  • If you visit Disney World in Orlando regularly, you can skip Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It’s a lovely ride (and it’s the original in Paris of course), but it’s exactly the same.
  • Even if you’ve ridden Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain in Orlando or Anaheim a dozen times, don’t miss these versions of the ride in Disneyland Paris. They are very different in Paris and absolutely worth your time (or even a paid Premier Access One purchase for shorter lines).
  • Make time for non-ride attractions including play areas like Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, the Swiss Family Treehouse and Skull Rock on Adventure Isle, and various shows. Disneyland Paris doesn’t have quite the ride density of Disneyland in California but it makes up for it in ambiance and other offerings.
  • Speaking of shows, Disneyland Paris has several stage shows. You may see that you can purchase “guaranteed access” to these shows in the app in advance of your visit but there’s no need to – they are free once you get to the park!
  • But also don’t expect to show up minutes before a stage show and get in. The shows at Disneyland Paris regularly fill up – especially Mickey and the Magician. Arrive about a half hour early to maximize your chances.
  • Don’t miss the arcades that pass behind the shops on Main Street USA on either side. They are beautifully detailed as well as a great shortcut with shade to escape the crowds entering or exiting the parks.
  • Go beneath the castle! This was the one essential thing we wanted to do that we missed and I’ve been regretting it for months. There’s an awesome Audioanimatronic dragon who resides there worth seeing.
  • Disneyland Paris is currently running a drone show as precursor to its evening fireworks for the 30th anniversary. It’s amazing and worth staying up late for if at all possible.
Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Drone Show

Where to Book Your Disneyland Paris Vacation

Considering a trip to Disneyland Paris? Fill out this quote request form to get a detailed quote from Trips with Tykes partner Get Away Today.

Planning a first time trip to Disneyland Paris? Essential tips from transportation to line cutting strategies. Plus hotels, food and more. If you are an American visitor used to Disneyland and Disney World, this guide explains all the Disneyland Paris differences.

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Monday 4th of March 2024

Thanks Leslie, this is so helpful! I can't find lots of good DLP content, and I've been searching for a podcast to listen to! Disney Deciphered helped me so much planning and strategizing for WDW! Your article helps a lot to get a sense of DLP! =)


Monday 14th of August 2023

Thank you for the information! There is not much information on DLP. I'm finding it hard to schedule meals because I don't know when the fireworks/night time shows will happen. Do you know when fireworks will show in November?