I don’t think I’m alone in saying Disney is one of my favourite things on the planet. It’s part of my earliest memories, and when I’m feeling down, watching Hercules for the 47936th time brings me right back into feeling like my old self again in no time.
There truly is no denying the utter joy that a Disney trip can give you. The sights, the sounds, the smells. The happy faces all around. Balloons and Mickey-shaped treats everywhere you look. It’s not called ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ for nothing!
We may not have the huge extravaganzas like in the States, but with Disneyland Paris only a few hours away, we’re pretty lucky to have somewhere to magical so close.
Our world can be a rubbish place at times, and Disneyland is the perfect escape from it all – nostalgia is a powerful thing. If eating popcorn and going on rides all day before watching the fireworks show isn’t living your best life, I don’t know what is.
I’m reminiscing hard today about our little break last year. It was easily one of my favourite trips ever and I can’t wait to do it all over again! So without further ado, here are a few tips on how to make the best out of your Disneyland Paris visit..
If you’re in or around London – get the Eurostar. If I can avoid having to worry about a luggage allowance I will, and with fares from £29 it’s a winner in my book. We had a day in Paris before our Disney trip, so got a regular train ticket from the city centre for about €8 for a single journey. Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station is around an hour away, which is ample time to get yourself completely giddy with excitement.
It’s worth staying at one of the surrounding hotels. Several are Disney hotels – which give you the option of two extra hours of park time – but we stayed at one of the partner lodgings, Vienna House Dream Castle, as we found a good deal at the time. Comfortable, warm and friendly (with a royal palace theme, if that takes your fancy), and still felt like we were at Disney. We liked it so much that we booked another stay for this Christmas within weeks of returning, although I’d book the Disneyland Hotel in a flash if I happened to win the lottery anytime soon. All hotels on site are around 10 minutes away from Disney Village, via the free shuttle service.
Definitely book your park tickets in advance. We were guests of Attraction Tickets Direct, who have a whole host of offers available – for Disney and beyond. Your best bet is a hopper ticket, allowing you to come and go between the two parks as you please.
You can get the tickets sent out by post, or have vouchers emailed to you. We did the latter and got our real tickets at the Disneyland Park entrance without any trouble.
Disneyland Paris consists of two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park is the one that’ll take you straight back to your childhood; walking up Main Street with Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the distance is quite something! Walt Disney Studios Park is based around cinema and television – think Tower of Terror – and is home to Toy Story Playland.
Check which rides are under planned refurbishment before you book. It was pretty gutting to find out that Star Tours was closed during our visit, and I’m being totally serious when I say I’d consider rescheduling if Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was closed.
Also worth noting is the free FASTPASS service; to avoid queueing for upwards of an hour, simply scan your park ticket at the machine and receive an allocated time to jump the regular line. This cuts waiting time by around 3/4, so is well worth it if the service is available.
This totally depends on what time of year you’re planning on visiting, but comfort is key. We went in mid-December, which was (naturally) absolutely freezing – my Dr. Martens were perfect for the cold, but a trainer is ideal year-round. In warmer months, pack suncream, baby wipes and water.
As for bags, I wore a small cross body and put it into my boyfriend’s backpack for rides – there aren’t many places you can store your belongings so you’ll need to make sure they’re secure and zipped up on the attractions. I stressed a little about this before our visit, but there was absolutely no need!
We ended up spending a small fortune of coins on chocolate, crisps and Coke from the vending machine outside our hotel room during the evenings (taking comfort in the belief that holiday currency isn’t real money), so taking a supply of snacks with you is highly recommended.
During the day, we found that sharing fast food meals – usually at Café Hyperion or Casey’s Corner for ease – worked well, saving time and money. A belly full of burger and fries isn’t exactly the best idea for a day of rollercoasters anyway!
There are dozens of shops and stalls dotted around the parks – these are tempting when you’re between rides, but it’s so easy to waste valuable time looking at souvenirs and soft toys.
I made a note of what I wanted to buy and went to purchase before we got on the train home. This is also a lovely way to cushion your return to boring, grey reality.
For our next trip, I’ll definitely be making use of the Disney Shopping Service – where you’re able to have purchases delivered to your hotel, free of charge. Especially good to know if you wanted to buy anything collectible (or Christmas decorations, which can found in La Boutique du Château all year round). Genius!
A massive thank you to Attraction Tickets Direct for our passes! Do you have any Disney tips for my next visit?