So I’ve talked about our favourite things to do in Disneyland Paris and shared my favourite pictures, now it’s time to tell you our top tips, just in case you’re planning your own trip.
#1 Stay at one of the Disneyland Park hotels.
I know they can be expensive, but if you can get a deal on them it’s well worth it as you’ll get to go into the park two hours earlier than anyone else, which is a real lifesaver. We were able to use those first two hours on both days to do the rides that had crazy long queues during normal opening hours, which meant we had more time later in the day to have a sit down and a break or a leisurely peruse of the shops. If we hadn’t had those two hours we would have been running round like headless chickens! Also it means you’re super close to the park, so you can pop back there to grab the waterproofs, for an hour nap in the middle of the day or just get your shopping delivered back there each day rather than lugging it around with you.
#2 Don’t stay in the Disneyland Park until the spectacular lightshow begins at 11pm.
You’ll end up with fractious kids or sitting around knackered for two hours waiting for it to start. I’m not kidding we saw people choosing their spots for the show four hours early at 7pm, no one needs to do that! Instead get dinner at one of the hotels or restaurants outside the park and head back in a 10.40. You don’t need to be near the front to see what’s going on, in fact being further back is better as you can see everything without straining your neck. And bonus you’re closer to the exit to leave.
#3 Don’t assume you’ll find all the same products in each Disney shop.
Because you won’t. They do have a lot of things in the main Disney shop that are scattered throughout the park, but it’s unlikely you’ll find all the Ratatouille themed things that are in the shop by this ride in the main shop outside the park. The same goes for the Pirates ride, the Jungle Book stuff, etc.
#4 If there’s the chance to get food with your hotel booking go for it
We did this and it meant we’d already paid for two main meals, two breakfasts and two afternoon snacks (hot drink and ice cream/cake) before we even arrived. The breakfast was good as it was a huge buffet so if you wanted to you could make lunch using the bits you find in the buffet – rolls, bread, ham and cheese but the real win came with the two main meals. You can claim these back at many of the bigger restaurants in the park and they generally include a three course meal and a drink, which is pretty expensive when you’re actually in the park. We ate at the diner and the Pirates of the Caribbean restaurant using these and I’m 99% certain we wouldn’t have paid the amounts on the day, but because we’d paid for it ahead of the trip it was perfect.
#5 Book some of the restaurants ahead of your trip.
Yes I know this sounds weird and in fact it goes against everything I believe in when it comes to holiday, namely spontaneity. However the restaurants get booked out so early, we ended up having to go for the nicer restaurants at lunchtime and sticking to the diner or buffet ones in the evening – at 9pm or later. So it’s certainly worth thinking ahead if you really want a nicer meal out altogether or want to try a specific restaurant.
#6 Be aware and open to the single rider options.
On a number of the rides, mainly the newer ones like Ratatouille, there’s the option of joining a separate queue if you’re happy to ride without your friends and with randoms. This generally means you cut the queue time down from an hour to ten minutes or less. And whilst it does mean you have to ride with random people that’s not really that big a deal if you’re not fussed about the ride photos (waste of money). We did this on a number of rides and it made such a difference, meaning we could go on a ride four or five times compared to others doing it just the once.
Have you been to Disneyland Paris? What would you recommend to someone visiting for the first time?