I’ve written quite a lot of features about visiting the French House of the Mouse, and I suddenly realised it would probably be useful if I collated them and put them on the blog. So here, in no particular order, are My Top 10 Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. Feel free to add your own.
1. At busy times you’ll have to queue a long time for the most popular rides, so use the Fastpass system where you can. (NB: you can only get one of these passes at a time, but when you’ve used one, you can go and get another one). This is completely free (UK theme parks take note).
2. The Disney characters do a big meet and greet session at the Disneyland Hotel at 4pm on Sundays – the perfect opportunity to get lots of photos.
3. If you want to watch a parade, make sure you secure your place early, usually at least an hour before it’s due to start, so you get a good view (once you have your place you can take it in turns to go to the loo, get refreshments and so on). This is also an excellent time to go on some of the busier rides.
4. A few rides – for example, It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean – have long queues but don’t let that put you off. Because they have lots of boats the queues move fairly quickly.
5. After the parades – approximately 5pm – a lot of visitors tend to leave to go back to their hotels for a rest, so this is a good time to go on the more popular rides.
6. Some attractions, for example Blanche-Neige (Snow White), have French narration – but you’re in France. Embrace it, and if your kids are learning French at school, see if they can translate.
7. Take it easy. It’s tempting to rush from ride to ride but try to pace yourselves, and stop for a sit down and a drink/bite to eat every couple of hours. If you’re staying at one of the on-site or nearby hotels, an afternoon in the pool or a nap will do wonders to recharge your family’s batteries (and your own). You can try and see everything – but if you don’t, there’s always next time…
8. The best restaurant in Disneyland Paris – and we’ve tried them all – is Cafe Agrabah in Adventureland. The food is Middle Eastern-themed and it’s delicious. The Manhattan Restaurant and Parkside Diner at the Hotel New York are also very good.
9. Some rides are height-restricted, for example Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, so if you’re travelling with little ones, it’s best to manage expectations if you want to avoid temper tantrums (yes, I’m speaking from experience) – check the symbols on the maps first before promising they can go on.
10. If you’re staying for a few nights, book a character breakfast for one morning. These usually take place at the on-site hotels, Cafe Mickey in the Disney Village and Walt’s on Main Street. It’s a brilliant opportunity for your kids to get autographs from their favourite characters – and for you to take some photos.
And finally, don’t forget the weather can be a bit unpredictable, just like our own, so always pack waterproofs and something warm, just in case.
Oh and I know you’ll be very excited, but try not to run for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, because otherwise, this might happen.