Making Magic: Disneyland Paris Tips to Help You Plan a Great Family Trip
Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris with the kids? Sound the “Parent of the Year” contender alert! If you want to make 2019 extra special for the little ones, nothing beats the magic of Disneyland Paris. Once you step into the park, you’ll immediately find yourself transported into a whimsical world of wonder; it’s a truly surreal experience.
However, planning the trip isn’t that magical and unfortunately, since you’re an adult, it falls to you to do it. Don’t worry though, we’ve got some pro Disneyland Paris tips that will help you kickstart your Disney family holiday!
Best time to go to Disneyland Paris
OK, you’ve made up your mind, this will be the year you’ll finally tick the trip to Disneyland Paris off your family bucket list. That’s all good but when is the best time to go? Kids love Disneyland Paris anytime of the year but to find the right time for your family, you’ve got to decide what you value most.
- Want an extra layer of excitement to your trip? Visit Disneyland Paris for one of the special seasonal events. Granted, these are the busiest (and most expensive) dates of the year but it’s worth it. Our favourite is Christmas at Disneyland. Nothing brings the festive season to life like a beautiful white winter Disney fairytale. With Frozen 2 announced on the list of new kids movies to be released this year, you can only imagine your kids’ reaction to meeting Queen Elsa of Arendelle in person!
- Want to avoid the crowds? Spring (mid-January through mid-March or mid-April through mid-May) is the quietest season at Disneyland Paris. Resist the temptation to go during the school holidays and you’ll have a lot less people to deal with while you’re at the park. This means you can do more rides, as you’ll have to queue less.
- Want the best weather? Jetting off on a trip to Disneyland Paris from the UK, only to end up with a grey, rainy weather is far from ideal. If a sunny family holiday is what you’re after, summer is your best bet. It is the busiest season at the park but since the days are longer, you get to enjoy longer opening hours too.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: Aerosmith fan? You must visit Disneyland Paris before the summer! The iconic Aerosmith Rock’n Roller coaster is closing down in summer 2019. When it reopens it will run with a new Marvel superhero theme. Your last chance to experience the classic version of France’s fastest ride is now!
Booking Disneyland Paris Tickets
Booking Disneyland Paris tickets must the most confusing part of your Disneyland Paris planning experience. One thing is certain, if you want to make your money go further, you have to book online. When you’ve got a whole family visiting, every penny counts, and booking online can help you save over 40% compared to paying on the gate.
Here are our Disneyland Paris tips to keep in mind when looking for the best deal:
- Look around to bag more than just tickets. The market for cheap Disney tickets is very competitive, so online resellers, such as AttractionTix, are always offering great freebies, including discounts on food & shopping at the parks. Make sure you catch the best deal out there!
- That being said, don’t wait too long! Even though Disneyland Paris tickets sell out for certain dates, that’s not the true problem. Some of the kids’ favourite activities, such as Character dining, have to be pre-booked and they sell out much faster. The earlier you book your tickets, the earlier you can start planning your time at the parks. This is your best bet to guarantee more of the experience you little ones would like to do.
- Don’t be caught off guard by the Disney tickets age range. Be prepared that anyone aged 12 and above must have an adult ticket. Only kids under 3 go free.
- One day isn’t enough. Even with your FastPass on-hand and with all your planning done, one day simply won’t do when it comes Disneyland Paris, especially if you want to visit both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios.
- Get an open-dated ticket. Broken leg? New job? The house repairs are taking longer than expected? Plans change and it’s good to know you have the freedom to be flexible.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: Here’s a trick for you! If your kid is under 3 on the first day of your multi-day ticket, they can enter for free all the days. This means you can celebrate your little one’s 3rd birthday at Disneyland Paris without having to pay entry for the birthday boy/girl.
Disneyland Paris Hotels vs. Off-Site Hotels?
Choosing whether to stay on- or off-site is one of the biggest planning stumbling blocks for any trip to Disneyland Paris.
On-site Disneyland Paris Hotels
If you really want to be immersed in the Disney magic from the moment you arrive to the last day of your trip to Disneyland Paris, you need to stay on-site. The quality is undeniable and the themed rooms add another layer to your Disney experience. Also, don’t forget, you’d be just a 3-4 minute walk from the parks, so you won’t have to worry about transport.
The most expensive place to stay is Disneyland Hotel. It’s a proper fairytale castle for your little princes and princess. But is it the best Disneyland hotel? Mid-range options, such as the recently renovated Newport Bay hotel, will offer you a great stay too. Prices, however, fluctuate massively. A fair price for Newport Bay is around £200 per night but the same room could go for £450 on a another date. At the same time, Disneyland Hotel could cost you over £700 per night at peak times. If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider your options and probably look at staying off-site.
- Val d’Europe - This is a modern area of Paris, located just 1 RER stop away from Disneyland Paris. You won’t need more than 30 minutes from your room to the parks, including transport, and the cost per night is far lower (£75 - £150).
- Paris - If you want to marry your Disneyland Paris holiday with a trip to Paris, you may want to experience the charm of central Paris. It’s not difficult to get to Marne-la-Vallee (where Disneyland Paris is) on the RER but it takes minimum 40 minutes, so you have to slot in at least 60 min for travelling each way. Expect hotel prices start from £150 per night for a double room with a toddler.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: Did you know that the different versions Disneyland Paris website show different prices? We compared the prices for the same dates in Newport Bay on the French and the UK versions of the site and we found booking on the French version of the site came up £130 cheaper!
From Paris to Disneyland Paris & Back
- RER: Don’t be intimidated by the french language, take the RER, it’s easy! RER A is a direct line between Marne-le-Vallee and Paris City centre, which runs every 15 minutes. Marne-le-Vallee station is located 3 min on foot from Disneyland. The journey on the train takes 40-45 min. You can take the RER train from these 5 central stations in Paris: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile (by the Arc de Triomphe), Auber (by the Lafayette Gallery), Châtelet Les Halles, Gare de Lyon (biggest station in Paris) and Nation. Prices one way are €7.60 for an adult and €3.80 for a child (4-10).
- Taxi: This option is a bit more pricey. The distance between central Paris and Disneyland is over 40km, so a fair price for the journey one way would be €65 (£58). However, it could cost you up to €100 (£89). If you’re taking a taxi, we’d suggest you book the transfer online in advance, so you know the price before you go.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: Staying on-site but fancy a quick sightseeing tour of Paris? We’d suggest staying an extra night at your Disney hotel and exploring the city from there. All you have to do is go to the station and ask for a Tarif Forfait Paris Visite (Zone 1-5) pour 1 jour. This travel card gives you unlimited travel on the RER and Metro for 1 day. It’s great if you want to hop off at different famous spots around the city and show the kids a bit of Paris too. 1-day prices are €25,25 (£22) for adults and €12,60 (£10) for kids, which is quite cheap for a whole day of traveling.
Getting to Disneyland Paris from the UK
To complete the first stage of planning for you trip to Disneyland Paris, you’ve got to sort out transport from the UK. You’ve got 3 options:
- By Plane: Cheap flights to Paris aren’t that hard to find, especially with both Easyjet and Flybe covering the route. Air France and British Airways also service the route, in case you want to avoid the low cost airlines. Also, flying is the fastest way of getting there. The flight from Paris to London takes just 1h 15 min.
- By EuroStar: Travelling by train is quite convenient. London - Gare de Nord on the Eurostar takes 2h 17 min. You’ve got up to 19 trains a day, as well, so you’re flexible on time. The new Eurostar trains have electricity sockets be every seat, so you can keep your phone charged and let the kids play on the tablet throughout the journey.
- By Car: Fancy a road trip? You can drive from the UK straight to Disneyland Paris but it’s a nearly 12-hour journey. To cross the Channel, you’ll either need to go under the Eurotunnel (takes 35 min to cross), or you can take a ferry (Dover - Calais is 2h 30min, so you can take a break from driving). If you’re going by car, make sure you check the speed restrictions and driving requirements in France.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: We LOVE the Eurostar! What you lose in travel time compared to flying, you gain back in shorter waiting time at the station. You don’t need to turn up 3 hours early when you’re taking the train; you need to be there only 60 min in advance. Plus, you’ve got no pesky restrictions on luggage weight and liquids. We don’t have to tell you how handy that is when you’ve got kids with you!
Plan your time at Disneyland Paris, too!
Travel, hotel and Disneyland Paris tickets all booked? Now it’s time to start planning the more exciting part of your trip - your time at the parks!
- Height restrictions apply on some rides. Make sure you know which rides are suitable for the kids in your group and plan which ones you want to do. Smart planning guarantees you’ll do more in the time you’re there.
- Learn how FastPass works and use it to queue-jump as many rides as possible. Unlike at Disney World Florida, at Disneyland Paris, you can only book same-day FastPasses and you can only hold one per person at any given time. Bare this in mind when planning your itinerary.
- Read up on all the family-friendly facilities offered by Disneyland Paris, including Baby Switch - the features which allows both you and your partner to do adult rides without having to wait in line twice.
- Make dining reservations as early as possible. The most popular places, especially Character Dining, sell out fast.
Pro Disneyland Paris Tip: Don’t hesitate to put time into planning your trip to Disneyland Paris. It will pay off later, trust us! You don’t want to waste your precious time at the park feeling lost and wondering where to begin.
We hope these handy Disneyland Paris tips will help you plan the best trip to Disneyland ever!
Looking for great theme parks in the UK to get you hyped for the trip to Disneyland Paris? Try these:
Best theme parks for the under-7s | 10 best theme parks in the UK | Best indoor water parks in the UK