Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris
Amusement parks,  Disneyland,  family time,  France,  Kids

Fun times at Disneyland Paris: with and without kids

We’ve been to Disneyland Paris three times: once before Yuri was born, in 1999. Back then it was still called EuroDisney. Twice with Yuri in 2014 and 2019. In 1999 we went in the Summer and spent one day at EuroDisney. In 2014 it was a winter visit with an almost 4 year old boy and last time was 20 years after our first visit to Disneyland Paris, again in the Summer. Both visits were 3 days, 2 nights. We’ve enjoyed ourselves every single time.

In this blog I will highlight things to do in Disneyland Paris and how our experience was. At the end I will shortly compare Disneyland Paris to Disneyworld Orlando and Disneyland Anaheim. The other 2 Disney parks we have visited.

Where is Disneyland Paris

Well, duh, in Paris ofcourse, well not quite. You see Disneyland Paris isn’t located in Paris itself, its in Marne-la-Valleé. Which is approximately 40 kilometers East of Paris, in a banlieue of Paris. Reachable by car or public transport. Closest is the Garre de Marne la Valleé Chessy. When arriving by car and not staying at one of the Disney hotels, then there are 2 parking garages. The first one is Parking gare de Chessy Marne-la-Valleé, which is not that far from the Disney parks and there’s Parking Saemes Val d’Europe-Serris Montévrain. From which you take the RER to the parks.

Paul and Yuri at a bridge at Disneyland Paris
Paul and Yuri at a bridge

We’ve arrived by train and by car, in 1999 we took the train from the center of Paris to Marne-la-Valleé, which went well. The other 2 times we arrived by car, and parked at the hotel we were staying at.

Things to do at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris contains 2 parks: Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park. Both require separate entrance tickets or a combined ticket.

Other things are Disney Village, the party- and shopping town in front of the parks. No entrance fee, but if you want to eat, drink or buy something you have to pay for it as in any other establishment. Lastly, there’s Golf Disneyland, a 27-hole golf course with a club house. The golf course has an entrance fee.

Disneyland Park

It’s the original park from 1992. Disneyland Park starts with Mainstreet USA and the Sleeping Beauty castle in the middle. Around it are Discoveryland, Fantasyland, Adventureland and Frontierland. With in total 40 attractions.

Yuri and Cosette in front of Disneyland Park
Yuri and Cosette in front of Disneyland Park

There are 5 shows on offer, Disney Illuminations (the fireworks show) and Disney Stars on Parade. Next to that you can meet so many Disney characters: Pluto, Donald, a Disney Princess or Darth Vader.

Just before the Illuminations show
Just before the Illuminations show
Disney Stars on Parade
Disney Stars on Parade

Walt Disney Studios Park

The second Disney Park in Paris opened in 2002. It’s next to the entrance of the first one. Walt Disney Studios has 11 attractions and 5 shows based on Disney and Pixar. Further more you can meet Buzz Lightyear, Mary Poppins or Olaf. Walt Disney Studios is the smallest Disney Park of the world. The park consists of themed areas, it’s built up as a real filmstudio with a Frontlot, Production Courtyard and Toon Studio. There was also the theme area Backlot, which is being replaced with Avengers Campus.

Walt Disney Studios entrance
Walt Disney Studios entrance

Our experience

All 3 times we loved visiting Disneyland Paris. The first time we were 19 and 20 and it was our first vacation together. We went to Paris for 10 days and visited EuroDisney for one day by train.

Back in 1999
Back in 1999

We loved wandering around the park, back in 1999 there was no Walt Disney Studios Park yet. Since we came by train we couldn’t stay until the fireworks show. Our favorite was Space Mountain.

Second visit to Disneyland Paris

Pluto and us
Pluto and us

In 2014 we went with Yuri, who was then almost 4 years old. It was his second time to a Disney Park, Disneyland Anaheim was the first one at one years old, but he had no memory of his first visit. He loved it! We had our picture taken with Pluto and with Donald Duck, which he liked. No other pictures with characters, since he was a little bit scared of people in suits. We watched the Illuminations show with a sleeping Yuri. The rides where fabulous to see through our son’s eyes. Buzz Lightyear and the tea cups being his favorite.

Yuri sleeping on Paul's shoulders
Yuri sleeping on Paul’s shoulders
Disney Illuminations show at Disneyland Paris
Disney Illuminations show

Our second visit to Disneyland Paris was 2 nights, 3 days on a weekend. We stayed at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge and loved it there. We parked our car at the hotel parking lot and walked every day to the park, only the first time we went by shuttlebus. On this visit we got to visit Walt Disney Studios, watch the parade and for a few rides. We went to a Disney Junior show which Yuri loved. All in all our visit was a success. But what was the one thing Yuri loved most about our visit? The safety first movies from Timoon and Pumba playing in our hotel room.

Disney Junior show
Disney Junior show

Third visit to Disneyland Paris

Our third time to Disneyland Paris was last Summer, it was our 6th visit to a Disney Park and Yuri’s 5th. He knew what to expect this time, although there were Disney World Orlando expectations. He didn’t remember our visit from 5 years before.

Apart from the downpour on our first afternoon, we loved our 3rd visit to Disneyland Paris. We stayed again for 2 night, 3 days on a weekend and celebrated Paul’s 40th Birthday here with the 3 of us. For the second we stayed at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge and enjoyed our nights here. Yuri’s favorite attractions are Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Big Thunder Mountain. I am still captivated by It’s a small world. At Walt Disney Studios we like the Stitch live show. Paul and Yuri loved Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. I didn’t visit that attraction, since I have severe motion sickness and was already a bit nauseous from Crush’s coaster.

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

We went one evening to the fireworks show Disney Illuminations and loved it again. Although different than 5 years ago. We further enjoyed the Disney Stars on Parade in the afternoon. At around eleven, at the official opening of the park there’s also a parade with a cheery theme and lots of dancers and some wagons. It was so fun to watch. This visit was again a success, despite getting soaked on our first day.

A dragon during the opening parade at Disneyland Paris
A dragon during the opening parade

Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris

After 3 visits to Disneyland Paris we have a few tips on how to do it and have a fun time.

  1. Get there on time. When starting at one of the Disney hotels, you have early access. Use this, it’s much more quiet, You can ride a lot of attractions before the crowds come in around 11 am.
  2. If traveling with young kids or with someone who is disabled visit in the morning and then go back to the hotel and/or a restaurant in Disney Village. Go back at the end of the afternoon, when crowds are less again.
  3. When able to, walk to the park from the hotel. You can determine your own time to come and go. When not able you can take the shuttlebus at the hotel.
  4. Have a plan. Before you go in, determine together where you start and what route your gonna take. It gives us peace of mind to know where we’re going.
  5. Use the fastpass. This gives 2 earlier starts a day, which saves time. Use them on the really crowded attractions.
  6. If you’re disabled or with reduced mobility get an Priority card, so that you can stand in a separate line, which is most times shorter. And then you can stay longer in the park, and do more rides, which other wise wouldn’t be possible. My husband wouldn’t have been able to stand that long in line for every attraction. There’s a lot of walking to be done at the parks.

Hotels & Restaurants

Hotdogs at Casey's corner
Hotdogs at Casey’s corner

There are many great restaurants in both the parks and Disney Village. If that isn’t enough the hotels have restaurants also. None of them are cheap. We love Annette’s Diner and King Ludwig’s Castle in Disneyland Village. In the main park we liked Casey’s Corner, Café Hyperion, Silver Spur Steakhouse and Fuente del Oro Restaurante. Don’t miss the Mickey waffles at Walt Disney Studios Park, they’re cute and delicious.

Mickey waffle
Mickey waffle

Hotels

Disneyland Paris has several hotels. The closest to the parks is the Disneyland Hotel. Its at the entrance to Disneyland Park. Just outside Disneyland Village are the Disney’s Hotel New York, Disney’s Sequoia Lodge and Disney’s Newport Bay Club. We stayed twice at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge and liked our stay there. Disney’s Hotel New York is being remodeled into the Art of Marvel theme. A little further are Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe and Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne. Furthest is Disney’s Davy Crocket Ranch.

Our room at Sequoia's lodge
Our room at Sequoia’s lodge

Comparing Parks

We’ve visited 3 Disney Parks, next to Disneyland Paris we also went to Disney World Orlando and Disneyland Anaheim. Disney World is on top for us. Its Yuri’s favorite since it has water parks. He simply loves those. We loved Disney World the most for that its so large, the good weather, Epcot and the water parks. We also liked Disneyland Anaheim, Yuri was to young to remember it. Toon town was our favorite back then. And Disneyland Paris will always be the first Disney Park we visited. All 3 are great and worth your time.

At Disneyland Anaheim
At Disneyland Anaheim
Yuri at Typhoon Lagoon
Yuri at Typhoon Lagoon

Conclusion

We loved our time at Disneyland Paris and will visit again. The Disney Magic is real and takes us all in its grip with every visit.

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