Read on to see my Disneyland Paris Tips and Reviews...and please, please do share your Disneyland Paris experiences and tips in the comments!!
Disneyland Paris is a trying experience which can be best likened to a roller coaster ride. The catch however is that instead of being safely and comfortably nestled into the coaster, you are on foot...in a labyrinth pushing your children in cumbersome strollers around and around and up and up the tracks...only to have brief moments of relief (and perchance fun) on the way down.
Don't feel bad if you cannot understand the Disney website, maps, guides or any other information packs whilst planning your visit. Disneyland Paris is just hard to wrap your head around without actually experiencing it...you will understand many things AFTER you have experienced the pain of long queues in the rain with very, very low blood sugar levels. If English or French is not your first language...then you are in for a real misinformation meltdown treat.
Don't feel bad if you feel like you have missed something. Don't feel bad if you feel like the people at reception just gave you the secret keys to the palace but you lost it amongst the twenty other things they handed to you with your room key. Don't feel bad if you get lost on the way to your room. Disneyland Paris is overwhelming.
Here are some tips for "expectation management" purposes only :-)
- Don't go. If this is not an option and you just absolutely have to go then at least try to time your trip well and adjust the duration wisely.
- Stay two nights/ three days MAX. With a shorter stay you will not go on all of the rides...but you will not miss out on anything but the pain of everything dragging on.
- Just go for the day. Stay in Paris and go just for one long painful day trip.
- AVOID SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS & HOLIDAYS...at all costs. 45 minute queues become 120-200 minute queues on the weekend.
- Wear lots of light layers. Wear comfortable shoes. Get ready to feel the burn.
- Don't expect to lose weight though as you will constantly be eating fried food, carbs, cheese, meat, cream, potatoes, popcorn and sugar in all its spectacular forms.
- It will either rain or you will get sunburned. No way to plan around this point. But the air itself is very fresh and clean.
- Get ready to be shocked by how GREEN Disneyland Paris is...the fall foliage was breathtaking...the gardens and trees are beautiful and well kept...a very pleasant surprise. The park and Disneyland Hotel are very very green and have beautiful views of the gardens and fountains from many of the rooms...the studios are not very green. The other Disneyland Hotels also have great landscapes and greenery.
- Stay at Disneyland Hotel if you are going with little kids and need a place to nap and recharge once in a while. It smells a little, it is like a labyrinth, there are queues at the elevators, it is Victorian (my least favourite aesthetic style), it is crowded, it is huge and a pain to walk from one end to the other BUT the location is great.
- Eat at the Disneyland Hotel. Not because the food is awesome but because you actually don't have to queue to meet some Disney characters...don't expect princesses though, just old school Disney (Mickey, Pinocchio and gang). This is also the only restaurant that you will not need to make reservations at as you get to wait in line for one of the many, many tables.
- Make reservations at the restaurants before you go. Or when you get there...The food is really sub-par in all of the restaurants. Overcooked-undercooked, bland-greasy...Do not expect culinary delights and great service but definitely make reservations...you will thank me for this one later. The fast food options also involve long queues and unsavoury smells. Visit Chez Remy (for decor), Blue Lagoon (for decor), Inventions (for characters), Auberge de Cendrillon (for princesses) are good options. The buffets are all pretty horrid.
- Expect your kids to go crazy over the shops. Expect to overspend on silly little trinkets.
- Expect melt-downs and temper tantrums from overstimulation, exhaustion and the repetition of queuing for minutes on end. Your children might also experience these:-) If possible, don't take your husband...share the beautiful photos with him instead. Go two moms and four kids max. Disneyland is not for everyone.
- Don't be surprised when the ride you have queued for for 45 minutes lasts 45 seconds. Most rides last about 90 seconds.
- Don't be fooled by height requirements. My three year old is tall but was freaked out by several of the rides for 1.02 cm.
- Don't expect to see Elsa and Anna anywhere but in the Parade....ohhh and of course expect to see one billion little Elsa and Anna's running around everywhere...(multiply the one billion by 70 euros each and expect to be stupefied by the amount of money Disney generates through merchandise sales).
- Expect to be surprised by how generally friendly the staff is.
- Watch the parade...watch it everyday. It will be what remains most in everyone's mind. Look at the gallery below for some candid parade photos...
- Expect your kids to be really, really happy at one point and just really, really cranky the next.
- Do not expect a price-value balance. Period. Disneyland Paris is overpriced.
- Expect lots of high's and lo's which might or might not cancel each other out in the end...When the pain subsides and the credit card bills are paid...some splendid memories will most likely remain in your heads and hearts.