What to do, and what to skip, when visiting Disneyland Paris as an adult
Disneyland is the most magical place on earth. It really is. I still remember my visit to Anaheim with I was 9 years old, where I went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride before the movies were a thing, flew to Neverland on the Peter Pan ride, and had my autograph book signed by Pluto not once, but twice.
After 8 years of living in Europe, I finally made it to Disneyland Paris. It was a quick decision, where friends were going and I replied yes to the invite without even considering what I was signing up for.
It was on the back of two long trips in one month, and I didn’t put enough thought into it. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a bigger group with an expert who gets you on the list for all the right things!
Will you be visiting Disneyland Paris? Here are the things you need to think about before you go:
Stay as close as you can to the park
We stayed in Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch on our visit to Disneyland Paris. Sounds legit, no? It’s great if you’ve got a family, and a car, and need a kitchen and living room. There were six of us squished into a two bedroom cabin (see photo below), and it worked for our quick visit, but it wasn’t as comfortable as we thought it was going to be. Without a car you can find yourself in a cabin that’s quite a walk away from the check-in area, we had to organise our time and book large Ubers that cost €20-30. If you’re able to stay on-site at the park, it will enhance your experience immensely.
Book everything in advance
Our Disney expert (ie. my friend Amelia) was messaging us for weeks about reviewing restaurants and making reservations. We were getting in to Paris around dinner time on Friday, so weren’t sure if we’d need one dinner or two. In the end, we lost nearly every free table she had found because we booked around a week before. The food in Disneyland wasn’t very good overall, but they have some really cool themes for their restaurants. If anything, book for your favourite decor, and book early!
There are places to store bags (but no alcohol)
It took me a while to figure this out, and even as I walked towards the front of the park, I wasn’t 100% sure if the information was accurate or up to date. I could have been forced to carry my wheely case around Disneyland! As I got closer I saw a French sign that vaguely looked like concierge, and I wandered off that way. I came around the corner and, ta-da! There is a full luggage storage room with attendants. They take your items and charge you based on size. I was pleasantly surprised that storing my carry-on wheely was only going to cost €6. I got to enjoy the park handsfree, and picked it up when I was ready to leave.
You can bring small backpacks on most rides
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I’d bring to the park, and how small of a bag I could get away with. I thought they’d tell you to leave your bags in a bush if they were too big! Good news though, even on the roller coaster rides you were able to take your small backpacks and handbags with you.
Get a spot early for the Disney Illuminations evening show
We got carried away with the line-free rides in the last half hour of the park being open, and didn’t allow enough time to get back to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to see the Disney Illuminations show, which starts at around 10pm every evening as the park is closing. Even though I thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, it was pretty spectacular (from what I could see from behind some tree branches). Get there early to see it once!
Get the app to watch line times
Of course Disneyland has an app! I didn’t get it, and misplaced my map, so felt pretty lost for the first few hours of our main day in the park. Once I realised that we could check line times of all the rides, and see where they were on the map, right on a phone, we had an easier time planning.
Also, don’t underestimate the lines. You can be waiting 90 minutes for a 3 minute ride! Plan ahead and start early.
Want more Paris tips? Click here!
Study the rides the night before
Take time to read through a map and the ride descriptions before your first visit to the Disneyland park. Once you know what kind of ride it is, what category it’s in, how scary it is, you can easily bounce through the park without wasting any time.
Don’t get fast food in Disneyland, the good stuff is next door at Universal
On our one full day in Disneyland Paris, we had lunch at a hot dog joint. It looked like the best (and nearly only) option around, and we weren’t the only ones who thought that. Later that day we went next door to Universal Studios, and walked down this beautiful street of food from around the world. Definitely time your visit to head to Universal Studios to get your meals!
The last thing we did was have a Royal Breakfast with Disney Princesses in Auberge de Cendrillon. The food was nice, but I can’t fully recommend it if you’re not a child or with children. We were completely overlooked by the princesses despite being nearly as excited to meet them as the kids! I do understand since we’re grown-up women (sigh), but you wouldn’t as much for that particular breakfast without a few princesses wandering around.
All in all, it was a really fun experience, even if we flew in and out in two days. You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy the magic of Disney!
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