If you read my last post (and if you haven’t, please do) you will know that we recently enjoyed a trip to Disneyland Paris. I learned a couple of things from this visit, and they are as follows. Number One: DLP is a million times more fun if you visit when the characters aren’t on strike. This is a reference to our first visit a few years ago, all is explained in the previous post. I’m probably never going to let it go. Number Two: You won’t get the best out of this place if you just turn up and wing it. Do a little research first. Luckily, I did. Let me share what I learned with you.
Get Social Before You Go.
A search for ‘Disneyland Paris’ on any search engine or social media will throw up a ton of results. This is a subject that people like to talk about. I found the group Disneyland Paris for Brits on Facebook and it helped me out massively pre departure. It’s a well run, very social and active page. Members share information, deals, report location of certain characters in the park. I got a ton of advice on here about airport transfers, characters and hotels. So if you want the answer to a question, a recommendation or just some fellow Disney enthusiasts to chat to… get social.
Plan Your Pre-Park Purchases.
DLP is a magical place, but the magic doesn’t come cheap. Decide in advance what you will buy at the park and what you’ll purchase ahead of time. We bought Mouse ears via Ebay to take with us, but picked out Autograph books and pens at the Disney Store on the way into the park. I’ve heard of some people picking up budget friendly Disney Merch at home, wrapping it in Disney paper and leaving it in the hotel room for children to discover as a gift from their favourite character. Plan ahead…if you don’t , you’ll find everything you need on site but it will cost you. And we ain’t talking a fiver.
Get the App.
Wait times, schedule of events, the location of shops and restaurants, descriptions of attractions. The Disneyland Paris App will be your best friend for up to date information on the go.
A glimpse at Google or Pinterest will confirm that, for some, dressing for Disney is a serious business. There is no denying that getting a bit Disney-ed is part of the fun. But dress for practicality. Layers and comfy footwear. Your going to spend a lot of time standing and walking, and clambering in/out/onto/down from rides. No one needs to see tomorrows laundry.
Pack Snacks…Snack Packs!
Everybody’s gotta eat. But stopping off for food will eat up both your time and your money. Fill up at breakfast , book in an evening meal and have snack packs on hand for inbetween. Think cereal bars, dried fruit, sweet treats, crisps and protein bars. Bonus points if you are organised enough to pack down each days snacks into pre-organised zip loc bags. I wasn’t, but there is some serious snack pack inspiration on Pinterest and DLP for Brits, so I might give it a go on my next trip. You’ll find drinking fountains across the parks too, take a refillable bottle. And one of those tiny bottles of squash if you prefer a bit of flavour.
Get to Grips with Fast Pass.
Fastpass is a free service that allows you to book a slot to ride some of the most popular attractions. Use your park ticket on the Fastpass machine at the attraction you want to ride on and return at your allotted time. In the meantime, you are free to enjoy the rest of the parks. A great service, but it’s also worth checking waiting times. We got to the Ratatouille Experience at about 10.30. The Fastpass time was 16.25…but the wait time was only forty minutes. So we bit the bullet and waited. But it doesn’t matter if you Fastpass or wait it out …
Be Prepared to Queue.
For the rides. For the restaurants. To meet the characters. To use the toilets. To have your bag checked at security. You will queue for everything. And if you want a good spot for the parade, get it early and be prepared to wait. If you don’t get a good spot soon enough, head for the entrance of the park near where the parade ends. We got a pretty good place there ( good luck, not good management) and this is where the parade slows down to end so a bit easier to see the characters. It’s worth having something to pass the time in the longer queues, or if you don’t mind snacking on the hoof, use that time for a nibble and a drink.
Make Time for the Disney Village.
Disney Village is located between the two parks and you don’t need a ticket to visit.Lots to see and do here, and a nice atmosphere. Highlights for us included the Lego store and a Starbucks with the friendliest staff I have ever encountered. It’s a good place to retreat to between parks for a break and you’ll find a range of food options here too including the Rainforest Cafe and trusty McDonalds.
Throw Yourself Into It!
Overlook the fact that a trip here can feel like scattering money like confetti. Don’t worry if you initially feel a bit silly in Mouse ears. Put everyday life on the back burner and get into the Disney zone. Forget about being a grown up. As Walt Disney himself said, “That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up” .
If you have any tips or hints to add, I’d love you to add them in the comments.