Disneyland Paris, in the Paris suburb of Marne-la-Vallée, has the Disney Empire's European variant of their archetypal "Magic Kingdom" theme park. It was the second Disney theme park resort to open outside the United States, after Tokyo Disney Resort.
- "To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Once upon a time, a master storyteller, Walt Disney, inspired by Europe's best loved tales, used his own special gifts to share them with the world. He envisioned a Magic Kingdom where these stories would come to life, and called it Disneyland. Now his dream returns to the land that inspired it. Euro Disneyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world." — Michael D. Eisner, April 1, 1992
- "To all who enter the studio of dreams, welcome. Walt Disney Studios is dedicated to our timeless fascination and affection for cinema and television. Here we celebrate the art and the artistry of storytellers from Europe and around the world who create the magic. May this special place stir our own memories of the past, and our dreams of the future." — Michael D. Eisner, March 16, 2002
Disneyland Paris consists of two parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, and a shopping district, Disney Village. Disneyland Park is the park everybody has heard of and expects, and Walt Disney Studios Park has a more general movie making theme - but it's still very Disney. The Village is comprised of stores and restaurants.
Disney's theme parks are famous for their "Audio-Animatronics," attention to detail, service mentality, crowds and high prices. The intention is to completely recreate the "magic" of the Disney franchise; employees are not "staff" but "cast members"; the park is kept insanely clean; and everywhere you will find a perfectly running machine. For example, you won't find the same Disney character twice within sight - there are no duplicates. Families are clearly the focus of Disneyland, so that no one feels neglected.
All the theme parks follow basically the same setup, but of course there are many regional differences.
The total commercialism is something you have to either accept, ignore or enjoy. Besides the merchandise stores at every corner, many rides are "sponsored" by various large corporations.
To make the experience even more magical and enjoyable, the City of Light is just a half-hour train ride away.
When to visit
With 15 million visits in 2010, Disneyland Paris has overtaken the Eiffel Tower as the most popular tourist destination of the Paris region, and is the fourth most visited theme park in the world, behind Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland. Likewise, it is infamous for its crowds. At all attractions all over the park you will see barricades and signs along the lines of "Waiting time at this point - 45 minutes".
For an enjoyable visit to Disneyland Paris, it is essential to consider what time of year you plan to visit. Ideally, you want good weather and as few crowds as possible, but off peak times of year may have more limited entertainment shows, parades and firework shows. Some rides may also be closed for maintenance during the quieter times of year. If you really want the full Disney experience then July - August is best, but with most schools in Europe having their summer break during this time then it won't be a quiet visit!
With all things considered, the best time to visit Disneyland Paris is on weekdays outside of public holidays and school vacations. The quieter months seem to be September – October and May – June, but this can vary (especially during special events as Halloween). Considering the French weather, June is likely the safest bet, but warmer weather will bring bigger crowds. However, if you are lucky, you won't have to queue at all except for the very popular rides, and even then the waiting time can be as low as a few minutes. During the quieter times it can also to be easier to get cheaper travel packages - check online or with your travel agent.
Even when the park is not very crowded you will have trouble seeing all of the attractions in one day. For a more or less complete tour, you will need at least two days. It also saves time to stay at the Disney hotels as they are closest to the park and most offer shuttle buses.
It must be said that Disneyland Paris is a lot of fun but waiting for each ride for 45 minutes or more can be stressful, especially with small children. However, see below for the "Premier Access" service, which allows you to beat the queues.
After you arrive, first get to your hotel if you have booked one. You will get your tickets here, as well as information material (maps) and breakfast vouchers.
Disneyland Resort Paris is connected to both international airports in Paris.
- From Charles de Gaulle International Airport, (CDG IATA), SNCF operates high-speed trains (TGV) to the resort from Terminal 2. The trip takes about 10 minutes.
Some TGV notes:
- Availability: The TGV has limited seats, so book the ticket in advance. You can do it online, in the ticket machines or in a SNCF office. Sometimes tickets may be terminated both online and in the ticket machines but you can still buy them in the SNCF ticket office.
- Ticket machines: Most of them accept only credit card payments. Few of them accept cash, but only using small cut banknotes (€5/€10/€20).
- Online payment: After buying a TGV ticket online, you will have to validate it in a ticket machine at the station. The validation requires your credit card used for that transaction, and its PIN. This is crucial, because of technical reasons the confirmation must be done automatically in a ticket machine and can't be done manually by TGV office operators, so e.g. don't forget your credit card and its PIN.
- From Orly Airport (ORY IATA), you will need to take three trains: Orlyval (from Orly Airport to Antony), RER B (from Antony to Chatelet-Les Halles), and finally RER A (from Chatelet-Les Halles to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy).
Alternatively, Magical Shuttle operates buses to Disneyland from both airports, costing €20 for adults and kids 7 and over, and €16 for children aged 3–6 one way. Under 3s travel free. The trip takes about 50 minutes.
One choice if you live in France or in a nearby region (Central Germany, southern regions of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) is to drive. The highway system of France is extensive and often quiet. Disneyland is located just off junction 14 of the A4 (E50), about 35 km east of Paris (Porte de Bercy). You should keep a supply of cash and/or credit cards ready, however, as the motorway (autoroute) system is tolled and quite expensive. For example, a trip from Frankfurt to Disneyland can cost approximately €30 in toll fees.
Coming from the United Kingdom
If you are driving from the United Kingdom, note that France drives on the right.
Travel times to Disneyland Paris can vary depending on how you enter the country, but on average from Calais you can expect a journey time of 4 hours.
The best way to reach Disneyland Paris, which has its own railway station, is by train: they are reliable and run frequently. Note that when booking tickets the official name of the station is Marne-la-Vallée Chessy (that information is more useful for ticket machines as employees all know the station for Disneyland).
RER A runs from central Paris to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, with frequent trains taking 35 min for the journey. Be aware that a Paris Metro ticket is valid on RER only for travel within Zone 1 (Disneyland Resort Paris is in Zone 5). If you use a Paris Visite, Mobilis or Navigo pass, make sure that it reads Zones 1-5 and not Zones 1-3. In either case, using an invalid ticket will result in a €25 fine.
The seven main rail terminals in central Paris, the trains that serve them, and directions from them to RER A are explained in the chart below. All of them are served by the Metro and/or RER.
|Station||Services||Directions to RER A4|
|Gare du Nord||Thalys
|RER B or D to Chatelet Les-Halles|
|Gare de l'Est||TGV
|Paris Metro Line 4 to Les Halles|
|Gare Saint-Lazare||23 Transilien lines
4 Grandes Lignes lines
|Paris Metro Line 14 to Gare de Lyon|
|Gare de Lyon||4 Transilien lines
3 Grandes Lignes lines
|Served by RER A|
|Gare de Bercy||TER Bourgogne
|Paris Metro Line 14 to Gare de Lyon|
|Gare d'Austerlitz||Paris-Orléans-Limoges-Toulouse main line
||Walk to Gare de Lyon|
TER Basse Normandie
|Paris Metro Line 4 to Chatelet|
or Line 6 to Nation
From elsewhere in France and other countries
Eurostar operates daily services from London's St. Pancras station and Ebbsfleet and Ashford in Kent direct to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy taking, on average, 2-4 hours (it depends on the time of day as for most services you will need to change trains at Lille station). You can then leave your luggage at the station and it will be moved to your hotel while you enjoy the parks.
Marne-la-Vallée Chessy is also served by several TGV train lines from destinations across France such as Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille and Strasbourg. The station is also the hub for the Ouigo network of low-cost TGVs.
Most international railways linking Paris with other countries arrive in central Paris: see the chart above.
Visiting Disneyland Resort Paris is about as equally expensive as visiting any of the other Disney parks around the world. There are four types of tickets sold. The 1 Day 1 Park Ticket allows you to visit only one of the two parks for a full day. In addition, there are three Park Hopper tickets, which allow you to visit both parks on the same day, available in 1-, 2- and 3-day increments. The 3-Day Park Hopper ticket represents the most ecomomical deal; the ticket price per day is lowest.
There are day tickets with a specified date and day tickets with a flexible date (valid for a year) obviously the former are cheaper. The cheapest fixed date day tickets are €59 (12 and above) and €52 (3-11). In this list only the price for the latter will be listed. These prices, taken from the German version of the resort's website, were accurate as of summer 2020:
|Days||ages 3–11||ages 12+|
|Total||Per Day||Total||Per Day|
|1 Day 1 Park Ticket||€82||€82||€89||€89|
|1 Day Park Hopper||€102||€102||€109||€109|
|2 Day Park Hopper||€165||€82.50||€179||€89.50|
|3 Day Park Hopper||€201||€67||€219||€73|
|4 Day Park Hopper||€238||€59.50||€259||€64.75|
Children under age 3 are admitted free.
Also worth investigating is the Annual Pass - which appears to be cheaper for 12+ age groups than the 3 day park hopper. Buy a 1-day ticket and visit guest services once inside the park to get your annual passport (with its face price reduced by your 1 day ticket purchase price.)
You may want to check the different language versions of the site which will have different types of tickets available. The local French version often has specials that are unavailable on other sites, such as a €40 ticket with a 5-day advance purchase. Depending on the exchange rate, you may save by going to a different country's site.
Once you are in the park, your main mode of transportation will be walking. Disneyland is divided into four themed sections (Discoveryland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Fantasyland) and the central shopping and information area Main Street USA.
If you find yourself at the back of the park during heavy rain, there is an undercover walkway that will take you all the way from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to the front of the park.
Bus services exist which can take you from Disney Village and the central entrance to the hotels. These buses are free of charge.
Wheelchair accessibility is very good, and there are very few areas that have the usual obstacles, such as confined stairs, that make access impossible. A very good system of disabled access for most rides is in place, but for safety and evacuation reasons, some rides still require that the rider be able to walk or climb a ladder. It is a good idea to get a disability pass from the Information Center on arrival at the park; doing so makes it easier for staff to identify and assist disabled visitors. The pass will not grant a disabled person the right to jump the queue, but it does allow assisted access to rides via the exit gates rather than the more restrictive entrance gates.
Disneyland Paris is mainly a place for doing, not for seeing. But this doesn't mean there are no good views.
- The Castle (Fantasyland) is the dominating feature of the Park. While the cynic will notice the stark plastic construction, the castle's fascination cannot be denied by anybody who grew up with Disney style comics. Don't forget to visit the Dragon Cave through a side entrance; the sleeping dragon is one of the best Audio-Animatronics in Disneyland. You can also go up into the castle to see tapestries, models and stained glass telling the story of Sleeping Beauty and then head out onto the balcony for a view of Fantasyland.
- Throughout the day there are various Parades - some of them are quite famous. They include various Disney and non-Disney characters and are held in different parts of the Park at different times. The park map will have a listing of the schedules.
Disney characters are spread liberally throughout the park. Characters will give autographs, but their main purpose is, of course, to pose for photos. Many are available around the clock - usually the more famous characters like Mickey, Donald Duck, and so on - but some are only available at certain times. Some characters are very rare and only appear for special events and race days. Certain characters will move around during the day or may appear in different outfits. Care is taken by the Disneyland administration that no character can be met twice at the same time, meaning that during parades you probably won't see many characters as they'll be too busy on the floats!
For information about the schedule of the characters, you can inquire at most stores or information outlet and some timings may also be listed on your park map. If you have a certain character that you absolutely must meet, then check in with City Hall at the entrance on Town Square. They can help you with this information, and even organize a "Meet N Greet" with your favorite character for a hefty fee.
Be aware that there will be queues for photographs with characters and they fill very quickly, sometimes within 5 minutes. Cast members strictly enforce the character appearance times and once the queue is closed then that's it. If you have characters you really want to see, especially popular characters like Stitch or Donald Duck, then find where they are going to be and ensure that you are in the area about half an hour before they appear so you can get into the queue quickly. It is often not possible for most characters for you to just turn up and take a photo, especially during busy times.
There are many shows available throughout Disneyland Paris.
- Mickey's PhilharMagic - a 4D experience featuring Disney songs and stories and leaded by Donald Duck.
- Stitch Live - A live interaction show with Stitch. Kids can seat on the front carpet to enjoy the show.
- Disney Jr. Dream Factory - A live steampunk show with Mickey and friends from Disney Junior. Available in both French and English.
Most "activities" in Disneyland Paris consist of various rides. However, there are discos and bars in Disney Village where people meet and dance.
Easily the primary attraction of Disneyland, rides can be quite crowded depending on popularity - even on otherwise empty days at the park.
Some notable rides are:
- Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (Discoveryland) is a makeover of the classical Space Mountain ride, which now has a Star Wars theme.The ride is fast and harsh and evokes strong reactions - some love it, some hate it. Premier Access available. Height restriction (1m20).
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studios Park) A unique version with astounding decors, amazing ambiance, and great sensations. Premier Access also highly recommended. If you suffer from heart or anxiety problems this ride is not recommended as it's petrifying.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril (Adventureland) is a nice ride but does have a loop and there is a height requirement.
- Big Thunder Mountain (Frontierland) Also one of the better rides in Disneyland. Enjoyable but incredibly busy so Premier Access is a must. Post-ride photo available.
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (Discoveryland) is an interactive ride which gives you a "laser pistol" with which to fire at targets, earning points that are totted up as you go along. (If you buy a post-ride photo, your point total appears on it.) Very good fun for all ages, with all the queueing under shelter. Busy: either get there early or take a Premier Access.
- Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland), probably the best known Disney ride, is a water ride with a piracy theme. It's pretty harmless, features a lot of Audio-Animatronic pirates and is suitable for all ages. Expect your clothes and gear to possibly get a bit wet, though it's hardly a deluge. Features "Captain Jack's - Restaurant des Pirates", an expensive "pirate ambiance" restaurant. Although the ride is usually busy, its quick loading technique shortens queuing time. Don't bother with a camera or camcorder inside - it's very dark and you will get wet. Post-ride photo of yourself on the ride (taken automatically) available.
- It's A Small World is a traditionnal Disney ride about unity and brotherhood all around the world. Recommanded for families and the little ones.
- Star Tours - The Adventure Continues (Discoveryland) is a "Flight Sim" with a Star Wars theme. A must for every fan, but it's well done and should be enjoyable for most people. Pay attention for a few small jokes in the very well done set design. It can get quite busy so get a Premier Access.
- Crush's Coaster (Walt Disney Studios Park) is a very enjoyable roller coaster, mostly in the dark, themed on "Finding Nemo". You ride the East Australian Current on (in) a turtle. Height restriction (1m02). Premier Access available and very long queues; get there early or be patient. In a 60-minute queue, only half will be under shelter.
- Phantom Manor (Frontierland) A "haunted house" ride that is very well done. Pay attention to the fake cemetery on your way out for a few chuckles. The ride is in both English (voiced by Vincent Price) and French. The queue is OK but is more popular during Halloween. It may be unsuitable for very small children; it might not be a good idea to take along your baby, so leave them with some older member of the family.
If you can plan your whole day and have specific rides you want to experience, you may wish to take advantage of the Premier Access system, which is not free. When you get to a ride, you can get a ticket that allows you to bypass the bulk of the queue at a set, later time. Even when the park is only moderately crowded, it's a good idea to get these for popular rides early (Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan and Tower of Terror, for example). Premier Access exists only for a few of the most popular rides, so check in advance.
You first go to the Disneyland Paris App and simply purchase there your access. You then have to come back in that given time frame to experience the attraction. If you don't like the proposed time frame, you need to either get in the regular line or come back for a Premier Access later. There is a limited number of Access available each day so you should take them before they are all gone - especially for Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan and Tower of Terror.
This is a great system for people with very young children. Both parents/carers join the queue with their child and one parent/carer rides while the other looks after the child. Once the first person has been on the ride, they take over caring for the child and the other adult can then ride without having to queue all over again.
If you are riding the Avengers Assemble: Flight Force, the Baby Switch process is slightly different. Once the first adult has been on the ride, they collect a ticket at the exit. The second parent then has to queue through the Premier Access entrance (although the ride attendant's recommendation is merely to push your way to the front of the queue), which can take some time.
If there is one thing you will never have a problem finding in Disneyland Paris it's stores. Various themed and general stores are spread liberally throughout the park, selling Disney merchandise and general memorabilia. They carry everything from pencils to books, from Indiana Jones fedora hats to Cinderella costumes. The sky is basically the limit on the money you can spend at Disneyland Paris - you can buy glass/crystal trinkets and sword replicas in the central castle. If you come to Disneyland Paris with children, be prepared to reach deep into your pockets. A set of goodies for a child will probably set you back approximately €50. Add to this plush dolls, t-shirts and action figures ... it's easy to spend €50-100 or more a head on "souvenirs".
The main shopping area of Disneyland Paris is Main Street USA. The largest store at Walt Disney Studios Paris is Disney Studio 1, which you will see straight ahead after you enter the park. Disney Village has a large collection of retailers, including a Disney Store.
Because of the sheer number of stores there is some variation in what they will stock. For example, a shop in Frontierland may sell different cuddly plush toys when compared to a store in Fantasyland. If you are after merchandise of a specific franchise or character then speak to a cast member.
Pin trading, while present, is not hyped as much as it is in the American parks. While you can still trade and buy pins and lanyards, you will find a smaller selection and fewer traders.
The main pin trading hub is the Pueblo Trading Post shop, found at the back of Frontierland next to the Pocahontas Indian Village play area. Except for special pin trading events, the shop is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. This is the only place in the entire park to buy Limited Edition or "mystery bag/box" pins, so if you're a pin fan then it's worth popping in for a look. There are also usually a few pin traders hanging around who are mostly happy to chat about pin trading and collecting.
Disneyland Paris sports many restaurants and bars that have mostly one thing in common: They're expensive, and in the parks themselves they're universally not very good. Vegan and vegetarian options are available in all restaurants. Takeaway food is easy to find thanks to the Disneyland Paris app. If you're not eating in your hotel then Disney Village offers better options, especially for lunch. Some are simple fast-food spots, others are quite fancy.
- The cheapest food on the premises can be bought at McDonald's. Unsurprisingly, they are much more expensive than any average McDonald's. The McDonald's in Disney Village is the largest in France and can become insanely busy at lunchtime.
- The primary place to eat, drink, shop and party is in the Disney Village, which contains some nicely-themed restaurants including King Ludwig's Castle, the very atmospheric Rainforest Café, and a nice steak house.
- Perhaps the most interesting ambiance can be had in "Captain Jack's - Restaurant des Pirates" which is built inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Prices are steep, but the atmosphere is very nice. You can also look in on the ride itself which can be very entertaining.
- If you booked yourself into a Disney hotel this includes breakfast - basically an all you can eat buffet of cereal, rolls, yogurt, and so on. The food is not fancy, but it'll feed you well. You should also get vouchers for food in the Park at least once (they may offer more than once depending on the booking situation). The food is the same, but you are admitted to the park one hour before it officially opens, giving you a head start to the rides. Not all the themed "lands" are open for this, you can get a list of the ones that are from your hotel. For instance "its a small world" doesn't open until 10:00 and Autopia (cars that the kids can drive) doesn't open until 12:30.
- There is the large shopping mall Val d'Europe located near the park (one stop west on RER A, also free parking is available). This may help if you are on a budget.
- Bring something to drink into the park with you - if you're walking around for hours, especially when it's hot, you will need a lot of liquid to avoid dehydration spoiling your day. Don't forget that drinks at kiosks are very expensive. If you bring a reusable water bottle you can refill it at various free drinking fountains that are scattered throughout the parks. The tap water is perfectly safe to drink.
- There are signs at the entrance stating that there is no picnicking inside the parks. However, this rule is not strictly enforced. Just don't climb all over the ornamental fenced-off grass.
Remember that the parks close early in the winter, spring and autumn so it is hard to eat dinner in the park after dark. Also, if you are visiting for a full day, it's a good idea to go to the park early then retire to the Disney Village for lunch, returning into the park later.
Disney offers various hotels in and around the park. They vary in quality and style. All should offer a free safe to store your valuables during the day, including notebook computers (Laptops). Inquire at the reception. Most are within easy walking distance from the Park
An asterisk (*) indicates hotels that offer point exchanges to members of the Disney Vacation Club.
- The Cheyenne hotel has a Western theme. It's a bit outside - you have to take the bus to reach the Village - and it's a little on the budget side. The rooms are nice and it's a good value for the money. A walk around takes 10–15 minutes but is not that well signposted, perversely the signposts to the Park are easier to see on the way back from the Park than on the way there, but it's a fairly easy level walk. The hotel is a little on the budget side, basic, clean sort of the average travel lodge type. They offer an "all you can eat buffet" which is actually some of the best food on the Disney site.
- The Disneyland* hotel is the most lavish and expensive hotel. It is situated over the main entrance so walking into the parks isn't a problem, however this means that there is a bit of a walk to Disney Village and Lake Disney.
- The New York* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. This hotel now has a Marvel theme.
- The Newport Bay* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. The theme is New England. Due to its many balconies and a very large swimming pool, this is a great hotel to stay at in the summer and offers great views out into the lake and beyond.
- The Sequoia Lodge* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. The hotel consists of a main block where most of the rooms are and a number of smaller blocks scattered throughout the woods surrounding the hotel. It's quite a nice place to explore.
- The Santa Fe hotel is situated on the other side of the river beside the Cheyenne hotel. You can reach the parks by walking but may prefer to take the bus as it is a ten to fifteen minute walk to the park. It's probably the cheapest hotel of them all.
- The Davy Crockett Ranch is situated 5 minutes drive away (you have to have a car as there is no shuttle). It is quite different from the other hotels and consists of separate motel style accommodation with cooking facilities. There is also a shop (open late) and a swimming pool, horse rides and a petting zoo.
As well as the above, there are several outer hotels, all of these offer transport to the park but they don't have a Disney theme and may not be included in special offer packages. One such hotel is the Holiday Inn, which is situated alongside the official Disney hotels. It is also served by the Disney bus from Charles de Gaulle airport, and by the frequent shuttle buses to/from the parks. It has a circus theme throughout, and has good sized family accommodation.
A cheaper option than the official Disney Hotels would be the Disney partner hotels. They all offer a free shuttle to the parks and are only 10 minutes away from the parks. Most of these hotels also offer ticket packages.
- 1 Aparthotel Adagio Serris - Val D'Europe, 18 Cours de l'Elbe, ☏ , fax: , HB2R7@adagio-city.com. Is another cheaper, self-catering option. Free shuttle bus to and from the parks. Apartments spacious, comfortable and self-catering. Designed on the model of a private mansion house, with decor combining an urban style with the spirit of an English garden-city, the residence is next to one of Europe's largest shopping centres.
- 2 Radisson Blu Hotel Paris, Marne-La-Vallee, 40 Allée De La Mare Houleuse, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The Radisson Blu hotel is ideal for those wanting a bit more space, this modern hotel also boasts the Disneyland Golf course on its door-step so it is ideal for golfing enthusiasts.
Communication should not be an issue for English-speaking visitors. Although Disneyland Paris is mainly French as you'd expect, all menus and signs are also available in English and some in other languages. All Cast Members speak English; and as they are recruited from all over Europe, several of them speak more than three languages. If all else fails, your fellow park visitors are from all over Europe and across the world, so a bystander might be able to translate for you. Besides French, many signs are also written in English and sometimes German as they are the three most commonly used languages in Disneyland.
You can buy postcards and stamps at most shops in the park. Mailboxes exist in some central locations. Ask the shopkeepers about the postage required to your destination.
The park does offer wifi access thorough the parks. Use the official Disneyland Paris app.
- Val d'Europe is the first stop from Marne-la-Vallee on RER A.
Or visit the other Disneyland parks worldwide at:
- Walt Disney World in Florida.
- Disneyland Resort in California.
- Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan.
- Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong.
- Shanghai Disney Resort in China