Recently Valerie O’Reilly, Managing Director of Unicorn Pr and ITTN PR extraordinaire visited Disneyland Paris and she gave us the lowdown on what she did and lots of amazing tips for how to make Disneyland Paris the best trip. Check out how Valerie got on below.
Day One: The Adventure Begins
We arrived to Dublin Airport at 7.30am for our 9.30am Aer Lingus flight. There were no queues at all in Dublin or on arrival in Charles DeGaulle Airport. All we needed on arrival was our passports.
We booked a private transfer with Prestige, costing €140 return. It was approximately 35 mins to Disneyland Paris.
We arrived to Newport Bay Hotel at 2pm, checked in, and got our bearings. We decided to go to the Studios first and get that section done. The Ratatouille ride was brilliant, It’s 3D. My 6 year old loved it but my 4.5 year old was a little frightened (in fairness I got a fright once or twice too). This was our favourite ride on day 1 and returned to it on day 3.
We ate in the hotel at 6.15pm, with a plan to leave for the Illumination lights at 7.15pm (buffet included in package). The food was fantastic with so much on offer (crab claws, smoked salmon, mussels and shrimp for starters and beef, stir fried veg and roasted potatoes for main, with a selection of tiny desserts as a treat.) The kids raved about the rice and chicken nuggets, saying they were the best they ever had!
We headed for the Illumination lights for 8pm and they were incredible. It was really packed so I’d recommend to try get there early (even 15 minutes) so you’re not holding your little ones for the entire time (it’s exhausting!). A trick is to stand at one of the fences so you can sit or stand the kids on it, and nobody will stand in front of you and block your view.
In terms of food, Disney Studios had lots of little places with crepes and pretzels, however Fantasyland doesn’t have much. Adventureland and Frontierland are good spots for lunch and there’s no need to book in many of the restaurants.
Day Two: Getting Our Bearings
My husband, John, and my son got up for magic hour between 8.30-9.30am. This is the hour that’s open to hotel guests so no/minimal queues, definitely worth getting up for. I stayed with our girls and had a leisurely breakfast.
We got to the main park at 9.30am and allocated time for each section (for example we stayed in Discoveryland until 11am and the character parade took place directly outside the entrance). We bought the express passes to the rides with long queues. I appreciate it can be expensive, but you can spend 40 minutes in a queue and when you’re there for such a short time it’s money well spent. It can be between 5-15EUR per person to fast track.
We booked our tickets for the Lion King Show in advance at €15 a head. It was 2/3 full with these tickets. The theatre fits approximately 2,000 people so there were easily 700 tickets available if you don’t want to pre-book and queue instead.
The show was about an hour and we made it out for the parade. We ate in the Steakhouse restaurant which was included in our package so it saved us going back to the hotel. We went to the illumination lights again which was equally brilliant the second time around.
Day Three: Returning to Our Favourites
We got through all of the sections of the park by day 3 so we returned to the rides we loved. We took our 4.5 y/o on Thunder Mountain, for example, as we felt after yesterday, she’d be able for it. It was brilliant. Our 6 yo went on Tower of Terror twice, she loved it!
We ate in Planet Hollywood and got our transfer back to CDG at 6pm. Check-in was not busy at all, the airport was empty – no queues at passport control again and just two people ahead of us at security. We had prepared ourselves for queues, delays, stress but we had nothing to worry about and were sitting at the gate with 1.5 hours to spare. Travelling was definitely a stress free experience.
Rides We Loved
Disney Studios: Prepare to spend half a day here max, including lunch. Ratatouille – excellent, Cars Road Trip – is a huge surprise. We did it twice in a row! Crushes Coaster – very good but short and there’s always a really long queue so my husband said it wasn’t worth it if waiting an hour. RC Racer – great but quick – my 6 yo old did it with my husband and his 14 yo son.
Discovery Land: Hyper space Mountain – adults and 14 yo – brilliant – one of best rides. Buzz Lightyear– laser ride – all enjoyed! Orbitron – We all went on it but it’s really for kids. Cartopia – okay but wouldn’t queue for it (a driving ride for kids)
Fantasyland: Amazing for young kids but saying that, we all went on the rides. Carousel / Tea cups / Elephant ride / maze with castle – they were all great. There’s an exit which leads straight into Adventureland which is handy.
Adventureland:Indiana Jones – adults and 14 yo – brilliant Pirates of the Caribbean – really good for all
Frontierland:Thundermountain and Phantom Manor were really good for all
A Few Tips
- Download the App which will help you get your bearings
- Remember you’re in France so when ordering “well done”, it is medium so stress “well done”
- Studios has really great coffee huts and little stalls. The others don’t.
- Snack up. Bring tupperware if you’re going to bring snacks with you, croissants/mandarins)
- Charging points – Bring an extension lead as it’s reported that the hotel rooms only have one point.
- Parades happen daily at 11am and 5.30pm, just in front of the palace.
- Buggies are for rent just inside the pink Disneyland entrance into Disney village to the right, costing €25 per day. It’s useful as it’s a long day for kids and carrying bags! Buggies aren’t allowed in the queues, you must park them outside the rides.
- Wear runners for support and extra comfort!
- Shopping – there are shops everywhere so don’t feel like you must buy in shop no1. Prices are all the same too (even in hotel shop). For example bowl is €10, table mat €5, cups €10-15, kids jacket €40, hand held bubble thing €20. You may say you won’t buy stuff (like I did) but you won’t be able to resist (like I wasn’t). Buy a Disney bag for €3. It’s good quality and good size and should fit everything if you don’t go nuts 😉
- Bring Nurofen or any medication you may need for kids. I didn’t see a pharmacy.
- Bring a power bank for your phone
- ** If you stay in a Disney hotel you get to skip the entry queue into Disney village and go in the ‘hotel guests’ queue over to the far right! We didn’t see it on morning no1 but it was amazing for morning no2!
- It’s always colder than the weather forecast. We had hats and gloves for the Illumination show and used them both nights.
Overall it was an amazing trip. I felt the length of time was perfect and we’re already planning our return trip!
Thank you Valerie for sharing your amazing trip with us!