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A Truly Magical Time – Disneyland Paris

It’s never not a good day to have the best day ever at Disneyland Paris. As a Disney and theme park fanatic, I had high expectations of this park, and it did not disappoint. Disneyland Paris is my 4th Disney property I’ve visited – including Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort. While all Disney parks have the same general layout and feel, they all have something unique to make you want to visit them all. Our third stop was Disneyland Paris! This is a long one, so strap yourself in!

Disneyland Paris started its life in 1992, as Euro Disney, changing its name to Disneyland Paris only 2 years later in 1994. The park’s 30th anniversary started in late 2022 and will continue to September 2023!

Getting there

Disneyland Paris is approximately 35-45 minutes from Paris, whether you drive, or catch the train. There are a variety of options from Paris, or the airports, so you’ll never have to worry about how you’re going to get there to start your magical stay.

We headed to Disneyland Paris from Versailles, and we had heard there might be a transport strike, so we were tossing up options to get there and ultimately, we decided to risk it and catch the train. The stations in Versailles were a lot easier to access than the ones in Paris, so we weren’t worried about the suitcases this time around. While the station our train left from, Versailles-Chantiers, wasn’t far from the hotel, we opted to get a taxi to the station – note: sometimes taxi drivers won’t pick up a fare that small, so if you order a taxi through the hotel, they might not say where you’re going until you’re in the car. Getting the ticket was a little confusing, and the help desk won’t help, they’ll just tell you to go to the machines. The ticket machine does have an English option so that’s helpful. The station for Disneyland Paris is called Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, this is the station you enter for your ticket, the machine will automatically calculate the fare for the full journey. We took the local train (might have been the U train) to La Défense, then the RER A to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy. Changing at La Défense was very easy, you just follow the coloured lines on the walls and the signs to find the other platform. The screen at the platform will even have a little Mickey Mouse head next to the listing for Marne-la-Vallée Chessy station. The train was approximately 10 euro each.


The best way to ‘do Disney’ is to stay inside the Disney bubble. Make it your #1 focus and the only destination you think about while you’re there. We stayed onsite at Disney’s Newport Bay Club, a nautical themed hotel, styled to look and feel like a Classic New England style seaside resort, located on the shores of Lake Disney. We stayed in a Lake View Superior Room on the first floor, our room opened onto a shared terrace, with a view of Lake Disney. The spacious room had two comfortable double beds, ample storage for our clothes and things, good sized bathroom, tea, Nespresso coffee machine, all linen, and towels. The TV has your name on it when you enter and can be changed to a variety of languages for all the menus. Be aware though, that the majority of the programs are in French – the only channel we found that was in English was a Disney advert channel. Thankfully we had an USB with a few movies on it to watch or we would have been TV-free completely. You can also attach devices through HDMI if you have one. There is no fridge so if you need to keep things cold, keep that in mind. I drink very cold water as a rule, so that’s always difficult – I got ice from the

When we arrived at the hotel, we dropped our luggage at the luggage drop, and headed inside – through a decent amount of security. You’ll need to go through a bag scan every time you enter the hotel from the front door. We did the check in in the app, but there was another form we were unable to fill in previously, so we had to go in to check in and get our Magic Passes. It was quick and straight forward, and they advised us they’d let us know when the room was ready, and we could head off to the park while we waited!

Because we spent most of our days at the parks, we didn’t use a lot of the hotel facilities, not even the pool. We did have dinner and drinks at the Captain’s Quarters Bar. We were given a table by the window with a great view over Lake Disney and Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel. Our drinks – their Black Pearl cocktail – were delicious! The mix of apple and tropical fruits was refreshing, and it was so well made and pretty that we thoroughly enjoyed it! We weren’t overly hungry, so we just shared a Bacon, Rocket, and Tomato Sandwich – toasted and so yummy!

Onsite perks

  • Close to the Parks: Get to the parks by taking a stroll along Lake Disney, or catch one of the free shuttles!

  • Character encounters in the hotel!

  • Early Magic Hour: Enter the parks before the official opening time and ride all the main rides and meet characters before the lines get long!

  • No need for park reservations: You don’t need to worry about booking in your park reservations, you have access to both parks each day of your stay without restriction!

Two parks, one magical experience

In a similar set up as many of the other Disney properties, Disneyland Paris is made up of 2 parks – Disneyland Parc, and Walt Disney Studios. Each park has its own unique highlights and vibe to give you everything you could want or need!

Disneyland Parc

For the quintessential Disney experience, Disneyland Parc is your first stop. As you walk toward the gates, you’re faced with the beautiful façade of the Disneyland Hotel (currently closed for extensive renovations, due to reopen in 2024), along with fountains and the Mickey Mouse Garden (decorated with colourful rainbow-coloured flowers for Pride Month while we were there). The main entry gates are located under the Disneyland Hotel and the railway station. As you enter the gates, you’re faced with Main Street USA, with its stores and entertainment all around. At the end of the street, you catch your first glimpse of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and she’s a beauty, alright! Even though there is another Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in California, the two castles couldn’t be more different. The tall, sleek attraction is absolutely beautiful, reaching up into the sky, with the hill and square trees, just like the classic animation. There will be a lot of people, getting a photo of the castle without people in it will be difficult, if not impossible, if you’re there during ordinary hours. Even with other people, your photos of the castle will be amazing, it’s hard to get a bad angle of that building. Head inside the castle for some stores, and a beautiful rendition of the story of Sleeping Beauty, told in stained glass windows. You can also go into the underground cavern under the castle and visit Maleficent! This unfortunately was closed for renovations during my trip.

Rides and attractions

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m big on rides, so they’re always a focus for me. Disneyland Paris follows a similar layout to most Disney parks, with the different worlds and themes, with the mainstay rides and some rides unique to this park. We weren’t able to get to everything, and there were a few rides we wanted to try that were unfortunately closed for maintenance, but what we did get to were so much fun!

The rides we rode were:

  • Disneyland Railroad: Worth the time. You can get on and off at any station you want (if they’re open) and it’s a great way to see the park.

  • It’s a Small World: located in Fantasyland, this is very similar to the rides at other parks, but as always, it’s a fun time and will leave you singing that earwig song all day (sorry, not sorry!).

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: a rollercoaster unique to Paris, located in Adventureland, designed to feel like a fast-paced but rickety train ride through an ancient temple.

  • Peter Pan’s Flight: a slow-paced fun, family ride, located in Fantasyland, that takes you for a fly over London and Neverland.

  • Phantom Manor: DLP’s version of the Haunted Mansion with a few tweaks, and located in Frontierland, with a great view of Big Thunder Mountain.

  • Big Thunder Mountain: located in Frontierland, this park’s version involves a unique, underground tunnel that takes you under the lake surrounding the mountain at the beginning and end of the ride. It’s a fast-paced, thrilling rollercoaster that takes you on a race against a mining explosion.

  • Star Tours: located in Discoveryland (DLP’s version of Tomorrowland), this simulation ride takes you on a fun ride through the galaxy, escaping the clutches of the First Order.

  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain: also located in Discoveryland, this is DLP’s version of Space Mountain. It was originally themed after Jules Verne’s adventures, and still holds some of that theming especially on the outside but was rethemed after Star Wars. This indoor rollercoaster takes you on a thrilling ride through the galaxy.


We honestly didn’t eat much in the parks but there is a wide range of dining options around the park for all different types of cuisines and tastes. We did eat at a couple of places while we were there:

  • Cable Car Bake Shop: a quick service ‘bakery’, where you are served cafeteria-style. Mainly we loved their desserts – tarts and eclairs – but they’re a great stop on Main Street USA for a quick bite.

  • Cowboy Cookout Barbecue: if you like BBQ, this is your place! Located in Frontierland, this rustic cowboy quick service restaurant is a great place for a larger meal. We had the chicken meal and the ribs – the chicken was a little dry, which happens at mass-production restaurants like this, but still delicious, and the ribs were amazing – the meat just pulled off the bone and the sauce was so good! Definitely recommend.

Shows and parades

We were so busy on the rides that we didn’t get to see any of the stage shows and only saw one of the parades. The stage shows were always booked out when we thought about going so gave them a miss. On our last day, we managed to catch the Dream… and Shine Brighter! Parade, with the catchy music and energetic dancing from the dancers and characters as they moved along Main Street USA and around the castle. It was a fun and colourful dance party! On our first night, we stayed late to watch the nighttime show. It started with the Disney D-Light drone show, where lit-up drones create amazing images in the night sky choreographed to Disney tunes. After the drone show, the Disney Dreams! nighttime extravaganza lights up the night sky and the castle with incredible projections, moving pictures, and colourful firework explosions, all to an amazing, and Disney-emotional theme song. I loved it and was so happy that Disney Dreams! came back just before my trip.

Walt Disney Studios

Similarly designed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, Walt Disney Studios is designed around sound stages and more ‘movie’ based, rather than characters and themes. As you enter the park through the gates, you can see the Mickey Mouse water tower, and you head through Sound Stage 1, which is full of shopping and restaurants. When you enter the sound stage, you have choices of which direction to head! There’s so much to see and do!

Rides and attractions

With more movie-based rides, expect bigger thrills! Again, we didn’t get to everything and there were some rides closed for maintenance. We also got to see the construction for Frozen Land – it’s way bigger than I anticipated (I’m not sure why I thought it was going to be smaller because there’s going to be so much there but oh well) and it looks like it’s on track for its 2025 opening! The rides we did get on were:

  • Crush’s Coaster: As an Aussie, it was fun hearing all the Aussie accents and being surrounded by the Sydney harbour. If this coaster, located in the Worlds of Pixar area, is on your list, head straight to it as soon as you enter the park as the wait times can be well over 90 minutes within moments of the park opening. This is the ride for you if you love twisting and turning as you’ll literally spin out on your turtle shell through the Great Barrier Reef and the ocean currents.

  • Ratatouille: The Adventure: Shrink down to the size of a rat and join Remy escape the kitchens safely. Located next to Gusteau’s Restaurant in the Worlds of Pixar area, this is a fun, state of the art trackless ride that utilises 3D glasses to enhance the excitement!

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Looming over the Production Courtyard, the Hollywood Tower Hotel stands like a beacon. As you walk through the lobby, you will learn about the mysterious events that happened in 1939. You’ll then board the service elevator… and be welcomed to the Twilight Zone. This ride includes sharp, sudden drops so it’s not recommended if you don’t like free-falling.

  • Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure: Join Peter Parker and his fellow W.E.B. developers in the Avengers Campus to capture the faulty Spider-Bots and stop them from taking over the Campus! Aboard a W.E.B. SLINGER Vehicle, you can shoot webs just like Spiderman and rack up points in this fun 3D adventure.

  • Avengers Assemble: Flight Force: Located in Avengers Campus, team up with the Avengers to save Earth from Kree missiles! I won't say much about the ride because you really need to experience it for yourself - but if you love fast and adrenaline pumping rides this is the one for you!


Again, we didn’t eat much at the parks, even more so at Walt Disney Studios. They have a great range of exciting food options, with some fun themed restaurants, like Bistrot Chez Rémy, where you can get a great Ratatouille; or PYM Kitchen, where big food dishes are small, and small dishes are big! We had one meal in the park, at one of the many food huts in the Production Courtyard. While it was hard to choose, we ultimately chose the Greek truck, where we had Gyros with chicken, lettuce, tomato, and white kebab sauce with a Greek salad. It was ridiculously tasty! As far as I know, these food huts are seasonal and part of their Rendez-vous Gourmand food & wine festival.

Disney Village

If you’re at all familiar with the layout of a Disney Park – Disney Village is the Disneyland Paris equivalent to Disney Springs or Downtown Disney. It’s packed full of shopping opportunities and great food! Disney Village is open all year ‘round and you don’t need a ticket to experience it. It’s open earlier and closes later than the parks, so you can start your day earlier and keep it going well into the night!


No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at one of the many boutiques around the Village. Check out the full list on the Disneyland Paris website – Here are a few standouts:

  • World of Disney: This should be your first stop on your shopping adventure! The huge store has almost anything you could need, from a huge variety of Disney Ears to costumes, art, plushies, clothing. They have a huge range of 30th anniversary merchandise, and a nice section of Disney100 merch – this was where I was able to get my Disney100 ears that I couldn’t find in the parks!

  • The LEGO ® Store: Here, you’ll find a massive range of Disney-related LEGO build packs, as well as individual blocks (for when you just NEED that one red brick) and minifigures galore! Even if you’re not into buying LEGO, head in there to see the incredible LEGO ‘statues’ around the store!

  • Disney Store: Wanna be a Jedi master? Well here you can take first step by building your own lightsaber! It’s also a great place to pick up a costume, a pair of ears (or ten) and some plushies!


Apart from the many bars and restaurants, there’s also fun and games!

  • Gaumont Cinemas: Whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster, or a Disney animated feature, if it’s in the cinema, you’ll find it here.

  • Stadium: A great place to unwind with some games! From old school arcade games, to dance machines and driving simulators, there’s something for everyone!

  • PanoraMagique: Rising up to 100 metres into the air, the PanoraMagique balloon will take you on an adventure to heights at which you’ll be get an incredible view of the Disneyland Paris resort, and the surrounding area – sometimes able to view sights up to 20km away!


Food, glorious food! No matter what you’re craving, there’s something that’ll hit the spot. The full list of restaurants in Disney Village is on the Disneyland Paris website, but here are some highlights and the ones we personally visited:

  • Rainforest Café: Take a trip on the wild side and join your jungle friends as you dine on yummy Southwestern fare. We ate here on our first day before we headed into the parks and it was great! We had Rainbow Colada cocktails (dark rum, banana, pineapple juice, cream of coconut and strawberry syrup), and then shared a Hawaiian burger for lunch. As we were gearing up for a huge day, we also decided on sharing a dessert, choosing the Volcano! When this says it’s enough for two or more… they mean it! You’ll be presented with a mountain of chocolate brownie, the yummiest vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and whipped cream. Every half hour or so you’ll experience the sound of thunder and a rainforest storm.

  • Earl of Sandwich: The best place for sandwiches, in case the name wasn’t any indication. We stopped in here for breakfast one morning before heading into the parks – they were open before Early Magic Hours. I had an American Breakfast (bacon, egg and cheddar sandwich and a coffee), and Mum had an English Breakfast (bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, and toast with a coffee). The coffee was surprisingly good, and the food was a great way to start our day!

  • The Royal Pub: While we didn’t have an actual meal here, the food looked great as it went past us to other tables. At the end of a long day, we stopped into this English-style pub on our way back to the hotel for a drink. We sat at one of the high-top tables in the front bar and had a Coconut Margarita (tequila blanco, Aperol, coconut puree, lime juice, grated coconut) each, and shared a serving of garlic bread. It was early, and most people were outside, but it was a great environment, with the football on the TV (round ball football all the way!) and the staff were great!

Top tips!

Stay onsite and utilise your Early Magic Hour

With all the perks you get, staying onsite is the best option. Your hotel is so close to the parks that you can head back for a dip in the pool or a rest in the middle of the day, and your magic Disney bubble doesn’t end when you leave the park! You also have access to the parks an hour before the official opening time. During EMH, we rode major rides that have wait times of well over an hour during the day – like Crush’s Coaster or Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure – with minimal waits. I also got those coveted photos – the Castle with no other people in the photo, just me and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!

Buy the ears, or hat, or jumper

While we’d all like to travel to Disney multiple times, the reality is, for some people this could be a once in a lifetime trip. Don’t regret not buying the merchandise you want. Factor shopping in your budget – each park has merchandise exclusive to the park you’re in, especially during anniversary years, so if you want it, make sure to budget it in!

Take all the photos

I know the trend these days is to blast people who take thousands of photos, and to tell them to ‘be present’, but honestly, I am a huge believer of taking photos. Documenting those memories with your family or friends is invaluable – you’ll look back on those photos and remember what happened around the photo being taken. And get the silly ‘standard’ photos – pose in front of the Castle, do the character meet and greets, hold your food or drinks up to get attractions in the background. There are no wrong ways to take photos – as long as you love them, it doesn’t matter.

Make it a multi-day trip

While you could do the parks in a day, or a day each, I highly recommend at least 4 days, 2 days per park. In order to pace yourself and get the most out of your trip, the more days you have to enjoy yourself, the better.


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