If you’re traveling to Paris with kids and want to reward them for all their “hard work” (i.e. being good sports when being dragged to half a dozen museums), or you’re an adult and want to reward yourself for learning more about French history in a couple of days then you did in all the Western civilization classes you took in high school and college, then a trip to Disneyland Paris is a must.
1.) Take the RER A train from Paris: Paris’ RER (in French, Reseau Express Regional) is its suburban rail system and offers a convenient and inexpensive way of getting to the park. In downtown Paris, the RER A train stops at Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Auber, Chatlelet Les Halles, Gare de Lyon and Nation stations and lets passengers off right at Disneyland Paris’ own station, Marne La Valle-Chessy, little more than 300 feet (100 meters) away from the main entrance. Talk about front door delivery service. My only recommendation if visiting on a weekday is to avoid taking the train during rush hour (which is a bit later than America’s). We had to stand for a good deal of the journey due to the metro car being so packed with workers.
2.) Be prepared for…minimal crowds: If you’ve been to any of the Disney parks in the United States, you’ll know that they can be infamous for mobs of people and horrendously long wait lines for some of the rides. From my experience there and that of others, I know that Disneyland Paris isn’t like the Florida and California parks, at least not during the week. The longest wait D and I had when we were there was for Dumbo, which was 30 minutes. This wasn’t too surprising since I’ve always found the rides in Fantasyland to have some of the highest wait times. Most of the other rides we either walked right on or had about a 10 minute wait time tops. It really made for a fantastic time overall.
3.) Skip eating at one of the formal, sit down restaurants: There are enough food options in Disneyland Paris’ two parks (Disneyland Park and its next door neighbor, Walt Disney Studios Park) to whet your appetite, so I wouldn’t spend precious park time at a sit down restaurant (unless you’re spending multiple days there). Most of the fast food restaurants offer diners a pre-fix meal option. You get your choice of entree, side, and drink all for a set price. Our lunch at the Fuente del Oro Restaurante (France’s attempt at Tex-Mex cuisine) was quite good and obviously came rapidement.
4.) Don’t worry about language barriers: Disneyland Paris receives a myriad of visitors from all nationalities and its workers are the Disney equivalent of the United Nations. Maps of the parks are available in at least six different languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Japanese for starters), and workers are always pleased to answer any questions or concerns.
5.) It’s not just for kids: Disneyland Paris offers an assortment of rides that any adult thrill seekers will absolutely love. For instance, while Space Mountain (Tomorrowland’s futuristic roller coaster) at the parks in the United States is relatively tame, in Paris it is the complete opposite, taking riders upside down and on hairpin drops. Going to Europe, especially when visiting its big cities, often means long days, lots of walking and little in the way of relaxing. However, even if you don’t have kids, a day spent at Disneyland Paris would be a nice way of rejuvenating oneself while being able to experience le monde de Mickey (the world of Mickey) in another culture.