Both kids were thrilled when I told them we had one day in Paris where we can go to Disneyland Paris. They liked visiting well-known Paris destinations like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe, but in the end, Disneyland Paris was their favourite day of the trip.
With so many great things to do in Paris, we carved out just one day for Disneyland Paris, and we had a wonderful time. Here are my tips for making your day at Disneyland Paris the best it can be.
Is one day enough?
Yes and no. Disneyland Paris has two parks – Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park – but neither is as large as Disneyland in the USA. It’s not even close to Walt Disney World. You can hit the highlights of both parks at Disneyland Paris in one day.
That said, one day is not enough to thoroughly visit both parks. There were several attractions that we were sad to miss because we ran out of time and energy.
If Disneyland Paris is the main reason for your visit to Paris, I recommend 2-3 days in the parks. If it’s one of many wonderful places you’re planning to visit in Paris, then one day at Disneyland Paris is enough.
One Park or Two?
You have the option of purchasing a 1-Park ticket or 2-Park ticket if you visit for just one day. You’ll save more than $20 per ticket if you choose one park and skip the other. Sticking with one park is arguably the best option for your time and money. However, you’ll miss major attractions that are unique to Disneyland Paris.
If you choose one park, I’d pick Disneyland over Walt Disney Studios. It’s bigger, and you’ll get the classic Disneyland experience plus fresh takes on favorite attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Sleeping Beauty Castle. You’ll find a few unique attractions as well.
We did both parks in one day and I’m glad we did. Families with lots of energy and no mobility limitations should be able to walk all over both parks with little trouble. Families who want to cover less ground at a slower pace, and dig deeper into one park for less money may prefer the 1-Park option.
Where to Stay
Disneyland Paris is located about 40km outside of Paris. That’s no small distance, but you can easily get there on public transportation in about an hour. For one day in Disneyland Paris, it made sense for us to stay in our Hotel in Paris and take the train.
There are many Disney hotels and partner hotels near Disneyland Paris to choose from. If you plan to visit Disneyland Paris for more than one day, I would definitely consider the Disney hotels or other nearby partner hotels which located 10 minutes away and provide free shuttle. If you visit in summer and want to stay until closing time to see the firework, staying in a Disney hotel or closer partner hotel makes sense because the firework only started at 11pm. We couldn’t wait for the firework because my no.2 was already tired and wanted to go back after 10pm.
How to get there by public transport
1. By RER A Train
From Paris city center, take RER A to Marne-la-Vallee station. On the map and in stations, it will be marked with Disney mouse ears and “Parcs Disneyland,” so it’s easy to identify. Disneyland Paris is just a few steps from the station. The trip should take you about 45-60 minutes each way from Paris.
RER trains are slower, suburban trains used by commuters. There’s no need to buy RER tickets in advance, you’ll be able to pick them up from a vending machine in an RER station or ticket counter.
2. If you are flying into Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport to visit Disneyland, head to the park straight from the airport rather than via Paris city centre. There is a high-speed TGV connection direct from Paris CDG which takes just 9 minutes. If you fly into Paris Orly Airport, catch the Magical Shuttle bus service run by Disneyland Paris. Book your ticket for the shuttle bus online.
3. When you buy Disneyland ticket online there is option to book Disneyland Paris Express. Disneyland Paris Express offers 2 shuttles at great prices for the whole family and departs from 4 convenient locations in the heart of the city: Gare du Nord, Opéra and Châtelet (Shuttle 1) and Eiffel Tower (Shuttle 2).
Departure from Paris:
GARE DU NORD: 08:20 AM
OPERA: 08:30 AM
CHATELET: 08:55 AM
EIFFEL TOWER: 8:30 AM
Arrival at Disneyland Paris: 09:45 AM (depending on traffic)
Departure from Disneyland Paris: 8 p.m. (if the DISNEYLAND PARK closing hours is from 8:00 PM, departure: 9:00 PM).
Taking RER train was the best option for my family as it is more flexible. Taking Disney shuttle is convenient but we can only go and back at the scheduled time. Use google map to determine your closest RER A station. As our hotel is in Latin’s Quarter, our closest RER A is Chatelet.
Buy your Ticket in Advance
Since pandemic you can no longer buy Disneyland ticket on the spot. Purchase your ticket on the Disneyland Paris website. You don’t need to print them. The digital ticket can be saved in your mobile phone. When you enter the gate, just scan the ticket from your mobile phone.
Use the calendar on the Disneyland Paris ticket page to pick a day when crowds are expected to be light. Disneyland Paris has a three-tier demand pricing system, meaning that single-day tickets are more expensive on days that the park is expected to be more popular. Weekends and holiday season crowds tend to be heavier. Weekday crowds tend to be lighter. We bought tickets for a Thursday in end-Jun and paid the lowest price.
Download Disneyland Paris App in your mobile phone
Disneyland Paris has an official app, and it’s handy for showing the map, checking wait times, show schedules , finding bathrooms, restaurants menus and much more. It saved us from trekking across the park to find that the ride we wanted was temporarily closed.
As your train arrive at Marne-la-Vallee station, there is Relais Shop where you can buy water and other stuff. It was raining when we reached Disneyland so we bought raincoats there. The raincoat is cheaper than the Disneyland official raincoat. The children raincoat is pretty cute too.
When I picked the day to visit Disneyland I didn’t check the weather forecast because we came in summer. So I only realized closer to the date, that the forecast showed it was going to rain the whole day. I initially worried and thought about changing the date. But decided to go ahead because I read that Disneyland would be less crowded and the rain in Paris was mild unlike the rain I’m used to at home. Both kids took their jackets but I only brought summer clothes with me to France. So I bought myself a light waterproof coat which came pretty handy because at night the weather does get chilly. We were prepared except for our shoes which got wet. Bringing extra socks would come in handy. The rain stopped around 3pm so it wasn’t so bad and overall it was nice to have cooler weather in the park. Plus the park indeed was less crowded too.
Walt Disney Studio
On leaving the station, the first park you will catch a glimpse of will be Walt Disney Studios. Here you can get a sneak peek of how Disney animation films are made. You can also hop on rides and watch shows from many of Disney’s most famous films. These include Frozen, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, Lightning McQueen from Cars and Starwars. For my No.2, her favourite from Walt Disney Studio is the Frozen show and Cars Road Trip.
We started with Walt Disney first because the park is smaller and it closes sooner at 21.00 during summer. We spent around 3 hours then we walked to Disneyland Park. My Teenager decided to split with me and no.2 as he is more into thrilling rides (obviously lol) while no.2 have height limitation and prefer less thrilled rides. The souvenirs in Walt Disney store is also similar with Disneyland Park so you can do the souvenir shopping later before going home so you didn’t have to carry them everywhere with you all day.
The traditional park of Disneyland Paris is home to the main attractions of the complex. This is where the famous castle of Sleeping Beauty is located. The best way to start your visit to Disneyland Paris is by walking along Main Street. Paying homage to the era in which Disney first came to prominence, Main Street has a roaring 20s feel and is perfect for souvenirs and food. Most of the daily Disney parades travel down Main Street, so make sure to grab a spot early to get the best views!
The different corners of the park have been turned into four enchanted lands: Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and Discoveryland. For thrill seekers, different kinds of roller coasters come at great speed through the themed scenery. My teenager’s favourite roller coaster is the Starwars Hyperspace Mountains while no.2 favourite is Alice and the labyrinth. And our family’s favourite is Buzz lightyear laser rides, Star tour the adventure and Pirates of the Caribbean.
At the end of each day, the main Disneyland Paris park puts on a spectacular fireworks display, providing the perfect end to a magical day. We didn’t get to see this because it would be too late for us. We left Disneyland Park around 10pm.
Important Schedule on Summer
Disney Stars on Parade: 17.30
Disney D-light: 22.55
Disney Illuminations: 23.00
Closing time: 23.00
Tips: There is a single rider lane almost on every attraction. If you don’t mind to be sitting next to a stranger, or you are queueing for an attraction only by yourself, use the single rider lane for a faster access. You can also buy the premiere access from the Disney apps if you want to skip a long queue.
In the Disney Village, numerous shops, themed restaurants and a 15-room multiplex line up along wide, colourful arteries. In the village, a balloon rises 100 metres high and provides an exceptional panorama of the whole region. On the other side of the rails, there is a wide selection of hotels bordering Lake Buena Vista.
Disney Village can be visited for free and you can buy the same Disney souvenirs here. We came to check out what the village is like before taking train back to Paris.