Disneyland Paris

The complete guide to Disneyland ® Paris

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No matter how old you are, Disneyland® is iconic.

Since the first park opened in California in 1955, the magic of Disney® has spread worldwide, with different resorts and theme parks springing up across the globe. The magic finally reached Europe in 1992 when Disneyland® Paris opened its doors to the public. In the last 30 years, the park has welcomed more than 250 million visitors and has become the most popular theme park in Europe.

It's easy to see why Disneyland® Paris has continued to attract so many visitors. From posing alongside your favourite cartoon characters, to riding rollercoasters, Disneyland® Paris gives everyone the chance to step inside their TV screen and explore different fictional worlds, all against a beautiful Parisian backdrop.

Where is Disneyland® Paris?

Although known as ‘Disneyland® Paris’, the park is actually in Chessy, 32km east of Paris.

The drive between Paris and Disneyland® is approximately 45 minutes, however this wasn’t the original spot for the European resort. Initially there were plans to put the park nearer the Mediterranean Sea to match the climates of the existing Florida and California parks. Paris was eventually selected because it was estimated to be less than a four-hour drive from over 70 million people.

Driving to Disneyland® Paris from the UK

The journey from Folkestone to Calais takes 35 minutes using Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. From there, the drive to Disneyland® Paris is around 3 hours and 15 minutes via the A26 and A1. This route will take you via the outskirts of Paris, so if you have some extra time before the magic (and madness) begins, it’s well worth stopping in this beautiful city.

Disneyland® Paris tickets

Prebooking your tickets to Disneyland® Paris means you can make the most of any discounts ahead of your trip. If you’re planning on spending a few days in Disneyland® (and we recommend that you do if you can), booking with Magic Breaks means you’ll be able to organise your Eurotunnel Le Shuttle tickets, and your accommodation near the park as well. It really is ‘magical’ how much stress can be relieved by booking in advance!

The two parks that make-up Disneyland®

Similar to the California park, Disneyland® Paris has two parks opposite each other. You can either buy two separate tickets for the parks, or if you want to visit both, purchase a combined ticket that will grant you dual access. The beauty of having two different parks in such close proximity to each other is that it’s very easy to spend time exploring the attractions in both during your trip.

Daytime view of Disneyland Park

Disneyland® Park

The Disneyland® Park in Paris offers visitors the more ‘classic’ Disney® experiences, including character interactions, parades, and of course the chance to take pictures in front of the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. If you’re able to, make sure to visit the castle at nightfall where you’ll be able to watch the Disney® Illuminations Show that takes place daily. Featuring fireworks and projections, taking 20 minutes to enjoy the spectacle is the perfect way to round out a day in the park. The main Disneyland® Park is particularly good if you’re travelling with younger children who want to soak up the action and meet their favourite Disney characters at a more sedate pace.

Walt Disney Studios® Park

If you want to meet Pixar characters, or experience the world of Marvel, head to the Walt Disney Studios® Park. Although this park is slightly smaller than the Disneyland® Park, there’s still plenty to do. The Walt Disney Studios® Park is home to the 4D Ratatouille Adventure attraction, where visitors ‘shrink’ to the size of a rat and follow Remy around his adventures in Paris. There are also plenty of character interactions on offer, including the chance to meet your favourite adventure, or explore the world of Woody and Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story themed section.

The most popular attractions

It’s easy to create a Disneyland® Paris experience that’s custom to you and your family thanks to the number of different rides and attractions on offer. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that some attractions are more popular than others, so in busy periods, you might be in for some longer queue times.

Big Thunder Mountain

Located in the Disneyland® Park in the Paris resort, Big Thunder Mountain is a mine train rollercoaster. Probably one of the most well-known rollercoasters in Disneyland® (it’s also in the California, Florida, and Tokyo parks) Big Thunder Mountain  in Paris is built on an island in the middle of the Rivers of the far West. Once onboard, riders dive through a series of tunnels, waterfalls, and steep slopes that make up part of an old mining town where the ride is set. As the most popular ride in Disneyland® Paris, it’s worth investing in Fastpasses if you’re particularly keen to try it.

Exterior of the Big Thunder Mountain Ride in Disneyland Paris with wooden rollercoaster tracks and mountains in the background

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

If you’re brave enough to ride, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror offers some of the best views of the Disneyland® Paris Park. The ride is based in the Walt Disney Studios® Park and is themed as a visit to a 1930’s Hollywood hotel. As the second tallest attraction in the park, this ride is not for the faint of heart thanks to the 40m drop and horror story setting.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Part of the Adventureland section of the Disneyland® Park, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is a fully immersive experience. Set in a battle-scarred forest, the queue runs outside through courtyards before entering a fortress with dungeons filled with the skeletons of pirates. Once you reach the front of the queue, riders board boats that take them on a voyage across the Caribbean Sea. You’ll see the wreckages of pirate pillages on towns, and fans of the films will be delighted to see the characters of Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbosa who feature at different points.

 

Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril

Another popular rollercoaster in the Disneyland® Park is Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril. The ride was originally opened in Paris in 1993, and is another popular George Lucas inspired attraction in the park. This time, you’ll be taken on an expedition to the lost Temple of Peril through a series of twists and turns. It’s a great option for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush but not quite ready to try Big Thunder or Hyperspace Mountain.

Avengers Assemble: Flight Force

Avenger fans, assemble! Opened in June 2022, Flight Force in Paris’ Walt Disney Studios® Park is a retheming of the original Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith ride. Going from 0-57mph in 2.8 seconds, you’ll experience plenty of twists, including a sea serpent roll as you team up with Iron Man and Captain Marvel to save the world from an intergalactic threat.

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain

Previously known as ‘Space Mountain: Mission 2’, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain is in Discoveryland in the Disneyland® Park. This is an indoor, Star Wars themed roller coaster that features the franchise’s iconic music. During this ride, you’ll be launched into Hyperspace at 44mph before riding a track filled with laser fire, ambushes and plenty of drops and dips.

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

Help Buzz defeat Zurg during an intergalactic laser shoot out in this Toy story 2 themed ride. Perfect for anyone who loves interactive experiences, this Disneyland® Park ride is suitable for all heights and ages. As you play against your ride mate, this is also a great way to get the whole family involved in the fun!

Shows & parades

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Magic Kingdom without watching at least one show or parade. Enjoy dancing, singing and seeing your favourite characters live in any one of the multiple shows on offer. A trip to Disneyland® can also be pretty full on, so taking time to watch a show or parade is also a great way to have a break without missing out on any of the fun.

Maleficent Dragon Disney parade in Disneyland Paris park

Disney® Illuminations

Featuring scenes from numerous Disney®, Pixar and Star Wars films, the Disney® Illuminations show is filled with music, laser and firework displays and water effects, all projected onto or set around the stunning Sleeping Beauty Castle. The event is nothing short of spectacular and should not be missed. While some people find a spot to watch more than two hours ahead of the start time, this isn’t necessary, as the sheer scale means you’ll easily be able to see the action all the way down Main Street. Make sure to wait around after the show finishes, as this is a great time to grab photos in front of the castle without too many accidental photobombers getting involved.  

 

Fireworks near Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland Paris

Frozen: A Musical Invitation

Performed in a mixture of English and French, Frozen: A Musical Invitation features all the characters from one of Disney®’s most popular films. The show takes place in the Walt Disney Studios® Park and is set in both Kristoff’s hut and Elsa’s ice palace. With songs like ‘Let it go’, ‘Love is an open door’, and ‘Reindeer(s) are better than people’, this is an ideal performance to watch with any Frozen fans. You’ll also be taught a simple dance routine to perform during ‘Let it go’, so be prepared for some audience participation.

Meet’n’greet characters

Disneyland® Paris is filled with all your favourite characters just waiting to meet you! Both parks have special meet and greet locations where different characters will be waiting at allotted times for you to queue up and have a picture and chat. You can also get their autographs, so don’t forget your pen and paper.

Dining at Disneyland® Paris

For a longer character interaction, you can also book a Disney dining experience at one of the parks’ onsite restaurants. Have breakfast or lunch with Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh at the Plaza Gardens. Alternatively, head to Fantasyland and the Auberge de Cendrillon for lunch or dinner with Cinderella and the rest of the princesses.  Although character dining is more expensive than some of the other dining options, the interactions are well worth it.

If character dining isn’t for you, but you still want to soak up as much of the Disney® experience as possible, the parks have plenty of other amazing, themed restaurants. Highlights include Bistrot Chez Remy, a Ratatouille themed restaurant. The most impressive part is the décor, which uses larger than life kitchen paraphernalia to create the impression you’re dining in Remy’s own restaurant. Serving traditional French Cuisine, the food is known for being delicious, so if you want to dine here, you should definitely make a reservation.

For something less film focused, try Walt’s, an American themed restaurant on Main Street. Here, the décor reflects the history of Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company, and Disneyland® Paris itself. For any Disney® fan, this restaurant is a must.

Where to stay

Like the dining experiences, Disneyland® Paris Is filled with hotels designed to keep the magic alive beyond the park itself. Again, these types of resorts tend to be pricier compared to staying outside the park, but the theming and decor is well worth it.

For budding super heroes, the Disney® Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel gives guests the chance to meet some of the Marvel Super heroes inside the hotel. There are also over 350 pieces of Marvel artwork, plus two swimming pools for guests to make use of after you’re finished in Disneyland® for the day.

Equally, booking a stay at the Disney® Hotel Cheyenne means you’ll be able to stay in one of the resort’s Toy-Story themed rooms. If you’re travelling with young children, you can also make use of the indoor children’s corner throughout your stay. The hotel also has a free shuttle bus to the Disney® parks. However, if you fancy stretching your legs, both Disneyland Parks are only a 20-minute walk away.

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A mother and her daughters gaze at the Princess Castle the Disneyland Paris park.

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