How to maximise Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris
By Helen Wright
A trip to Disneyland Paris is very exciting for the whole family, so it’s understandable that you’ll want to make the most of your time there. With some exciting expansions over recent years, including the Marvel Avengers Campus, there is so much to do. One thing that can make a huge difference is getting the Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris. This exclusive perk is an extra 60 minutes in Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park each day. On our recent visit, I was genuinely surprised at how much we were able to do.
Cover image: Helen Wright. This page contains affiliate links
What is the Extra Magic time at Disneyland Paris?
The Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris affords some guests exclusive access to the theme parks up to 60 minutes before the gates officially open. While at first, this doesn’t seem like a lot of time, if you have a little strategy like we did, you can actually tick off multiple attractions during this time, including some of the most popular rides at Disneyland Paris, such as Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure, Star Wars™ Space Mountain and Crush’s Coaster.
These attractions can sometimes have longer wait times later in the day, but if you get to the park early, you might be able to get straight on. This is a huge bonus because it saves you waiting in line later on or gives you the chance to ride the attraction more than once.
So, how do you get an Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris?
The Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris is exclusively available to guests staying in one of the seven Disneyland Paris hotels. These include the soon-to-reopen Disneyland Hotel, Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, Disney Hotel Cheyenne and Disney Hotel Santa Fe.
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris, I highly recommend staying on-property at a Disneyland Hotel. As well as benefitting from the Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris, the Disney Hotels are the closest hotels to the Disney Parks, which makes it really easy to go back and forth between your room and the theme parks. This is especially handy if you are visiting with a young family. Being able to nip back to the hotel for a break, give kids a nap or pick up extra supplies can be a huge benefit.
Some of the Disneyland Paris hotels have fab swimming pools, their own bars and restaurants and activities that are unique to the resort, so you can be immersed in the Disney fun for your entire trip.
What is the best way to book a Disney Hotel?
Many people don’t know, but you can buy complete packages for Disneyland Paris from UK-based agent attractiontickets.com. These Disneyland Paris package deals include return fares from London on Eurostar, tickets for both Disneyland Paris theme parks and a stay at a Disney Hotel. With this, you will automatically benefit from all the perks of staying at a Disney Hotel – including that all-important Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris.
Which is the best park at Disneyland Paris to use the Extra Magic Time?
The Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris can be used at both Disneyland Paris theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, allowing access up to 60 minutes before the gates open to non-hotel guests.
Both Disney Parks have excellent benefits to arriving during Extra Magic Time, the biggest, of course, being early access to the popular attractions. This is also a great time to enjoy the Disney Parks before they get busier and be able to take great photos – almost looking like you have the whole place to yourself.
For any Disney trip, I always recommend making a list of must-see attractions for everyone in the group before you arrive. From this, focus on the rides that are the most popular and aim to head to them as soon as you enter the parks during Extra Magic Time. Use the official Disneyland Paris app to look at the map and be strategic. If two of your desired attractions are close together, it makes sense to do those first. That way, you may even be able ride both in less than 30 minutes.
The best way to use Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Park
My favourite park to enjoy the Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris is Disneyland Park. This park has all the Disney vibes we know and love, including the dramatic approach down Main Street USA and the majestic Sleeping Beauty Castle in the distance.
Being a typical parent, I really wanted a great photo of the kids in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle with no other guests in the background. We prioritised this, but capturing the shot isn’t everyone’s main aim during Extra Magic Time. During a poll on our Instagram, 70% of voters said they would use the Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland Paris for attractions, not photos. There are no rules – so just decide what is most important to you.
Despite stopping for ten minutes in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle to take photos, we were still able to ride three attractions during Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Park, which was a great start to the day.
Best attractions to ride during Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris
My advice is to walk along Main Street USA and turn right at Sleeping Beauty Castle, heading into Discoveryland. Here, you can ride four attractions if you’re really lucky.
Start with Orbitron. It may not be the most famous ride at Disneyland Paris, but Orbitron is a great attraction for Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris. Slow loading attractions or rides with few rider cars often end up with the longest lines during the day. Orbitron was one of the original Disneyland Paris rides at the park when it opened over 30 years ago and only takes a handful of riders for each cycle. It’s an old-school, family-friendly ride that also gives you brilliant views of Disneyland Park and Sleeping Beauty Castle.
This only has a short duration, so straight after, head to Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain next door. Being one of Disneyland Paris’ iconic rollercoasters, this is one of the most popular attractions at the park and ideal to tick off during Extra Magic Time.
Following this, families should head to Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast. Despite being a continually-loading train ride, that Buzz is one popular guy so as the park gets busier, this one can have a long wait time. My kids love this attraction, so they always want to go on more than once.
By now, time will be ticking on so take the chance to drive a car on Autopia. This is a classic Disney attraction and we all love it. The kids enjoy being able to drive a real car and for parents and carers, it’s fun to have them drive you around for once!
Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Park if you have toddlers or really young children
Another way to successfully utilise Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Park is to head directly to Fantasyland. This is another great strategy to utilise that magic 60 minutes. These are some of the most popular attractions to enjoy with younger children and the opportunity to ride before the park officially opens is great.
Surprisingly, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a simple attraction but is very popular. Since Disney Premier Access is not available on this ride, the standby line can grow quickly with younger guests spotting the brightly coloured elephants as soon as they enter the land. Go for a ‘fly’ on this one first and then head to Peter Pan’s Flight – argubly the most popular attraction at Disneyland Paris for kids.
With any extra time, you can ride the nearby it’s a small world. Then, for little ones wanting to meet Mickey Mouse or the Disney Princesses, head straight to the meet-and-greet pavilion for the Character you want to see. Neither the Princess Pavilion or Meet Mickey Mouse Theater are open during Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland Park, but some people use the extra time just to join the queue and be at the front. If you have done a couple of attractions and have 15 minutes to spare, it might be worth getting in line. The Character meet and greet pavilions open during regular park hours.
Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland Park if you are child-free.
If you are heading to Disneyland Paris child-free, you may want to skip the family attractions and use the Extra Magic Time to tick off more thrill rides. I would still ride Orbitron, because I love it, but after that and Star Wars™ Hyperspace Mountain, of course, hot foot it to Big Thunder Mountain. This is another popular attraction that generates a larger line later on in the day. From here, you might have time for nearby attractions Pirates of the Caribbean or Phantom Manor.
Making the most of Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris is the same with or without kids. Make a plan and stick to it – you’ll be surprised how much you’re able to do in an hour.
Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney Studios Park
If you are staying at a Disney Hotel for two nights, you will have two opportunities to take advantage of the Extra Magic Time perk. Many people think Extra Magic Time is better utilised at Walt Disney Studios Park and I understand why. This park has some of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Paris – especially since the opening of Marvel Avengers Campus.
However, the best tip for using Extra Magic Hour at Walt Disney Studios Park is to head directly to arguably, the most popular attraction at the whole of Disneyland Paris: Crush’s Coaster. I love this fun family rollercoaster, but it’s always surprising to me how popular it is. The good news is, that Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris is the best time to check it out. The ride duration is actually quite short, so go for a ‘spin’ first and then head over to Marvel Avenger’s Campus to ride the newest attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park, Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure.
We all loved Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure and with no height restriction, it’s suitable for everyone in the family to ride.
Oddly enough, the more famous attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park usually have very manageable wait times. During our visit, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Avengers Assemble Flight Force, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Slinky Dog ZigZag Spin never advertised wait times of longer than 20 minutes, which was great!
Which are the best rides to do first at Walt Disney Studios park?
The fun attractions that kids will want to ride do end up with a bit of a queue. These are Crush’s Coaster, as I mentioned before, plus Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop and RC Racer at Toy Story Land, and Cars Race Rally, which is close by. Those with younger children might want to tick these off during Extra Magic Time to get a chance to ride without the wait.
We had a lot of fun trying to tick off as much as possible. As the golden 60 minutes came to a close and the gates opened for general admission, we then headed to the theatre for Frozen: A Musical Invitation. This is a great show for all ages, but the theatre isn’t huge so each showtime usually becomes full. It’s a good idea to join the line at least 25 minutes before the show. Conveniently, the first show of the day is half hour after Extra Magic Time ends, so it’s the perfect way to round off the morning.
TOP TIP: Before joining the line for Frozen: A Musical Invitation, grab a coffee and a Mickey Beignet from Kool Zone outside Studio 2 after the main entrance. The coffee will give grown-ups a nice caffeine boost and the donut is both delicious and big enough to be shared. We got two between the four of us as a second breakfast.
Is Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris worth it?
Extra Magic Time at Disneyland Paris is definitely worth it. I was really surprised how much we were able to in the Disney Parks with two children under 6. As well as the bonus of riding multiple attractions without a line, it was nice to wander around the parks, get our bearings and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere before it got busier when the regular admission guests enter.
I love to stay close to the theme parks and the restaurants and entertainment in the Disney Village, but Extra Magic Time is the strongest reason to book a Disneyland Paris hotel package because it’s a great-free way to experience the parks.
Staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel for two nights, means you can utilise Extra Magic Time at both parks, which is a great way to kick start the day and ride my favourite attractions.
We stayed at Disney Hotel Cheyenne as a guest of attractiontickets.com and Disney Parks UK. I was not paid to write this post and opinions, as always, remain my own.
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