Guide to planning Disneyland Paris in 2023
By Helen Wright
Planning Disneyland Paris doesn’t have to be stressful with our expert guide to the Parks, hotels and getting there from the UK. This Disneyland Paris blog is designed to help you plan Disneyland Paris like a pro and offer some expert tips for Disneyland Paris in 2023, helping you to easily organise your trip and budget.
Disneyland Paris is a great way to have a magical Disney experience on your doorstop (well, almost). With travel time direct from London by Eurostar in under three hours, and flights from the UK to Paris under two hours (with a 35-minute train transfer), planning Disneyland Paris is generally easy and straightforward. Disneyland Paris has over 50 attractions with two main theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park) and a lively entertainment area (Disney Village). There is also a choice of eight Disney-themed hotels, plus partner hotels and alternative accommodation close to the parks, meaning a compact and convenient holiday for your family or group.
In this Disneyland Paris blog, we have put together a user-friendly Disneyland Paris plan based on multiple visits to the Parks, as well as offering top insider tips for the rides, attractions, shows and dining to help you have the very best experience during your visit.
Cover image: Disney. This page contains affiliate links.
GETTING THERE FROM THE UK: Eurostar from London St Pancras
Disneyland Paris is situated at Marne-la-Vallée, a suburb of Paris around 35 minutes from the city by train. When Disney announced they would be opening a European theme park in France in 1985, this area was mostly fields and agriculture. The new town of Marne-la-Vallée was expanded to support ‘Euro Disney’ and is now a residential hub and home to Disneyland Paris and the enormous shopping centre, Val d’Europe. There isn’t much else to do here and most visitors are here for a magical trip to Disney.
GO BY TRAIN: There is no doubt, the easiest way to travel when planning Disneyland Paris from London is by train. There are some great Eurostar offer some great deals including train-only fares starting at £69 return and Disney Packages that include train, a hotel at the Disney Resort and park tickets. From 2023, Eurostar trains no longer run directly to Disneyland Paris. You are required to make a quick change at Lille-Europe for the train to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station (the name of the stop for Disneyland Paris), but the transfer is very straigtforward, even with kids in tow.
A train journey from London St Pancras to Disneyland Paris takes 2hrs 50mins (plus transfer time) and children under four travel for free. You can also take two suitcases per ticket, so plenty of opportunity to stock up on Disney merchandise to bring home with you!
Getting to Disneyland Paris by plane
You can also fly from London and other UK cities to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport with flights starting from £45 per person on Easyjet. Then, you can transfer to Disney by taxi, private transfer or train. Train costs around €20 and takes less than 30 minutes. A taxi usually starts from £47.
Where to stay at Disneyland Paris:
In Orlando, guests can stay at a Disney Resort Hotel, but there are also hundreds of accommodation options surrounding the theme parks to choose from too. Disneyland Paris is a far more compact resort and staying on property will certainly enhance the experience. Since there isn’t much else to do in the area, staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel means your whole trip will be spent in the ‘Disney bubble’, making it extra special.
What are the perks of staying at a Disneyland hotel?
As well as proximity to the parks and Disney village (which is an area with restaurants and entertainment that does not require a separate entry ticket), there are some significant benefits to staying on-site at Disneyland Paris. The biggest perk is Extra Magic Hours, allowing guests staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel access to the parks up to an hour before regular admission guests. Ultimately, this means you can hot foot it to your favourite attraction or experience a close up with the characters before the majority of guests enter the park. At Disneyland Paris, Extra Magic Hours operate at both parks on all days, meaning a great opportunity to hit the top spots during your visit.
What is the Disneyland Paris meal plan package?
The other really good perk of staying at an on-site hotel when planning Disneyland Paris is getting to take advantage of the Full or Half Board Meal Plans. Buying a package with a meal plan means you can eat for free in the parks while you are there (or, rather, your meals are pre-paid for). From March 31st there are three packages to choose from; the Standard Option, the Plus Option or the Extra Plus. More on prices and what is included in each package can be found on the Disneyland Paris website.
The plan you have chosen is added to your MagicPass, which is a kind-of one thing does all credit card that holds your room key, park tickets, meal plans and early park access credentials.
There are eight onsite hotels to choose from when planning Disneyland Paris, although the most luxury hotel at the resort, the grand Disneyland Hotel, will be closed for refurbishment until 2023. Prices start from £99 per night for a Disneyland Paris hotel and ticket package.
Get excited before your trip by taking a look at the best Disneyland Paris snacks and foods to sample at the parks in our exclusive post (opens in a new tab).
TOP TIPS FOR DISNEYLAND PARIS
WHERE TO BUY THE BEST TICKETS TO DISNEYLAND PARIS from THE UK
The best way to save money on your Disneyland Paris holiday is to buy tickets in advance from the uk.
If you plan to stay at a Disney Resort hotel at Disneyland Paris, a hotel and ticket package will usually be the cheapest way to book, with prices starting from £99. Then, you would need to book a Eurostar or flight separately. Booking this way is usually the best way of doing Disneyland Paris on the cheap and getting the most cost-effective deal.
For both Orlando and Paris, I always use attractiontickets.com for booking Disney hotels and park tickets. I have found this UK-based and ABTA registered company to be fairly priced, reliable and very friendly. Plus, they really know their stuff when it comes to theme parks!
Where to start when planning Disneyland Paris:
Disneyland Paris has two parks; Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Both of these parks require a ticket to enter and you can buy single park tickets or a two-park ticket, whichever best suits your Disneyland Paris plan. In reality, you can do both parks in one day, but you would need to be there for opening time to do everything.
I would recommend a day each, per park when planning Disneyland Paris. This is because experiencing the parks at a leisurely pace will be a far more pleasant and enjoyable experience. Disneyland Park, in particular, is a beautiful destination to simply wander through and enjoy aside from all the great attractions. A lot of French influence was used in the design of the park and the result is beautifully designed buildings, exquisite gardens and, of course, the spectacular Sleeping Beauty Castle (my favourite of all the Disney Park castles). This fairytale pink palace is said to be based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and makes the most stunning centrepiece for Disneyland Park.
Then, of course, you have some fantastic rides at Disneyland Park, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Hyperspace Mountain, the all-new Dream…and Shine Brighter day time show, Disney-themed restaurants and Character experiences. It’s true that Disneyland Paris may be smaller than its Orlando counterpart, but there is plenty to do in just Disneyland Park alone.
Disneyland Paris’ second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park, is not as picturesque as Disneyland Park, but is home to some of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Paris, including Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, Ratatouille and Crush’s Coaster (my favourite).
Planning Disneyland Paris: How many days do I need at the Paris Disney Parks?
I think a two-day, two park ticket is the best option to get as much as possible from your time at Disneyland Paris. This means, you can spend day one at Disneyland Park, just soaking up the atmosphere and riding some of the fun attractions, then day two can be spent hopping between both parks, maximising your visit and making sure you don’t miss anything.
You can also buy a three-day ticket, and this would be a great option if you want to extend your stay at Disneyland Paris by an extra day, spreading out your visit and using the extra time to indulge in one of Disneyland Paris’s table service restaurants. These include Walt’s, a Victorian themed American restaurant with some of Walt Disney’s favourite meals on the menu, Captain Jack’s Restaurant Des Pirates and Bistrot Chez Rémy. You can also book to have breakfast or lunch with Disney Characters.
Finding time to sit down and enjoy a meal (rather than grabbing a burger on the go) can be difficult during busy times, or if you’re only planning Disneyland Paris for one day. However, dining at a famed Disney restaurant is yet another way to enjoy the unique experience of Disney magic. Just be aware that the most popular places to eat at Disneyland Paris will get booked up, so be sure to make a reservation before your trip. Guests can make dining reservations two months in advance using the Official Disneyland Paris App and I highly recommend you do so.
TOP TIP: The restaurants that book up the fastest at Disneyland Paris include: Walt’s, Auberge de Cendrillon and Captain Jack’s, so consider this when planning Disneyland Paris for your family or group.
What is Disney Premier Access?
Can you pay to skip the lines at Disneyland Paris?
Since Disney have retired the traditional FastPass ride option for the majority of their theme parks worldwide, guests are now able to purchase a ‘premier access’ pass via the Official Disneyland Paris app to skip the line at individual attractions. This is different to the Genie+ system in place at Walt Disney World, where you can purchase Genie+ access for your entire trip. The Disneyland Paris version (Disney Premier Access) works on a pay-per-ride system and costs between 5 and 15 euro depending on the popularity of the attraction at the time you want to ride. This can change throughout the day.
There is a limit to the amount of Disneyland Paris rides you can skip per day using Disney Premier Access. You can only purchase a maximum of three Premier Access passes for each attraction, per guest, per day. Attractions with Disney’s Premier Access include: Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ratatouille: The Adventure, Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril and others. In my experience, Peter Pan’s Flight and Crush’s Coaster often have the longest lines, followed by Dumbo and Buzz Lightyear Laxer Blast.
Is Disney Premier Access worth it?
When crowds are busy, Disney Premier Access will certainly be worth it to maximise your time at the parks. Using the app, keep an eye on the busiest attractions in the days leading up to your trip and this will give you an idea of when using Disney Premier Access will be beneficial.
For more updates and Disneyland Paris news, Follow us on Instagram
What is the best age for Disneyland Paris?
When you start planning Disneyland Paris, it’s understandable to wonder what’s the best age to take kids to the park. I am a big believer that the parks are amazing for any age 6 months – 100 years, and for completely different reasons.
Getting to Disneyland Paris from the UK is a much smaller undertaking than heading to the Florida parks, so visiting with younger children is ideal. The majestic Disneyland Park provides wonder and fantasy, Princesses and other Characters that pre-schoolers love and there are plenty of attractions suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.However, with rides like Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and RC Racer in the mix, taller children and adults will have plenty of thrills to look forward to.
We sailed on the Disney Cruise Line with our two-year-old, and she was absolutely captivated (I was surprised how immersed she was to be honest! We were on the Disney Magic for her birthday, so she had only just turned two as well). I know she will be dazzled by the parks, even at her young age and I can’t wait to take her again.
What shows and parades are at Disneyland Paris?
One of Disney’s most-adored parades has returned to Disneyland Paris and fans can’t get enough. The ‘Disney Stars on Parade’ procession features classic Disney and Pixar Characters, new and old, with the addition of Characters from Coco and Princesses Merida and Tiana to name but a few. Disney Stars on Parade debuted at Disneyland Paris to celebrate the resort’s 25th anniversary, so it’s only fitting the star-studded parade returned in time for the 30th Anniversary which begins on March 6th 2022.
Of course, the highlight for many Disney Park guests is the spectacular firework display over the castle. At Disneyland Paris, the night-time spectacular is called ‘Disney Illuminations’ and blends Disney music, dazzling fireworks and incredible projections onto Sleeping Beauty Castle – which is absolutely amazing.
The best spot to watch Disney Illuminations is a way back from the castle, at the top of Main Street USA. For the first time, the illuminations now extend along Main Street and the overall effect is magical. Standing too close to Sleeping Beauty Castle means you’ll miss the full effect behind you. Crowds will gather, so aim to get a spot early (roughly 40 minutes before).
As well as the amazing Disney Illuminations display, for the 30th Anniversary, Disney launched a spectacular pre-show called Disney D-light, which uses video projections, illuminated water jets and special effects choreographed by drones above the castle. Prepare to be amazed!
Other shows at Disneyland Paris
Do not miss the wonderful ‘Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride’ show. This 30-minute Broadway-esk musical features acrobatics, show-stopping costumes and incredible singing from the soundtrack of The Lion King. TOP TIP: If you have a Mastercard, you can reserve access to priority seating at this show, so don’t miss out on that.
Another must-see when planning Disneyland Paris is a new daytime show performed on the parade route and in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle called ‘Dream…and Shine Brighter’, where Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be joined by over 30 beloved Disney characters and dancers, all wearing special 30th Anniversary costumes. This show features music from Tangled, Zootopia and Toy Story, as well as a brand new song that was written especially for the 30th Anniversary, ‘Un Monde Qui s’Illumine’.
There are other shows performed at both Disneyland Paris parks, including Stitch Live, Disney Junior Dream Factory and, at Walt Disney Studios Park, ‘Frozen – a musical invitation‘. This is every Frozen fan’s dream, as Elsa, Anna and the gang prepare to open Queen Elsa’s ice castle to guests and perform famous songs from the movie. The audience is encouraged to dance and sing-along in a moment that may become your overall highlight for the entire trip! You will find showtimes on the app but prepare to get to the theatre early, because every show is full to capacity.
What Marvel attractions are at Disneyland Paris?
You can experience Marvel at Disneyland Paris. For the 30th anniversary, the parks are set to become even more super. From July 2022, fans of the Marvel movies will finally be able to enrol at the all-new Marvel Avengers Campus, a land themed around your favourite team of superheroes, including Spider-man, Black Panther and Captain Marvel. This expansion has new rides based on Spiderman and Iron Man, which is exciting and a crazy restaurant themed on Ant Man and The Wasp.
The former Rock and Roller Coaster attraction has now reopened as an Iron Man coaster, complete with special effects and ‘super’ music. I can’t wait! There is now so much Marvel at Disneyland Paris to enjoy, including two shows; Marvel: Super Heroes United and Stark Expo: Make Way for a Better Tomorrow! and a meet-and-greet opportunity with a host of heroes at the Hero Training Academy. Find out more in our dedicated post.
Perhaps even more excitingly, you can actual stay in the brand-new Marvel Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York: the art of Marvel. This four-star on-property hotel recently reopened with a super Marvel makeover featuring original Marvel artwork in guest rooms and throughout the hotel. This is also the only Disney hotel in the world where you can meet Marvel characters at your resort. I’d say that was pretty ‘super’! A marvel-ous place to stay for a Marvel fan planning Disneyland Paris this year.
Does Disneyland Paris have a Star Wars land?
There is not currently an immersive Star Wars Land at Disneyland Paris but the Disney CEO Bob Iger and French President Emmanuel Macron revealed there is to be a €2 billion expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, featuring Star Wars and Frozen lands in addition to the soon-to-open Marvel Avengers Campus. This will open in stages from this summer until their full completion in approximately 2025. It may seem like a long wait, but from the look of artistic drawings it will absolutely be worth it.
If you are planning to visit before the expansion is complete, there is still a wide range of Star Wars attractions and Character experiences to enjoy. You can meet Darth Vader himself during Welcome to Starport: A Star Wars Encounter. There are also two Star Wars-themed rides; Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (a redesign of the original Space Mountain and the only Space Mountain in any Disney Park to go upside down) and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, an intense space simulator onboard a Starspeeder 1000. Both attractions are currently situated at Disneyland Park.
Do they speak English at Disney Paris?
Do not worry if your GCSE French is a little rusty. All cast members speak English and music and show commentary around Disneyland Paris is also spoken (and sung) in both English and French.
When is the best time to go to Disneyland Paris?
The quietest time to visit Disneyland Paris is between January and March, with a mid-week stay attracting the smallest crowds. At this time of year, you will likely make it on to most attractions with minimal wait times (average 20 minutes) and the parks are not crowded as you walk around. However, it can very cold, so be sure to pack a few extra jumpers.
However, at busier times, you will usually enjoy nicer weather and longer opening hours for both parks, meaning more people, yet more time in the parks to do everything. Of course, the summer holidays are peak season for Disneyland Paris, with the parks almost reaching capacity and sometimes extremely hot temperatures. It goes without saying, Christmas is also a magical time to visit (Disneyland Park, especially, looks magical during the festive period) but you will find the parks and hotels are much busier (and hotels likely more expensive) at Christmas. If you can choose any time, I would recommend April and May (avoiding Easter) as a great time to visit Disneyland Paris.
What COVID restrictions are in place at Disneyland Paris (updated March 2023)
All guests aged 16+ are required to be fully vaccinated (two doses) to enter Disneyland Paris. This is in line with French Law and the same is required at all venues across France. NHS COVID Pass Travel QR Codes are read and recognised in French territory as a Vaccine / Health Pass. To save wasted time and avoid any issues, download the French Government App TousAntiCovid and pre-load your NHS Vaccine certificate to present at the resort.
Guests aged between 12 and 15 may need to present a Health Pass. This can be either proof of full vaccination OR a negative PCR or Antigen test within 24 hours of arrival. This is the same requirement as the rule to enter France.
Do you have to wear Face Masks at Disneyland Paris?
In line with French government guidance, face masks are no longer required at Disneyland Paris. They remain recommended for experiences that are crowded, such as parades, shows and the nighttime spectacular ‘Disney Illuminations’. Please note that face coverings remain mandatory on board the Eurostar and in the train stations.
More Disney features from passportstamps.uk
How much does it cost to go to Walt Disney World Florida?
What to do during two weeks in Orlando
The best books about Disney
The ULTIMATE Disney quiz – how well do you know your stuff?
Disney Vs Universal – what parks to visit in Florida
Disney Cruise Line – our staycation sail experience
Staying on site at Disney World: is it worth it?
Kids Disney quiz to do on your way to the Disney parks
The ULTIMATE Marvel quiz, only for real fans
What to pack for Disney World