How to Make Your Visit to Euro Disney Hassle-Free

September 15, 2011

Euro Disney (or “Disneyland Paris” as the French call it) is not just for kids.  Europe’s only Disney park, first opened in 1992, offers a number of entertainment options for kids-at-heart of all ages and a general atmosphere of good cheer—if you can handle the crowds.

Here are a few tips for making your trip as seamless as possible:

  • Disneyland is only about 32 kilometers from central Paris and is easily accessible by public transportation.  If you are starting from central Paris, I would highly recommend the public transportation option.  Just jump on the RER A and head east to the end of the line (to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy).  Trains come numerous times per hours.  Check here for exact train times on your day of travel.  It’s just 41 minutes from Châtelet-Les Halles to the Marne-la-Vallée Chessy and it will cost you €7 each way.  (Don’t forget that you can use your ticket from your metro or RER station of origin or to your final destination within Paris; there is no need to buy a separate metro ticket.)  When you arrive at Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, you are only meters from the park entrance.
  • Purchase tickets online in advance to save time upon arrival.  If you purchase 5 days in advance, you save money and you can use the ticket any day from 5 days out to a year from purchase, so if it’s pouring rain, you’re not obligated to go on a specific day just because you bought the ticket in advance.  Children under 3 are free and for ages 3 – 11, tickets are discounted.
  • If you do not mind a bit more walking around the park, you can pick up “Fastpass” tickets for entrance via the “Fast Track” line at almost every ride for a specific time slot later in the day and in doing so avoid the longer lines.  A screen at each ride will tell you the approximate wait time and also the time frame (usually a 30 minute window) for the Fastpass tickets being distributed at that moment.  There is still a short wait even with Fastpass (in our experience, about 10 minutes), but that wait is for the most part indoors or in a covered area so you are protected from the rain and cold.
  • Given the covered waiting areas, we actually found that visiting the park on a drizzly day was not so bad.  A downpour would be rather depressing, but light rain keeps a lot of the visitors away.  I’m not sure I would want to visit on a beautiful, sunny weekend day!  Of course if you are able, it would be best to visit mid-week and not during Parisian school vacations.
  • If you are visiting from out of town, you could consider a night at the Disneyland Hotel, right at the park entrance.  Each guest receives an all-day (although not valid 1pm – 4pm) Fastpass ticket that allows you to use the Fast Track lines without obtaining a Fastpass ticket for each individual ride in advance.  There are several other hotels by the park as well and a number of them also have Fastpass offers, at least for certain categories of rooms.
  • Be sure to leave some extra time to visit the Walt Disney Studios Park as well as the Disneyland Park.  The Studios Park is just next door and has a number of rides, a short studio tour by tram, and a number of shops and other activities.

Of course, there is not much that’s “French” about visiting this Disney playground.  But it is truly a gathering place for people of all nationalities, and for the Americans in Paris, a stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. (and a piece of the sweet shop’s delicious fudge) might be just the trick to soothe some homesick blues!

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