At some point in your life, you will want to go to Disneyland.
And maybe when you turn 26, you will. With the other half who took the risk of going with you with a visa expiring in a month. (Maybe.)
What mindblows me is the fact that you can take a direct train to Disneyland Paris from London – and that it took me nearly three years to actually go there.
So when we went there, Sam and I made the most out of the day. (Because who knows when I’ll be back to this magical place where dreams are made of? )
And assuming that you are the smart traveller that you are, we thought (or I thought) I’d share with you how to make your Disneyland Paris experience even more memorable.
Step 1: Decide how many days you are going and which parks you want to do.
There’s Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Realistically, we both knew we should only spend a day there so we picked the classic Disneyland Park. If you want to indulge, you can also opt for the one day, two park option. Though, we both felt like we made the right decision because otherwise, we would have gone mad.
Step 2: Buy Mickey Mouse headbands on eBay.
Because they cost 1/10 less than how much they sell it for in the park. The quality’s also less but hey, by the end of the day, your ears would have retired anyway!
(Please note that Sam only wore his for three minutes. In the dark. Queuing for a ride)
Step 3: Get e-tickets and not have printed tickets sent to your home.
Sam thought it would be nice to have the printed tickets as souvenirs. Bless him, his head was in the right place but I wish I could say the same for the postman because we never got our tickets in the end. We had to queue for a bit at the Visitor’s stall and after a bit of show and tell of emails and bank statements, we got our printed tickets after all.
Step 4: Check opening times and make sure you are there bang on when they open the gates.
The goal is to see and ride as much as you can and you won’t get to do this if you arrive midday or late afternoon. You’ll understand more in Step #8.
Step 5: Bring snacks and a bottle of water.
Unless you want to pay more for this, you can get some right when you get out of Marne-la-Vallee Chessy station. And you can refill your water bottles from the fountains sporadically found all over the park.
Step 6: Get a map when you get in and download the application.
Strategize. Which route you should go on. Which rides you want to go on first. Which Disney character did you want to marry when you were 8 and is having a Meet and Greet (Aladdin? Me too!) The application is extremely helpful in planning out the day too as it gives real time updates on how long you will have to wait, etc.
Step 7: Claim it’s your birthday.
Although it was actually my birthday, you can easily get a badge near the entrance. With people greeting you and giving you special treatment, your day will be awesomer. (My Word is correcting me that awesomer is not a word, but it should be really)
These cool tribal guys may or may not have sang me Happy Birthday.
Step 8: Fast Pass.
You don’t have to pay extra for Fast Passes and most big rides will have this feature. How it works is that the chosen rides will have a big sign that says Fast Pass and underneath it is a time interval. Say, 13:00 – 13:20. Under that big sign is a couple of machines that you would have to scan your ticket in and it will spit out an additional ticket that you will present when you come back at 13:00 (to 13:20) Make sense? So once that slot is filled up they change the time intervals and the whole process starts again. The only catch is that, you can only have one fast pass at a time. So if you already have one, you can’t get another one. (Tricky) So this is where all the planning is important. Scout which one you want to go in first and secure a Fast Pass right away!
Step 9: Ride. Ride. Ride.
Being a wuss that I am, it was nice to be with someone who was in the opposite end of the spectrum. Sam is a big adrenaline junkie and I would not have rode on a lot of rides if he didn’t push me.
Some I made him ride alone when my inner wuss was coming out.
Step 9.1: Download applications for when you’re queuing for rides.
It is almost safe to say that you will spend a big chunk of your time standing in line. We had apps like Charades! to keep us entertained. (Favorite category: Blockbuster movies.) You’re welcome.
Step 10: Take lots of pictures.
Step 10.1: Especially when you are watching the parade. Which you should also do.
Sam thought he should contribute a picture for this Step and here is his low quality one…
Step 11: Find a strategic spot for the Disney Illuminations.
Step11A: Do not stand behind a tall German guy
Step 11B: Do not stand behind a tall German guy with a kid because that kid will most likely be on daddy’s shoulders when “Let It Go” starts playing.
It would be best to stand in between the castle and by the Main Street USA (near the strip of restaurants) so you don’t get run over by the stampede of families trying to get home when the fireworks is over. I think this gives you a great view and a great head start for making your way to the exit.
Also please note that some people start marking their spot as early as two hours before the actual show so someone has to be the bigger person for calling the shots on when to start standing. (Sam)
Step 12: Try not to sleep on the way home.
Your day has ended. And at this point you are really tired, possibly hungry and smelling like fairy dust. It takes about an hour to get back to Paris. Try to stay awake because you might miss your change! Which we almost did.
Hoping you will have an amazing time when you go visit,