Once upon a time, I worked in the magical land of Disney where practicing fish faces with Ariel and walking through Cinderella’s Castle was just part of the daily routine. For pockets of time over the span of 7 years, I served as a cast member in multiple roles — the last of which involved making magic with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings! When I realized the bridal studio, Franck’s, was named and themed after Father of the Bride I knew it was real. So my ties to this company are pretty strong, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss seeing that pretty castle. It took me less than 2 seconds to decide I needed a day trip to Disneyland Paris during one of my short weekend adventures. And boy am I glad I followed through!
In terms of scale, you’ve probably heard that Disneyland Paris could be swallowed whole by the Magic Kingdom. And while this is true, it certainly doesn’t feel this way. The great part about such an intimate park is the spontaneous surprises around every corner. Marching bands, crepe carts and a few of your favorite characters to name a few!
The Fastpass system here is a bit like the olden days, where you had to go to the kiosk at each attraction to reserve a spot for a later time. And while you can only book one FP at a time, you never really rushed to complete everything. Truth be told I only waited 20 minutes for Tower of Terror and 15 for Rock’n’Rollercoaster without a Fastpass! A welcome wait coming from the 1.5 hr average you’ll find at their Western counterparts.
I began my day in Disneyland Paris with a sugary crepe in hand, wandering through Sleeping Beauty Castle to catch a glimpse of the dragon below. Peter Pan was next, as I kicked off my adventures through dark rides. I loved getting lost in Alice’s Labyrinth and taking stock of the whole kingdom from the top of the queen’s castle.
Practically running, I found my way to Pirate’s of the Caribbean and then Phantom Manor, both of which were different from the versions I’m used to! At this point I crossed over to Walt Disney Studios Park for some of my favorite thrill rides and an early dinner at Chez Remy. I was so excited to dine here, though I was a little underwhelmed by the food if we’re being honest. Still, A+ for atmosphere and the Ratatouille ride attached is a definite favorite.
The parade + firework times were a bit unaligned with my schedule getting back to Paris, so sadly I missed them both. But it is Disneyland Paris’ 25th anniversary, so if you’re going anytime soon you can expect a stellar parade! The perfect day – I’ll forever remember the pale pink towers with icy blue shingles and the smell of sweet confections wafting through Main Street. My favorite aspect of Disney will always be the details, and of course, the nostalgia that they stir. So here’s looking at you, Disneyland. We’ll always have Paris.
-Take the Magical Express directly from the CDG airport (€20/adult) or a train from the city. The RER A will take you straight to where you can enter Downtown Disney and both parks.
-Luggage Lockers are available at the Marne La Valle train station for €5 to €10 (depending on the locker size). Double check the hours when you go, but I never had a problem accessing my bag at the end of the day!
-Take your time. In Disney World, it’s a mad dash to everything. But here you have time! I planned a detailed itinerary before going and part of me wishes I had just played it by ear. Live in the moment, dress up in the princess costumes and snack till you drop!