We loved our one day trip to Disneyland during our Paris visit in May 2023! Our kids are four and two, and we felt that it was a great age for their first Disney experience. When planning a day trip from Paris to Disneyland Paris, there are several things to consider to make the most of your visit. I compiled below some key factors to keep in mind.
Recommendations for 1 Day in Disneyland Paris:
1. Travel Time and Transportation:
Take into account the travel time from Paris to Disneyland Paris, which is approximately 35 minutes by train (RER A) from central Paris. Factor in the time it takes to reach the train station, purchase tickets, and wait for the train. Plan accordingly to maximize your time at the park. The alternative is to drive yourself or arrange an Uber or Private Car which took 45 minutes one way. We ended up making friends with one of our Uber drivers from earlier on the trip, and he agreed to a flat rate for a round trip ride to Disneyland. Make sure to plan ahead for the transit to alleviate this stressor.
2. Disneyland Paris App:
Download the Disneyland Paris app onto your phone in advance, and you can do all your planning and bookings accordingly! I downloaded it upon arrival to the park on the day of and wished I had done it sooner as a streamlined way to get our day organized.
3. Park Hours and Tickets:
Check the opening and closing hours of Disneyland Paris for the specific day you plan to visit. Arrive early to make the most of the full day and experience as many attractions as possible. Purchase your park tickets in advance to save time and avoid long queues at the entrance.
Additionally, consider using the FastPass system, which allows you to reserve specific time slots for popular attractions, reducing waiting times. Although we did not purchase these Fast Pass tickets, in retrospect, I might have done it for select rides or character meet and greets to avoid wasting time in long lines. Consider adding this into your budget.
4. Weather, Attire, and Walking Around the Park:
Check the weather forecast for the day of your visit and dress accordingly. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and bring appropriate clothing, including comfortable shoes for walking throughout the day. It was convenient for us to have our lightweight travel stroller with us and a buggy board. We were able to squish underneath the kids rain jackets and our extra gear, and move more quickly around the park.
5. Park Map and Prioritizing Attractions, Meet and Greets, Parade, and Shows:
Study the Disneyland Paris park map on the app beforehand to familiarize yourself with the layout and locate the attractions you and your family want to experience. Plan your day by prioritizing the rides, shows, and characters that are of most interest to you and your children and height and age-appropriate.
Before going, I had them watch a lot of Disney movies before our trip so they would be familiar with the characters and be more excited for famous rides like the flying Dumbo elephant ride or the Alice in Wonderland teacup ride.
Also, check the schedule for parades, shows, and character meet-and-greets throughout the day. They have a section in the app for these specific items. These are memorable experiences for children and provide opportunities to interact with beloved Disney characters. Plan your itinerary to include these performances. For example, for our children, Pooh Bear characters and Mickey Mouse and friends were the priority. Knowing ahead of time what the priority items were helped us move through the day quicker than if we went in without a plan.
6. Dining Options:
Because of our kids young ages, we are still on a schedule for their meal and snack times. Familiarize yourself with the dining options available within the park to make sure the kids will have items they like. Disneyland Paris offers a variety of restaurants, cafes, and quick-service locations to suit different preferences and dietary needs. Consider making dining reservations in advance to secure a table and save time.
You can book restaurants on the App in advance as well. If I could go back, I would have booked a restaurant where the characters walk around, but on the day of, the timings were off for us to be able to do that. Additionally, I almost brought our own water bottles and snacks in my purse but didn’t at the last minute – when I arrived I realized it would not have been an issue and that many other people had easily brought in their own items from home.
7. Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears:
Although they sell the mouse ears throughout the entire park, and we purchased them on the spot, I wish I had purchased our kids beforehand on Amazon or the dozens of alternative sources that would have sold them for cheaper!
8. Rest and Breaks:
Going to Disney with young kids is incredibly exciting but can also make for a long and tiring day. Remember to factor in breaks for rest and meals. The park has designated rest areas, picnic spots, and various dining options where you can take a break, recharge, and ensure that your children are comfortable and well-rested. It’s okay to stop and just enjoy the small moments and ambiance of a Disney experience!
The most common question I received on our experience is if people should stay more than one day. Personally, for a few factors, I think one day was enough for two reasons.
- When you are in Paris, there are so many things to do, that I would rather allocate only one day to Disneyland Paris and the other days to finding other activities around Paris that the kids would enjoy. For more details on other things to do in Paris, visit my blog post on France with Tots.
- The park is smaller than the American Disney Parks and if you prioritize, you should be able to make it to most of the attractions you want to do – and be content with missing out on a few things. For us, we probably did 75% of what we wanted to do on our one day there, and it was absolutely amazing.
By considering these factors, you can plan a successful day trip from Paris to Disneyland Paris and create a memorable experience for you and your family. We loved our day, and the kids can’t wait to go back!