[no_toc]As a Disney parks fan living in the UK, I am lucky enough to be fairly local (2 hours by plane or train) to Disneyland Paris resort. The most common statement I hear amongst the UK park fans is, “don’t bother going to Disneyland Paris, Disney World is so much better”, “ Paris is so expensive and the weather sucks”. I’m going to hold my hands up and say that I too have uttered these words at one time or another. In the last few years, I have revisited Disneyland Paris several times while fitting in trips to its Orlando counterpart and I’m saying it out loud…”Disneyland Paris is more than worthy of your Disneyworld dollars”..there I’ve said it! If you don’t believe me (and a few of you will be doubters for sure) let’s take a look at my top ten Reasons to Visit Disneyland Paris rather than Disney World on your next vacation.
10 Reasons to Visit Disneyland Paris
This list is a personal opinion of course and I’d love to hear your views if you too have visited parks on both sides of the Atlantic.
1. Paper Fastpasses!
Hear me out Magicband/my Disney experience fans….as much as I love that Fastpass planning and grabbing my spot up to 60 days in advance, I’m also spending x amount of hours planning that perfect itinerary, putting pressure on the perfect trip.
Oh, the stress..and yes Flights of Passage I’m talking to you…DLP (my abbreviation for the rest of this blog post) is a Disney where nobody is ahead of you in FastPass planning when rope drop comes you are all equals! The lines seem way more evenly distributed, wait times lately have been significantly lower than Orlando (remember when Small World was a walk on? Pre FastPass…). Sometimes it’s actually nicer to know I’ve got as good a chance as anybody AND I can change my plans without feeling like a planning failure.
2. The Weather
Before you abandon my whole list with my ridiculous no 1 and no 2 points, how about a castle lit up for Christmas with real snow?? Or fall that feels like fall, busy summer parks with summer heat but no humidity? I’m telling you, there is something magical about standing on Main St wrapped in chunky knits with cute woolen ear hats on and a summer that is 10-15 degrees cooler.
No, we haven’t gone to Epcot, Disneyland Park’s nighttime show is also called Illuminations and oh wow! Imagine the best parts of Fantasmic, World of Color and now Happily Ever After wrapped into one incredible nighttime show projected onto and around the castle, water fountains, lit up trees, 180 firework blasts, its jaw-droppingly beautiful.
4. A 60 Day Dining Window
Yes in Disneyland Paris, dining reservations open up just 60 days before your trip, in fact, they are more relaxed about the whole experience, no credit card guarantees, they actually question you if you ask for a reservation number they are so relaxed and availability is so much easier to come by. BONUS POINT: there is no tipping in France! So that price comparison you’ve done for food? make sure you’ve factored that in.
5. A Smaller Resort Size
How much time do you think you spend on Disney transport on your vacation, maybe resort hopping or getting to Disney Springs? Imagine if all of it was within a 10-minute walk? Want to pop into Disneyland Hotel for lunch? No problem as its built over the entrance to Disneyland Park. Want to grab a Fastpass in Disney Studios for later but see the parade in Disneyland? Ok, that’s maybe 5 minutes from park entrance to park entrance, oh and Disney Village? (their Disney Springs) yes, you guessed it, 5 minutes from either park, plus all the Disney hotels are walking distance too, no transport required. Just to reassure you, bus transportation is available for the slightly further out hotels if you don’t feel like the walk.
6. Sleeping Beauty Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle is unique in the category of Disney castles. Not only can you wander upstairs here without any dining reservations, but it is also its’ own attraction with storybooks and vignettes to tell you Aurora’s story as you navigate around and….and this is so cool…you can go out onto the balcony and look over Fantasyland..outside..seriously!! Once you’ve had enough upstairs, then venture underneath because a smoke exhaling moving growling dragon is waiting for you to visit, I love you Cinderella Castle but this one has you beat!
7. Mickey and the Magician
This show in Disney Studios park is by far the best in -park Disney show I have ever seen. Combining the best elements of Disney on Broadway, some very clever illusions, some excellent performers, singers, dancers, puppetry, it is captivating and so moving, which is why it’s not unusual for a show to fill up one hour in advance, but its worth every minute of the wait. I would love to see this come to other parks around the world honestly, its something very special.
8. The Same Rides but Different
This is where you will find a looping Space Mountain Jules Verne style, Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion) done to the next level in storytelling, a double drop Pirates of the Carribean, then of course the unique experiences not found anywhere else such as the looping backwards Indiana Jones coaster, an Alice In Wonderland maze and Ratatouille the ride..which brings me to….
9. Theming and detail
If the Ratatouille area in Disney Studios is anything to go by, Epcot is in for a treat when this eventually opens. The exquisite detailing in this land is breathtaking, classic Paris encapsulated and the sheer delight of eating at Chez Remy’s where you are the size of a rat.
But let’s not stop there because over in Disneyland Park, well every land has been imagineered to the nth degree. A Jules Verne inspired Discoveryland, Adventureland with its whole treehouse pirate island (adventure isle) full of caverns and tunnels, wooden bridges way up high, skull rock, it’s the smaller details such as ornate Arabian nights lanterns which greet you, golden camel benches, the wooden carvings of Fantasyland, the secret garden with snow white’s wishing well and Cinderella’s carriage (shhh this one is a favourite as its always so quiet in here), it is a beautiful resort to visit and yes I’m sorry, its more beautiful than Magic Kingdom for those special touches.
DLP has its own train station on the main line, meaning you are only 30 minutes away tops from central Paris, or as little as 11 minutes taking the bullet train. If you’re this close why wouldn’t you visit one of the most iconic cities ever? I don’t need to detail its charms here because the Eiffel Tower is as famous as..well Spaceship Earth or Cinderella Castle.
Phew, we made it! There were so many reasons to visit Disneyland Paris I didn’t include such as having villains available for the whole month of October doing meet and greets, plus the rare characters out and about like Cheshire Cat or Remy and Emile, the other beautiful seasonal celebrations, the more reasonable ticket prices, the insanely cheap good neighbor hotels who have the same shuttle service as regular Disney hotels…whoops looks like I mentioned them haha.
As I said before, this list is not exclusive and I’m sure you’ll have your own arguments for and against, things that you may have experienced on a Paris trip you could add too, feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below. For now au revoir.