This guide is meant to be a hub for planning your trip to Disneyland Paris. Combining all our Disneyland Paris content in one place would have been a bit unwieldy, so we've broken it up into useful topics, and we link to those posts with some supplemental content here. If you have any questions, let us know and we'll try to answer or find someone who can!
The Basics of Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris comprises four parts:
- There is the castle theme park, Disneyland Park
- There is a second park, Walt Disney Studios Park
- There is Disney Village, a small shopping / restaurant area akin to Downtown Disney or Disney Springs
- And there is the hotel area, home to six Disney hotels. A seventh hotel, Disney's Davy Crockett's Ranch, is located slightly farther from property
Adjacent to Disneyland Paris is the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station, which provides access to central Paris (about 45 minutes by train) and Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport ("CDG") (10 minutes by train). Besides Davy Crockett's Ranch, the Disney hotels are all 5 - 15 minutes walking time from Disney Village and the parks. Disneyland Hotel is at the gate to Disneyland Park and overlooks the park.
Disneyland Park is a traditional castle park, featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walt Disney Studios Park is essentially a smaller version of Disney's Hollywood Studios. While Walt Disney Studios Park has some nice offerings, Disneyland Park deservedly gets most of the attention when people talk about Disneyland Paris. We try to be clear what we are talking about, and in most situations use "Disneyland Park" to refer to the castle park when there is any chance for confusion.
When to Visit Disneyland Paris
In choosing when to visit Disneyland Paris, you'll likely want to balance crowds, events, prices, and weather.
Disneyland Paris Crowd Calendars & Peak Pricing
We don't think you need to choose when to visit Disneyland Paris based on crowd levels. You'll be able to see everything in 2 to 3 days regardless of crowd level. Our one-day Disneyland Paris itinerary covers most of the major attractions. There aren't any good Disneyland Paris crowd calendars out there, but Disneyland Paris provides a calendar of "peak" times for one of their special booking offers that may be useful, This calendar should also be helpful for identifying the time when prices are best. Flight prices are likely to vary along the same trend as hotel prices.
Events at Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris celebrates Halloween (approximately in October) and Christmas (approximately in November and December). Additionally, they are (as of the initial writing of this post) in the middle of their 25th Anniversary celebration. They also have other events throughout the year that you may want to consider visiting.
Weather at Disneyland Paris
Paris experiences four seasons according to roughly the same pattern and schedule as most of the United States, though snow is not especially common in the winter. A few rides may close due to snow, ice, and freezing on some days in the winter. For this reason, you may wish to avoid December through February.
How Long to Visit Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris, including both parks and the hotels, can be seen in two days, but we recommend two nights and three days for fans to fully experience Disneyland Paris. This was how long we spent, and we left feeling fully satisfied without being bored. In that time, you could also fit in a table service meal (or two) or a Disneyland Paris hotel bar crawl.
Getting to Disneyland Paris
For outside Europe, and from many locations within Europe, your best option for getting to Disneyland Paris is to fly. Since it is only a 10-minute train ride from Paris's CDG airport, Disneyland Paris is conveniently accessible by airplane. If you're visiting Paris additionally (which you should), plan for 45 minutes to an hour to travel between Disneyland Paris and central Paris.
Booking Your Flights to Disneyland Paris
Most major airports in the United States fly non-stop to Paris's CDG airport. From Chicago O'Hare, the flight time is just over 8 hours, with a typical flight departing at 6:20PM and arriving at 9:10AM. In the reverse direction, flights tend to leave mid-day and arrive mid-day (due to the time change). Given this, we would put Disneyland Paris at the end of our trip and spend the night before our flight home at an airport hotel.
Round-trip flights to Paris can often be found in the sub-$500 range, but these will often have connections. Unless you have other significant international travel planned, we'd suggest trying to fly to Disneyland Paris using points.
Taking the Train to Disneyland Paris
From some locations within Europe (particularly Paris and CDG airport) your best option for reaching Disneyland Paris is going to be by train directly to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station.
Starting or Ending Your Disneyland Paris Trip With An Airport Hotel
Because Disneyland Paris is close to Paris's CDG airport, and both are a bit far from Paris's city center, you'll want to time Disneyland Paris to be the start or end of your trip to Paris (usually dependent on flight times), and you're going to want to consider staying at an airport hotel, like we mentioned above.
Disneyland Paris hotels can be quite expensive, and it will may not make sense to stay at one of them just to wake up early and head to the airport. Likewise, you don't need to go to Disneyland Paris as soon as your flight arrives if you won't have time for the parks (exception: if you're the type of person to do a Disneyland Paris bar crawl, this is a good way to fill an evening).
We stayed at the ibis CDG. As two people, the room was tiny, but we found the hotel to otherwise be satisfactory, and it was super convenient to get to from to the train station and to get from to the airport in the morning.
Booking Your Disneyland Paris Stay
We have a full post on booking your Disneyland Paris stay, but the basics are this:
- Booking a package through Disney will usually be cheaper than booking your hotel and tickets separately, except for Disneyland Hotel
- Plan to do the parks one more day than your nights at the hotel (see the airport hotel discussion, above)
- Check the different Disneyland Paris sites to get the best price
We chose Disney's Sequoia Lodge for our first Disneyland Paris stay and loved it. We can't understand why it would be considered a "key" less than Newport Bay Club and Hotel New York, and the lower price makes it an easy pick in our book.
That said, we also thought Disney's Hotel Cheyenne looked really attractive at its even lower price, despite the additional 10-15 minutes walk to the parks.
Preparing for your time in Disneyland Paris
We have five posts we recommend you read in preparation for your visit to Disneyland Paris:
- Disneyland Park Rides / Attractions Guide
- Guide to Fastpass at Disneyland Paris
- One-Day Disneyland Paris Itinerary
- Language, Money, and Culture at Disneyland Paris
- (Optional) Review of the Disneyland Paris App
Additionally, our Disneyland Park review may help you set expectations.
Some Quick Notes About Walt Disney Studios Park
We haven't written much about Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. This is because we found this park to truly be a half-day park. We visited it from 8:30AM to 1PM one day and for about an hour more a second day and felt like we got everything we could out of it. Simply hit the major attractions (Crush Coaster at rope drop, Ratatouille with a Fastpass, Tower of Terror, and Rockin' Roller Coaster) and watch Mickey and the Magician, and you'll have this park covered. We may write more about it, but even on a 3-day trip we would not spend a full day at Walt Disney Studios Park.
Visiting Paris as Part of Your Disneyland Paris Trip
We won't tell you how long to visit Paris, because no matter what we say many people will say it's too long and many will say it's too short. Even the two of us are split on the issue.
What you should know is that combining Paris with Disneyland Paris is very easy because of Disneyland Paris's proximity to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station. It's only a 45-minute ride into Paris. Because we think Disneyland Paris requires two days to experience, and because we think the hotels are worth experiencing, we suggest at least one night on Disney property, but we also recommend visiting Paris as well.