Advice Disney Disneyland Disneyland Paris Disneyland Paris 30 Disneylandparis

Claire’s ultimate guide to Disneyland® Paris for first-timers!

Written by Eleanor Weeks

Going to Disneyland® Paris for the first time?
Use Rider Switch to save time in line!
Come and see Mickey, Minnie and more,
We hope these handy tips will help you explore!

I can still remember the excitement of booking our first family trip to Disneyland® Paris – it really is the most magical place, and if you’ve booked or you’re thinking of booking, you’re in for a holiday of a lifetime. However, I also remember how overwhelming it all was, and with so much on offer it really does pay to plan in advance.

So, to help you get started and make sure you have the very best experience, I’ve pulled together my top tips for Disneyland® Paris if you’re going for the first time.

1. Don’t underestimate the size of the parks🎢

With two parks to explore, there is so much to see and do. You’ve got Disneyland® Park and its five magical themed lands, and Walt Disney Studios® Park, home to four action-packed zones. If you really want the full Disney experience, I’ll always recommend purchasing tickets for both parks – it gives you more options and can help you get the most out of your day. Now that we’ve been multiple times, we would never just buy 1 park tickets, but it does depend on your budget. And don’t forget to pay a visit to Disney Village® too – it’s a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex just a few steps from the parks.

It’s important to note that all Disney® Hotels are around a 10 – 20-minute walk from the main park gate, excluding Disney Davy Crockett Ranch, which is a 15-minute drive by car or public transport. There’s a fair bit of walking involved, so bear this in mind.

2. Download the free Disneyland® Paris Mobile App📱

If there is one thing to make sure you do before your trip to Disneyland® Paris, it’s to download the free official Disneyland® Paris mobile app via the App Store or Google Play. So many people we speak to forget to do this, and it contains everything you could possibly need to know and so much more – from opening hours of all the parks, to interactive maps and live waiting and show times! The app also has information about restaurants, entertainment, toilets, and everything else you need to know.

3. Parking & park entry🚘

Parking is currently 30 euros a day unless you stay in a Disney® Hotel, in which case you park for free. The car park is pretty big, so be prepared for a bit of walking. Depending on where you park, the walk to the entrance takes about 15-minutes. But don’t worry, there are some travelators to help you along the way!

You will walk past Disney Village®, and the Marne La Vallee train station is on your right. The first stage of entry is via security where bags are scanned, and you walk through metal detectors (think of airport security style). Once you’re through, Walt Disney Studios® Park is directly ahead, and Disneyland® Park is to the right. Each park has its own entry gates where your tickets are scanned in order to gain entry to the magic.

Top tip: Take a photo of your parking spot
Even if you’re not like me and you can generally remember where you park, if you’re not staying in a Disney® hotel and you’re driving to the park, we recommend taking a picture of your parking spot. Because, let’s be honest, after a full-on, fun-packed day you may not remember exactly where you left the car!

 4. The best time to arrive⏰

 As with everything, the earlier in the day you arrive the more options you have to maximise your time. And if you stay at a Disney® Hotel, you’ll be able to enjoy extra magic each day of your stay with exclusive access before anyone else is allowed in. However, if you aren’t an early bird, then I’d still suggest arriving by around mid-morning. We find that once we arrive at the parks, we never want to leave – so usually stay until park closing time. This can be as late as 11pm during peak periods, so bear in mind that you may have a long day ahead.

If it’s your first Disney experience, nothing beats the feeling of walking up Main Street, U.S.A.® in Disneyland® Park, so head there for a magical ‘wake up’.

 5. Disney Restaurants and Character Dining🍴

 Making reservations for your favourite restaurants before you arrive at Disneyland® Paris is highly recommended as tables can get booked up super quickly! You can book within 2 months before you arrive if you have a ticket only booking, or within 12 months if you stay in a Disney® Hotel.

The official Disneyland® Paris app is the easiest and quickest way to do this. Alternatively, you can contact Disneyland® Paris direct on +33 1 60 30 40 50 but remember international call rates apply and costs may vary according to your network.

I always use the app to book ours, as at the time of booking, with the exception of character dining, no payment is taken.

If you’ve left things a bit last minute don’t panic! You can check the app throughout the day as restaurant spaces frequently become available or you can also speak to concierge or guest reception at your hotel or visit City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A.®, which is the main information point in Disneyland® Park. If all else fails, there are loads of dining options at Disneyland® Paris, and tables are also held back for ‘walk-up’s, again the only exception to this is the character dining.

 6. Meals with Disney Characters🍕

 Disneyland® Paris Character Meals are an amazing way to meet your favourites, whilst eating lots of yummy food! During your meal, Disney Characters will come and say hello and sign your autograph book – it’s great fun and will leave your little ones smiling from ear to ear. In fact, even as our children have got older, they still really love to eat and meet the characters.

Our favourite character dining experience is at Plaza Gardens on Main Street, U.S.A.®. The food is great and the whole family love meeting ‘classic’ Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Goofy and Donald Duck. Once again, the official Disneyland® Paris app is the quickest and easiest way to book this, but if you have booked a hotel package with Picniq we can add a character dining experience for you.

 7. Character meet and greets🤗

 Each day, via the ‘Characters’ section of the app, you can find the schedule for character meet and greet’s including locations and times. Queues start to build for this around 30-40 minutes before a character appears. We’ve often been lucky and spotted a character meet and greet in progress in some of the slightly more ‘hidden’ locations, such as in Adventureland with only a 10–15-minute wait.

Top tip: If you’re a Marvel fan, don’t forget to visit the Hero Training Centre in Marvel Avengers Campus where you get to meet a real Marvel hero! Join a virtual queue on the app as soon as you enter the parks. When you do this, you will be given a time slot and virtual countdown to your experience leaving you free to enjoy other attractions in the meantime.

8. Turbo-charge your day with Disney Premiere Access🎡

Disney Premiere Access at Disneyland® Paris allows quick access to some of the most popular attractions in the parks thanks to a dedicated fast lane! Choose from two ways to overtake the queue, go for maximum flexibility with Disney Premiere Access Ultimate which enables you to enjoy the most popular rides over and over via a quick access lane or pick the specific attractions you want to ride with Disney Premiere Access One which is a ‘pay as you go’ queue jump option available via the app – I find this a good way to manage spending through a trip depending on queue length and of course the kids ride preferences on any given day!

If you’ve purchased a hotel and tickets package through Picniq and are looking to purchase Disney Premiere Access, just call our friendly customer service team on 0800 193 1000 who will be able to sort this for you!

We’re guaranteed to always use Disney Premiere Access for Big Thunder Mountain as it’s the kids favourite, Spider Man W.E.B Adventure, which is a super popular, super fun attraction for all ages. Crush’s Coaster is another popular ride that it might be worth considering this upgrade for.

9. The best rides for younger children🎢

Aside from the awesome shows throughout both parks, Fantasyland in Disneyland® Park is the perfect place to spend time with younger ones. From Peter Pan’s Flight to The Lancelot Carousel and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, there’s plenty to keep them busy. Many people forget that under the Castle (on the left-hand side as you walk up Main Street, U.S.A.®) is a dragon…don’t make too much noise, or he’ll wake up!

10. Things to keep the teens entertained😍

No one is too old or to cool for Disney! The playful atmosphere means teenagers get caught up in the magic just as quickly as the rest of us. If yours are thrill seekers, then when you won’t want to miss Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain in Adventureland in the Disneyland® Park, or head toward the back of the park to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – a hidden gem of a rollercoaster with a loop-the-loop and often shorter queue times. In the Walt Disney Studios® Park, the brand-new Avengers Assemble: Flight Force rollercoaster is also not to be missed, and of course the one that will make the bravest of teens scream is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

11. Secure your spot an hour before an event✨

Want to make sure you don’t miss the magical shows and parades such as Disney Stars on Parade and Disney D-Light? We always find our spot at least 30-minutes and sometimes even an hour before these events begin to beat the rush and make sure we get an excellent viewing spot. Just remember to pack snacks and something to keep the little ones occupied while you wait.

12. Make the most of Rider Switch🎠

There are loads of great services available at Disneyland® Paris to help young families have a truly unforgettable time! Rider Switch allows parents to take turns on adult rides without having to wait in line a second time – how good is that?

13. Check the weather forecast🌞

It’s really important to take a good look at the weather forecast a few days before visiting the park. That way you get can a good idea of what to expect weather-wise and dress accordingly. Layering up has always been a tactic that’s worked for us if it looks like it’s going to be cold, especially with the kids – the last thing you want is a hot and irritable child in a big coat that’s a pain to get on and off. And of course, don’t forget to take a pack-a-mac or poncho for showers and those all-important water rides!

14. Wear comfortable shoes👟

With so much to experience at Disneyland® Paris, you are likely to spend a lot of time walking – so be sure to wear comfortable shoes to avoid getting any nasty blisters. Stable, comfortable shoes that you have preferably worn before are your best bet.

15. Bring a portable charger📱

You are going to be wanting to take picture after picture – I mean, you are in Disneyland® Paris after all! So, to avoid your phone running out of battery (I learnt this the hard way), it’s worth taking a portable charger with you. That way you can continue to capture endless special moments without the worry of it draining your battery.

16. Bring a pushchair or rent one at the Parks👦

You may not think your little ones require a pushchair anymore, but as we’ve already mentioned this is Disneyland® Paris and there will be a lot of walking as you explore the two magnificent parks. There’s been several times when we’ve visited as a family that the pushchairs you can rent for a fee have come to the rescue of our youngest – these can be found at Town Square Terrace near the Disneyland® Park entrance or from Studio Services at the Walt Disney Studios® Park entrance. Even if you park it in the morning and grab it after lunch ready for an exciting afternoon ahead full of magical shows, parades, and rides, it’s really handy to make sure you all make the most of the day.

Plus, no need to worry about the pushchair stopping you from being an adrenaline junkie, as there are designated areas all around the park where you can leave them whilst enjoying the fantastic rides.

This should give you a great head start, but if you have any questions that are more specific to your needs then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team. And all that’s left for me to say is that I hope you have the most magical time ever!

Love Claire Xx


What have you been up to lately? We’d really love to know Someone else might love it, and really want to go! If you’ve got ideas, suggestions or reviews, you can shout all about it on whatever channel you choose!

Let’s go on a Picniq! Follow us on FacebookTwitter or tag us on Instagram using #PicniqUK! ❤

Leave a Comment

About Us

Picniq is a site for all parents on the hunt for fun things to do with the kids! We’ve found all the attractions, both near and far, so you don’t have to! Visit Website

Got a question, need some help or have an great idea for a new feature? We’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at [email protected]

Picniq® Experts in Family Travel

© Copyright 2021 | Picniq Ltd (a division of IMMAT LTD) Registered in England and Wales, company number: 08507282.
Registered Address: Space House, 22-24 Oxford Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset BH8 8EZ.
Members of ABTA (number P7380). Picniq Ltd acts as agent for all attraction tickets and holiday packages booked through this website.
Data Protection Act 1998 Reg No. Z1385884 Terms of use + Privacy Policy