This year we spent Christmas with Robin’s family in the UK. As usual, it’s a great excuse to do some European exploring, and with Brexit looming, there wasn’t a moment to lose! Come rain or shine, we were going to Paris and we were going to enjoy it, dammit.
We had two days (one and a half really), so we thought it would be a great opportunity to team up with kk Day Travel and go back to one of our favourite Parisienne spots…nope, not the Eiffel Tower, not the Louvre.. yes, you guessed it, Disneyland Paris!
Our last visit to the Paris Disney was somewhat bittersweet. Sweet in that we love Disney, it was Paris and it was New Year’s Eve; bitter in that it was bitterly cold and the lines were ENORMOUS. Not exactly surprising when you visit during the Christmas holidays in December!
This time we were a little more prepared for the crowds, and fortunately the weather was on our side! With brilliant sunshine and above zero temperatures, I can stand in a line all day. As expected, that was pretty accurate, but we still got to go on our old favourites, like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the tower of Terror and the new Star Wars rides.
Part of the fun of Disneyland is that you can just be a kid again. You can line up for popcorn, you can wear mouse ears, buy balloons and just forget about being an adult for a while. Actually, it was amazing just how many adults there were there (far more than the number of children in fact).
If you want to get the most out of the rides, we’d probably recommend against going during the school holidays (most rides were a minimum of an hour lineup), but if you have patience and just want to be a part of the magic, there’s no more magical time to go to the Paris Disney than during the Christmas period.
KKDay offers an incredible deal of transportation to Disneyland Paris (a 45 minute drive from Paris if the traffic is good) + a 1 Day 2 Park Entry Pass.
The package costs USD $122 and can be booked online here.
If you’re going to Disney, you can’t miss the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Space Mountain (now Star Wars themed), the Tower of Terror (in Walt Disney Studios) and the Buzz lightyear Lazer Blast ride. I loved the Star Tours simulator, but the entire commentary is in French (not unexpectedly). I literally had no idea what was going on!
Normally theme parks are notoriously overpriced, but we were pleasantly surprised this time! We stopped in at the Toad of Toad Hall cafe and grabbed some fish and chips. It was amazing value for money, and for 15 Euros we were pretty full. Only thing missing was the tartar sauce!
The only disappointing aspect was the snacks on offer. If you’ve been to California Adventure, you’ll know that you can get very fancy Mickey Mouse Candy apples, frozen bananas etc., but we couldn’t find anything like that at all. You could get Disney themed donuts but that was about all.
One of the best parts about visiting in December is that Disneyland is fully kitted out in Christmas decor. There are Christmas lights, Christmas trees and there’s even a special Christmas parade during the day. For kids in particular, the whole park suddenly gets an extra touch of magic that makes the extra long lines worth the hassle.
Unlike other theme parks, there’s no option to buy a fast pass ticket and skip the lines. Instead, you have to get one from the ride itself and come back at your allocated timeslot. You can only hold one at any time, so our advice is to rush to your favourite ride as early as possible and secure a fastpass with a relatively early timeslot.
By getting an early fastpass, you’ll probably be able to get fastpasses to at least two rides during your time there. We forgot about that and got our fastpasses for the Peter Pan ride at midday for a 6pm boarding time. That meant it was our one fastpass for the day (FYI, I don’t recommend that ride unless you’re a toddler).
Disneyland Bus Tour:
This is the option we went for with here(1 day 2 parks). We figured that one day at the Paris Disney was more than enough, and we really wanted to avoid public transport this time around.
The tour bus we were booked on left from 2 Rue des Pyramides (just outside the Louvres) and was about 5 minutes from our hotel. Tip – book a hotel near the Louvres for the sake of convenience!
On the day, we just showed up at around 8.15, grabbed our tickets at the office, got on the bus and were at Disney by about 9.45am. The traffic to Disney was a nightmare that morning, so I was pretty glad I wasn’t driving.
Once we got to Disney, we were dropped off right by the entrance, and were in the park grounds within minutes. We also already had our Disneyland tickets from the tour guide, so we didn’t have to worry about lining up when we arrived.
Coming back, the bus left at 7.30pm which was more than enough time for us to get the most out of our day. You have to leave before the fireworks of course, but we stayed for those last time and our legs were dead from walking around all day. The bus dropped us right back at the Louvre and we were back at the hotel by about 8.45pm.
Having now done both the train and the bus options, I would 100% recommend taking the bus. The (negligible) extra you pay for a bus is totally worth it to avoid all the stress of public transport.
Cost of a day tour: $122 USD. You can book here at this link.
Take the train
Last time we visited for NYE, we decided to take the train from Paris. Depending on your proclivity for public transport, you might want to rethink this option. If you’ve ever taken the pristine Disney train in Hong Kong, I can assure you, it ain’t that.
The train is relatively easy to navigate, drops you right at the entrance and offers flexibility, but it’s pretty grimy and takes effort to navigate (especially if you don’t speak French).
If you plan to take the train, aim for the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station, which is a two minute walk from the Disney Paris entrance. Below is a train map that will get you from Paris to Disney.
A single one way ticket on the RER from central Paris to Disney will cost you approx €7.60 (as of Sep 1, 2017).
Overall, if you’re not into crowds then proper timing for Disney is essential. We definitely spent more time queueing than on the rides, but that didn’t really detract from the fun for us. If you visit with the right expectations then you can’t really go wrong!
We were really fortunate with the weather, but I still have PTSD from the bitterly cold day we had last time. I would recommend visiting Disney Paris in the warmer months to ensure you don’t freeze solid in the lines.
If you’re looking for other things to do while you’re in Paris, here’s how we jammed our other day full of fantastic sights and activities!
KKDay does offer other experiences in and around Paris that we would highly recommend that you check out! Click here for more KKDay Paris Experiences.