Having been to Disney World Florida last year, we wanted our next Disney fix and so we decided on Disneyland Paris! This post is all about what we did in the parks, the crowds and the fireworks/parade.
Day 1 after checking into the Newport Bay Club hotel, we took the 10 min walk around the lake to the parks. As with all Disney parks you have to go through a bag check security, which is just before going into Disney Village. Quite simply put your bag through the X-Ray machine and put your phone into the little tray, walk through the metal detector and you’re done!
For us, once through security we walked all through Disney Village to get to either of the parks. We started with Disneyland Park, walking underneath the Disneyland Hotel to gain entrance it was magical. Luckily we had great weather for our first and second day!
We managed to do all the rides that we wanted to do within the first 2 days, and we watched the fireworks. There were so few people in the parks it was lovely just walking around and having your own personal space. Visiting in early May seemed to be a good time to visit when checking the crowd calendar websites, and it turned out to be a great time when in the parks too! At one point we ended up having our own boat on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (this ride holds 23 – 24 people), and we were pretty much walking straight onto every ride!
The main rides that were busy were Crush’s Coaster, Peter Pans Flight (although that had a short queue from time to time), Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain. Nevertheless the queues for Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain would be alright throughout the day and peak every now and then. Due to the fact that we stayed in Newport Bay Club at Compass Club level (post to follow) we got an additional Fastpass to use anytime for each day of our stay, we used these on Big Thunder Mountain and Tower of Terror (we basically had to wait till it got to more than 20 mins to feel like we were getting a good use out of them).
You are able to use the normal Fastpasses where you are given a time to come back to the ride, however we didn’t feel the need to use these until the last day where we used one to go on Ratatouille for the last time as we wanted to as much as we could before leaving. Planning your visit in advance really helps, especially if you are able to visit when the crowd calendar websites say it’s going to be a less busy day.
I’d say on average we waited between 5 – 10 minutes for each ride, due to staying in a Disney hotel we also had Extra Magic Hours which helped. On day 2 we got up and to the parks for the Extra Magic Hours (8:30am – 9:30am), and managed to get on all the rides we wanted to in Walt Disney Studios before 10:30am! Crazy! Day 4 and 5 we also used the Extra Magic Hours, which again meant we could get on most of the rides we wanted to before the park even opened.
Unfortunately by day 5 we were shattered (despite returning to the hotel every day for a nap), so our feet were aching so much – because all we had done was walk for 4 days straight. This caused us to go a lot slower and meant we did less rides, but since we had already done 99% of them we didn’t mind to much.
Hyperspace Mountain was a great ride! We both really enjoyed it (even if it did trap my hair every single time – if you have long hair be careful getting off). It was different from Space Mountain in Florida, personally I think it is better!
Big Thunder Mountain goes under ground to get under the water and to the island that the track runs on. This was really good, and again I think I preferred the Paris one to the Florida version.
Tower of Terror is Kates favourite ride from Florida, and we ended up riding it 4 times in one day. In total we must have ridden it around 7 times in the 5 days that we were there.
Rock ‘N Rollercoaster is Martins favourite ride from Florida, we rode this about 5 times over the holiday. We never had to Fastpass this ride as the queue times were always 5 or 10minutes, and even then we pretty much just walked through to the ride.
When it comes to character meets, they’re at set locations at set times. Most of the characters are around for about 45 minutes so you will need to get into those queues fast. However characters such as Mickey/Minnie/Donald are around for a lot longer. Nevertheless the queues for meeting characters are always busy, so you will have to wait.
The only character that we met in the park was Phantom Manor Mickey, and that was because the queue wasn’t crazy big. Not all the characters have photographers with them (so if you have a Photopass it isn’t always needed). Be that as it may, the staff who are with the characters will take photos on your phone for you – and they don’t just take one or two. The staff member who took our photos with Mickey took nearly 50 photos of our 1 minute interaction!
Whilst we’re talking about the Photopass… There aren’t photographers wondering around like there are in Florida, and as mentioned above a lot of the characters don’t have photographers with them either. So really the Photopass is mainly for rides, and to find out which rides take photos you can check the Disneyland Paris website or app.
I would say if it is your first time or you think it will be the only time you go to Disneyland Paris then it is worth the Photopass, otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it at all. It’s a nice extra but isn’t something you’d miss terribly if you didn’t have it. In Florida on the other hand, the photo pass was worth every penny (especially as its free with a lot of tickets) as we literally had over 100 photos taken on it!
We really enjoyed the parks, and the Extra Magic Hours made it quicker to get on all of the rides. The Disneyland Paris parks are a lot smaller than Florida, however they are still in their own world and you can easily forget where in the world you are when you’re in the parks.
I would recommend going if you can, overall it works out a little cheaper than a Florida Disney holiday (for us anyway) but don’t be expecting it to be mega cheap. The parks are smaller compared to Florida too, but still a whole lot of fun and magic!
If you want to see what we did, click this video!