10 Reasons why you should go to Disneyland Paris (even haters)

Disneyland Paris for halloween
Disneyland Paris for halloween

Maybe you’re not one of those Disneyland moms (or dads). I get it, I’m not one either, but I went anyways. Here are my top ten reasons why you should go to Disneyland Paris – even if you think you’ll hate it! 

No, not me; I hate Disneyland!

Before I had kids, I swore up and down that I would never take my future children to Disneyland, even though I begged my father to take me as a child. – Oh, how quickly we forget.

The price of Disney park tickets alone made me gag.

Then I had kids. 

At the time, we lived in California, so we made the trek and drove from the San Francisco bay area to Anaheim, Ca, where Disneyland is located. 

I was ready to hate it.

I was ready to grumble and complain about the endless lines to get on the popular attractions, the annoying crowds, the pink princesses, the cheesy pirates, those creepy Disney characters that go around waving at you but don’t have voices and the rides that make you want to throw up. 

But how could I when my two sons were so dazzled by the magic of Disneyland and gushing with raw, unadulterated joy?

My wallet felt different because, let’s be honest, Disney tickets are not cheap. The memories we created that day were priceless. So there’s always that. 

I was reluctant to go to Disneyland Paris too, but I went anyways

Flash forward several years, we had a daughter, and had moved to France by that time. 

It never occurred to me that our daughter might also like to go to Disneyland, until one day, some of her school classmates at her French elementary school went to Disneyland and bragged about how amazing it was.

I caved under the pressure, and off we went on our family vacation to Disneyland Paris, on Halloween of all days. 

I think a small part of me secretly wanted to go because, come on; It’s freaking Disneyland PARIS.

I was also super curious. Disneyland seems like such an American thing, and I wondered how a French Disneyland would compare to an American one.

 Am I glad I went? Yes!

Would I go again? Maybe. Only time will tell.

Why go to Disneyland Paris? Here are ten good reasons!

If you’re not 100 % convinced that you can stomach a visit to Disneyland in France by the end of this article, I’ve got a list of alternative French theme parks throughout France you can visit instead.

Did you know that Disneyland Paris used to be called Euro Disney, short for Euro Disneyland?

1) It’s easy to get to Disneyland Paris: you don’t even need a car

Map showing location and distance of Disneyland paris in Chessy France to Paris

Sure, you can drive to Disneyland in a car, but it’s really easy to get to Disneyland from Paris, so no excuses. But then again, it will take some planning. 

What many people don’t realize is that Disneyland Paris is NOT actually located in the city of Paris. It’s about 20 miles (32 km) east of Paris in a town called Chessy, which is a suburb of Paris.

I think what confuses people is the name. After all, it is called Disneyland Paris. But also, the fact that its location is described as being in a suburb of Paris which doesn’t have the same meaning as an “American suburb.”  

For a French person, the suburbs “des banlieues” are nothing more than the towns located around a major city, and Chessy is just one of many towns (suburbs) that surround Paris. 

For an American, suburbs are usually desirable areas in a city where the middle and upper class go to live, raise their families, or escape noisy, crowded or lower-class areas. 

How to get to Disneyland 

Map showing how easy it is to take the RER commuter train from paris to get to Disneyland Paris: 40 minute ride.

If you’re in Paris, the cheapest and fastest way to get to Disneyland is by taking the A Line on the commuter train.

Make sure you jump on the RER train in the direction of  Marne-la-Vallée Chessy – Parcs Disneyland.

The journey is roughly 40 minutes to an hour from the city center. 

If you’re located somewhere else in France (or Europe), you can take the high-speed TVG train. From where I live in the south of France, it takes about 4 hours to reach Disneyland. It really is fast.

Both types of trains will drop you off at the station located near the Disney Paris gates, 2 minutes from the Disney Hotels.

2) It’s the most popular tourist attraction in France for a reason 

The magic of Disneyland Paris is undeniable. Disneyland Paris gives its visitors the best experience, pushing the boundaries of storytelling and innovation.

Every year, the two parks,  Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park, receive an average of 16 million visitors, surpassing the Eiffel Tower and even the Louvre as France’s number one tourist destination.

The Disney theme park gets voted Europe’s Best theme park year after year. Here are just a few associations that have rated Disneyland number one in Europe: 

  • European star awards
  • Elle France
  • Tripadvisor travellers’ choice
  • Parksmania awards
  • and more. 

3) The seven themed Disney hotels are surprisingly fun

Disneyland Paris Hotel New York -The Art of Marvel

Remember how you used to love to play pretend as a kid?

Each of the 7 Disneyland resorts has a different immersive theme, from prince and princess, the wild west to marvel comics. 

Even if you’re not into themed rooms and hotels, it’s really convenient to stay in one of the Disney hotels because they’re all within 20 minutes or less walking distance of the park. But you don’t even have to walk if you don’t want to because each hotel has daily bus shuttles that drop you off at the park entrance and take you back to your Disney Paris hotel. 

Just wake up, get dressed, grab some breakfast, and you can be at the park in a matter of minutes. 

Here are the 7 Disney resort hotels:

The Davy Crockett ranch is the only one on the list not within walking distance. 

  1. Disneyland Hotel (attached to park) – closed until 2024 for remodelling
    • will be a fairy tale kingdom fit princes and princesses.
  2. Disney Hotel New York -The Art of Marvel (10-minute walk)
    • MARVEL Super Heroes in New York-style hotel.
  3. Disney Newport Bay Club (15-minute walk)
    • Nautical-style Disney resort on the shores of Lake Disney
  4. Disney Sequoia Lodge (great if you have younger kids) (15-minute walk)
    • Relaxing retreat inspired by the great American National Parks!
  5. Disney hotel Cheyenne (20-minute walk)
    • Wild west Pixar’s Toy Story-themed rooms
  6. Disney hotel Santa Fe (20-minute walk)
    • American New Mexico South West style Cars movie-themed rooms
  7. Disney Davy Crockett ranch (15 minutes by car / no shuttle service)
    • Self-catering cabins with barbecue in a pioneer nature-style setting

Perks of staying at a Disneyland-themed hotel:

  • You’ll get unlimited access to two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, every day of your visit
  • Avoid the crowds, enter Parks 1 or 2 hours before the official opening time, and get to the most popular attractions first.
  • Lots of selfie spots in the hotel lobbies.

4) You can play golf instead

It’s not part of the admission price, but If you like to play golf, you’re in luck because there’s a Disney golf course just minutes away from the park.

So while everyone is riding stomach-flipping rides and taking selfies with Mickey, you can relax in the Fresh air, work on your golf swing and grab a bite to eat at the clubhouse. 

The golf course is called “Golf Paris Val d’Europe.” I know it’s a mouthful, so you can use its old name, “golf Disneyland,” which is what it was called up until 2021. 

The course has everything you would expect: 

  • Three nine-hole courses, which you can combine into a unique 18-hole course. 
  • 35 driving ranges (15 covered)
  • Putting green
  • Pitching green
  • Clubhouse with restaurant
  • Boutique
  • Golf clubs and golfing equipment to rent.

5) Disneyland Paris is smaller and doable in a day: plus, there’s an app

One of the things I hated about Disneyland in the US is it was huge. Overwhelmingly huge and required a lot of walking. 

Disneyland Paris is smaller. You could literally walk across the theme park in 20 minutes. 

When I say smaller, I mean more compact, which doesn’t mean there’s less to do. Somehow Disneyland Paris has managed to fit more into a smaller space. It can still feel overwhelming because there’s so much to do in a small amount of time. 

But now, there’s an official Disney mobile app that can help plan your visit and make the most of every minute.

With the Disney mobile ap, all the magic of the Disney Park, restaurants and Hotels are at your fingertips. 

  • Get a head start and use the app to book your restaurant reservations and get access to shows and attractions.
  • Start your hotel check-in at one of the Disney hotel resorts.
  • Find your way around Disneyland Paris with the built-in interactive map.
  • See live waiting times and show times to avoid the lines at the attractions.

6) Disneyland Paris has some relaxing things to do, and you can get your hair cut

Take a relaxing ride on a horse pulled street car trolley at Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland parks aren’t just about thrilling attractions.

If you would rather take it easy and take things slow, you can go on relaxing walks and calming train rides. Ang guys, you can take a trip in time and get your haircut in a vintage barber shop. 

Here are just a few of the more tame things you can do. 

Disneyland Railroad – Main Street Station :Duration: About 30 – 60 minutes

Climb aboard Disney’s steam-powered train for a relaxing tour which makes several stops around the park: Frontierland Depot, Fantasyland Station, Discoveryland Station, and Main Street Station.

Horse-Drawn Streetcars: Duration: About 7 minutes.

Take a ride on a 20th-century trolly pulled by horses. 

Liberty Arcade: A Walk to Liberty

Take a stroll along the beautiful Liberty arcade lit by gas lanterns and discover the story of the statue of liberty. You’ll see historical photos, illustrations, and artwork showing the construction of lady liberty and learn the history that links France to the USA.

Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing: A New Perspective on Frontierland®: Duration: About 15 minutes.

Get on board the Mark Twain or Molly Brown, two 19th-century style paddleboats that look like they belong in the Mississippi River. On your journey, you’ll see cascading waterfalls and get a different view of Big Thunder Mountain and Wilderness Island.

 Dapper Dan’s Hair Cuts

Need a good old-fashioned haircut at a barbershop? Head over to Dapper Dan’s Haircuts. It has all the barber paraphernalia of yesteryear.  Need a close shave? You can get one of those too, using traditional methods, a blade. 

These are just some of the things you can do that won’t make you throw up. 

7) Use Disneyland Paris as a bargaining chip to convince them to travel to France

If your kids or spouse aren’t thrilled about travelling to France, promising to take them to Disneyland is a sneaky way to get them excited about the trip.

8) There are some pretty good shows.

Disneyland isn’t just about the rides. However, that’s a big part.

Disney’s original vision was to make a place adults could enjoy too. Walt Disney visited Europe often and was inspired by Denmarks Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which is the world’s oldest amusement park in continuous operation.

Keeping up with that tradition are the spectacular productions and live shows. 

If you’re interested in the history of modern theme parks and how they evolved from medieval fairgrounds and pleasure gardens, you should read Before Disneyland: France’s Forgotten Pleasure Gardens, Antique Amusement Parks and Fairs

9) It’s familiar but foreign

You’ll see familiar rides and attractions, such as toy story playland, pirates of the Caribbean, and twilight zone tower of terror, as well as new additions, like the amazing marvel avengers campus. 

to be honest, there’s actually not a huge difference between Disneyland in France vs other countries, but you definitely know you’re in another country because people are speaking French all around you as well as many other languages. 

The one big difference is probably in the food at the themed restaurants in Disney village. Sure, you’ll see plenty of American-style restaurants, but there are some French restaurants which are very Disney’d up. 

  • Bistrot Chez Rémy: Typical French Dining where you can eat Ratatouille and Brie.
  • Auberge de Cendrillon (Cinderella’s Inn): Enjoy a French meal in a medieval banquet hall with stained glass windows, stoned archways and princesses.

There are also restaurants from other countries, such as Au Chalet de la Marionnette, which serves German food, and Restaurant Agrabah Café, which serves middle easter food. 

10-Why The Hell Not?

Sure it’s cheesy. Sure it’s not considered culturally “classy,” but if you have someone in your life who is dying to go, they’ll worship the ground you walk on. 

What’s the harm anyway?

Part of my resistance had a lot to do with how other people POO POO the idea of going to Disneyland Paris. Those judgy people.  

“You went to France and visited Disneyland Paris? Why? 

PFFFT! As if going to Disneyland will lower your social status or make you less classy.

Stop caring about what other people will think.

The worst that could happen is you might not love it, but you might enjoy watching your kids have a great time.

If you have a week or more in Paris and travelling with people who want to visit Disneyland Paris, go for it. 

Ready to buy your Disneyland Paris tickets?

Not so fast. 

You’ll have to purchase your Disneyland Paris ticket online because Disney Paris tickets are no longer sold at the entrance. 

There are several types of park tickets. 

If you purchase a dated ticket, you can just show up at the entrance on those dates. 

If you have an annual pass or purchase an undated ticket (open ticket), you can’t just show up. You have to register your visit date in advance. 

FYI, Disney parks fill up fast, so make sure you purchase your tickets and reserve your dates as soon as possible.

Need to jump ahead of the line? Remember fast pass? Now there’s Disney Premier Access which lets you get in the dedicated fast lane for the attraction you choose. 

If you have a disability, you can apply for a priority card online 30 days in advance, but you need to prove it on the day you arrive in the form of an official document from your home country. 

Not convinced? France is filled with French amusement parks. 

Astérix amusement park in France near Paris

If you’re on the fence about Disneyland Paris, why not check out these other French amusement parks scattered across France?

Believe it or not, Disneyland Paris was not the first amusement park in France. It’s just the most well-known. 

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

 

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