Disneyland Paris … A Different Side of Disney for Families

After my first “mom” trip to Disney World with my family, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to return.  However, given as I live in London, that wasn’t so easy.    Then I remembered… Disneyland Paris.   And now, despite being an ocean away from Orlando, I can still get my Disney fix regularly.

Disneyland Paris doesn’t get nearly the hype as Walt Disney World, or even Disneyland in Southern California.  Perhaps it is because the park,  once known as EuroDisney, doesn’t make a profit like most of its siblings.  Perhaps it is because it lacks that shiny newness of Shanghai Disney.  Perhaps it is viewed as “too American” for many Europeans.  Or perhaps seasoned Disney fanatics just can’t get over the differences (weaknesses) compared to Walt Disney World.  Whatever the reasons, Disneyland Paris is a hidden gem.   Anyone looking for an easy, fun,  long weekend that anyone in the family could enjoy should visit Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris is located about 45 kilometers east of Central Paris in the suburb of Marne-la-Vallee. It takes about 35 minutes by RER train from the center of Paris or 2 ½ hours by Eurostar from London.    It is composed of two theme parks, Disneyland Parc and the Walt Disney Studios, as well as a shopping and entertainment area, Disney Village, and seven Disney hotels.


Disneyland Paris = EASY!

After visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland Paris can in many ways seem like a breath of fresh air.   First of all, planning a Disneyland Paris visit is EASY compared to planning a Disney World trip.  On our first trip to Disneyland Paris,  we decided on Monday to go on Friday.  That’s right, just four days ahead.   Even with that short planning window we got a package for hotel, meals, and tickets where kids went free (meals and park tickets),  and I was able to make the dining reservations I wanted and sketch out our touring strategy.  No stressing out 180 days ahead over dining reservations or locking the family into a certain ride in a 60-minute window two months in advance.  Planning and booking were just easy.

Second, Disneyland Paris is only a fraction of the size of Walt Disney World.   As I mentioned earlier, Disneyland Paris is comprised of two theme parks (Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios), seven hotels,  and one shopping/entertainment area.  Compare that to Walt Disney World which has four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios), two water parks, a recently renovated Disney Village, the ESPN Sports Complex, and twenty-three resorts.  You could very easily spend several weeks at Walt Disney World and not experience everything.  However, I think two and a half days is plenty of time to get through all of Disneyland Paris.  The smaller size doesn’t just mean that it takes less time to cover, it is also significantly less tiring and easier to get around, and far less overwhelming for everyone.

Third, if your family is based in Europe, Disneyland Paris has the huge advantage of proximity.   I am able to leave my house, take the train from London, and be riding rides in Disneyland Paris before my flight to Orlando would have cleared UK airspace.  Also, there is no jet lag (key with little kids).

Fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Paris Disney Dreams
Fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris

Ways Disneyland Paris is better than Walt Disney World

When it comes to comparing Disneyland Paris,  there are certain areas where I believe the resort is better than Walt Disney World:

  • Hotel convenience     If you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel, your room will be over the entrance/ticket kiosks for Disneyland Park.  I am not kidding when I say that you are likely to spend more time waiting for the hotel elevator than you are walking from the hotel into the theme park.  When it comes to traveling with kids (or anyone actually),  this is an enormous time and energy saver.   You do not have to deal  with shuttle buses, parking, or even monorails.  Additionally, the Disneyland Hotel is within the Disney security bubble.  That means if you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel you don’t have to go through bag check when entering the parks each day.The other Disney hotels are within easy walking distance (with the exception of the Davy Crocket Campground) of the theme parks.  While Disney does offer free shuttle buses, you can quickly and easily walk from your resort to the parks.
  • Unique Attractions     Disneyland Paris offers some very cool rides that aren’t available at Walt Disney World.  My favorite is Crush’s Coaster (from Finding Nemo).  This is a small car roller coaster that is most definitely not childish… very unique and very cool.   Then there is Ratatouille, a trackless 3D ride that is unlike anything I’ve seen at Walt Disney World.
    Crush's Coaster Walt Disney Studio Disneyland Parisq
    Crush’s Coaster, a very intense (but awesome) ride at Walt Disney Studios

    Disneyland Paris offers various shows seasonally.  There are two, Forest of Enchantment and Mickey and the Magician, which I highly recommend and will be hits with the whole family.   Mickey and the Magician even won the Best Theatrical Production award from the IAAPA, a theme park industry association.

    Mickey and the Magician Walt Disney Studios Elsa Frozen Disneyland Paris Grand Family Getaways
    Frozen is just one of many scenes in the fabulous show, “Mickey and the Magician” at Walt Disney Studios

    Finally, the details around the park itself are great.  I especially love the giant dragon that is underneath Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  It may “just” be a walk-through attraction,  but the fire-breathing dragon adds some extra magic to any visit,  and you are only waiting for the dragon to wake up, never standing in line.

  • Less Planning     If the need to do detailed advance planning turns you off of Walt Disney World,  then you will find the more relaxed attitude at Disneyland Paris refreshing.   FastPass is available at Disneyland Paris, but it is more like Disneyland California, where you get FastPasses from the attractions on the same day.   Dining reservations are also less intense.  Reservations for restaurants open up 60 days in advance.
  • Lesser Known Characters    Disneyland Paris offers the opportunity to meet unique and different characters from what you would find in Walt Disney World.   At two of the three character meals (Café Mickey and Inventions),  there is not a set character list.   While Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy are likely to appear, we have also met Gepetto (from Pinocchio), Mr. Penguin (from Mary Poppins), the Genie (from Aladdin), Eyeore, and Tigger.   The princess character meal at Auberge de Cendrillion usually includes not only Cinderella, but also Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother, and her mice friends, Suzy and Perla.  In addition, there are two other princesses.  Around the parks you can meet Spider-Man (which contractually Disney is not allowed to have in a Florida theme park), Marie (from Aristocrats), Scrooge, Pinocchio, Jafar, Abu, Mr. Smee, Captain Hook, Wendy, the Queen of Hearts, and Jack Skellington, all of whom are very hard to find in Florida.

    Auberge de Cendrillion Perla Cinderella characters princess Disneyland Paris
    Cinderella and her mouse friend, Perla, sharing a laugh during the Auberge de Cendrillion character meal

Disappointments at Disneyland Paris

There are areas where fans of Walt Disney World (or just visitors in general) could be disappointed:

  • The Food      While Disney in Florida has invested a great deal of effort in their food offerings, Disneyland Paris has apparently decided they can’t compete with the restaurants in Paris so why try.  My family found the food offered to be barely tolerable at Disneyland Paris.   One  would think you could at least get a lovely baguette or croissant or great cheeses.      You are mostly limited to rubbery European hot dogs, pathetic pizzas, or overdone burgers.  Just as frustrating as the poor food is the unfathomable operating hours of the restaurants.  While waiting to watch the main parade on one visit, we discovered that the ice cream shop behind us had already closed for the day, before 5pm.   Finding a snack before 11am is also hard to do once you leave the Main Street area.   And if you think dining in Disneyland Park is limited, you will be even more disappointed with the choices inside Walt Disney Studios.
  • The Hotels    Compared to the resorts at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris is a big disappointment.   The Disneyland Hotel, while having an ideal location, is a dated and somewhat dirty version of a Victorian hotel.  As the flagship and most “luxurious” of the Disneyland Paris hotels, I definitely expected more.   Disneyland Paris also lacks the larger rooms (villas) that the Deluxe Villa/DVC Resorts offer in Florida and California.
    Disneyland hotel Paris Grand Family getaways
    The Disneyland Hotel at night

    The hotels at Disneyland Paris also lack many of the amenities that Walt Disney World hotels (and even many regular hotels) offer.   The pools are minimal and often look like they could be at a Holiday Inn.   There are certainly no outdoor movie nights or extra activities that you might find in Florida.  Additionally, the hotel dining options are far more limited.  For example, while staying at the Disneyland Hotel,  my family was disappointed to find that our only dining options were walking over to Disney Village or dining with a reservation at one of the two sit-down restaurants (both of which are quite pricey).    We ended up at McDonalds, which was the best available option.  It made me miss the quick service options easily found at every resort in Disney World.

  • Less Predictability     The downside of needing to plan less is that there is far less predictability to a Disneyland Paris trip.   Not only do you not know what time your Fastpasses will specify until you pull out your paper ticket, you don’t even know what rides will be offering Fastpass on the day of your visit.  Disneyland Paris often shuts down Fastpass machines, even at popular attractions such as Space Mountain or Rock n’ Roller Coaster, if they feel that the crowd levels don’t justify keeping them in operation.
    Paper FastPasses at Disneyland Paris
    Paper FastPasses at Disneyland Paris

    Character meet-and-greets are equally unpredictable.  At the Princess Pavillion, usually the only place you can meet the princesses outside of the Auberge de Cendrillion character meal, you don’t find out what princess you will be meeting until it opens at 10am.   One day we didn’t find out until we walked into the room.    Given that waits are substantial for the Princess Pavillion, not knowing whom you will meet can be frustrating and often disappointing.  Disneyland Paris also uses the term “or Friends” quite liberally on the character meet-and-greet schedule.   For example,  when we met “Peter Pan or friends,” we actually met Captain Hook and Wendy,  “Alice in Wonderland or friends”  meant the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter for us.  Not that these were disappointing, but even when waiting in line one can’t be certain which characters they will eventually see.  Several times an hour the characters will swap out for breaks and some of their “friends” will take their place.  So even if you get in line thinking you are meeting Aladdin and Abu, it may be Jafar and the Genie by the time it’s your turn.

  • Smoking     I was shocked at the number of smokers walking around Disneyland Paris, even though most of the areas clearly state “no smoking.”   Smoking is much more widely accepted in France compared with the US,  and cast members do not stop guests who are smoking, even in lines.   This can be frustrating if you or anyone in your party is sensitive to cigarette smoke.


In summary, if you are looking for a family-friendly long weekend within Europe and are Disney or theme park fans, Disneyland Paris is a great option.  I am totally hooked and can’t wait to go back to experience the park in its full glory as it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017.


Also be sure to check out more pictures at our Disneyland Paris Photo Gallery  and read Tips & Tricks for Disneyland Paris Part 1:  The Basics.


  1. Take the RER A-4 ligne (destination Marne La Vallee-Chessy, which is the final stop) directly to Disneyland Paris.
    The last place to visit would be the Chateau of Chantilly.
    Science meets imagination in Discoveryland
    while the 1900s are brought to life in Disney’s Main Street,

  2. The dark ride didn t quite live up to expectations based on other recent Disney additions elsewhere like Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland, but the restaurant far exceeded expectations, and the mini-land is gorgeous.

  3. […] -Disneyland Paris: A Different Side of Disney for Families […]

  4. erectile tissue around the urethra
    erectile over the counter products
    erectile pills for sale

  5. Natural therapies can take a few different forms.What’s The Power Brother.When you take oxycodone for a long time.All fees and programming subject to change.So I’m quite admitting that Sialis can increase potency for two or three days, but I didn’t check it myself.

  6. Brad Wegmann says:

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  7. tindr , tider
    [url=”http://tinderdatingsiteus.com/?”]tinder app [/url]

  8. Freebies says:

    My husband and i ended up being really thankful when Ervin could finish off his web research from your ideas he came across from your own web page. It’s not at all simplistic to simply happen to be handing out secrets and techniques which men and women have been selling. And we all recognize we need you to appreciate because of that. The most important explanations you made, the simple website navigation, the relationships you will help engender – it is everything incredible, and it’s assisting our son in addition to our family reckon that this idea is fun, and that is especially mandatory. Thanks for the whole lot!

  9. What i do not realize is actually how you’re not actually much more well-liked than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it抯 one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. Always maintain it up!

  10. CharlesEvern says:

    tinder online , tinder dating app
    [url=”http://tinderdatingsiteus.com/?”]browse tinder for free [/url]

  11. you want to sex with a lot of people

  12. I constantly emailed this weblog post page to all my friends, because if like to read it then my links will too.

  13. W88 Casino Review
    Established in 2013, W88 has been a leading online gaming site in Asia for quite a while.
    During this time, the operator has earned a great reputation among players
    thanks to its wide range of activities, which include casino games, sports betting, lottery, live casino games and poker.

    The W88 site is well-known for its commitment to customer service, offering players the
    chance to claim generous bonuses regularly. So, it while it seems like this casino is packed with great games and customer
    service, let’s find out if there’s more to it than this.

  14. Brfgketa says:

    [url=https://ljcialishe.com/]how to avoid cialis side effects\[/url] [url=https://cialisvja.com/]cialis generic release date[/url] [url=https://viagraonlinejc.com/]best viagra pills[/url] [url=https://viagratx.com/]can a woman take viagra[/url] [url=https://buycialisxz.com/]cialis lilly[/url]

  15. Terrific post however , I was wondering if
    you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

  16. Howardgak says:

    [url=”http://stfreeonlinedating.com/?”]free local singles [/url]

  17. online viagra usa

    online viagra usa

  18. 0mniartist says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful
    info. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.
    asmr 0mniartist

  19. sildenafil citrate 100mg uses

    sildenafil citrate 100mg uses

  20. My family members all the time say that I am wasting my time here at web,
    but I know I am getting know-how daily by reading thes good content.
    0mniartist asmr

  21. compra online levitra

    compra online levitra

  22. cheapest price for generic viagra

    cheapest price for generic viagra

  23. viagra 100mg uk

    viagra 100mg uk

  24. buy sildenafil online canada

    buy sildenafil online canada

  25. Cedric Quick says:

    You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the internet for more info
    about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views
    on this web site.

  26. Ronald Shaw says:

    I’ve been browsing online more than three hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like
    yours. It is pretty value enough for me.
    Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made
    just right content material as you probably did, the net might
    be much more helpful than ever before.

  27. I have been browsing online greater than 3 hours as of late,
    but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.
    It’s pretty value sufficient for me. Personally, if
    all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will probably be much more helpful than ever

  28. I will right away snatch your rss as I can not in finding your email
    subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me recognize so that I could subscribe.

  29. Hello! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give
    you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

  30. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same
    page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  31. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet viewers, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new website.

  32. Carol Sweat says:

    Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and
    visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a superb
    job with this. Additionally, the blog loads extremely fast
    for me on Internet explorer. Excellent Blog!

  33. Stevenapasy says:

    completely free dating site
    [url=”http://freedatingsitesus.com/?”]local personals [/url]

  34. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it
    yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one

  35. Stevenapasy says:

    all free dating
    [url=”http://freedatingste.com/?”]dating websites [/url]

  36. Ana Mancuso says:

    I am sure this article has touched all the internet viewers, its really really good paragraph on building up new webpage.

  37. Amazing! This blog looks just like my old
    one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the
    same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  38. Jose Chan says:

    Ahaa, its fastidious discussion concerning this paragraph at this place at this website, I have read all that, so at this
    time me also commenting at this place.

  39. I will right away clutch your rss feed as
    I can’t to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly let me realize so that I may subscribe.


  40. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some fascinating things or advice.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read more things about it!

  41. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This kind of
    clever work and coverage! Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to my
    own blogroll.

  42. can amoxicillin make you gain weight

    can amoxicillin make you gain weight

  43. can you drink with amoxicillin

    can you drink with amoxicillin

  44. medication azithromycin

    medication azithromycin

  45. celecoxib price

    celecoxib price

  46. celebrex tylenol

    celebrex tylenol

  47. keflex 500 mg 4 x daily

    keflex 500 mg 4 x daily

  48. taking amoxicillin and cephalexin

    taking amoxicillin and cephalexin

  49. cymbalta hurts

    cymbalta hurts

  50. cymbalta pe says:

    cymbalta pe

    cymbalta pe

  51. Eric Viney says:

    Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  52. where to order cialis

    where to order cialis

  53. Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my
    viewers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free
    to send me an e mail.

  54. I every time used to read article in news papers but now as I
    am a user of net so from now I am using net for articles,
    thanks to web.

  55. viagra commercial australia

    viagra commercial australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *