May 27, 2015

Disneyland Paris Tricks- See It All in One Day

You get to travel to the world famous city of Paris. Although time is relatively short, you've convinced your spouse to give you one day at Disneyland Paris to indulge your Disney side. How can you see and do it all in one day? Let me show you what to hit, what to miss, and how to do it.

After three visits in three different seasons, I noticed a few trends that should help make a visit to this most gorgeous of all "Castle Parks" a delight. Be it Summer, Fall or Winter, the plan is strikingly the similar and should bring the same result. Let's begin.

1- Go Early with Pre-purchased Tickets.
This cardinal rule of theme park visits holds true in Europe as well.  You'll be tempted to stop and admire the gorgeous gardens right in front of the Disneyland Hotel (and the park entrance) - along with everyone else. Don't take photographs now. Resist and head directly to the turnstiles. Make your way down to the end of Main Street U.S.A. and wait for that rope drop.

2- Go straight to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The layout of the park is different than the Stateside ones in this regard. Frontierland is found in the same place as Adventureland in the States. Turn directly to your left from the hub, walk through the Fort and turn right. Follow the crowd the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If there's no line for a Fast Pass, get one for later- and then get in line for the most popular attraction in the park. Trust me, you'll want to do it again. Beginning your journey by traveling under the river to the mountain is a unique thrill all its own.

3- Proceed to the Fantasyland dark rides of your choice.
Other than the language differences, these attractions are newer versions of the beloved classics but mostly the same. In the case of Peter Pan's Flight, there is a larger seating capacity. Snow White is told in German and Pinocchio in Italian, so unless you're from Florida or just have to see these attractions for yourself, these are generally ok to skip. If you're okay with bypassing the dark rides, spend the time elsewhere. Save the castle for the busy part of the day (approximately 1-5pm), but make sure to explore its depths and heights, see the dragon in the dungeon, and discover the secret passageway through Merlin's Shoppe

Actually, there are many attractions which are good choices for the busier part of the day. In addition to the castle, there's Aventure Isle, a combination Swiss Family Treehouse and Neverland version of Tom Sawyer's Island; the Frontierland fort can be explored; Aladdin has his own walk-through attraction; the Nautilus submarine can be toured; and of course, the two interesting arcades which line the backs of both sides of Main Street- the Liberty and Discovery arcades.

4- Indulge in a nice meal.
This is Paris, after all. Even if it is not a coveted seat at Walt's or Aventureland's Blue Lagoon, do take the time to find a restaurant with nice atmosphere. Favorite and cheaper locations include the Hyperion Cafe in Discoveryland and for fish and chips, Toad Hall in Fantasyland. Stop, eat, and people watch. It's a nice rest and will keep you going for the remainder of the day.

5- Keep an eye on Space Mountain.
If you think you've seen it in the States, be prepared for something new. As with most "E Ticket" attractions, they are completely reimagined by the old school top-of-the-line Imagineers. The exterior of the mountain literally shines and watching the cannon shoot off riders into the interior of the mountain never gets boring. The lines will be long all day, but since this is not necessarily a family coaster, the queue length can vary drastically. Whatever you do, make sure you ride this one.

6- Notice the details. They're everywhere.
The park itself is the ultimate "E Ticket"

7- Do not park hop.
Even with the inclusion of the new Ratatouille ride, the Walt Disney Studios park is just not worth your time. The park was created by a different design team with a different goal, and it shows. Especially with only one day, stay in the beautiful Disneyland Paris. Tower of Terror is the California version and 85% of the park looks like the original Hollywood Backlot section of California Adventure 1.0- in other words, very ugly. 

8- Watch the Nighttime show.

9- Stay until the park closes.

10- Lodge at Val d'Europe.

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