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Take the Family › Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, Paris

Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, Paris

Family-friendly days out at at Disneyland Paris.Family-friendly days out at at Disneyland Paris.

Whether you have Snow White-hating boys or Captain Hook-hating girls, or vice versa, your kids will love this slightly weird, rampantly commercial but memorable experience just over two-and-a-half hours from London St Pancras by direct Eurostar, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017.

Actually two parks – Disneyland Park itself, with Sleeping Beauty's Castle and most of the well-known rides, and Walt Disney Studios Park, based around cinema-studio 'lots' and with movie-themed shows and attractions as well as a handful of rides – Disneyland Paris requires a good two days, more if you come when it's busy (ie any school holidays). 

Disney Village, which you don't need a ticket to enter, is basically one long strip of themed restaurants, although there are plenty of eating options in the parks themselves.

Best for: The whole family!

Read our review of a visit to Disneyland Paris with young kids

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What to Expect:


  • Advance tickets
  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Family tickets
  • Great for kids 4-12
  • Great for teens
  • Great for toddlers
  • Open year-round
  • Special events
  • Public transport
  • Pay on day
 

What to do

Take advantage of new shows, rides and upgrades for the 25th birthday celebrations that are being hosted throughout 2017. Added extras include two special anniversary shows including the Princess Waltz Ball, a Disney Illuminations show and the opening of the Star Wars Reawakens: The Adventures Continue 3D attraction. Space Mountain will become Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, while the Disney Stars on Parade will be an extra-shiny affair, with new floats including a fire-breathing dragon.

Explore the Disneyland® Resort Paris website before booking/going, for special offers, new rides and attractions, seasonal specials and park guides tailored to different age groups. The park is divided into four different 'lands', with Fantasyland, for instance, largely best suited to under-5s. The website also has a day-by-day itinerary for those with babies and smaller kids.

Check out the times of the parades – kids love them, although you’ll need to grab a hot chocolate to keep you warm in winter.

Check out height restrictions before you queue – it’s a disaster if your screaming three-year-old suddenly finds out they're not allowed on a ride they’ve waited an hour for.

Make a plan as to where to meet should you get separated.

Where to stay

There are numerous accommodation options within Disneyland Paris Resort and nearby, some run by Disneyland itself and including the likes of character breakfasts. For larger families, for example, Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch® can sleep up to 6 and includes park tickets and free parking. 

Non-Disneyland-owned options can be more cost-effective; the Kyriad Hotel is 2km from Disneyland offers quadruples with a double bed or two singles plus a bunk bed (top bunk for ages 6 and over only) for a bargain €70 at certain times of year.  If you are looking for self-catering apartments for your family, the Adagio Aparthotel Paris Val d'Europe is on Disneyland's doorstep and has a free shuttle bus to the park. Or see our hand-picked accommodation options in Paris itself.

Best for: The whole family!

When

Unfortunately the weather in northern France is more or less the same as in the UK, so it’s tempting to come in summer. Don't even think about it. The best time, weather notwithstanding, is January–April, when the queues – abysmal in any school-holiday period – are relatively minuscule, and when the best deals are available.

A variety of offers are available at any one time, including free travel and/or park entry and/or meals for children of varying ages, so keep checking the website for one that suits your family.

How

Take the train

Let le train take le strain. Direct Eurostars from London St Pancras to the themepark are (a) easy (b) a quick, smooth ride (c) better for children, who can stand and walk around, which they can’t when flying. Plus, staff deliver your luggage to your hotel (if you’ve bought a tour-operator inclusive package), so you can go straight to the park upon arrival.

Alternatively, you can take a Eurostar to central Paris, if you choose to base yourself there, then take public transport (the RER line A4) out to the park (Marne la Vallée/Chessy station, taking 35 minutes). Read about a two-centre Paris and Disneyland Paris holiday.

Take the plane

Paris is 45 minutes from London (but remember to allow for transfer time). There are shuttles (VEA) to the resort direct from both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, or Hertz offers car-hire deals in conjunction with Disneyland.

Drive

Disneyland is a 2hr 45min drive, almost wholly on motorways, from the Channel ferry/Eurotunnel port of Calais.

Eat

Take supplies of food and water with you, or you'll end up spending a fortune on snacks and drinks. Some of the food isn't that expensive given that you're a captive market, but more often than not quality is pretty poor. You can, for instance, have dinner with Mickey and mates at Cafe Mickey (in Disney Village), but you'll be paying a high price for mediocre food. The Lucky Nugget Saloon in Frontierland has been known to serve decent fare, and also has visits by Disney characters, but quality can vary so wildly from day to day so it's difficult for us to make any surefire recommendations.

Cost

It’s not cheap but it can work out fairly reasonably priced if you get one of the regular free nights/free kids’ deals. Indeed, if you bag one of the last-minute 25% discounts ON TOP OF another offer, you may find that an accommodation + tickets package comes in cheaper than tickets alone...

It also works out much cheaper to buy tickets in pound sterling – so don't be tempted to leave it and buy at the gate or at an outlet in Paris.

The restaurants are – not surprisingly – overpriced, so if you’re trying to keep the budget down make sure the children scoff the hotel breakfast so they aren't that hungry for lunch (although you will need a rest and a sit-down).

The merchandise shops and stalls are impossible to avoid. You’ll do well to escape without a pricey souvenir.

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By Rhonda Carrier

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