Oh hi there! Well what a weekend that was! Edith’s 5th birthday was spent in Disneyland Paris and I can honestly say we had the BEST day, even if we are all absolutely shattered and requiring matchsticks to hold our eyes open with.
We left on Thursday and came home Sunday, so we had a few days to enjoy the parks and I would say (personally) that 3 nights/4 days is a perfect amount of time – you could totally do longer, but any less and I think you would struggle without a VIP guide to take you around and organise everything for you.
Anyway, I wanted to share with you the things that I think are ABSOLUTE must do things for Disneyland Paris! I’ve previously written a 16 tips for Disneyland Paris post here, which you might find really useful, but this one is more about the things I think you can’t go wrong with and that you mustn’t miss to bring on the magic and the odd things I think you can skip over.
Must do Disneyland paris
Before you do anything, download the app. It is a lifesaver and will tell you roughly where to go and how long you will wait for most things and at what time.
Grab a baked good from the Bake shop on the right hand side of main street. Whatever the “season” is, they will have special cookies and muffins in that theme, as well as the usual Pain au chocolat. I warn you though, the queues get ridiculous, try going either as soon as you get to the park or a good 40mins before the parade… and wait.
Walk through the castle and upstairs – try to do it fairly early as it gets packed, but it is SO worth it, it’s ridiculously pretty upstairs. If it’s open, go underneath the castle to see the Dragon, it’s genuinely brilliant and such an unexpected treat!
Eat breakfast or Lunch with the Princesses at Auberge du Cendrillion – it was a really nice meal (which is more than I can say for a lot of the restaurants at DLP, they tend to be fairly average at best) and the Princesses are just superb. Edith was spellbound, and so was I to be completely honest, they were just so lovely. Aurora spoke 4 languages totally fluently. The princesses sign the child’s menu too, so even for the kid’s that don’t have autograph books they get a memento.
Ride It’s a small world. It’s just so sweet and every time I go on I seem to notice something new. Make sure you either go super early (first thing – or if you have the option for magic hours, use them) or get a fast pass, the queue gets huge.
Ride Big Thunder Mountain if you are a thrill seeker – it’s fabulous, one of the best rides in both parks, but like It’s a Small World the queue gets huge, so go and grab a fast pass early.
Eat breakfast at Plaza Gardens – one of the best breakfasts on the site I think. If you choose the earlier sitting (8.15) it’s quieter and there is still a good 30-40 mins of magic hour left once you have finished, so it’s much better than the 9.45 sitting.
Get an autograph book and ask the character’s to sign it. I’ve never been that bothered before but my word, Edith’s face when the princesses signed her menu! It’s a nice reminder for when they get home too.
Keep your eyes peeled, characters pop up everywhere, we were walking along and all of a sudden there was a host of princesses walking past us – then the Queen of Hearts. It’s really lovely to see them and wave.
Down the side of the Princess Pavillion there is a meet and greet, just tucked behind the Cheshire cat cafe. I was really annoyed that we didn’t know as it was Tiana and when we walked past, the queue was huge. It’s worth heading there and asking who is on, the day after it was the Queen of Hearts and Edith was too scared to meet her.
Ride Peter Pan – another one I don’t think you should miss. It’s just beautiful, and as someone who has never been that bothered about Peter Pan, I still adore it. The queue is probably the worst in the park, so make sure you fast pass it (get the fast pass early because the queue for the fast pass machines is also fairly long!)
Ride Pirates of the Caribbean then eat in Captain Jack’s restaurant. You can possibly skip the last bit if you really hate Caribbean food, and I don’t think the food is likely to win any awards, but the atmosphere is ace. I wish they would add a bit of fanfare to it, have the cast members in character a bit more or even a Jack Sparrow character experience, but if you’re a WDW fan, be prepared to see it’s a common thing in the park for it to lack that extra wow of WDW.
Buzz Lightyear’s laser ride is brilliant and not to be missed, unfortunately it was closed for refurb when we went but it really is excellent and we loved it. Whilst the queue does get really long, the queuing area is really fun with lots to see on this one, so I would just enjoy.
If you like spooky, don’t miss Haunted Mansion. I don’t actually like it that much, I’m not a fan of spooky, but it IS very clever and it’s absolutely beautifully done… it scares the living daylights out of Reuben though, so yeah… it’s a spooky one.
For a little bit of a break, I really love Alice’s Labyrinth. It’s really chilled, it’s lovely to walk around with a cookie and just chill out a bit, away from the madness. Go up the Queen’s castle, you will probably think it’s all finished when you get to the Cheshire cat, but it’s not!
The same goes for exploring Scull rock and Crusoe’s treehouse. If you are looking to just chill out, I think they are really fun items to add to the agenda – no queues and just something a bit fun.
Le Pays des Contes de Fees is possibly the most under rated ride is all of Disney ever. EVER. It doesn’t have a height requirement, it’s super slow and gentle and just really pretty – plus, hardly ever more than a 5/10 min queue.
Never ever visit Disney and miss the parade – you have to see it at least once during your trip. I stupidly made us all go to the airport really early and i just shouldn’t have bothered but I didn’t know how long everything would take, but we could have seen it one last time on the final day. It’s at 4.30 and I can’t express how truly awesome it is. For the best seats, you’re going to want to start queing around 3.30/4pm at the latest… if you’re not that bothered then thats fine. I would say a seat at the front is ideal as the characters come and interact with the kids… it’s magical. Goosebumps thinking about it.
Another thing you can’t miss, right before you exit the park at closing time is the Illuminations. I hear a lot of “oh but it’s on late” – nap in the afternoon if you must but seriously it’s just so beautiful. It really is something that takes your breath away and you can’t miss it! People start queuing for this hours in advance, we watched it at 8pm on Edith’s birthday and the front seats were rammed by 7pm, but the good think is you can pretty much see the castle from everywhere… side note, when you have seen it once, take advantage of the teeny tiny queues in Adventureland, Frontierland and Discoveryland because you can pretty much ride the long queue rides in minutes.
Walt Disney Studios Park
Ratatouille is a really awesome ride, and the Bistrot Chef Remy is the perfect place to grab a bit to eat in the evening if you have just been on the ride. I loved it, Edith wasn’t a fan of Ratatouille and had a meltdown! Welcome to Disney overwhelm.
In Toy Story land, get a picture with Buzz and then head through. I don’t really think any of the rides in this land are “must do”, I think Slinky dog is nice for those who like a bit of speed but not much, and the Parachutes are lovely for little guests that can’t go on Hollywood Tower in the other park… but I think they can all be seen and skipped if the queues are big. Rex is awesome, so make sure you see him!
Shows are the best part of this park, and the ultimate show for me is Mickey and the Magician. I could have cried that this show wasn’t on this time, it makes me weep with joy. I love it and I don’t even care that I can’t understand 90% of it because it’s French. Do. Not. Care. You need to queue for it around an hour early too, which sucks, but if you go and get some cookies and hot drinks from the coffee shop (or one of the many vans outside) you’re laughing.
Hollywood Tower of Terror is ace if you are a thrill seeker, it really is cool. Bit creepy, but lots of fun – and it’s the one ride where the staff (cast) actually bother to put on a role in DLP. They play it well and it really does add to the vibe! If you do take a little one on and they chicken out – that’s totally fine, there are plenty of places to duck out before you get into your seats.
Crush’s coaster is another one with a big ole queue but 100% for a reason – it is really disorientating though and always makes me feel so sick! It’s one to go on, but maybe not after a big meal!