By now I’m sure many of you have seen the offer the Daily Mail are running on visits to Disneyland Resort Paris during the first part of 2010. As the main offer featured is a one day trip, with the option of a two day resort stay I thought it would be best to give my view on how to best allocate your time.
Firstly, let’s look at the best deal offered using the Daily Mail discount. For me the best deal is a two night stay in Disney’s Sequoia Lodge with a two-day admission to both Disneyland Resort Paris parks. This comes to a cost of £389 (£349 plus the £20 per night supplement for upgrading to Sequoia Lodge). The reason I think this is the best deal is that you get a very high quality hotel (comparable to a three-star in the UK, with five-star service) at a price you’re not likely to find anywhere else.
Other hotels available include Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch, which offers many outdoor activities, Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne and the non-Disney property Vienna International Magic Circus hotel. If you feel you’d rather save the money than go for Sequoia Lodge I’d recommend the Hotel Cheyenne (additional £10 supplement per night) or Davy Crockett Ranch. Whilst the Magic Circus hotel may be as good value as Davy Crockett Ranch it’s not a Disney owned property which means you may miss out on perks such as Extra Magic Hours and free shuttle transportation.
Your time in the parks: One day touring
If you decided to go for the on-day visit to Disneyland Resort Paris it’s highly unlikely you’re going to see everything, especially if you don’t get to the park in time for opening. This means you’re going to have to make some decision as to what you want to visit and what you don’t. As this is a family offer this may be dependent on your kids and their tastes. Here’s some touring tips based on different tastes.
Thrill seeking kids
Whilst most boys will enjoy the child-orientated attractions the older they get the more they tend to want to hit the big thrill rides. This can be hard when visiting Disneyland Resort Paris for one-day as the thrill rides are distributed between the two parks.
If your kids are interested in thrill rides but are not used to them it may be best to start them on some of the ‘mild but wild’ attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris. Handily enough these attractions are mainly based in Disneyland Park.
Mild but wild attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain- Disneyland Park (intensity rating 6/10)
- Pirates of the Caribbean- Disneyland Park (intensity rating 4/10)
- Star Tours- Disneyland Park (intensity rating 7/10)
- Crush’s Coaster- Walt Disney Studios Park (intensity rating 7/10)
Some of these attractions do have height requirements, which can be found on Disneyland Paris’ official website. All the attractions stated above are thrilling but are certainly not on par with the big thrills attractions in the parks. It’s still important however to make a personal judgement on whether your child will enjoy the attraction or not as every child is different.
Mild but wild touring plan
- Ensure that you are at Walt Disney Studios Park before 30 minutes before the park opens with ticket in hand.
- Once Walt Disney Studios opens go directly to Toon Studio and ride Crush’s Coaster.
- After riding Crush’s Coaster head for Disneyland Park
- Once in Disneyland Park head to Frontierland and go to Big Thunder Mountain
- If the line is less than 30 minutes long ride Big Thunder Mountain. If the line is longer obtain a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain
- Head over to Discoveryland and ride Star Tours
- If you got a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain return any time after the start of your hour return time, don’t worry if you missed your allocated time, you’ll still be allowed to use your Fastpass.
If you think your children are okay to go on the big thrills attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris it becomes harder to tour due to these attractions being distributed between the two parks more than the mild but wild attractions. Here’s a list of big thrills attractions:
- Space Mountain: Mission 2- Disneyland Park (intensity rating 8/10)
- Indiana Jones et le Temple du Peril- Disneyland park (intensity rating 7/10)
- Rock ‘n’ RollerCoaster- Walt Disney Studios Park (intensity rating 9/10)
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror- Walt Disney Studios Park (intensity rating 8/10)
All of these attractions are high intensity and may scare young children. If you feel that your children will be okay to go on these attractions it’s still very important that you prepare them for the experience beforehand in order to ensure they know exactly what is going to happen during the course of the ride.
Big Thrills touring plan
- Get to Disneyland Park 30 minutes before park opening
- When the park opens head to Adventureland
- Ride Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
- Head over to Discoveryland
- If the line is under 20 minutes long ride Space Mountain: Mission 2. If the line is longer than 20 minutes obtain a Fastpass
- Head over to Walt Disney Studios Park
- Ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster if line is shorter than 30 minutes
As this isn’t peak season the need to use Fastpasses should be minimal for the mild but wild and big thrills attractions apart from Big Thunder Mountain which see’s large lines all year round. The two Studios attractions tend not to have large lines, especially not early in the morning, hence why I didn’t mention using Fastpasses. However if lines are long both attractions should have Fastpasses available until mid-afternoon.
No Thrills Adventure
Plenty of kids under the age of 11 find some of the more thrilling attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris a little bit too intense, thankfully the majority of attractions in both parks are aimed at those who aren’t really into thrills and prefer a tame attractions that’s both exciting and provides a great story. Because there’s so many attractions to see in both parks besides the thrill rides it’s really hard to say how to fit it all into one day, but here’s my ideas.
Firstly most children and adults greatly enjoy Fantasyland, the area is the quintessential Disney land that contains many of its most famous attractions including the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle . There’s a number of attractions in this area designed for the young and the young at heart. This makes the attractions very popular and hence lines can get long even during the slower periods such as the time between January and March. For this reason it’s always a good idea to ensure you hit Fantasyland early, especially with young children who love the classic Disney characters as this is the most character-dense area in the whole resort. The attractions I suggest visiting in Fantasyland are:
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Mad Hatters Tea Cups
- It’s a Small World
- The Voyages of Pinocchio
The main attractions to get done in the morning in Fantasyland are Peter Pan’s Flight and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The main reason for this is that lines build up quickly due to the popularity of both attractions and Dumbo having very low capacity. Mad Hatters low capacity can also cause long lines, however this doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem as at Dumbo.
The other Fantasyland attractions are all worth a visit, especially with younger children. However, these are the attractions which need to be visited early on in the morning in order to ensure that you’re not going to be waiting in long-lines.
Adventureland offers lots for those who are looking for a no thrills day. On the plus side the attractions in Adventureland suitable for children generally don’t need to be visited in the morning as lines are low or non-existent, especially during the lower season when the discounts are available. Two of the attractions in the area are adventure play areas. Both Adventure Isle and La Cabane des Robinson are designed for children to have fun in an area designed for exploration. These attractions are not likely to get too busy during the low season so visit anytime during your visit.
The other attractions children will be able to go on with minimal scares is Pirates of the Caribbean. Whilst I did mention Pirates in the ‘mild but wild’ section it’s generally suitable for children of all ages though some may be scared by some of the special effects. Thankfully Pirates is a very efficient attraction when it comes to loading, meaning lines tend to be short during the low season. This allows some flexibility in your touring, especially if you’re trying to include the Fanstasyland attractions.
Whilst two of the major attractions in Discoveryland are thrill rides (Space Mountain and Star Tours) there are some attractions for younger audiences or those who aren’t interested in the big thrill rides. Here’s the attractions I recommend in the area:
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
First things first Buzz Lightyear is very popular as the attraction appeals to people of all ages. For this reason I suggest making this your first stop of the day before heading to Fantasyland. If you’re staying in a Disney hotel then take advantage of Extra Magic Hours for this attraction as lines build up quickly when the park opens. Another thing to take into account is thar Orbitron is very similar to Dumbo but with a Sci-Fi theme. If your kids are interested in space go to this attraction rather than Dumbo, if your kids are obsessed with Dumbo go to Dumbo instead as there’s little value in doing both, especially when you’re time restricted.
Frontierland is dominated by Big Thunder Mountain, which isn’t really a suitable attraction for those who don’t like roller coasters or thrill rides. Phantom Manor is the only attraction in Frontierland I’d recommend as a part of a tour. The reason for this is one of the other attractions is an adventure play area which isn’t as good as what’s on offer in Adventureland and there’s one Wild West Show and a walk through attraction, both which receive mixed reviews and aren’t worth it when you’re constrained to one days touring.
Walt Disney Studios
There are a number of attractions in Walt Disney Studios suitable for those not interested in thrill rides. Here’s my choices for the best when you’re doing a one day tour:
- Cars Race Rally
- Motors, Action Stunt Show Spectacular
- The Art of Disney Animation
- Stitch Live
- Flying Carpets over Agrabah
Cars Race Rally is pretty low capacity, although lines are not too bad, especially during the low season. Motors, Stunts Action has limited shows per day and this must be worked into a touring plan, which can be hard as times can vary. The Art of Disney Animation is good to visit any time of the day and isn’t essential. Children love Stitch and demand for this attraction can be high, though they shouldn’t be too bad from January to March. Flying Carpets is near enough exactly the same as Dumbo but with an Aladdin theme, so you may want to chose between the three similar attractions. There are other attractions suitable for the children which you can see at Disneyland Resort Paris’ official website, however when times an issue I don’t see them as important enough to visit.
The no thrills touring plan
This touring plan contains a mixture of the attractions I’ve mentioned above. This touring plan may have to be tweaked, especially depending on the time of the Stunt Show. This is a rough and ready idea of how to avoid crowds and if you can make any improvements please get in touch.
- Get to Disneyland park 30 minutes before the official opening
- When the park is open head down the arcade at the back of the shops on the right hand side of Main Street
- Ride Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
- Head over to Fantasyland
- Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Ride Peter Pan’s Flight
- Ride It’s a Small World
- Ride Mad Hatters Tea Party
- Ride Voyages of Pinocchio
- Head over to Adventureland
- Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
- Head to Frontierland
- Ride Phantom Manor
- Leave Disneyland Park and head for Walt Disney Studios
- Check the showtimes for Motors, Action Stunt Show, if the next show is within an 45 minutes wait in line
- After seeing the Stunt Show ride Cars Race Rally
- Experience Stitch Live
- Experience The Magic of Disney Animation
- Head back to Disneyland Park
- Experience Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
- Ride Autopia
There’s plenty more to do at both parks than mentioned in this touring plan, however I feel these are the most important attractions to experience if you’re not interested in thrill rides and only have one day at the park.
This is pretty much my guide for the different types of guest visiting the park using the Daily Mail offer for one day or two days. Whilst those staying for two days may not need to follow the plan it can be really useful for those only visiting for one day.
In my next blog post I’ll be looking at a combined touring plan for the experience, including all the major attractions to visit during this first-quarter of the year off-season.