Disneyland Paris or Eurodisney as its often referred to, is Europe’s No. 1 tourist attraction. Created in the new town of Marne-la-Vallée in the eastern suburbs of Paris, its location in the heart of Europe makes it easily accessible which is good since in 2011 15 million visitors converged to enter through its gilded gates.
The complex consists of two separate theme parks – Disneyland and Walt Disney Studio and the covers more than one-fifth of the area of Paris – a 55 hectare site. There are seven hotels on the site, and more than 8,000 hotel rooms available, a golf course, 70 restaurants and bars. More than 30 million meals were served last year in its many eateries – it claims to be the largest restaurant in France and there are plans for it to grow even bigger.
The resort comprises an unusual and quite unique mix of French and American influences. Sleeping Beauty’s castle is Le Château de la Belle au Bois and there are over 50 attractions spread out in areas and roads that have American names such as Fantasyland, Frontierland, Discoveryland and Main Street USA.
Best Things to do in Disneyland Paris
Frontierland is Wild West country. Phantom Manor is bound to give you the shivers and then you’ll race through a gold mine on a runaway train and alight in Mexico – thrill seekers will love the lives in Frontierland.
Adventureland means a ride on a magic carpet with Aladdin. You’ll spot Robinson Crusoe on your journey and many interact with some favourites such as Pirates of the Carribean, Peter Pan and Indiana Jones with more thrilling rides and attractions.
Disneyland also caters for smaller children and they will adore Fantasyland – they’ll never forget their invitation to Sleeping Beauty’s castle or a flight over London with Peter Pan. All the kids favourites are there – from Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Snow White, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
In Discoveryland, intergalactic encounters with Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and a ride on the stomach churning Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Star Tours will leave you awed.
The Disney parades with all your favourite characters take place daily, you can take in a live show or concert and even a hot air balloon ride. PanoraMagique is the largest moored balloon in the world, the 6 minute ride goes up to a height of 100 metres so that those on board get a fabulous bird’s eye view.
Walt Disney Studio is an interactive, behind the scenes look at the world of animation, television and cinema.
Disneyland Paris celebrated its 20th anniversary in April 2012 with a new show the Disney Magic Dream show which is alleged to be the best and biggest laser show in the world – its now a permanent feature and has received great reviews.
How to get to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris by Car:
Parking is available free of charge to anyone staying in a Disney hotel. Visitor Parking for guests NOT staying in the Disney Hotels, or designated hotels (details on Disney website) is available within a few minutes walk of the Disneyland Park entrance and at the entrance of the Disney Village complex current rates (excluding special events days) are:
Cars: 15 Euros per day; Motorbikes & Sidecars: 10 Euros per day; Camping cars: 20 Euros per day
You can double check the rates on the Disneyland Paris website.
Disneyland Paris by train:
The nearest train station to Disney Paris resort is Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy Disney Station a couple of minutes walk from the Disney parks.
From Gare du Nord in Paris it takes approximately one hour to the Disney station – take the RER B train to Châtelet-les-Halles and change on to a RER A train to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy Disney Station.
If you’re going to Disneyland Paris on the Eurostar service, the train will go directly to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy Disney Station .
Disneyland Paris by plane:
Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris are within reasonable travelling distance of the resort. Some airlines and Disney may offer shuttle bus services to Disneyland Paris hotels which you can pre-book. Check with your airline or via the Disneyland Paris website.