As a lifelong Disney lover with a deep passion for anything European, it’s a given that I wanted to visit Disneyland Paris during my French vacation this summer. There are pros and cons to this, and as much as I adored the trip and it was worth it for me and my partner, I actually don’t think it’s worth it for everyone, especially those who already frequent the Disney Parks in the USA. In this post, my advice is directly for those already in Paris/France or those who are planning a trip to the country and considering the trip to Euro Disney. Obviously a trip all the way from America to visit the park would be absurd. So if you’re planning your trip to Paris, and Disneyland is on your mind, this post is for you. And as always, this is simply for any Disney lovers who are curious about the details of the park!
I am Midwestern born and bred, and DisneyWorld in Florida is the closest to my home. In reality, not super close– a 14 hour drive both ways! But this has not stopped me from visiting four times total throughout my 25 years. My trip to Disneyland Paris makes my fifth Disney visit and first Euro Disney visit. All of my comparisons will be between DisneyWorld Florida (DW, FL) and Disneyland Paris (DP).
I will start with the “cons,” so that I can get the “negative” out of the way and end this post on the positive note it deserves! I really can’t list many cons, but I will say there is not a lot in DP that is not in the U.S. parks. Disneyland Paris is not for thrill seekers nor for anyone looking for a day of serious adventure. DP is pleasant and quaint, meant to be enjoyed slowly. American Disney complexes are meant for a multiple-day stay. DP can be enjoyed thoroughly in a single day. There are less parks in Paris, meaning there are also significantly less attractions. In addition, European Labor Laws regulate park hours, making the opening hours quite smaller than its American sister parks. On weekdays the park closes at 8:30pm and at 10:00pm on weekends. This is quite a change from Extra Magic Hours in the U.S., which make the parks accessible until 2am! Crazy Americans.
If you and all of the members of your party have already visited Disney, and this is your first time in Paris/France/Europe, I would definitely skip the trip to DP. If you’re in Europe long term/you’ve already been here, and you have the time to spare, be my guest. See what I did there? But if you have limited time, anything less than 2 weeks, then I would suggest you spend your time exploring historic Paris and the surrounding areas. If you’re an American Disney regular, and you visit Disneyland Paris, it’s sort of like vacationing in New York and then eating at Pizza Hut. You can have that at home, ya dig? 😉
Now, onto all the magical pros!
There are only two parks at Disneyland Paris versus the five parks of DisneyWorld. Disneyland Park, which is most like Magic Kingdom, opened in 1992 and contains the classic Disney rides and experiences such as Main Street, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, etc. There were a few attractions here that I have never seen before. I included them in the photos below! The second park, which opened ten years after the first, is Walt Disney Studios Park, and is most like Disney’s Hollywood Studios, containing the Tower of Terror, Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Rollercoaster, and the Backlot Tour. They did have a cool ride with Slinky from Toy Story, which I have never seen before! L and I preferred the magic of Disneyland Park, so that’s where we spent most of our time.
A train travels directly to the parks from the city of Paris. It’s a cheap, easy ride, and you don’t have to worry about parking!
It’s a small taste of home for Americans abroad.
I have loved It’s a Small World since I was a child, and I drug my hesitant boyfriend on the ride. He ended up loving it, and we rode it again later! I can’t express how special it was to share these precious experiences with him. They were a large part of my childhood, and since he has yet to visit my home in the U.S., it felt like I was bringing a little piece of my childhood to him. ❤
Even on its hottest day, Paris could never compete with the scorching temperatures of Florida. The weather was sunny and mild, and we certainly didn’t have the daily thunderstorms of FL either. The entry is cheaper. For us it was 50 euros for 2 parks versus the $100 entry for one park in the US. There were less people, meaning the lines were shorter. We got right on Space Mountain! I couldn’t even believe it. The wait was “5 minutes,” but we strolled right on. The longest we waited for a ride was 15 minutes, and the longest wait I noticed was 35 minutes for Peter Pan’s Flight. This is nothing compared to astronomical American wait times. And because there is less foot traffic, there is less wear-and-tear. The details of the park are even more intact and more beautiful than the DW in FL.
Opinion from my resident European:
I’m paraphrasing what my boyfriend said here. Hopefully he will correct me if I’m wrong. 😉
“I think that because America is such a young country and lacking in history compared to Europe, Disney has become representative of part of American history. Disney is America. It’s like a rite of passage for Americans to go to Disneyland. But here it’s not the same. Disney is just another place to go enjoy, one or two times.”
Ideal DP Visitors
Families with young children and couples.
Besides the Tower of Terror and the other two rollercoasters, there was not a lot for teenagers/thrill-seeking adults. Most of the rides are slow and chill, and I fear tweens and teens could get bored. There are plenty for tots to do & lots of beautiful spaces for couples to explore together. It’s the ultimate date destination, in my humble opinion.
All the magical details.