How to Cut the Queues at Disneyland Paris | #ThisGirlEats

Despite crowds being a little quieter than expected since the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, the Disney parks are still getting busier and busier – and Disneyland Paris is no exception!

You can’t just turn up, wing it and expect to still get on all the rides you want – that’s just a recipe for disappointment! If getting on all the rides is important to you and your group then it should be just as important to do your homework – and that’s why you’re here!

Below you’ll find some advice on how to beat the queues at Disneyland Paris, let us know in the comments if you have any other top tips that could help us all out!


Fastpasses

Fastpasses are an absolute must if you want to smash out as many rides as possible at Disneyland Paris.

Free (yes, free!) and available to any guest with a valid park ticket, Fastpasses give you an allotted time slot to come back to an attraction and cut into the queue much, much closer to the front. They’re available for several big-ticket rides to help stop you wasting valuable time waiting in long lines when you just don’t need to.

Not sure how Fastpasses work? All you need to do is head over to your chosen ride, scan your park ticket at machines located nearby and wait until it spits out your Fastpass. Go away, enjoy the rest of the park, and come back during the time slot on your pass. Find the Fastpass entrance, show your pass to a cast member, and cut down your wait time.

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There are a limited number of Fastpasses for each ride and some go quicker than others, so it’s important to prioritise; which rides are you okay with waiting for? Which ones aren’t that important to you? Which ones do you simply have to get on? The most important rides should jump straight to the top of your Fastpass list.

Also, it’s worth noting that you can’t get multiple Fastpasses at one time. So if you were thinking of running into the park first thing and collecting all your Fastpasses straight away, Disneyland Paris are onto you! Your Fastpass ticket will tell you when you can pick up another pass.

Check out my guide to Fastpasses here.


Extra Magic Time

If you’ve ever wondered how the queues for some rides creep up so quickly right from park opening, it might have a little something to do with Extra Magic Time.

Visitors staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel, or holders of the Magic Plus or Infinity annual passes, can enter the park an hour before opening. This means you can get straight on rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Crush’s Coaster before most people are even allowed inside.

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This Extra Magic Time (sometimes called Extra Magic Hours) is a real benefit of staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel or upgrading your annual pass. Making use of this time can really help you get a couple of big rides under your belt before other visitors have even made it up Main Street! Of course, it does mean getting up and out fairly early, but if you want to get on those popular attractions then it’s definitely worth doing to really make the most of your day.


Get there early, stay until late

If you’re staying offsite and your ticket doesn’t include Extra Magic Time, you can still pack in a lot of rides by turning up early. Most attractions are at their busiest in the middle of the day – from around 11am until 6pm – so being ready to go first thing can help you get head and shoulders above those guests turning up later.

Get yourself to the parks an hour or so before general admission; you won’t be able to get on anything, but you’ll be more than welcome to grab a coffee and a croissant, have a mooch around the shops and take some photos for the ‘gram while the parks are quiet. That way, when it’s time for rope drop, you can make a beeline for your favourite ride.

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For those who want to catch up on their beauty sleep (or need to brace themselves before facing a full-on Disney day!), you can still avoid those long lines by sticking around until the park closes. Most families with little’uns head out around dinnertime, leaving many rides with dwindling wait times as the evening goes on. If you’re willing to skip the fireworks (only if you’ve seen them before, they’re a must-see at least once during your trip!) this is prime time to jump on some rides while everyone else is distracted by the nighttime show.

If you’re a trooper, make the absolute most of your day by turning up for rope drop and staying until park closes.


‘Tis the season

While Disneyland Paris is never going have a day off, you can be mindful of the dates you choose to and try to avoid the busiest times of year.

Some seasons, such as Christmas and Halloween, are incredibly popular among visitors and always see big crowds flock at this time, so you’re likely to see wait times skyrocket during these seasons. While it’s super fun to see the parks during the festive season, you definitely won’t be the only ones with this idea! It’s also best to avoid bank holidays, school holidays and weekends as most people plan their trips around these dates.

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I know it’s not always possible to book trips in term time or weekdays, especially if your kids are in school or you’ve got to book days off work – but that’s why so many other people visit during these times! It might not be doable for you, but it’s just something to bear in mind and prepare for. During these times, Fastpasses and Extra Magic Time are even more important!


Know your rides

Do your research, guys! Decide which attractions are important to you and which ones you don’t mind skipping to help make a strategic plan of your day.

It might sound obvious, but knowing which rides are an absolute must-do for you can help you to prioritise your Fastpasses; for example, if Peter Pan’s Flight is high on your list, especially if you’ve got young kids who love Tinker Bell and Captain Hook but won’t wait in that long line, you know to head straight to Fantasyland and pick up your Fastpasses.

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On the other hand, if you’d quite like to ride Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain but it’s not the most important attraction in the park to your group, you know to prioritise Fastpasses for other rides while leaving this one until the end of your day once most people have gone home.

You can’t expect to just walk into the parks, decide on the spot which rides you want to go on and then be surprised when you’re stuck in queue after queue! Start making notes now to create the best possible experience once you’re there.

Check out my top ten rides at Disneyland Paris for some inspiration.

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Le Rendez-vous Gourmand at Disneyland Paris | #ThisGirlEats

There are many, many reasons to visit Disneyland Paris – unfortunately, for the most part, the food isn’t one of them.

Aside from the occasional treat that pops up, the culinary fare on offer in the parks isn’t anywhere near as imaginative or exciting as we’d expect. When it comes to food and drink, Disneyland Paris falls short compared to its American counterparts.

But there has been one seasonal event cropping up at Disneyland Paris these past few years that has become a mecca for us Disney fans who don’t want to compromise their inner foodie on every visit. If you need something other than counter service hamburgers and popcorn buckets to make your trip complete, there’s only one thing for it: Le Rendez-vous Gourmand.

Le Rendez-vous Gourmand at La Place de Rémy
Le Rendez-vous Gourmand at La Place de Rémy

Le Rendez-vous Gourmand is the Walt Disney Studios Park annual pop-up food and drink festival, with rows of wooden huts serving an awesome range of European delights.

Starting off in La Place de Rémy – the Parisian mini-land that houses Ratatouille: The Adventure – with stalls from various regions of France, serving traditional treats like pastries and wines as well as more interesting offerings like tartiflette (gooey, cheesy sliced potatoes – bloomin’ delicious) and accras de morue (cod fritters).

Tartiflette (cheesy potatoes)
Tartiflette (cheesy potatoes)

This year, the festival has grown to see the rest of Europe sprawling out across the park. On the outskirts of Toy Story Playland and just past the Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic ride (not familiar with the Walt Disney Studios Park? Check out my walkthrough video to get yourself up to speed!), you’ll journey through the continent visiting the likes of Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Stop off to grab a slice of pizza and a glass of prosecco, quench your thirst with a pint from the craft beer bar, queue up with the masses for waffles and fries (the Belgium hut was always busy!), try the controversial chorizo paella, fill up on some hearty moussaka, and there’s even something for us veggies at the brand new vegan stand!

The Italian stand at Le Rendez-vous Gourmand
The Italian stand at Le Rendez-vous Gourmand

The portions are decent, but not too big, and quite affordable when compared with most food in the parks, which allows gluttons like us to munch on several snacks from different stands.

From what our group managed to squeeze in over one weekend – and believe me, we would’ve eaten the lot if we could! – we’d recommend starting off with a Nutella crepe for a sweet breakfast treat, reloading with some cheesy potatoes and onions for lunch, warming up with a veggie feast of lentil dahl and falafels for dinner and a decadent eclair for dessert, and, finally, grabbing a slice of three-cheese pizza for the road on your way out.

Nutella crepes
Nutella crepes
Lentil dahl
Lentil dahl
Three cheese pizza
Three-cheese pizza

But, of course, there are loads things to try, so definitely make some room in your budget and get adventurous! For once, we can safely say Disneyland Paris is really delivering good eats that has something for everyone.

Le Rendez-vous Gourmand is at Disneyland Paris from 10th July to 13th October 2019.

Eclairs at the patisserie stand
Eclairs at the patisserie stand

The Lion King & Jungle Festival 2019 at Disneyland Paris | #ThisGirlEats

The Lion King & Jungle Festival landed in Disneyland Paris on 30th June 2019 and I’ve pretty much been banging on about how excited I am for the park’s latest season ever since!

I’ve been really looking forward to this one; The Lion King is my favourite animated Disney movie ever, so I’ve been practically counting down the days until I could check it out for myself.

I must start by saying how impressed I am by the effort Disneyland Paris have gone to with this festival. We all know, when compared to Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, Disneyland Paris sometimes lets us down. They’ve been known to skip over those extra magical details in the past and leave us desperately wanting more, especially when it comes to themed events.

But, this time, I think Disneyland Paris rose to the occasion.

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Let’s start with the two main shows of the season – The Jungle Book Jive and The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands. Both shows are new to the park and proved a great way to divert crowds and provide entertainment for the whole family. The Jungle Book Jive takes place just in front of the castle and is one part musical, one part character parade, one part dance show. It’s bright, loud, colourful and very different to any other entertainment Disneyland Paris has to offer.

The Jungle Book Jive during The Lion King & Jungle Festival
The Jungle Book Jive during The Lion King & Jungle Festival

But my favourite show of the festival is, hands down, The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Land. It’s a musical performance taking place in the newly renovated Frontierland Theatre based on – you guessed it – The Lion King. This show is plucked straight from Broadway, with top quality choreography, costumes and vocals without being kitschy or campy. It’s a must-see – but ARRIVE EARLY! The queue gets crazy long, we got there an hour before the show started and weren’t sure we’d even fit into the theatre!

The Lion King & Jungle Festival also offers a whole load of special themed snacks for the occasion, and they’re awesome! From chocolate paw prints to giant animal macaroons, new drinks like the tropical mango whip and character milkshakes at Victoria’s (if the machines are working!) and a signature character meal hosted at the Restaurant Hakuna Matata. We didn’t get round to eating every single snack in the park (we gave it our best shot, believe me!) but the ones we grabbed were pretty tasty and fun to try.

Choco-coco lollipaw in Frontierland
Choco-coco lollipaw in Frontierland

You can also pick up some cool merchandise themed to this season, like a limited edition Lion King & Jungle Book Festival t-shirt, souvenir cups and popcorn buckets, and some adorable Lion King ears. Your little ones are bound to beg you for something – c’mon, you’re at Disneyland!

There’s still time to visit during this incredible summer season at Disneyland Paris and I can’t recommend it highly enough – catch it while you can!

 

 

 

VIDEO: Disneyland Park Walkthrough | #ThisGirlEats

I’ve been spamming the socials with my new Disneyland Paris video for a couple of weeks now, so I guess it’s about time I started shamelessly plugging it out here in the blogosphere too.

If you’ve already taken the time to watch then thank you so much! I really appreciate it; the support I’ve been getting for the Disney content has been incredible and it means the world. 💜

Check out my ‘Disneyland Park Walkthrough’ video below, and don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe and share if you enjoy it!

 

This latest video takes you on a guided tour of the Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris (there are two parks at Disneyland Paris – this is the one with the castle!). It’ll hopefully give you a good overview of the park so you can have a little preview before you visit, as well as some helpful advice on to navigate the different lands and attractions.

All of our videos are here to help – we want you to have the best time possible when you visit Disneyland Paris!

You can also check out our previous video, ‘My Top 10 Rides At Disneyland Paris’, below:

 

Things to Think About When Planning Your Disneyland Paris Holiday | #ThisGirlEats

When it comes to planning a trip to Disneyland Paris there is a lot to think about!

We all want different things from our holiday, and it can be tough to make some of those key decisions. Do you want a resort hotel or budget accommodation? How many days should you book? Where should you eat and how much will it cost? Should you travel by plane, train or car? When is the best time to go?

I’ve tried to go over some of the most important things to think about before you go on holiday to Disneyland Paris. What are the big questions you ask before you visit the Disney parks? Leave a comment and let me know!


The Hotels

The hotels in Disneyland Paris aren’t really “resorts”, not in the same sense as those in Orlando’s Disney World. They’re much smaller and you won’t find anything that stands up to the likes of Art of Animation or Animal Kingdom Lodge when booking your visit to Disneyland Paris.

But there are still benefits of staying in an on-site Disney hotel, such as:

  • Most of them are within walking distance of the park
  • Extra Magic Time is included with your stay
  • Souvenirs bought in the parks can be sent straight to your hotel room
  • You have access to meal plans
  • You can share your breakfast with Disney characters in many of the hotel restaurants

All these extra touches give your trip that special sprinkle of magic and if they’re important to you then, of course, think about staying on-site.

Silver, gold and blue Tinkerbell statue in the Magic Kingdom just before you reach Sleeping Beauty's castle
Tinkerbell statue in the Magic Kingdom

But the Disney hotels themselves don’t really bring much to the table. If you’re not fussed about getting into the park an hour early, are happy to jump on a shuttle bus or drive to the parks and don’t mind carrying your souvenirs around with you, then I’d definitely recommend looking into partner hotels.

There’s a whole strip of Disney partner hotels just outside the resort area, all with their own themes and free shuttle buses to the parks, which are usually cheaper than even the budget on-site resorts.

If you’re driving then you could even venture a little further afield. You can find plenty of decent hotels – some of which are even Disney themed! – around 15 minutes in the car from the parks. These ones in particular are much better value for money.

It depends what you want from your holiday. If you’re desperate for a fuss-free stay then look into the Disney resorts but if you’d rather save some pennies it’s definitely worth searching for off-site deals.


The Length of Your Holiday

When us Brits plan for a stateside visit to Disney World we’d set aside around two weeks because there’s just SO MUCH to do. But with Disneyland Paris, prepare for a much shorter stay.

There are only two parks in Disneyland Paris. The Disneyland Park, where you’ll find Sleeping Beauty’s castle and classic attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight and Big Thunder Mountain, and Walt Disney Studios Park, a Hollywood backlot featuring the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Toy Story Playland. This is compared to the four parks and two water parks in Orlando, plus Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure right next door.

Obviously if you’re coming in from outside of Europe you might want to spend a little longer here just to make the travelling worthwhile. But, in all honesty, one day in each park will cover an awful lot of ground.

Give yourself a long weekend and a multi-day ticket and you’ll have two days in each park, strolling between the two as you please. I promise you’ll have plenty of time to check out all the rides and attractions, browse the (limited!) range of shops in Disney Village and squeeze in regular mealtimes too.


The Food 

Speaking of mealtimes, let’s move onto the food. Disneyland Paris is an amazing, immersive, magical holiday – but a great culinary experience, it is not.

It’s a real shame that Disneyland Paris has such a long way to go when it comes to providing visitors with exciting food and drink. The food inside the parks is limited, expensive and poor quality. Our own experiences when it comes to eating in the parks isn’t great; it certainly wasn’t good value for money, put it that way.

The restaurants in Disney Village are a little better. You’ve got more choice, from Planet Hollywood to Café Mickey, Annette’s Diner and the Rainforest Cafe, but they don’t come cheap and, truthfully, they still don’t guarantee the above-and-beyond dining experience we expect from Disney.

'Mojo Bones' from Disneyland's Rainforest Cafe - caramelised pork ribs with BBQ sauce, fries, coleslaw and salad.
‘Mojo Bones’ from Disneyland’s Rainforest Cafe – caramelised pork ribs with BBQ sauce, fries, coleslaw and salad

You can bring food into the park for much more budget-friendly snacks during the day. Plus, it means you don’t have to set aside so much time to eat. We usually dig into our snacks while waiting in ride queues to kill some time! Most of the hotels, both on-site and partner, also have restaurants where you can fill up on breakfast (if it’s included) or feast on an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner.

Bottom line, if you’re going with small children who need a break and convenience is worth a few extra quid, research the food options in the park. But if you’d rather smash out as many rides and attractions as possible, are happy to snack on-the-go and want to keep your visit as cheap as possible, bring your own food.


The Travel

Obviously travelling to Disneyland Paris depends on where you’re coming from, but let’s focus on the different travel options from the UK for now.

The quickest way for most people to get to Disneyland Paris is by plane. You can fly to Charles De Gaulle from most major UK airports and there are plenty of comparison websites out there to help you find the best prices. However, you do have to consider getting from Charles De Gaulle to Disneyland Paris, which is a 45 – 60 minute drive or around 50 minutes via public transport.

You can also get the Eurostar, which is SUPER easy if you live in southern England. It’s really quick, minimal fuss and takes you right up to the park. Eurostar tickets can be pricey so watch out for that – but you can just get the Eurostar into Paris and change over to a domestic train, which is cheaper. The only problem with the Eurostar is it’s only reeeeally practical if you live close to the train.

My favourite way to get to Disneyland Paris is to drive. It’s the best way to travel on a budget, especially if you’re splitting everything between a full car. It also has no luggage weight restrictions or rules on bringing food and drink, things you’d have to consider otherwise. The Eurotunnel only takes 35 minutes and the drive from Calais to Disneyland Paris takes around three hours. However, like the Eurostar, you need to live kinda close to the Eurotunnel to make this a realistic option.

You can also catch ferries to France from several destinations including Dover, Portsmouth, Newhaven, Liverpool – but be careful, some crossings can take up to 23 hours!

The things you really need to consider when planning your travel for Disneyland Paris are convenience, time and budget. Flights are convenient, so is the Eurostar (if you’re close enough!) but driving can be a real money saver if it works in your favour.


The Weather

If you rely on good weather to enjoy your day, you really need to think about this before visiting Disneyland Paris.

In Paris, much like the UK, the weather can be very hit and miss. From November to February cold temperatures, rain showers and grey skies are expected – but they are some of the quietest times to visit (if you avoid the Christmas rush!) which could help beat the queues. Unfortunately it’s also when many attractions undertake refurbishment for this exact reason, so keep that in mind and check the website for any planned attraction closures.

If you visit from May to August, you’re much more likely to soak up the sunshine and bask in the warm weather, especially in the peak of summer. These more pleasant months obviously draw in bigger crowds, but I’d rather be queuing in the sun than the rain and it does make walking around the parks much more enjoyable.

If you go during the “in between months” – March, April, September, October – your guess is as good as mine! As we all know, in this part of the world the weather is never guaranteed!

Toy Story Playland in Walt Disney Studios Park with hanging lights and Buzz Lightyear in the background
Toy Story Playland in Walt Disney Studios Park