GETTING THERE: By far the easiest way to get to the parks from central Paris is by RER A (RATP; www.ratp.fr; 45 min.; 7.60€ adults, 3.80€ ages 4–10 one-way). Alight at any of its downtown stations and take it all the way to its terminus at Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy (just make sure that this is the terminus—the RER A has multiple destinations). When you get out, you’ll be about a 5-minute walk from the entrance. By car, head east on the A4 and take the Parcs Disney exit. By train, from outside Paris, you could arrive by TGV (the French railway’s high-speed train); see www.voyages-sncf.com for details. From Paris’s Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly airports, you could also catch the Magic Shuttle (http://magicalshuttle.co.uk; 23€ adults, 10€ children 3–10, free 2 and under), a direct shuttle to the parks and Disney hotels.
VISITOR INFORMATION: Disneyland Paris Guest Relations Office, located in City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. (www.disneylandparis.com; [tel] 08-25-30-05-00, .15€ per min). For general tourist information for the region, visit the Centre d’Acceuil Regionale de Tourisme between the train station and Disney Village (www.visitparisregion.com; [tel] 01-60-43-33-33).
ADMISSION: Admission varies depending on the season. In peak season, a 1-day, 1-park ticket (for either the main park or Walt Disney Studios) costs 69€ adults, 62€ children 3–11, and free for children 2 and under; a 2-day park-hopper ticket is 140€ adults, 126€ kids; and a 3-day park-hopper ticket is 174€ adults, 159€ kids. Special offers run throughout the year, some that include transportation to and from Paris; check the website for details.
HOURS: Hours vary throughout the year, but most frequently they are 10am to 7pm. Check the website for exact hours during your stay.
FastPass Those Long Lines
Disneyland Paris has instituted a program that’s worked well at the other parks. With the FastPass system, visitors reserve a 1-hour time block at various rides by printing a fast pass from the machine at the entrance to the attraction. Within that block, the wait is usually no more than 8 minutes. See the website for details.
In the U.S., there is Disneyland and Disney World; in France, you could call it Disney Universe. This giant resort is comprised of two parks: the classic Disneyland, complete with “It’s a Small World” and Space Mountain, and Disney Studios, where you can try your hand at cinematography or delve into the world of cartoons. In general, Disneyland is a better choice for the under-7 crowd; though even the little ones will still get a kick out of the cartoon attractions at Disney Studios. But the parks are just the beginning of your excellent adventure in Marne-la-Vallée: There are also seven hotels, a golf course, a spa and tennis courts, not to mention Disney Village, with its boutiques, restaurants, a discotheque, a cinema, and an IMAX theater. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll just stick with the parks.
Isn’t it comforting that some things never change? Here you are in France, and yet there is Frontierland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland, just the way you remember them back home. Okay, not exactly. For one thing, everyone’s speaking French. And Japanese. And Bulgarian, Hindi, and Farsi. The success of this resort is its international appeal. When you enter the park, you’ll step right into Main Street USA, that utopian rendition of early-20th-century America, complete with horse and buggies and barbershop quartets. Here you’ll find the information center as well as a train that leaves from Main Street Station. The train, which does a circuit around the park, will whisk you off to Frontierland, where you’ll find Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, a paddlewheel steamboat, and the Lucky Nugget saloon. Next is a chug through Adventureland, with old favorites like the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse and the Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Onward toward Fantasyland, with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (Le Château de Belle au Bois Dormant), whizzing teacups, flying Dumbos, and “It’s a Small World.” Last stop: Discoveryland, home of Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. There are parades every afternoon on Main Street, and a spectacular light and fountain show, Disney Dreams, around closing time.
Though the primary draw here, of course, is Disneyland Park, Disney Studios makes an interesting alternative for older kids who have already done Disney and are up for something different. Along with films, stunt shows, and parades, the park offers an introduction to the wonders of movie making at Disney Animation Studios and the Back Lot, with its special effects and stunt shows.
Naturally, there are fun rides here, too, like the Tower of Terror (based on the Twilight Zone TV show), Crush’s Coaster, and the Rock 'n Rollercoaster (featuring Aerosmith tunes). The latest addition is Ratatouille, a 3D ride where you get a mouse’s-eye view of the restaurant kitchen in the movie of the same name. Smaller visitors will appreciate Toy Story Playland, where they can speed around on the RC Racer or try the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.