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How best to organise one day at Paris Disney?

(17 Posts)
Acinonyx Tue 21-Jun-11 10:43:44

We will be camping outside Paris for 3 days in August and plan to go to Disney for one day with dd, just turned 6. She is all about fairies and princesses and doesn't like anything scary.

I'm a bit confused by the web site which is turning my brain to porridge. What is the best way to do this and do we need to book now? Do I just need a one day pass to the one park? Our priority is the Princess castle and Fantasyland. I'd quite like to do the Micky Mouse cafe - do I book that separately? Are the evening shows worth doing?

Any advice or tips will be very much appreciated.

vtechvoyager Tue 21-Jun-11 14:57:13

Unless your DD really loves High School Musical which is heavily featured in Studios, I would just buy a one day, one park ticket, rather than the park hopper that gives you entry into Studios as well as Magic Kingdom. You can just buy the tickets when you get there, though if you look online you can sometimes get a bargain but usually on the 3+ days, not on the one day ticket.

I would plan to stay for the fireworks at the end of the day, but your DD will be exhausted after a day at disney so I wouldn't bother to plan an evening show.

Not sure about booking at Cafe Mickey, check some reviews of it though because I have heard that it isn't all that great.

Acinonyx Tue 21-Jun-11 15:04:30

Thanks - very pleased to hear the one park ticket will be OK. Dd isn't into HSM at all.

bigTillyMint Tue 21-Jun-11 20:00:08

We did this last year with slightly older DC. take her dressing-up outfit as the little girls looked lovely in them and got more attention in the parade/at photo ops with characters.

We only did the main park. We got there just before it opened and went straight to the bigger rides, but they might be too scary for your DD / she might not be tall enough. We used the fast passes (free) and got on every single ride more or less throughout the day and hardly any queuing - htis was in the middle of August!
I can't remember the names of each of the areas, but the one with the castle will obviously be the main one for her - there were shows as well as rides in there.

The main parade is fab - definitely get a good position, take something for her to sit on on the kerb so she can see (you stand behind!) We got a great position at the very top of the main avenue. The fireworks were good too, but it was about 11.30 - 12 by the time it all finished so she might be too tired.

We took in loads of food and drinks - much cheaper and you can't get fresh fruit, etc in there. However we bought them a few treats during the day! The characters walk around a bit, so possible photo ops throughout the day too!

FreddoBaggyMac Tue 21-Jun-11 20:13:32

I'd plan to stay in Fantasyland as there will easily be enough there to keep you going for the day. DEFINITELY let her wear her princess dress as the previous poster said! You can do lunch with the princesses at the Auberge de Cendrillon restaurant which in Fantasyland - it's fab but hugely expensive (you'd need to book in advance).

Cafe Mickey is WONDERFUL. Best place to eat with children imo. It's in the Disney village rather than the park itself and you should def book. The characters are wondering around all the time and interract with the children, Goofy got my 5 year old to eat her vegetables by spoon feeding her grin

My advice would be to get there as early as poss and do fantasyland in the morning. Go for Peter Pan's flight first as you don't want to miss it and it gets busy. Other rides not to miss in Fantasyland are Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and It's a small world. Lots of other rides which are good too though! You can walk through the castle at any time, not much to it apart from the dragon at the bottom (which terrified my 3 year old!)

Find out the main parade time and get in position well in advance.

Head to Cafe Mickey in the Disney Village for a late lunch (take some snacks with you to keep you going).

If you have time for any other rides Pirates of the Carribean is great. I agree that you will be far too tired for an evening show!!

Acinonyx Tue 21-Jun-11 21:04:09

That is really great advice - really helpful - thank you both.

bigTillyMint Wed 22-Jun-11 05:59:06

I would say the parade at 7ish is a must - fireworks less so. Our DC aged 10 - 12 LOVED the parade, all the characters are in it!

bigTillyMint Wed 22-Jun-11 06:00:14

Oh, and there were lots and lots of much younger children watching it, obviously (so even if they were tired.....). And wierdly, quite a few child-free adults hmm

Acinonyx Wed 22-Jun-11 16:19:56

Thanks a lot. Dd is not a big sleeper and generally can keep going - we're the ones who get wiped out! I don't think we'd make it to 11.30.

bigTillyMint Wed 22-Jun-11 17:30:23

Well, I would have gone home at 6 if it had been my choice..... grin

Figgygirl Thu 23-Jun-11 04:58:42

Hi acinonyx,
The Disney official website is not brilliant, so with so much to absorb, I'm not surprised that your head is spinning! You are doing the right thing by planning ahead, as so many people do not, then don't get the best out of their time there.
You do not say what dates in August you are there - this can make a difference regarding crowd levels in the parks, as some dates are Francilien Annual Passport Blockout dates. This means that local people ( and others ) who have these APs cannot use them, so are less likely to visit the parks as they would have to buy tickets.
July / August in resort is known as Summer Time, with longer park hours. Generally, Mondays and Tuesdays are the busiest days along with the weekend. Wednesdays and Fridays are usually the least busy, and Thursdays can vary.

Fantillusion electrical parade at 10.25pm usually, followed by fireworks over the castle at 11pm. Ride entrances close at 11pm. Shops and some food places in the park stay open for a while longer. Once Upon A Dream parade with the large floats is usually on at 7.15pm. You will see Princes and Princesses on their floats in both parades.
Disney Dance Express Train will go down Main Street at set times during the day, and Characters get off the train at central Plaza to dance, and invite kids to join in.
The Tarzan show has just returned to the Chapparal theatre in Frontierland, which is a very good show to see, with singing, dancing, and it should include some aerials.

With four separate Lands, it is important to choose rides that your daughter will enjoy, and not be scared. Some kids are very frightened by Snow White ride, as it focuses on the wicked Queen and dark woods. Do the Pinnocchio ride next door first, and if she doesn't like that, don't do Snow White. It is also important to do gentle rides first to build confidence - if you do something that scares her first, she may not want to try anything else.

Some kids are braver than others, and like more thrilling rides, or dark ones.
The park gates open at 8am for Disney hotel guests to go on selected rides, whilst day visitors and other hotel guests are restricted to Town Square and Main Street from 9am to 10am, where they can look in shops, or buy food/ drink in some places that are open early. At 10am they are allowed to access the Lands for rides.

If you look in the Top Questions list on the DLP/ Marne La Vallee forum page on Trip Advisor you will see one about rides for young children, which also gives the height requirements for rides. People on this forum can help you plan your day to get the most out of it, with your child in mind, and give you helpful links for ride descriptions and other info. There is just too much to write here!
Both forums are linked, so you can use either one, and read both pages of Top Questions.

Regarding the Studios - High School Musical is only represented in Blockbuster Cafe theming ( the other half of the restaurant is themed with Pirates Of The Caribbean.) There is nothing else to do with HSM in the park - this was a previous year's show.
Things change every year in DLP, and also during the year with the different seasons. There are very few ride closures in Summer Time, if any.

There are some things in the Studios that your daughter will enjoy -
Playhouse Disney ( theatre show )
Stitch Live ( theatre show )
Animagique ( theatre show featuring Mickey, Donald and other Characters from Disney animation movies ).
Flying Carpets over Agrabah ( like Dumbo elephants ride, but usually a shorter queue ).
Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin ( very tame, in Toy Story Playland ).
Cinemagique ( cinema film with a twist.....)
Art of Disney Animation ( two theatres, one showing Disney animation film clips, the other features Mushu, the dragon from Mulan on screen ).
Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop descends slowly, but depends on whether the child ( or adult! ) is afraid of heights.

Sorry - have to dash - am at work!!

Figgygirl Thu 23-Jun-11 06:01:58

Had an emergency.....

So - Princesses. Places and times to meet Princesses will be listed on the Park Programme, which also gives times and locations of shows and parades. This programme can be seen online about a week in advance, but does not change during Summer Time, so will be the same from 9th July to 4th September. This makes it easier to plan your day before you go, and maybe book somewhere for a meal without missing something that you wish to see.

Advance Dining Reservations ( ADR ) are essential during school holidays and weekends to save disappointment.
If your daughter is Princess mad, and you can afford it, I recommend lunch or dinner in Auberge De Cendrillon, which is Cinderella's restaurant in Fantasyland.
Not cheap by any means, and is 3 course fine dining, but it would be the highlight of her day. Most people say their daughters loved it, even if they didn't eat much! I would recommend making an early lunch reservation, so you get maximum time with the Princesses there, and Suzie and Perla, the mice from Cinderella. You are not hurried to leave. A table by the fireplace gives the best view of the Prince and Princess dancing. Booking dinner is harder if you wish to see the main parade at 7.15pm. and the show on Central Plaza Stage.( time unknown at present ).
You can read reviews of this restaurant on Trip Advisor.

Cafe Mickey is in the Disney Village, by the lake. You will not see any Princesses here, just the usual Characters, including Micky and Minnie. If you leave the park for lunch or dinner here, bear in mind that you may have to queue to go through security and the park turnstiles.

An option could be to do the attractions that appeal in the Studios first thing, then have lunch in cafe Mickey or Auberge DC before doing suitable attractions in the Disneyland Park. You can use Fastpass to ride in a given 30 min timeslot for some of the rides which have this facility, but most of these are thrill rides apart from Peter Pans Flight and Buzz Lightyears Laser Blaster.

Having a sit down lunch would give DD a rest. Characters are not in Cafe Mickey all day, so check this if you book. Characters are usually there for breakfast, then 12.15 - 2.45pm then dinner from 6.15 - 11pm.
You can pay for a 3 course meal with choices, or just choose items from the main menu, like pizzas etc.
You can also read reviews of this restaurant on Trip Advisor.

Character Dining inside the park is currently at Cowboy Cookout BBQ in Frontierland, which is fast food with choices rather than buffet or table service, so cheaper.

We can give current prices on the DLP/ MLV forum.

Have to dash again.......

Figgygirl Thu 23-Jun-11 09:50:33

Buy your park tickets in advance to save queueing at the ticket booths, where they are usually more expensive.
The Disney website is not usually the cheapest place for tickets. You may be able to buy 1 day 1 park weekday tickets for € 30 on French websites to print off as E tickets, or to collect from a FNAC store in France. Some websites will also post them for about € 15 extra. For Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays in French summer holidays the tickets cost € 40 which is the same as weekends. These tickets must be bought a minimum of 5 days in advance.
You can pay € 10 extra for a 1 day 2 park hopper.

At the moment they are selling billet ete tickets which give one extra day free, if taken 7 or more days later, so can be used by people who are on holiday for longer than one week, and can visit the parks at the beginning and end of their trip.
The park gate price for a 1 day 1 park ticket is currently € 57 adult and € 51 child aged 3-11. A 1 day 2 park hopper ticket costs € 69 adult and € 62 child.

Attraction tickets direct are usually cheaper than the UK Disney website, and also worth looking at attractiontix, but they send vouchers, not actual tickets, so you still have to queue at the park entrance to exchange your voucher for a proper park ticket.
ATD are selling 1 day 2 park hoppers for £ 49 adult £ 45 child.

A 1 day 1 park ticket on the UK Disney website costs £ 51 adult and £ 45 child.
A 1 day 2 park hopper Magic ticket ( specified date ) is £ 51 adult and £ 46 child.

The Disney car park in summer holidays might cost € 15 ( price last summer ). It is cheaper to follow the signs for the Disney Village and park in the multi storey there for € 8 for 24 hrs. It could well be a shorter walk to the parks as well.

Acinonyx Fri 24-Jun-11 22:46:00

Wow thanks - I'll be back soon to take notes!

Figgygirl Sat 25-Jun-11 15:14:22

Apart from help on dedicated DLP forums, there is a very good site called DLRPMagic which is well worth looking at. You can see park maps of each Land with a description of all the rides and attractions to decide which are suitable or would be a favourite for your child.
You can also see restaurant menus and prices, and lots of other info if you click on Planning. It explains how to use Fastpass and which rides have this facility.
It is not forum, so you can't ask questions, but it is very informative, and they usually keep it fairly up to date.
With info from here, and help from TA DLP forum, ( or other DLP forums like DISboards or Dibbs ) I'm sure you will be able to plan a fantastic trip!

It is great when people are kind enough to help with info from their trips, but the problem is that DLP changes all the time, and different times of the year vary.
Character Dining locations change, and times of shows and parades change.
You can see the parks programme of events online about a week in advance, but this should stay the same for July and August Summer Time, so you can see what should be on when you are there from 9th July.
Currently showing 26th June - 1st July.

amimagic Sat 25-Jun-11 18:36:47

Absolute, number 1, top tip for DLP in busy season is to get there before opening time - allow enough time for parking, queuing for security checks, turnstiles etc. so that you are still in Main Street before the actual opening time. You will benefit by being able to knock off a load of rides early on, then have nice lunch when the crowds are really building.

Also chill a bit with how much you want to do - you can't do everything so don't get stressed, just enjoy the things you do get to do. Relax about the crowds too - it's all about your state of mind :-)

Figgygirl Mon 27-Jun-11 14:39:06

Agree with amimagic - the Disneyland Park allows visitors in from 9am to look at shops in Main Street, but are held behind ropes until 10am to access the rides. Disney hotel guests are already in the park from 8am.
The Studios opens the gates to everyone at 9.30am, as Disney hotel guests do not get EMH here usually. Most people run straight to Crush's Coaster. You can queue for rides, but they do not usually start running until 10am, although I have seen some begin a bit earlier in summer holidays.
Also agree about not getting stressed about any long queues or large crowds. It is a major theme park attraction, so must be expected in school holidays or weekends. Everyone is in the same boat. Make sure kids have been to the loo before joining a ride queue, and that you have some drinks, snacks, or things to keep them occupied. We often played I SPY or the boys played on their Gameboys which I carried in my bag for queues. Use Fastpass where possible for a shorter queue.

With limited time the best thing is to study park maps in advance so you don't waste time trying to find things. Read about the different rides and attractions and make a list of priorities. Check times of parades or shows that you do not want to miss and plan around them.
Lots of info on this site.

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