Disney theme parks are perhaps the ultimate expression of the American Experience. But why would an American tourist visit France to experience Americana when it’s available to us right outside our homes? I believe Disneyland Paris should be on every theme park fan’s bucket list regardless of where you are from, because– as I experienced first hand– the park is so much more than an easily accessible Disney park for Europeans. Disneyland Paris is rightfully listed among the world’s best theme parks.
In this guide, I am evaluating Disneyland Paris through the lens of an American tourist. This guide is also for the reader who seeks to know whether a considerably more difficult trip to France is worthwhile or should their Disney dollars be spent closer to home at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Finally, this guide is a little different than many of Inside the Magic’s standard coverage, as my focus is on an in-depth review of the park starting with the travel to Paris and covering impressions of the entire resort. I encourage you to skip around to the section(s) that interest you the most and follow the links to our prior stories if you’re looking for more details. Most of all I hope you enjoy exploring Disneyland Paris.
Inside the Magic previously shared Disney theme parks dominate the most visited list around the world. Disneyland Paris which was formerly known as Euro Disney Resort is a key part of that domination as it contains Europe’s #1 and #3 theme park destinations in Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. I visited Disneyland Paris in 1992 as a teenager but had not returned until this June, 2018. Much has changed for the better in the 25 years since the park first opened.
The Disneyland Paris resort consists of 2 parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park), the Disney Village entertainment and shopping district, eight Disney operated hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York, Disney’s Newport Bay Club, Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, Villages Nature Paris, Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne, Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe, Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch), and the Golf Disneyland golf course.
My trip to Disneyland Paris coincided with Disney FanDaze a special ticketed celebration that brought rare Disney characters, parades, dance parties and more to the parks.
The layout of Disneyland Paris is more along the lines of Disneyland than Walt Disney World. Visitors staying on Disney property can walk from their hotel thru the Disney Village and arrive at either Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park. Yet it is similar to Walt Disney World in that the Disneyland Paris resort itself is outside Paris city limits in a location that gives Disney some elbow room and opportunity to build a resort that isn’t constricted by the dense city around it.
Disneyland Paris resort is located in Marne-la-Vallée, France. From Charles de Gaulle Airport which is north of Paris the drive is 44 km (27 miles) or from the Eiffel Tower (near the center of Paris) the drive is 48 km (30 miles). If a trip to Disneyland Paris is part of a larger vacation to Paris or Europe the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station is probably your best bet to travel to the park as its located right at the gates of the 2 parks at the adjoining edge of the park entrance and the Disney Village.
Finding a hotel in Paris and taking the train is a great option as it allows you to visit many other famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame or even lesser known finds such as this theme park dedicated to wine.
In this 6 page guide, I will share all the key details necessary to make a vacation to Disney’s Parisian home magical.