Inside the Magic of Disneyland Paris

in Disney, Disneyland Paris, Travel

Sleeping Beauty Castle Stage

Disneyland Paris is a world-renowned theme park located in France and is part of the larger Disney resort. As an American tourist, you may wonder why you would travel to France to experience a Disney park when there are options available closer to home, such as Walt Disney World or Disneyland. However, Disneyland Paris offers a unique and distinct experience that sets it apart from its American counterparts.

The park itself includes iconic attractions such as Sleeping Beauty Castle, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain, all of which are familiar to Disney enthusiasts. In addition to the classic rides, Disneyland Paris also features newer additions like Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain and the Avengers Campus, catering to fans of the franchise. These attractions, combined with the charming Main Street, U.S.A., and the immersive Disney Village, create an authentic Disney experience that is worth the trip.

Moreover, Disneyland Paris offers a range of accommodation options, including the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hotel New York, ensuring that visitors can fully immerse themselves in the magic of the park. Additionally, the resort provides amenities such as the Disneyland Paris app and the Extra Magic Hour, allowing guests to make the most of their visit. 

Overall, Disneyland Paris is a must-visit destination for any Disney enthusiast, even for those who have experienced Disney parks in the United States. The park’s unique European charm, combined with its incredible theming and world-class attractions, make it a truly unforgettable experience that is worth the trip to France.

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.

In this 6-page guide, I will share all the key details necessary to make a vacation to Disney’s Parisian home magical.

Guide to Disneyland Paris

Traveling to Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Park

Walt Disney Studios

Disney Village

Disneyland Paris Hotels 

Guide to 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.

Mickey Mouse

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 through 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 it’s located right at the gates of the 2 parks at the adjoining edge of the park entrance and the Disney Village.

Disney Train
Don’t worry; this is not the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train.

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.

Traveling to Disneyland Paris

As an American visiting Disneyland Paris, there are several items to include in your trip planning.

Airline and Flight Logistics, Passports, and Customs

Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France and the second largest airport in Europe.  Charles de Gaulle Airport serves as a Hub for Air France, offering non-stop service to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Detroit, Houston-Intercontinental, Mexico City, Miami, Montréal-Trudeau, Los Angeles, New York – JFK, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles, and Toronto-Pearson along with seasonal non-stops to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Air France is part of the Air France-KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer program, which also includes US carrier Alaska Airlines. Among the US airlines, Delta has the most direct flights, with United and American Airlines also well represented.

Traveling to Europe requires a valid passport, and upon entering Europe, you should expect a fairly lengthy line for customs.  Less experienced international travelers might be inclined to underestimate the impact navigating through customs could have on making a connection. Global entry, the US government’s expedited immigration program, does not speed up customs and immigration into Europe. Therefore, your safest bet is to allow yourself two to three hours to clear customs, depending on which airport you arrive. It’s shocking how much stress many travelers experience when they have a relatively short layover and face a long immigration line. There’s no need to start off your vacation with stress, so do yourself a favor and give yourself ample time.

Disneyland Paris Food
Disneyland Paris serves treats from six different regions of France.

Upon returning stateside, Global Entry is a wonderful service that I highly recommend, and many mid and upper-tier credit cards (i.e., those with annual fees) will cover the application fee as a card benefit. My United Airlines flight from Paris to Newark took me approximately 30 minutes from walking off the plane until I arrived at the gate for my next flight.  For those unfamiliar with international travel, this means in 30 minutes, I was able to do the following: clear customs, retrieve my checked luggage, recheck my luggage, and clear security via the TSA pre-check line. Because my connecting flight was with the same airline, my gates were fairly close together, but even so, that is a lot of steps to navigate in a fairly short amount of time.

Language Barrier

Any prudent first-time international traveler should have a fair amount of concern regarding the language barrier when visiting a foreign country. That said, English-speaking tourists at Disneyland Paris really don’t experience a language barrier. Many Europeans have an excellent grasp of English, with school systems teaching English for decades. This is even truer when visiting Disneyland Paris.   Rider instructions and other mandatory communication were given in both French and English.

In fact, many times, I intended to use simple French words such as Merci (Thank You) or Bonjour (Hello) but caught myself responding in English because the cast members I interacted with were so fluent and quick to respond in English. While I would highly advise having a translation app on your phone, I didn’t use my translation app a single time. Honestly, the language barrier at Disneyland Paris was comparable to the language barrier at Chefs de France in EPCOT.

Chefs de France (Epcot)

WiFi & Cell Service

For those of us accustomed to Walt Disney World or Disneyland free WiFi in Disneyland Paris was one minor area of disappointment.  I stayed on Disney property at Disney’s Hotel New York and was very pleased with the hotel’s WiFi connection.  As I moved away from the Hotel and walked through the Disney Village there was sporadic WiFi I could connect to, often the result of WiFi from an individual store or restaurant versus the blanket coverage of good WiFi covering the area.  Once in either Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park, there was WiFi but whether it was temporary signal interference or an issue specific to my own phone I found the WiFi connections sporadic.

Outside of the obvious impact of less reliable WiFi than we come to expect at Disneyland or Walt Disney World (admittedly spoiling us given the number of guests these networks support), a not as apparent outcome includes the inability to count on backing up video and photos to the cloud.  Simply put, be sure to have enough space on your phone to support your picture and video taking needs and treat the ability to back up these items and clear out space on your device as an added benefit whenever possible.

Cell service appeared to be readily available but naturally, you will be on a French network.  Therefore, establish an international calling plan with your domestic provider before you leave on your vacation.  As someone who primarily uses his phone for taking pictures, I wasn’t overly concerned about cell coverage as I knew I could schedule calls around access to a WiFi signal.  While my personal requirements for cell service were minimal, I would have still greatly benefited from a backup source for my data needs when WiFi wasn’t available.  Therefore on my next trip, I may sign up for a better plan to minimize my reliance on WiFi.

Disney WiFi

Electrical Outlets

Ironically, electrical outlets proved to be my biggest hurdle while traveling abroad.  First, to clarify, US electrical voltage is 110 volts while European outlets are 220 volts.  Next, the actual item(s) requiring the electrical current (hairdryer, cell phones, computer, etc) can either be a single (many hair dryers) or dual (iPhone) voltage appliance.  Therefore as you’re packing keep a tab on all of your dual voltage appliances which will only need an adapter, but for those appliances that are single voltage, you need a converter as well so that the 220-volt electrical current doesn’t fry your appliance.

The above considerations are fairly straightforward, so I purchased a small converter along with what I believed to be the correct adapter so that I would be covered. My problem arose when I realized the adapters I had purchased included a Southern and Northern European variety, and I took the wrong adapter with me. Depending on which travel adapters you purchase, they could be labeled differently, but as I learned, you need to ensure you are taking the right variety of adapters for your location in Europe.

To keep it simple, I recommend this set of adapters plus this converter to ensure you have the adapter or converter necessary to meet your needs.

Bottom line: in the realm of international travel, a trip to Disneyland Paris is easy. There are a few items to keep in mind so your trip can be the magical vacation you seek, but with even a small amount of advance planning, Disneyland Paris is the perfect destination for even the most intrepid traveler.

Disneyland Park

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris’s Disneyland Park is home to many iconic attractions that are familiar to US-based fans, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion), Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world”, Star Wars HyperSpace Mountain (Space Mountain) and more. Disneyland Park is the primary park or “castle park” for Disneyland Paris, featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle.

According to the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) in 2017 Disneyland Park was the 12th most visited park in the world and 9th most visited Disney Park.  By comparison, it ranks just ahead of Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, and attendance from 2016 to 2017 grew faster than all but three parks ranked ahead of it, which makes it reasonable to assume this may become a top 10 park in attendance in the next year or so.

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Entrance Sign

Through September 9, 2018, Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. As someone who visited the park as a kid in 1992 the first year the park opened, I was immediately impressed that the park felt more Disney than I recall while maintaining a unique and welcoming French feel.  During my first visit when the park was called Euro Disney Resort, it was only the second Disney park outside the United States and I personally recall a certain lack of the Disney magic so important to the park experience.  Today, Disney magic is alive and well in the park and anyone who recalls trips in the past in which they might have been less than 100% impressed would be well served to take another trip and experience how much has changed.

Fantasyland - Paris

One of the defining characteristics I noticed throughout Disneyland Park is more paths and exhibits.  There are more opportunities to wander around the park’s various areas and take in the sights and sounds of areas that aren’t completely crowded with guests. This provides Disneyland Park with a more relaxed environment than you will find in the US parks.

Sleeping Beauty Castle or Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant

As is the case with all of Disney’s Castle Parks the castle is the star attraction of the park and that star shines the brightest at Disneyland Park.  Inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle Sleeping Beauty Castle or Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (French for “The Castle of the Beauty in the Sleeping Wood”) is, in my opinion, the very best of all of the Disney castles.  If you’re not sure you agree, check out our comparison of the every Disney Castle and make up your own mind.

While this is purely speculation on my part it appears the Disney Imagineers were mindful that the close proximity of the worlds best castles such as the Palace of Versailles and Schloss Neuschwanstein had probably shaped for many guests what a castle should be.  To combat the inevitable comparisons the Imagineers put much more design thought into this castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Photo courtesy of

The size of Sleeping Beauty Castle falls between Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World and Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.  From the central plaza in front of the castle straight ahead is the entrance to the castle which takes you from Main Street U.S.A. to Fantasyland.  To your left looking towards the castle is a grass and tree area that to me is very reminiscent of the grounds around the castle’s inspiration, Neuschwanstein.  On the opposite side (to your right looking towards the castle) is the stage which is sufficiently out of the way so as to not distract from the beauty of the castle as you walk toward it.

Inside or beneath the castle is La Taniére du Dragon or Cave of the Dragon, which is home to a large animatronic dragon that periodically comes to life, growling and intimidating anyone who dares disturb it.


Above the dragon’s cave in the castle proper on the 2nd level is a gallery with stained glass windows depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty along with knights, tapestries and a spinning wheel to round out an appropriate castle décor.

Spinning Wheel

Finally, walking through the main level are a few gift shops: one specializing in Christmas items and the other for handmade glass figures.


Similar to its US counterparts, Disneyland Park is divided into five main sections.  First up as you enter is Main Street U.S.A.  I found one of the most notable differences with Main Street USA versus US parks is the inclusion of Liberty Arcade and Discovery Arcade.  These two covered walkways run parallel to the main street and not only provide a back entrance into the Main Street shops but also have various hidden gems and exhibits.

liberty arcade

Going from left to right the next land is Frontierland: home to Phantom Manor, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and more.  The entrance to Frontierland is an impressive old west-style fort with many areas to explore.  Phantom Manor was closed for renovation during my trip which was too bad as I know it to be an excellent ride. Nevertheless, we covered it as the second attraction on this list of the top eight thrilling worldwide Disney attractions.

Frontierland - Disneyland Paris

Adventureland had the most impressive entrance of any of the lands.  It was near the quality of the Morocco pavilion in Epcot which for my taste is the most impressive of all of Disney’s themed areas.  Further, into Adventureland one of my other highlights was Adventure Isle featuring Skull Rock, the Pirate Galleon and Davy Jones Locker.  Adventureland is home to Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, a thrilling roller coaster that includes an inversion.

Adventureland Entrance

Fantasyland’s impressive primary entrance is Sleeping Beauty Castle.  The area is very bright and welcoming and is home to Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, “it’s a small world”, and more.  “it’s a small world” was built in a style similar to the Disneyland version on the outside but inside the ride is unique to Disneyland Paris.

I found it interesting to see the ride’s extensive US section which despite Disney’s focus on Americana wouldn’t seem appropriate in the US parks for this particular ride, but in France makes a lot more sense.  As someone from the US expecting “it’s a small world” to be a celebration of other countries and cultures I could have been happy without that particular section but riding in the boat behind guests from England I could tell from their reaction that section was the most exciting and impressive part of the ride to them.  Seeing that reaction can’t help but lead to a sense of American pride.

it's a small world

Rounding out the park is Discoveryland, which while similar to Tomorrowland in the US parks, felt much more modern and futuristic.  The attractions for this area were Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Autopia, and more.

Buzz Lightyear

Must-Do Rides & Attractions

Disneyland Park has a better version of Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain than its US counterparts.  I’m fairly confident Phantom Manor would have been amazing too, but unfortunately, it was closed for renovations so I was unable to visit it… just another excuse for a return trip.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, while largely similar to its US counterparts, is an improvement over those pre-existing rides.  The main portion of the attraction itself is on its own island, but the loading station is on the “Frontierland mainland.” Therefore, both the start and end of the ride goes through an underground tunnel connecting the two areas.  This extends the ride and allows for new twists and turns you wouldn’t otherwise find.  Thanks to a cooler climate than Central Florida or Southern California you might even get to experience Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the snow as Inside The Magic shared back in February during a cold spell in Paris.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain is easily my favorite version of Space Mountain and came in at #7 on our list of Top 8 exciting thrills at Disney theme parks worldwide.  I’m normally not a big Space Mountain fan, in fact, at Walt Disney World I would consider Space Mountain to be the worst of the 3 mountains (Big Thunder, Splash, and Space) ranking it as merely good but not great.  I believe Hyperspace Mountain in Disneyland is better than Space Mountain but neither US version can compare to Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain which is truly a great ride.  The storyline for the ride is you have been enlisted by the Empire to fight off TIE fighters and blow up a Star Destroyer.  I found everything about Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain to be well done to the point that if my day only allowed for one final ride, I would ride it over the nearby Star Tours ride despite typically being a huge fan of Star Tours.

Space Mountain

Saving the best for last, Pirates of the Caribbean is my personal favorite ride at Disneyland Paris.  If you’re familiar with the US versions you may think you know the ride fairly well, but trust me– this version is so much better as we outlined in this First Look.   Before you even get to Pirates of the Caribbean walking through Adventure Isle is the first part of the rides immersion process, then an excellent queuing area immerses you even more.   Once on the ride, I felt as if more of a story came alive as the scenes more seamlessly transitioned from one to another.

Adventure Isle

Another Disneyland park feature I feel bears special mention is Fuente Del Oro Restaurante, a quick service location based on the film “Coco.”  Fuente del Oro Restaurante is located in Frontierland near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and serves traditional Mexican fare such as Tacos, Fajitas, Enchiladas and more.  What stood out is the “Coco” theming, which is sure to impress young and old alike given “Coco” is a relatively recent hit from Disney/Pixar.

Coco Dog

I would love to see Disneyland or Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World copy Disneyland Paris and bring this restaurant to Frontierland.

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios is the second park in Disneyland Paris and while its attendance is less than Disneyland Park it also ranks among Europe’s most popular theme parks, coming in as the 22nd most popular in worldwide attendance and 3rd most popular in Europe according to Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) in 2017.   Walt Disney Studios is home to even more iconic attractions familiar to US-based fans, such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and Ratatouille: The Adventure (coming to Epcot as announced during the D23 Expo 2017).

Hollywood Tower Hotel

Walt Disney Studios immerses visitors in the world of movies and animation and is a sister park to Hollywood Studios.  Upon entering the park and just past Disney Studio 1 is the Walt Disney & Mickey Mouse “Partners” statue like the one found in front of the castles in the 2 US parks.  In the background are the Hollywood Hills and world-famous Hollywood sign.  Disney theme parks and movies are pieces of Americana embraced throughout the world, and I’m sure are part of the appeal to European guests at Disneyland Paris, making this a perfect second park for a primarily European audience.

Walt & Mickey Statue in Paris

Walt Disney Studios is divided into 4 sections.  The Front Lot or entrance is home to restaurants and shops which are found in Disney Studio 1 – a walkway bringing you into the park.  Front Lot also includes the Earffel Tower, the Mickey Ear shaped water tower also previously found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

Earffel Tower

Moving left to right, the next area is the Production Courtyard. Here, you can experience the aforementioned Hollywood Tower Hotel, and the Studio Tram Tour also takes you on a behind-the-scenes adventure that includes Catastrophe Canyon. The Backlot tour ran in Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2014, which Inside the Magic filmed on its last day.

Personally, I miss the Backlot Tour so having another chance to experience the Walt Disney Studios version was nice, but unfortunately, I ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to ride it. Oh well, I’m just piling up excuses for another trip. Other attractions in Production Courtyard include “Disney Junior – Live On Stage!” and “Stitch Live!”

Disney Junior Live Stage

Towards the back of Walt Disney Studios is the aptly named Back Lot. Back Lot gives guests another chance to experience an attraction that used to be found in Hollywood Studios but has since been removed – “Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular.”  Additional attractions include Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith and Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux, which takes its inspiration from the film “Armageddon” as it explores how special effects come to life in movies. It has already been announced that Disneyland Paris’ Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will be reimagined as an Iron Man attraction for the upcoming Marvel Super Hero Universe coming to Walt Disney Studios.

Disneyland Paris Marvel Attraction

Finally comes the 4th section – Toon Studio. Toon Studio is arguably the park’s most popular attraction with Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. This is also the section of Disneyland Paris, the most Parisian of the entire park.  I am no expert on Parisian architecture and design, but I think it’s safe to say they nailed it. When you’re there, take a moment to dine at the Bistrot Chez Remy restaurant.

As previously announced, Ratatouille will be coming to Epcot’s France Pavilion by 2021, and I believe this will be an excellent addition to EPCOT. While fairness dictates any critics of Epcot’s Frozen Ever After ride should be equally critical of Ratatouille coming to the World Showcase, I can’t imagine there will be nearly the same level of criticism. Not only is Ratatouille an excellent ride, but the movie itself doesn’t create the same controversy that seems to exist with “Frozen.”


Other rides in Toon Studio include options for both little kids and those looking for thrills and a middle ground meant to appeal to each. Rides for the kids include Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin, and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. Crush’s Coaster and RC Racer are thrill rides, while Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, along with the aforementioned Ratatouille ride, fall in the middle.

Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin

Disney Village

Outside the entrance of Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios is Disney Village, the Disneyland Paris take on Downtown Disney District in Disneyland or Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. The size and layout are much more in line with Downtown Disney.

Toon Studio

Disney Village is home to a plethora of Shopping, Dining, and Entertainment options which include many options familiar to less adventurous US travelers who want the comfort and familiarity of their home park. Entrance into Disney Village is free, and with access so close to the Vallée/Chessy train station, it’s even an option as an afternoon trip if you’re in Paris and want just a quick taste of what Disneyland Paris has to offer.

One of the surprising (if not amazing) experiences in Disney Village is “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show…with Mickey and Friends!”  In 1883, the real Buffalo Bill opened the original Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in Omaha, Nebraska, but it is thought that his show may have come from a similar idea going back to the sixteenth century and a show in France.

Buffalo Bill Wild West Show

Even if Buffalo Bill’s original show from the nineteenth century didn’t have its origin in France, Buffalo Bill toured Europe on multiple occasions, including visits to Paris. As a result, this is an extremely well-done show that draws upon both French and American history.  It informs the non-US audience of this period in American history while also sharing with the US audience another common thread American history shares with the history of France, albeit falling a little behind in importance to our countries’ linkage via the Statue of Liberty.

Buffalo Bill Wild West Show

Of course, history buffs need not worry– I am fully aware from a purely historical context the inclusion of Mickey Mouse and friends is not historically accurate. But I’m sure every parent with young kids enjoys seeing their child’s excitement whenever Mickey, Minnie, and the gang show up, and adults can still learn and be entertained by this show. “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” also has an interactive element, with the audience divided up as representatives of various western states for various competitions, and guests are encouraged to root for their state’s individual competitors.

Disney Village also has a performance stage where I happened to catch this act, which was performed at various times throughout the day.

Whether it be catching a dinner show, performance, or any of the other activities available at Disney Village, be sure to carve out some time in your schedule to take in what is offered in this shopping and dining complex.

Disneyland Paris Hotels

The 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) in Disneyland Paris are your best choice for maximum Disney immersion in the Disney bubble.

Hotel Cheyenne

Personally, I think the Disney bubble experience– surrounded by the Happiest Place on Earth morning, noon, and night– is fabulous.  But staying in the Disney bubble comes at a price, and even less expensive Disney resorts may run double what you might pay to stay off Disney property. Additionally, as stated before, the proximity of the Vallée/Chessy train station will also make staying in Paris a more realistic option.

Like so much at Disneyland Paris, part of the fascination as an American traveling abroad to a Disney resort is seeing that country’s take on things from the US that are familiar to us. Whereas in nearly every other instance, I found the Disneyland Paris take on Americana to be well-done, when it comes to hotels, my recommendation is to stay away from what you know well.

Disneyland Park & Hotel in Paris

What I mean by that is, as a New Mexico resident, I was curious to visit Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe. I also checked out Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne, as I’ve previously lived a few hours from Cheyenne and have visited it often. I found both of these hotels to be lacking in terms of their theming, whereas Disney’s New York Hotel, based on a city I’ve visited but of which I don’t have nearly as much first-hand knowledge, I found to be absolutely wonderful.

Personally, I found it harder to set aside little things like the use of saguaro cactus, as shown below in the décor of Hotel Santa Fe, as that is a cactus native to Arizona, not Sante Fe New Mexico. This is probably a subtle difference for most US tourists that wouldn’t bother them at all. Elsewhere, the theming for the Hotel Santa Fe included the “Cars” franchise, which I thought was well done. Yet, I would rename the hotel as Hotel Radiator Springs instead of Hotel Santa Fe, simply to alleviate the criticism I have.

Disney's Hotel Santa Fe

That and other frankly irrelevant observations become more apparent if you’re wandering around your hotel frequently, whereas my relative ignorance of New York created a blissful experience resulting in a hotel stay I can highly recommend.

Obviously, many more US tourists to Disneyland Paris will come from New York or surrounding areas than people like me from the much less populated state of New Mexico. But, New Yorkers are in luck as the Hotel New York will be receiving a makeover, as we previously reported.   Disney’s Hotel New York will become Disney’s Hotel New York – Art of Marvel, allowing guests to explore Marvel in a contemporary superhero art gallery style.

This re-Imagineering is a fabulous idea and one I am sure will be a hit. If makeovers such as these were incorporated into the other hotels, it would eliminate my previously stated criticism of the Hotel Santa Fe or Hotel Cheyenne and make these can’t-miss destinations.

Beyond theming, the other reason to stay at a Disney resort is proximity to the parks. No hotel is closer to the parks than the Disneyland Hotel, which is right at Disneyland Park’s entrance. The location of Disneyland Hotel makes it the best option of all of the Disney resort hotels, but of course, this convenience comes at a price. Each other hotel is located on the opposite side of the Disneyland Paris resort. The Hotel New York and Newport Bay Club are the two closest in proximity, just past Disney Village.

Overall, my opinion of Disneyland Paris is very high.   While there is no doubt the 25th-anniversary celebration has allowed for improvements to Disneyland Paris so that it can shine, the best for this park is yet to come. Marvel Super Hero Universe coming to Disneyland Paris is sure to be a hit, and without the strict restrictions over the use of Marvel and various superheroes, as we have in the US, I’m sure Disney will be able to create a spectacular experience. But if budget and time allow, don’t wait for things to come; make the trip now, as there will always be new surprises down the road. What Disneyland Paris offers to guests today is well worth the trip.

That's a wrap!

Just as it’s stated at the exit of Walt Disney Studios, “That’s a wrap!” on our guide to Disneyland Paris.  If you’ve been to Disneyland Paris, let us know your favorite attractions and must-do experiences in the comments.  If you are considering a trip to Disneyland Paris, I highly recommend it and wish you a magical time.

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