I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to Disneyland Paris. Each time I visit I say it’ll be the last, but somewhere down the line the little girl inside me who always dreamed of being a rollercoaster-riding, dragon-slaying princess kicks up a storm and I’m drawn back there for a couple of days. And each time I feel like a kid again.
But Disneyland is not just for kids – I’ve been there a couple of times as an adult and still managed to have the time of my life. Here’s how you do it.
Pick a friend or two (or five) to join you
Go to Disneyland with somebody you know shares your passion for fun and who is just as in touch with their inner kid as you are. You’ll want somebody who’ll scream as loud as you do on all the rides and who cries as much as you do during happy endings in films. Take someone who’ll share your candy floss, who’ll wear Tigger ears and who’ll want a fifth go on that rollercoaster. Travelling with one or two close friends is ideal.
Don’t forget your camera!
I don’t believe you can fully enjoy any place completely unless you have a camera to capture the moment, and Disneyland is full of photo opportunities. Take snapshots of the parades, of the decor, of the food, of the attractions… and don’t be shy to ask strangers to take photos of you with your friends so nobody is left out. Most people are happy to oblige.
Plan your visit well
This time around, since we went during the week, there weren’t too many people at the parks, which meant queues were relatively short. We got to do absolutely everything and saw most of the shows, but that was because we planned our days quite meticulously. Grab a map and a programme from the park and mark the attractions you’re most interested in, then do whatever is left over afterwards. Here are the rides and shows you don’t want to miss: Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Autopia, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom Manor, It’s a Small World, Star Tours (all of these are in Disneyland Park); Aerosmith’s Rock n’Rollercoaster, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Crush’s Coaster, Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, Cinemagique (these are in the Walt Disney Studios).
Prepare to eat a lot of junk food
Really, there is practically no healthy food in Disneyland. You can get sandwiches and salads in Disney Village (but they cost a bomb); in the parks, get ready to gorge on burgers, hot dogs, pretzels, candy floss, popcorn and ice-cream. The best thing to do is find a hotel with a buffet breakfast and have a really good meal in the morning. We had fruit, eggs, bread and jam, keeping us full until late into the afternoon. Also, buy drinks from the train station close by, and not from the park, as they are a fraction of the price.
If you have time, and if the queues aren’t too long, repeat your favourite rides. We rode Space Mountain, the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Coaster at least four times each.
All you need for a couple of days is a pair of jeans, a good pair of shoes (you will be doing A LOT of walking) and two or three t-shirts. Don’t be tempted to over-pack; there really isn’t any need for that. If you’re only going to Disneyland you probably won’t even need a suitcase – a large backpack should be more than enough. Remember to take a smaller handbag which you can take with you on the rides.