At Disneyland Paris, your family will encounter the usual Disneyland attractions such as The Magic Castle and Main Street and will be greeted by the usual Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and even Marvel superheroes like Captain America and the Hulk. Despite these similarities to the U.S. version of the amusement park, you will find Disneyland Paris a truly unique experience. If you don't speak French, don't worry. Most of the rides feature both English and French, though a few are in French only.
There are two Disney parks in the U.S.: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Paris, of course, has the same format as the original Disneyland, with areas named Adventureland and Frontierland. Here you will find such traditional kid-pleasing rides as Peter Pan's Flight and Big Thunder Mountain, along with more contemporary rides like Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain. Nearby, Walt Disney Studios Park has more of a modern movie theme. Rides here include Flying Carpets over Agrabah and Ratatouille: The Adventure.
Disneyland Paris has seven hotels on the property that will suit any family's taste and style, and all are within a 15-minute walk from the parks. The most affordable place to stay is Disney's Hotel Cheyenne, while a more upscale experience can be had at Disney's Hotel New York and Disney's Newport BayClub. For a unique experience, check out Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch. Here your family will stay in a private bungalow with a series of adventure trails right outside your door. But there are other family-friendly and convenient places, as well, such as Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Sequoia Lodge, and Disney's Hotel Santa Fe.
If you are not staying on the Disneyland Paris property, it is still easy to get to and from the parks. From Paris, it is a comfortable 40-minute train ride on the RER, which costs about seven euros per person. Don't worry about missing your stop, because Disneyland Paris is the last station on the line. If you are staying at an offsite hotel or an Airbnb, there are plenty of buses that will shuttle your family to the parks for free, usually every 15 to 30 minutes.
If you are in a hurry, don't be. Relax and let yourself and your family have fun. But you can maximize your time in the parks by using the FASTPASS machines located at most rides. Here's how it works: Put your park admission ticket into the machine to receive a return time to come back to that ride, often with greatly reduced wait times of 15 minutes or less. A FASTPASS is required for each person, so be sure to insert each family member's ticket. When you return at your specified time you enter the FASTPASS line, which puts you ahead of those who did not use this service.
While every ride is designed to thrill children of most ages, including adults, you may have a child who is just too small for some of the rides. You don't have to pick and choose which adult will be left behind to watch the young ones; use the child switch pass. While one or two people stay behind to watch over the younger kids, the other family members can get in line, take a child switch pass, and enjoy the ride. On exiting the ride, they give the child switch pass to the persons or persons, up to two, who then can enjoy the ride without having to wait in line.
The climate in Paris is markedly different than most other Disney locations, so be prepared. You may enter the park under sunny skies but experience light showers from time to time. It's a good idea to bring along a strong collapsible umbrella for those sporadic bursts of rain. Remember to dress in layers you can put on or shed as the temperature shifts. Paris tends to be a bit cooler than Disney in Florida or California, especially after dark. Include some warm clothing in your pack. One really helpful tip: wear comfortable shoes. You'll be walking. A lot.
For pure fantasy lovers, there are many rides that take you to otherworldly places. In the walk-through Dragon's Lair, you'll find the beast who lives underneath Sleeping Beauty's castle. Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Alice's Curious Labyrinth to meet the infamous Cheshire Cat and maybe even the evil Queen of Hearts. Do spirits really exist? They do at Phantom Manor, which may be a bit scary for the younger kids. Live actors play the spooks who haunt this ghostly mansion.
Many Disney movies have exciting rides at Walt Disney Studios Park. On Ratatouille: The Adventure, you are magically shrunk down to the size of the movie's main character. RC Racer puts you in a human-sized version of the RC Car from Toy Story where you ride along a giant Hot Wheels track. The Toy Story Parachute Drop is also a top pick.
There is a lot to see and experience at Disneyland Paris beyond rides. Take a short climb into the castle for a stunning view of the magical park. The Disney Junior Live on Stage show is a hit with the little kids. Adults and children alike will thrill to the nightly Disney Illuminations show. And be sure to catch Disney Stars on Parade, where you can see both Mickey Mouse and a fire-breathing dragon. There is tons of fun for the entire family at Disneyland Paris.
At Disneyland Paris, you can sail with pirates on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride or explore the mysterious Skull Rock on Adventure Isle. Those with their heads in the stars can launch into outer space on Space Mountain Mission 2, where they'll join the Rebel Alliance to defeat the evil empire. For the little ones, however, sailing on a flying ship with Peter Pan to battle Captain Hook is still the most popular ride in the entire park. Get there early, because the lines for this ride never seem to go down.