Disneyland Paris—the words that strike fear in so many, and joy in so many others. I’ve been there. And I’d go again. But is it really worth leaving Paris to visit?
Before you start rolling your eyes, know that in 2013, nearly 15 million visitors thought it was worth it to make the trip. So let’s not rule it out immediately.
And it’s not just the French who go. The Brits made up 14% of the travelers, with 8% from Spain and 6% from the Netherlands. Some 9% came from outside of Europe.
I first went as a study abroad student after months of “immersing myself.” When another American friend came to visit from Italy, we hightailed it to Disney, shamelessly, and had a fun day. It was quirky and brainless.
And a day trip there is a bit unnerving, and surprisingly novel, especially if you like—or even love—Disney. It is a weird European version of the Orlando or Anaheim versions, where Mickey speaks French, Minnie speaks English and workers come from across the EU.
That pirate has an Italian accent? Right. And look! There’s Ariel… speaking with an Irish accent!
The attractions are largely the same, though some like Crush’s Coaster featuring characters from “Finding Nemo” and this year’s debut of Remy’s Adventure, inspired by “Ratatouille”, are uniquely French.
But don’t fret: Favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain are still there. And “It’s a Small World” gets into the heads of Europeans just as irritatingly as in the US.
The bottom line is this: If you want to go to Disneyland Paris, go. I’ve never heard of anyone regretting it. But know what you’re doing so you don’t end up spending a fortune.
Depending on where you’re staying in Paris, you’ll have to get the RER A train out there, so prepare for a few euros (€15 round trip from the station “Nation”) to hike out to Marne-la-Vallée.
And check the times: the park closes at different times throughout the year. If you aren’t staying at the resort, make sure the trains are still running when you plan on leaving—or else prepare for a €100 euro taxi ride.
Note that the park is divided into two sections, the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios. You can easily explore both in one day, so think about that when buying your ticket, as they offer options for one park or two.
If you want to save a few euros while you’re there, do yourself a few favors. Pack a lunch and some snacks. While some of us just binge on the candy that is found in nearly every boutique in the park, it might be nice to have a sandwich handy. The food at the parks isn’t insanely expensive, but it’s not exciting, so saddle someone with a backpack and head to the bakery or supermarket before leaving Paris.
It may be Disneyland, but you’re still in in France after all—there’s no reason to sacrifice good food.
Have you visited Disneyland Paris? Did you think it was worth it? Would you go again? Have thoughts about whether or not to go? Share with us in the comments section!