Over the years my touring style has evolved from fast-pass-crazed-cram-everything-in-don’t-miss-a-thing-close-out-the-parks to a more relaxed, take it all in and appreciate the details kind of day. I’ve ridden the rides, seen the parades and sampled the cuisine, so now I concentrate on what I love- soaking up the atmosphere, taking my time to wander and enjoying it all at my own pace. That being said, if I only had one day at DLP, this is what I’d do:
I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but I would will myself out of bed and head to Disneyland Park by 8am to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours. Depending on the season, these two bonus hours from 8-10am can either be really packed or completely empty.
Unlike the Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World, only some Fantasyland and some Discoveryland attractions are open, making it relatively easy to accomplish all of these within the two hour window (unless of course it’s Christmas time in which case all bets are off and good luck to you). Regardless of the season, you can’t beat those DLP sunrises and the way the light slowly illuminates the lands one by one. Even if I didn’t get on a single ride (and sometimes I don’t!), that borderline soul crushing early hour is worth it just for the view.
If I was visiting during the low season and the crowds weren’t descending on DLP Hunger Games style, I’d take my time walking right down the middle of Main Street USA or hop on the Omnibus for a short trip to the castle. If it was peak season, I’d quickly get myself to the castle and save the wandering for a bit later.
Once there, I’d head to Fantasyland where I’d ride Peter Pan’s Flight so as to avoid the queue later on in the day. Next I’d take a spin on Dumbo the Flying Elephant followed by the Carrousel de Lancelot. Though the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups are open during EMH, I’m not a fan of spinning so I’ll always skip this one and walk over to Discoveryland. This is an incredibly beautiful area of Fantasyland however, so even if you aren’t riding, it’s worth a stroll by- especially when you have most of the place to yourself.
First up in Discoveryland would be Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. This queue will probably be a bit longer than I’d like so early in the morning, but it moves quickly and who’s going to pass up time with little green men that go “ooooooooooh” ? After I’m done saving the planet from the Evil Emporer Zurg (you’re welcome by the way), I’d blast off to Space Mountain: Mission II.
If the park is busy, I would potentially skip Space Mountain, with the intention of grabbing a fast pass later in the day, and head directly to breakfast (priorities, people). With that, I’ve spent my morning ticking some pretty major attractions off of my to do list, and naturally, I’ve worked up an appetite.
Market House Deli is one of the only restaurants open during Extra Magic Hours and offers some quick service breakfast options with great views of Main Street USA. I’d take my much needed coffee and croissant to a window table (or outside depending on the weather) and watch the morning crowds filter in. If you fancy a more substantial meal, Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village offers hot breakfast sandwiches until 11am.
Come 945am, I’d head to Walt Disney Studios Park for their opening at 10am. Here I’d make a bee line for Tower of Terror and secure a fastpass for the morning. Then I’d dash over to Crush’s Coaster as there is no fast pass option and queues are ridiculous no matter when you show up or how dead it is.
Ratatouille is up next and I’d go directly to the single rider line which moves quickly most of the time and gets you in and out in no time. By now it would probably be time for my fastpass on Tower of Terror and if all that went smoothly, I’d take a stroll through the Animation Gallery and maybe even try my hand at the Animation Academy (this is the closest thing DLP has to One Man’s Dream at Hollywood Studios which I adore).
After that, I’d be done with the Studios. I like Cinemagique, Animagique and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but those are pretty time consuming and if I only had one day, I’d prefer to spend most, if not all of it at Disneyland Park instead.
At Disneyland I’d get back to doing what I do best and that’s wander. I’d visit Discovery and Liberty Arcade, shop the Emporium and sit on a bench at the hub. I will have made an advance lunch reservation at Walt’s- An American Resturant, so I’d meander on over when it was time. A glass of wine, a delicious meal and a relaxed atmosphere would be just the thing after my busy morning, and I’d take my time here.
Refreshed and ready to go, I’d head out to Frontierland where I’d grab a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Then I’d back track a bit and ride Phantom Manor, followed by a stroll through Boot Hill Cemetery. I’d walk through the shops along the way to Adventureland and take the long way to Pirates of the Carribean through Adventure Isle.
After Pirates it would be time to head to my Thunder Mountain fast pass for the wildest ride in the wilderness. Fantasyland is up next, where I’d pick up either a vin chaud from Mad Hare Refreshments or a gelato from Fantasia Gelati depending on the weather, because really, what’s a Disney day without treats?
Snow White’s Scary Adventures, a classic from my childhood no longer running at WDW, is a must do for me at DLP, followed by it’s a small world and of course (of course) Captain EO. From there I’d mosey on over to Main Street USA and grab a prime spot for Disney Magic on Parade!
After the parade, a short walk will take me to what I affectionately refer to as, “the relaxation mecca of Disneyland Paris,” also known as Cafe Fantasia. Dinner will undoubtedly be either pizza or Mickey waffles (anything goes on vacation) and accompanied by the always delicious, Marnier cocktail in those big, comfy chairs by the fireplace in the lobby. Basically the title of this post should read “Eating My Way Through Disneyland Paris.”
Fingers crossed that the piano player will be in residence by that time and I’ll be able to enjoy some soothing tunes with my soothing beverage. Once I’ve finished or the pianist has left, I’d head back out to Disneyland Park for the unmissable Disney Dreams!
I’d pepper in some small things during my day that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not big on character Meet and Greets, so I’d skip those in favor of the musical fountain shows at the castle, probably my most favorite thing at DLP, and lots of seasonal musical entertainment if it was offered. If I ended up with down time I wanted to fill, I’d re-ride Phantom Manor or Pirates, which both typically have shorter queues in the evening.
Since I live in Paris, it’s a hour long trip back on the RER for me at the end of the night, but if I was really lucky and staying on property, I’d treat myself to a “job well done” beverage at Sequoia Lodge.
And that’s it- an ideal day, for me at least, at Disneyland Paris. What does your perfect DLP day look like?