A day trip to Disneyland Paris can be a fantastic way to experience the magic if you are visiting Paris or France. Some people even take very early and late flights or a Eurostar journey just to spend the day in Disney! But how much can you really achieve in just a short one day visit?
Disneyland Paris is packed full of thrilling rides, classic attractions, incredible shows, great food and the opportunity to meet your favourite Disney characters! With two parks to visit, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park, plus shops and restaurants in Disney Village there is a lot to see and do when visiting this Disney Park. But if you arrive with a plan, use time saving tricks and set your sights on your must do activities you can achieve a lot in just one day!
One of the best things about Disneyland Paris is its small size. Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park sit next door to each other, with it taking just a short five minute walk to get between the two of them. The parks themselves are also small in size, which makes it easy to walk between all the different lands in a short space of time. This can massively help you pack the most into your day as you will not need to trek far distances or use any transportation to get between the parks.
So let’s dive in to see just how much you can do in one day at Disneyland Paris and ways to maximise your time in the parks to get the most out of your visit!
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Time of Year You Visit
The biggest factor impacting how many rides and shows you can fit into your day is the time of year you visit Disneyland Paris. Crowd sizes, and therefore queue sizes, differ massively throughout the year and can either help you achieve so much or really hinder your ability to fit a lot into your day.
In the off season, which tends to be between mid-November till mid – March (avoiding Christmas and New Year) you can fit much more into your day because fewer people visit the parks during this time of year. I’ve visited in November, January and March and most rides were less than a 15 minute wait which was fantastic! This is also a cheaper time of year to visit so it is a double win!
If you visit in high season, and particularly during school holidays and public holidays in France, the parks are far busier, with longer queue times for the rides, which will mean you will get less done if you are visiting this time of year. If you are restricted to visiting during these times try and visit during the week rather than on weekends, stay in a Disney hotel to get the benefit of Extra Magic Hours and consider using Disney’s queue skipping system called Premier Access to make the most out of your day.
One way to help you fit more into your day is to purchase Premier Access Passes. Disneyland Paris introduced this queue skipping system in 2021 where you can pay per ride to skip the queue for 13 rides across both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. The rides that have Premier Access are: Big Thunder Mountain, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Phantom Manor Autopia, Orbitron, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Crush’s Coaster, Tower of Terror, Ratatouille The Adventure and Cars Road Trip.
The cost for Premier Access Passes varies throughout the year with prices starting from €5 and going up to €16 per person, per ride. The best thing about this is you only pay for the rides you want to skip the queue for. This is a great option to have if you are visiting for just one day as you have the ability to pay for your ‘cannot miss out on’ rides if the wait time is long for these attractions. Big Thunder Mountain is my favourite ride at Disneyland Paris and when visiting in May the queue was always over an hour long. I paid for a Premier Access Pass and I walked straight onto the next ride!
One downside to Premier Access is that currently none of the rides in the newly opened Avengers Campus are included. You also have to pay per person, per ride so costs can quickly add up. But this is a great option for people who only want to skip the queue for certain rides.
Premier Access Ultimate
In 2022 Disneyland Paris launched Premier Access Ultimate. This pass allows you to skip the queue one time per ride for 12 rides in Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. All the rides that have Premier Access queues mentioned above are included as part of Premier Access Ultimate except Autopia.
Premier Access Ultimate costs between €90 – €140 per person, per day depending on the time of year you visit. During low season the cost is cheaper and in high season it is more expensive. This does seem like a hefty price tag but if you did want to fit in as many rides as possible this is a fantastic option for people visiting Disneyland Paris for just one day! Premier Access Ultimate will help you cut down your wait times massively and therefore you can fit much more in.
Many of the rides included in Premier Access Ultimate are the ones that get the biggest queues so utilising this can help you maximise your time in the parks. As the rides are split across the two parks do make sure you have purchased the two park, park hopper tickets to be able to get the most out of your Ultimate Pass.
Extra Magic Hours
One of the best kept secrets, and my personal favourite benefit to staying in a Disneyland Paris hotel, is Extra Magic Hours. This bonus feature for Disney hotel guests allows them to enter the parks one hour before day guest. This means far fewer people, which in turn means far shorter queues! This extra hour may not seem like a lot of time but the advantage you get is huge as you can get so much done!
During my last visit I managed to ride 5 of the most popular rides during this hour alone! I went on Big Thunder Mountain (twice!), Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Dumbo. These rides draw some of the longest queues at Disneyland Paris but I managed to ride them with less than a 5 minute wait each.
If you were to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours you can really maximise your day in the park. You can knock out the biggest rides during this hour which gives you more time to focus on attracts that get shorter queues, shows you want to watch or characters you’d like to meet. And the best part is that this is free! (As long as you are a Disneyland Paris hotel guest).
Another way to save time is to carefully choose how you dine at Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris offers a range of different restaurants across both the parks and Disney Village. But the way you dine can impact your day and the amount of time you have in the parks.
To save time eat where you are rather than park hopping just to visit a restaurant or taking time out if your day to head into Disney Village. Also eat in quick service restaurants instead of table service restaurants. Quick service restaurants are similar to fast food eateries, where you pay at a counter and collect the food yourself. This is the quickest way to eat at Disneyland Paris, as table service meals can take between 1 – 2 hours to complete.
If you can dine just before or just after peak times this will also save you time queuing. I have waited 45 minutes to order at the popular burrito restaurant Fuente del Oro during peak dining hours before! Disneyland Paris has an option to help you skip the queue when dining called mobile ordering. Via the Disneyland Paris app you can place your order any time of the day for select quick service restaurants, choose a time to collect your order and when you arrive let them know you are there so they can prepare your food fresh for you. This is a top time saving trick and something a lot of people don’t realise is an option!
So can you do Disneyland Paris in just one day? You will not be able to fit in every single experience on offer at Disneyland Paris but by using the tips above you can save a lot of time and therefore get a lot done during a short one day trip!
The close proximity of the parks to each other makes them perfect for park hopping, the small size of the parks make them easy to walk around and the ability to purchase Premier Access passes can really help you fit so much in. A one day visit in a great way to have a taste of the Disney magic whilst in France!
What are the opening hours for Disneyland Paris?
The hours the parks are open depend on the time of year you visit. In winter the parks can close as early at 6pm and in summer as late at 11pm.
How much is a one day ticket to Disneyland Paris?
Ticket prices fluctuate depending on the time of year you visit and what type of ticket you have. A 1 day, 1 park dated adult ticket costs between £50.15 – £88.65 and a 2 park, park hopper ticket costs between £72.54 to £111.04. A 1 day ticket with a shuttle bus from Paris costs between adult £85.97 – £124.47 for an adult.
Children prices are slightly cheaper, with children under 3 being able to visit for free!