Planning Part Two
This is my guide to planning your days in the parks to maximise your time and make sure you experience as much as you can , now matter how many days you have.
This is not a sponsored or promoted post. I have not received payment or free gifts to mention any company or service. The companies are recommended due to my personal experience which I paid for. The photo used is my own photo, which I took on a previous visit.
Now that you have booked your Disneyland Paris holiday, the planning fun begins. The first thing I do is open up the official Disneyland Paris website.
This is my go to for most information, many people don’t use this enough, there is so much information on here if you know where to look.
There are 2 parks in Disneyland Paris, the main park and Disney Studios. I usually spend most of my time in the main park, so the first thing I decide is which day of my visit I will spend at Disney Studios. A lot of people park hop between the two parks but I prefer to do 1 park per day.
Between Booking and 90 Days Before Arrival
After booking my Disneyland Paris trip I make my own personal itinerary. This is a day to day touring plan, listing out everything I want to do and see, as well as my travel times and meal times
I start by checking the closures and refurb list. Disneyland Paris is undergoing a major refurb program in 2016 and 2017. They have a page on their website which lists all the closures, which I check regularly between booking my holiday and actually arriving in Disney. They update it all the time, so just because something is not listed at the time you book, it may be listed for closure a few weeks before you arrive in Disney
After adding the ride and attraction closures to my itinerary, I now divide each day into morning, before lunch, after lunch and evening sections. I stay at an onsite hotel so this means I will have access to the special early opening for Disney Hotel guests. This is between 8am and 10am, 10am is general public opening time. I decide what time I want to have breakfast so that I can be at the park gates as near to 8am as possible.
For my arrival day, I plan out from when my flight lands to getting the bus at the airport, journey time from airport to my hotel and write down an approximate time I will actually be at the park gates.
The same for my departure day, I will work backwards from my flight departure time to the time I will need to get the bus from hotel to the airport.
Now that I have each day divided into sections I go back to the official Disneyland Paris website and open up the interactive map.
In another tab I open Disneyland Paris restaurant list. The way I eat in Disneyland Paris is fill up at breakfast in the hotel, have a small lunch at a quick service or counter service restaurant and my main meal in the evening. I don’t do character meals or the Disney Meal plan, I prefer to pay as I eat when I am in Disneyland Paris.
I check out the menus of the counter service / quick service restaurants on DLP GUIDE which is a fan website. These menus are not really up to date but they give an idea of the type of food served. I like to try out new places to eat, so I decide on where I want to have lunch each day. I then go back and check out the table service restaurants, the menus and prices and write down where I will eat each evening.
These restaurants are just suggestions for now. The restaurant opening times are only published in 3 month blocks, before 90 days before travel the restaurant opening times are not available.
I also make sure to allocate shopping time and an approximate time slot to see any shows or parades. Again the parade and show times are not available at this stage
Between 90 days and 60 Days Before Arrival
Disney list the park hours here http://www.disneylandparis.ie/calendars/park-hours/ The park hours are only listed for the next 90 days. I check out the park hours for my visit and add them to my personal itinerary. Now I can adjust my evening meal time if I need to.
I regularly check Disney Kind of Day Blog to see if the restaurant hours for my visit have been published.
Between 60 days and 7 Days before Arrival
When I know for definite that the restaurants will be open when I am there, I ring the Disney Dining Phone Line on +33 1 60 30 40 50 Restaurant reservations can be made any-time between 60 days from arrival and on the day, depending on availability. The phone number is a French number but they speak English. I make reservations for restaurants which accept reservations as not all can be booked in advance. This is not really necessary unless you will be there during a peak time, but I like to do it as it helps structure my day. Some people book the restaurants when they check in at their hotel and some people book restaurants on the day at Town Hall in the main Disney Park.
I also book my transfer from the airport and back to the airport. I use Magic Shuttle, which is a coach service between Charles De Gaulle airport and Disney onsite hotels. Magic Shuttle ticket desk and departure gate are located in the arrivals level in a corridor linking Terminal 2E and 2F in Charles De Gaulle airport. Most flights from Ireland arrive into Terminal 1. Just make sure you leave approx. 40 minutes after landing in Terminal 1 to go to the Magic Shuttle departure area, as you will need to take a short train shuttle. It is very well sign posted, so it’s easy to find.
Once I have decided on my lunch and evening meal, I then go back to the official website and open up the click-able park map.
I plan out each part of my day so that I am in the same area as the place I want to eat. For example on my last visit I had lunch at Pizzeria Bella Note, which is between Fantasyland and Discoveryland. So I spent the last 2 hours before I ate in Discoveryland.
Using the map, I go a bit deeper with my planning. I map out the exact routes to each ride and attraction, so that I do everything in a particular area without going backwards and forwards or criss-crossing the park. I check back on the park closures list to make sure rides which were open when I originally booked have not been listed as closed.
Between 7 days and Arrival Day
The park show, parade and character meets schedule is updated on a weekly basis, so 7 days before your arrival day the schedule will be on-line for your days. I usually print this out and make sure I have added in any shows I want to see to my personal itinerary.
I also print out my Disney booking confirmation and my tickets for my airport shuttle bus as well as my flight details.
And that’s it; you are ready to experience the magic of Disneyland Paris.
Make sure to check out part 1 How To Get The Best Deal When Booking Disneyland Paris and look out for part 3 in this series, coming soon, Making The Most of Disneyland Paris, Hidden Tips and Secrets.