Disneyland Paris

Affectionately known as DLP by Mouseketeers the world over, Disneyland Paris is a cornucopia of rides, restaurants, exhibits and all out fun for everyone. And in the last few years the fun has been doubled as Disney added the Walt Disney Studios park to an already jam packed adventure.

Many of the traditional rides from the California theme park were recreated (with some French twists) at the park and resort only 32 kilometers (19 miles) outside Paris.

There’s the familiar Pirates of the Caribbean, on which the recent films were based and the love-it-or-hate-it It’s A Small World ride, along with dozens more. The Legend of the Lion King show regularly sells out, so get tickets in advance.

The Star Tours in Discoveryland is both entertaining and educational. Disney can put those together like no one else! There’s also the extremely popular Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland that just has to be visited twice.

Space Mountain Mission 2 opened in April, 2005 and – as if it were possible – is even better than the original. Several of the rides have been updated since the Disneyland Paris park’s opening in 1992 and they just get better and better.

The new Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is launching and, as usual, version two is a shiny improvement over the already great Anaheim offering.

Disneyland Paris even houses restaurants that, in true French style, offer some of the best meals anywhere. The steaks at The Steak House are thick and the wine bottles bottomless. The service is a joyful blend of Gallic pride and American efficiency. The buffet at Chef Mickey’s is plentiful and delicious and the kids will enjoy the Disney characters dancing around.

To round out the trip there are, of course, tons of shops and small exhibits of the sort familiar to Disney fans everywhere. And nearby is the Val d’Europe shopping mall with dozens more.

Part-owned by Disney, there’s a large grocery store/department store (Auchon) ‘at the Val’ and lots of food choices in Disneyland Paris. There’s even a local Sephora for those who want to bring back a bottle of genuine French perfume.

If needed, parents can rent a stroller at the park and there are baby changing facilities. The Baby Care Centre on Main Street, USA provides facilities and supplies.

Hours change depending on the season, with slightly longer hours during the summer. They change from time to time, so check the Disneyland Paris website at http://www.disneylandparis.com.

Since queues can be long, it’s best to get the 1-Day Passport pass that allows unlimited entrance and exit access to one park for the day. There’s also a 3-Day ‘Hopper’ Passport that allows access to both parks and the days don’t have to be consecutive, but it’s pricey. Of course, the one day isn’t cheap either. Check the website for current prices.

Getting to the park is easy. From Paris take the RER Line A – Marne-la-Vallee/Chessy Station. From the Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports, the VEA shuttle service offers direct rides to the Disneyland Resort Paris hotels every half hour.

Enjoy!

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