For sheer value for money, it's hard to beat a visit to Disneyland Paris
, because once you're through the gates, all the rides and entertainment are included.
It's also easy to get to from the UK, which makes hopping over for a weekend or a few days in the school holidays very attractive.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary year, there are three new special attractions:
, a stunning night-time explosion of magic, lights and colour, involving dazzling lasers, dancing fountains incredible illuminations and a dizzying array of fireworks;
Disney Magic on Parade
, a fantasy-fuelled extravaganza featuring giant floats and a very catchy theme tune;
A Celebration Train
filled with favourite characters, new and old.
There are two parks - Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park - so look at the park maps together and work out which rides you definitely have to try.
It's really unlikely you'll hear the words 'I'm bored' during your visit, but it's definitely worth pacing yourselves, particularly if you're travelling with very young children, so they (and you) don't get exhausted.
Staying at an onsite hotel isn't just more convenient – you'll also get Extra Magic Hours, giving you more time to enjoy the rides before everyone else arrives. If you're visiting during the French school holidays, it's worth noting that the parks can get crazy busy. And always remember to Fast Pass the most popular rides.
Watching the parades
You'll need to queue up at least an hour before it's due to start, so you get a good view (once you have your place you can take it in turns to go to the loo, get refreshments and so on. If you've seen a parade, this is also an excellent time to go on some of the busier rides).
Remember that just like the UK the weather can be changeable so always pack wet weather gear and umbrellas. Both Halloween and Christmas (which begins in early December) are magical, because there are special parades, decorations and shows – but it can get quite cold. As long as you have enough coats, sweaters, gloves and hats, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to enjoy your visit.
While the food still isn't as good as you might expect (given it's in France) it's definitely getting better. Our top tip is to eat at least once at Café Agrabah.
Sounds good? Click on our gallery below for our guide to making the most of your trip, whatever the ages of your children.
More on Parentdish: Join the party: 20 reasons to celebrate Disneyland Paris' 20th anniversary
Words: Liz Jarvis
- Disneyland Paris for toddlers
If you’re travelling with toddlers you’ll probably end up spending most of your visit at Fantasyland, where they’ll be able to enjoy rides including Dumbo’s Dream Flight (usually a very long queue), It’s a Small World and Lancelot’s Carousel. You can also hire buggies (8.85 euros a day), but these are quite basic. It’s really best to bring your own fold-up buggy to the park, and secure to the railings with a bicycle lock or similar at a ride entrance (you cannot take them on attractions).</p>
- Disneyland Paris for three to five-year-olds
From Peter Pan’s Dream Flight to Blanche Neige (Snow White), It’s a Small World, and Slinky Dog ride at Toy Story Playland, there are heaps of attractions for this age group to enjoy. If you’re planning to stay up for the fireworks, make sure they (and you) get an afternoon nap (and if you’re staying at an onsite hotel, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice relaxing swim). And for that perfect photo opportunity to treasure, the Disney characters do a big meet and greet session at the Disneyland Hotel at 4pm on Sundays if you don’t manage to catch them on their way round the parks. </p>
- Disneyland Paris for six to nine-year-olds
They’ll love Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast, Big Thunder Mountain and the Mad Hatter’s Teacups, and can burn off some energy on Adventure Isle. Kids who adore the Disney princesses will be enchanted with the meet ‘n’ greet opportunities at the Princess Pavilion (but the queues are REALLY long – best advice is to go straight there when the park gates open), and Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s worth remembering that height restrictions exist on some rides so it’s always best to manage expectations – check the symbols on the map before making your way to a ride, and Never. Ever. Promise.</p>
- Disneyland Paris for ten to 12-year-olds
This is a great age to first experience Tower of Terror, Toy Story Parachute Drop, RC Racer and Crush’s Coaster, all at Walt Disney Studio Park, plus the stunt spectacular Lights, Motors, Action. (And if they’re learning French at school it’s definitely worth taking them to Cinémagique, which is also a great place to hide from the rain.) They’ll also enjoy Autopia – electric cars which they can drive themselves – and Star Tours at Tomorrowland, plus of course all the rides for younger children (even if they don’t want to admit it). </p>
- Disneyland Paris for teenagers
The magic of Disneyland Paris is that it will make even the grumpiest teens relax, enjoy themselves and crack a smile. Top rides for thrill-seekers include Space Mountain, Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – remember to use the Fast Pass system to beat the queues.</p>
- Disneyland Paris if you're pregnant
The good news is that there are lots of places to sit down at Disneyland Paris, including of course the cafés, and you can take the train round the parks. There are clear warnings on the rides that aren’t suitable if you’re pregnant as well. But depending on the size of your bump, you’ll be fine on the more gentle rides including Peter Pan’s Dream Flight, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Great Movie Ride and the paddle steamer at Frontierland.</p>
- Disneyland Paris for babies
In some ways Disneyland Paris is very baby-friendly, with a baby care centre in each park offering changing tables, microwave ovens, bottle warmers, high chairs and comfortable seats. The locations also stock baby food and supplies such as nappies, plus changing facilities and rest areas in the male and female loos. But realistically, there aren’t many rides you can take babies on – certainly not babies under one-year-old – and when the parks are crowded, navigating your way round some of the busier areas can be a challenge. But you can take advantage of Baby Switch, which means one of you stays with the baby while the other rides with your other child (ren), and vice versa.</p>