Disneyland is the ultimate place to take your children for fun, fantasy and an exciting time they will never forget and with the Disneyland Resort Paris being accessible to over 300 million people that can fly there in under two hours and around 60 million people that can get there with not more than a 4 hour drive, it is the perfect destination for anyone living in Europe.
Plans to build a Disney park in Europe were first discussed in the 1970's, yet construction did not begin until the 1980's at the location just outside of Paris and it was first opened in 1992.
It did not have that instant success the owners hoped for, but many years down the road, Disneyland Paris Resort has become one of the most popular holiday destinations throughout Europe and with the complex expanding to include the Disneyland Park with its five themed areas and the Walt Disney Studios Park that opened in 2002, it does not take much imagination to know why it is so popular now!
When it comes to the themed areas, we found the Fantasy Land with the Disney characters such as Snow White and Mickey Mouse was a highlight for the young children especially the girls, but the boys loved Frontier Land, which has a Wild West theme and it even brought back childhood memories of playing Cowboys and Indians for the adults that never seem to grow up!
Disneyland Paris is open every single day of the year without exception and has a completely different feel in winter compared to summer, but whatever time of year you visit, you are sure to have a lasting memory of the fantasy castle that is the centrepiece of the whole park.
The Sleeping Beauty's Castle or in French called Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant, is a truly magical sight that was inspired by classic fairytale illustrations rather than being based purely on a true chateau like the castle at Disneyland Florida and everyone loved going down to the dungeons, but for us it was the terrific view from the castle balcony where we could see some of the other things we wanted to explore that made us realise we should have arranged to be there longer!
Something you will find when at Disneyland Paris is the amount of different types of restaurants and snack places offering a wide choice of cuisine and catering for every budget, plus they are all designed around the theme for whatever area of the park you are at. So from hotdogs to pizza and Mexican to French cuisine, plus sandwiches, cakes, pastries and ice cream, there is always going to be something that everyone will enjoy, but our favourite place to eat was the Cowboy Cookout, which is in a barn and they had a country music band playing at the time, while we were eating our BBQ chicken!
But Disneyland Paris has expanded so much since being open a day is not really enough time to enjoy everything, so staying at one of the themed hotels can be a great experience in itself and with 7 hotels to choose from like one with rustic charm to one that makes you feel like you are in a desert, they cater for all budgets and some will not break the bank.
Yet thinking about the costs, there are some great deals available at all different times of the year including deals such as children under 7 going free, an extra night for the same cost, etc, so you do not really need to have large pockets, although do make sure you have enough spending money for all of those gifts, souvenirs, food and extras that you know the children keep begging for, especially with the large amount of fantastic shops on site!
And you cannot forget about the Walt Disney Studios Park either, which is another reason why we feel you need more than a day here, as here you can even have a tour of a recording studio and view rock memorabilia including signed guitars on display.
The whole park has a great amount of different attractions that will cater for every age group, so apart from the fabulous roller coaster rides, if you would rather keep your feet firmly on the ground then there are some terrific shows featuring the well-known Disney characters, plus there is a very good 18-hole golf course and the Disney Village has lots of restaurants and shops, which are open after the park closes, so you will never run out of places to go and things to see and do.
Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - Disneyland Paris
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