Planning questions for Disneyland Paris Christmas trip (shows, Premier Access, hotels, etc.)

We’re going to Disneyland Paris over Christmas!

I’m super excited to start this thread after getting to experience WDW at Christmas for the first time last year. As I said in that report, at the time we did not have any concrete plans for coming back to Disney in the near future, but somehow I’ve been able to seize two amazing opportunities to sell the rest of the family on new Disney trips :slight_smile: The first one will be Disneyland Paris in December 2023: having observed my growing Disney obsession, our incredibly generous French family surprised us last week with gifted DLP tickets (my husband is French, and we were planning to spend at least a week in France for Christmas this year in any case – we don’t usually visit Paris, but my brother-in-law and his family live there, so a Paris trip is long overdue). The second trip will be Disneyland (for the first time ever!) next summer, at the end of monthlong US West Coast road trip that we’ve been dreaming about for years, and have finally nailed down for 2024 (will eventually do another thread for that later on).

I can’t wait to get started on the DLP planning! I’ve tried to read (and re-read) some of the many great DLP trip reports that have been posted in the past few weeks. We are a family of four: me, DH, DD9 and DD7. Nothing is booked yet, but based on very initial research and the time that we have available, we will probably book a three-night package from 17-20 December, which comes with 4-day park ticket (we would likely not use the fourth day, as we need to get a train to travel to another part of France on check out day). Here are my initial planning questions:

  • Based on a few reviews and recent trip reports I’ve read, I’m thinking of booking the Hotel Cheyenne. It looks so cute, and my 7-year old is a big Toy Story Fan. I considered the newly renovated Hotel New York, but no one in our family has any interest in Avengers, so I feel the theming would be wasted on us, and I did not find the reviews I read of Newport Bay or Sequoia particularly compelling. The location of all of the onsite hotels looks pretty great. We are not particularly fussy about where we stay, in WDW we have stayed at the Poly, Dolphin and AS Movies depending on our traveling companions, and thought all of them were great. Any advice from those who’ve stayed on site?

  • We are considering getting Premier Access for our first full day (Monday) to get headliners done, and then move at a more leisurely pace /see shows and do low-wait attractions on Tuesday. Does that sound reasonable with park hoppers, or is it more likely we’ll end up wanting Premier Access for both days? Given the steep cost, I’d like to avoid paying for it twice if possible, but would also prefer not to stand in line for more than 20 min at a time. The crowd calendars I’ve found suggest that CLs will be average for the time of our visit: it’s the week before Christmas and French schools are still in session, but a few other nearby countries (including the UK) are already on school holidays.

  • Speaking of crowd calendars, the ones I found online have some contradictions, and I am unsure whether it would be better to tour mainly on weekends (arrival and evening touring on Saturday, with Sunday/Monday as full days), or on week days (arrival and evening touring on Sunday, with Monday/Tuesday as fulld days)? I’m leaning towards the latter, as would assume that the weekend are fuller with more locals visiting the parks than weekdays, but if someone has better info please share!

  • Is it worth purchasing guaranteed seats for the shows (for a family of four)? What is the latest time at which you can arrive with reserved seats? Which shows would you prioritize? According to the DLP website, the headliners currently on offer are Mickey & the Magician, Frozen, Lion King, and Together (Pixar musical). We are not interested in any of the Avengers shows. The DLP website also says that there will be “Let’s Sing Christmas!” at Christmas time – has anyone seen this one? I am tempted prioritize Mickey & the Magician and Together (and maybe the Christmas show), as there are versions of Frozen and Lion King that we’ve seen at WDW. Any thoughts from people who have seen the above shows?

  • We would like to see at least one parade (it seems there should be Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade once per day and once at night), and both the drone show (D-Light) and fireworks (Disney Dreams! Of Christmas). I don’t think there is any other nighttime entertainment that I should plan for – or am I missing something? Does anyone have good tips on decent viewing locations for either the parade of the fireworks? The maximum time that we are willing to arrive is 15-20 min before starting time. Any reserved viewing areas for Premier Access/that can be purchased in advance?

  • I read in a few trip reports that access to lands gets “cut off” before parades and fireworks, but it’s not totally clear to me what that means: how do I find out more about this to logistically plan around it? If I’m in a land when access is cut off, can I continue riding rides in it?

Finally, any tips for blogs or videos/YouTube channels to watch for planning purposes (in English or in French)?

Thanks so much in advance for any thoughts or advice!


Ok, keep in mind that I have not been to DLP, but I am planning my own trip, so all of this is based on what I’ve read.

re: Premiere Access, I think that with three park days you probably won’t need it at all, you can just use the early access hour to do the headliners on various days. I think you’re right that weekdays will be less busy than weekends. And for shows, I don’t know about purchasing reserved seats (I didn’t even know that was a thing, I’m off to find more information!) but I think that the Lion King show is definitely worth prioritizing, it’s not at all the same as the one in WDW and is more like the Broadway show.

For planning, the podcast WDW Prep to Go has recently done a few DLP trip reports.


My family of four (two adults, two teens) stayed at Hotel Cheyenne last July for two nights with 3-day park tickets, leaving early by train on that third day. The resort kind of underwhelms on first impression, but I appreciated it a lot more by the time we left. There isn’t a whole lot of Toy Story theming, it’s more ‘Old Western TV show’ than Toy Story. The Toy Story elements that are there features more Woody and Jessie than Buzz. The rooms are standard hotel rooms, nothing fancy, but absolutely functional. The breakfast buffet was great, the Starbucks at the hotel is convenient, and the staff were all wonderful. It’s a good 15-minute walk to either Park from Hotel Cheyenne. You pass Marvel, the Sequoia, Newport Bay and the Disney Village on the way. If you want to take a shuttle, they run very often and it’s a 5-minute trip to the drop-off near the train station. If you like the All Star Resorts at Disney World, Hotel Cheyenne should work for you.

We did not use Premiere Access Ultimate for the whole day, but we did use Premiere Access One to book Crush’s Coaster. That was the one attraction that it seemed worthwhile to use it. We didn’t wait more than 20 minutes for most attractions, there were only one or two that were 30. If you use Premiere Access Ultimate, one day should be fine.

We saw the drone show and the fireworks at night. We had no problem showing up at the hub just before the scheduled start time. It was certainly crowed, but it did not have the same sort of crush of people that you would expect at the Magic Kingdom. We had no problem finding a good viewing spot just left of center in the Central Plaza.

They do start closing off lands before the fireworks. I honestly don’t remember when rides started shutting down. We spent the time getting snacks and wandering around the caves by the Pirate Ship in Adventureland.

As for days of the week, we stayed over a weekend and toured the Parks on a Saturday and Sunday. Crowds were not a problem for us, and while there were lots of people, the crowds were nothing like what we typically encounter at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

I know a lot of this is anecdotal, so take my experiences with a grain of salt. DLP was just a little bit easier and more relaxing than visiting the parks in Orlando. Hope this helps!


Thanks for the feedback, it’s really reassuring to read that crowds in the summer holiday period were relatively navigable and that it was possible to grab decent FW spots at short notice!

On Premier Access, I guess we could even see how the crowds feel on our Sunday evening arrival day, and maybe use early entry + Premier Access One (especially for Crush’s Coaster) on Day 1 to see how much we can get done, and if we find heavier-than-expected crowds, pivot to Premier Access Ultimate on Day 2? That would certainly help with the budget, and maybe allow for some more Table Service Dining options (I have read many disappointing reports about dining at DLP, but think that on a cold day in December we really may need to sit down and warm up properly a couple times a day).

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Let me know what you find out about reserved seating for shows! I’m also not certain how it works, but have heard that others have used it (I think I read somewhere that it’s around EUR 15 per person for reserved seats, and you get to enter the theatre to pick your seats before they open the theatre for those in the stand-by queue). It’s mentioned on the DLP website (see “Access to this Show” for example here), but without clear details or instructions, so I’m not sure when/how to reserve or how long in advance you need to check in.


DLP’s website is clear as mud, even though it is in English!

I will be at DLP about a month before you, November 13-16. Christmas will just have started. We are staying at Newport. We did buy a 4 day pass. We arrive in the late afternoon on the 13th and will depart by noon on the 16th. They are all weekdays so right now, we have zero plans to buy Premier Access for a day. Premier Access sound lovely but we feel like we are paying for the parks 2 times! But the park hours for us are like 8:30 am - 6 pm/7 pm. We are toying with buying guaranteed seating for the shows because it seems more reasonable…

We booked our trip in March. While I was able to pick up a lunch reservation at Walt’s, the rest of the available reservations were for the hotels and Disney Village. In early June, DLP dropped lunch reservations for Captain Jack’s and Remy. I had to stalk the app every other day. As of today, there are still no dinner reservations for the 3 restaurants mentioned here. so, the early restaurant reservations for onsite guests up to a year in advance is not really true!

At first, I wanted to trade them for dinner reservations but it is my understanding that the parade that time of year is still around 5 pm and fireworks are likely at 7 pm. That really doesn’t leave much time between the 2 activities to enjoy dinner reservations. And we are likely gonna repeat the parade and fireworks. As such, we are likely to keep the lunch reservations.

I have largely dependent on Liners who went to DLP this year for information. I have searched the internet for information and gleamed some information here and there. But there is nothing all in one place. It’s website shows park hours only to October 1st today.

I do have tentative plans to write a TR. Let’s see how internet is!


Sounds like a great trip plan - really look forward to hearing your impressions in November if you’re willing to share. I’m glad to hear fireworks may be as early at 7pm (we want to take advantage of early entry/RD and weren’t keen on staying late).

I agree, the DLP website is terrible! Inspired by your thoughts on dining, I browsed around a bit and tried to see if the Dining Plan might be worth it, but it’s impossible to decipher how exactly it works and whether the pricing would actually be an advantage just on the basis of the website. I am thinking that late lunch/early dinner at Remy’s and character breakfast at Plaza Gardens on departure day would be nice, but I will not be able to book for another couple of weeks (until we get green light for our dates from work), so I will not be able to try for reservations until then. I’ve read that you can also try to call to make dining reservations?

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My family was just there last Sunday (2 adults, 3 teens). We took a day trip from Paris, arriving by RER at park opening (9:30) and leaving right after the drone show (11:10 pm-we skipped the fireworks because we were tired). Wait times were mostly under 30 minutes for every ride (except crush’s coaster and BTMR) from regular park opening to about noon or 1 pm. Around 1 or 2 pm, we took a lunch break and switched parks (we did studios in the am and Disneyland after lunch). At that point, almost all wait times were 30-90 minutes. By around 6 pm, wait times were again under 30 (except the two big ones) and by 8 pm, all rides were almost walk on. We did BTMRR in a 30 minute line.

We got all the headliner and/or thrill rides (6 in studios park and 8 rides at DLP) done in one day in both parks without any premier passes (single or all day), but that was primarily because we used single rider a lot. We also skipped (much to my chagrin) all parades and shows. We did shop a little and visited the dragon and did the castle walkthrough, but no table service (we ate in Disney village when switching parks at Five Guys). We just had snacks other than that.

So your plan will be very different than ours, but I agree with others that I highly doubt you would need a premier pass all days and would recommend buying maybe single rides instead. One recent poster even did the math and found they did better by just strategically buying the single rides.

You should download the DLP app and you can start monitoring wait times and single ride costs there. That was more helpful to me than websites.

Unlike one of the other responses above, we found the drone/night show crowds stifling. There is zero crowd control by CMS that I saw so literally no walkway anywhere that I could discern. Seemed like a hazard in some ways. My husband staked out spots about 45 minutes early (my sons and I did hyperspace mountain a second time). Park closed at 10:30 and it looked like ride lines were being closed earlier than that. The drone show was at 10:50 and the fireworks right after. We were completely pressed in and more people kept squeezing in to the very end. We had bushes in front of us and tried to keep some space for the kids around us but it was not fun. Worse than any I have experienced in WDW before. However, we could still mostly see the drones. We had no chance at seeing most of the projections (we are all 5’2” to 5’9”) so we pushed our way out after that.

However, like the above poster, daytime crowds had nothing on WDW or DLR in California. I imagine our drone show also might have been extra packed because paris had just experienced basically 3 rainy nights in a row with more coming the next day/week. They don’t run the drones in rain, so we may have had an extra large crowd.

These observations were for just one day in July, so YMMV! Have fun!


Thank you for sharing your experience! Looks like you had an amazing day, getting lots done! I feel Premier Access will be great if we plan on sleeping in. But we are paying big bucks to stay onsite!


That was a very different experience than what we had! Sorry it was so crowded for you. You bring up a good point, I don’t recall seeing much in the way of crowd control, there was a little bit of making your own space going on. Still, it was nothing like you are describing, I hope it didn’t make it too unbearable. That reminds me that I did like that you could exit through the arcades on either side of Main Street afterwards. It was crowded of course, but for us it was not stifling (great description, BTW) and we got out relatively fast.

So the takeaway for the OP - things can change and you should keep gathering experiences from others!


Yes, once we got to the arcade escape, it was blissful. :blush: A great day and night, but the lack of crowd control that night surprised me.


My TA advised against it for us.

That’s what we are doing. Our TA booked us for 9:45 am so we can still get Extra Magic hours.

I didn’t call to make reservations because it is very easy to make online. It is similar to the US parks on the app. But I did call to ask about the lack of availability of reservations for dinner in the parks. The CM wasn’t helpful. She didn’t know and said keep on checking. If you choose to call, call the WDW number and say “Disneyland Paris”. It will connect you, thus saving on the long distance call, which may or may not be helpful.

If you want to use our TA, PM me. She’s been very helpful and didn’t charge us a fee to book the reservations.

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I stayed there for three nights in August 2020. The rooms are basic — below the All Stars in terms of quality — but the theming in the rooms is cute. I found the beds not super-comfortable: from what I could tell, it’s a thin mattress on a solid board. The resort theming is fun, too. The walk to the parks is pleasant: get a Starbucks to drink on your way. I would stay there again, but not if I won the lottery.

I took a day-trip to DLP this week. I paid for Premier Access Ultimate, which cost about $180, though the price varies. For me it was worth it because it means you can ride what you want, when you want. Totally chilled. No stress. Wait times are low: on a par with LLs at WDW, or even shorter, actually, as I don’t think they sell as many. The money you’re going to save by staying at Cheyenne rather than HNY should easily pay for Premier Access Ultimate.

Again, for me: yes. It meant I got great seats for Lion King and Mickey and the Magician. (Together doesn’t offer guaranteed seats right now. Top tip: See this show. It’s arguably the best of the three I saw.) There is a separate line for people with reservations. Once they start letting people in, they do that line first, then the rest. So I think that provided you arrived before the doors open (about ten minutes before show time) you would be fine.

Other thoughts:

As someone else has said, the Lion King show is totally different to the one at WDW. I don’t particularly enjoy the WDW one. The DLP one is a broadway musical type experience with an amazing set, costumes, and live singing. I loved it.

I’ve never understood the dining plan and never used it.

Booking restaurants is easy on the app. But book as early as you can. The popular stuff books up. I think you have to call to get the character meals.

The app is annoying and not as good as the WDW app.


Thanks for sharing this experiene!

Very impressive. And good to know that morning/evening crowds are quite different from midday crowds even on a busy day. As onsite guests we can definitely use that to our advantage. Our kids are too young for us to use single rider, but based on all the useful feedback received on this thread, I think we may start on Day 1 by using Premier Access One for a couple of rides, and plan to ride other rides early/late filling midday with shows, lunch and no-wait attractions. And switch to Premier Access Ultimate only if that doesn’t pan out as planned.

This is a great tip, thanks - I just did, and some things are already much clearer (e.g. I can see that you just buy reserved seats for shows directly in the app, looks very straightforward).

Sorry your experience was not great! I will keep my fingers crossed that we have lighter crowds, but since it’s very close to Christmas I’ll be mentally prepared for a different scenario. I don’t suppose you saw any pay-for-seats options at DLP (similar to MK dessert parties)?

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Great to know about the Dining Plan advice and the best time for Plaza Gardens breakfast, thanks!

Have sent you a PM for travel agent contact.

I did not see any paid options for night show seating, but maybe they will offer something at Christmas! :blush: And if you are strategic where you start and really hold your ground with your bodies, it should be fine. (And the weeklong rainy spell probably did make an impact on our crowds.)

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Thanks for sharing your experience!

Haha, great description. All the reviews I have read suggest it’s really good value for money, and I think we would love the theme. My only hesitation is that I’ve now seen some pictures of Sequoia Lodge that show the lovely indoor pool with water slide and a hot tub! I even read on a few sites that there is a sauna and a steam bath, but could not find pictures of those. I don’t love the reviews I’ve read that mention tired rooms, but between the pool, a fireplace lounge and even shorter walk to the parks, it may be a close call - will decide when I see final pricing.

Oh wow, I had the impression it would be half that for my days. It’s a lot for a family of four, even for one day. I am leaning against it, but then I read this…

…and I waver again. As the planner of the family, I think the idea of not having to worry about a touring plan sounds amazingly relaxed and everything that a holiday should be. Then again, I know I get lots of joy out of the planning process, so let’s see :slight_smile:

That sounds great, we will definitely do that for some of the shows. And glad to hear that Together is worth seeing! I am reconsidering Lion King based on all the love it’s getting from commenters. With 2 full days and potentially two half days, we can probably fit in at least 3 or 4 (with the holiday show)?


We stayed at Hotel Cheyenne in 2021 and I loved it. My boys were 3 and 6 and avid Toy Story fans so it was great. Beds were fine for the adults and I appreciated that the pull out was two separate beds.

The walk was so convenient and it felt like a downright bargain compared to WDW. We ate at the buffet restaurant and it was incredibly well themed!

Has this hotel been renovated? If not I would really hesitate on this one. It was said to be in very shabby shape when we were there two years ago. In fact it wasn’t even open. I’m sure the Christmas feel is tempting but I think it’s the oldest hotel now.

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Excellent point. I just browsed around a bit, and it seems the hotel is expecting to go into refurbishment after the Disneyland Hotel one is done. And the latest Google reviews are pretty consistent in describing the rooms as tired/dated. Maybe we’ll just pop into the Redwood Bar & Lounge (the one with the big fireplace) for hot chocolates on our walk back to the Cheyenne…which will get my kids vote for theming in any case. Glad to hear that you loved it, thanks for the feedback!

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God this is the longest lasting refurbishment I have ever, ever heard of!

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