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

Some planning updates and new questions!

I’ve decided to book Hotel Cheyenne after watching a bunch of vlogs and reading reviews. It looks fun, I know the kids will love it, and the price seems like a great deal (3 night/4 day ticket & hotel package is EUR 1200 for our family of four, which is roughly the same amount we spent last Christmas at WDW just on 3-day park hopper tickets!)

I had considered booking through a TA, but then realized - who am I kidding? I prefer having full control myself of all bookings myself in case I need to make changes. Part of the reason I was itching to book our package was to get started on dining reservations: I had read these open up to 12 months before for onsite guests, and was convinced they would all be gone already with less than five months to go. Once I booked the package and logged in to hunt for restaurant availability, I discovered that EVERY SINGLE restaurant I wanted to book had around 90% for the time slots on my days. I just clicked through with complete ease, et voila - all TS meals booked. It was practically anticlimatic :slight_smile: I should add that I only booked lunches rather than dinners: our family prefers to have a longer sit-down break midday, we’ve found that when we sit for too long in the evenings, the kids get sleepy and lose energy, so our dinners will mainly consist of quick service or snacks.

I’m growing more and more convinced that we will not need Premier Access Ultimate with roughly 2.5 park days, early entry and some strategic touring choices. We can buy Premier Access One instead as needed (definitely for Crush’s Coaster, but also for anything else that has persistently long waits/that we don’t manage to ride early/late). If crowds are unexpectedly crazy on Day 1, we can always re-assess and get it for Day 2?

Here is our approximate Touring Plan and below a few more random planning questions, in case anyone would like to share their thoughts.

Sunday afternoon (17 Dec)

  • Check into Hotel Cheyenne and unpack
  • Head to Disney Studios park for late lunch/early diner at Remy (booked for 3.45, we are having a big breakfast/bruch that morning in Paris with friends and will just snack before if we need to)
  • Ride Remy and any of the 4 Cars/Toy Story rides with stand-by waits of 15 min or less.
  • See Mickey & the Magician (or Frozen)
  • Head into DLP for lighting of the Christmas Tree (and snack?) before bedtime

Monday (18 Dec)

  • RD BTMR followed by PPF and ride all Fantasyland rides
  • Lunch at Captain Jack’s followed by PotC, exploring Adventure Island, Lion King Show, Mesa Riverboat, Phantom Manor.
  • Walk through castle or ride attractions in Discoveryland if wait times not too high
  • Dinner at Cowboy Cookout BBQ or Hotel Cheynne (Chuck Wagon Cafe)

Tuesday (19 Dec)

  • RD Studios Avengers Campus (Web Slingers, FF, ToT), buy Premier Access One for Crush’s Coaster, finish up any Cars/TSL rides not yet done
  • Watch Together Musical
  • Head to DLP, lunch at Agrabah Cafe, Aladdin walkthrough, Philharmagic and finish up Discoveryland
  • Afternoon break at Hotel or re-ride favorites, grab early dinner in park (Hakuna Matata? Toad Hall?) or on the way in Disney Village (5 Guys? Rainforest Cafe?)
  • Back to DLP for evening parade, drones show and FW

Wed (20 Dec)

  • Sleep in if tired, otherwise RD Discoveryland or re-ride favourites
  • 9.45 character breakfast at Plaza Gardens, departure

A few questions that are still going around in my head:

  • Am I overlooking any good dinner options (QS or snacks)?
  • And is it a mistake to skip Walt’s? Everyone seems to rave about it. Our family loves going to Disney parks, but besides maybe me, I don’t think anyone in my family would appreciate the historical significance of the restaurant and nods to Walt’s life, so I don’t think it’s worth the price to us.
  • Should we buy reserved seats for shows? And am I missing any important shows or parades? I watched a video of last year’s Christmas show and was not particularly tempted by it.
  • I still don’t understand what/how access to land/rides gets cut off before parades or fireworks, do I need to plan around that or it’s not a big deal?
  • Will it be disappointing to start our visit in WD Studios park instead of DLP?

Just four months to go - getting excited! Thanks in advance for any thoughts you want to share.

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This was exactly our experience in June this year. Was quite shocking to see zero CMs in sight. The shows were amazing, but only worth dealing with the chaos for one of our nights.

Agree with this advice as well. We didn’t do any premier access for our 2.5 day trip and rode absolutely everything we wanted plus shows and parades, with the longest wait being 40 mins for WEB adventure and Crush Coaster. We even managed multiple repeat rides on BTM and WEB.

I will say if you can get to the park for early for the one hour Extra Magic Time, it is well worth it. We were able to knock out at least three attractions each our our three mornings before the parks officially opened.

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I would reverse these two. PPF queue shoots up to 40+ mins almost immediately. BTM builds up a little later in the morning.

I have yet to have any great meals at DLP. For us, Captain Jacks, Remy’s and Agrabah are as good as it gets. Alas, Walt’s remains on my bucket list.
Casey’s was a big hit with DS9 and DD7, and we also quite enjoyed Golden Nugget for the atmosphere (burgers were competent). Next visit I plan to try QS at Stark Factory. Don’t bother with TS at PYM’s unless you’re in the mood for a basic American style buffet.

On our June trip, I think it was just Fantasyland that was shut down due to the drones and fireworks. If you’re not going to watch the show, I would suggest choosing either Adventureland/Frontierland or Discoveryland and stay there until after the show. We chose the former and rode BTM over and over until the park shut down, including riding with the fireworks shooting off. It was quite magical.

I would definitely plan on doing Extra Magic Time at both. As far as disappointing…you’re going to WD Studios park so perhaps keep expectations low :wink:. Our strategy was get WDS out of the way our first day, then just enjoy the magic of DLP park for the remaining two days. I will say Ratatouille and Avengers Campus alone are worth admission IMHO.

No TA should be charging you for their services. If one is, run the other way.

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Word to the wise on this, watch the hours for the dining locations like a HAWK. They all seem to close very early and are inconsistent at best. Also, unlike WDW, they will shut down a line prior to the quick service closing time so that it actually closes on time. Like if it closes at 5pm, they will shut that line at 4:40pm so that those CMs are walking out of the shop at 5pm.

This was the best themed restaurant I have ever been in my whole life. Seriously.

Ugh, that sounds painful. This is why I was hunting for a paid access option (a la desert-party), but there doesn’t seem to be one?

Thanks for the tip, good to know! And yes, we will definitely do Extra Magic Time at each park once, and maybe even on Day 3 at DLP if we are not too tired - sounds like it’s a great perk for knocking out those rides that you would otherwise have to pay to skip the line later in the day.

Adding this to my maybe dinners list, especially in light of @melcort’s good point on possible early closures here:

Oh yay, that’s great news - we should definitely be able to fit that in on one of our three nights.

Thanks so much to you both for sharing!

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I’m not aware of one, no. But will be very curious if you’ll have better luck.

Some more DLP planning questions/updates for others planning similar trips:

  1. Paid access to shows (I recall some others were also interested in this): since downloading the DLP app, I can see where/how to do this, though it seems that right now it’s only an option for Mickey & the Magician and the Lion King. Ticket prices vary by date, currently EUR 10 pp weekdays and EUR 15 pp weekends. Feedback from others suggest that you can arrive around 10-15 min in advance and get first dibs on seats before the regular queue is opened. I think the immersive aspect of having good seats close to the action is worth it to me, so I plan on doing this, unless there are unexpectedly low crowds (I’ve read to expect to otherwise waits up to 1hr for good seats in these shows).

  2. I’m making a list of things to do in the middle of the day if stand-by waits get very high/weather is bad and we want to be somewhere inside. I’ve included the “Animation Academy” in Walt Disney Studios Park on this list, and am wondering if anyone has done this? Is it fun (with a 7 and a 9-year old)? How do you find out session times/do you need to wait? Other things on my list, in case anyone is interested (or wants to add to it):
    Together Musical (WDS)
    Disney Junior Dream Factory (WDS)
    Mickey’s Philharmagic (DLP, closes at 5pm)
    Let’s Sing Christmas (DLP)
    Shopping or snacking (Victoria’s, Cable Car Bakery, Redwood Bar & Lounge in Sequoia Hotel)

Mickey & the Magician, Lion King and Frozen are not on the list because they are part of my main touring plan/must-dos for which I already have specific show times in mind.

  1. I’ve had absolutely zero success to date in finding a paid option for a prime fireworks spot, I am reasonably certain it doesn’t exist (only for VIP tours and AP holders). Also, no real success in finding great tips for a reliable “last minute” spot with good views. Since I have no desire to stand or sit in place for over an hour in December weather, I’ve decided that most likely we’ll just stroll up to the hub from either Discoveryland or Frontierland side around 10 min before show time and try to find any available spot (knowing that some people to surge forward when the music starts). Open to better ideas if anyone has them!

That’s really strange. Maybe they haven’t extended yet. I’m going mid October and the parks are closing at 10pm. Fingers crossed for you that they stay open later than 7pm for you.

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Park hours can be viewed 60 days out on the DLP app, for November I generally see DLP closing times of 10pm on weekends and 9pm on weekdays. I think some December nights might reduce to 9pm weekends and 8pm weekdays is they follow the last year’s pattern. What I can’t find yet at all are Christmas Parade times.

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I got those closing times from someone’s blog because DLP doesn’t provide hours so far ahead. But I am within 60 days now and hours are posted. DLP hours are 9:30 am - 9 pm and WDS hours are 9:30 am - 8 pm on the weekdays I will be there. We have an extra hour beginning at 8:30 am each day as onsite guests. 8:30 am opening will be glorious in terms of sleep! By the time we get to DLP, we would have been away from home in California for 2 days!

Both park hours are open 9 am - 10 pm on Friday through Sunday for the first 2 weeks in November. The third week’s Friday through Sunday hours are not fully up yet. Right now, Friday, November 17th is showing 9:30 am - 10 pm for both parks.

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It’s frustrating not to know the schedules for the shows and entertainment. It makes it hard to schedule meals!

The 30th Anniversary Celebration ends September 30th. No inkling on what changes to entertainment will take place after the 30th. We arrive in DLP on November 13!

DLP has challenged my Liner planning and patience!

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To be fair WDW doesn’t publish times and schedules that far out either. If you look at the park calendar now there are no parades or fireworks scheduled!

I assume you’ve seen this page?

In general though I don’t think you need to do nearly as much planning as for WDW. Although I understand the frustration of not knowing the times of parades etc so as to book dining. But other than a handful of the restaurants it seems pretty easy to change times. We’re 4 weeks out now and the only one I can’t get for dinner is Walt’s, so sticking with a late lunch on our departure day.

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I totally agree but it would be helpful to know when parades, fireworks, and shows are so that I can schedule my ADRs!

I have been checking the page you sent. I look forward to seeing all of Christmas, in addition to all the regular stuff! :heart_eyes:

You writing a TR? I know they are are a lot of work. No pressure!

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I’ve never done one before! Probably because it would be a lot of work with a long trip. But I might do one this time, it’s just 3 nights. Likely to be retrospective though. I hate using my phone for posting unless it’s a quick reply or something.

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