Ever since my first visit to DisneySea Tokyo, I have grown a great fondness for Disney theme parks. It is not so much about the rides (they are not the most thrilling as they are more family friendly), but it just evokes nostalgia. Also, I’m always impressed by their attention to details, especially along the queue lines !
Last month, I went to Disneyland Paris, and managed to cover both parks, i.e. Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, 2 parks in 1 day, with plenty of time to walk around and explore both parks.
I must say this first, as disclaimer, I believe covering both parks in a day is ONLY possible for adults, AND without children. The reason is because I didn’t do any of the kids attractions, e.g. Meet Mickey Mouse, Princess Pavilion etc. The queue for all these are crazy more than an hour !
1. Disneyland Vs Walt Disney Studios
Disneyland is the classic Disney theme park, with shows, (Disney characters) Meet ‘n’ Greet, playground etc., more targeted to younger children. Disneyland is where you’ll find the trademark “It’s a small world” puppetry attraction, Phantom of Manor (family friendly haunted house with amazing visual effects), Sleeping beauty’s castle, and their most recent addition, Star Wars attractions !
Walt Disney Studios, on the other hand, has less Mickey Mouse magic. The setting is more like production sets. The attractions showcase more on the technologies used in production effects, animations, theatrics etc. Walt Disney Studios is where you’ll find Ratatouille, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, as well as the infamous Tower of Terror.
Note that although both parks open at the same time, Disney Studios closes much earlier (1900 hrs in summer) than Disneyland (2300 hrs in summer).
Walking between the two parks is at least 15 minutes, and I’m quite a fast pacer. So, you want to plan your program to optimise the logistics between the two parks.
Considering you will be staying until the closing of Disneyland (Yes, 2300 hrs in summer) for the MUST SEE Disney Illuminations show (you CANNOT MISS THIS !), I recommend to,
- Start your day at Disneyland – Cover at least 2 to 3 of the popular rides (with moderate to long queues)
- Walk over to Disney Studios – Finish everything you want to do there (before closing time 1900 hrs), so you don’t have to return again
- Return to Disneyland – Finish the remaining attractions you want to do and standby before 2230 hrs for the Disney Illuminations show at 2300 hrs
Sharing you this Youtube link of the complete Disney Illuminations show in 4K resolution, if you need some convincing to stay, otherwise don’t watch it and spoil the surprise.
2. Buy your tickets
You want to buy your tickets in advance, to save at least 20 EUR per ticket ! Buying your tickets on the spot will cost you 87 EUR (1 park 1 day), 107 EUR (2 parks 1 day). Prices may change depending on season, click here to official website.
To buy your tickets in advance, you can get them from,
3. Visit the Official Disneyland Paris website, and select the attractions you want to cover
I strongly recommend to go through the attractions list on the Official website, to select and prioritise the rides you want to cover. Take note also which rides are closed for maintenance.
I will shortlist the attractions I want to do, and categorise them by Must-do(s), and Optional(s).
My Must-do(s) list has: In Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Star Tours, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and Disneyland Illuminations show. In Disney Studio, Tower of terror, Ratatouille, and Aerosmith.
You REALLY MUST WATCH the Disneyland Illuminations show ! The moment the first song played (A dream is a wish your heart makes), I had goosebumps all over me ! It was really emotional ! I don’t want to give it away, but you CANNOT MISS IT !
My Optional(s) list has: In Disneyland, Indiana Jones, Peter Pan. In Disney Studio, RC racer, Toy soldier.
Having gone through this mental model exercise, it will definitely help save a lot of time, especially if you are not travelling alone – minimise time discussing and arguing on what to do next, where to go etc.
4. Develop your Fast Pass game plan
Unlike Universal Studios theme parks, there is no option to pay for an Express pass in Disneyland theme parks. Instead, you queue for a FASTPASS (only on popular attractions).
On FASTPASS attractions, you will see two queues, i.e. Standby queue (which is the normal queue until you get your turn), and the FASTPASS queue (where you will get a FASTPASS with a designated time period printed on it).
Read more about FASTPASS in my DisneySea Tokyo guide.
Tip : You want to also take note of Single Rider lines and make use of it if you don’t mind doing those rides alone.
5. Final tips
Some final tips before I share my 2 parks in 1 day itinerary,
- (Mentioned earlier) Buy your tickets in advance to save money
- Plan in your schedule the commute from Paris to Marne la Vallee (40 mins on RER-A departing Nation station)
- Download the Disneyland Paris mobile app to get live info on queue times
- It doesn’t hurt to arrive earlier before opening time – Although I have to admit my time in Disneyland Paris wasn’t as stressful as DisneySea Tokyo (where people actually ran in between attractions !)
- Bring a water bottle with you, so you don’t need to buy water – There’s drinking water fountains all over the park
If you are staying to watch the Disney Illuminations show (which YOU MUST), you want to standby in position at least 30 minutes before show starts, to get the best view – As advised by one Disneyland fanatic friend, the best spots are to the sides (either in front of the sound control booth to the left, or next to the popcorn stand on the right). Yes, you may not get centre-centre view of the castle, but you won’t be missing anything. In fact, being in the centre-centre, you may end up struggling with camera phones or kids on daddy’s shoulder blocking your view. There are some slightly higher terrains at the sides which helps a lot with the view !
Lastly, if you had stayed on for the Disney Illuminations show, you’ll be exiting the park with EVERYONE ELSE, along with hundreds of baby strollers ! Which is why want to be standing at the sides, so that you can exit from the side alleys (you want to avoid the Main Street, instead exit via either Liberty or Discovery Arcade).
6. My 2 parks 1 day itinerary
TL:DR – It is possible to cover 2 parks, i.e. Disneyland & Disney Studios in 1 day, provided you skip all the long queueing younger children attractions.
|1000||Take FP #1 for Big Thunder Mountain|
|1005||Phantom Manor (queue time 15 mins)|
|1030||Indiana Jones (queue time 10 mins)|
|1045||Use FP#1||Big Thunder Mountain (queue time 15 mins)|
|1110||Take FP #2 for Buzz Lightyear|
|1140||Disney Philharmagic (show done at 12pm)|
|1205||Star Tours (queue time 55 mins)|
|1310||Take FP #3 for Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain|
|1345||Use FP #2||Buzz Lightyear (queue time 20 mins)|
|1405||Use FP #3||Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (queue time 25 mins)|
|1430||Lunch and move to Disney Studio|
|1605||Ratatouille (Single rider, queue time 15 mins)|
|1630||RC Racer (queue time 35 mins)|
|1715||Tower of Terror (queue time 35 mins)|
|1800||Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (queue time 15 mins)|
|1900||Return to Disneyland|
|1950||It’s a small world (queue time 20 mins)|
|2010||Explore Alice Labyrinth, and other parts of the park|
|2300||Disney Illuminations show|
As you can see, I didn’t queue more than 35 minutes for most rides, except for Star Tours (55 minutes). And I did it as a filler before my FP #2 Buzz Lightyear allocated time, as I didn’t want to be wandering elsewhere and having to rush back to Discoveryland.
So, there you go ! I hope this post answers all your questions and doubts on whether it is possible to cover both parks in one day. I did it, so you can do it too ! =)