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10 WORST Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Making a Disneyland Paris Itinerary From Scratch

I stressed over the first Disneyland Paris itinerary I made from scratch. Putting it together was fun and – equally – terrifying! It wasn’t perfect; I made a lot of mistakes. But with practice, I got better at knowing the best attractions, swerving the crowds and making table reservations. These are the tips and tricks that made my Disney plans better than ever.

So here are the 10 worst mistakes people make when planning their Disneyland Paris Itinerary for the first time. And, even better, how to avoid making them yourself!

Crush's Coaster attraction - a turtle shell-shaped rollercoaster zooms out of a blue coral reef; an essential ride when making your own Disneyland Paris itinerary
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Many Disneyland Paris first-timers are surprised that Crush’s Coaster, themed on ‘Finding Nemo,’ is a high-speed thrilling rollercoaster with spins and drops. The minimum height to ride it is 1.07m.

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Mistake #1 Not Checking the Ride Restrictions Before Your Visit

Even I’ve done it. Your kid is desperate to ride Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. You get there and find out they are not tall enough yet. They start crying and no amount of pleading with a cast member will get that child through those gates.

To avoid disappointment, measure your child so you know exactly what rides they will be allowed to enjoy. Then check the Disneyland Paris rides for height requirements and thrill level before your trip.

You can do this on the Disneyland Paris website. OR, I have an excellent Attractions Checklist with all the height restrictions, thrill levels and 3-seater ride configurations on a handy printout.

It is also helpful to consider if your child will be too scared by the dark rides. Check out the Scariest Dark Rides in Fantasyland for Kids.

Three queues for Crush's Coaster
There are three queues for popular attractions like Crush’s Coaster – Standard Queue, Single Rider (for individual guests), and Premier Access (paid priority option). There is no longer a free FastPass option.

Mistake #2 Counting on a Free FastPass

One mistake that drives me crazy is reading blog posts like these from Millennial Runway, Pack More Into Life, and even The Mirror still promoting the free FastPass.

Let us be 100% clear. FastPass has been gone since the pandemic. And any blogger that recommends it has not been to Disneyland in years and is doing their readers a disservice.

However, Disney offers paid options for skipping the queues now.

So, if you are on a tight schedule, you can buy a Premier Access One or Premiere Access Ultimate. They can be enormously helpful during busy seasons and if you really don’t want to wait in a queue. However, weigh the costs and benefits before you shell out big money. Here are the Pros and Cons of Premier Access One and Premier Access Ultimate.

Auberge de Cendrillon – Cinderella’s Inn – is one of the most popular restaurants at Disneyland Paris. A common mistake when making your itinerary is forgetting to book a table.

Mistake #3 Forgetting to Make Dining Reservations

One of the worst mistakes when planning your Disneyland Paris Itinerary is forgetting about dining reservations.

The solution to that problem is getting familiar with when you can book a table and what to do if you miss your window and can’t get one at all. The best tips for doing that are in my post, Getting Disneyland Paris Dining reservations (even when sold out).

Another big mistake when making your itinerary for Disneyland Paris is not planning for meal breaks in your schedule.

(Hi, I’m the problem it’s me…) I am the worst at doing this when I am travelling solo – I forget to feed myself! Running around the two parks from rides to shows to character meetings takes more time than you think it will. You and your family will need a break. 

Look carefully at your Disneyland Paris schedule and see where you can fit in dining reservations and meal breaks. And watch out for times your family might get hangry. For example, if you know you are watching a parade or show at lunchtime, plan to eat before or bring snacks to eat in the queue.

A sunny day and th emine carts on Big Thunder Mountain are roaring along beside the water. It's a must-do when making your Disneyland Paris itinerary
Big Thunder Mountain is a popular attraction you should prioritise on your Disneyland Paris Itinerary for early morning and evening.

Mistake #4 Not Prioritising Attractions Based on Wait Times

You would be surprised to know that the average Disneyland Paris guest does 0% planning, turns up at the park sometime before noon, heads to Fantasyland and is shocked to spend 90 minutes in a queue for Peter Pan.

But you are not them! You can avoid this common mistake at Disneyland Paris with simple planning.

✏️ 3 Pro Tips To Beat the Long Queues

1. The parks will always be the quietest first thing in the morning and later in the evening. Prioritise the most popular attractions when the park opens and after the 5:30 pm parade.

2. Are you staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel? If so, use your Extra Magic Time (approx. 8:30-9:30 am – check at your hotel) to do the attractions with long queues later. If staying offsite, aim to be at the park entrance 30 minutes before it opens.

3. Frequently check the Disneyland Paris app (or I prefer the free MagiPark app) for ride times. Check the map and head straight to the attractions where the waits are 30 minutes or less to maximise your time.

🚨 6 Most Popular Disneyland Paris Attractions

Prioritise These Rides When the Park is Quiet

  1. Peter Pan’s Flight  
  2. Big Thunder Mountain
  3. Star Wars HyperSpace Mountain
  4. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
  5. Crush’s Coaster
  6. Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure
Walt Disney Studios appears to be mere steps away from Disneyland Park. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating the time it takes to park hop from inside the parks.

Mistake #5 Underestimating How Long It Takes to Park Hop

Disneyland Paris is right next door to Walt Disney Studios. So, it seems like a good idea to keep park hopping from one to the other for the rides with low queues, right?

That’s what I used to think! However, experience has taught me this is a mistake. It’s a long walk from the back of Disneyland Park to the front of it. It might take 20-25 minutes to get from Hyperspace Mountain to Cars ROAD TRIP.

So, limit your park hopping to once per day. It will save you time and energy. Even if a ride is an extra 10-15 minute wait, you are better off finishing your must-dos in one park before moving on to the other.

✏️ PRO TIP Look at the map in the Disneyland Paris app. You can plan a route around each park even before you go.

Text reads: This FREE Disneyland Paris planning checklist has everything you need to get organised.
Don’t make your Disneyland Paris itinerary without considering crowd levels. Popular seasons will see longer attraction waits and it will take a little more time to navigate the park.

Mistake #6 Not Having a Strategy for Crowds (Especially in Busy Seasons)

Crowds can really throw a spanner in your best-laid plans! A typical wait time in the low season (mid-January to early February) might be 30 minutes, while, at Christmas, it is over an hour. This gets exponentially worse for the most popular attractions like Princess Pavilion – which can see up to 3-hour waits!

If you go during Easter, Halloween, Summer or Christmas, leave more room in your itinerary for wait times.

The good news is that during peak seasons, Disneyland Paris is open even longer and there tends to be more entertainment in the timetable. So it often works out that you can do the same amount of attractions in busy and quiet seasons. It just means a longer day.

👱🏻‍♀️ MY EXPERIENCE There are a few attractions at Disneyland Paris that are rarely crowded. For example, Adventureland is a scenic and exciting place to discover when ride queues are intolerable. We love exploring the cave network, playing pirates by the waterfalls and delighting at the cleverness of the Robinson Treehouse. 

Mistake #7 Being Surprised by Ride Closures and Schedule Changes

If you have been to Disneyland Paris before, you probably have a favourite, must-do attraction. For me, it is riding Big Thunder Mountain in the dark.

But on my last visit, Big Thunder Mountain was closed for refurbishment. Was I sad about that? Of course. But, I was prepared for it because I had checked the ride closure schedule before my trip.  

When you are aware of ride closures or shows on hiatus ahead of time, you can make other plans and not be overly disappointed when you visit the parks. Disney will usually publish these announcements only a couple of months in advance, so check back closer to the time of your trip.  

🤓 GOOD TO KNOW Before you book, check the Disneyland Paris calendar for major schedule changes. Disneyland Park closes early for Annual Pass Parties (4 per year) and Corporate Events often around Christmas or in the summer. Fantasyland closes early for fireworks every night. And watch out for early restaurant closures, too.  

If early closures or ride refurbishments affect your visit, alter your plans accordingly.

Tigger is smiling excitedly at an outdoor meet and greet
Leave plenty of time in your Disneyland Paris itinerary for meeting characters. They like to give guests their full attention, hence wait times may be a bit longer than you expect. This is Tigger in his Halloween outfit.

Mistake #8 Missing Out on a Show or Character Meet Because of Schedule Conflicts

An easy mistake to make is turning up to a Disneyland Paris show shortly before it starts. You probably won’t get in!!

Note that you need to queue about an hour before the shows start. And most shows last about 30 minutes. Build those times into your Disneyland Paris itinerary. 

Also, look out for character meets and shows overlapping. For example, when we wanted to meet Spider-Man, our Virtual Queue slot came up at 2:30 pm – the same time we were at Mickey and the Magician. In future, I would plan to see our show on an alternate date or pick a much later time to guarantee our character meet.

Like a runaway minecart, your best Disneyland Paris park plan can go wildly off course. Have a backup plan or two so you can make the best of your day no matter what.

Mistake #9 Expecting Everything to Go According to Plan

In a dream world, our perfect Disneyland Paris itinerary would work exactly as we designed it. But a plan on paper is not the same as a plan on the day.

It might be pouring rain when you plan to see the parade. Any sort of wind will cancel the nighttime drone show. Stitch might not be meeting because he is now in the parade (True story. This one caught us out!).

The solution is to have a few backup plans ready:

  • If it is raining, see an indoor show. When it’s cold, get a restaurant reservation.
  • Don’t fancy waiting ages to meet a Disney Princess? Book Auberge de Cendrillon’s character meal. Or, plan on seeing the princesses in the parade.
  • If Crush’s Coaster is a 2-hour wait, consider a Premier Access One pass for that ride.
  • Are the kids cranky from being up late last night? Cancel the fireworks, take them back to the hotel and go for a relaxing swim instead. 

Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Consider your plan a guideline, and make the most of the precious time you have on holiday.

Your Disney trip will have plenty of surprises – but your itinerary should not be one of them. Gently prepare kids for being flexible on character substitutions, merchandise that might not be available, rides they might find too scary and how big the parks are.

Mistake #10 Not Communicating Your Itinerary to the Group

One of my favourite tips for making a Disneyland Paris Itinerary from scratch: Tell your group your plans.

I know, I know: But what if your kids like surprises? I assure you: No one loves a bad surprise.

💡Conversation Starters to Avoid Mistakes For Your Disneyland Paris Itinerary

  • Tell your partner about the long park days you have in mind. Maybe they are used to a relaxing holiday by the pool, not early morning starts and 20,000+ steps around the different lands.
  • Let your best friend know that you really want to see that parade or have that Princess Lunch. Talking about the things you are looking forward to doing will mean you are not left with time-wasting wishy-washy conversations in the park like: ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘No, what do you want to do?’
  • Speak with your kids about which Disney characters are important to them, so you can check if they are even in Disneyland Paris at all. But, most importantly, set their expectations. Gently remind them there are no guarantees because Queen Elsa has a kingdom to look after and Mickey Mouse is a big film star. If possible, have some backup characters that they would like to see, too.
  • If your Grandad hates fireworks or Cousin Billy is sick on rollercoasters, it’s best to find out before you go. Sometimes you will need to split up your group, and it’s much better to know that before you go and account for it in your planning.

Having these conversations about your Disneyland Paris itinerary with your group prepares everyone for what kind of trip it will be. And it will avoid unnecessary tension while you are there, so you can just focus on the good times.

Making mistakes is human. Keep your sense of humour and follow these 10 tips when planning your itinerary and you will have the best time at Disneyland Paris – no matter what.

Over to You…

Most of all, remember that EVERYONE makes mistakes on their Disneyland Paris holiday. Especially me! The good times will far outweigh the bad. And the worst mistakes always make the funniest stories anyway.

What do you think of these 10 worst mistakes for making a Disneyland Paris itinerary? Can you think of any more? Leave your comment below.

If You Liked 10 Worst Mistakes for Making a Disneyland Paris Itinerary, You Should Check Out

❤️ Make your own FREE Custom Disneyland Paris Itinerary Template. No software or skills are required! This post takes you step-by-step to making your perfect park plan for any number of days.

🩷 Even super fans make mistakes. Here are the 7 HARDEST Lessons for Disneyland Paris I learned last year.

💜 Need inspiration for your park days? Check out my detailed 2-DAY Trip Report – the best rides, dining, parade, fireworks and more!

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