We are back from an August road trip to France, driving from London and back via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle for the fourth summer in a row. Our first stop was Disneyland Paris, which reopened in June after months of being closed due to Covid-19. In this Disneyland Paris Trip Report 2021, I’ll be sharing a recap of our visit, along with tips for what to expect if you’re planning to visit the parks soon.
Disneyland Paris Trip Report 2021
[UPDATED FOR 2023] There are no requirements to show a Vaccine Pass or Health Pass to enter Disneyland Paris. Masks are only recommended for public transportation (including hotel shuttles) and when attending the Parade and Disney Illuminations show.
Make sure to read through the Disneyland Paris health and safety measures webpage for the most up-to-date information and specific details for planning your visit.
Sleeping Beauty Castle Refurbishment
Besides the Health Pass requirements at the time, one of the most significant changes at Disneyland Paris during our summer 2021 visit was that Sleeping Beauty Castle was boxed up for refurbishment.
Works has since finished and in early 2022, the scaffolding came down at the castle in time for the 30th anniversary celebrations in spring!
New Character Cavalcades
To avoid crowding at Disneyland Paris in 2021, there were no big character parade or performances. Instead, there were new cavalcades with various characters going down the parade route at random times during the day. This has since changed and now we can enjoy the Disney Stars on Parade every afternoon and night-time illuminations (updated May 2022).
We managed to catch a glimpse of Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana and Belle on the Princess Cavalcade as they were just finishing their route. Other characters with unique cavalcades at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park were Alice in Wonderland; Mickey, Minnie and Pluto on their tricycles; Stitch; Cruella de Vil; Remy and Aladdin.
New Selfie Spots
While there were no Disney character dining or Meet & Greet opportunities in summer 2021, there were a number of Selfie Spots scattered around Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park throughout the day featuring a variety of Disney, MARVEL, Pixar and Star Wars characters. Disney character dining and Meet & Greets are now back at Disneyland Paris!
Related: Best Restaurants at Disneyland Paris
New Premier Access
FastPASS has now been replaced with a paid for service to skip the queue, Premier Access, with costs ranging from €5 to €15 per person per ride. Premier Access can be purchased through the Disneyland Paris app and prices will vary depending on the season (peak/off peak); do check the app for the most up to date pricing. Select rides at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studio Parks with Premier Access available include Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain and Ratatouille: The Adventure.
Keep in mind that Premier Access in non-refundable. If you purchase Premier Access for a ride which is then closed for some reason, you will be given the option to transfer that access for the same ride for a later time slot, or to use that access on another available ride. We did try Premier Access during our visit, for Big Thunder Mountain – and found ourselves in a frustrating situation when the ride shut for maintenance the moment I made the purchase.
Long story short, Big Thunder Mountain remained closed for one reason or another for over two hours. On the way out, I stopped at City Hall to explain the situation and request a refund. The cast member at City Hall was very kind but there was no way to get a refund.
I was given a slip to use that Premier Access on Big Thunder Mountain the following day and, as a token for the trouble, we were also given Premier Access for Ratatouille: The Adventure, which was greatly appreciated. Changing the Premier Access for another day is, of course, not always an option for people, and I do hope Disneyland Paris starts allowing refunds for Premier Access in situations like this that are out of the guests’ control.
Disney’s Hotel New York – Art of Marvel Reopens
The highlights for us were the Marvel SuperHero Station, the Selfie Spot with Spider-Man and the excellent food at the Downtown Restaurant. Scroll down for some photos from our dinner at Downtown.
Check Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel room rates and availability at DisneylandParis.com
Download the Disneyland Paris app
There’s a lot you can do now on the Disneyland Paris app! One of the most useful functions is that you can make restaurant reservations up to 2 months (or 12 months if you are staying at a Disney Hotel) ahead of your visit, which previously required making an international call to France.
Other functions on the Disneyland Paris app include checking attraction wait times, searching for character Meet & Greet locations, creating a Wishlist to help plan out your visit or paying for Premier Access.
Disneyland Paris Attractions
On our last trip in 2019, we went on most of the classic Disneyland Paris attractions in Fantasyland: “it’s a small world”, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Les Pays des Contes de Fées (Storybook Land) and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. For this August 2021 visit to Disneyland Paris, we mostly focused on trying out rides that are new to us.
Our youngest, Miss A who turns 4 in late August, now meets the minimum height requirement for some thrill rides – 1.02m (3’4″) so we were excited that we could all ride on Big Thunder Mountain together. More on the rides we went on in this part of the Disneyland Paris Trip Report.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Adventureland
We have been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World Orlando, and I have to agree with others that this version is so much better! The animatronics and scenery are so well done, and we enjoyed the fun special effects and when the water flume boat was going down the waterfalls.
Big Thunder Mountain – Frontierland
One of Disneyland Paris’s top attractions is Big Thunder Mountain, a thrilling Wild-West themed rollercoaster ride in Frontierland. Big Thunder Mountain was top on our list and we tried to visit the day we arrived, but it was closed for various reasons (more on that Premier Access experience above). We managed to get there the following day and it was worth it to see how much Miss A enjoyed her first thrill ride!
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – Discoveryland
This was our first time going on the Star Tours 3D attraction and it was Little T (age 7)’s favourite ride of this trip. Guests go on a Starspeeder 1000, piloted by C-3PO, for a thrilling, 3D voyage through the galaxy. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it did not disappoint and you feel like you’re part of the action!
Ratatouille: The Adventure – Walt Disney Studios Park
Ratatouille: The Adventure is of the attractions that was unique to Disneyland Paris until recently! Epcot at Walt Disney World Orlando are opening this ride from October 2021. It’s a 4D trackless ride experience, where you are riding in a rat car being chased and scurrying about a kitchen. The kids loved this one and it is a fun experience. Note: it can cause motion sickness with the constant stop/start movements and 3D screens.
Cars Road Trip – Walt Disney Studios Park
We ended up at the new Cars Road Trip attraction after looking for a Walt Disney Studios Park attraction with a short wait time to go on before lunchtime (most attractions had a wait time of 30 minutes). My expectations were low based on reviews I had read since its opening in June.
Cars Road Trip is an easy tram ride going around a wooded area showing various characters from the Cars franchise – halfway through there is a part with amazing effects which was a fun surprise. Besides that moment, it is a somewhat disappointing ride; I do hope they add more to it!
Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland
Peter Pan’s Flight is a dark ride where guests soar over scenes of London and Never Land in a pirate’s galleon. While it is one of the most popular rides across the Disney parks, to be completely honest, we found Peter Pan’s Flight disappointing and way too short. The ride typically has a wait time of 30+ minutes at Disneyland Paris, and I would still recommend going on at least once for the experience especially if you manage to go when the wait isn’t that long.
Read more about the rides and walkthroughs at Disneyland Paris in my Guide to Disneyland Paris Attractions post.
Disneyland Paris Selfie Spots
Download the Disneyland Paris app – available on iOS and Android – to see current Disney Character Meet & Greet opportunities. I’d recommend setting up a profile so you can save Attractions, Shows and Selfie Spots to your Wishlist which will make them easy to find on the Explore map.
Les Mysteries du Nautilus – Discoveryland
Les Mystères du Nautilus (The Mysteries of the Nautilus) is a brilliant walk-through in Discoveryland based on the 1950s movie, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck are taking turns at a Selfie Spot here, wearing their steampunk costumes. This walk-through is such a hidden gem and I love those costumes!
Star Wars Legends – Discoveryland
There are several times for the Star Wars Legends Selfie Spot at Videopolis Theater. Note that there are several characters that rotate at this Selfie Spot, and you won’t know exactly who you’ll see until you get there. Little T is a big Star Wars fan and was thrilled to have photos taken with the Storm Troopers and the Mandalorian – he had his Mandalorian costume on that day too!
Town Square – Main Street U.S.A
The Town Square gazebo had been set up for a Selfie Spot with either Daisy Duck or Minnie Mouse during our summer visit. The wait for a photo with Minnie was about 30 minutes and worth it for that moment seeing Miss A in awe of Minnie Mouse and the two spinning around dancing.
Spider-Man – Hotel New York – Art of Marvel
One of the highlights of staying at Disney’s Hotel New York – Art of Marvel is the fantastic Marvel SuperHero Station, which consists of several Avengers-themed backdrops and props to take photos. It’s open until 10pm and I’d recommend coming by later on in the evening – we were there at 8pm and had the place to ourselves!
Hotel guests can book a Selfie Spot with Spider-Man, which are usually in the morning. The kids loved this experience and were star-struck to meet Spider-Man. More on our experience in my hotel review of the Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.
Disneyland Paris Restaurants
Last part on this Disneyland Paris Trip Report 2021 is where we ate while we visited Disneyland Paris. I would recommend downloading the Disneyland Paris app ahead of your trip to browse the restaurants available to book for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a look at the menus.
You can start making Disneyland Paris restaurant reservations up to 2 months ahead of your visit (or 12 months if you are staying at a Disney hotel). Find inspiration for where to eat at the parks in our Best Restaurants in Disneyland Paris post.
Downtown Restaurant, Hotel New York – Art of Marvel
I can highly recommend the Downtown Restaurant, located in the newly renovated (and newly Marvel-themed) Disney’s Hotel New York – Art of Marvel. The food is outstanding at this all-you-can-eat restaurant which is priced at €45 for adults and €25 for children. While the Downtown Restaurant was table service when we visited, food is now served in a buffet since restrictions have been lifted at Disneyland Paris.
The menu reflects the blend of international cuisines in New York City, with a mix of Italian, American and Chinese dishes on the menu. The roasted duck and beef brisket dishes were excellent. More photos from our dinner at Downtown Restaurant in the Hotel New York – Art of Marvel review.
Bistrot Chez Rémy, Walt Disney Studios Park
Bistrot Chez Rémy is located next to the famous Ratatouille ride in Disneyland Paris’s Walt Disney Studios Park, the mostly Pixar-themed park, and one of the best Disneyland Paris restaurants. Walt Disney Studios Park closes at 6pm, and the times available for booking a table at Bistrot Chez Rémy are from 11:30am to 3:45pm. With its imaginative theming, gourmet menu offering and an experience unique to Disneyland Paris, lunch at Chez Rémy is one to book well in advance.
Mr. G and I ordered from the Rémy Menu (€34) which is a two course meal – starter and main course, with no drink included. We both ordered the salad as a starter, which was delicious and made with mixed greens, Cantal cheese, tomato confit, poached eggs, crunchy radishes and vegetable vinaigrette.
For the main, I ordered the grilled steak which comes with French fries and a small bowl of ratatouille, while Mr. G had the roasted cod fish which also comes with ratatouille and crushed potatoes.
The kids ordered from the Little Chef Menu (€20) which includes a starter, main course, dessert and a drink (water, milk or juice). For the starter, they had the chicken rillettes (a spread) with toast and for the main, the sautéed chicken in cream with ratatouille and fries. While my husband and I ate very well at Bistrot Chez Rémy, I have to be honest that this was not the kids’ favourite restaurant for the food.
Empire State Lounge, Hotel New York – Art of Marvel
We booked an Empire State Club room for our stay at the newly reopened Disney Hotel New York – Art of Marvel. Breakfast is included at the Empire State Lounge, along with afternoon snacks and drinks but we never seem to make it for those, even when we stayed last time at Disney Newport Bay Club.
While breakfast in the Empire State Club Lounge was table service when we visited, food is now served in a buffet since restrictions have been lifted at Disneyland Paris.
Rainforest Café, Disney Village
It’s worth trying in person to book a table at Disney Village if you arrive early, starting from 6pm. We had dinner at the Rainforest Café, which the kids loved for its fun theming, rainforest special effects, animatronic animals and simple kid menus with chicken nuggets and hamburgers.
I hope you found our Disneyland Paris Trip Review helpful! Read on for more tips and inspiration to help plan your next visit to Disneyland Paris;
This post was updated on 17 January 2023 with up-to-date health and safety information.
PIN FOR LATER – Disneyland Paris Trip Report 2021