I just came back from my first Disneyland Paris trip since officially being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have been 5 times in the last 5 years as it is my happy place away from reality!
When I went last year I was in the process of being diagnosed. I paid for a letter from my GP to state I was experiencing pain and may need support. Disneyland Paris gave me an orange disability pass. This is for temporary conditions such as pregnancy, a broken body part or undiagnosed conditions. With this you receive a return time for every attraction so you can go and sit down while you wait for your turn.
To receive any type of assistance at Disneyland Paris you need to provide some kind of official document stating your condition.
Now I finally have a diagnosis it was much easier for me to get what I needed from Disney.
On arrival in the park you go to guest services and pass your documentation over to the cast member (staff member). It must either be a signed GP letter stating your condition or other documentation like your disabled badge or anything else that specifies your condition. You can find all the accepted documents online so please don’t take my word for it.
They were very kind, not questioning the letter or asking any further questions. It is up to the discretion of the cast member as to whether you should receive any assistance. This is simply my experience and may not be the same for others.
Your whole group must be present when you get the pass so the cast member knows how many will be with you on the rides.
As I am now diagnosed with a permanent/chronic condition they gave me the green pass which is for life long ailments. It can be for any condition termed permanent (this is a different system to Disney World in Florida) whether it is to do with mobility, sight, mental health etc.
Once you receive your green pass you can go to any attraction, follow the disability sign which is usually nearer the exit than the entrance to the ride and then show your pass to the cast member. They will then get you on the ride as soon as they are able to.
*Please be aware that there are different rules for each ride, some require you to be fully mobile and you can never go on a ride by yourself, you just have a carer/adult with you on the rides when using the pass*
Sometimes for long meet and greet queues the cast member will give you a time to return to ensure there is a fair system, but if you go first thing they will usually let you meet the character fairly quickly rather than having to return at a later time.
I found the pass a real life saver and it really made my trip magical. At first I felt a bit guilty when walking straight onto a ride that others had waited a long time for. But I knew I would not have lasted long standing up in queues and would not have done half as much as I achieved this trip.
This is all I achieved in 2 and a half days:
- It’s a Small World x2
- Peter Pan’s Flight x3
- Pirates of the Caribbean x2
- Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast x2
- Thunder Mountain x2 (during early hours for hotel guests as the person I was with wouldn’t go on that ride so I couldn’t use my pass. I walked straight on when I arrived as soon as the park opened.
- Studio Tram Tours
- Haunted House
- Mickey’s Christmas Big Band
- Meet Stitch
- Christmas Parade
- Illuminations (there is a disabled viewing area which is very spacious and is right in front of the castle)
I also spent a lot of time in the hotel resting (and drinking cocktails) in between these.
My top tips for making the most out of Disneyland Paris are:
- If you are visiting in winter, wear thermals and as many layers as possible. If you are going during a heatwave wear as few layers as possible. Either way wear your most comfortable shoes. I love my skechers and they helped make my feet as painless as possible
- I only found out half way into my stay that if you are staying in a Disney Hotel, their reception can do the disability pass for you rather than queueing in guest services. Next time I will definitely do that as you have to go to reception to get your park tickets when you arrive anyway.
- I believe certain conditions warrant a free carer. I haven’t done this myself yet but if you book online I have heard you can call up and get the carer’s ticket refunded (depending on the circumstances)
- Go into park early before the majority of guests then leave and rest for a while and return in the evening. This breaks the days up and means you can carry on. I don’t think I would survive a full day out!
- If you can afford it stay in a Disney Hotel close to the parks. You do enough walking and standing in the parks, you don’t want to have to wait for buses or walk miles to get back. Seqouia Lodge and Newport Bay are about a 10 minute slow walk from the parks (there is also a bus but it is quicker to walk than wait for a bus). Otherwise if you are happy to splash out, I just stayed in the Disneyland Hotel to tick it off the bucket list and it is a 1 minute walk from the parks! If you are not staying in a Disney Hotel the closest hotels are a 10 minute bus ride away (Kyriad, B&B Hotel, Vienna House Hotels and Explorers Hotel). I have stayed in the B&B Hotel before and it was very cheap and the buses were very regular.
- Sit down whenever you can. There are usually no or very limited seating in the disabled queues and the busiest rides like Peter Pan you can be standing for up to 30 minutes until you get on the ride. Take breaks between each attraction to sit down and pace yourself
- When you come home make sure you don’t plan much for at least the day after as the excitement may get you through the holiday but prepare yourself for a massive flare up once you return as the adrenaline wears off. You don’t realise how much you grin and bear it while in Disney!