With two parks to explore (Parc Disneyland and the special effects-oriented Parc Walt Disney Studios), as well as the Disney Entertainment Village (restaurants, bars and nightclubs), numerous hotels, and restaurants, the whole adventure can seem daunting. Here, we pick out some of the best bits for kids of all ages, as well as rides, restaurants and hotels for the whole family.
For young children
Little ones get a kick out of Fantasyland, in the main Parc Disneyland, where the Cheshire Cat and the wicked Queen of Hearts await in Alice's Curious Labyrinth. It's a Small World takes you on a musical adventure past automated toy soldiers and animals. Meanwhile, over in Discoveryland, kids love helping Buzz save the world from little green men in the delightfully noisy Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.
For older children (and daredevils of all ages)
Disney's latest adrenalin ride, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studios, Production Courtyard) takes the brave to the top of an old Hollywood hotel, before sending them plummeting down a 13-storey lift shaft; and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in the Back Lot takes off at mega speed, before hurtling round hairpin turns and loops to the funky rhythm of Aerosmith.
For all the family
Without doubt, the best family ride is the Pirates of the Caribbean in Parc Disneyland's Adventureland, where you will experience a ghostly pirate attack. Also fun is Star Tours, a Star Wars adventure in Discoveryland that sees you dodging objects and flying at top speeds to destroy the Death Star. And Moteurs Action, Stunt Show Spectacular! – in Walt Disney Studios Back Lot – leaves you marvelling at the stunts of a live film shoot.
For Tex-Mex food accompanied by a Wild West extravaganza, head to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the Disney Village (€60 adults; €40 3-11s). Back in the main parks, the Auberge de Cendrillon in Fantasyland is swish, French and expensive (over €30), but it's the best restaurant around. For something cheaper, Walt's (in Main Street USA) offers a good choice of meats and salads (around €20); or, for a quick hot dog à l'Américaine, head for Coolpost in Adventureland (€5).
If you plan to stay on site, Sequoia Lodge has a shuttle service to and from the park and an indoor swimming pool with waterslides (from €180 family room). Hôtel Cheyenne lets kids play at cowboys and Indians in the outside play area, equipped with tepees (from €150 family room); and the Davy Crockett Ranch, a short drive away, has an adventure playground in the forest (from €150 family room).
A Fastpass ticket, for the most popular rides, gives a time you can board without queuing.
Disneyland really works its magic at Christmas and Halloween – plan ahead to catch their seasonal shows.
Some rides have height restrictions – check beforehand.