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People with Epilepsy visiting Disneyland Paris

Updated on December 27, 2015

Travelling can be hard at the best of times and when you are with a person with epilepsy there are often other items to consider. It's important to stay as stress-free as possible and the best way to do this is by planning your trip in advance. I have photosensitive epilepsy and I find stress, hunger and tiredness triggers so when going on holidays I plan around these triggers. If I feel tired at all I will take it easy that day, maybe even taking a nap during the day. I went to Disney in January 2015 travelling from Ireland to Disneyland Paris by boat and train so here are a few tips I have learned from my journey.

Before you go

  • Buy travel insurance
  • Make sure you have enough medication with you including extras in case you get stuck and have to stay on. Also important to remember is that you may have to put your clocks forward or back ,depending where you are travelling from, so you may want to take this into consideration if you're particularly sensitive with medication time.
  • Evidence of disability if you will require a priority card in the park. It gives you and a maximum of four helpers access to certain attractions via specially-adapted entrances.

Documents required when applying for priority card as found in the Disney Parks Accessibility Guide:

French residents require one of the following:- disability card, disabled person's priority card, difficulty standing card, war disability card or European disabled parking badge

Residents of other countries: disability card, European disabled parking badge or a medical certificate signed and stamped by a doctor certifying that the person has a disability. Medical certificates must be issued in the last three months.

Euston Station to St Pancras International Station walking directions
Euston Station to St Pancras International Station walking directions | Source

How to get there

If you are travelling to London before going on the Eurostar you may arrive into Euston Station if you are taking the train or underground. Euston Station is approximately a ten minute walk from St Pancras (see map attached). You may also get the underground to St Pancras following the NorthboundVictoria Line orSouthboundNorthern Line. Google Maps is a great tool in planning your journey.

There are two Eurostar trains that will take you to Disneyland. The first is a direct train that will take you from St Pancras International to Marne la Vallee (Disneyland Paris). Unfortunately this train doesn't run on certain days and at certain times of the year.The second option is to get the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Lille Europe and when you get to Lille Europe get a TGV train to Disneyland Paris. Lille to Disneyland TGV tickets are available to print at home and they can also be stored on your smartphone. There are two train stations in Lille - Lille Europe and Lille Flandres which are within walking distance of each other. The trains that leave for Disneyland often depart from Lille Flandres. There are many places in both stations to sit down and eat a snack.

Note: Train prices can differ depending on the time of day. Buying off-peak tickets is much cheaper.

At Marne la Vallee train station entrance are the Disney Hotel shuttle-buses. There is a row of shuttle-buses ready to take you to your chosen hotel, they would be very hard to miss as they have Disney characters covering them.

Where to stay

I stayed in the Newport Bay Club hotel, one of the Disney hotels on site. I decided to stay in a hotel nearby for the following reasons

  • You get extra magic hours, these mean that you get to arrive in the park usually 2 hours before the park opens and in this time you can get photos taken with characters like Goofy, Pluto and Minnie and Mickey Mouse. It's very handy and you can take your time. Not all the attractions are open in the Extra Magic Hours. Fantasyland and Discoveryland are the two lands that are usually open during these two hours.
  • If in the case I did take a seizure I was nearby to go back to the hotel to rest. The Newport Bay Club hotel is just a 10 minutes walk to the parks around Lake Disney which is beautiful. My sister and I ended up often going back to the hotel during the day for a rest before the fireworks at night and it was also an opportunity to charge cameras and phones. There is also the Disney Channel in English in the room so even when you are not in the parks you don't feel like you are missing out on anything.

What to do on your first day at Disneyland Paris

Firstly go to the City Hall. This is in Main St. USA to the left when you enter the park, you can't miss it, with your proof of disability. The staff here are very friendly and will show you how the pass works and areas to stand during parades and shows. You will be given your Disney Parks Accessibility Guide and a map of the place. The accessibility guide has a full list of attractions that may contain strobe lighting as well as First Aid areas

Popular Rides in Disneyland Park

Phantom Manor
Strobe lighting in house before ride
Disability entrance leaves you straight to the actual ride
Pirates of the Caribbean
Attraction includes dimly-lit areas
Helper required
Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains
dimly-lit areas
Helper required
Les Voyage de Pinocchio
dimly-lit areas
Helper required
Peter Pan's Flight
dimly-lit areas
Helper required
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy
Star Tours
dimly-lit areas
Helper required
Captain EO
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy
Space Mountain: Mission 2
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy

Popular Rides at Walt Disney Studios Park

Armageddon Special Effects
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy
Toon Studio
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy
Production Courtyard
Strobe light effect
Not suitable for photosensitive epilepsy

Meet and Greet with Characters

A lot of the meet and greets take place in the Main Street. There is a separate line for people with disabilities which is located at the side where the exit would be. There will be a rope with a wheelchair symbol on it and a member of staff to talk to. The way it works is four groups from the main queue get their meet n greets with the characters and then after every fourth group, one group from the disability line are let through. I believe it is a very good system as if this wasn't in place I may not have got to meet characters because I would be afraid of queuing up and then not feeling well and not being able to leave quickly which can be so disappointing. The entrance for meeting the princesses at the Princess Pavilion is near the exit of the 'It's a Small World After All' ride. There is a bell and someone will come out to meet you, a member of staff will take the number on your pass and note the time. Outside the Pavilion there will be a sign with the current waiting times, if you want to meet another princess you can but not straight away. There will be a sign outside the main entrance with the current waiting time and after that time you may queue up again for the Princess Pavillion. Say you leave the princess and the waiting time is 45 mins - you can go sit down and eat and then go back in 45 minutes time. The princesses change throughout the day. While I was there I met Ariel, Snow White and Princess Tiana! In Walt Disney Studios there is also a meet n greet with characters such as Donald Duck, Woody and Stitch. There is a disability area here too.

Designated Area for Shows and Parades

One of the main things I was concerned about before going was whether I would be able to stay for the fireworks display at night. I can stand fireworks but there are hats that people can buy with Mickey Mouse ears that flash. There is a disabled area which is located in the green area just in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle. I was so grateful for this, there were no flashing lights near me and there was space to sit down also. If you want a seat I advise you to get there early. The viewing area for the parade is the same as for the fireworks display and there is a fantastic view from here.

Don't Forget!

Here is just a short list of the items you will need

  • Medication
  • Eurostar tickets
  • TGV tickets
  • Disney Hotel confirmation letter
  • Money for souvenirs
  • Money for food

© 2015 Victoria Patrick


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