My Experience with the Disneyland Paris Priority Card
The Disneyland Paris Priority Card helps people with accessibility considerations get the most out of Disneyland Paris. Here are my experiences with it.
Disney parks are well known for making accommodations that enable the most amount of people to get the most out of their trip. Disneyland Paris is no exception.
Each park has its own system, in Disneyland Paris, they have what they call a Priority Card.
For those of you who don’t know, I have MS, which long story short comes with some fun accessibility needs. On a recent trip, I decided to look into getting a Priority Card. This post, which was originally posted on a Disney website we used to run, contains my thoughts and experiences with the Priority Card.
Like most things in Disney, things change. Unfortunately, my MS isn’t going away any time soon, so I will likely be able to update this post as and when my experiences change. But you should always check with official sources before making assumptions.
A high-level overview of the Disneyland Paris Priority Card
The Priority Card is a physical card which you can use to lower wait times for things such as queuing for rides, meeting characters, and park admission, and whilst we didn’t use it, even when queuing in shops. It also entitles you to discounted park tickets and Annual Passes.
The requirements for qualification vary depending on where you are coming from, but essentially you need to have a document from a verified source that shows that you have specific accessibility requirements.
I already had an “Access Card” which is a little off-topic for this article, but to get one of these I had to show letters from my consultant detailing medical stuff. Suffice it to say you can’t just send Disneyland Paris a note saying “Priority Card please!”.
The priority card looks like this;
The “Attractions 4” means up to four other people were able to accompany me on rides. Ditto for parades, only the limit is two other people.
The green box saying “Ve” I think means I don’t have any mobility issues that require a wheelchair. Don’t quote me on that though.
The picture on the top right just means I’m a handsome man. Apparently, they need it to prove I am the cardholder, but I think Disneyland Paris just wanted pics of me.
And this is the back of the card;
To quote from the back of it;
Cette carte donne droit à des accès dédiés, prioritaires mais non immédiats à nos attractions, spectacles, rencontres avec les personnages (sous réserve de disponibilité - places limitées) aux caisses des restaurants et des boutiques et aux bureaux d’informations des parcs Disney®.
La carte est nominative et valable pour vous et 4 accompagnateurs maximum, à condition que le titulaire de la carte participe à l’aventure. Les enfants de moins de 3 ans comptent comme accompagnateurs.
Veuillez vous informer des modalités d’accès et d’évacuation des attractions en scannant le QR code au recto de la carte.
This card provides dedicated, priority but not instant access to Disney@ Park attractions, shows, Character Meet ‘n’ Greets (subject to availability - capacity is limited), restaurants and boutiques cash desks and information desks.
This card is strictly personal and valid for you and a maximum of 4 other people, including children under 3 years of age. If you, the cardholder do not participate in a given activity, the rest of your party must use standard quest access.
Please consult the attraction access and evacuation conditions by scanning the QR code, on the front of the card.
Pre-registering for the Disneyland Paris Priority Card
Step one in using the Priority Card is registering for it. I believe you can do this in person at the parks, but I found it way easier to pre-register online.
You can do this 30 days before you go. You complete a form which asks which country you’re coming from, and that information provides a list of recognised documentation you can bring. As part of it you need to upload a photo (see the handsome man above!) which will be used on the card.
The form was really quick to complete, and I received an email, I think within a few days, saying I had been approved and gave me a code I could then use to collect the card.
Collecting the Disneyland Paris Priority Card
You have to collect the card in person, and present not only the code shared as part of pre-registering, but also the document you selected to prove your access requirements.
We were staying on property (at the Newport Bay Club, if you’re interested!) which means we were able to collect the Priority Card from the concierge in the hotel.
The process was straightforward. I arrived at the concierge desk and showed them my code and my Access Card. Once approved (literally seconds) they printed the card.
Once the card was printed they asked if it was my first time using it (it was), and they explained how it works.
The entire process took maybe 5 minutes. Really smooth.
With the card in hand, I was ready to make use of it, well actually, I was super tired, so was ready to go to bed, but the next day was ready to make use of it!
I’ve stayed on property with the card four times now, the third time I wasn’t allowed to collect my Priority Card until they could see my Magic Pass (Room and ticket card). Normally my wife and I split up, I collect my card and she checks us in. It wasn’t a big deal, we waited 30 seconds for my wife to finish and come over with the cards. Just be aware they might ask you to do the same.
Using the Disneyland Paris Priority Card for rides
Most rides have an accessible entrance, which for a lot is also the exit to the ride. They are marked by a wheelchair icon either on a placard or a flag on a rope. There will be a cast member at these entrances.
You show the cast member your card, and let them know your party size, and then you’re let in. For most rides, you skip the queue entirely, and your wait is dictated by when they are able to let you on.
Often they wait until a few folks are there and let us all on together, so don’t expect immediate access, but I don’t think we were waiting more than 15 minutes for any ride.
For some rides, you use the premier access lane instead. This means a much shorter queue time, but depending on how busy the ride is you might still have to queue for 10 or so minutes.
The only ride we tried to go on that was a little confusing was Hyperspace Mountain. We went to the accessible entrance and were told that this entrance was only for people who required a wheelchair. Since I didn’t I should use the premier access lane.
I’m not really sure why this is the case when on other rides it isn’t, but rules-is-rules!
One thing to note is that some rides contain pre-shows, which may or may not be skippable. For example, one time we went to Phantom Manor and they asked if we’d like to do the stretching room. If you do, you need to visit the premier access lane and show your card. If you can’t or don’t want to do it, you can go straight to the ride cars. On Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure you always do the pre-show.
Using the Disneyland Paris Priority Card for character meets
Character meets work a little differently from rides, and in fact, lots of them work a little differently from each other! We found it was easiest to just ask cast members each time.
For meeting Darth Vader, I showed my card and was taken to a priority entrance, we waited 10 minutes before being allowed in.
For meeting Minnie Mouse, I showed my card and was given another card to hold onto and there was seating. We sat for maybe 30 minutes (about the same time as the posted wait time) before being allowed in with the new card.
For meeting Iron Man, it was a virtual queue, and the Priority Card wasn’t able to be used. This is 100% because when queuing virtually you can be sitting down or doing whatever else you need to do, then when in the small queue once you’re time is available, there was seating.
For other characters, mainly ones doing outside meets, you could go up to a cast member and request a window to come back. These ran out pretty quickly but we were able to meet Maleficent with this call-back time. You are given a bit of paper with the time to come back. When you come back you give the paper to a cast member and are put into a much smaller queue.
If you really want to meet as many characters as possible, I would recommend visiting the meeting spots as soon as they open (most have times listed against them) and get your name down. Do not expect to be able to walk up at any time and get access.
Using the Disneyland Paris Priority Card for entry and other queues
Basically any time there is a queue there is probably something you can do with the priority card.
For gaining entry to the parks there will either be a dedicated accessible entrance, or you’ll be asked to use the Annual Pass holders entrance.
When queuing to discuss Annual Passes (more on that shortly!) I showed a cast member my card and they showed us to the accessible queue. This reduced our wait from an estimated 2 - 3 hours to 15 minutes. There is no way I could have stood for that long. Let’s be honest, at that point, it is barely even an accessibility question.
Most shops had an accessible desk which in theory I could have used, but I either found there was not enough of a queue at the regular desk to require one, or the shop was busy enough that this till was already opened and being used.
Using the Disneyland Paris Priority Card for parades and fireworks
There were specially roped-off areas set aside for people with the Priority Card for parades and fireworks shows. To gain entrance you simply need to show your card and have no more than two extra people with you.
For both, it was nice to have an area that wasn’t just as crowded, which is the main reason I wanted to avail of them.
The view of the fireworks was incredible, the Priority Card area is in front and to the left of the castle, and because there wasn’t a crush of people, everyone had ample room to comfortably view what was happening.
One thing to note about both parade and fireworks areas is you need to show your card to get access each time. This means if you leave the area to go to the bathroom, you won’t be able to get in again without the card.
Using the Disneyland Paris Priority Card for discounts
One completely unexpected feature of the priority card is it entitles you to discounts when buying park tickets and annual passes. As it happens we were thinking about purchasing annual passes on our last trip so took advantage of the discount.
The discounts apply to you and a carer, so we were both able to get discount on Annual Passes.
One thing to note, however, is you need the priority card in hand before purchasing any tickets, and because you can’t purchase tickets for the day on the day, this will only be useful if you are considering buying tickets for a future trip whilst you are there.
Disneyland Paris Priority Card validity
The Priority Card is only valid for the length of your trip, the expiry date is clearly written on the card.
We learned after the fact that if you have annual passes (we now do!) I could have requested a new priority card that expires at the same time as my annual pass. You can’t pick up the annual pass-linked cards from hotels and instead need to go to the annual pass window to collect them.
For me, because I’m always staying on property and it takes 5 minutes to collect in person from the hotel, I never bothered to link it to my annual pass.
Obviously, it is weird to recommend this pass, I most certainly would not recommend MS to anyone! But if you do have accessibility needs and meet Disneyland Paris’ requirements I would certainly recommend this pass. It gave me peace of mind and meant my accessibility needs didn’t get in the way of our holiday.
The cast members at Disneyland Paris could not have been nicer, very accommodating, and well-versed in answering any questions I had as a first-time priority card user.
Unfortunately, MS is something that will only get worse, I am incredibly thankful that Disneyland Paris has this card in place to allow me to continue enjoying Disney.
Disneyland Paris Priority Card Questions
Here are some common questions I’ve been asked about the priority card, I will keep this up to date as I get other questions from folk.
How do I pre-register for the Disneyland Paris Priority Card?
You can pre-register on the Disneyland Paris website up to 1 month in advance.
I would recommend doing this as soon as possible (so 25-30 days before the start of your trip)
What are the major differences between having / not having the Priority Card?
This will be unique to each person, but for me, some of the posted wait times are too long for me to confidently wait. My brain likes to do stupid things to my body and I sometimes need to quickly sit down or visit a bathroom.
Having the access card allows me to experience attractions that I almost certainly wouldn’t have without it.
Personally, my accessibility needs mean I “waste” a lot of time. This card gives me some of that time back, levelling the Disney playing field.
How difficult is the Priority Card to get?
The main difficulty is in proving your disability. In my case, I have plenty of evidence to get one of the documents that Disneyland Paris requires.
Assuming you have that, the process is so smooth. Pre-register, go to a hotel concierge or accessible desk outside the parks to collect. Make sure you have your ID and the document used to pre-register and that is it.
Do I miss ride pre-shows with the Priority Card?
Not necessarily! On some rides, like Phantom Manor, you can use the premier access lane to skip the external queue but still take part in the stretching room pre-show, or you can skip both. On other rides, such as Spider-Man W.E.B adventures, the pre-show is as far as we could tell, unskippable.
Do other Disney parks have similar systems? Yes! In Walt Disneyworld Florida the system is called DAS (Disability Access Service). It is the same idea but implemented differently. I have gone through the process of claiming DAS and once we get to use it I will write up a similar article to this with more details. Each park will handle things slightly differently, so please don’t think what I’ve written here applies to Shanghai.
Are Priority Cards and Easy Access Cards the same? They aren’t! This article is talking about the Priority Card, the other type of card Disneyland Paris can offer people with access needs is an Easy Access card. I don’t know much about this because I used a different card, but I do know that there is a specific list of medical conditions that qualify. As with everything, check or contact Disney to clarify.
Does the Priority Card give you access to the parks?
No, you still need to purchase a ticket or have an annual pass to gain entry to the parks. The Priority Card is in addition to these cards. So by the time you have your park ticket, your priority card, and your photopass card, you will need plenty of card space!