Disney Parenting Travel

Top Travel Tips for Disneyland Paris with a Toddler

This is my final post about Disneyland Paris, honest. I have been back for well over a month now and I still have the Disney blues, well maybe not the blues, more like the Disney obsessive. Not just me but Little Miss even talks in her sleep about it so I am definitely going to miss having a reason to write about it. Oh well, only nine months TODAY until our next Disney holiday! It’s become a great source of bribery for good behaviour and potty training though haha, Anyway, no more potty talk! Today’s post is about some helpful hints and tips I got from visiting the parks and staying in a Disneyland resort hotel. These hints and tips are mainly for people who want an easy life with kiddies, in particular toddlers! But there isn’t any reason why you can’t apply them to any Disneyland Paris holiday!

1. Dine with the Disney Characters
My number one tip if you have small children is book character dining. In Disneyland Paris there isn’t the biggest amount of choice for Disney dining as it is so obviously you are limited to the options to go for character interaction. We chose Chef Mickey because a) they were all characters my 2 year old knew and b) the menu was suitable for her. The are other choices but do research the menus before you book. I really wanted to dine at Auberge de Cendrillion but the food would not have been suitable for my daughter. The menu at Cafe Mickey was no more expensive than any other restaurant in the Disney Village and there was a great selection as well as a set menu. But of course, there were 5 characters there all willing to give her much more time than the ones we queued to see in the park. Queuing can be boring for anyone but more so for a toddler who has no patience but when you dine with the characters there is no waiting or queuing! We queued to see Mickey and Ariel (in the Princess Pavilion) along with some characters at the hotel, but at Cafe Mickey they sat at our table, they played with her, hugged her, kissed her. It was amazing and worth every penny. I plan on booking quite a few character dining experiences for Florida as I know the last thing we’ll want to do in that heat is queue every hour so she can meet someone.

2. Take Advantage of the Extra Park Hours 

If you are staying in a Disney Resort do take advantage of the extra park hours. My daughter tends to be awake early rather than staying up late so book in for an early breakfast or even do what we did and grab a waffle in the park! The first day in the Disneyland Park we were there for 9am, given us an extra hour. There were still queues but we did manage to get around a fair bit of Fantasyland before the gates opened to the public at 10. This also meant we could be one of the first in the queue to meet Mickey Mouse (although then it was still a 30 minute wait, thank God for the cartoons to occupy LM!) The second day we were there at 8:05 and headed straight for the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland. We walked onto it, then headed to Fantasyland to do all LM’s favourites before I joined the queue to get a booking for the Princess Pavillion. It was such a time saver! Little Miss got to enjoy all the rides suitable for her without the hassle of queuing for longer than 5 minutes. This was especially important as we went during school holidays.

Not only that, because we did all the rides in the morning we were able to stake out prime seats for the parade and the Springtime Show. As well as having plenty of time to explore the park and let LM have a good run around in the Pocahontas park. If you are someone who hates queuing, I can’t stress enough how awesome the extra park hours are!

3. Bring Your Own Snacks & Pushchair 

One of our biggest costs was snacks (which I talked in more detail about on my What Amy Ate post) and hiring a pushchair every day. Both of these could have been avoided if we’d been more prepared. Most airlines allow a pushchair for a child under three free of charge (I didn’t find this out until I went to book Florida, DOH!) It was 15e a day to rent a pushchair and although if you did park hop or head out to the Disney Village you didn’t have to pay again when you returned it was still steep. In hindsight I wish we’d just brought LM’s pushchair as there is a lot of walking and they’re great for your kid to sit in while queuing to see characters or waiting on shows or parades. As for snacks, I wish we’d brought a lot more than a few cereal bars and boxes of raisins, especially drinks which could be up to over 5e if you want the reusuable cup! There are loads of fresh water drinking fountains around where you can fill up your water bottles and not food or drink is confiscated at security.

4. Catch the Shows in English

This one mainly applies to the Disney Studios. As you exit Studio 1, straight ahead is a huge board with all the show times on, it tells you when you can see each show in a particular language so everything we saw (Disney Junior Live and Stitch Live) were in English and therefore enjoyable by all. Since the Disney Studios has so little for small children I think this is so important so they do get some enjoyment out to of the park. Little Miss loved Disney Junior Live and talks about it often, and to be honest, my mum and I enjoyed it too!

5. Siesta Before Disney Dreams 

During the summer months Disney Dreams in the Disneyland Park can start as late as 11pm when the park closes! If you are staying near by in Disney resort I strongly recommend returning to your hotel for some down time, maybe even a sleep. A lot of the kid friendly rides close early so you may find it hard to occupy your child while waiting on the show to start. What I recommend is returning to the park for 9:30pm, bring some snacks or purchase a warm drink, the stores on Main Street USA are open right until the show starts and set up camp in the Town Square. You can still get an amazing view of the fireworks and show as it’s projected onto the castle and you can get out quickly once it’s finished and be one of the first on the transport. I heard reports about insane queues for the resort buses and people not getting back to their room until well after 12! We managed to get a place on the first bus and was in bed by 11:45.

I know this seems like a lot of planning but I can 100% tell you the show is worth seeing. It was one of my favourite things about the trip and I cried like a baby. It was so magical and breathtaking. I would day it again, but I wouldn’t return to the park as early as we did last time.

6. Book Transport & Accommodation Separate 

I know at a first glance, a trip to Disneyland Paris does seem incredibly expensive, especially if you plan on staying on site. I had a lot of help in making my dream of taking Little Miss come true, but even then it is completely doable without help if you set yourself a saving plan. My other tip is the Disneyland website makes it look insane, even just for two people so book your accommodation and transport separately! I can’t emphasise this enough. For myself and Little Miss to fly it was a little over £200 return with Easyjet. If you book far enough in advance you can get these sort of flights and Easyjet was so incredibly helpful with Little Miss, they gave us priority boarding free of charge and even in CDG they would tell her she was a VIP. I wouldn’t go past them for budget flights. If I was planning on going without Little Miss I would go Eurostar. When I went to Paris last October it cost me £70 return. Then onsite accommodation is incredibly reasonable if you go in term time, but if you go without, if you fill a room and divide it between how many heads on pillows, it’s still not completely extortionate. Plus, your park passes come free and most places offer complimentary breakfast too! I went during school holidays and for myself (as LM stays and plays free) it was just under £400 for 4 nights and 5 days.

And that’s it for today! If I think of any more tips I’ll be sure to share them all with you! But if you are planning a Disneyland Paris holiday I 100% recommend getting Brit Guide to Disneyland Paris, it came in so handy for planning our trip and getting the most out of our 3 full days there!

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