As a family we recently visited Disneyland Paris and oh my goodness what a wonderful time we had! It is such a magical place and really was the holiday of a lifetime.
At this point I would like to point out that the trip was paid for and not gifted or an ad! This blog post has been written after several requests for hints and tips for making the trip to Disneyland Paris with young children!
Mason is four and loved the whole experience! I felt it was the perfect age for him to go and appreciate it.
We travelled to Disneyland Paris by Eurostar which is great as everyone is 'Disneyland ready' and as you can imaging for my vehicle loving child, this was a huge hit!
We arrived late on the Friday so took our luggage to our hotel before heading over to the park. We didn't stay in the hotels on site but just down the road, only a 2 Euro ride away. The buses were regular and worked great for us.
Friday evening we headed over to Disneyland but didn't go in plus Mason was asleep!! Typical! Ha ha! There was enough to do nearby with loads of restaurants and shops etc. We had a look around and then had booked to go into the Wild West Show. This was a surprise for Mason as he just thought we were having dinner. They gave us all cowboy hats on the way in and then we watched the show whilst eating and it was really well done.
We spent the Saturday at Disneyland. It seemed pretty quiet in the park so I think we had timed it well. We managed to go on all the rides we wanted to, see the parade and shows. We then left the park to go for dinner in the American Diner where the waiters are on rollerskates and then we returned to the park to see the evenings firework show and ended the day with a bus ride home with a sleepy boy!
The Sunday was then spent exploring Disneyland Studios. This was personally my favourite day with lots of brilliant shows and rides. Both parks are stunning with so much to look at and take in. It was patrticularly windy this day so pretty cold! Some of the rides were closed in the Studios which was a shame as we were excited for Cars for Mason but we still really enjoyed the Stunt Show, which he still talks about now!
Finally, on the Monday we caught an early train and headed over to Paris for one day and night. It is a stunning city and I really enjoyed exploring with Mason. There's so much to see and I would highly recommend an open top bus tour for little ones so you can hop and off to see the sights and get lunch!
1. Take a Buggy
We haven't used a buggy with Mason for years as we regularly walk the dog but thankfully we still took ours and I'm so glad we did. There's an awful lot of walking and the park caters for your leaving your buggies by the rides so it's worth taking one. And if you don't but begin to regret it, you can hire them there.
One note is Mason napped for almost an hour each day which again he hasn't done for a long time but it's such a full on day that it let me recharge. We had hoped we could have used this nap time when queueing for one of the longer rides however they are very strict on no pushchairs and of course he woke up as soon as we tried to carry him! But it did give Mummy and Daddy an hour to sit in the sun and recharge too!
2. Buy Merchandise, Clothing and Autograph Book Before Going
As you can imagine the shops can be very expensive in Disneyland so I made sure I bought a few items before we went. Below is what I packed for Mason.
Clothing amd pyjamas from H&M, Figures and soft toy from Home Bargains, Ears from Amazon, books were Christmas gifts
It was also nice to give some of them on the way there to break up the journey too and certainly saved us lots of money in the long run!
I must confess I totally forgot to buy the autograph book but in the end Mason wasn't bothered anyway. I think if he was a little bit older he might have liked one.
3. Food Glorious Food!
Once again, there's a theme here isn't there! The food is very expensive in Disneyland! Mason is a tricky eater and more often than not wastes a lot of food. Therefore, rather than pay the crazy prices we packed Mason a picnic.
Luckily where we were staying there was a small local bakery next door so I would go in early and buy a baguette, crisps, yoghurt, fruit, bottles of water etc It was worth having the rucksack full of food because as you can imagine when you're stood queueing the kids are bound to declare they're hungry!
Mason literally grazed all day and then when we did eat out he would share our meals.
4. Be Prepared To Queue
You know that you're going to have to queue when you visit Disneyland so be ready. It's a tricky thing with little ones and if they're not in the right mood it can make the wait even longer! And when they're bored they want to be carried which is hard work on the arms for all that time!
Mason being four was at the age to chat to other children in the queue but we still had a handful of toys in the bag to help occupy him. A notepad and paper, few cards and the Mickey and Minnie mouse figures really helped to occupy him.
5. Plan Your Day
It's really useful to plan your day before you go, even just over breakfast. Particularly when we visited Disneyland Studios as there are lots of shows and parades that you will want to see.
I wrote them all down in my phone with the times just to make it easier. There are display signs when you enter the park with everything on but it's handy if there's something you particularly want to see.
Also make sure you allow plenty of time to arrive before the show starts. A steward at Disneyland suggested half an hour before the start time is a good amount of time to make sure you get in and that worked for us!
6. baby and toddler centre
Now we didn’t use this but my friend who regularly goes to Disneyland has informed me they have a baby and toddler centre in the park which is great for any little ones who are feeling cold and also a great place to change or feed!
8. First Time Badge
Now sadly we didn't know about this until after but a friend of mine who is a regular at Disneyland informs me if you go to the Information Desk when you arrive, they will give you a 'first time' badge and these are really worth wearing as the characters will often make more of a fuss and sometimes even let you to the front of the queue!
A friend has also informed me, if your little ones are dressed up as the characters, they will often make more fuss too! I couldn’t even get Mickey Mouse ears on Mason so good luck with that!!
9. Time Out
I know this might sound silly but we found it was worth giving Mason a bit of chill out time. It's a pretty full on day at Disneyland and there's a lot expected of the little ones getting in and out the buggy, standing nicely in the queue etc. So we found giving Mason time in the day to have a good run about, sit and play with his toys etc was really useful and gave him a moment to himself. The parks are so big with plenty of benches and eating areas and play areas I'm sure the kids would appreciate a bit of time out.
10. Plenty of Warm Clothing
We visited Disneyland in February so the weather was cold, wet and very very windy. There were blasts of sunshine every so often but the wind made it very cold. Especially as the little ones are not walking as much as you, sat in the buggy and then stood still in the queues, they soon get cold. Luckily Mason was wrapped up warm with hats and gloves but I did wish I had taken more as there were times when he got really cold. And of course if you take your buggy, don’t forget the rain cover, it keeps the wind out too!
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris, I hope these tips have been useful!
And to offer a helping hand for getting there, don't forget we have JOURNEY playPROMPTS perfect for keeping little ones busy when you're in a confined space! Lots of things to play, talk about and look out for on your travels!