Since returning from Disneyland, lots of friends have been in touch to ask for tips and advice on planning their own trips.
To give you all a helping hand, I have put together a list of my top 10 Disneyland Paris do’s and don’ts when travelling with a family…
1. DO try to book before they turn 3 – we went to celebrate Charlotte’s 3rd birthday and because she turned 3 during our stay it meant that she was still considered as an ‘infant’ and went FREE!
This was also the case on the Eurostar, meaning we didn’t have to buy her a seat. However, you can allocate your seats on the train, so my advice is to pick the table seats for 3 because the likelihood is that a single traveller isn’t going to want that spare seat. This means you pay for 3, but can be lucky and get all 4! – On one part of our journey we were joined by another traveller, however there was still plenty of space. Charlotte fitted comfortably between us on the chairs, because the arm rest can be lifted out of the way.
We also booked the Premium Meal Package for just 2 adults and 1 child, because again infants eat free. You just have to pay for any drinks they have. (Warning – an apple juice was €7!).
2. DO buy Disney merchandise or princess costumes before you go!
We saved a fortune buying clothes, bags, jewellery and princesses dresses before our trip, instead of buying it all there.
You can also find Mickey Mouse themed jewellery on Ebay for an absolute bargain. I got this necklace for £3.99 and the earrings were £2.99. (Jumper is Primark £12)
If you have a little princess who will want to dress up at the park, then I can not stress enough to pack your own! Some of the dresses we saw in Disneyland Paris were €70 to €120!
3. DO take snacks! – We packed one whole bag with snacks to last the trip. Our 3 year old demands snacks every five minutes, so we needed to be well stocked up for waiting in the queues. There are plenty of places to get food around the park, but snack options are limited and expensive.
4. DO tell the hotel if you are celebrating a birthday – You might get a nice member of staff who will arrange a free gift. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and the staff were fantastic. They even let the birthday girl’s big sister choose a gift too.
You can also order a birthday cake at Disneyland and this can be presented in any of the restaurants. They are around €35 and we chose the Mickey Mouse themed cake, which was chocolatey, fruity and really delicious! We arranged to have this cake at the Inventions restaurant on Charlotte’s birthday. This was the perfect setting because the food in the buffet was excellent, the staff were lovely and it was also character dining, so we were very lucky to have Mickey, Minnie, Tigger and Goofy sing us a birthday song as Charlotte blew out her candles.
5. DO include a weekday for your visit – The queue times are so much better and the park is less crowded. If you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel you also get ‘extra magic time’, which means you can enter the park at 8:30am. Definitely a great time to tick off some of the most popular rides!
Also if you are happy to visit during the winter season it is MUCH cheaper. The only problem we found was that the Eurostar didn’t run directly to Disney during low season. We had to stop at Lille and wait for an hour and a half before getting a connecting train.
5. DON’T go for lunch at lunchtime – This sounds a bit strange, but if you can avoid the lunchtime rush between 12-2pm you will not only miss the restaurant queues, but you will also benefit from shorter ride queues whilst everyone else eats lunch – This is where the big snack bag comes in handy!
6. DON’T waste your money on bottles of water – Take your own reusable bottle and fill them up either at the hotel bar or at the water fountains. (FYI – we only spotted water fountains outside the park entrance).
7. DON’T choose breakfast with the princesses at Auberge de Cendrillon – If you want to dine with the princesses, go for lunch. We’ve tried both and we weren’t impressed with the breakfast menu. The food was very basic and the atmosphere felt rushed and hectic. They even wanted to charge extra (on top of our premium dining package) to have breakfast there and the Disneyland Hotel buffet breakfast is much better.
8. DON’T forget to pack for all weather conditions – Bring a blanket for the pushchair and some rain ponchos for all the family. We were very lucky with the weather on our trip, as it stayed dry and we even had blue skies. However, the weather is very unpredictable, especially during the winter and you don’t want to get caught out. You can buy a family pack of ponchos on Amazon for around £10
9. DON’T forget to look at show times and events at the park and make a plan – It is easy to get carried away and end up on the other side of the park, when you wanted to see the parade. Also try to make your dinner reservations after the Disney Illuminations Show at the castle. This is a spectacular show that you won’t want to miss!
10. DON’T be afraid to ask the staff around the park to take family photos – Even the professional photographers are happy to help and they’ll get the best pictures without you having to pay for them!
That’s all I can think of for now, but feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about planning your family trip to Disneyland Paris.
Have you got any other helpful Disneyland Paris tips to share? Please add them in the comments below…