We have just returned from a fantastic family holiday, topped off with a surprise trip to Disneyland Paris for our kids. We decided to keep it a secret as we didn’t want our children to only focus on the Disney element of our holiday. We therefore had a blissful week beforehand, without being constantly asked “is it time for Disney yet?”. It was worth it, their little faces were priceless, they really had no idea what we had planned for them & were blown away with excitement. Cute.
So, post Disney chats with my husband about what we’ll do differently next time we visit (we will, it was great) has prompted me to write this list. Hopefully this will help any Disney first timers out 🤞🏻
1. Download the Disney App and take a good look ahead of your trip. The app has times of performances & parades, queuing times, you can book restaurants (via a phone number), find the play zones, book fast passes etc and is generally really helpful.
2. Take enough water to queue but don’t go overboard and weigh yourself down – there are plenty of water fountains throughout the park where you can top up your bottles.
3. Try not to go at the weekend and preferably if you can, go out of season!! What an earth made us go in August and on a Saturday, I have no idea!! Seemed like a good idea at the time!! The Friday wasn’t too bad & we managed to go on a few rides. Saturday however was a whole different story. We queued for nearly an hour just to pass security and then had to queue again to get entry into the park itself. The queues for every ride were at least 75 minutes long, not so great with little ones in tow when they are hot and bothered. Prepare yourself for the Disney Princesses, the shortest queue we could find was 95 minutes. Fortunately our two weren’t that bothered so we managed to get out of that one this time round.
4. Ahead of the Disney performances & parades, work out the route and get yourself a prime position on the kerb. On our first day, we hung about in Main Street and then danced along behind Minnie & Mickey who were singing “we’re on our way”…we got so caught up in the magical atmosphere (they know how to gather a crowd!) and as a result promptly ended up right at the back.
On the Saturday, we’d learnt our lesson so we parked ourselves right in front of the main stage, 40 minutes before any show was due to start. We had the best experience ever – the show was incredible and our kids were mesmerised.
5. If you’re on a bit of a budget, take a packed lunch & some snacks. We treated our kids to an ice cream and saved our money for a meal at dinner time inside the resort. It’s not cheap, so brace yourself and accept it for what it is. Our meal for 4 people cost over 80€ (which is relatively cheap in there) and to be honest, wasn’t the best but it did fill the void and the kids loved the restaurant.
6. If going to the Disney in Paris, take a Poncho. Our first day was 28•C but with showers forecast. We all discovered that our rain coats were only shower proof. Despite spending considerable time drying our coats in the ladies when the sun came out, we would then get drenched again. Countless times. My kids didn’t care, but with rivets of water streaming down my back, I conceded defeat. A lady I met in a queue told me that to buy their Ponchos in the park they spent 15€ per adult and 11€ each for children. They do have the Disney logo on the back, so a nice souvenir if like that sort of thing.
7. Don’t worry too much about having cash on you. Everywhere accepts cards. EXCEPT the ice cream and cold drink carts. You’ll need cash for these if you want to avoid the long queues at the various cafes/outlets dotted around the resort. There is an ATM in Discovery Land at the Paris resort.
8. Don’t expect the Characters to be milling around all over the park. They won’t be. They each have specific times, they come along with Marshalls who put an umbrella over them and then an orderly queue is formed so you can get a picture & autograph.
9. If you haven’t downloaded the app or don’t want your head stuck in your phone for the entire time, remember to check the super large information boards in every zone. We only saw these on the last day towards the end…doh!
10. Above everything else, relax & enjoy yourselves. We soaked it all up & tried not to focus on the cost of entry vs the number of rides we managed to get on. If you allow it to be, the atmosphere is truly magical & for us that is all that mattered 💕
Do you have any top tips for Disney trips? If so, we’re always happy to hear what you have to say.