It has been 24 hours since we arrived home after an incredible family vacation to Disneyland Paris. We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge hotel in a Montana Suite (you can pay extra for a lakeside view but there is a line of trees blocking the view so you’re unlikely to see the lake!) This hotel sits just at the entrance of the Disney Village making it a quick walk into the park itself.
Whenever I travel anywhere, I always think about what I wish I had known before my trip to make it easier, cheaper, less stressful or any key tips and tricks to help achieve the best possible experience. Based on that, these are my top tips and tricks for Disneyland Paris;
- Download the Disneyland Paris app. It is a free app that shows you up-to-date wait times for rides, where key locations are (characters, toilets, guest services, restaurants, events etc) so you’re not walking around aimlessly trying to find them. The park has pretty good wifi coverage meaning you’re able to use the app without having to use your phone data.
- The park is called Disneyland Paris, which gives the misconception that it is in Paris, it isn’t! It is approximately 45 minutes away by coach, if you have children, be prepared for this! After a day of travelling, this is the last thing they (and we) want to do, so have ample snacks and distraction tools at the ready.
- If you have younger children, take your own pushchair. It is a lot of walking, even the most energetic child will tire halfway through the day. You can hire park pushchairs, but the cost of this could easily stack up if you’re there for several days.
- As we don’t have the luxury of being pushed around in a pushchair all day on demand, comfortable shoes are a must. I always pack a box of plasters just in case.
- If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, it is worth buying a meal package. You will likely save a considerable about of money. At many of the restaurants we ate at, for two adults, one child and an infant who was entitled to free food (drinks were an additional charge), our meals cost around 90€. We worked out that we saved over 300€. (There are a range of restaurants which range in price, this was based on the ones we ate at).
- We got caught out on this one. If you purchase a meal plan, you can book your restaurant reservations from two months prior to your stay. This is vital, especially during holiday season. We were unaware of this and subsequently found that almost all restaurants on our meal plan were fully booked up for the entire week. If you do get caught out, there are other places to eat (fast food restaurants), or you can check for cancellations.
- Make use of the parent swaps. This allows for one parent/carer to queue for a ride, once they have been on, they ask for a parent swap ticket which allows the second parent/carer to go on the ride without queuing.
- The rides are not everything. There are lots of other things to do. My two girls loved looking for characters, trying to find hidden Mickeys, and seeing the dragon in the castle basement. The parade and evening light show were two of the highlights of the trip for the girls.
- People start lining the main street for the parade as early as an hour and a half before the parade begins, if you want a prime seat, you may need to sit for some time, with young children it isn’t ideal. We took it in turns taking each one for a walk, but they understandably get frustrated. Be prepared for this.
- The shops are open until 10pm so do your shopping then, that way you won’t miss out on rides or other attractions.
- There are two arcades that run parallel either side of the main street, these are great routes for missing the hustle and bustle during busy periods (we found these very useful before and after the parade and light show).
- If you’re able to, buy a package to have a meal with your chosen genre of characters. The Mickey breakfast had six characters for our little ones, the Princess lunch had four, and there are Marvel packages too. Book these in advance to save some money, we paid a fraction of the on the day price. It saves waiting in queues if you want to have photos with each character. The Princess Pavilion wait time was never below 60 minutes when we visited, with it reaching 95 minutes and over frequently (and there is only one princess in there at a time). If you’re not too bothered about having photos with the characters, then you should be able to see them with ease (we saw each multiple times). The princesses are much harder to see, you may catch a glimpse of them if you’re lucky.
- Check school holiday times for other countries when booking your visit. France, Spain and others have different term times to the UK, so you may find it is still very busy even if the UK schools are back.
- Enjoy every second.
We had a truly magical trip to Disneyland and I certainly cannot wait for the next trip. Keep an eye out for a couple more Disneyland Paris related blog posts coming soon.
Have a magical weekend,
“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney
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