A journey To Disneyland Paris is a dream for most children. Especially for Toddlers like me, as at our age we still believe in magic. I visited The Disneyland Paris for its 25th anniversary and it was a wonderful experience, not To be easily forgotten.
This being said, I learned That going To Disneyland with young kids also comes with many challenges for The parents. The key is To plan, plan and plan and To avoid crowds. The Tips from my mom below are no magic, unfortunately They can not let crowds disappear, but They will guide you into The right direction.
- Choose The right Time of The year
Try To visit Disneyland Paris when The crowds are minimal. Of course easier said Than done, but at least Try To avoid The weekends. Apart from being less crowded it also has a positive impact on your budget. The price difference is huge, which means more money for souvenirs or for a longer stay. Timing is everything.
If you visit during the months of October – January you will have an extra advantage. During Those months Disneyland Paris celebrates first Halloween and Then Christmas, which makes The whole experience even more magical.
- Choose a hotel within walking distance of The parks
To be able To come and go is very important if you Travel with Toddlers. This is only possible when you book a hotel in proximity of The parks. Bus shuttles are a great invention but a no go if your little one is in need of a nap NOW or if you have left an important necessity in your hotel room.
Disneyland Paris has different options and basically all hotels located at The Disney lake are an excellent choice. We chose for The New Port Bay Hotel as it was recently renovated and we loved The nautical Theme. In addition The Compass Club rooms and suites are still within range of our budget.
Those rooms have extra advantages, and The package includes breakfast, high tea and a VIP fast pass for The suites. Within the same range you have the Hotel New York and The Sequoia Lodge.
Another options is choosing for The Disney hotel, located at The entrance of The Disney park. Big advantage is That it is located after The security check. Castle club rooms and suites have Their own elevator with direct access To the main park. Less advantageous is The price and The fact That The hotel has not been renovated since its opening, which is 25 years ago.
- Plan your attractions ahead
Planning is key, especially when we Talk about attractions To visit in Disneyland Paris. I always feel sorry for all The people standing in line for hours. It never happens To us, no matter how crowded it gets. I am not pretending we never had To stand in line, but 15 – 20 min has been The absolute maximum, which is quite acceptable with a toddler of 3 years old. We kept some convenient attractions, for which you don’t need To stand in line for moments The park was The most crowded. You have many options To choose from, exploring The pirate boat or The cabin of Robinson in Adventureland, playing hide and seek in Alice’s Labyrinth in Phantasyland or visiting the dragon who lives in The dungeon under The castle.
Check The Disneyland Paris website up front of your visit and decide which attractions are suitable for your little ones. Most of The attractions for little kids are located in Phantasy land. Don’t count on doing Them all on one day, it is just not realistic. Pick a few must do’s for each day from The list below:
Pinokkio, Snow White and Peter Pan Flight
Three separate attractions for Toddlers located at The back of The Disney Castle. The principle is The same, a short ride will Take you Through The story of The fairy Tale. Waiting lines for These attractions are substantial, especially for Peter Pan’s Flight. Try To go as early as possible or grab a fast pass (only available for Peter Pan).
The Carrousel of Lancelot
This beautiful Parisian carousel is a nice attraction for Toddlers. Waiting lines in general are ok, although The process of getting on and of The attraction is rather slow, as every safety belt is manually checked by The staff.
Its a small world
Maybe THE attraction for Toddlers. Small boats will Take you Through The wonders of The world, from The Taj Mahal in India To the Statue of Liberty in New York. The music, The colours, it all perfectly fits. Even if There is a long waiting line, This attraction is a definitely must do and worth The wait.
This small circus rollercoaster is perfect for The younger ones. If They have never been on a rollercoaster before, Casey Junior will give Them a great first experience with speed. Waiting lines are in general very reasonable. I have The impression a lot of people miss This attraction as it is in one of The very back corners of Phantasy land.
The enchanted world of fairy ‘s
Next To Casey Junior, you can Take The boat Through The enchanted world of fairy’s. no huge waiting lines and very Toddler friendly.
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Lovely ride on The back of Dumbo, but hit This attraction if The queue is short, otherwise you are in for a very long waiting period.
Mad hatter’s Tea Cups
Most of The little ones love This attraction, and it’s True it is a beautiful one. However I found The ride a little bit Too short.
A great attractions for all The Toddler who love To explore. Try To spot all The Alice in Wonderland characters and don’t forget To visit The castle. A perfect attraction if The queues for other attractions are way Too long.
In other parts of The park you will find some extra attractions suitable for Toddlers, however not so concentrated as in Phantasy land.
Apparently scarier Than we Thought, Little T did not appreciate at all The noice and light beams. Nevertheless it is a cool attraction for older Toddlers.
Every Toddler who loves space and rockets needs To do This one. Small Tip, This attraction is even more spectacular after dark.
If This attraction is open, just hit it, as it Tends To close down very quickly as soon as The weather conditions are not optimal. Why is still a mystery To me, but They do. Little kids love To ride These cute small cars. Be prepared To do some waiting in line.
The mysteries of Nautilus
If your little ones are big fan of submarines, This is The place To be. Short waitings lines for a great experience in return.
Thunder River Boat
Lay back and relax on This magnificent 19th Century paddleboat during a cruise on The rivers of The far west.
The Phantom manor*
If your little ones are not easily scared, maybe you can Try This magnificent haunted attraction. From a safety perspective it is accepted To go in with small Toddlers, however I don’t Think it is very suitable for The very youngest ones.
The cabin of Robinson
Another must do with your Toddlers. The Tree Takes you Through all of Robinson Crusoe’s magic.
Pirates of The Caribbean*
Sit back an enjoy The wonders of The world of Pirates during an exiting boat Trip.
In addition, in every part of The park you have access To The Disney Train That makes The Tour around The park. The Train goes quite slow and makes a stop in each part of The park. Some kids love it, others will find it boring, like mine. It’s hard To Tell up front, so you will need To just find out yourself.
Where The Wall Disney studio’s were not Toddler friendly some years ago, a lot has changed. Many attractions were added for The little one’s To enjoy. Ratatouille*, Flying Carpets, Cars Rally and slinky dog are definitely worth a visit. Apart from Ratatouille, The waiting lines are shorter Than in Disney’s main park.
Please note That all attractions marked with an “*” may be suitable for Toddlers from a safety perfective, but could potentially scare Them. Pay attention before you enter.
- Check the maintenance schedule
In case you Travel during low season, when prices are low, There can be a catch. Attractions need maintenance and The best moment To Take care of This is when The crowds are reduced To a minimal. This is The reason why I always try To book at The very end of a low season period, when mostly all attraction are back up and running for The upcoming high peak season. The maintenance schedule is announced some months in advance on The Disneyland Paris website, it is up To you To check it out at The moment of booking.
- Bring refillable water bottles and some snacks
Food and drinks are outrageous expensive in Disneyland Paris. If you want To avoid your budget disappearing Through a big black hole, bring at least some water bottles and some snacks with you. It will save your big Time. Two advantages: no queueing To buy drinks and yes The queues are long; and more money for other Things. In addition, having snacks with you all The Time can be very useful in case The waiting line Takes longer Than expected.
- Schedule an extra breakfast to enjoy the extra magical hours
If possible choose The first shift at The breakfast Table, so you will already avoid The first queue of The day. The capacity of The hotels is huge, unfortunately The same can not be said about The capacity of Their restaurants. As a result you need To choose a Time slot in advance for your breakfast. Being early means That you don’t need To wait Till The previous guests are done eating and your Table is made again. Breakfast is complimentary if you book a club room or a suite, otherwise you pay a substantial amount per day.
Take in mind There is also a Starbucks, Mcdonald’s and some restaurants in The Disney Village who offer cheaper breakfast options.
Furthermore, being early at breakfast means you can enjoy The extra magical hours in The park. In general Disneyland Paris opens one hours in advance for hotel guests. Not all attractions will be open during Those magical hours, but enough To choose from and make it worth To come in advance. Choose attractions, for which you can not use your fast pass during The day. Every day we enjoyed already a least a ride of six before The crowds came in.
It’s also an excellent Time To visit The Disney castle, you have it all for yourself.
- Learn how To use The fast pass system
I have been a visitor of Disneyland Paris for 20 years and since Then, The system of fast passes changed multiple Times. Check upfront The rules on The website or ask more information at The hotel front desk during check in. At This moment There are limited number of fast passes per day per attraction. Walk up To The machines in front of The attraction and scan your entrance Ticket. You will receive a 30 minute Time range during which you can enter The attraction, without queueing.
If you have booked a suite at any of The Disney hotels or a Castle Club room at The Disney hotel, The booking comes with a VIP fast pass, which means you have unlimited access To The fastpass system whenever you want without scanning your ticket first.
Not all attractions have fast pass entry, check up front on The website. We used The system of VIP fast pass and really enjoyed it.
- Bring a stroller
Even if you do not use a stroller in general any more, it can be useful To bring one. The distances in The park are substantial and your little ones will be standing in line queueing and There is only so much little feet can take. Don’t forget to bring a bikers lock, so your stroller will not get stolen. If needed strollers can be hired at The park, of course This is subject To availability on a first come first served basis.
- Watch out for The scary dark rides
Some attractions may seem suitable for little children, however There is still The possibility They will scare The hell out of Them. It came as a surprise That Little T, who loves To ride on big rollercoasters, started crying during Peter Pan’s flight, buzz lightyear and ratatouille. Next Time I will explore all The attractions first on YouTube with him, To get him more comfortable with dark rides.
- Prepare for The weather
Have a good look at The weather forecast and don’t assume anything. We went mid October and The Temperature was even higher Than during most parts of summer. Morning and evenings were very chill and sunglasses and suncream were definitely needed. A good raincoat/poncho is also a must if There in case you are less fortunate Than we were. In case They forecast rain, make sure you have a list of all The attractions with you which are suitable To do on rainy days. Maybe Teenagers like To stand outside and wait in line for There favourite attractions, from my experience Toddlers don’t. Disappointing weather is also an excellent opportunity To see one of The Disney shows.
- Download The park Disneyland app
In The app stores you will find a very useful application, called Disneyland Paris. With This application you are able To see waiting Times for attractions in real Time. In addition The application features a GPS-enabled map That show your location and The attractions, restaurants and shops. Furthermore daily schedules for parades and entertainment are available. If in doubt you can check The opening hours of the parks and a description of all The attractions.
- Book your favourite restaurants in advance
If you want To have a decent meal at one of The a la carte The restaurants of your choice, make The booking in advance. Some restaurants are so popular They are often booked out many days in advance. We booked bistro chez Rémy and Capitain’s Jack in advance and luckily we did as They were full booked for The entire week.
If you ask me if it is really worth going To one of The famous Themed restaurants I would say yes. True it is expensive, even The kids menus, but it gives you a little break from The hectic life at The park. It is also a moment for your kids To recharge and discuss about The wonderful Things you have seen and what is still on The schedule. In additions The quality of The food is acceptable and quite healthy. You can start booking a Table Three months in advance of your Trip.
Another option is one of The self service buffet restaurants, reasonably good a well, but more people and more hectic. Taking a pic nic with you is also possible or one of The many fast-food restaurants.
- Prepare for Security
Disneyland Paris is not an airport, but security measures are present before you enter The Disney village, The park or one of The Disney hotels. Just be prepared There can be a line in The morning. Take a backpack with you which you can easily open and without Too many side pockets. Bringing liquids is not an issue.
- Don’t forget To take your swimming suit (and swim diapers)
Most of The Disney hotels have a beautiful swimming pool. If you are a guest in one of Them you can go an have a swim during The most crowded moments in The park or when it rains.
- The art of shopping
Decide on your budget at The start of The Trip, otherwise you will meet The big black money hole. Have a good understanding with your kids upfront, give Them a budget or let Them choose, one or another fixed number of gifts. During lunch Time is an excellent Timing To go shopping if your don’t like crowds. No matter what you do avoid To go shopping after four pm, The shops Tend To get overcrowded and some items may not be available any more.
- Meet The characters and accept To stand in line
Sad but True, if you want To have an up close and personal visit with one of The Disney characters, you will need To hit The queues and be prepared To do some waiting. Other options are booking a breakfast sessions at Mickeys Cafe of Try To catch one of The grid while They are walking Through The park.
- Stay up late and watch The spectacular Disney Illuminations show
Something not to be missed. Try To get a good spot in Time somewhere at The side. As all The visitors want To watch This spectacle, you can imagine how crowed it can get and you don’t want To get your little one squeezed in between some other park guests. We noticed That some visitors can become quite rude and aggressive To obtain Their perfect viewing spot and They don’t care if They have To push your little ones away To get it. Take some earmuffs with you To protect your little one’s ears from the fireworks.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Disneyland Paris. Maybe The Tips and Tricks from my mom will come in handy in case you visit The park one day. As you can see even if is it The happiest place on earth for Toddlers, it is not a bad Thing To schedule some preparation in advance.