Since having children the idea of a holiday to Disneyland Paris has definitely been higher on the list of priorities that it was previously. I mean, of course, I personally have been wanting to go for much longer than that, but I was under the misguided notion that you needed to take some kids with you. Now having successfully been on a trip to Disneyland this month, I don’t think that is true at all. However in saying that, the absolute best thing about my trip was watching my kids wee faces light up with excitement!
We went the second week of May and had rain every day. So, my number one piece of advice is to pack a poncho from the pound shop. Because you will not want to pay 10 euros to buy one there, and sitting in the hotel is not an option when you are at Disney!
We stayed in Sequoia Lodge, one of the on-site Disney hotels, themed to simulate the grand American Lodges. From here it was about a 5 minute walk to Disney village where there are a selection of shops and restaurants. To walk from the hotel to the Disneyland Park/ Universal Studios took about 20 minutes. It was ‘do-able’ but we definitely needed and used the buggy we had brought for Aaron (3).
We paid for a Golden Forest room, which meant we were situated in the main building. This also included continental and hot breakfast in the Golden Forest members private lounge, and hot and cold drinks were available throughout the day. We were able to take these drinks out and store them in our mini fridge, and take them to the park, saving us from buying them on-site.
Alcoholic drinks were not included in Golden Forest, but these were available to buy from the main hotel bar, and we also had an evening meal in Hunter’s Grill the hotel restaurant.
I think at this stage I just want to point out that I’m not going to be giving my opinion on whether each ‘thing’ was value for money. It’s Disneyland Paris, it is over-priced. Expect that! Work out your budget, and plan what you want to do before you go. If possible, pay for it before you go. Then when you are there forget about the money and enjoy the moments. (Yes Mr C. I’m looking at you!)
I could probably write a book on the holiday, but instead I’m just going to give you some highlights. Starting with the Character Breakfast at Plaza Gardens.
Have your croissant eating interrupted by an array of characters, and jump up for a quick selfie! This was a great way to get photo’s with the characters in a short time frame, as the alternative was to queue up to meet them outside. Each queue could have been up to an hour long!!
I think my little boys were crushing on Daisy!
Although in saying that, sometimes the queues outside may only be 5-10 minutes, or sometimes the character is just too good to miss!
One evening we went to see Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It was great to have an excuse to rest our weary feet. A set dinner menu is dished up while Annie Oakley and Minnie Mouse put on a show to entertain the crowds. A strange combination of presenters, I know, but it worked in Disneyland! And the seats were really well tiered, so even the smallest spectators could see!
Other shows worth a mention for younger kids are Mickey the Magican, The Cars stunt show, Stitch Live and the Tram Studio Tour.
Naturally we went on as many rides as we could. There were more available for small children than I expected. We liked Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan’s Flight of Fantasy, the Carousel, It’s a Small World, Ratatouille, Cars, Slinky Dog, Aladdin’s Flying Carpets, Dumbo the Flying Elephants, and the Teacups. Lewis (7) even had a go on on the Big Thunder Mountain Rollercoaster, but once was enough, for both him and Mr C! Ha ha! And if you don’t find that scary, go and visit the Dragon under the Castle!
Of course you will need to allow for a few souvenirs. There are lots of shops, though a lot of them stock the same souvenir items. But if you are looking for something in particular, perhaps you might fancy the Christmas shop, or the lego shop?
You’ll have noticed my kids dressed up sometimes. They like to do this anyway, but it can make the experience a wee bit more special. For example, having a little Buzz, meant we all got to go in the fastpass queue for the Buzz Lightyear ride. And although we found Jessie, when we went in search of Woody, I actually think we got a better picture having the whole team together!
Every day on Main Street USA they have a huge parade with loads of floats and characters all dancing for the adoring crowd. And what a crowd it is! If you want a good view, get there really early. We couldn’t see the characters at street level, but the floats were high, so even though we were behind a crowd, we still had a view.
There is also a firework display each night at park closing. Again, you need to get your spot early if you want the best view. We got held up and as such were at the back of the crowd with a partially obstructed view. But, it was still an amazing light show and display of fireworks!
I’m just going to finish off with a bit of advice about Charles de Gaulle airport. Firstly the airport is huge. Allow extra time. It took an hour for our buggy to appear after we had touched down, and the return trip home involved lots of queues at security. That being said, I want to advise you about transfers.
If you are flying Easyjet you will land in terminal 2D. The Magic Shuttle Bus leaves from 2F. About a 15 minute walk at pace! You can walk from 2D, following the signs for 2F. As you reach 2F you will see signs for exits 1 – 8. After the sign for 8, there is a cafe and then a corridor on the right hand side. The Magic Shuttle exit is down that corridor, hiding! Trying to start a family row, before you’ve even reached your destination! Though Mr C and I aren’t like that…. no… we are cool in a crisis… cough cough…(believe what you will…)
If there are four of you, it actually turns out that a pre-booked private taxi transfer costs about the same price. You will be met at luggage, and delivered straight to your hotel door, without contemplating divorce.
You can also get a train, but quite honestly, with young kids and luggage that sounds worse than the Magic Shuttle!
I know which one I’ll be choosing in future!
I’m going to finish off with a few more memories of our time at Disneyland Paris. The kids are already saving for their next trip!
Any questions, just ask, and I’ll answer them if I can!
Hakuna Matata folks!