Embarking on a trip to Disneyland Paris is a dream come true for both young and young-at-heart. The magical atmosphere, beloved characters, and thrilling rides create a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. I’m going to share some insights after our most recent trip to Disneyland Paris in the run up to Christmas, exploring both the highlights of the visit and some valuable tips to make the most of your time in the park. From reasonable food options to essential travel advice, let’s dive in…
Part 1: Tips for Making the Most of Your Trip
To make the most of your Disneyland Paris experience, consider the following tips:
1. Be Prepared for Weather
If visiting during winter, bring plenty of layers to combat the cold. Underlayers and items like Under Armour are excellent choices for both kids and adults. It’s also wise to purchase distinctive hats before your trip that aren’t available to buy in the park, so you can easily spot your own children among the crowd.
2. Keep Younger Kids Warm
For evening firework shows, bring a hot water bottle to keep younger kids’ hands warm in their strollers. This simple addition can make their viewing experience more enjoyable.
3. Stock Up on Water
To save on expenses, buy large bottles of water before leaving the airport and bring refillable water bottles. The water fountains in the park may not be functioning, and purchasing water within the park can be expensive.
4. Consider Transportation Services
If you’re looking for a reliable transportation option, consider using services like Prestige Transfer to travel from the airport to your hotel. Their professional service can ensure a smooth and comfortable journey. There are other more budget friendly options availble including the Magic Shuttle.
5. Stay in a Disney Hotel
If your budget allows and you have younger kids, staying in an on-site Disney hotel offers several advantages. You can take short breaks during busy times, and access to Magic Time allows you to enter the park early, before the general public. We stayed in the Newport Bay Club Hotel. The hotel itself is huge, the rooms are nice (not exceptional, but comfortable) and it’s incredibly convenient for the park. There are also character meet and greets available in Disney hotels which will avoid you having to queue in the park. Don’t be afraid to take breaks and retreat to your hotel for a couple of hours during the day. We always like to focus on quality of time as opposed to quantity when in Disneyland. Overtired, hungry kids (and adults) are generally zero craic.
6. Plan Rides and Queue Times
Check your children’s heights against ride restrictions on the Disneyland App before your visit. This way, you can make a loose plan of which rides to prioritize. Additionally, target rides with long queue times either early in the morning, during parades, or later in the day when lines are shorter. Taking a break from the park during peak hours can also help you avoid crowds.
7. Bring Snacks
To keep your kids fueled and prevent them from becoming hangry, bring a generous supply of snacks. Food within Disneyland Paris can be expensive, and it’s not guaranteed that your children will enjoy or finish their purchased snacks. I packed one full hand sized luggage case full of snacks – which may seem excessive – but we made our way through it!
8. Manage Merchandise Expectations
With shops brimming with toys and merchandise, it’s easy for kids to become overwhelmed. Set expectations with your children, allowing them to explore the shops but informing them they can choose one item to purchase on the day of departure.
9. Bring a Stroller
If you have a younger child (5 and under) who doesn’t ordinarily need a buggy or stroller, you should still consider bringing one. There is a lot of walking involved during a visit to Disneyland Paris and a buggy can be a welcome break for tired little legs. You can also rent buggies in the park, however they don’t look the most comfortable. There is ample space and facilities at each ride to park your buggy up (be sure not to leave valuables in your buggy).
Part 2: Food Recommendations in Disneyland Paris
When it comes to dining in Disneyland Paris, it’s essential to plan ahead and make informed choices because frankly the food is quite hit and miss. Here are some food recommendations and tips based on our personal experience:
1. Dining on a Budget
While the overall food quality in Disneyland Paris may not be exceptional, there are ways to manage your expenses. Consider visiting McDonald’s in Disney Village if you’re on a budget, although it’s still pricier than regular McDonald’s outlets. To avoid crowds, aim to have your meals during off-peak hours.
2. Bring Your Own Snacks
To save money and keep your energy levels up, bring your own stash of snacks. Packing a variety of snacks in advance will not only help you stay fueled but also serve as a distraction during long queues. Snacks and treats within the park can be quite expensive, so having your own supply can be a money-saving move.
3. Character Meal Experience
For a truly memorable encounter with beloved Disney characters, consider booking a character meal at Plaza Gardens. Although it can be costly, this experience allows you to meet characters like Mickey Mouse, Captain Hook, and Pluto without enduring long queues. The buffet-style meal offers a great selection of food, and the staff were very accommodating when it comes to food allergies. This was definitely the best meal we had during our visit. You will need to book this weeks/months ahead of your trip – so worth looking into it advance to avoid disappointment, particularly during peak season.
4. Dining Outside the Park
If you’re looking for more affordable dining options, head to Annette’s Diner in Disney Village for lunch. While it may be a bit pricey for the standard of food, the burgers are delicious and food was generally good. Additionally, there’s a shop in the train station just outside the park gates that sells snacks, sandwiches, water, and wine at more reasonable prices.
A trip to Disneyland Paris is an unforgettable experience filled with magical moments. I hope us sharing our experiences of Disneyland Paris will help you make the very most of your visit. From planning food and meals to optimizing your time in the park, your Disneyland Paris adventure can truly be a magical adventure – with less stress and more fun!