Despite visiting Disneyland Paris almost every year for as long as I can remember, nothing can compare to our most recent trip where we took our daughter for the first time. Miss E was just shy of 2 years old when we visited and she absolutely had the best time ever, she hasn’t stopped talking about it since we came home!
Lets face it, though. Disney holidays take a lot of planning, even without kids. It’s one of the most magical holiday destinations and there’s just so much so see and do, it’s wonderful! With this in mind, I wanted to share some top tips that I found really super useful during our stay. If you are planning to take your little one for the first time, I hope that these might be of some use!
Take a buggy!
Disneyland Paris is huge and you’ll be out for most of the day so make sure you take a foldable buggy with you. Even if your child is a good walker and doesn’t use one at home, they will definitely need one after a few hours exploring everything that Disneyland has to offer!
It’s a good idea to pimp up your buggy (using a bright blanket maybe!) so that you can find it easily when you return from a ride and don’t leave anything valuable in your buggy whilst it’s untended.
If you’re travelling during a busy season, make sure you also take a cheap bicycle combination lock which will allow you to either chain your buggy to railings in the park or lock up the wheels making it harder to move/pinch. We picked one up for just £3.99 at Halfords
Disneyland do offer buggy hire at both parks though using this more than one day during your trip will soon get very expensive. Plus, they look hideously uncomfortable (pretty much a chair on wheels!) so I wouldn’t recommend them for napping in.
Seriously, don’t underestimate how many snacks you’ll need for a day in the parks. They were our absolute saviour! Disneyland is big and overwhelming and tiring for little kids and it’s good to have plenty to keep them going whilst you wait in many, many queues!
I wouldn’t recommend buying them from Disneyland at all (4 euros for a bag of crisps?! 4 euros for the world’s smallest apple juice?! you get the idea!) so pack as many as you can before you travel!
One thing I found really helpful was having a resealable ziplock bag for each day of our trip and stuffing it with an assortment of healthy and not so healthy treats. For each day of our trip we put in a Nakd bar, an Ella’s kitchen pouch, a small bag of chocolate buttons, a box of raisins, a small bag of Haribo sweets, dried fruit and a chocolate lolly. As well as this we packed a juice carton or a Fruit Shoot per day.
Similar to snacks, I found it super useful to pack a bunch of entertaining things to take with us round the parks. Non-bulky items such as sheets of stickers, wax crayons & paper, bubbles, small packs of character cards, etc. There is an awful lot of waiting around for things in Disneyland and let’s face it, toddlers are not built for that and like to be kept busy!
These bits & bobs were a godsend whilst waiting for parades, shows and letting us eat full meals in restaurants. Amazing!
We used one of these on Miss E and whilst we thankfully didn’t need to make use of it, I’d totally recommend your child wearing one at all times within the parks! We used an iDME band from Safe Tots which is reusable and is worn as a bracelet. You can fill in your details and contact numbers and slot them in the pocket inside the band making it easier for people to identify your child if they get lost and contact you quickly.
Go at your toddlers pace
You want your toddler to have the best experience possible so take each day at their pace! Obviously this is more difficult if you are travelling with older children too though!
If your toddler is getting tired and overwhelmed, head back to the hotel or go somewhere quiet for a good nap maybe. Don’t have too many expectations and don’t plan too far ahead! If they want to spend an entire morning riding the teacups and Dumbo repeatedly, then let them! If they would rather spend an afternoon looking at the same Elsa singing money box in every single shop (thanks, kiddo!), then do it! Miss E really surprised us and loved some of the more ‘scary’ rides and she loved meeting all of the characters, she was amazing!
Also! If your toddler does fall asleep in the buggy, make use of the baby switch service so you can take it in turns to go on the big rides whilst they snooze!
Make use of everything Disney has to offer
Especially, if you’re staying in a Disney resort hotel. We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel which has a lovely pool, offered free cot hire/bed guards/bottle warmers, a peaceful children’s corner with all kind of games and things to do, etc! Disney Hotels run free shuttle buses to the parks too which is superb.
By booking through Disney and depending on how you travel or what hotel you stay in, you’ll also have access to the Disney Express Service, extra magic hours and fast passes for rides. Amazing at any time, but even more handy when you’re travelling with small children!
Within the Disney parks, you’ll find that toddlers and babies are catered for really well. The baby care centres in each park offer quiet spaces with highchairs for feeding, plenty of changing areas and the chance to buy food or nappies if you need to!
Chances are, you’ll be eating out for every meal of your trip so plan this wisely! It’s worth researching your restaurants before you go (this website is amazing) as some cater for toddlers much better than others.
We purchased a Disney dining plan with our package and for some strange reason, Disney do not cater to children under 3 and are expected to eat from your plate! We therefore found that buffet style restaurants were best as you can all eat properly at no additional cost.
Plan to dine earlier than you usually do and book your restaurants before you travel otherwise you’ll face a long queue to be seated. By dining earlier, your toddler won’t be starving and will be a lot calmer at meal times!
Our favourite places to eat were Cafe Mickey (Disney Village), Parkside Diner (Hotel New York), Hunters Grill (Sequoia Lodge), Inventions (Disneyland Hotel), Plaza Gardens Restaurant and Casey’s Corner (both Main Street U.S.A.).