DISNEYLAND PARIS THE HIGHLIGHTS
As you will probably know we visited Disneyland Paris last month & had the most amazing time ever. It was everything I had hoped it would be, Teddy was in his absolute element. I was slightly sceptical about taking a 17 month old to such a, what can be, quite intense & full on experience but it was so much better than we imagined! We completely went with the flow, ate at amazing restaurants, Teddy went on all his first proper rides (I will do a full blog post on rides suitable for under 2’s soon) and we completely soaked up the magic. I thought I would share with you a full in-depth review of our trip & also share our highlights!
We booked Disneyland completely on a whim, I came into some money and we, like responsible adults who fully have our shit together, decided to blow some of it on a break away. We booked our hotel & flights through Expedia and got an amazing deal, I did a full blog post on Planning Disneyland Paris On A Budget which includes all my tips & recommendations. We booked our park tickets through AttractionTix, we bought the two day-two parks tickets, which means you can jump between parks over the two days & they were about £140 each for an adult ticket, Teddy was free (you don’t pay for under 3’s!)
Aside from that, we really didn’t plan much else, actually we didn’t plan anything! I had joined a Facebook group “Disneyland Paris Tips For Brits” which is amazing for any advice or questions you might have but we decided that with a toddler, keeping everything really relaxed and flexible was best for us. A lot of people recommended booking restaurants in advance but as we all know, kids are unpredictable and who knows when they are going to want feeding, so we decided not to bother booking anywhere and we still managed to eat everywhere we wanted.
The one thing we did book in advance was parking at the airport, we have done this a couple of times recently and it makes things so much easier. We can leave in plenty of time, have access to Teddy’s car seat & I just prefer the familiarity (my anxiety is worse when we have pre-booked a taxi service). We flew from Manchester Airport Terminal 3 and we parked right next to the terminal, in the multi-story. We booked online a couple of months before using a comparison website for the various airport parking companies and it only cost us a couple of extra £ to park right next to the airport rather than one where we needed a shuttle to & from the carpark.
As I said we booked with Expedia, but flew with Air France and I honestly can’t fault them. They were really accommodating with having a toddler, letting us to the front of queue’s and helping us with the prams. The flight to Charles De Gaulle is ridiculously short at just over an hour but it was such a good flight. Teddy was thoroughly entertained by a lovely family seated behind us and there was even a little pillow provided for him, I presume incase they want to get comfy or take a nap. Another lovely added touch to Air France was that they offered free refreshments, a selection of drinks ranging from water, cans of pop to wine & beer! They also came round with a trio of macarons on the way there & a vegetarian wrap on the way home for everybody, again free of charge.
We didn’t take any hold luggage so as soon as we landed we just needed to head to a desk to pick Teddy’s buggy up and we were on our way! I would definitely recommend trying to keep your luggage to a minimum (as much as you can obviously) or even just pay for one piece of luggage to go in the hold. This will help keep cost down! Teddy is under two and still qualified for a cabin sized case of his own PLUS a changing bag so we had plenty of space for all our things, plus all the things we brought home with us.
There are so many ways to get from Charles De Gaulle to your hotels; taxi, magic shuttle or train and we took a while to decide what we were going to do. Last time we visited Paris we took the train but there was only me & Aaron with minimum luggage so it was much easier. However this time with three pieces of cabin sized baggage, a pram & a toddler we figured the best thing to do was pay that little bit more for a private transfer. I headed on over to the Disneyland tips Facebook page and looked for people’s recommendations. One company that came up repeatedly & very highly recommended was Prestige-Transfer . They pick you up from your terminal (they will greet you in the airport when you come through baggage claim) and they also provide car seats which is what swayed it for us. Our hotel was about an hour away from the airport and it was 120 euros for a return, with Prestige. You pay 60 euros when you get to your hotel, and 60 euros again when they drop you back at the airport. We will definitely be using the company again on our next trip and i’ll recommend them to anyone.
We stayed at the Hipark by Adagio Serris, in Val d’Europe and we booked this due to how close it was to the Disney parks (literally a fifteen minute walk away & really easy to find) and it also had really good reviews! The hotel was so much better than we thought, the rooms were massive (hallway, bathroom, room with the toilet, bedroom & huge living room) and it was also really clean. The hotel provided a free shuttle to & from the parks, but as the weather was amazing (27+ degrees) we walked there & back everyday. I highly recommend this hotel if you aren’t fussed about staying at the Disney hotels, it is so much cheaper & it’s just as close.
If you come out the hotel and head in the opposite direction to the parks there is a HUGE shopping mall, it has restaurants & so many shops including a huge Primark! We headed here on our first morning before the parks opened as I needed a pharmacist (I managed to get a bad chest infection whilst we were there, typical) and it was really nice! I’d recommend heading here if you need a bit of down time from the parks.
The most magical place ever. I swear. Just thinking about them make my heart happy. We spent the majority of our time in the Disneyland Park as that is where the best rides were for Teddy’s age (Fantasyland is the BEST for under two’s) and we just prefer that side. We did visit Disney Studios for a couple of hours, we had dinner there and went on the rides that we could – the Toy Story ones were his favourite! I have a full blog post coming up soon all about the rides suitable for under 2’s.
I would DEFINITELY suggest downloading the Disneyland Paris app onto your phone, you can filter it to only show you rides that are suitable for certain ages (we had ours filtered to pre-schoolers) and it also shows the wait times for each ride.
Luckily for us it wasn’t insanely busy so Teddy was free to do lots of walking, the longest we waited for a ride was 15 minutes & we managed to eat in all the restaurants we wanted to with no more than a 10 minute wait. This also meant that we were right at the front for the Halloween & main parade, and we also had amazing spots for the illuminations show at night.
Teddy absolutely loved the parades! The music, the dancing & he waved at all the characters as they went past – Minnie even waved back! Alright, so it might not have been directly at him but she looked in his direction when she did it, so that’s good enough for me. During the main parade he was so happy when the Elsa & Anna from Frozen arrived, as soon as he heard the music he was dancing & clapping along. I knew then that we had made the perfect decision to take him to Disneyland, seeing his face in a permanent grin all day.. it was everything I had hoped for.
One of the hardest things we found about the parks was really how limiting your food can be – don’t get me wrong there are so many places to eat but during the day, or when you just want something quick it’s a lot of burgers, chicken nuggets, fries ect which is understandable but we made sure to pack some fruit & healthier snacks to take in the parks with us just to try & balance it out a bit LOL.
- Teddy shouting HIYA & waving to the Minnie statue in Disney Village, every single time we passed her.
- Our first ride when we got there was the huge carousel in Fantasyland and it’s actually the first ride Teddy has ever been on. He sat on his horse (with A holding his waist) and I sat on one right next to him and he LOVED it. The music, the up & down motion, everything.
- If you do any ride I highly recommend Peter Pan’s Flight! We did get fast passes for this & I highly recommend you do as it is an incredibly popular ride! It was so magical and Teddy loved the feeling of flying.. so did I!
- Seeing the castle for the first time. OBVIOUSLY.
- Watching the Illuminations, Teddy sat on A’s shoulders & literally didn’t move his eyes away from the castle.
- Buying Teddy his Mickey balloon, possibly the most expensive balloon I will ever buy but SO worth it! Every time he saw one he would point and walk to it, so how could I refuse! Kid bloody loves balloons.
- Browsing all the shops & buying Teddy lots of souvenirs. We had saved our asses off & it felt so good to treat ourselves.
- Enjoying a Halloween treat and drink in the sunshine whilst Teddy napped. Overlooking Alice’s Labyrinth, the music playing… bliss.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I know it’s slightly rambly but I wanted to fit in as much information as I could. I have so many Disney blog posts coming up in the next few weeks, from my top tips to visiting with a toddler to what we packed in our park bags. If you have any questions feel free to email me or message me on Twitter!