When we first booked Disneyland Paris it was back when we were a family of three. There was never an intention of taking a baby with us, but life had other plans so when we eventually left for the holiday we had booked almost two years earlier it was with an 8 month old in tow. I have to admit I was a little nervous going with a young baby as I wasn’t sure how much he would enjoy it. Before going I spent quite a lot of time looking for information for travelling to DLP with an under 1 and struggled to find anything other than forum questions and responses.
Here a few tips that you may find useful:
- If you’re flying look into booking a private taxi transfer – I had every intention of catching the train to DLP but when I started looking into it the station at the airport was quite a distance from the terminal where we landed which would have meant traipsing through the airport with buggy and bags whilst trying to find where we were supposed to be and at the other end walking from the train station at the gates of the park to the hotel. I know us as a family and there would have been a few crossed words in all that. The taxi driver met us at arrivals and delivered us straight to the door of our hotel. My husband and the baby had a little nap en route, O really should have done after a 4am start but he was too excited. It took all the stress out of the journey and price wise was only around 20 Euros more expensive that catching the train.
- Invest in or hire a baby carrier – There are a lot of places where pushchairs can’t go. Whilst babies are allowed on quite a few rides (I read somewhere that officially they should be 1 year old but we were never asked how old G was and he was allowed on a lot of the more gentle rides) the buggy can’t go in the line with you. This was something I wish we had done as carrying an almost 2 stone G when in the queues was not particularly fun.
- Take a bike lock for the pushchair – I read this tip on one of the forums the day before we were due to fly and luckily my dad had one we could borrow. Like I mentioned in tip 2 there are a lot of times that you have to abandon the pushchair and the bike lock is a great way to make sure your buggy is secure. I don’t think theft is a particular problem (although my Minnie Mouse ears did go missing one night at dinner) but if you have a popular buggy brand mistakes could easily happen.
- Make sure you take enough wipes to last the trip – I normally pack enough wipes to last a month but due to concerns about luggage weight and forgetting that I had already taken one pack out of my hand luggage I landed in France with just one pack of wipes for the week. We did manage to buy another pack but one packet cost 5 Euros!!! I don’t think I’ll be making that mistake again.
- Take a few drinks for the room – After a day on your feet the kids (and you) will be ready for an early night. We took a box of wine in our suitcase so that we could enjoy a glass once the boys were asleep. Drinks are very pricey over there and it was nice to have a glass or two at the end of a very busy day.
- Snacks are your best friend – I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful that G loves his food. It must have got a little boring for him sitting in his pushchair for large chunks of the day but giving him a biscuit or rice cake helped to cheer him up.
- Time the meet and greets for during nap time – I found the queues for the meet and greets were quite long and slow moving. Whilst my 5 year old was generally quite happy to dance around and chatter to pass the time I found it easier to entertain him whilst the baby was sleeping. Plus it meant he wouldn’t be disturbed having to take him out of the pushchair to get into a queue for a ride.
- Consider an upgrade if you’re staying in a Disneyland Hotel – We stayed in the Newport Bay Hotel and as we booked quite far in advance the cost of an upgrade to Compass Club didn’t add too much to the overall stay. At the time of booking we weren’t too sure exactly what the perks meant but I think it was £80 extra for the four nights we were there and after some basic research it seemed to be worth it. It turns out it was one of the best things we did. There was a separate room for compass club guests to check in and check out which meant we avoided the long queue in the main reception both on arriving and departing. We also had access to the Compass Club lounge for breakfast which again avoided the huge queue for the main restaurant that we walked past one morning. With an 8 month old who has very little patience when hungry this was a big bonus for us. We also had access to the lounge in the afternoon where there were free soft drinks, tea and coffee from midday until about 10:30pm (with cakes/snacks available between 4 and 6ish). It was a lovely place to relax in after a day in the busy parks as generally it was very quiet. Plus you also get an extra Fast Pass each day which is always welcome when you’re queueing with small children.
- Buy a meal plan (and book your tables in advance) – We debated whether to get a meal plan or not, but several friends who had been told us they were well worth it. Turns out they were right. I know eating could be done a lot cheaper if you choose carefully where you go but as a family eating together is part of our holiday so we liked knowing that we would be having one sit down meal together. Under 3’s don’t need a plan but there was plenty of food for the three of us and enough to give to the baby too. After spending so much time on your feet it was lovely to have dinner brought to you. Oh, but do make sure you book in advance as some places are VERY popular. I was the idiot who tried to book Cafe Mickey with two weeks notice and could only get in at 9pm. There was no way my boys would still be awake at that time so sadly we couldn’t go.
- Be flexible – Ultimately going on holiday with a baby means rolling with the punches a bit and be prepared to change your plans accordingly. I was really looking forward to watching the Fireworks display on the castle but an overtired and grumpy baby needed his bed so I went back to the hotel and my big boy and his Dad went to watch the show. Of course I was disappointed but my son got to see them and that was the main thing.
I hope a few of these tips are useful. I know there are some changes to the meal plans from this month and you can read all about them here if you want to. There really is something magical about Disneyland, I hope you have as much fun there as we did.
What would be your top tips for visiting Disneyland Paris?