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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Top tips for visiting Disneyland Paris

This year Santa bought us a 4 night stay at the Davy Crochett lodge within the Disneyland Paris resort. Thank you Santa!!

Our trip was in February, when the prices are much lower and a free half board meal package was included. It was very good value compared to peak season prices but did mean going during term time.

The benefits of travelling out of season was the lack of queues and more affordable prices, the down side was that not all the rides were operating when we were there.  The opening hours were also shorter in February- (10 am - 7pm) but to be honest as we didn't have to queue much and the age of the children we were happy to go back for dinner at that time.

The Disney website has brochures so that you can see what is / isn't running when you are planning to visit. Probably worth checking first to avoid disappointment.

11 Top Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris
  • They say no food but you can take a small picnic into the parks (we took baguettes, crisps, fruit and drinks for 5 people in a ruck sack with no problems) - apparently the no food rules are to stop the french visitors taking large family picnic baskets into the park;
  • There is a McDonalds in the Disney village, next to the parks - go straight down the main thoroughfare and turn right. The prices seemed equivalent to the usual McDonalds prices compared to the very expensive prices in the themed restaurants.  The Disney village sounds exciting but is really just a stretch of shops and eateries (unless I missed something!);
  • It is worth buying Disney clothing / dressing up outfits before you go or taking outfits you already have if the children are going to want to dress up.  Mickey ears were on sale for 20 euros when we went or spend less than £1.50 on amazon.  Admittedly the quality won't be as good - but we don't wear Mickey ears that often at home so felt it was worth comprising quality for cost in this instance.  Same for autograph books if your child wants to queue for character signatures.


  • Use the fast passes (they are only available on some of the more popular rides) - you can only use on one ride at a time but it does mean that you can go and do other things and come back at a set time to get on popular rides with a much shorter queue;
  • The Stunt show in the Walt Disney Studios park is great - but if you are visiting for more than one day go on the more popular rides when everyone else has gone to watch it!  (Disclaimer - The short video at the end of the stunt show was taken by my 9 year old son so is somewhat shaky - also don't watch if you don't want to see the end!!).

  
video

  • If you are planning to eat in the disney themed restaurants then you will need to book ahead to guarantee a table during peak season.  If you are staying in Disney accommodation you can do this at reception - otherwise there are places at the entrances to the parks where you can book. Alternatively, you can book by telephone up to 3 months before your visit.  The number to ring is 00 33 1 60 30 40 50.
  • You can't book for Annette's Diner (50s style diner with some (not all) waiters on roller skates) at the entrance to the parks but we went when the parade was on and it was very quiet but filled up as soon as the parade finished.
The Frozen float in the parade
  • Make sure your child waves at the characters in the parade as they will often wave back which brought a huge smile to my 5 year old's face.
  • To get the best view of the show at the end you need to stand in front of the castle - your view is less good from the side (so get there early);
  •  The Disney parks are not about white knuckle rides - it is the attention to detail that makes the rides so good.  There are some bigger rides but most are for a wider audience.  140cm was the tallest height restriction but there are plenty of rides for those smaller visitors.
  • A lot of the rides and attractions are under cover as are the queuing areas but if the weather is likely to be changeable it is still worth taking a waterproof as there is plenty of park to walk around!

All in all we had a fantastic time and found that Disneyland Paris was a great introduction to the wonders of Disney without having to travel to the USA.

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