1) Where to stay
I am definitely an advocate of the Disneyland Paris hotels. We have stayed in Newport Bay (Cruise ship themed) and Cheyenne (wild west themed) and they really are superb. Ok so the rooms are pretty much the same and smallish but we were only sleeping in them. The decor is fantastic and they are in walking distance of the parks. They do have the free shuttle but if you are leaving after the fireworks when the park shuts it is worth walking instead as the shuttle buses tend to be very busy at this time.
The walk from Cheyenne was lovely as it was along a river with large coy carp and both girls enjoyed the walk and didn’t complain about the distance.
Try booking on one of the fabulous deals that Disneyland do, we managed to get two nights free when we bought two nights so breakfast, hotel and park tickets cost about £25 per person per day we were there which was an absolute bargain.
Also if you want to pay a deposit and pay the rest of afterwards you can phone customer services to book as the website only takes full payment.
2) Think about why you want to go
If you are going for the rides or going for the characters really determines how you plan you visit. Either way you will spend a long time queuing for things so make sure you have stuff to keep the kids occupied in the queue. Electronic devices are great for this and time passes quickly when they are entertained.
If you are going for the rides then do make sure you take advantage of the magic hours in the morning that are only available to Disney hotel guests. This does mean getting up early and eating breakfast early but you can usually get on two or three rides before it gets busy. Head for the big ones that you know will be popular first.
If you are going for the characters I would suggest you book into Cafe Mickey, Inventions or the Princess dinner to really get to spend some quality time with them.
3) Do you want a dining plan?
The dining plans are expensive but it also allows you to not worry about money whilst you are there and they are discounted compared to prices on resort. If you wanted to see the Wild West Show, eat at Inventions in the Disney Hotel or attend the Princess dinner look into the Premium dining package as this is well worth it. Cafe Mickey is on the Plus dining package and Remy’s restaurant is available with Plus and Premium menus. As part of the dining plans we also received vouchers for a pausee gourmand which is an afternoon drink and cake. There were available for use between 3 and 7 pm in counter service restaurants. The selection in each one was small but varied between restaurants so one day we had a doughnut, another a brownie and another a muffin and so on. It is worth getting them even if you are not hungry as they come in useful as a snack the next day. You can use the drink voucher for hot or cold drinks.
4) What to eat?
Once you have had your breakfast in the hotel you should only really need a snack for lunch. Why not pack some to take with you and carry some crisps, cake bars or similar into the parks. I would also recommend taking water bottles to fill up at the fountains around the resort. This saves so much money on the drinks prices and even if you forget why not treat the kids to a souvenir drinks bottle from the shop and use that whilst you are there.
The restaurants to eat at really do vary and depends on what vouchers you have and what you enjoy. Below are a list of places we ate and what we thought of them.
Buzz Lightyears Pizza Planet – Buffet style pizza, pasta and salad. Low cost restaurant that we went to for lunch on our last day. The place looked amazing and it had a soft play area which the kids enjoyed. This was perfect place to relax and put your feet up for a while. Has unlimited soft drinks included in the price as well as puddings.
Cafe Mickey – Table service 2 or 3 course menu with burgers, pizzas and other American style dishes. This is a plus restaurant that has character visits so its not cheap however it is the cheapest daytime character dining experience on resort (they also do character breakfasts here).
Inventions – Buffet style restaurant that served international cuisine of a very high standard. This is a premium restaurant with character visits. We got to meet some characters we had not seen anywhere else.
Princess Lunch or Dinner – Table service menu of a high standard from a set menu. This includes visits from some of the Princesses and we also saw Cinderella’s mice. We have been to this twice now and met different princesses each time so it is worth enquiring who will be there if you want to meet a certain princess.
Chez Remy – Table service menu of a high standard with two different set menus – premium and plus. Featured Remy’s ratatouille. The whole restaurant looks amazing and it is really worth a visit to walk around and see the whole restaurants decor. We wished that Remy and Emile had been there to visit but apart from that we loved dining here.
Disneyland Paris has lots of characters and lots of rides but is the shows that make it an amazing adventure. Depending on the age of your child then why not head into the Disney Junior show in the Studios park but get there early as one of the characters somes out for a dance. We were dancing with Jake from the Neverland Pirates and the kids loved it. One show that I recommend for all ages is Stitch live. I won’t give it away but the audience participation is fantastic and had everyone laughing, parents included. The backlot tour shows some fantastic special effects as well as giving information about the way films are made and the stunt show is fantastically exciting and very fast paced.We didn’t make it to see the other shows within the Studios park because five days just wasn’t long enough to see and do everything so choose what you want to do and make time for it.
It is also worth watching the parades to catch glimpses of some of your (or your child’s) favourite characters as not all of them will be walking around for meet and greets.
I would definitely recommend catching the Disney Dreams show. Not only is it fantastic to watch but it helps get the kids ready for bed as it shows that the park is shut and there is no more enjoyment to be had.
So there you go my top 5 tips for enjoying Disneyland Paris. However there is a few things I would like to add.
- Do book your restaurants before you go to save disappointment and ensure that you get a suitable time.
- Try to book an early dinner so that you can eat, then watch the Disney dreams show and get the kids in bed early ready for a busy day the next day. Going to dinner after the show is just crazy as everywhere is really busy.
- Make sure you have your camera ready, you can use this at all meet and greets even ones with the professional photographer and it can save you a fortune.
- If you want to go on the big rides use the free fast pass service and come back at your allocated time.
And finally relax and have fun, soak up the atmosphere and take your time. The kids don’t like being rushed and if they are happy playing on the bikes in the street then let them, after all the holiday is for them too and they don’t mind missing out on other things if they are having fun.