Disneyland Paris – What you need to know

Disneyland Paris – What you need to know

It’s not every year that I’ll be able to take my kids to Disneyland Paris at Christmas time, so when I found it at a price I thought was reasonable I booked it up! What a great way to finish an amazing year off on maternity leave!

Disneyland in December


I booked this particular trip to Disneyland Paris with Magic Breaks who are doing some really good deals at the moment as part of their 12 days of Christmas. Some dates go as far as March 2019.

I booked myself, my three year old daughter and eleven month old son on a two night stay at the Santa Fe hotel, on a half board meal plan with park tickets for 3 days. I took advantage of having the freedom that my maternity leave has allowed me this year and went from the 10-12 December – term time! This means it was a lot cheaper than if we had gone in the holidays!W

Santa Fe Hotel

What To Do Before Your Trip

If you’re on a half board or full board meal plan on your Disneyland Paris break make sure you book your meals ahead of time. 

This is not always made clear at the time of booking, however, if you want the most choice on where and when you eat, you need to prebook. You can do this on the Disney app or on the phone. You can find more details on the website.

Apps To Use

Download the Disney app to get the latest news on shows, wait times, Fast Passes, opening times and ride information and restrictions.

This is handy, especially when travelling with little ones who might not be high enough for some of the attractions. 

Also, download an app called Lineberty. This is how to book meet and greets with the Disney characters in the Walt Disney Studios Park. 

Lineberty app

I found this a bit hit and miss. You have to book through the app to meet a character, but it seems that unless you are lucky or go on the app at the exact moment the tickets are realised, you miss out and there are no more tickets left.

However, when I did manage to book a ticket it was all very easy and quick. I’m undecided on whether I liked it or not. 

This is only used in Walt Disney Studios Park. In the Disneyland Park it is not needed and you still queue. C

Character Breakfast

If you have booked a full or half board meal plan you can make up the price difference and book a character breakfast at the Garden Plaza Restaurant in the Disneyland Paris Park. 

The Little One meeting Mickey Mouse at the Garden Plaza Restaurant

I think this is a truly lovely way for you and your family to meet some of the Disney characters up close and personal and a great way to get those autograph books signed. It is also very easy as they stop at every table while you tuck into a very tasty buffet breakfast. Yum! 

There are other character dinning opportunities in the park such as lunch with the princesses at Auberge de Cendrillion, a buffet lunch at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel and dinner at Cafe Mickey.

Check In

Make sure you pay attention when checking in to the Disneyland Paris Hotels.

When booking with Magic Breaks I was told we would received a ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast from the hotel in the morning, which was described as a breakfast in a bag you helped yourself to. 

However, our ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast was actually a bit more of a sit and eat affair in a building called Videopolis, which is situated in Discoveryland, in the Disneyland Park! We actually preferred this, but it was a little different to what I was told when booking the holiday. 

Make sure you look after your passes! They act as your room keys, park tickets, access to FastPass and payment for your full or half board meal plans. 

10 Points About The Disneyland Paris Park

Disneyland Hotel and Park entrance

1  You will find most of the rides in Discoveryland and Fantasyland and it is here you will find you spend most of your time.

2  Fantasyland also has lots of rides for the littlest ones among us so if you are travelling with little ones don’t be surprised if you keep getting pulled back here.

3  This means that when it comes to lunch and dinner times in Discoveryland and Fantasyland, the restaurants and fast food places are the busiest and fill up the quickest.

My tip would be to find somewhere to eat in either Adventureland or Frontierland as these will be much less crowded. These lands don’t have the amount of rides to keep people around for as long, so people pass through them much quicker. 

4  Schedule in a parade. The floats are quite impressive and the characters and actors are really interactive. Our little one got a kiss from Tigger!

Parade with Mickey and Minnie

5  If you have an adrenaline junkie in your party bare in mind that that Indiana Jones ride is relatively quiet first thing in the morning as people haven’t made it that far round the park yet. 

6  Fast Past the busiest rides to keep your queue wait times as low as possible, and they’re not always the big roller coasters.

Ratatouille and Crushes Coaster in the Walt Disney Studios Park and Peter Pan in Fantasyland always have very long queue times. Thunder Mountain, Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain are also handy Fast Passes in busy periods. 

Thunder Mountain

Check out: Disney World, Florida Fastpass Secrets and Tips here!

7  Videopolis, where we picked up breakfast, is essentially a huge room with a stage at the front and tables and seating right across the building.

We found this was a good place to go back to for moments of down time as they played old style cartoons on three big screens, which our little girl loved!

She was happy watching a bit of telly for ten minutes and we got to stop and relax with a coffee. It was a win win!

Keep in mind that this is in Discoveryland though, so it does get busy. 

8  If you don’t want to get to the point where you are carrying your tired and heavy children around the park you can hire buggies at the entrance of the park.

Goofy heading up the midday parade

We didn’t do this as I took a baby carrier to bundle the Baby Bum into when the Little One got tired and took the pram over. However, lots of people were carting their little prince and princesses around in them as you’d be surprised how many miles you cover just walking around! 

9  Make sure you stick around or head back to the park for the illumination show on the castle. It’s a great show full of light, music, your favourite Disney stories and fireworks! 

Castle at night

10  The walk to parks from the Disneyland Paris Hotels is really quite enjoyable allowing you to have a little nose at all the other hotels along the way. We felt there was no real need to catch one of the shuttle buses as the walk only takes about 15 minutes to the Disney Village.

Disney Village 

Early morning in the Disney Village

The Disney Village is a great place for a little retail amble. There are lots of places to eat and shopping is plentiful just in case you missed something in the park!

If you go to Disneyland Paris at Christmas time there is also a lovely Christmas market with stalls selling sweets, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and huge cakes with that all important sprinkle of Mickey Mouse magic and the ever present Walt Disney touch!

You don’t need a park ticket to go into the Disney Village, meaning you can pop in here before and after your park days have finished –  if you want the magic to last just that little bit longer.

There is paid parking in a multi story car park right next to the Disney Village, which is really easy to find if you are arriving by car. Just follow the road signs for the Disney Village. Simple.

It’s not crazy expensive, but it’s not cheap either. Here are the tariffs as per Dec 2018.

Disney Village multi storey parking tarifs

Things To Keep In Mind 

If you are travelling to Disneyland Paris with babies be aware that high chairs in the parks are not as plentiful as they could be. There were moments when finding a high chair for a very hungry baby was quite stressful. 

Character meets in the Disney Park are a bit hit and miss as they don’t stay around for very long.

Disneyland Paris states that it is a non smoking park, but don’t be surprised if you see quite a few people smoking and vaping as you are walking around. 

The Princess meet and greet at the Princess Pavilion is always extremely busy. If this is a must see on your list then get there early and be prepared to wait.

Badges are available for free from City Hall in Disneyland as you first enter the park, but when we were there they didn’t have any.  If this is the case your best bet is to go into the hotels and ask for one instead. 

If you are heading to Disneyland Resort California have a read of whats great to do there for under 5s and how everyone can have a great time!

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. I cannot even explain how helpful this was, especially about the app, meeting the character and where and when places will be the busiest. I am going in Jan and I will re visit this post before then! Thanks so much, fab post xx

    1. Have a fabulous time!

  2. This sounds like fun. Lots to do and experience.

  3. I haven’t been to Disneyland Paris before but been to the original Disneyland so many times. The Disneyland app is such a life saver! The meet and greet with the characters is a great experience for kids. Love these tips! I need to take note of them for my own trip to DL Paris one of these days!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  4. Wow! I didn’t know there is so much about Disneyland to know. Thank you for sharing all these tips and tricks.

  5. Great ideas and tips, especially apps. I’ll keep these in mind.

  6. Our boys have been to Disneyland and Disneyworld- we’d love to get them here someday!!!!

    1. And we would love to go to Disney World!

  7. I was in Disneyland in August, and stayed in the Explorers Hotel, I had no idea about te=he Grab n’ Go breakfast, that sounds much better than waiting in line for the buffet in the morning!

    1. In all fairness we had to wait in a bit of a line for our Grab and Go to 🙂

  8. I’ve never been to Disney b/c as a child I was never a fan. My boyfriend asked if I wanted to go the other day and after this I have to admit it looks so cute! Might just have to reconsider that one!

    1. Definitely, say yes!

  9. I went to disneyland a few years ago and I wish I had some of these tips! I definitely found fastpasses great for busy rides!

    1. Fast Passes are great!

  10. I heard Disneyland Paris was the first park to introduce the Boutique where kids can dress up as their favorite princesses. Why can’t adults do that?

    1. They do it in California too! So cute!

    1. There is so much to see and do, but a couple of days at the park can be pretty simple

  11. So many great tips! I can’t wait to book a trip so I can use them all! Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to more great travel tips!

    1. Great stuff!

  12. I haven’t been to Disneyland Paris in YEARS and this makes me want to go in a heartbeat. Such practical tips and it really looks like the happiest place on earth (or France).

    Char xo

  13. Bizarrely I’ve never made it to Disneyland with my little one. She never really had huge love for the Disney characters. That said your guide was great. I like how you focused on the possible negatives that will have to be overcome on a visit.

  14. Looks quite a bit different from the Disney Parks in the US!

  15. Hey there!
    I have heard that the Efteling in the Netherlands is much better for younger children. Look it up! It’s like a storybook. Hunkie took the kids to Disney and the Efteling and all of the kids liked the Efteling better and want to go back. It is much more personal and not as busy.
    Christine xx

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