6.13.2016

Disneyland Paris Tips




As you will have seen from my last blog where I did surprise 
Disney Reveal Bags Here we have just been to Disneyland. 
Despite the happy pics we actually had a bit of a rubbish day at Disney (my trip advisor review is at the bottom for anyone interested) mainly because of ride closures however this is probably getting ready for Summer.  

It wouldn't make a very helpful blog for those of you booked to go or want to see for yourself if I just moan, all asking me the chat would it?! You live and learn and we will return or maybe save for Florida and do the watermarks too.

So here we go.


Over view in case you are not aware.
Disneyland is made up of 3 areas in a triangle to each other and about a 5 min walk between all the different entrances. There is the main Disney Park which you see in all the adverts with the Dream Castle, Characters and original rides like Space Mountain. 

Then there is the Walt Disney Studio Park which was added and opened in 2002, it is more Movie themed and has Pixar rides like Toy Story. For both these you will need a ticket to enter on the gates anywhere from £34 upwards per ticket. 

Finally there is the Disney Village with all the Hotel behind it which has a security check gates you must enter through but is free to enter. It has lots of shops like Lego world, Disney and lots of restaurants like Rainforest's Cafe and Mickey Cafe.




Our Trip
We drove from Newcastle...and got the ferry at Dover (stay tuned for my blog on the drive) and arrived at 4pm the day before (a Thursday). We only could allow for 1 day in the Parks on the way to our holiday in the south of France then left at 11am the next day (a Saturday). 

So 2 nights and one day at the parks which was a May Friday in term time (cheeky teacher training day for us) so classed as a Midi day to Disney. We arrived at 10.30am and it was already 23C it went up to 28C so boiling most the day and then triumphantly crashed at 6pm with the most incredible rain storm I've ever seen.




My tips.


Get organised and book in advance. 
Firstly join this lush Facebook Group Disneyland for Brits Loads of helpful people and you will find someone who has the answer or has stayed in the exact hotel you want to etc. We booked our tickets on the Disney website and were the cheapest we saw but for longer trips and Disneyland hotel stays shop around or ask this group. We didn't do it but heard you have to book things like Cafe Mickey, Chez Remy etc weeks to months in advance so do to avoid disappointment.

Allow more time.
We only could afford one day and it should be enough to do it, but there are that many people in the parks and we were only on a midi day. I can't imagine a day in the summer holidays. Everything has such long ques and the place is huge I would def say 2 days if you can so one day for each park and then you could see the parade twice if you which at 5.30pm daily which was our highlight. Also please note the parks are advertised as open until 10pm but this isn't true the Disney Park is but the Walt Disney Studio shuts at 6pm so we waited all day to go back and try to do 'Hollywood Tower' when the que might have been less than 85min but couldn't. 

Disney or Not?
I was up and down about staying a Disney Hotel because guests get what they call Magic Hours which means the park is open from 8-10am just for Disney Hotel guests before the Parks open to the public. I was so tempted because you have more of a chance at the 'Fast Passes' (see below) and it will obviously be much quieter, however my friend informed me that only about 9 rides are open so its not everything. We priced up Santa Fe which is only a 2* with park entry and breakfast for 2 nights it was £670. I looked into the affliates so very near all with 5-20min free shuttles rides, the 'Vienna Magic Circus' had great reviews, for 2 nights with breakfast it was £179. I booked our Disney tickets separately for £136 = £315 for the same deal a whopping £355 saving.

I couldn't justify it and I couldn't fault the Magic Circus despite no fast passes I think we made the right choice by a mile. Really lovely clean spacious hotel with Circus theme, staff all dressed up and make a fuss of the kids. Great pool, park, soft play and snooker  tables etc. The breakfast was also fantastic, free parking and the shuttle was great every 20mins but we never waited more than 5mins and it only took 10mins to get to the park gates. Only tip would be splash out on a suite for more than 1 night or 3 people staying, it would have been £70 more but for 2 nights the boys would have had their own room and much more space for all.


Boys had their own space with bunk beds, a curtain and a TV...Daddy had to be forced out.




Magic Circus Pool was fab after being stuck in the car all day.



Fast pass's.
These are tickets you get at the parks on the day which make you able to que jump on certain rides, however every ride we tried to get them for were sold out. Worth it if you can nab them though for sure so get there quick. 

Have a plan. 
Measure you children before hand for you know which rides they can't go on already and no need to bother with those. We kind of winged it around the parks and although couldn't have avoided the problems we had which were entirly Disney's fault it would have benefitted us having a more organised plan or list of things when the rides did break down and also to MINIMISE walking so do stuff in a circuit if possible.

The App.
Disneyland has an app which is good for looking up info and que times live. So download it before you go BUT make sure you sort out your data roaming or wifi plan in France before you go so you can access it.

Get a buggy.

I would highly recommend taking or hiring a buggy for any child under 5. You know your kids best and they might be great walkers etc but ours despite usually being the energiser bunny's could barley talk by 3pm they were so tired. You can hire a buggy at the entrance of the park for 15E for the day and it was so worth it for us when at 1pm we gave in and got one. Even our 6yr old was begging for a push at times, you can stuff all your bags etc in them, you know where said child is because they are not dawdling off in the huge crowds and you can move quicker without dragging them knackered behind you cos I guarantee you this starts after about an hour. 

Dress code.
Trainers or really comfy shoes for all are a MUST you will walk MILES. Some people are in the most incredible costumes, Princess dresses, mini Buzz lightyears etc walking about which is fab for atmosphere and I'm all for it. However we decided to just go for a more comfy look for the boys seeing as we were only there 1 day. We all wore shorts, t shirts (still themed for the boys though) sunglasses, suncream and trainers; the boys also had hats. It was boiling the whole day. No one needed a hoodie etc all day.



This is what I wore...Minnie ears of course too.



ID Bracelet
I bought these a few years back on ebay for all days out, holidays etc because with 2 wild boys Ive lost them SO many times within seconds its a joke. I used to write my name and phone number on their arm with biro...still an option but these bracelets are great with a secret note folded with all the boys and my info inside should that heart stopping moment happen they know how to find me..   




Que bribes.
I simply hadn't anticipated waiting over an hour for nearly everything with a fidgeting 6 and 4yr old. It just the done thing though. So Phones, a little book, sweets, your A game of Eye spy bring it all you will start praying after a few rides as well.... 


What to take.

The hubby took his rucksack which goes on any family day out and I took a small shoulder handbag for hands free option. I didn't need to but I like having my own money, camera, bottle of water etc without asking him constantly and we were anticipating splitting at times so we could take the 6yr old on rides the 3yr old wasn't allowed on. Im very much of the uneconomic thinking that Id rather buy something there if we REALLY needed it like a poncho or a jumper or whatever than carry everything around all day for no need. However here are the things we did take and need.





Phones and Camera - Say no more catch all the moments. You can pay to charge your phone if it dies in the park but those hand held power banks are great for a quick charge without stopping I got mine for £2 at Primark. 

Snacks and water - Complete must, as much as you carry like a lil camel. Obviously you will get lighter as the day goes on but inside everything is SO expensive which, fine, OK its Disney but its the ques, never good with starving kiddos. You will see below I waited 30mins for 4 hotdogs. Even a bottle of water was a 15min wait. So I was very glad of the stuff we brought. Cereal bars, bag of nuts and raisins, sweets, cherrios, crisps, popcorn - think dry and light. If you bring water bottles you can refill them in the park and there are fountains too for free.




Money - Bring ALOT. Cards are excepted everywhere but have cash euros ready for ice creams etc I found it easier to know what I'm spending. I also gave the boys their own wallet with money (see Disney Reveal Blog HERE for tips) which was great as they treat themselves to bits and we didn't get rinsed once it was gone it was gone. Also have pennys because they have those cool machines that turn them into Disney sovereigns. 


Baby wipes - ....I will have a packet buried with me in my dead hand. I need them for everything. oh and tissues. Is there anything they are not good for? 

Suncream - Obviously if you go in winter you won't need it but most the year take it France being much hotter than the UK as well as hats, sunglasses etc too it hit 28C in May the day we were there.

Hand Gel - Quick refresh after touching hand bars, railings etc.

First aidPlasters, antiseptic cream, calpol sachets, paracetomol and ibuprofen...Mammy was popping the latter after queuing for the third ride in a row and being evacuated off...




Characters.
This is still a grey matter for me. My bestie said a few months before that the Characters walk about the parks and we were looking forward to bumping into them however the day we were there we didn't see a single one except the Parade. There is a queuing system for all the characters and a 55min wait all day to meet the main man Mickey Mouse. So if your little one NEEDs to see one particular character I would just bite the bullet and que to see them.

Parade.
The Parade is daily at 5.30pm, just in front of the Castle. Its truly fab but people start getting a spot an hour before. We went 35mins before a curb side place and munched our hotdogs until it started. It gets ridiculously packed though, so many rude people squashed next to us without asking and my little boy kept getting bumped off the curb a big no no by the security you're not even allowed a toe on the road so be bossy and don't let people elbow in.

Fireworks
These start at 11pm it is a bit late for little ones but France is an hour ahead so only feels like 10pm for Brits however due to the incredible storm happening just to top off our day they were cancelled...cant be helped look at this lightening!





Most importantly have fun!



Disneyland Trip Advisor review for those interested each to their own though.

Never been as disappointed in my life. As I child I went to the Disney World in Florida and it was one of the most magical things I can ever remember. So on our way to a French holiday with relatives, we booked 2 nights (at the Vienna Magic Circus which was fab but different review) and a 1 day 2 park pass. Our boys (6 and 4) first visit and we had a loose plan of what we wanted to do especially with height restrictions. Few days before noticed a lot was closed like Peter Pan and Space Mountain, disappointed but already booked so not much we could do and we had never been before so didn't realise how bad this would be until there. We hit the Studio park first and the rides that were open like Ratatouille waited 55mins with a 4yr old already doing so well but hadn't even got on and were evacuated off as it had broken down. Went straight to Crush Coaster and after 20mins same thing happened it broken down. We headed to Toy Story Parachute and Hollywood Tower but there were over 90mins waits because there was nothing else running so everyone was hitting them. 

Advertised as a midi day (a Friday not in school hols) but couldn't see how they could have got ANY more people in the parks and it was 25C so even getting a bottle of water was a mission and more queing. We went over to the Disney park hoping to at least see some characters but unlike my friend said a few months ago they are not walking about anymore it's a ... You guessed it, Que system at least 55mins alll day to see Mickey.  So by now it's 1pm and the boys have done NOTHING, except que but been on no rides or seen any characters! My 6yr old just broke down I actually have a video of him saying "Disneyland isn't as fun as I thought" it was heartbreaking. We ended up going on 3 small rides like Small world and the tea cups (can pay £1.50 at our local fun fayre to do) and watched the parade but all we did the whole day was que in boiling sun and ply the kids out of guilt with ice creams, treats and hot dogs (4 plain hot dogs, 2 bottles of water and a Coke 41E and a 30mins wait!!) more money in Disney's pocket though as you're trapped... very clever. We were told it was open until 10pm so after the parade Bee lined for the studio again to try Ratatouille but that park closes at 6pm!! No one mentioned this. 
I had tried to get fast passes but all gone and we spoke to a few who had got them for Ratatouille but they couldn't use them as it was broken down anyway, I did complain as we left but they didn't want to know. We gave up then, boys could barley speak from exhaustion and they had spied Planet Hollywood in the village which we then bigged up as "Pizza planet" from Toy story as they didn't get to see Buzz and Woody as hoped. Again 35min wait for a table then over an hour for our food, even the waiter was apologising. 100E for greasy pizza and a few drinks. Totally devastated for my boys feel I totally let them down by building up so much doing big reveal bags with outfits etc WOULD NOT return, total rip off. 

3 comments:

  1. I'm saddened by this post. I went to Disney land Paris as a child a few times then again as an adult. Other than food being so expensive (and terrible I may add) I only have extremely happy memories from there. Katie x

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    1. Aw no as you can see from the pictures we managed to pull some magic and fun from the day in the kids eyes it just wasn't what we paid for. On reflection I would go again when all the refurbishments have been made though or I think what will be more likely as it surprisingly not much difference on price save to go to Florida and do the real i am! x

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  2. Aw what a shame for you all. We went for 5 days last year and had a wonderful time. I think you do need a day per park plus extra for the characters as we queued about 45-60 minutes to see the main characters mickey Minnie Donald goofy etc then about 30 minutes to see the less popular eeore pooh spiderman etc. It is so expensive when your in there though- food is a rip off!! X

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