BattleDad and I have been to Disneyland Paris (or EuroDisney as we still refer to it) two times. Each time it was a special anniversary for both Disney and my husband. You see my husband worked at Disneyland Paris for a year as part of the opening crew in 1992. Our two visits coincided with the 15th and 20th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland Paris. Well, this year is the 25th anniversary and so we are due another trip but this time things are a little different. You see it will be our first family visit to Disneyland Paris, as I mentioned in our holiday plans for 2017. Not only is it our first family visit and hubby’s 25th anniversary, but BattleKid will be almost four and my 40th birthday is looming this year too. So how do we even begin planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris?
Firstly, we are going with friends so needed to choose a mutually agreed time to go. Personally, we wanted to leave it as late in the year as possible so it would be close to both my birthday (December) and BattleKid’s in January. Late November or December seemed like a good prospect when we started planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris. Plus, my hubby reliably informed us that Disneyland will be decorated for Christmas so there would be just a little extra magic going around. So, we decided on the first week in December.
Next, we are going mid-week rather than at the weekend. Our friends had a quick look on the Disneyland Paris website and saw an “Extra Nights Free” promotion, so both couples were soon checking this out. But planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris is a minefield, so I turned to the blogging community to get their hints and tips to help with our own planning.
Tips for planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris
Where to stay
I never realised there were so many hotels associated with Disneyland Paris. I thought there was the main one, and maybe one or two others, but there are no less than seven Disney hotels, and a host of other partner hotels to choose from. Jennifer from My Mummys Pennies advises to stay somewhere fitting to your budget and you will get out of it what you need. She stayed at both the Santa Fe and Newport Bay Hotels, while Anna from Squats Sass and Saggy Skin has stayed at the Sequoi Lodge. Both Carol from Family Makes and Corrina (my sister-in-law), travel guru at Cherry Sue Doin the Do, have stayed at the Davy Crockett Ranch. Carol says the Davy Crockett Ranch is cheaper than the other hotels, the characters still visit this hotel, and her children are still taking about this accommodation (with its great leisure facilities) to this day!
What to pack
I know for a fact that Paris can be chilly in December. Our first visit as a couple was for my birthday at the end of December and I got very cold waiting in the queue to go up the Eiffel Tower on my 30th birthday, so I know we’re going to need jumpers and coats. I’ll need to fish these out of storage as they’re hardly going to be worn in Portugal. Beth from Twinderelmo has advised taking lip balm too as she found her lips got quite sore when she visited during winter. Lisa from That British Betty says to bring lots of snacks as those in the park are mega bucks. Jennifer from My Mummys Pennies has advised taking layers that are easy to take on and off as you go in and out of places. Janet from Falcondale Life says to pack a cool bag so you can pack it full of snacks and sandwiches form the breakfast buffet as again, lunch and snacks in the park are expensive. Kellie from My Little Babog advises to buy your character costumes, autograph book and pen at home and bring them with you to save spending a fortune in the park. And she also says bring your own raincoat as the ponchos are expensive and aren’t as good as raincoats. To sum up, as we are going in December, we’ll need layers and warm coats, raincoats, character costumes, autograph book and pen, and a cool bag with lots of snacks. Better book two hold bags so!
Where to eat
Quite a few of the bloggers, including Corrina, Kellie, Lisa and Janet have said to raid the breakfast buffet as lunch/snacks are expensive in the park and to bring snacks with you. Up until last year breakfast was included in a Disneyland hotel stay but it is now extra as part of the meal plan. I think we are planning to go with at least breakfast, so I’ll be following their advice and filling a cool bag to bring in with us. I might also pack snacks into our suitcases to bring with us. Kaz from Ickle Pickles Life reiterated this tip about bringing in your own snacks, but also says to bring in your own water bottles and refill them from the water fountains in the parks, saving you loads on drinks inside!
That said I do want to do at least one or two special meals as we have a few celebrations during our stay so we may book breakfast with the characters. Both Jennifer and Kellie have recommended Café Mickey for a meal so I think I’ll be considering that. Kerry from All About A Mini Norris, who is one of the biggest Disney fans I know, says to ensure you book your table service restaurants well in advance. This will guarantee a reservation plus ensure there is no queuing up and being disappointed when you can’t get in where you want. Point noted Kerry, thank you!
What to see and do
Beth says Christmas is a magical time to visit Disney so to make sure we don’t miss the extra Christmas parade. Sarah from Boo Roo and Tigger Too told us that her favourite ride is the Peter Pan Ride
So magical and you feel as though you are soaring through the skies of Neverland.
Evany Carr, who’s mum Michelle blogs at All Things Baby and Me, has actually been part of a Disney parade. How cool is that! If you’d like to know how that was possible, watch her YouTube video. Lisa also says the parades and fireworks are not to be missed.
Michelle from Playdays and Runways and her family always go to Disneyland in December as she feels it’s the best time of year to go. She has said we must definitely watch the tree lighting ceremony which happens nightly at 6pm in the town square and is simply magical. Mickey and friends gather round to tell a festive story and sing Christmas songs. Then the lights go out in main street before coming back on one-by-one until every light on the Christmas tree has been lit. She said
even after years of watching it I still get goosebumps.
Beth has also said that you can visit Santa when at Disney around Christmas to get you in the mood so that might well be on our to-do list!
Other hints and tips
Nicola from All Things Spliced said that when you go into the park early in the morning you should head left. Most visitors head right and work their way around anti-clockwise. So, by going left and clockwise you should beat most of the crowds. Kellie from My Little Babog went one further and said when queuing for rides, queue on the left. Unusual but great hints to remember. The other big tip from many people was to bring your character costumes from home and dress your little ones in them. Those dressed up get more attention from the characters so it’s worth doing it. Corrina’s daughter got special preferential treatment when she was dressed as Elsa from Frozen, and she also saw a little boy dressed as Darth Vader get special treatment too on the Star Wars ride. Shopping list: must buy character costumes!
I have to thank everyone who has helped us in planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris so far. I’m armed with hints and tips (and a growing shopping list). We are in the final stages of deciding where to stay and whether we stick to a budget or blow it completely as it’s a special occasion. Corrina wrote a great post, Just Say Yes – The Art of Bagging a Good Travel Deal, which I’m mulling over and I’ve got Kellie’s 30 Awesome Dinseyland Paris Tips and Tricks – EuroDisney post bookmarked! Kerry’s Disneyland Paris Accommodation post is also being read with a fine tooth-comb to help us make a final accommodation decision.
All that’s left to do in planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris is to make a final decision on accommodation, book our flights and start getting excited for an awesome few days!
Is there anything else you could add to the great advice we’ve been given so far?
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth
This week has been all about mastering a new skill for BattleKid. BattleDad took his stabilisers off his bike last weekend while I was away and with less than an hour’s practice he is cycling unaided! He can get himself going and is still using his feet as brakes but I can’t believe how quickly he has gotten it. Seems the balance bike is paying dividends now.
Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.
Before we made our move to Portugal in May, I started thinking about the fact we were going to live in a warmer country with a lot more sunshine. As a result, I also started thinking about protecting BattleKid’s skin, especially during the hotter summer months. Although I lived in South Africa until I was nine I don’t remember using sun cream when out and about, or beside the pool. But using sunscreen on BattleKid has become part and parcel of warm days ever since our first holiday when he was just 8 months old. I wondered was there anything else I could use and I stumbled upon UV Buddy bracelets. I was thrilled to receive UV Buddy bracelets to review for both myself and BattleKid and felt I was well equipped to tackle the sunshine we were heading to.
UV Buddy Bracelets are a novel way of ensuring sun safety is forefront on your mind. They are handmade bracelets (and other accessories) which also contain special plastic beads packed with pigments that change colour upon exposure to UV light. We all know that too much exposure to UV light can have long term damaging effects on our skin and by using UV Buddy bracelets we can ensure we can take the necessary precautions to protect ours and our family’s skin.
How do UV Buddy Bracelets work?
UV Buddy Bracelets include state of the art beads containing pigments which change colour when exposed to UV light from any source, including the sun, as already mentioned. In normal light the beads are white in colour. However, in ultraviolet light the pigments contained within the special beads change colour depending on the strength of the sun. These pigments can change colour about 50,000 times before it will no longer react to UV light. Remember that UV light is invisible to our naked eyes! The white bead changes colour from white to a medium colour, to a vivid colour depending on the strength of the UV light and length of time of exposure. This colour change lets you know it’s time to apply sunscreen. Here’s a video to show you how they work:
Why use UV Buddy Bracelets?
I don’t know about you, but in the UK and Ireland I was quite guilty of not being sure when to reapply sunscreen. On sunny days, I’d put it on BattleKid before we went out, but I was never quite sure when to reapply. Well, UV Buddy Bracelets can help you out. By keeping an eye on the special beads and their colour, you can get an indication if the sun’s rays are strong and therefore lots of UV light is reaching our skin and that of your children. If the beads are still white there isn’t a lot of UV light reaching your skin so no need for sunscreen. However, if they are changing colour or are vivid you need to reapply sunscreen and often.
For us here in Portugal, the beads have been a vivid colour all the time and so it’s been a good reminder to reapply sunscreen frequently if we’re out in the sun. If it slips my mind, I only need to catch a glimpse of mine or BattleKid’s UV Buddy Bracelets and it reminds me to reapply sunscreen if it’s been a while. It also reminds me to put sunscreen on us if I’ve forgotten before we have left the house.
Were we still in the UK, these would be great to pop onto BattleKid on days out in case the sun made an appearance or if some sneaky rays were getting through the clouds warranting the need for sunscreen. They’re not just for use when the sun is beaming outside!
What I loved about UV Buddy Bracelets and accessories:
- Good variety of accessories to choose from including bracelets, necklaces and phone charms.
- Good variety of bead colours to choose from.
- Very good value-for-money considering what they do.
- Great for reminding us to reapply sunscreen, even on slightly cloudy days.
- Very fashionable and trendy.
- A great safety conscious set of accessories.
- Can be used throughout the family by children and adults!
What I didn’t like about UV Buddy BRACELETS:
One point to note, our UV Buddy bracelets are a constant vivid colour here in Portugal when we are outside. In one way, this is good as it shows the high strength of the sun’s rays and the high proportion of UV light reaching us. The beads are only white indoors. However, I still need to keep an eye on times as to when to reapply sunscreen. On cloudy days these bracelets might really come into their own to indicate if UV light is creeping through the clouds. So, for the UK and Ireland they would be really useful.
I was thrilled to receive some UV Buddy Bracelets for review, and both BattleKid and I have been wearing them when out about to remind me I need to reapply our sunscreen. They are lovely bracelets, very fashionable and really do jog my memory about sunscreen. I think they are a great product to use with children because, as a parent, there is nothing more important to me than protecting my child and his vulnerable skin.
So, if you are wondering what one product to invest in for the coming summer months or for your summer holiday, I highly recommend you get some UV Buddy bracelets for the family. They’re a great way to ensure you and your family remain protected in the sunshine.
Thanks for reading,
*We were kindly sent a set of UV Buddy Bracelets for review. However, as always, these are my own honest thought and opinions of the product.