Awesome Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers

Hey, guess what? BattleKid at the ripe old age of 4 has done over 50,000 nautical miles by plane so far. How do I know? By totalling up the miles recorded in his flight logbook.

And since we’ve accompanied him during those flights, either both parents together or mum on her own, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about travelling by plane with kids. With our experience comes a certain level of knowledge and to help you with your forthcoming flights, I’m going to share with you some awesome tips for flying with babies and toddlers.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers

First and foremost, I want to say that you shouldn’t put off flying with a baby, or toddler for that matter, because of those “what ifs”. Yes, flying with kids can be a daunting prospect, especially for first-timers, but it can actually turn out to be fun. And besides, flying with small children is often a means to an end, with a family holiday or reunion waiting for you when you disembark that plane.

This is by no means the ultimate list of tips for flying with kids, but these are ones I’ve either used myself to have a successful flight with a baby, or the ones my fellow travellers suggested that I thought were genius. Yes, I also asked some of my fellow travel and family bloggers what is their number one tip for flying with a baby or toddler, so watch out for them too! So, without further ado, here are my awesome tips for flying with babies and toddlers.

Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers

Before the Flight

1 Relax

The big thing to try and remember is to relax. Yes, I know this may be hard to do, especially if you are fretting about it being your first time flying with a baby. But remember, babies in particular can pick up on your worries and anxieties, so if you’re not relaxed, they won’t be either.

2 Plan your bag and other carry-on luggage

Take time before you get to the airport to plan your bag and carry-on luggage. Why? You really don’t want to be struggling to remember which bag you packed the spare nappies in when you’re in the boarding queue or on the plane. Packing cubes or even makeup bags can lend a huge hand in organising your cabin luggage. I used clear make-up or cosmetic bags to organise our hand luggage for our trip to Portland so that if I pulled out the wrong one, it was easy to see and quickly.

3 Use a backpack

Backpacks are so much easier than a traditional change bag when flying with young children. Not only can you generally pack them with more things, but they also leave your hands free to deal with little ones in queues. Backpacks are also far easier if you are flying solo with babies or toddlers. I travelled with a traditional change bag until I discovered the ease of backpacks and I’ve never looked back. Now, we never travel without our Cabin Zero cabin bags.

4 Choose your seats before you arrive at the airport

If you can afford it and it’s an added extra, pay to choose your seats and pick them as soon as the option becomes available online, so you can ensure you are sitting together. I know many families will disagree and say this is adding more cost onto your flights, but do you really want to leave it to chance that the desk or online check-in will automatically put you sitting together just because you are a family. Not all airlines give families priority when it comes to seats, even for under 5’s. We always pay for choosing our seats to avoid this unnecessary stress.

5 To board first or not with priority boarding

Generally, most airlines will allow families to board first, but increasingly we’ve found this not to be the case. For this reason, and more so as BattleKid gets older, we pay for speedy or priority boarding, especially on low-cost airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair.  This ensures we can place the bags we don’t need during the flight into the overhead lockers, and so that BattleKid is seated and out of everyone’s way.

Some people say board last but then you face the stress of not having anywhere to store the bags you don’t need during the flight. Sorry, but that’s another stressful situation I avoid. By boarding first, our bags are stored, BattleKid is seated and we can start to relax about the flight ahead.

If you really don’t want to board first with your children, send the other adult in your party, provided you aren’t solo travelling, on first to stow your bags and then board last with your children. This might be a better option with toddlers who are now walking and might not be ready to sit still in a seat any longer than is necessary.

6 Arriving early gives you a better chance at bagging a bassinet

Arrive early at the airport so that you can take your time and are not in a rush. Arriving early will also allow you to queue for check-in first and this might in turn mean you can get a bulkhead seat with bassinet for your baby (if you haven’t already prebooked it). This is particularly important if flying long-haul with babies.

7 Check in and bag drop early

Following on from the previous point, getting rid of your hold bags early will free you up to keep an eye on little ones, and to get you through security and into the departures lounge quicker. If checking-in online before you arrive at the airport, ensure you have your boarding cards printed, or downloaded to the airlines app on your phone (make sure your battery is full for this option). However, if travelling with a stroller or buggy, you will need to visit a desk to ensure you get the tag for your buggy if bringing it through to the gate.

8 Be prepared for the security desks

Have your bags ready, coats off, pockets empty, tablets/iPads out and liquids ready for inspection. There is nothing more infuriating in those queues than someone who doesn’t get ready before getting to the belt, especially when there are children involved. We’ve queued long enough to get to the desks in some airports, only to have someone in front of us spend 5 minutes sorting themselves out with a bored toddler on our hands. Get your stuff ready BEFORE you get to the desk.

9 Use the playroom at the airport

Before the flight, take a visit to the airport playroom (if there is one available), to help energetic toddlers burn off excess energy before the flight. I must admit that I had not heard of, or even knew, there was such a thing as playrooms in airports until before our two-week USA road trip. I learned of them on a Facebook group and thought this was a genius idea.

We used the one in Heathrow before our flight, and also found one in Portland before our return flight. Not only does it help kids burn off some energy, but it will give you a few minutes peace. They are also worth their weight in gold if your flight is delayed as your baby or toddler won’t know any different.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Use The Airport Playroom
BattleKid enjoying the playroom in Portland International Airport
10 Buggy/Stroller or Baby Carrier

Consider whether you really need your buggy or stroller with you, all the way to the departure gate. If not, then I’d advise you to check it through with your hold luggage and use a baby carrier instead. It is one less item to have to worry about in the departures lounge. We stopped taking BattleKid’s buggy to the gate once he hit three years of age, but you might decide you need it. It’s always handy if they are still napping during the day or you have an evening flight.

For more pre-flight tips, check out the brilliant post by Carrie of Flying With A Baby in which she guides you through tips from booking to your arrival. She has many more tips you should consider before even booking your flight, including what are the best airplane seats for kids.

What to pack for the Flight

11 Toiletries and Medicines

Make sure you pack a small, clear toiletries bag which includes the following items

  • Plasters
  • Calpol
  • Teething granules or Bonjela
  • Nappy cream
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Paracetamol (for the adults)

You never know when you might need one or all of these, and if you don’t, you might find another parent on the plane who is grateful you had it with you. A travel first aid kit might also be a useful thing to add to your cabin luggage.

You might also want to pack a small packet of antibacterial wipes. Polly from Follow Your Sunshine suggested

Carry antibacterial wipes as well as your usual wet wipes as planes, trains and baby changing rooms harbour so many germs, and there is nothing worse than a sick baby while travelling.

Leona from Wandermust Family said

remember Calpol and Bonjela in your hand luggage.

12 Snacks

Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Snacks can be a lifesaver when flying with babies and toddlers. They are especially handy in between meals for toddlers who like to graze. Dare I say it they also relieve some boredom in toddlers, who let’s face it, have attention spans of goldfish.

Jenna from Then There Were Three says

I fly quite a lot with my eldest – best tip; snacks!

Sarah from The Herniman House agrees and she added

As well as plenty of snacks for the kids, make sure you take enough for yourself too! It’s not so easy to grab yourself some food whilst chasing a runaway through the terminal, or even if you have an inflight meal, it might not be practical. Parents and children do not need to be stressed and ‘hangry’ whilst travelling.

Snacks can also come in handy if you find yourself delayed for any reason. Yes there are usually food outlets in departures lounges but if you’ve just had lunch or dinner they can placate a bored toddler especially. And don’t forget to keep every hydrated during the flight.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Snacks
Enjoying snacks on yet another flight.
13 Baby Bottles and formula

Firstly, for those of you wondering can you take baby formula on a plane and bottles, yes you can. You can take pre-made bottles but be aware you may be asked to taste the contents at the security desks, although I’ve read elsewhere that this may be replaced by other non-invasive additional tests in certain airports. You can also take the ready-made cartons of formula on board.

However, we chose to do something different. We packed pre-measured powder formula into the easy-add containers, enough for all the feeds needed at the airport and on board, as well as two more. We took empty pre-sterilised bottles with us in Ziploc bags (although there are also disposable pre-sterilised ones available on the market).

Once on board, we asked the flight crew for 1oz of boiling water, added the formula and topped up using natural, bottled water we had purchased once we were through security and in the departures lounge. This worked a treat each time we flew while our son was still bottle feeding. Alternatively, you can bring an empty thermos flask with you and ask a café or hot drinks outlet in the departures lounge to fill it with boiling water for you.

Make sure you bring enough formula and bottles for all the feeds needed at both the airport and during the flight, as well as at least two additional feeds, just in case of delays.

14 Spare clothes for little one and you

Most of us don’t go anywhere with babies or toddlers without at least one change of clothes for our little ones. But when it comes to flying with babies and toddlers, here’s the thing. Bring more than one set, particularly if you are flying long-haul. You just never know what might happen and you don’t want to get caught out 35,000 miles up in the air.

I always travel with 3 sets of spare underpants (now that BattleKid is toilet trained), at least one set of shorts and trousers, two t-shirts or tops and also a pair of pyjamas, especially for red-eye flights. And that’s just for BattleKid alone.

I also travel with a spare t-shirt or top for both myself and my husband, just in case BattleKid should ever get sick. Touch wood, that is yet to happen but never say never! No-one wants to face hours on a plane in wet, sick-encrusted t-shirts!

Sam from Travelling with Our Kids said

We always take spare clothes for baby and us. You never know when you will need it. Especially if baby is prone to being sick after feeds like our two.

15 Pack plenty of wet wipes and nappies

What did we ever do without wet wipes? How did people cope before them? Not only do you need them for all manner of wipes and clean-ups with kids, but you can use them to clean the tray table too. When BattleKid was in nappies I also packed at least 3 extra nappies, in case of delays.

16 Don’t forget the nappy bags

Not only will you need these for nappy changes, but they also come in very handy for rubbish/garbage. These can hang from the tray table catch on the back of the seat in front of you and you can place all your accumulated rubbish in there. Then it’s easy enough to hand over to the cabin crew when they make their pass through the cabin.

17 Toys

Try to remember to bring a few quiet, interactive toys, to keep babies and toddlers entertained during the flight. Try to leave the noisy ones at home so as to not annoy your fellow passengers. Sticker books, colouring books and crayons are always a hit with BattleKid, especially when he was younger and didn’t really want to sit in our laps ready for landing.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Toys, Crayons and Stickerbooks
Don’t forget to pack some toys – crayons and colouring books work wonders
18 Tablet/iPad

Does your family have an iPad or Tablet? If so, let your toddler use it, especially if you have exhausted all the toys from the point above. We don’t let BattleKid use electronic devices at home, but he has not one, but two tablets for flying. He has a LeapFrog Epic with games and some TV shows on it. He also has another android tablet on which we’ve put numerous films for him to watch.

Flights are the only time BattleKid gets his tablet and it keeps him quiet. Even on long-haul flights with individual screens, he uses his tablet as the children’s films are often ones he has seen or is not interested in. They can also be a lifesaver if you find yourself delayed. (There’s that dreaded word again.)

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Tablets
BattleKid relaxing on a trans-Atlantic flight with his tablet
19 Portable chargers, for said iPads/tablets

Make sure you pack at least two portable chargers for your phones and iPads/tablets. This is even more important for long-haul flights. No-one wants to run out of battery half-way across the Atlantic and have an irate toddler on their hands. We have been lucky with some airlines having USB charging ports at each seat, but this has only happened twice on America-bound flights. For shorter European flights the chargers have come in handy, especially if we’ve been delayed leaving and have resorted to giving BattleKid his tablets before boarding.

20 Bring a familiar cuddly toy

But don’t lose it! BattleKid was sent a fabulous knitted Curious George by his Nan when he was just 18 months old and until late last year, George travelled everywhere with us. He has been to the Canaries several times, Slovenia and even New York.

He was a home comfort that BattleKid knew and loved, and was also something he fell asleep with every night. So, consider bringing one of their familiar cuddly toys, but whatever you do, guard it with your life. Or ensure you have a second one at home like we did, just in case.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Cuddly Toy
George in a hotel room on holiday, somewhere…

During the Flight

21 Ignore all the glares

When boarding the plane, there will no doubt be glares sent your way for daring to travel on someone else’s flight with a baby or toddler. IGNORE THEM. We all have to start travelling at some stage or have holidays as a family, and that involves flying with babies and toddlers as well.

That said, do not let your kids kick the seat in front of you or scream their heads off for no reason for the entire flight. Not only will you get glares and tuts, but it will stress you out! While BattleKid has always travelled well, we do our utmost to ensure he isn’t kicking the seat in front of us, and remains relatively quiet too.

22 Keep one bag under the seat in front of you

Following on from my point about preparing your cabin bags before you get to the airport, keep all essentials in one bag and place it under the seat in front of you. Pack 2 bags if necessary and stow the other one away in the overhead compartments. And ladies, don’t bother with a handbag, it’s too much faff!

We also have a Trunki insert bag which holds all of BattleKid’s sticker books, crayons, colouring books, small toys and tablets and this usually hangs quite nicely from the pocket on the back of the seat. That way we have everything we need to keep him entertained to hand.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers
BattleKid’s Trunki insert bag on the seat pocket in front with everything he needs for a flight
23 Feed or give a dummy on take-off and landing

I have experienced troublesome ears after a flight and I can tell you it is very unpleasant. That is until I learned how to pop my ears, particularly when we are coming into land. However, babies and toddlers cannot do this, so we need to give them a helping hand to ensure the air in their ears is equalised.  

Feeding during take-off and landing, or giving a baby or toddler a dummy during this time, can really help to ensure their ear pressure is equalised and that they don’t suffer with pain in their ears. Thankfully BattleKid has never had a problem with his ears and flying, but that is because we have heeded this advice.

Alana from Baby Holiday said her top tip is a bottle for take-off.

It’ll help prevent their ears from popping, and if you’re lucky will send them to sleep!

24 Use pull-ups and a changing mat or towel

For children who might be undergoing toilet training or are newly potty trained, it might be advisable to use pull-ups, particularly for long-haul flights.

We nearly had a heart attack on our flight from Heathrow to Portland in August 2017, when shortly after take-off and before the seat belt sign was turned off, we heard those dreaded words “Mummy I need a wee”. At three and a half, BattleKid was quite good at holding it, but as the minutes ticked by his desperation became more and more apparent. We hadn’t put him in a pull-up.

After 20 minutes we rang the call bell and the air hostess told us we could bring him to the toilet (despite the seat belt sign still being on), “You gotta do what you gotta do for your boy”. She was so lovely about it. Disaster was averted. But I regretted not bring pull-ups with us.

Also, it might be advisable to put a changing mat or towel under newly toilet trained toddlers on the seat, just in case. At least if they have an accident, the seat will be saved.

25 Have regular toilet breaks

Even if BattleKid said “I don’t need to go” when we asked him, we took BattleKid regularly to the toilet after he was trained. And he ALWAYS ended up going! Make a game of it if necessary.

And always anticipate when the seatbelt sign will come on in preparation for landing and take toilet trained toddlers to the toilet just before this. Again, it comes back to my previous point in that you don’t want to forget and hear “I need a wee” during those final few moments before you touch down.

26 Dress comfortably for any flight over 2 or 3 hours

We generally wear loose jogging pants for long haul flights and always change BattleKid into pj’s for these flights. It makes us more comfortable having to deal with sitting in one seat for a long period of time. It also makes sleeping on the plane a little bit easier.

27 Layer up with clothes and bring a blanket for little ones

This might seem crazy, but ensure you have a cardigan/jumper/hoodie with you for the flight, even if you are flying from a hot country to a hot country. Planes get cold, and babies and toddler will feel it even more than us adults. It’s easier to remove a layer or two of clothing than it is to get a baby or toddler warm when you’ve nothing in reserve.

And for babies and toddlers, I’d advise bringing a small blanket with you to cover them up if they fall asleep. It’s worked wonders for us in the days when BattleKid would still sleep on a plane. For the very few times we would be flying in the evening or at night, we always brought BattleKid’s travel Grobag to keep in line with our usual bedtime routine before he outgrew them.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Layer up
BattleKid sound asleep with a blanket to keep warm
28 Ask for help if you need it

This is even more important if you are flying solo with a baby or toddler. If you need it, ask for help. From the crew, or fellow passengers. Don’t assume they will realise you are struggling or are in need of some help. No-one in their right mind would dare refuse a mum or dad some help on a plane if they needed it.

One of my first ever solo flights with BattleKid came when he was ten months old, and the Aer Lingus staff on both my outbound and return flights couldn’t have been more helpful. They held BattleKid so I could stow my bags and get them at the end of the flight, and they also checked on me during the flight despite it only being a 55 minutes flying time. If I could fly with them all the time I would.

29 Be prepared to relinquish the window seat

BattleDad used to always sit at the window, always. But not anymore. For a few years now, he has had to relinquish the window seat for our toddler, and now pre-schooler. No matter how much bribing he tries, BattleKid always gets the window seat. He might look out if a few times during the flight, but it’s his and his alone these days.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers - Window Seat
“I’m looking out the window”

Other Things to Consider

30 Adventure belt or toddler reins

This can be a hot topic with some parents but believe me, until recently, we never travelled without toddler reins for BattleKid once he became a walking toddler. We now travel with the Adventure Belt, the next step up for preschoolers, which I reviewed on the blog last year.

They might not necessarily be needed if you are taking your stroller to the doors of the plane before take-off, but you aren’t always guaranteed to get your stroller the minute you land. So, to prevent toddlers from running off in the airport, it’s worth considering packing a set of reins or an Adventure Belt to save your sanity after a long flight.

31 Use the Boots pre-order facility in your departure airport

If travelling from the UK, did you know that you can order things like nappies, wet wipes, formula, creams and lotions to be delivered at a Boots in the departure lounge of the airport you are travelling from? This is a brilliant way to save on luggage space for things like nappies and formula and can ensure you remember everything you need for your family holiday. I’ve personally never used the service, but I know people who have and would recommend it.

32 Consider your flight times carefully

For long-haul flights I would try to fly at times your babies and toddlers would normally sleep, particularly if leaving in the evening and arriving in the morning. You cannot guarantee they will sleep but if it coincides with a time they will be naturally sleepy, you’ve a good chance of them nodding off.

For short-haul flights, either choose a morning flight or try to get one when they usually nap. Before BattleKid was one years old he slept on planes whenever the flight coincided with his nap time. However, over the age of one it became trickier. And a short-haul flight at night with BattleKid didn’t work. He didn’t fall asleep as there was too much going on in the plane and the lights were kept on. So, try to think about your flight times before you press that BOOK button.

33 Pay extra to park as close to the terminal as possible

While yes, this will cost you more than long-stay parking, bus transfers are a pain in the bum with bags, a baby, stroller and hand luggage, especially if you are flying solo with a baby or toddler. So, if you can stretch to just a little extra, book your parking at the airport as close to the terminal as you can. It will also mean you’ve less distance to walk and might negate the need for bus on your return, meaning you can get home quicker.

34 Don’t forget your travel insurance and EHIC cards

It goes without saying that if you are going to be flying with babies and toddlers, you really MUST have travel insurance. Most times you won’t need it but that one time you forget it will turn out to be the time you do need it. We went on holiday to Lanzarote one year and were grounded for an extra three days because BattleKid came out in chicken pox. Thankfully our travel insurance covered most of our extra expenses.

The following year, at the same hotel, BattleKid fell on our arrival day and cut his knee so badly he needed 4 stitches. A trip to the nearby hospital was needed and they asked for his EHIC card. I had brought it and his passport, as well as ours, so we were all sorted once we arrived. So, do not travel within Europe without it.

35 Use drawstring bags for toys

This tip comes from Anna at Popitha. Her tip is genius!

Use drawstring bags to put toys in for the flight so you can easily get one bag out at a time, and then pack it away so all the bits are still together.

I haven’t used this before, but you can be guaranteed I will be from now on!

Drawstring Bags For Toys For Flights
Tip and Photo Credit: Anna from Popitha
36 Plan your sleep and relaxing shifts

Sounds crazy but this is essential for long-haul flights. This tip came from Helena of Babyfoote, who said

My top tip (if you are travelling with another adult) is to plan in advance fair ‘shifts’ to take care of the kids and relax/watch movies/sleep. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a place with one parent who’s had 8 hours sleep and managed to watch a movie, while the other seethes with resentment because they walked the plane behind their toddler the entire flight.

37 Bring their Flight Logbook

If your little one is going on their first of many flights, why not invest in a Simply For Flying Flight Logbook. This is the flight logbook I mentioned at the start of this post. Apart from one or two return trips (where mummy forgot to pack it), we have logged every flight BattleKid has done and gotten some lovely messages from the captains. It’s a lovely memento to have for them.

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers

As already mentioned, this is by no means the only list of tips for flying with babies and toddlers. It may even be added to it as other hints and tips for flying with babies and toddlers spring to mind. There are numerous other posts about flying with a baby and toddler available to read and they are all packed with handy tips. It’s natural to feel nervous or anxious if you are taking a baby on a plane for the first time, but remember the #1 rule, relax.

Whether you’re facing a short or long flight with a baby or toddler, these tips are designed to make it as smooth a flight as is possible. Remember, most parents have been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt when it comes to flying with kids. You aren’t the first one to fly with a baby and you won’t be the last.  Flying with young children can be fun if you are prepared. But even if your flight isn’t a great one, just keep in mind that it’s only a few hours and that you’ll probably never see your fellow passengers again. So if necessary, glare back and tut at them, and if all else fails do this…

Are there any hints and tips for flying with babies and toddlers you can add to this list? Did I miss anything out?

Cath x

Tips For Flying With Babies And Toddlers

Wanderlust Kids #11

Where have these two months gone? Seriously, 2018 is just shooting past. I can’t believe we’re starting March already! And I’m excited for this month, as BattleKid and I are headed to Ireland for a 10-day road trip. We’re going to visit quite a few castles, see some animals and also catch up with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in a year. A huge thank you to all my regular linkees who linked up last month and also to some first-timers. You are all welcome and I loved reading all your posts.

We had posts with hints and tips, family travel and days out in the UK, further afield and a bit more far flung too. So, here are February’s featured and special mentioned posts.

February’s Featured Wanderlust Kids Post

It was really hard for me to decide on just one post for my featured post but it has to be Annette from Four Acorns‘ post about visiting Coral Beach in Connemara. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Ireland, Connemara is a wildly rugged and beautiful area located in the West of Ireland, in County Galway. It is many, many years since I’ve visited Galway and Connemara and this post set off a longing in me to revisit the West of Ireland.

This beach looks stunning, and the perfect place for little ones to get lost among the rockpools, hunting for crabs and other such creatures. Annette’s pictures are amazing and her descriptions are what really hit home with me. We won’t make it to Galway this year, but I have a feeling a trip to the West of Ireland might be on the cards for next year. Please go and read her post about Visiting Coral Beach in Connemara.

February’s Special Mention Wanderlust Kids Post

Because I really couldn’t choose between two, they both get a mention. Firstly, Sinead, from Shinners and the Brood share her post in which she shares her tips for booking a European Campsite Holiday was brilliant. She covers everything from getting there to choosing the right campsite, to deciding on your must-haves and must-nots, her post was very informative and will go a long way to helping anyone prepare to book a camping holiday in Europe.

Secondly, Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes shared another of her posts from her series about their trip to Jordan. This time she wrote about their visit to Petra, a place I long to visit. It looks especially stunning at night and it was great to read it can be enjoyed by little ones as well as adults. She even gives us suggestions about where to stay if you are planning to stay near Petra for your visit.

February’s Other Great Posts

Annabel from Smudged Postcard shared some ideas for your family summer holidays including places in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece that are a bit less touristy but still worth visiting.

Lisa of Baby Loves Travel shared her post about Their holiday plans for this year in which they will try to have 12 trips, an average of one per month. I don’t think we’ll manage that many this year.

Riz from Rizology wrote about her visit to Bluestone with three other mums. They all brought their babies and thoroughly enjoyed their visit. To date, I’ve never read a bad review of Bluestone.

Liberty who blogs at Liberty on the Lighter Side shared tips to make travelling with your kids easier. I agree wholeheartedly that travelling with your kids opens your eyes and helps you see things in a way you tend to lose as an adult.

Michelle from The Willow Tree shared her post which has some great hints and tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. 

Jenny from Travelynn Family linked up a post about short walks for young kids in the Peak District. All too often I find we don’t go on walks because we’re worried about little legs, but Jenny’s post is packed with ideas for walks in the Peak District, many of which cover a distance less than 2km. 

Every month I love seeing what posts people are linking up and I love reading them all. They always give me serious Wanderlust no matter what the subject or where on the world they are about. I must say a big thank you again to everyone joining in with Wanderlust Kids.

This month I’m linking up my post about our first dragon hunting adventure here in Portugal. One thing I was worried about when we left the UK was whether we could continue our dragon hunting adventures. Little did I know that Portugal has many, many castles just waiting to be explored.


My ‘Wanderlust Kids’ linky will open from the 1st of each month for you to link up a post, old or new, which involves travelling with kids. It can be a day out, a family holiday, a travel review, somewhere new your children have discovered or a post with hints and tips about travelling with kids. As long as it features kids and is travel based it can be linked up. The following month I will write a synopsis of the posts linked up by everyone, and I’ll be featuring my favourite one, linking back to everyone’s blog.

So, if you’d like to join in, just grab the badge below, add it to your post and link up your post via the link up button below. Please make sure you visit a few other posts that have linked up and leave a comment. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to add the badge, simply link back to this post.

Don’t forget that throughout the month you can use the #WanderlustKids on your Instagram photos which involve travelling with kids. These photos can be abroad, home or days out, so long as they feature your children and have a travel theme attached to it. Each fortnight I will pick my favourites to showcase. I cannot believe how well this little community is growing and appreciate everyone who has adopted the #wanderlustkids on Instagram.

And last but not least, I’ve created a Wanderlust Kids group on Facebook. The idea behind it was that not everyone who travels with their kids will have a blog. So, by creating the group we can share our posts and travel tips with non-bloggers, and maybe even help each other out by sharing advice or ideas about travelling with your kids. I don’t know if the group will go anywhere but I’d love it if you could join up, and add anyone you think might benefit from the group. Feel free to share your travel blog posts there too!

I look forward to reading your posts, maybe gaining some inspiration. And if you’re wondering about what types of posts have been linked up before, check them out under my Wanderlust Kids Section.


 Loading InLinkz ...

Wanderlust Kids #10

Wow, 2017 was a quick year. And I can’t believe we already a month into 2018. How did that happen? We didn’t have a Wanderlust Kids linky last month as Christmas was a busy time but it’s back for 2018 for all your kids-based travel posts. A huge thank you to all my regular linkees, I hope to see more from you this year. And if this is your first time joining us, welcome. I hope I’ll be reading lots from you this year. 

Without further ado, let me tell you December’s featured and special mentioned posts.

December’s Featured Wanderlust Kids Post

I had never before thought India was a country to visit with kids. It always worried me how they would get on with the heat, food and possibly busy areas. However, Jenny from Travelynn Family linked up her post about top things to do in Jaipur with Kids and it’s completely changed my thinking. Not only does it look like an amazing part of India, but she also shared lots of tips for visiting some of the various sights with kids. The Pink City looks stunning and that sunset at Nahargarh Fort looks amazing. Please pop over for a read of her blog post if you haven’t caught it already.

December’s Special Mention Wanderlust Kids Post

The other post which really caught my attention last month was posted by Nicky of Go Live Young. She shared her post about Camping with Kids in Wadi Rum in Jordan. It’s another thing I wouldn’t have thought possible with kids but it sounds amazing. The rock bridge looks scary and their picture of the Milky Way is just spectacular. Why not pop over and check it out.

December’s Other Great Posts

From Toddler to Traveler shared their post comparing Carnival and Disney cruises with toddlers. Which one came out on top? You’ll have to pop over and find out!

Lisa of Baby Loves Travel shared her post about visiting London Zoo with a toddler. We’d love to visit this zoo one day.

Lydia from Hollidaze and Hellidaze linked up her post about why the Angsana Lang Co is a brilliant luxurious family resort in Central Vietnam. It really does look pure luzury.

Truly Madly Kids shared their post about why kids love Brighton. With things like the BA I360 pod (like the London Eye) and the pier, it’s easy to see why.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts last month and cannot wait to see what is linked up this month. I must say a big thank you again to everyone joining in with Wanderlust Kids.

This month I’m linking up my post Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris: The Ultimate How to Guide. We visited Disneyland Paris in December for the first time as a family and had a great time. So I thought I’d share as many hints and tips about visiting Disneyland Paris as I could. It was my longest blog post to date too, so feel free to just pin it for future reference!


My ‘Wanderlust Kids’ linky will open from the 1st of each month for you to link up a post, old or new, which involves travelling with kids. It can be a day out, a family holiday, a travel review, somewhere new your children have discovered or a post with hints and tips about travelling with kids. As long as it features kids and is travel based it can be linked up. The following month I will write a synopsis of the posts linked up by everyone, and I’ll be featuring my favourite one, linking back to everyone’s blog.

So, if you’d like to join in, just grab the badge below, add it to your post and link up your post via the link up button below. Please make sure you visit a few other posts that have linked up and leave a comment. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to add the badge, simply link back to this post.

Don’t forget that throughout the month you can use the #WanderlustKids on your Instagram photos which involve travelling with kids. These photos can be abroad, home or days out, so long as they feature your children and have a travel theme attached to it. Each fortnight I will pick my favourites to showcase. I cannot believe how well this little community is growing and appreciate everyone who has adopted the #wanderlustkids on Instagram.

And last but not least, I’ve created a Wanderlust Kids group on Facebook. The idea behind it was that not everyone who travels with their kids will have a blog. So, by creating the group we can share our posts and travel tips with non-bloggers, and maybe even help each other out by sharing advice or ideas about travelling with your kids. I don’t know if the group will go anywhere but I’d love it if you could join up, and add anyone you think might benefit from the group. Feel free to share your travel blog posts there too!

I look forward to reading your posts, maybe gaining some inspiration. And if you’re wondering about what types of posts have been linked up before, check them out under my Wanderlust Kids Section.


 Loading InLinkz ...

Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris: The Ultimate How To Guide

As many of you know, we’ve recently been to Disneyland Paris as a family for the first time, although BattleDad and I have been before. BattleDad also worked there for a year as part of the opening crew. And it’s fair to say I did A LOT of planning before we went, getting the help of the blogging community with things like how to plan Disneyland Paris, the best places to eat in Disneyland Paris and the best rides for under 5’s at Disneyland Paris. I can also tell you I learned a lot during both the planning stages and while we were there. So, I thought I would share with you all the knowledge we gained with our top Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris; tricks, hints and other for visiting disneyland paris

Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Research & Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris

I cannot stress enough that in order to get the most out of your time at Disneyland Paris, I highly recommend that you do your research. Everything from where to stay, to where you’d like to eat, to the rides best suited to your kids; research it. This will help you plan not only your trip, but also your time in Disneyland Paris so you can get the most out of your trip. I have a few blog posts I wrote during my research and planning which you might find helpful.

Planning Our First Family Visit to Disneyland Paris.

Rides for Under 5’s at Disneyland Paris.

Best Places for Food at Disneyland Paris.

Once you’ve done your research it’s time to plan your trip. BattleDad only half-jokingly said I put as much planning effort into this trip as Disney does to make things look easy. High praise indeed, but well worth it! It can be a logistical nightmare and a huge undertaking, but with the right research and planning, you can take most of the stress out of a trip like this.

And just because it’s Disneyland, don’t let it fool you. People everywhere, stressed adults, stressed kids – minimise all of that by getting your research and planning right and let them freak themselves out while you have a great time. Let’s look at some of the things to look out for. And if you’d like a FREE Disneyland Paris Daily Planner with an easy how-to-use-it guide (which includes a copy of our recent daily plan), scroll to the bottom to see how you can get it!

Tips for booking your trip to Disneyland Paris

There are many companies who will do an all-in-one service for getting to Disneyland Paris, but we booked our stay through the Disneyland Paris website. We then booked our flights separately as we were travelling to Paris from Portugal.

If travelling from the UK, you have many options for getting to Disneyland Paris. You can travel by plane using any number of airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet, Air France and many more. Compare prices through sites such as Skyscanner (click here to start researching your flights).

You can get a train to Disneyland Paris via the EuroStar as either a food passenger, going all the way to Disneyland either direct or via Gare du Nord. Or by car, disembarking when you arrive in Calais and driving to Disneyland Paris. Keri over on Our Globe Trotters has a great post full of information about driving from the UK to France, if you are electing to take your own car.

Personally, I will always book separately as that’s my preference but by all means you can choose to book via an all-in-one package travel agent such as Thomson or Magic Breaks. The choice really is yours, but you’ve got limited options to make savings if you do an all-in-one trip so bear that in mind.

When booking your trip, I recommend you check out the Disneyland Paris UK site, the Disneyland Paris French site and Disneyland Paris German site, and compare the prices. Sometimes you’ll find one is doing a deal where the other two aren’t. And don’t worry about the language. Just use the Google translate button on the web page and you’ll be fine.

One final tip here is check out whether there are any European school holidays on while you plan to visit, particularly if you are visiting Disneyland Paris outside of UK and Irish school breaks. Just Google “school holidays (country name) (year)” and you should find pages giving this information. Be especially aware of booking your visit while there are French school holidays as the parks have the potential to be incredibly busy during this time.

Should you stay in an on-site Disney Hotel?

There are quite a few advantages to staying in one of the Disney hotels over any of the non-Disney Hotels located near Disneyland Paris. I was actually surprised at what was included such as:

  • Park tickets for each day of your stay including the day of your arrival and departure.
  • Hotel Fast Pass (only available with certain hotels).
  • Extra Magic Time included (more on this later).
  • Character meet and greets in the hotels.
  • Free shuttle bus to the parks from your hotel (not needed for the Disneyland Hotel and not available for the Davy Crockett Ranch). That said some of the non-Disney hotels run their own shuttle buses to the parks but check this out before booking.
  • Sometimes you can get free breakfast or half board deals when booking a Disney hotel, or extra days free. Please note that bed and breakfast is no longer a guaranteed deal, this stopped early in 2017.

Disney hotels include the Disneyland Hotel (where we stayed), the Disney Hotel New York (looks fab from the outside), Disney Newport Bay, Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne and Santa Fe (in descending order of star rating). There are also on-site self-catering cabins in the form of the Davy Crockett Ranch, which are ideal if travelling to Disney by car, or if you have a large family and don’t want to fork out for two hotel rooms. Just note that there is no free shuttle bus from here as mentioned. All the Disney hotels can be found, and prices compared, on the relevant Disneyland Paris website.

You might ask which is the best Disneyland Paris Hotel. Truthfully, we have only stayed in the Disneyland Paris Hotel itself, and while it was amazing, so too was the price. I would advise you read reviews of the hotels within your price range and decide from there. Realistically you won’t be spending all that much time at your hotel, unless the weather is particularly dreadful. What I will say is watch out for deals for Disneyland Paris hotels with park tickets. These are often included and will save you money in the long run if your park tickets are included.

disneyland paris day 4 - The stunning lobby of the Disneyland Hotel
The stunning lobby of the Disneyland Hotel in December 2017

Tips for preparing to visit Disneyland Paris

Decide whether you want a meal plan or not.

Breakfast used to be included in your hotel booking but it was changed early in 2017 and it is now an add-on option. At the time of our original booking, we added it on. However, we later changed it to a Full Board Plus Meal Plan. I could remember wandering around for ages at lunchtime with BattleDad during our pre-BattleKid trips, trying to find somewhere to have lunch. We ended up in Toad Hall, eating awful over-priced fish and chips, and I didn’t want history repeating itself with a toddler in tow.

There are different levels of meal plans from Standard to Plus to Premium, and which one you choose will depend on both your budget and where you want to eat. We chose the Plus as we could eat in places like Captain Jack’s and Bistro Chez Remy without having to budget additional money for them. If you choose Standard and want to eat there, you will need to top-up on your meal vouchers.

Also, I would recommend thinking long and hard about your Disneyland Paris dining plan, and whether you need Full Board or could manage with Half Board. We chose full board and I ended up giving away three sets of meal plans vouchers because we didn’t use all ours. We could have easily managed with just Half Board and perhaps paying for one meal. Next time I think we’ll go Half Board. The food is plentiful and good quality, but we didn’t need a large breakfast then a three-course meal at lunch time and a three-course meal at dinner time. It was just a bit too much for us.

*Update Jan 2018

We paid for breakfast at the time of making our booking with Disneyland Paris, as there were no meal plan deals on offer, and we received vouchers for the buffet breakfast in our hotel upon our arrival. Our friends also received hotel buffet breakfast vouchers, although they had to eat in one of the Studios restaurants as the restaurant in their hotel was undergoing refurbishment. 

It has also been brought to my attention by one of my readers that with some “Free Half Board” deals, you may not get a buffet breakfast in your hotel, that you may instead receive vouchers for breakfast in one of the Counter Service outlets in the park instead. Please make sure to check exactly what is on offer when you book, and if you really want the buffet breakfast, and not a counter service breakfast, I’d suggest ringing the Disneyland Paris customer service telephone number to see if you can “top up” for the buffet breakfast.

Decide whether you want to buy the Photo Pass

This pass can prove very useful if you plan on doing quite a few meet and greets, but less so if you are not. I knew we were going to try get to a few meet and greets, so added it to our original booking (costing £45 in June 2017). If you don’t buy before you go, you can still get it in the parks or your hotel boutique (if staying in a Disney hotel), and in December 2017, it cost €70 when bought at Disney itself. Note that the price is going up in 2018.

In the end it proved very useful for us. Not all the meet and greets we did had official photographers at them, but those that did resulted in at least three pictures or more. Between rides and meet and greets we came away with 43 photos. Those from the meet and greets were worth buying it for alone. I’ve heard of some people coming away with 100+ photos, so consider whether you want it or not. And if you do, buy before you go so it works out more cost-effective. Here are some pictures from our photo pass.BattleKid meeting Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Paris BattleKid meeting Darth Vader in Disneyland Paris

Watch Disney films

Disney films are part and parcel of growing up, but that said, the films are always changing, and classics are being replaced in the eyes of our children by newer, shinier films.

Before visiting Disneyland Paris, we made sure to watch a few of the classics with BattleKid so he would at least be aware of the characters before going on certain rides. We had never watched Peter Pan with him but knew we wanted to go on the ride, so we watched it with him in the weeks before our trip. We watched the following films:

  • Peter Pan
  • Jungle Book
  • Dumbo
  • Ratatouille (a first for us adults as well)
  • Toy Story 1 and 2
  • Cars (a regular in our house).

We also watched a few episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so the characters were fresh in BattleKid’s mind should we meet them at the character’s breakfasts we had booked.

Prepare your snack bags

One thing I can remember from our previous visits to Disneyland Paris was the cost of food and drink in the parks. And everyone I had received advice from in my planning stages said to bring snack bags to keep hunger at bay with little ones, especially in between meals, or for use in queues.

So, I packed two snack bags per day for BattleKid, which was overkill but better to be safe than sorry. I found it quite hard to fill them here in Portugal as we don’t have kids treats and snacks such as the Kiddylicious range or the Organix range.

In our snack bags, which were Ziploc bags, I packed the following:

  • Two small Kinder chocolate bars (from a multipack)
  • A packet of apple crisps
  • Oaty Biscuit bar
  • One fruit/yogurt pouch
  • One small chocolate bar
  • A few jelly teddy bears.

Anything that doesn’t need refrigerating, could melt, or go off quickly, will be ideal, especially individually wrapped items. I also brought apples and grapes in our luggage, as well as a knife, so I could bring a small lunch box with fruit into the park each day.

And remember your drinks bottles. But beware, although there are numerous drinking fountains throughout Disneyland Paris, we found none working during our trip in December. None! Whether this was due to the cold weather or not, I don’t know. So, we had to buy some water in our hotel and fill our drinks bottles from those (and from the bottles at breakfast, but this can be frowned upon). Also, get yourself a bottle or two of concentrated squeezy juice to make flavoured drinks for your kids if they’re not big on simply water. Grab them in Boots or a newsagents through security in the airport if going to Disneyland Paris by plane.

Prepare your kids for the crowds by watching some YouTube vlogs

One hint given to us was to watch some YouTube videos with your kids to prepare them for how crowded and busy Disney might be. Although I did this with BattleKid, I don’t think he quite got it at his age (almost 4), so I think this would be better for slightly older kids who might be going for the first time. One thing to note, don’t watch vlogs from the year you are going, especially if it is one of the anniversary years. I started to watch the Illuminations 25th anniversary video and stopped a minute in as I didn’t want it ruined for our visit.

Visitors with disabilities or special needs

There is a plenty of information on the website with regards to those visiting Disneyland Paris who might have disabilities or special needs. From whether you can get priority passes, to the documentation you’ll need to get these, I suggest you check out the website. If your answer cannot be found, ring the Disneyland Paris number (UK –  08448 008 111 , Paris – +33 160 306 053).

One of the Facebook groups I joined prior to our visit, which has so much useful information, is the Daniel Potter’s Disneyland Paris Advice Group. You can search for relevant threads, or ask your question. They are really helpful and willingly give advice to those who need it. I did join another Facebook group which I won’t name, but found it less friendly than the Daniel Potter one!

How to get to Disneyland Paris from the airport

You have a few options here. We booked the Magic Shuttle to and from Orly, but I never checked the times before we went. Do this BEFORE you book it. I thought it would be a regular 15 to 30-minute bus but not so. It has a specific timetable. When we landed and cleared customs in Orly, we had just missed the 17.50 bus and the next wasn’t until 19.00 (also the last one of the day). We didn’t fancy waiting around for 50 minutes in the cold with a toddler, so we took a taxi. Which cost us €125, due to the awful rush hour traffic through road works. Be warned! We did get it back to the airport but had to forgo breakfast in order to get one which would leave us at the airport well in time for our flight.

You can also take the TGV or RER trains from Charles de Galle or Orly but depending on where you land you may need to make a change. Not ideal if you are travelling with luggage and buggies.

You could book a private transfer, and this may be the best option. Had I known about the Magic Shuttle timetable before booking it, I’d have opted for a private booking. Information on these can be found via the Daniel Potter Facebook group too.

Additional tips before visiting Disneyland Paris

If you want to eat at the best Disneyland Paris restaurants while there, you can book these 60 days in advance. DO IT. Call the reservations number (+33 1 60 30 40 50) and make all your bookings in one go. I have read there is a UK freephone number for restaurant bookings, but have also read of people not being able to get through or being kept on the line for hours. I would recommend ringing the direct French reservations number very early in the morning. I rang at 7.15am UK time and was answered immediately. The French number is open 24/7 so avoid calling at peak times.

Also, buy your children’s autograph books and costumes before you go as they are more expensive to buy in the Disney parks. There are some great ones on Amazon such as this one.

If you don’t already have waterproofs for the family, buy them before you go. All-in-one’s for kids and waterproof over-trousers for adults would be a must in my opinion. Although we didn’t need them in December, the French weather is an unpredictable as the UK or Irish weather so it’s best to be prepared. Why bring waterproof over-trousers for adults? Who wants to sit on a wet seat on a ride and have wet pants for the rest of the day!

Before you go, or as soon as you arrive, get yourself a lanyard for your park tickets, at the very least. This will save you so much time when entering the parks or going between the two. I also had my hotel charge card, hotel room card and my driving licence (more on this later) in my lanyard, along with our park tickets. Saves you rummaging through your bag to find them. Again, you buy Disney lanyards (such as this matching set) on Amazon.

If you can find the Disneyland Paris timetable prior to your visit, plan your days at Disneyland Paris. I wasn’t going to do this until I read about it on the Daniel Potter’s Facebook group and was glad I did it in the end. We fitted in so much more than if we had just gone there to ‘wing it’. I am planning another post about what we fitted in, so watch out for that.

Hints and tips for visiting Disneyland Paris parks

Getting into the parks and planning your day

You can either walk to the parks from Disney hotels, or get the free shuttle buses. Be warned that these get very busy at peak times, so you might have to wait on the next bus. And you will have to collapse buggies.

If you are staying in the Disneyland Hotel, you have the shortest distance to travel to the parks as you are right at the Disney park entrance.

If you haven’t already done so, pick up a Disneyland Paris Schedule leaflet in the park for the most up-to-date times and programme. This will also tell you what meet and greets are taking place, where and when, and whether there will be an official photographer there (handy for those with the photo pass). Then plan out your day if you haven’t already done so. They will also give you up-to-date times for any Disneyland Paris parade times and shows being held during your visit.

There are two parks and we spent more time in the Disney park than the Disneyland Paris Studios park. We had three days so spent two in Disney. When BattleDad and I visited for one day, we did Disney in the morning and finished off in Studios. But this meant we missed the castle lights show as we had to travel back into Paris each time.

Extra Magic Time

If you are staying in a Disney hotel, you get additional time in the parks called Extra Magic Time (EMT) – formerly Extra Magic Hours. The length of this time will depend on the time of year you are visiting but can be from 8am to 10am. When we visited in December 2017, our EMT was 8.30-9.30. And don’t worry about that missing half hour. You remain in the park, and can keep enjoying this quieter time before the parks open to the public.

And if you have EMT, USE IT. We entered the parks just before this time and enjoyed rides which normally have long wait times, as well as did one or two meet and greets. We enjoyed EMT in the Disney park one morning and ticked off all but one of the rides we wanted to do in Fantasyland with BattleKid, which freed up more time in our day. Just note that only Fantasyland in the Disney park is open during EMT. That said, you can queue at the entrance to other areas and be one of the first to arrive at your ride of choice. BattleDad went to do Indiana Jones at 9.45am and was first on at 10am.

Getting into the Disney park before EMT will also give you a chance to get a picture of the castle with no one in front of it as they have a rope across the entrance until the official EMT opening hours. For example, we got to the castle at 8.20am one morning and that is how I got my castle picture as used in my graphics for this post.

I would recommend doing the Peter Pan ride in Disney and the Ratatouille ride in Studios during this time. This will leave your hotel Fast Pass (if you get them) free to use for other rides during your visit. These were two rides recommended to us as ones not to be missed.

Fast Pass

As mentioned, if you stay in certain Disney hotels you will receive one Fast Pass per person, per day of your stay. These can be used on certain rides to beat the queues. You simply scan your ticket at the Fast Pass machine at the entrance to the ride. You will receive a ticket with a return time, enabling you to continue to enjoy the rest of the park without queuing for that ride. However, you can only use one Fast Pass at a time or when 2 hours has elapsed. I’ll be honest and say that although we had Fast Pass tickets, we didn’t use any of them as we managed to get the rides we wanted to do done either in EMT or without queuing because the wait times were incredibly short. Rides which have Fast Pass can be found here.

Dining at Disneyland Paris

You have many options for dining while visiting Disneyland Paris, whether you have a meal plan or not. There are fast-food restaurants, table service restaurants and also character dining experiences. Full information about all the places to eat at Disneyland Paris can be found on the website here.

If you have a meal plan, you get one voucher per meal per person. For half board you will get a breakfast and one meal voucher per day, full board is one breakfast and two meal vouchers per day. Each meal plan voucher has a nominal monetary value (not shown on the voucher), and these can be used towards a meal if you want to eat away from the menu your voucher is for.

For example, we had Plus meal vouchers, so were able to eat at most restaurants from the Plus menu. However, BattleDad fancied the Premium meal at Captain Jack’s so he ordered from that menu and we paid the difference (although the difference turned out to be more than the advertised price difference between the Plus and Premium menus so be sure to ask. We paid €20 instead of the advertised €6 difference. Not a problem, but if you’re on a strict budget be aware of these little surprises).

On the Daniel Potter’s Facebook Group, there is a file containing full information about each meal plan, the restaurants included in it and where you might need to top up. Be aware that there are certain restaurants in the Disney Village that DO NOT accept meal vouchers including Planet Hollywood, Vapianos, King Ludwigs Castle, Rainforest Café, McDonalds and 5 Guys.

As for character dining, where you get to meet characters while you eat, there are a few options. The first is a character breakfast in Plaza Gardens within the park, which we did. I’ve written about that in my Disneyland Paris Holiday Diaries. Please note, there are no longer characters present in Café Mickey.

You can also do character dining at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel, or Princess character dining at Auberge de Cendrillon, within the Disney castle. Both of these options are significantly pricier than the character breakfast, although I’ve heard are a more relaxed affair than the breakfast experience. In truth, we enjoyed the character breakfast when we went to the earlier sitting of 8.15am rather than 9.45am.

One thing I cannot stress enough is to book your meals 60 days in advance. BattleDad and I never did in previous years, and as mentioned, ate over-priced awful fish and chips for lunch. This time, I rang 55 days in advance and booked our table for Bistro Chez Remy, Steakhouse, Captain Jack’s and the California Grill, ensuring we had nice meals planned.

However, our Bistro Chez Remy meal was mixed up and we had to go to a later sitting than planned, screwing up our planned day in Studios. So, my advice is to confirm your meals BEFORE you go, just in case. I confirmed our time for Captain Jacks early in the morning on the day we would be eating there just to be certain there was no further mix ups.

Photo Pass and how to use it

As mentioned the Photo Pass can be purchased before your visit or while you are at the parks. This gives you digital copies of all your photos from rides and meet and greets as high-resolution copies, which you can access on line for one year from first use. Note, not all rides have photos, nor do all character meet and greets. Those that do are clearly marked by a symbol on the park’s timetable.

Before you go, create a photo pass account on the Disneyland Photo Pass website, and download the Photo Pass app too. Once you get your photo pass at the parks, insert the code into your account and start collecting your photos.

You will receive one main photo pass card, and two smaller fobs. These are handy if your party wants to split up for any reason.

On rides, you can either use your QR scanner on your phone to add your photo to your account. Or, each photo has a code associated with it in the format A1234. Simply add this to your account and hey presto, ride photo will be added.

As for meet and greets with official photographer’s present, simply hand them your photo pass card when it’s your turn and they will do the rest. Alternatively, if you haven’t got a photo pass, they often hand you a card which you can bring to a booth to get your photos, or which you can add to a photo pass account later. But be aware there is a time limit on this, and you cannot put them onto a photo pass account after you’ve left Disney.

As already mentioned, it can work out cheaper to buy before you go. The Photo Pass lasts for 10 days from first use, but you can access and download your photos for 1 year. And as far as I am aware, you do get a warning email when your Photo Pass is about to expire.

Shopping while visiting Disneyland Paris

If you are staying in a Disney hotel, you can shop until 4pm and avail of the free delivery service to your hotel, meaning you can remain bag free. And whatever you do, DO NOT leave shopping bags on strollers or in the basket underneath. You run the risk of your bag being stolen.

Kids will be tempted by EVERYTHING they see, so why not give them a spending limit and once it’s gone, it’s gone. BattleKid had his own spending money from us and his grandparents, and apart from his Buzz Lightyear action figure, he paid for everything else he wanted. He even came home with some money left.

My advice is leave your shopping until the end of the day. We waited until after the Illuminations to visit the shops along Main Street. This was for two reasons; one, we didn’t plan to shop during the day, and two, we wanted to kill time before attempting to get “The Picture”.

We also did most of our shopping after our day in the Studios in the World of Disney shop in the Disneyland Paris Disney Village. While it was busy, we were heading for our hotel straight afterwards, so this was the best time for us to get it done.

A word of warning: If you are going to use a hotel charge card, like the one we got in the Disneyland Hotel, please make sure you have ID with you at all times, corresponding to the person whose name is on the card. We had used the card for small charges without needing it. However, in the World of Disney, our total was well over €100, and the lady on the cashier desk asked to see my ID for the card. I didn’t have any with me and as a result, BattleDad had to run back to our hotel with BattleKid to get my driving licence. So, carry your ID, preferably your driving licence, in your lanyard along with your charge card. Better to have it with you, than be caught out without it like me.Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris - The Ultimate how to guide

Other tips for inside the parks

Download the Disneyland Paris app: This proved so useful during our time in the parks. Not only does it have approximate wait times for each ride, but also has other information along the top scroll bar such as dining, photo pass rides and also restroom locations, essential for while visiting Disneyland Paris with toddlers.

Stroller: Do not second guess yourself on this. We nearly did, and it would have been to our detriment. Whether your child uses one at home or not, bring it with you, just in case. BattleKid hadn’t used one for six months prior to our trip to Disneyland Paris. Although he was fine on our first day, albeit with a little carrying, he asked for his half way through our second day. And we were glad we had it in our room to grab! You other option is to hire one in the park.

Bring your character costumes from home: Make sure to buy your children’s costumes outside of the parks as the costumes in Disney shops within the parks are a lot more expensive. I wasn’t convinced of this, but bought BattleKid’s costumes before we went. I was convinced when I saw the cost of the Buzz Lightyear costume within the park. I paid £30.99 for the costume including gloves. The same costume, without gloves, was priced at €59.99, and you had to pay for the glove separately! Why bring costumes? Not only will your kids get more interaction with cast members and characters but you could be allowed to skip the queue if your children are dressed as the character such as the Buzz Lightyear ride.

tips for visiting disneyland paris
The price tag of a Buzz Lightyear costume in Disneyland Paris

Buy your autograph books before you go: These too cost more inside the parks. And also bring pens with you into the park. No one wants to get caught short at a character meet and greet without a pen. And the characters and their minders will not have any!

Eat at unusual times: If you’re planning to wing it when it comes to meals, if you are prepared to eat at unusual times, then your wait will be shorter than at peak times. For example, we strolled over to Annette’s in the Disney Village at 4.00pm one afternoon and were seated straight away as a party of 7. This is the time most people were headed to the Disney park for the Parade at 5pm. The evening before we’d been in the village from 8.30pm and the queue for Annette’s was out the door and extremely long. Our friends had also visited the Village at 7.15pm and managed to get a table at Café Mickey within in a few minutes as people were watching the Illuminations in the Disney Park. So, if you can time your meal at those unusual times you can get lucky.

Queue to the left: If there is an option, queue to left for a ride (e.g. at the turnstiles in Pirates of the Carribbean just before the boats). These always move quicker than right hand queues, most likely because most people are right-handed so naturally gravitate to the right.

Single Riders: Many of the rides have a line for single riders, meaning if only one of you wants to do a ride, you can get onto the ride quicker by being a single rider, willing to fill up empty seats. BattleDad went on both the Tower of Terror and Indiana Jones as a single rider and didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for a seat. A friend went on Ratatouille and was on within 5 mins while the larger queue was 45 mins.

Baby Switch: I wasn’t aware of this before, but this facility enables parents to enjoy the rides, one after the other, if they are with a child who cannot or doesn’t want to go on the ride. One parent rides first, while the other waits with the child. Then when the ride returns, they swap without having to queue again.

Bring spare batteries and memory cards: Ensure you have at least one extra battery and one extra memory card for your camera. You will need them. And also bring a portable charger for your phone with you. This can come in handy if you are using your phone to keep kids entertained in ride queues.

Leave the selfie sticks at home: Selfie sticks are banned in Disneyland Paris, as are camera tripods with extendable legs. You can bring Gorilla pod type tripods into the park if you really want to. I brought one with me but didn’t use it at all.

Try catch the parades, Disney Castle lights show and a few Studios shows: These are three events you really don’t want to miss. We caught the Christmas parade but missed the main one. That said, the Christmas one was at a perfect time and was a perfect length for keeping BattleKid’s attention. He even got good interactions from some characters as he was dressed as Kylo Ren.

Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris - the Christmas parade
The Christmas Parade in Disneyland Paris (December 2017)

The Castle lights show, called Illuminations for the 25th anniversary, was amazingAnd we managed to see both the Moteurs Action Show (a big hit with bike-and-car-mad BattleKid) and Mickey and the Magician. The shows in Studios could be a good option too if the rain is particularly heavy during your visit.

Things to watch out for while visiting Disneyland Paris

You might find some people advising you to take a bike lock for your buggy/stroller, as it has been known for them to go missing from the entrance to rides, in order to lock your buggy to the railings at the entrance to rides. However, during my final check of hints and tips for Disneyland Paris I discovered it is NOT allowed to lock buggies to railings. The best you can do is put the lock through your buggy wheels (if you have one that allows this), to deter it being stolen. Otherwise you just need to take a chance if you are all going on the same rides. I have a long Velcro strap for our buggy (the folding catch doesn’t work great) and when we were with our friends, I strapped the two buggies together. Also, never ever leave anything on or in your buggy while it is unattended.

I advise you to get an ID bracelet for each of your children and put your contact details on it, just in case you should get separated. I found some on Amazon such as these ones. BattleKid wore them everyday in the park and after the first few hours didn’t notice it at all.

Watch out for families placing a ‘seed’ in the queue in front of you. What do I mean by that? I took our son on the Dumbo ride while BattleDad went to do the Indiana Jones ride himself. We had one girl of about 10 years of age in front of us in the queue. It turned out that her siblings and mother were behind us. As we got nearer the front, she dragged her siblings through to her. I turned a blind eye to this. As the ride was a two-person ride, I allowed the mother to join her three children. It just made sense for them to take two elephants rather than three. And as we got to the entrance, this mother then called forward SIX more adults to join them! Six adults! For the Dumbo ride! I was furious and let them know, but they just pretended they didn’t understand English (they were Spanish). My warning is do not be polite unless you know exactly who and how many may join this ‘seed’ person in front of you.

Adults, please can I ask you to look down when rushing about the place. Our son was nearly knocked over three times by adults in a hurry who didn’t look down and check for a child in their way. You cannot avoid children of any ages when you visit Disneyland Paris. Each time our son was only saved from a nasty fall by BattleDad grabbing hold of the person before they knocked him down. None had bothered to look down.

If you are planning to watch the parade I would advise you to stake your spot at least 20 to 30 minutes before the start and guard it with your life. We found a great spot to the left of the castle if you’re facing it from Main Street, with our backs to Discoveryland. We also chose to stand beside a rubbish bin and we put one of the buggies at the other end of our line to avoid people trying to push through. On the other side of the buggy (not in our line) I saw a family push their kids through at the last minute in front of people who had been waiting as long as we had. It’s the height of rudeness and is no example for your children. Get there early and wait your turn.

And for those of you planning to watch the lights show (Illuminations), please do not sit children on your shoulders right in front of people who have been waiting 20 minutes already. You obscure their view, especially if they want to capture pictures or videos, and you force them to move. We had this happen to us and it is infuriating.

Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris - Illumiantions, celebrating Disneyland Paris' 25th anniversary
Illumiantions, celebrating Disneyland Paris’ 25th anniversary

For shows, I’d advise arriving 20 minutes before the show in order to get a good seat. We arrived about 15 minutes before Mickey and the Magician was due to start and there were already two massive queues to get in. We ended up with seats to the side of the stage. Now our view wasn’t bad, but if you want the prime seats, arrive extra early.

Tips for visiting Disneyland Paris- Moteurs Action show
Moteurs Action show in Studios, featuring Lightening McQueen

Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Visiting Disneyland Paris can be a magical experience, even more so with kids, and you should still take time to just enjoy yourself and soak up the atmosphere. If you want to get the most out of your visit, make sure to plan your time there. But be prepared to deviate from your plan, as we had to on two days. This was due to a mix up with one of our restaurant bookings and also due to one meal over-running quite a bit.

I hope you have found this guide to Disneyland Paris useful and that the hints and tips included within prove helpful. While I’ve tried to cover as much as I can, there may be one or two items I have missed or not covered. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them, or update this post for visiting disneyland paris

And last but not least, you could also head into Paris itself with the kids if you fancied a change of scenery. There are two great posts about taking kids into Paris, one by Keri of Our Globe Trotters and one by Vanessa of Wanderlust Crew.

Are you planning a trip to Disneyland Paris soon? Have you got any further Disneyland Paris tips to share?

Cath x

For additional resources about Disneyland Paris, read these other great posts:

Other information:

For full details on Disneyland Paris tickets, please visit the Disneyland Paris website (Disneyland Paris park tickets section) for full details. Here you’ll find information about prices of tickets. Be aware you can buy Disneyland Paris tickets at the gate, as BattleDad and I did on our two previous day trips.

Up-to-date Disneyland Paris Opening Times can also be found on the Disneyland Paris website here. The website also has a full list of things to do in Disneyland Paris and there is a Disneyland Paris Rides list too.

*Please note that this post contains a number of affiliate links.  That means that I receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link – this doesn’t cost you anything extra.

tips for visiting disneyland paris

This post is being added to the following great link-ups:

Fearless Family Travel with Wandermust Family

Wanderlust Kids

The Places We Will Go
Hilary Style
Tips For Visiting Disneyland Paris: The Ultimate How To Guide - So you want to visit Disneyland Paris but don't know where to start. Planning a visit to Disneyland Paris with the kids can be easy if you read my post which is packed with hints, tips and secrets to having a great holiday at Disneyland Paris.

A New Year, A New Focus

Happy New Year to all my followers. My word, 2017 went like a flash. And what a year it was for us as a family. I wanted to write a little note to start the new year on the blog and explain a few things that will be happening with the blog going forward and some changes that will be happening and some that have started and will be continuing. 

Those of you who are regular readers will have already noticed these changes happening, but I thought it would be good to explain the changes to those who dip in and out of the blog, or for any new readers. I also thought it would be good to explain my reasons behind the changes to my regulars.

Firstly, you’ll have noticed my blog header and social media avatars have changed quite a bit in the latter quarter of 2017. Gone is the scientist header below:

and it has been replaced by this:

Rebrand BattleMum header blog

The reason is simple. As of March 2017, I no longer work as a scientist and felt it was time to change the blog accordingly. I gave up my much-loved job as a scientist in readiness for our move to Portugal. We made the decision a year ago to sell up lock, stock and barrel, and move our family to Portugal for a number of reasons. Being close to my parents was top of the list. 

They bought a retirement home late in 2016 in Portugal, and we thought it might be good to move to be closer to them. The advantages far outweighed the disadvantages. For one, BattleKid would be able to spend much more time with his grandparents. And for times when BattleDad is travelling for work, I’d have a support network there that I didn’t have in Wales.

Secondly, the sunshine. There really has been no comparison where that is concerned. We quickly realised as we were discussing the possibility of moving that BattleKid had spent more than two thirds of his life indoors, mainly down to the cold, wet weather of the UK. Most times, when he’d ask to go out on his bike, we’d have to say no because it was either too cold or raining. Moving to Portugal would mean more time outdoors.

We also thought it would be a great opportunity for BattleKid to become bilingual and that at three and a half, it would be the right time to make the move as he would most likely pick up the language quite easily. 

The other reason for changing my blog header is that BattleKid is growing up and I felt the baby no longer represented where we were in terms of his age. And while I am still a biker underneath, I haven’t been on one since I was four months pregnant with BattleKid, and I’m unlikely to be on the back of one for some time to come.

The new header is a much better representation of our family as it stands. We’re a family who love to travel and I thought it was time to bring that into the header. It also shows how the blog is changing. My blog started as a parenting blog during the last few months of my maternity leave. While I enjoyed writing about BattleKid growing up, I came to realise last year that I don’t really want to continue with the parenting theme. 

There are hundreds of great parenting blogs out there, and loads of great parenting resource websites, and really I didn’t think I had anything more to share beyond what everyone else was sharing. I also didn’t really want to be writing about dealing with tantrums, or potty training, or how to deal with night wakings after toilet training. It didn’t feel right and it was no longer for me.

I still enjoy reading about other people’s experiences but I didn’t really feel like I wanted to share ours anymore. However, the one thing that gets my fingers typing fast and the words flowing easily is writing about our travels. Be it our Holiday Diaries, or posts about our Dragon Hunting adventures, these are the posts that come much easier to me and are the ones I enjoy writing so much more than general stuff.

I still enjoy the odd review but in the latter half of the year, I became pickier, if you will, about what things I wanted to review on the blog. And I started to focus on things that could have a travel aspect to them. Things like the Cabin Zero bag, of which I now own two as I love them that much, and the Adventure Belt, a great new edition to our travelling arsenal with BattleKid.

And as a result of all of that, our blog is now focused on family travel more than anything else. There may be one or two posts which are not wholly travel-related and it is for that reason I call my blog a Family Travel and Lifestyle Blog. The main focus of the blog has been changing over the last few months, with more travel-related posts being published than anything else and this will continue going forward.

I will continue to write our Holiday Diaries, mainly as a diary for BattleKid to look back on in later years, but also so that people can see what sort of things we get up to on our holidays. They used to be quite boring, if I’m honest, particularly when we were on package holidays, but as of last year, our travels have taken a different turn (which I’ve written about recently). They have become much more about discovery and adventure rather than sitting by a pool doing nothing. And I want to share those tales with everyone.

Out of our travels will come guides or information posts too, which I hope will be of benefit to others. Posts such as my 5 Things to Do in New York with a Toddler in Tow. That series will continue as we visit more and more places. I also plan to write other types of posts about travelling which may provide helpful hints and tips to others embarking on travel with their little ones. And if there is anything in particular you’d like to see on the blog then let me know!

So there you go, BattleMum is becoming a more travel-focused blog. I know the title of my blog doesn’t quite reflect the niche, but I’m still a BattleMum, battling my way through life, albeit a life vastly different to when the blog first started. 

Cath x