Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris as a Family

As you read this post, we are on our way to Disneyland Paris, finally! It has been six months in the planning. Everything from where we should stay to where to eat, it’s been read, reread and read again. As you’ll know by now, I have had help from the blogging community during the last few months. They’ve helped with the initial stages of planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris. They’ve told us the best places for food at Disneyland Paris, and they’ve also told me which are the best rides for under 5’s, essential when you are travelling with a nearly 4-year-old. But in the last few weeks I’ve been asking them what are their last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

BattleDad and I have visited Disneyland Paris twice before, 5 and 10 years ago. You see, if you aren’t aware by now, BattleDad was part of the opening crew in 1992 when Euro Disney (as it was called then) opened. He spent a year living in Paris, working as a Cast Member at Disneyland Paris. The last two visits we made coincided with his 15 and 20-year anniversary of being part of the opening crew. And this year he (and Disney) celebrate 25 years!

However, our last two visits were as a couple and we spent our day trips to Disneyland very much fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. We went on about three rides, ate at the worst places we could have picked because we didn’t book anywhere ahead of our visits, and apart from getting some lovely bits in the shops, they weren’t visits you’d write home about. This time we have BattleKid in tow and this holiday is all about him. BattleDad will be interested in seeing the Star Wars rides and seeing if there are any memorabilia we should get, apart from the mugs we always buy. But other than that, we want to get the most out of Disneyland for BattleKid as we can.

I have a rough itinerary planned out and I am fully prepared to change that, but I wanted to know if anyone had any last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. So, as always, I turned to the blogging community and here’s what I learned.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family

Jemma from Have Kids Will Travel gave me an awesome tip.

Make sure you use the baby swap facility where one parent goes on the ride (whilst the other waits by the exit with a non-riding child), and then the other parent gets to go pretty much straight on the ride. Was fab when used with the Fast Pass.

Now, this is brilliant. Although we expect BattleKid to want to go on most rides, there may be one or two he won’t, so this will allow BattleDad and I to go on those rides one after the other without having to queue again. I checked with Jemma if it can be used with a nearly 4-year old, and she said yes, for any ride they can’t go on themselves, or one they don’t want to. Genius!

Beth from Twinderelmo said not to forget our autograph books as they are expensive in the park.

Also take your own pens as the characters don’t carry their own!

I bought a packet of cheap pens in my last shopping trip and popped them in my bag in readiness for our trip. Although the autograph book I bought BattleKid has one, it’s no harm to keep that and use ones I don’t mind losing or sharing with other families.

Coral from Way Too Much Luggage says to wear comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking to do. She also said don’t worry about a stroller if your little one doesn’t use one at home as it will make life for your stay easier. The walking shoes and trainers are packed, and we have actually elected to bring BattleKid’s stroller, just in case. We will probably use it on our first day and see how he gets on. If he doesn’t need it, then we’ll leave it in our hotel room for subsequent days.

I was going to bring a bike lock, and lock our buggy to the railing at the ride entrance as suggested by Coral, but Laura from We Forgot The Sperm said this is against park rules and your buggy can be removed. She advises to lock the wheels together instead.

Laura also advised to buy the Photo Pass as they got over 100 pictures in 5 days and each picture in the park would have cost €15 each in the park. Well, I’m glad I added it to our booking as I was unsure about it. Plus, I’ve since read that it’s cheaper to buy before you go. We paid £45 at the time of making our booking, but to buy it in the park will cost you €69.99 (£62.40, at the time of writing). That said, if you were to want to buy just 4-5 pictures, you’d cover the cost of the Photo Pass. Worth thinking about!

Jade from Mummies Waiting, who is also at Disneyland Paris at the same time as us, is a seasoned visitor to Disneyland with her little ones and had these tips for me.

  • Prepare your kids ahead of time by watching Disney vlogs so they get a feel for how busy it’s going to be.
  • Don’t pack too much stuff. Be aware there has been pick-pocketing going on and stealing from rooms (even safes). Lock valuables in your case, and bicycle lock that to your bed.
  • If you like to prepare, bring snacks and squeezy juice to refill your drinks bottles.
  • You can write down what parades and shows are on and when. Then print that as a pocket size card.

Jade even has a rough timetable prepared for their visit and I took inspiration from her and did the same. I also listed out rides in areas we definitely want to do and Meets and Greets in each area too.

Sophie from Sophobsessed said to download the App as it’s so useful. Thanks Sophie, done!

Nat from Awaybies had a few good tips. Firstly, following on from Coral’s advise (Way Too Much Luggage), wear comfortable shoes. She also said to bring your own costumes as they are eye wateringly expensive in the park. We have that covered as it was mentioned in my planning post. We have a Buzz Lightyear costume, a Lightning McQueen outfit and a Kylo Ren one for BattleKid. Jemma (Have Kids Will Travel) also said costumes can get your kids onto the ride of that costume without queuing so that could come in useful!

Nat also suggested bringing some souvenirs in advance and I have one or two items for BattleKid for his “Disney” pack. And we have our autograph book too.

Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy said her biggest tip is to plan your days. Decide what Meet and Greets you want to do, what rides and what shows. Decide what areas of the park you really want to visit too. She also suggested downloading the app for live wait times, meet and greet times and show times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – The Eateries

While I did a post dedicated to the best places for a meal at Disneyland Paris, a few bloggers told me their must-do places for meals. Anna from Squats Make Mama Sassy said Café Mickey is a must while Kate from Five Little Stars said to remember that Café Mickey is no longer a character dining restaurant and she prefers eating at the Rainforest Café or Planet Hollywood in the Village instead.

Caroline from Mum’s Misbehaving said to go for meals early. When it gets busy

You cannot get served and can queue for an hour and a half. It was soul destroying with my 3-year-old who was starving.

She also said Café Mickey is a must and also recommended Buffalo Bill’s Show. We have all our meals bar two already booked so hopefully we won’t have to experience long waits. But we may try Café Mickey for one of those meals if it isn’t too busy!

Booking your meals ahead was also a tip from Coral of Way Too Much Luggage. Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy also suggested booking meals ahead of your arrival.

Jade from Mummies Waiting also advised booking ahead and I’m happy to say we’ve all but two meals booked. We don’t have lunch or dinner planned for our first day in the park as we have the Characters Breakfast booked for the 9.45am seating. We figured we’d get a late lunch or early dinner, depending on when everyone is getting hungry and just go to one of the walk-in places, most likely in the village around parade time. Hopefully they won’t be too busy then. After that, all meals are booked for specific times!

Victoria from Starlight and Stories said to check your order at any quick service restaurants BEFORE leaving the counter, especially during the lead up to the parades.

Lines get really long, and it’s really frustrating to get outside and realise you only have half your order.

This is a great tip. Victoria has, unfortunately, been caught out many times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – Other Blog Posts to Read

As well as all these great tips, many bloggers have written full posts with hints and tips to enjoying Disneyland Paris with kids.

One of the first Disneyland Paris posts I read back in the summer was the 30 Awesome Disneyland Paris Tips and Tricks by Kellie of My Little Babog. She had so many good tips for us when we were starting our planning and I was still referring to it recently.

Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure has a great post with Tips for Visiting Disneyland Pairs with Toddlers. She covers everything from getting your Fast Pass ticket early, to watching out for the scam artists looking to “use” your phone to find lost loved ones, to getting your spot for the parade EARLY.

Kate from Five Little Stars is a regular Disneyland Paris visitor and has a whole Disney series on her blog.

Joanna from The Knights Tribe has a blog post Top Tips for Disneyland Paris. The tips I gleamed from her were to bring a small first aid pack with Calpol, plasters, wet wipes and antihistamines in it. She also said to make sure you find time to just soak up the atmosphere as Disney is a magical place.

Nat from Awaybies has a comprehensive Disneyland Paris Review and Top Tips post on her blog which is definitely worth reading.

And Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy has some great posts about Disneyland Paris including one about booking your trip to Disneyland, a review of the Disneyland Hotel if you’re considering it, a great packing list guide and also a quick tips post.

Other posts you might find useful if you are thinking of booking a trip to Disneyland Paris include one by Kara of Are We Nearly There Yet, who has a great post for saving money when you are booking a holiday to Disneyland Paris.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

So there you have it, last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. As mentioned I’ve read tons of posts about visiting Disneyland Paris but there is nothing like getting tips from those who have been. All that’s left to say is keep your eyes peeled on the blog for our Disneyland Holiday Diaries and all the Disney related posts I will no doubt be writing following our trip.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris as a family? Have you got any tips you’d like to share?

Cath x

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Planning Tips For Your First Family Cruise – Guest post ft Olivia W Jones

Planning a first family cruise can often be both nerve wracking and thrilling. From booking to disembarking, there are many aspects to keep in mind, since any of them could make or break the whole vacation. On a brighter note, a wide array of activities, amenities and food can potentially satisfy anyone, no matter whether it is a newborn baby or a seasoned grandpa. Those who want to stay on top of these aspects quickly find out that cruises are the ultimate family vacations. Here is how to take the stress and frustration out of the process and navigate the minefield of decisions.family cruise blog

Across the seven seas

Some basic rules of travelling always apply, although many specifics are different. For instance, packing techniques help just like with any other vacation, but when cruising, it is also highly advisable to pack a tote bag with all the essentials you need ‒ namely because it takes a few hours for your luggage to be delivered to the cabins. Also, getting off a ship is not like checking out of a hotel. There is again a process of waiting involved. Speaking of which, cruise lengths vary from a couple of days to two weeks.

family cruise - Suitcase open on the floor with holiday essentials almost packed!
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Decide how many days makes sense for you and your family, depending on your preferences and free time. Another thing to take into account is the selection of the arrival and departure ports. The basic dilemma comes down to either visiting just one destination or hitting many with one fair. Some of the most popular bucket list destinations are the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, South Africa, Northern Europe, North America, etc. In any event, pick a destination the whole family is on board with.

The bottom line

Next, it is time to look around for the best deal out there. Choosing the right cruise line is the cornerstone of a successful cruise. The lines differ in terms of quality of service, size of the ship, and offered amenities. It is not uncommon to stumble upon shabby offers that are complete duds. You want to steer away from shore excursions that are basically glorified bus rides. Also, keep your eyes open for discounts, special offers, and deal alerts from reputable agencies.

Family Cruise - ships in port

Do your homework and utilize websites like Onboard.com that allow you to research and book cruises as well as read reviews on them. For families, it is important to note that some cruise lines stand out from the rest because of what they offer to young kids. Carnival cruises, for example, have a great line-up of kid programs, activities, and features that’ll keep the little ones entertained and engaged.

Once the cruise is booked, you need to figure out the itinerary. As for the time on board, there should be a variety of possible activities, including pool, cinema, skydiving, roller skating, bumper cars, golf, etc. Ports offer excursions such as snorkeling, kayaking, city tours, shopping, and horseback riding. Some cruises are marketed and tailored to be all-inclusive. Even then, however, you cannot expect not to have extra expenditures on board, such as pay-extra eateries, gift shops, beverages, various activities, etc.

From stem to stern

Some people overlook the fact that the location and the type of the room on the ship do play an important role. Staterooms are a budget option for those who do not plan on spending much time inside. If you are willing to pay a bit more, though, you can opt for balcony rooms, suites, and deluxe packages. Cabins on the low decks are a nice solution for people who are prone to seasickness.

Family Cruise - Boy on balcony of cruise ship

The good news is that with the marvels of modern technology, you should be able to find high-quality pictures of the rooms or even go on virtual tours and watch live video feeds. Just remember to book the room well ahead of time and reserve the tickets before boarding. The most popular tours sell rather quickly and you do not want to miss the opportunity.

Finally, landlovers should not fret once on deck. Cruising is something that quickly grows on you, even if it feels scary at first. Rely on the crew to help you and provide you with all the necessary information. Make sure to let the kids rest after all the fun and games. Do not forget that you can (and should) stay in touch with your kids in case you want to do some activities separately. True, the cell phones won’t work, but Walkie Talkies will do the trick just fine.

Smooth sailing

When planned and done right, a cruise is the perfect vacation for the whole family. To make the magic happen, you have to know where and when you want to go and what you want to get from the vacation. All ships are not created equally and your choices matter a great deal. So, first-time cruisers, brace yourself. Do not skip the research if you want to have the time of your life and explore new horizons with winds in your sails.

Family Cruise - Waves made by a ship in the sea
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
sydney oliviaOlivia is psychologist, traveller and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Olivia is a regular contributor to High Style Life.
You can also follow on both Twitter and Facebook.
*no remuneration has been received or given in return for hosting this guest post.
** unless stated, the pictures have been provided by the writer for use in this post.
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Rides for Under 5s at Disneyland Paris

So now that we’ve done the planning and booked our trip to Disneyland Paris for December, the next thing that sprung to mind was the fact that I have no idea what rides are suitable for BattleKid or not. As mentioned in my previous post, BattleDad and I have been to Disneyland Paris together twice before on the 15th and 20th anniversaries. But both times we went on rides I’d consider geared more for adults or older children. I have no idea which rides are rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris.rides for under 5s at disneyland paris

This year is both Disneyland and BattleDad’s 25th anniversaries so it’s a big celebration trip for us. Coupled with BattleDad celebrating 25 years since he was part of the opening crew, BattleKid will be approaching 4, me 40 (eek), so we want to enjoy it as much as possible as a family. That means seeking out rides suitable for all of us. But having been a carefree, childless couple on our last trips, we never investigated rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris. So where do you turn to for advice so you know ahead of time which ones to make a beeline for? The blogging community of course, and here are the ones that they have recommended as being ideal for us and most importantly, BattleKid!

Rides for Under 5s at Disneyland Paris

Peter Pan’s Flight

This ride in Fantasyland got an overwhelming vote from the bloggers. Emma from Our Fairy Tale Adventure recommended it and said to get our Fast Pass for this ride as soon as we get to the park. The Peter Pan ride was also recommended by Beth of Twinderelmo, Nicole from The Mum Reviews and Lauren from Mummy is a Gadget Geek. So, I think this is definitely going on our to-do list. You start at the Darling children’s nursery before flying over London by night to get to Neverland. After seeing the sights of Neverland you return to London by the power of pixie dust and happy thoughts. I think we’ll be going on this one without a doubt!

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blaster

This ride in Discoveryland was mentioned by many of the bloggers as another one not to be missed. It sounds fun too and has been recommended by Beth of Twinderelmo and Nicole from The Mum Reviews, while Laura of Mama, Eden and Me also enjoyed it. Nat from Awaybies said her son loved it so much they went on this ride no less than 6 times! It is an interactive ride in which you shoot at targets to get a final score at the end of your ride. Helping Buzz to defeat the Evil Emporer Zurg you gain a ranking in Star Command by the end. I can see this getting competitive between BattleDad and I nevermind BattleKid! And we can use our Fast Passes for this. Bonus.

It’s A Small World

…. After all. It’s stuck in your head, right? Sorry. But this ride, also in Fantasyland, got big thumbs up from Kerry of Blissful Domestication, who said it is not to be missed if visiting Disneyland Paris with younger kids. She went with her then 3 and 4-year-olds and while they loved rides catering for younger children such as cars, spaceships and boat rides, they especially loved It’s A Small World. Laura of Mama, Eden and Me also recommended this ride, as did Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. During your “It’s A Small World” tour, as you set sail the Seven Seaways, you will experience diverse cultures from around the world while accompanied by the iconic and sometimes annoying classic song. The song is already stuck in my head so I might as well go see what it’s all about.

Mad Hatters Tea Cups

This Fantasyland ride was recommended by both Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure and Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. Just from the pictures alone, it looks bright and colourful and fun. Each oversized tea cup spins and you control the speed and direction depending on the level of fun and stomach churning you might want. If the queue isn’t too bad for this I think I might try this one out. Not sure we want to do it too soon after lunch though.

Le Carrousel de Lancelot

Based in Fantasyland, this is Disney’s take on the classical carrousel where young knights ride upon hand-sculpted steeds and get ready for an enchanting ride. I’m hoping this ride as recommended by Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure will bring me back to Sunday afternoons watching Mary Poppins as a child.

Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Snow White)

Nicole from The Mum Reviews recommended doing this ride as part of our Magic Hours if we can. This ride in Fantasyland allows you to experience the world of Snow White like never before, while you visit places like the haunted forest and the dwarves’ cottage.

Les Voyages de Pinocchio

Another Fantasyland ride on which you get to join Pinocchio and his friends such as Jiminy Cricket. This ride was also recommended by Nicole, especially during Magic Hours, which are extra hours you get in the park if you stay in a Disney Hotel. Point noted! Breakfast early then!

Orbitron

An awesome looking rocket ride in Discoveryland, this ride inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the solar system was also recommended by Nicole as one to try and do during Magic Hours. Nicole did say that there aren’t many rides in the main Disney Park that are not suitable for little ones as opposed to those in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Ratatouille: The Adventure

Ratatouille is a 4D experience based in the Walt Disney Studios Park which was introduced in 2014 and comes recommended by Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant and you might leave hungry. Maybe one for just before lunch perhaps?

Cars Quartre Roues Rallye

A Disney Cars ride in Walt Disney Studios, I can us queuing up for this over and over again by a certain 3-year-old. Recommended by Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure, you get to zoom along Radiator Springs with Lightening McQueen. That’s one day’s activities sorted for our Cars fanatic!

Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin

A Walt Disney Studios ride also recommended by Emma, you are invited to shrink down to the size of Buzz and Woody and jump onto the back of Slinky as he tries to catch his tail. All Toy Story Fans will love this ride.

Any worry I had about rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris have vanished thanks to the recommendations of all these wonderful bloggers. There are plenty to choose from and one or two even allow you to use Fast Pass which is great. There are some rides I can see us queuing hours for but as long as BattleKid comes away with a smile on his face I’ll be happy. My only concern is that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is currently closed. This is the one BattleDad and I made sure we went on during our previous visits and I do hope it reopens before December.

I must mention an absolutely brilliant post written by Vicki of Family Travel with Ellie entitled ‘Disneyland Paris with young children’. In it she details the best rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris including:

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blaster,
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant,
  • Orbitron,
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure,
  • Autopia,
  • It’s A Small World,
  • Peter Pan’s Flight and
  • Le Carrousel de Lancelot.

It is a brilliant post for anyone planning to visit or going to Disneyland Paris with under 5s and I’ve added it to my Disney Pinterest Board for reference! I’ve also added a fabulous post by Suzy of Our Bucket List Lives in which she gives a comprehensive breakdown off all the rides and which were suitable for her 3 year old son. It is going to be my guide for our trip!

A big thank you to all the bloggers who answered my call for help in what rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris they would recommend we do. I haven’t been on any of these rides before so am looking forward to experiencing a different kind of Disney than before our son came along. While I enjoyed it I think this visit is going to be much more magical.

Would you recommend any other rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris that might have been missed?

Cath x

rides for under 5s at disneyland paris rides for under 5s at disneyland paris

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Also linked up to the Fearless Family Travel linky with Wandermust Family.

Planning Our First Family Visit to Disneyland Paris

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?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 Kerry Louise 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. And if you’d like to know more hints and tips about doing Disneyland Paris with young children, you must read Kate of Five Little Star’s first post in a new series on her blog dedicated to Disneyland Paris, and also Suzy of Our Bucket List Lives post about doing Disneyland Paris with young kids. I’m eagerly awaiting the next ones!planning our first family visit to disneyland paris

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?

Cath x

planning our first family visit to disneyland paris planning our first family visit to disneyland paris planning our first family visit to disneyland paris

WANDERLUST KIDS

5 Things To Do in New York with a Toddler In Tow

Last September the Battle Family visited New York for the very first time. BattleKid was 2 years and 8 months old and both BattleDad and I were a bit apprehensive about what we would be able to do with him while there. We also had to be realistic that certain things may be off limits to us due to having a toddler in tow. That said, we never let having a toddler put us off booking New York in the first place. We went and I wrote all about our New York holiday in the New York Holiday Diaries. Today I’d like to share with you our top 5 things to do in New York with a toddler in tow to show you that you should never be afraid to just do it.5 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK WITH A TODDLER IN TOW

The Empire State Building.

We weren’t sure if we were going to have time to visit the Empire State Building but we were up quite early on our last morning so decided to get the subway into New York and headed for the Empire State Building after a fab breakfast at a traditional diner around the corner from it. We got there very early, just after it opened at 8am and to our surprise there were absolutely no queues. I had been worried as we didn’t pre-book our tickets but we bought them, strolled up to the elevator and straight up to the 80th floor, the first stop, in an elevator with plenty of room in it.

After strolling around that floor and “ooh-ing” at the views, we then headed up to the 86th floor. This is the open-air observatory used in all the films and TV and we had been advised not to bother going any further. The views were even better from there. We really enjoyed our visit to the Empire State Building, especially as we seemed to pick a great time to go. We visited just after 8am on a Wednesday morning and there were no queues. We have heard last thing at night (it is open from 8am to 2am) is the best time to visit for no queues and for getting snaps of the New York skyline lit up at night.

We got tickets that included the 80th and 86th floors for $32 each (children cost $26 and under 6’s go free). We didn’t bring BattleKid’s buggy and that was a great idea as you need to fold it before getting into elevators. Tickets to include both the 86th and top deck cost $52 for adults and $46 for children, but as we were advised we didn’t bother doing the top deck and certainly didn’t feel like we’d missed out. The views from the open-air observatory deck on the 86th floor are all you need! There are, however, VIP passes that allow you to skip the queues if you plan visiting at busy times but they come at a premium, so be warned.new york day 5

Central Park.

This was one New York attraction that we were not going to miss. Central Park is huge with a zoo, lake and various other areas of interest in it. It is 843 acres or 3.4km2 and we only saw a small fraction of it. Surprisingly it is almost half the size of the Phoenix Park in Dublin! Our main reason for visiting Central Park was to have a photograph taken in Strawberry Fields, to carry on a family tradition. We managed to find the elusive rock with memorial plaque on it and a kind passing tourist took our picture, ensuring the tradition carrys on.

The best part about Central Park is that it’s easy to get to and is free! Attractions inside can cost extra such as the zoo and restaurants but if you are visiting on a sunny summer day, why not take a picnic and enjoy it on one of the many grassy areas. We didn’t get to stop long in Central Park but it will definitely be on our must-return-to list for our future visits to New York. Kids will love it as it’s a great place to run free among a busy bustling city!New york day 4


Gift Central Park

The World Trade Centre Memorial.

The Twin Towers Memorial park was top of my to-do list and we visited this on our jam-packed second full day in New York (the first being a total washout due to heavy rain). We had breakfast in a traditional diner nearby before heading around to the site. The memorial is both wondrous and humbling and it really hits home what happened on that awful day when you see the two pools and all the names of the people who lost their lives when the two towers fell. Most upsetting for both BattleDad and I was seeing a lady’s name and beside it “And Her Unborn Child”. We both welled up and gave BattleKid’s hand an extra squeeze.

The pools and landscaped gardens around it are stunning and a fitting memorial. There is also a museum at the site but we didn’t visit it as we felt BattleKid would be too bored for us to take our time going around it. We plan to visit it when he is older so that he can understand it more. The memorial park itself is free while the museum costs $24 adults and $15 for children (under 6’s are free) and you can pre-book your tickets up to 6 months in advance. It is advised to allow yourself 2 hours for your visit, particularly if you plan to include the museum in your visit. The memorial is open from 7.30am to 9pm daily and the museum from 9am to 8pm.

The only thing I will advise, especially if you are visiting with a toddler, and you are getting the subway, do not travel during rush hour. We made that mistake and kept trying to get out of the way of commuters and it took us ages to exit the amazing mall and concourse up to street level. So avoid rush hour if you can! But you should definitely put this on your must-see list of places to visit while in New York.New york day 4

Water Ferry.

We did this on the recommendation of my sister-in-law and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a 1 hour boat ride around the tip of Manhattan that takes in Manhattan, Liberty Island and the Brooklyn Bridge, which we would have missed had we not seen it on this trip. We got on the Zephyr, a large ferry type boat, at Pier 16 and headed for the top deck. The weather was lovely and when the sun came out it made our water views of Manhattan very magical. We also managed to get some pictures of the Statue of Liberty without having to step off the boat which we thought was great.

The boat trip is narrated with information from a guide and ours was very funny. There are two cash bars on board, remember cash, and you can buy tickets for this which combine other attractions too. Tickets just for the ferry cost $30 for adults and $19 for children (with under 3’s free) and there are various departure times between 10am and 5pm. This boat trip was thoroughly enjoyed by both us and BattleKid and is definitely one I would recommend you do for a different view of Manhattan.New york day 4


New York CityPASS

Times Square.

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip to Times Square and having your picture taken with all the lights of the billboards behind you. Times Square was the very first stop during our trip and it is an amazing place to see in the flesh. BattleKid was amazed by all the lights and sounds, although he wasn’t too enamoured with the sirens around us. Times Square is free to visit and there are plenty of shops around if you fancy a bit of shopping or restaurants if you want a bite to eat. We went into the Disney Store and bought BattleKid a t-shirt and Mickey Mouse as it just had to be done.

The only thing I’ll warn you about Times Square and buggies is it gets very, very busy and can be a bit difficult to navigate with a buggy. I’ll be honest and say I took no prisoners on the sidewalk and got through relatively unscathed. For kids on their own two feet, keep a tight grip on their hands and don’t let go as the crowds could easily swallow them up.new york day 2

So there you have it, 5 things to do in New York with a toddler in tow. There are a thing or two to keep in mind with each of them but they can ALL be enjoyed even with a toddler in tow. We had fun at each of them, got plenty of photos and got to tick a few things off our NYC to-do list. There were one or two things we discovered weren’t ideal with BattleKid, such as the National History Museum due to them charging for toddlers, but that won’t put us off visiting when he is older to enjoy them. It will be a few years until we plan our return trip but when we do we already have a to-do list made which includes Madame Tussauds, Grand Central Station and a Helicopter Ride over Manhattan.

There are many things to do in New York with a toddler in tow and some that we didn’t do. If you are considering a trip to New York and I haven’t convinced you to bring the kids as well, then please check out the great post by Our Globetrotters about 10 things to do in Manhattan with kids.

Cath x

Note: all prices were correct at the time of writing this post.



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things to do in new york with a toddler in tow