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!

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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.

WanderlustKids

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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 secrets.tips 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.

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 accordingly.tips 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

50/52 My Sunday Photo: 10/12/2017

As many of you will know we were in Disneyland Paris this week and we had a blast. More to come on the blog about our visit. But for this week’s My Sunday Photo I thought’d I’d share one of the photos we got during the few Meet and Greets we did during the week, mainly as I haven’t had a chance to sort through my own pictures yet. 
Meeting Darth Vader was a must for BattleDad and we had actually bought this outfit for BattleKid during our time in Portland. After we left our character breakfast, we dressed him in his Kylo Ren outfit and I must say, Lord Vader was quite impressed when he greeted us in the holding area. I’m not sure BattleKid was too enamoured by him in this picture as he’s giving him a side-eye look. Comical. 
my sunday photo - BattleKid meeting Darth Vader in Disneyland Paris and giving him the side-eye
To see what everyone else is linking up this weekend to My Sunday Photo, please click on the badge below. Why not join in yourself!
Photalife

Wanderlust Kids #9

Wow, November has flown by. As I post this month’s Wanderlust Kids linky we are just days away from our first ever family trip to Disneyland Paris. And to say I am excited would be the understatement of the year. It’s been five years since BattleDad and I visited, and we cannot wait to see BattleKid’s face when we arrive at Disneyland. We’ve been watching Disney movies in preparation. But first, I must thank everyone who linked up their kids-based travel posts last month. I’d like to thank my returning linkees and say hi to the newcomers as well. I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts.

November’s Featured Wanderlust Kids Post

The post that has added another destination to our family travel bucket list and is this month’s featured post was from Celine at Family Can Travel. She linked up her post about How to see Oslo in 5 days with children. BattleDad and I flew through Oslo on our way to Tromso and are planning a return trip in a few years with BattleKid. But I think we are going to have to add a few days onto our trip to include a stopover in Oslo. The sculpture park sounds interesting as does the opera house where you can walk on the roof. But most of all I know BattleDad and I would be most excited to visit the Viking ship Museum as we are fans of Vikings, the TV series. The Vikings also settled in Dublin and established it over 1000 years ago, so to see real life Viking ships would be amazing.

November’s Special Mention Wanderlust Kids Post

The other post which deserves a special mention was posted by Helena of Babyfoote in which she tells us all about their stay in Chiang Mai around the festival of Loy Krathong. Thailand has been on our family travel bucket list for a while, but I wasn’t aware of the Loy Krathong festival until I read Helena’s post. The weaved baskets for the river look amazing as do the temples they visited. I just know we’d thoroughly enjoy visiting Thailand for this festival!

November’s Other Great Posts

Jenny from Travelynn Family shared her post in which she tells us why Doha I worth a stopover with young kids. Although accommodation can work out expensive, the half day desert trip sounds like so much fun.

Iris from Baked by Mummy Iris linked up her post about visiting Taipei with Kids. The post includes her one-day itinerary and it looks amazing, especially the Longhan Temple. I’d love to see it at night too.

Nicky of Go Live Young shared her post about doing a road trip along the Garden Route in South Africa with kids. Her 7-day itinerary includes whale watching, hiking and meeting ostriches. I’d be very tempted to do this before our trip to Kruger National Park, if we get the chance to go.

Wandermust Family linked up their post about dealing with jet lag going east. They have some great tips to help families with toddlers deal with jet lag if travelling east.

Truly Madly Kids shared their post about visiting the Cote D’Azur with kids. They stayed in a lovely mobile home and had a great family holiday. BattleDad and I have visited Nice pre-BattleKid, but I was glad to read there is plenty to do and see in the area with kids in tow. Another trip might be in order.

Helena from The Queen of Collage linked up her post about going to a baby-friendly bonfire celebration at Roves Farm in Wiltshire. There was plenty to do including a soft play area, food, and of course fireworks to enjoy. Great to see somewhere that caters for families with younger children.

Lisa of Baby Loves Travel shared her post about exploring Grennwich with a toddler. She visited the National Maritime Museum and Mudchute Farm. I just know BattleKid would have to be torn away from the AHOY area of the museum as it sounds great.

Claire from The Ladybirds Adventures linked up her post about their family’s adventures in October. Their month included a trip to a forest school and also to the Lake District, somewhere I’ve never been in the UK but always wanted to go.

Tracey of Mums Makeup Bag shared her very funny post about surviving their first family holiday. The experiences along the way and the laughs they had resonated with me and reminded me of our past sun package holidays with BattleKid.

Lydia from Hollidaze and Hellidaze linked up her post about visiting the Maldives with her kids. Despite having to choose from the limited resorts that would accommodate not one, but two kids, they had an amazing holiday and I’d love to visit. I’d also love to experience the Sand and Stars dinner.

Shades of Courage shared their post about seeing Jerusalem from ramparts. It is definitely an interesting way to see the city but not one for strollers.

Naomi from Trips with a Tot linked up her post all about their family holiday to Haven Thorpe Park in Cleethorpes. It sounds like one of the best Haven holiday spots with loads for families.

And last but not least, Rosie of Eco-Gites of Lenault shared her post about why you should choose one of their baby-friendly self-catering gites as a base for your family holiday in Normandy. They have everything you’ll need to avoid having to pack the kitchen sink.

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 in which I shared 5 things you can do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow. We visited Bled when BattleKid was eighteen months old and wouldn’t have even considered it as a holiday destination with a toddler unless our friends had suggested it. We thoroughly enjoyed it. In my post, I hope I’ve shown that you shouldn’t discount Bled as a destination to visit with a toddler as we loved it.

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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. 

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.

WanderlustKids

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Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters and Travellers

So, the blogging world is a frenzied place with Christmas gift guides for one and all floating about. However, something that I haven’t seen so far is a Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters like BattleKid. Gifts that will inspire travel among them or get them excited about forthcoming trips and holidays. Gifts that can be easily popped into their luggage to take with them on their travels.

christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters

Photo by DiEtte Henderson on Unsplash

Luggage space can be at a premium for some wanderlust families, particularly if you are a family that travels with hand luggage only. That said, some of the gifts that I’ve chosen to feature can be enjoyed at home in the run up to a holiday to get the excitement juices following.

I, myself, have been on the hunt for little gifts for BattleKid that we can take with us when we travel. Things that won’t take up too much room and that might either brighten up our luggage, so it is easily identified on a luggage belt, or things that are educational and fun for BattleKid. And I think I’ve found a few gifts that tick those boxes, and which might be ideal for your budding wanderluster. I’ve included one or two things which we’ve already bought or received which I thought I should share with you.

Without further ado, here are my tops picks.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

A Personalised Luggage Tag from Bags Of Love.*

Bags of Love is a new website I have recently stumbled across which has a range of gifts that can be personalised with your own pictures. This online London store has everything from Blankets and Mugs for cosy winter nights in, to Suitcases and Luggage Tags for those that love to travel.Luggage tag from Bags of Love

I designed a luggage tag for BattleKid with his name and photo on it and my telephone number on it, in case his luggage ever gets lost. Both BattleDad and I are really impressed by this luggage and tag and both agree it will make identifying his luggage pretty easy. The personalised luggage tag costs just £14.00.

A Letter From Santa Direct.

Why not get your little one a personalised letter from Santa, especially if they will be away on the big day. With Letter From Santa Direct, your little one can receive a letter from the big man that is fully personalised to them, including their age, an achievement they did during the year and what they most want for Christmas.

Order it before your journey and you can ensure they have a letter from Santa with them while they travel. They will also receive a text message from Santa on Christmas Day. You can also get an activity set to accompany the letter. A Letter from Santa costs just £4.99, and a Letter and Activity Set costs just £8.99.

A Personalised Jigsaw Puzzle from TinyMe.*

There are so many beautiful gifts available from TinyMe for little ones, but my favourite is the personalised jigsaws. Double-sided, there is a huge range of options to choose from and even better, it arrives flat, in its own felt pouch which will lie flat in a suitcase, or in a carry-on bag and doesn’t take up much space or weight at all.personalised jigsaw puzzles from tinyme

We received one for review recently and it is just perfect. We chose the alphabet jigsaw to help BattleKid to learn and recognise his letters and it will definitely be coming on our holidays with us next year.

Subscription to Little Passports.

I have been eyeing this up since I first noticed it on Facebook early last year. However, BattleKid was too young for it and I’ve had to bide my time until now. That said, if I want to subscribe for him, I need to do one year’s worth of the World Edition at a time in order to get them shipped to Portugal. But you lucky people in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore and South Korea can subscribe monthly.little passports

Their Early Explorers subscriptions are ideal for those aged between 3 and 5, while the World or USA Editions are geared towards those between the ages of 6-10 and 7-12 respectively. There is also a Science Expeditions subscription available. Subscriptions start at £12 per month for the World Edition or £15 per month for the Little Explorers. However, if you opt for an annual subscription you can save some money. Ideal for learning about the destinations you might be going to or filling in the time between trips.

A Simply For Flying Flight Logbook

We have had a Simply For Flying Flight Logbook for BattleKid since just after his first ever flight and we’ve been documenting his fights ever since, and getting the captain’s signatures and message as well. On our last flight with British Airways back to Faro, the captain very kindly filled in his book. He also totalled up the air miles BattleKid has completed and it now stands at over 36,000 miles. I had no idea he’s done nearly 10,000 air miles for each of his years. He will have more next month when we visit Paris and so far, we have at least one set of flights booked for next year with another two more return trips possible. If only we could convert his completed air miles into miles we could offset against flights!simply for flying flight logbook

Either way I cannot recommend this gorgeous little book more as a lovely way to document your little wanderlusters flights and travels. It is the same size as a passport, so you can store it with them and easily hand it to the flight crew as you board the aircraft. I’ve reviewed it on the blog before and it costs just €14.95 which is about £13.20.

A Subscription to the Hopster App*

The Hopster App is an app that helps children learn through the shows they love. It is a safe and educational learning environment that also has games and even HarperCollins books too. There are over 800 episodes of children’s TV shows to choose from including Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, over 100 songs and nursery rhymes, curriculum-based games for learning and there are no ads EVER.hopster app for kids

You can use it on your pc, tablet or phone and the fact you can download your children’s favourite tv shows to your mobile device means they can still watch them while on the move. Great for little wanderlusters. There is a free 7-day trial so you can test it out, and then it costs just £3.99/month with the option of cancelling at any time. BattleKid has been enjoying this in the afternoons after kindergarten and has very quickly learned to navigate his way around the app.

LeapFrog Epic Tablet**

We bought a LeapFrog Epic for BattleKid as his leaving-the-UK present when we emigrated to Portugal earlier this year. We had been after something that was more suited to his age group than a normal tablet (although he has one for movies and TV shows).my sunday photo

The LeapFrog Epic is an Android tablet and is one which grows along with your child. What BattleDad and I love about the Epic is, not only is it Android -based (our preferred mobile platform), there are no in-game purchases or harmful adds, and we can put a timer on it too, therefore limiting BattleKid’s time on it. We’ve even downloaded some movies and TV shows onto it from our Amazon Prime account. There are lots of age-related games you can install, including educational ones and BattleKid loves having it for travelling, which just so happens to be the ONLY time he gets a tablet. The LeapFrog Epic is available from all good retailers including Amazon. It’s RRP is £119.99.

Price: £97.99
Was: £119.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have found this Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters useful.

Cath x

*We were kindly sent these items as part of this gift guide or for a separate review, although all thoughts and opinions of the products are my own.

**The links to these products contains affiliate links. That means that I receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters