Disney truly is a magical place for all ages! We had the wonderful opportunity to check out Disneyland in Paris and we just couldn’t pass it up! Our daughter’s 4th birthday was coming up and we knew it would be the perfect time to go. Not only was it all our first time visiting this park as well as our daughter’s first trip to a Disney park but I was also going at 27 weeks pregnant! (Check out my second trimester pregnancy update and list of must haves here) If you know Disney you know there is a lot of walking and waiting in lines that goes on at the parks. We also decided to do the trip very last minuet. I had just 2 weeks to plan everything and learn all about this park. I spent hours on planning out our perfect Disney vacation. Here are all of the best tips I discovered during the planning process and during our trip. Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links.
Plan ahead! Create an itinerary for each day. Divide it up by park. I started off making a huge list of everything we were interested in doing. If you have little ones be sure to see which rides they are allowed to go on. Same goes for us pregnant ladies! Just keep in mind that this has to be a very flexible schedule. Once you’re at the park anything can happen. There are a lot of long lines which can take up a chunk of your day. It’s great to use this list as a helpful guideline for all the main things you want to do there.
Book early! Try and book your trip early. You can usually find the best deals by booking early. Same goes for reservations for shows and restaurants. The earlier you book the better chance you have to get the restaurants and shows you want to see. We were lucky to get the reservations to all the things we wanted so last minuet. A tip for those traveling to Disney outside of the US is to ask for different country deals. Different countries may have better deals offered that day. Always worth it to ask.
Download the Disney app! If this is your first visit to the park then get to know the map as well as you can. This will help you so much when your actually there. The app is also great to use during your visit so you can have an up to date wait time for rides. It will also tell you what rides are closed.
Photopass plus! We decided to go with this package mostly for the fact that we wanted some family photos that wasn’t taken at an arms length. There really aren’t many photo pass spots at this park. I wish they had one by the castle. They also offered the photo pass photographer at our Disney hotel during the character meet in the mornings. I would have also liked to have seen the photo pass photographers at the character breakfast and princess meals. There is an app you can download where you can get all of your images. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the quality of the photos. Be aware that sometime the system can be own. There was an issue at the spider man meet. The photo pass wasn’t working. So even if you do have a photo pass you will still need to bring your camera so that you can capture special moments especially since there aren’t photo pass photographers at every character meet or ride. The attendants will also use your camera as well to take a family picture if you ask. Everyone was really nice and offered to take the pictures before I even had a chance to ask. Over all I’m still happy we went with the package because we got some adorable family photos.
Hotel and Half Board:
Get an early start! We stayed at the New York Hotel so we received the magic hours pass. We were allowed to enter the park at 8am to 10am. That is 2 extra hours to enjoy before the park opened to the public. Only the Disney Park had magic hours and not the Walt Studios but we found that the Walt Studios opened at 9:30 anyway. We didn’t really take as much advantage of this because we aren’t the best morning family and we were usually at breakfast or taking pictures with the character at the hotel that day. We did get to the park around 9:30 which was the perfect amount of time to head straight to the most important things we wanted to do and to get a little bit of a head start.
Some great tips! I’ve heard that it was better to head to the back of the park first since most people will head to the front of the park. This should hopefully make wait times a little better.
Also if there is something you must do then head straight there first! That way you can get a good spot on-line or sign up for what you want. For us this was to meet Moana! She’s super popular and we tried two times until we finally got to see her.
Naps and strollers are a must! If your going with a toddler then you need to factor in nap time! I also highly suggest bringing a stroller. My daughter turned 4 during our vacation and she spent so much time in the stroller. Make sure the stroller has a good recline for naps. We have this stroller which we absolutely love! This g-luxe has a wonderful recline and comfy seat which are both so important for a great nap! It was also nice having the stroller to hold our purchases.
Pregnant at the park! Trust me there are some great positives to being pregnant at the park. Yes you can’t ride every ride for safety reasons but you can get some Vip treatment which was super useful. You can get a pregnant pass at the City Hall at the parks. To get the pass you need to get a note from your doctor saying that you shouldn’t stand for a long period of time. This pass will allow you the opportunity to sign up for meet and greats and receive a time to come back. That way you don’t have to wait on the long lines. The pass also helped us get first access into shows and have seating at shows that had everyone sitting on the floor. This was great because there was no way I would get back up if I sat on the floor. I was 27 weeks when we had our Disney vacation. I made it a point to sit down often. Usually you can find a seat or ledge to sit on for a nice break. Also remember to drink plenty of water especially on hot days! Make sure that you factor in breaks. We loved staying at a hotel walking distance to the park. It was easy to go back to our room and relax for a bit.
Tips for kids! In our four days there I saw 3 kids get lost. This is terrifying as a parent to witness. Luckily the Disney staff is unbelievable when it comes to things like this. They are so well-trained. Even at the Paris location where there is such a language barrier with all the visitors. The staff really is well prepared. There is also a free badge you can get at City Hall to put on your child’s clothes. You write their name and your contact info in case you get separated at the park. The staff knows to look for that badge first. This is so very important to get one especially if english or french isn’t your main language. Not such a big problem for Disney in the states. The badge is free so it’s totally worth it to do. I also noticed that it’s super easy to get lost in the large stores. So keep that in mind when going shopping at Disney with your little ones. I also highly suggest talking to your kids about what to do in case you get separated.
Birthday at Disney! Our vacation was for our daughters 4th birthday! We wanted this to be a super special birthday for her. You can find cute Disney birthday outfits on etsy. We went a little overboard this trip since it was a first trip to Disney for her and also for her birthday. We added the Buffalo Bills Show, Dinner with the Princesses and a Character Breakfast. We got a birthday pin that we brought from home that she wore. They also gave her a birthday pin at City Hall. Birthday’s at Disney are the best. Everyone said happy birthday to her and the characters all spent a few extra minutes with her which was wonderful!
Feel like a royal at the Princess meal! The Princess meal was wonderful. We got to meet a bunch of princesses and had our special birthday cake at the end of the meal. The cake was 30 euros. It was an ice cream cake. It was ok most defiantly not a 30 euro cake but it is Disney after all. We also requested a chocolate cake but received a vanilla ice cream cake. The meal itself wasn’t very great. The price of the meal is very expensive. It’s 75 euros per person and 45 euros for a child along with the 30 for the cake. Also drinks aren’t included. Even though it was super expensive for the meal it really is all about the experience. It’s the best way to meet so many princesses without having to wait on that crazy line just to meet one. My daughter also had a wonderful time getting dressed up for her meal. We did her hair and got her a beautiful belle dress with matching jewelry and a crown. We purchased the dress and jewelry at a Disney store in the states which saved us money since all of that is much more expensive at the park. She had a wonderful time and that is really all that matters. On our walk there she sat in her stroller pretending it was a carriage and calling us her coachmen. She got very into it! Another great tip for a birthday is to bring a few present for the birthday girl to open up at dinner. My husband got her a few surprises that went with the belle theme. A beast stuffed toy and an adorable belle play set which he picked up at the shop next to the restaurant. I also had a belle doll that I wrapped before the trip. It added to the magic of the dinner.
Pirates of the Caribbean! We decided to have one of our meals here. I will admit I was hesitant at fist. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the food. They did just change their menus and it all sounded really great to me. I wasn’t sure how much our princess would love a pirate theme but I knew my husband would love it. We decided to do the ride before our reservation. The ride was wonderful and just how I remembered it. It was a great way to get into the pirate spirit! The restaurant was lovely and perfectly decorated. We sat in the section that overlooked part of the ride. There were 3 menu plan options. Our half board covered the basic but both my husband and I agreed that we wanted to do the step up. It was a great choice since I really enjoyed my meal. They really gave you a lot of food. The desert I’ve heard great things about. It was delicious. My husband surprised my daughter with pirate hats for them which helped get into the fun pirate theme. After my daughter wanted a pirate sward and even had a little sward fight with a pirate character. She was so excited about that.
Buffalo Bills Wild West Show– If you’re looking for some extra fun entertainment then I highly suggest this dinner and show! It was very similar to Medieval Times back in the states. We really enjoyed the food and whole environment. The music was great and the show was very entertaining. Our daughter also had a great time cheering on the cowboys and indians! The food was great and I felt like it just kept coming. The show is a little pricy. We had a half board plus but we still had to pay extra for this dinner and show. There are two seating sections. We were happy with the second seating section which are higher up. It gave a better view of the show and I felt like we got less dust being up there. They also give out cute cowboy hats to everyone in the color of your section. They have a bar there as well for the adults to enjoy!
Enjoy the shows!- One of my absolute favorite parts about Disney are the shows. They really know how to go all out! Our favorite was the fireworks show each night. That truly was magical. The parade was super exciting as well. The floats were just spectacular to see. We also really enjoyed the Mickey the Magician show. They had a forest show as well but our little one managed to sleep through the entire thing! They also had a few great shows on the outdoor stage next to the castle. Since this year is the 25th anniversary for the park they had a few extra special shows such as Mickey’s 25th anniversary show. That had a lot of the characters in it so it was great to see. They also have the Princess waltz which is a favorite.
Extra tip!! Some of the Disney hotels have character meets every morning. We got to see Goofy, Minnie and Pluto during our stay at our hotel. It was great because the lines were so much shorter than if we tried at the park.
Character Breakfast at the Park Plaza– This was another great way to meet a bunch of characters without having to wait on those crazy long lines outside. We met 6 characters. The breakfast was a buffet style. There was a pretty long line to get your food. The buffet had a decent amount of options.We did have to pay a little extra since it cost more than our half board plus meal plan but it was worth it to us.
The biggest money-saving tip I have is to buy your big Disney items before your trip. The parks tends to mark up prices a lot. Here are some awesome items to check out and get before your tip. Check places like amazon and Disney store for better deals on items that you would pay way more for at the park!
I hope you found these tips super helpful! Remember to have a wonderful time! It’s all about creating these wonderful memories at the happiest place! No greater feeling of joy then seeing your little one’s eyes light up when they meet their favorite characters!