While I am a Disneyland addict, my husband cannot stand big crowds and queues. Disneyland at peak times is just his idea of hell which is why I usually send him fishing and go with family or friends. He does, however, like Disneyland in the quiet winter months so I thought I would write a little about my experience of winter visits.
The problem with trying to plan and pack is that the weather forecast can change daily and can often catch you out. We have been and had mild days with lovely sunshine and have also been when we have had thick snow!
My strongest piece of advice is sensible footwear – I learnt this the hard way by having to throw away my ugg boots, after they became a soggy water stained mess after wearing them in snow for several days. You can’t beat a pair of thermal socks and waterproof boots when the weather is bad. We usually buy snow boots for the children and these have been the deal breaker between a ruined trip and having a great time on a couple of trips.
I’m also a huge fan of 2 piece ski suits for little ones. On milder days you can wear just the jacket but then have the trousers for cold days and in the evenings. This may sound a bit over the top but we have only ever bought cheap ones from eBay or supermarkets but they make such a difference if it is very cold.
The photos below were taken about 4 years ago on a trip in January with my husband and step-daughter. It had forecast light snow but ended up not getting above 2 degrees the whole trip and snowing heavily. It actually turned into one of our favourite trips because every single ride that stayed open was just a walk on. It was like having our own private park for the few days. The 12 hour drive home was more like a white knuckle ride though and isn’t something I would like to repeat!
Luckily we have been 4 other times in winter without experiencing such extreme weather. I would still say that layers and thermals are a must, even if the forecast is good, as you are outside for so much longer than your normally would be at home. We have picked up thermals really cheaply at primark and supermarkets and definitely think it is worth taking them just in case.
The best thing about layers and thermals is that it can keep children warm enough to still wear their costumes if they want to. Little chip wore her chipmunk costume with loads of layers underneath and also her Jessie costume. I’ve seen many children with princess dresses on top of their coats but haven’t tried this ourselves as the dresses we have are not big enough to do this.
This photo was taken last December on a reasonably mild day. You can see little chip is bulked up with lots of layers.
You may be reading this wondering why anyone would bother going at this time of year if you have to prepare so much for the cold – well there are lots of reasons. Firstly Christmas season is amazing, it is truly magical and is a really special time to visit. There are special shows, parades and the lovely tree lighting ceremony as well as seeing the characters in their Christmas clothes.
Once the Christmas season is over comes a quieter, cheaper few months. With the exception of half term weeks, the parks tend to have much smaller wait times.
Star Wars fans will be pleased to know that Disneyland Paris now has Season of the Force running between 13th January and 25th March 2018. This is likely to attract more people than in previous winter months, however, much of this is in the studios park.
The calendar below shows the crowd levels with the quietest times being in green.
For anyone contemplating a winter visit I would say go for it! If you are well prepared you will have a fabulous time.