Disneyland Paris with young children

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I often see posts asking if it is worth taking toddlers and young children to Disneyland.  My reply is always a huge great YES, usually accompanied by a magical photo or video.  We have taken Chip from being 19 months old and now at just turned 4, she has visited 7 times.

We have also taken Chip’s younger sister at 6 months old.  She is very much a Mummy’s girl, and doesn’t like being away from her, so our trips are usually just Nanny and Chip.  In December, the whole family will be visiting for a week so we will have 3 children aged 4,2 and 1.

Although taking young children is magical, there is obviously much more planning involved and I thought I would share some information and tips with you to make your visit run as smoothly as possible.

BABY CARE CENTRE – There is a Baby Care Centre in each park.  These are excellent, and have everything you could possibly need.  These have changing facilities and child sized toilets, a feeding area with highchairs and microwave and kettle to heat food.  There are also chairs to sit and feed your child and a small selection of goods for sale if you run out of wipes, nappies etc.  The prices in here are extremely expensive, and I would only recommend purchasing from there in an emergency.

My only complaint about the Babycare centre would be that pushchairs have to be left outside.  This can be really difficult if you have a sleeping child, and another that needs changing.

PUSHCHAIRS/SLINGS – Disneyland trips always include huge amounts of walking, much more than you would ever do at home.  It is not unusual to see 6 and 7 year olds squeezed into a pushchair, when they would never dream of using one at home.

  • You cannot take pushchairs into most of the queues.  There are buggy parking areas but these are not secure.  Although rare, they do occasionally get stolen.  I would advise taking a bike lock to chain your wheels together if possible as a deterrent, especially with an expensive pram or pushchair.
  • We don’t usually use a sling at home but found it so useful at Disney.  We used the buggy most of the time but slipped baby into the sling for going on rides and in queues.  We also used it at Buffalo Bills Wild West show, as no highchairs are available, and it was easier than trying to eat and hold her.  Babies in slings have to face outwards to be used on rides.
  • You can hire pushchairs at Disneyland Paris but they are not suitable for younger children.  They do not lie back and are not well supported.  These cost 20 euros per day to hire so it is cheaper to take a cheap buggy.

EATING AT DISNEYLAND PARIS WITH UNDER 3’s – Under 3’s are not included on any meal plans that you may have purchased.  At the buffet restaurants, under 3’s can eat for free.  In table service or counter service restaurants, under 3’s can either eat from your plate, or you can purchase them food separately.

Many restaurants will provide free jars of baby food and we had no problems with asking them to heat baby food we had brought from home.  We also took drinks and snacks from home to have throughout the day, especially when in queues or waiting for the parade.

All restaurants have highchairs to use, however these are wooden, quite big, and sit very upright.  We struggled a little with the 6 month old as she kept slumping down in them and to the side.  We ended up folding up a coat to put behind her to give her support.  They are great for older children though, and the Mickey ears are very cute!

Top tip: Take your own plastic plate, bowl, clutlery.  Everything is adult sized and this makes sharing from your plate much easier.

BUYING BABY SUPPLIES – NAPPIES/WIPES/MILK ETC – Even the most organised people can find themselves unexpectedly running out of essential items.  Or it may be that you have limited amounts of luggage space and want to purchase your baby essentials on arrival.

You can find a small range of baby essentials including nappies, wipes and food, in the shop at the train station, just outside the park entrance.  For a more extensive range of products, including pushchairs and baby clothes, Auchan Supermarket is just one stop away on the train.  It has everything  you could possibly need and more. Auchan supermarket also sells fresh milk, which is unavailable in the parks.

There are also a few basic items such as wipes and babyfood behind the counters in most of the hotel shops and in the Babycare Centre, however these are very expensive.

Top tip: If you take your babies bottle to the hotel bar, they will usually fill it for free.

(First photo is train station shop, second is Auchan supermarket)

RIDES AND BABY SWITCH – Disneyland is extremely child orientated.  Even for babies and toddlers there are so many rides that you can enjoy.  By the time Chip was 2 years old, she had been on every ride that doesn’t have a height restriction, with her favourites being Pirates of the Caribbean and Casey Junior Runaway Train!  Even babies can go on many of the rides in Fantasyland including classics like Its a Small World.

Baby switch is a great way of parents and older children being able to access rides without having to queue twice.  One parent queues in the normal manner and asks the Cast Member to use baby switch. The parent who has waited with the baby, then goes straight back onto the ride, through the exit without having to queue.  Older children are usually allowed to accompany them so get to go on twice.

Top tip: If you are staying in a Disney hotel, use the EMH to access the rides before they are open to the general public.  It is much quieter.

ENJOYING THE MAGIC – Before Chip’s first trip at 19 months, I lost count of how many times we were told Chip was too young to enjoy it, too young to remember it etc.  I am so pleased that I took no notice and still took her.  She might not remember it in years to come but she enjoyed every second of the trip.  She adored the characters, and still does.  The trip was just magical and is the reason that we keep returning again and again.

Even at 6 months old, Tink definitely enjoyed her trip.  She definitely won’t remember it but we have amazing memories and photographs.  She loved all the lights and music and was fascinated by the characters.

The Cast Members at Disneyland Paris are amazing with young children, even more so if they are in costume.  We have had the most amazing experiences over the past few years and am so happy that we started visiting while they were so young.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from our trips.

I would love to hear your stories of taking little ones to Disneyland!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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