Going to Disneyland Paris with a family can be a fantastic experience for kids of all ages. While the younger children won’t be able to enjoy all of the rides, there is still plenty for them to do from rides geared to little ones to themed playgrounds and even two castles (the big main castle and then the Queen of Hearts castle) to walk around and enjoy. The park is very stroller friendly with lots of stroller parking for when you go on rides. If you stay at an on-site hotel, the walk is very quick to both Disneyland parks.
All of the restaurants are child-friendly as well. And you have a lot to choose from, such as a fancy character dinner at the Disneyland Hotel to quick-service restaurants where you place your order, pick up your food, and then find a seat. Even better, there is also a large variety of different cuisines to choose from.
Should We Stay at One of the Disney “On-Site” Hotels?
Absolutely! There are several on-site hotels where you can stay. The main reason for doing so is that you will get early entrance to both parks. This is especially key during busy times as you get an hour head start on the rest of the crowds. If you want to ride Crush’s Coaster without a massive line, you just must get to the park early. This is a very popular, fun ride that is a must-do.
What Mom Loved:
We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge, one of the four closest hotels. I simply loved how easy it was to get to and from the parks without having to get into a car or take a bus. You just walk around the pretty lake, look at the ducks, then go through security which brings you into Downtown Disney. Once you go through security, you don’t need to go through it again. You’re all set!
What Bebe Loved:
He loved the looking in the store that was at the hotel where we’d get water and snacks. He also loved that every morning there was a character meet and greet–that’s always very exciting!
How to Get Here:
From Charles de Gaulle, you can easily catch the Disneyland shuttle which will drop you off at every Disney Hotel. It was certainly easy, but it took a long time. On the way back to the airport,we opted for Uber. If we were to do it again, we’d definitely do Uber. I like not having to sit on a bus while stopping at every hotel.
Avenue Robert Schuman
77700 Coupvray, France
For more information on lodging, click here.
To Park Hop or Not to Park-Hop–That Is The Question
The answer to that is simple–yes, definitely get tickets that include the park hopper option. The two parks are right next to each other and it’s a simple walk from one to the other. If one park is too crowded, hop over to the other one!
What Mom Loves
I love that the parks are so close together and within walking distance–it’s very much like Disneyland Resort in California. I prefer that as you don’t have to bother with transportation. It’s just so easy. Often, we would have a meal reservation in the opposite park from where we were. It meant we didn’t have to miss out on any rides by trying to get to the restaurant in time for the reservation.
What Bebe Loves
My son loves park-hopping because if there is a ride in one park that he really wants to go on and it looks like the wait time is less than other rides at the park you’re in, you can just walk over to the other. Or if he’s bored with one park, we can leave to go play at the other and see something new or jump over to the opposite park for a favorite meal.
If We’re Staying On-Site, Do We Really Need to Wake Up Early for Extra Magic Time?
Absolutely!! My favorite time of day at Disneyland Paris (as well as Disneyland in California) is Extra Magic Time. This is a perk for those staying at Disneyland Paris on-site hotels specifically. If you’re staying at one of those, you must take advantage of it!
What Mom Loves
Getting into the park an hour before it opens is amazing. It’s less crowded and noisy, it’s so easy to get around and you can cover so much ground in that hour. Extra Magic Time is only available to those staying at an on-site Disneyland Hotel. However, if you’re not on-site, you should still take advantage of the morning hours by getting to the park before it opens so you’re ready to go right at rope-drop. The parks are always less crowded in the morning. Use it to your advantage!
What Bebe Loves
He loves that he can go on many rides in a short span of time without having to wait in long lines. With a short attention span, this is necessary. He’s also fresh and ready to go in the morning. He’s a lot happier than at 3PM–definitely worth it!
For more Extra Magic Time information, click here.
We Love Meeting the Characters! But, Is a Character Meal Really Necessary?
Technically, no, but I personally love the character meals. Besides, since you need to eat anyway, this means that you can do two things at once!
What Mom Loves
I love character meals because depending on which one you do, you’ll meet five to six characters during the meal and you don’t have to stand in line! The characters often spend more time with you. At Disneyland Hotel’s Inventions restaurant, we interacted with the characters multiple times. Also, the character meals allow you the time to rest and recharge during a sit-down meal. We actually did two character meals–Cafe Mickey for dinner and Inventions for lunch.
What Bebe Loves
My kiddo LOVES character meals. These meals are, hands down, often the most memorable part of the Disneyland visit for him and he’ll talk about it for weeks or months after the trip. He also has an autograph book and loves having all of the characters sign it. It can be a challenge to get him to eat with all the characters around, but we manage. He just loves the extra time the characters are able to spend with him. And seeing him happy is worth it.
For more information on Character Dining, click here.
I’ve Already Paid All This Money for This Trip, Must I Really Spend More on FastPasses?
No–you really don’t need to. FastPasses are free for anyone to use. For the rides that have FastPass, you’ll go to the kiosk for the ride, insert your park ticket (or scan it), and get your return time. You can only hold one FastPass at a time. Also, be aware that FastPasses for popular rides will start to run out in the afternoon if the parks are busy.
There are other options beyond the free FastPass option, which are paid upgrades. We did the free option for the first two days we were in the park, and on our third (and last) day, we paid a ridiculous price for the “Ultimate FastPass–Unlimited Speedy Access.” No joke–it was expensive. The reason we chose to purchase that option was that the park was really busy. Since we live in the U.S., this was probably our one and only time at Disneyland Paris and we wanted to make sure we could enjoy some of our favorite rides multiple times. Before you decide to purchase, be aware that FastPass is not available on all rides. Make sure the rides included are the rides you want!
What Mom Loves
My favorite part about FastPass is that it gives you a return time. We use the system at Disneyland in California all the time. It’s great because while you wait for your return time you can go on a non-FastPass ride. It definitely makes more efficient use of your time. And with the Ultimate FastPass that we purchased, you didn’t even need a return time. You simply arrive at the ride and get in the FastPass line. Ad I hate waiting in line more than anything, it was worth purchasing.
What Bebe Loves
He is such an adventurous child and has no fear. He is finally tall enough and willing to do all of the “big” rides such as Big Thunder Mountain. Since he can also be pretty impatient, he is much happier when he doesn’t have to wait more than five minutes to hop on a ride. If Bebe is happy, everyone is happy!
For more information on FastPass and other options, click here.
What? There’s a Dragon under the Castle? No Way!
Yes! There really is a dragon under the castle and it is probably my favorite thing in Disneyland Paris as the other Disneyland Castles don’t have a dragon. When we were at Disneyland in California recently, my son says “Mama, is there a dragon under the castle?” The answer is no, and we were both sad!
What Mom Loves
The dragon under the castle is just so unique! We visited the dragon at least five times during our trip to Disneyland Paris. It was often crowded, but we never had an issue getting in the front to see the dragon. I loved that it was something we could do without waiting in a line.
What Bebe Loves
The dragon moves his head and makes loud sounds and is in a dark cave This is what dreams are made of! Bebe absolutely loved going to visit the dragon. The first time we went in the cave, we almost couldn’t get our child out of the cave–that is just how much he loved it. If you go to Disneyland Paris, do not miss the dragon under the castle!
For more information on La Tanière du Dragon, click here.
Thoughts On Some Really Cool Restaurants
My family really enjoys going to sit down restaurants when we go to Disneyland. It gives us a good hour or so to rest our bodies and get away from the crazy that is Disneyland. Going to Disneyland Paris with a family is a culinary experience–-here are our favorites:
Bistrot Chez Rémy
This restaurant had decent food–my husband and I both loved our meal. Our child is pickier. However, this restaurant isn’t about the food. It is all about the atmosphere. Bistrot Chez Rémy is, hands down, one of the best themed restaurants I have been to. You really do feel like you have been shrunk to Rémy size and in his world. The restaurant is lit by giant Christmas light strands, strung throughout these huge leaves. Some of the tables have umbrellas that are made to look like a giant version of those umbrellas that come in drinks and the backs of the booths are huge plates. It is just so cute and not a detail was spared.
For more information on Bistrot Chez Rémy, click here.
Captain Jack’s–Restaurant des Pirates
My favorite dish in Disneyland Paris was at Captain Jack’s. My starter was the Quinoa salad which I absolutely loved. I would order that all on its own, but it was part of the meal plan that came with a starter, main course, and dessert. The theme of this restaurant was really cool. As it overlooks the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it’s dark and feels like you’re at an outdoor cafe. Captain Jack himself made an appearance so we were able to get his autograph and a photo. It’s similar to the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland California, but the food was so much better in Paris as was the atmosphere.
For more information on Captain Jack’s, click here.
If you want a character meal that has excellent food, look no further than Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel. We booked lunch at this is buffet-style restaurant where we found the atmosphere to be really nice and even quite peaceful. We had so much fun meeting the characters and getting to spend quite a bit of time with them. Tigger even went a little crazy tickling my husband. It was so funny! In terms of food, there were so many things to choose from, and it was all quite tasty. However, my favorite treat over all other treats is the delicious, delicate Macaron. Inventions had a whole tray of them. I was in Macaron heaven! Inventions is definitely worth the time and money.
For more information on Inventions, click here.
If you enjoy theme parks or are a Disney fanatic like we are, you’ll love Disneyland Paris. While I don’t feel like it had the same magic as Disneyland in California, we still loved our time spent there. Some of the rides, such as HyperSpace Mountain and Big Thunder Railroad I enjoyed much more in Paris than in California. There are also some rides that are unique to Disneyland Paris such as Crush’s Coaster, which is definitely in my top five list of favorite rides ever.
If you find yourself with a few spare days and you’re in Paris, I definitely think it is worth the trip to Disneyland Paris with your family. It won’t disappoint. Just be sure to pack your patience, and be ready to be a kid again! Enjoy!