Disneyland Paris, My top 10 tips

Disneyland Paris, My top 10 tips

The first time we went I read loads on Facebook groups and got advice of people who had already been. It can feel really overwhelming before you go as you want to cram everything possible in. Here’s a list of my top ten tips, there’s probably loads I’ve not covered but it’s just a few things we found useful.

Parade – the best place we found to stand for the parade Is outside the Pizzeria Bella Notte in Fantasyland or near start of the parade near it’s a small world. That way once it’s finished you can get on a few of the rides in Fantasyland with no queues. I think it’s absolutely worth getting there just one day 30/45 minutes early to get to the front as you get brilliant interaction.

Illuminations – Again I’d say just one day get there 30 minutes or so early for the fireworks just to get the best view. We sat on a bench just behind the statue of Goofy & Pluto and had an amazing view. We were there about 45 minutes early but Stu just took Finn off to a ride & for popcorn so he didn’t get too fed up. Another good spot was by the rope near the castle stage.

Snack packs/ drinks – we took quite a few snacks with us & little things for Finn to have in the queues. We also took water bottles to fill up as drinks can be quite dear. We took little sachets of coffee to have in the room as well as there’s none provided. Things we took for snack packs were crisp,cereal bars, raisins, little sweets, mini cookies, individually wrapped brioche etc.

Layers/ waterproofs – This obviously depends what time of year you go but we went in April & January and have had really changeable weather. At one point in January it was warm enough for just a jumper. Definitely take plenty of layers as it can get hot in queues if you’re all wrapped up and take waterproofs. The ponchos they sell are really expensive, we took Finn’s puddle suit.

Rough plan/ list – some people say go without a plan but I found it useful to make a note of what shows I wanted to see and the times. Also what rides we wanted to do in each of the different lands or areas of the studios so we wasn’t doing too much walking about between rides or meet & greets.

The picture – I’d seen loads of people getting a picture of the castle & an empty Main Street after the illuminations and was desperate to get one. We hung around after the illuminations had finished for about half an hour and just went in the shops. We were then able to get the picture.

App- the Disneyland app was brilliant, we were able to check the queue times and a few times just walked on the main rides.

Take fancy dress from home – we took all Finn’s costumes from home as they were so much cheaper than buying them in the parks. You also get brilliant character intervention when they are dressed up and all the cast members make a fuss. It’s also fab for pictures.

Personalised autograph book & pen- I ordered Finn a personalised autograph book from eBay and it’s lovely to keep for the memories. Take your own pen as well as these were expensive on the parks, a sharpie is easier for the characters to hold.

Spare battery for camera & a portable charger for phone – I took millions of pictures so made sure I had a spare battery for my camera & a portable phone charger was really handy as we spent really long days in the park.

Disneyland Paris, Our favourite restaurants

Disneyland Paris, Our favourite restaurants

One thing I really worried about before we went to Disneyland Paris the first time was the price of food. I’d heard people say they had spent £1000+ in a few days and this just wasn’t in the budget for us. There was no dining plan offer when we went and it was expensive to add one so we decided to just go with it and hope for the best. Both times we’ve been we’ve spent around £400 (excluding a few pre booked meals) including drinks etc.. It’s obviously not the cheapest place but you can do it without spending the huge amounts people say. We could have done it on even more of a budget if we tried as well. Here’s the places we ate at and enjoyed.

Breakfast – the first time we stayed we had breakfast included at Santa Fe, I personally wouldn’t go for this unless you get it included as I found it quite crowded & chaotic. We made do with a coffee in the room and then just grabbed something in the park when we were up the second time we went.

Annette’s- We really enjoyed Annette’s, it’s themed around an old school American diner with the staff on roller-skates. This is definitely the place We queued the longest and it was always busy after the fireworks so be prepared to queue for a while. The portions are massive, we shared 2 of the Jukebox menu’s between the 3 of us and there was more than enough food. This is €29 and included a starter, main and brownie for pudding. Finn loved the brownie.

McDonald’s breakfast – the second time we visited we didn’t have Breakfast included and Finn choose McDonald’s for his birthday breakfast as they did pancakes. I know it’s not the healthiest but we were really surprised how good value it was. It cost us €16 and for that me and Stu had meal each with a bacon & egg muffin, pancakes, coffee and juice and Finn had pancakes, hot chocolate & juice and it definitely kept us going for a while.

Rainforest cafe – We all loved the theming of the Rainforest Cafe. Finn especially loved the fish & monkeys. It is a little on the expensive side, they do have some set menus though which are a bit cheaper. We all really enjoyed our food though and would say it’s worth the expense once on your visit. Our bill came to around €80 for a children’s meal with drink & dessert, a beer, a cocktail, a shared starter and 2 mains.

Vapianos- We love Vapiano’s and find it really fresh & tasty and good value. The portions are quite big so Finn shared with us we had a pasta & pizza dish and with 3 drinks it came to about €35. The ordering system can be a little chaotic as you have to go up separately for pizza & pasta and then get buzzed when your food is ready but it’s well worth it.

Five Guys – this is another restaurant located in Disney village. We shared again between the 3 of us and 2 burgers, a large chips and 2 drinks was €40, a bit on the expensive side for a burger but they are really fresh & big portions.

Inventions, Disneyland Hotel – This is by far my favourite Dining experience we have done at Disney. We went for lunch for Finn’s birthday and Mickey, Minnie and the staff brought out a cake and sang to his (I Pre booked this for about €25) it was such a special moment. Inventions is expensive at €65 for an adult and €35 for a child but we added it at the time of booking so we could spread the cost. The character interaction was brilliant and they came round a few times. We got plenty of photos and Finn’s booked signed. The food was lovely as well there was Beef, king prawns, loads of salad, cheese, desserts etc.. definitely the one to do if you do one character meal.

Caseys’s Corner- This is on Main St with an area to eat inside or an outdoor eating area. The hot dogs are really nice traditional American ones & it came to around £35 for 2 hot dogs, 2 chips, nuggets & 2 drinks.

Glowtini- I loved the Glowtini cocktails which are quite fruity & come with a light up ice cube. We stayed in Santa Fe and apparently this is the cheapest place to have one.

Fuento del Orto- we ate here on the last day by chance as we were in Frontierland and had time before we had to head back for our taxi. I’m really glad we did as it was really nice Mexican food. It came to €32 and we had Nachos and 2 set meals including drinks & a side or yogurt. This was plenty for the 3 of us.

Toad Hall- this is a fish & chip restaurant in Fantasyland. We all really enjoyed it and got the Double to share with a few extra sides.

Cable car bake shop- this is on Main Street and Finn loved the Nutella muffins. They do all sorts of Disney themed cakes & snacks.

Plaza Gardens- on our first visit we had the character breakfast here. I really enjoyed it but after doing the lunch at inventions I’d say that’s definitely the better of the two. You still get the characters coming to your table but it just felt a little rushed compared to inventions and they only seem to come round once. The breakfast was really good though with an amazing selection. I’d still do the breakfast again if we got a deal but would definitely pick the lunch if we could.

Buffalo Bills- On our first visit we did Buffalo Bills Wild West show and loved it, Finn was just over 2 and he really enjoyed it but it is really noisy. The show was brilliant with character appearances and we all really enjoyed the food. You get drinks re fills as well. It’s definitely a fun experience and is really interactive.

Earl of Sandwich- We love Earl of Sandwich and normally end up eating here a few times. They do really nice sandwiches with loads of options and it’s always really quick & reasonable prices. They do a meal deal for about €12 or you can just get the sandwiches on there own.

Toddler Flying Tips

Toddler Flying Tips

Following on from my blog about Baby Flying Tips  I thought I’d do the same for flying with toddlers. We recently travelled to Rome with Finn, he was 14 months at the time and is definitely more active than the last time we flew. Here’s our Rome Blog if you fancy taking a look. 
Booking flights- A lot of advice I’ve read says to book flights around your toddlers sleep times. We’ve always tended to just go with what’s  cheapest and more convenient and I’ve not found it’s made a massive difference. I find there’s usually too much going on for Finn to sleep. That said we haven’t done long haul yet, so maybe if we did long haul I’d work around bed time. My advice would be to go with the flow, but you know yourself how adaptable your toddler is. 
Airport- We flew from terminal 3 at Manchester and they had a kids area with soft play and CBeebies. I said to Stu we must have walked past this loads of time pre Finn so it’s definitely worth hunting one out.  It was brilliant, Finn was able to run around and burn some energy before the flight. 

Ready to take off
Food & Drink- My number 1 tips is snacks and lots of them. I took raisins and then once we were through security I bought crisps, some fruit pouches, cereal bars, a sandwich, fruit and crackers.  I know this isn’t the healthiest snack choices  but it’s just for a few hours and these were a great distraction on the flight. Finn is now on cows milk so we were also able to buy this after security. I then gave him this in his sippy cup for take off and landing to help with his ears. On passing security I just made sure we got everything else in the trays and then took his cup away last minute to avoid a meltdown. 

Plane Bag- We took Finn’s Trunki with us, he loved pushing it around and playing with it at the airport. I bought a few new toys for the plane and the things we found most useful were: stickers (these kept him occupied for ages), a colouring book, crayons, 3 new toy cars, a pull back Thomas train that rolled when you released it he laughed at this for ages, a new teddy and the travel Aquadoodle! The travel Aqua doodle was brilliant both on the plane and when we were Eating out on holiday. I’ve read on other blogs to go to the pound shop and buy 10 toys and wrap them up then space them out for the flight, which is something I might try next time. 

Watching Bing

Changing Bag- As well as the trunki we also took a separate changing bag. I packed (for a 3 and a half hour flight) 2 Muslins, 2 packs of wipes, a spare change of clothes, 2 Blankets (but Finn loves these for comfort), 6 nappys & Calpol just incase his ears really bothered him. I always prefer to take more just incase of delays.

Ipad- We bought some child friendly headphones and loaded the iPad with Thomas the tank Finn loved this on the plane. I think the headphones were a massive novelty as well. 

Softplay area at the airport

Boarding and leaving the Plane- We tried to make sure we were the last on the plane just to minimise the time we spent waiting. We also found it best for me to leave as soon as possible with Finn and for Stu to hang back and check under the seat for dropped items and bring the bags. 

Walking- whenever possible I let Finn walk up and down the aisles, he loved all the attention and it was perfect when he was getting fed up of being sat down. 

Sleep- On the flights we’ve been on with Finn he’s always struggled to sleep so I think what works best  for us is letting him just have some chill time with the iPad. I’d say if possible try not to stress too much about nap time and routine as I’ve always found it soon falls back into place. 
 

Trunki ready to go

What are your top tips for flying with a toddler? 

Baby Flying Tips 

Baby Flying Tips 

We took Finn on his first flight when he was just over 6 months old. I was really worried before hand about how he would cope with the flight. As usual I did plenty of research so thought it would be useful to write down my top flying tips. 

Bring Spare Clothes- I took 2 outfit changes for Finn, 1 top for me and 1 for Finn. A friend laughed as I’m a massive over packer but once Finn had been sick on me, himself and his Daddy I was really glad we did. 

Pack more milk than you think you’ll need- There’s a theme here, I like to plan and pack for every eventuality but I found Finn drank a lot on the flight. I took powder for 3 bottles and cooled boiled water filled to the correct amount. I also packed a few ready made milks ready to put in an empty bottle once he had used the others. The flight was only 4 hours but I didn’t want to panick incase of any delays. I ordered milk and food from boots a week before we went as we were struggling for luggage allowance, we then collected this after security. 

Dummy clips- At the time Finn was using dummy’s and a dummy clip was something I really wish I’d packed. Within 10 minutes of take off he had thrown 4 on the floor and they were a real struggle to find with limited space. 

Bottle for take off and landing- try to feed your baby on take off and landing or give some cool boiled water as this helps with their ears. 

Food- Finn had only just started on solids, so didn’t eat much food. For convenience though I just used pouches and pre packed snacks I’d ordered from boots. It was so much easier and less messy. 

Changing table- As our flight was really packed and had limited leg room (think budget airline) whenever Finn got restless and there wasn’t a queue for the toilet I took advantage of the changing table. He loved being able to kick his legs and the bright lights in there. Just make sure you take your travel changing mat. 

Toys – Finn was at an age where he wasn’t really interested in many toys but I just took a few: his Sophie the giraffe, a few books & Teddys  and his pram toy with a mirror just to give him a few distractions. 

Don’t rush on or off the plane- A lot of people say to take advantage of the chance to board first but we prefer to hold back meaning less time on the plane. It also means less time queuing and holding a heavy baby after you’ve give the buggy in. We also learnt for one of us to hold back and check the seat area and underneath after we lost a favourite teddy on our first flight. 

Blankets- Finn loves blankets for comfort so we made sure we had a few of these, they were also handy for when it got cold and for him to lie on on our knees when napping. 

Pyjamas  for flight – if we have an early flight I keep Finn in his pyjamas for comfort and so he has a nice clean outfit when we get to our destination. I also like to put him in lightweight layers as I find planes can get cold. 

Aisle seat at the back- The best seat I found was an aisle seat right at the back, making it easier to get up and down. I also found it better at the back as there was a bit more room to walk round with Finn when he needed settling. 

Change nappy before take off- I found it best to do this as late as possible to minimise the nappy changes on board. 

Don’t worry about routine- I read a lot before we went away  saying try to fly around nap time or bedtime , but this didn’t work for us. Finn was more unsettled on our late evening flight than any other. I think because he was overtired. I found the best thing was to just forget routine and go with the flow of naps and feeds (I did this on the holiday too). 

Pack double- for out 4 hour flight I packed double what I’d normally take in my changing bag in a day. So about 10 nappys, 2 packs of wipes, 2 Muslins and about 5 bibs. As I mentioned I am a massive over packer but I felt more relaxed knowing we had plenty of things. 

I hope you’ve found these tips useful and I’d love to hear others top tips for flying with a baby.