One of my first thoughts when I became a parent was, ‘finally I can embrace my love of Disney without embarrassment’! For years, whenever I would go to Disneyland Paris or Disney World in Florida, I would always play it down. ‘Yes we’re going on a trip to Paris. We may stop by Disneyland, if we have time,’ I would say, or ‘we’re doing a tour of Florida, we’ll be spending a few days in Miami and then we might stop by Orlando and do a few parks.’ When in all honestly, the sole purpose of the trips were Disney, Disney, Disney!
My husband and I are big kids at heart and having a ready-made excuse to go to theme parks is a dream come true. Thankfully, our one-year-old loves Disney (like she has a choice) so now we do it for her (ahem…).
This is actually our second trip to Disneyland Paris as a family of three. Mr Queen Mummy had tickets to the European Cup Final last year so we were taking a trip to France anyway and thought we may as well stop at Disney (hear my excuses?). But this year, the Queen is one and we were desperate to go back to the Happiest Place on Earth to see what she would make of it. Especially on the 25th anniversary. Yes some people might argue that one is far too young to appreciate such things but you know what? We had a magical time whether she remembers it or not (she won’t). Here are my tips on enjoying Disneyland to the full with a toddler.
There were actually LOADS of rides that we could go on as a family. Pretty much everything in Fantasyland and anything that isn’t a rollercoaster/simulator. We even took her on Phantom Manor (aka Haunted Mansion) and she loved it! And the rides that she can’t go on (I think sneaking a baby on Space Mountain is frowned upon) you can use the genius invention that is baby swap. It means that one of you queues for the ride and then when they’re done, the other can hop straight on with no wait!
They Playhouse Disney show was a big hit. This was at Walt Disney Studios Park (like a mini Hollywood Studios for Florida fans). They run in English and French and have puppets, songs and bubbles! The Queen loved it and was up clapping and dancing along. We also took her to visit Mickey Mouse. She didn’t hate this but definitely didn’t love it either. She seems very unsure of the giant mouse trying to hug her.
Food I’ll be honest and say the food isn’t great. However, Disneyland Paris is much less strict about bringing in food than it’s American counterparts so a couple of sandwiches and snacks in your bag would not go amiss. Pasta is a big favourite of the Queen so we once end up in Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost in Adventureland (Disneyland Park) and it was ok. It was a nice place to sit and plan the next ride and the food was fine. For snacks, I do recommend the pineapple whip. This is available in Adventureland too (next to Aladdin) and is a delicious combination of pineapple juice and ice cream.
Although a Disney hotel would have been lovely, this was a last minute trip that we had a strict budget for. Instead we chose a hotel 20 minutes by bus from the parks called Residance du Parc and it suited us fine. It was cheap as chips but clean, easy to get to and had a mini kitchen for us to heat up milk and make cups of tea – what more could we want?
If you want to go to Disney and have a toddler, don’t let it hold you back. But also, if you don’t have kids at all and want to go, do it! Who needs an excuse!