My top 5 FAQs about Disneyland Paris answered
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
We have been to Disneyland Paris 10 times. Yeap! 6 times before kids and 4 times with kids. There's no question that we are a Disney family here. Paul is grumpy by nature, so he can get grumpy about Disney stuff sometimes, but he never complains about going to Disney because he says that seeing our faces lit up and be so happy is priceless, and that makes him happy too. And coffee, a lot of coffee makes him happy.
Because we've been quite a few times, people always ask me questions like "when is a good time to take the kids?", "is it really busy", "how many days should we go for?". If you guys ever have any questions, feel free to get in touch as I'm always happy to chat. I also have a quite a few short YouTube videos with the practicalities of Disneyland Paris with kids, like how to go on the grown-up rides with small children etc. You can check out the playlist here (and please subscribe to my channel!)
This is the first blog post of a series I will write on this Disneyland Paris Travel Guide and I'm starting with a quick-fire FAQs on the 5 top questions I get all the time. So let's get to it!
1) When is a good time to take the kids?
There's no right or best age to take the kids. Honestly. There might be the "best age you can cope with" to take the kids, which is different. Nattie was 9 months on her first trip, both Nattie and Joseph went at 18 months ish, Joseph also went at 3, at 4 and at 5. So we covered all ages up to 5 so far and I feel that anything above 5 is kind of irrelevant talking about as now he is 5 he can fully interact and experience most things in the parks, so anything above 5 is a given that is a good time to go.
I say that there is no best time because every age was very special in their own way. At 9 months Nattie didn't really take anything in, not even the bright lights. But she enjoyed being out and about with her family, going to restaurants and trying different foods, she loved the buggy naps and being in the carrier close to her mummy all day. So just like any other family holiday, it was nice for her. For us, as long as she was cosy in the carrier it was relatively easy. Easier than running after a toddler for sure! The downside is that we were shattered with all the carrying and feeding and nappy changing. But that's every day life with a baby, really. So I would say that if YOU want to go to Disney because YOU want to go (not because you want to take the kids), actually the baby age is the best age to go because you can follow your own agenda and not you child's. My word of advice is only if you have an older child already. Joseph had just turned 4 on that trip and we found it frustrating that he wanted to do so much and move so quick and we couldn't because of the baby. I did a "day in he life" vlog on that trip where I talk about how we got around doing things that suited everyone (and a good old moan about being tired!).
At 18 months ish, both Joseph and Natalia behaved very differently on their trips at this age (as expected as they are different people with different personalities after all!) but what they both had in common was the amazement in experiencing the magic. At this age, the music, the sounds, the lights... their little eyes lit up, the big smiles, them trying to run to the castle... it's a magical age to take them. They won't remember it but they will have an amazing time experiencing different sights and sounds and the memories you will make for yourself as a parent... nothing can put a price on that. Probably my most magical Disney memory I have is of Joseph's first trip at 18 months when he met Mickey Mouse in person for the first time. It is our most magical moment to date. And Joseph, although he doesn't remember it, he loves watching the video and looking at the photos and hearing the story. Nattie's trip at 18 months... she was terrified of all the characters! But she had different magical moments instead. Mainly chasing the ducks and birds of Disneyland, eating ALL the popcorn and "talking" to ALL the cast members!
3, 4 and 5 they were all good ages. He started being able to go on bigger rides as he grew taller, in fact he went on rides at 3 that he didn't at 5. At 3 he was fearless and adventurous and at 5 he knows better to know that a ride will be scary or too fast! At 4 he didn't want to meet any characters as he was extremely shy and embarrassed of doing so but at 5 he wanted to meet EVERYONE and everyone got the biggest hugs ever. At 4 he almost peed his pants meeting Darth Vader, at 5 he met him with a vengeance. But, at 3 he wanted to do the Dumbo ride and the Snow White ride and all the magical rides... at 5 we spent a lot more time at Adventure Isle.
So as you can see, at every stage of their lives you will get a different Disney experience, each magical on their own way and each challenging and tiring in their own way. So I really don't think there is a best time to go, it will be great at any time. It depends on what YOU want to take out of it.
Financially... I would say the best time to go is just before they turn 3. Children aged up to 3 don't pay at all, not even for their meal at table service restaurant (info correct at the time of writing). And at almost 3 they will still be able to experience most of the park and Joseph actually remembers aspects of that trip! We actually spent his 3rd birthday there and that counts as "under 3". Also, because they are not in school yet it means that you don't have to go during school holidays, you can go when it's cheaper and quieter.
2) How many days should I go for?
It depends on what kind of traveller you are and how "trained to travel" your kids are. If you're the kind who goes on holidays with an itinerary, a map, a time to do each attraction, a tick list and you're happy to keep going from one thing to another, than you can probably get away with 2 days in low/mid season. We're not that type, I like to take my time, do things at leisure, choose to do something else if there's a queue, call it a day if everyone is tired. So for us our optimal trip time is 4 nights 5 days. On the first day we don't go to the park, we just hang out in Disney Village an recover from the travelling. So we get 3 and a half days in the parks and for us that is perfect to do things without feeling rushed.
3) Is it really busy?
It didn't used to be when we first started going but it is now. That's why I say if you can go before your kids start school, do it so you can go in low season. And if you have to go in high season, go for longer like we do, so you have the time to queue up for the popular attractions if you want to. We went on high season for the first time this year because Joseph is now in school, so we went in the May half-term. We could notice the difference, some queues up to 100 minutes long. There are some hacks to beat those queues though and not every attraction is this busy. I will do a separate blog post on beating the queues ;-)
4) Is it really expensive?
It used to be a LOT cheaper when we first started going. Prices have gone up a lot in the last two years BUT, if you're used to going to Center Parcs, it's the same sort of money, except that you also need to travel to France in addition and you will probably spend a lot more while you're there in snacks and merchandising. I will do a post on exactly how much we spent on this last trip (May/June 2019) but in the meanwhile, here's how much we spent on our trip last year (June 2018):
5) I'm not really a Disney person, will I enjoy it?
YES. If you don't, tell me why because I would love to know. Listen, we all have bad holidays. You might be on a desert island in the most beautiful place in the world and still have a crap time for some reason. I had a particularly bad trip to Disney once and a mediocre trip another time. It can happen when you're on holiday. But the fact that it is "Disney" has nothing to do with it. Even the coldest heart will smile when you first spot the castle. And there is so much more than you think. So much adventure, shows, stunt shows, superheros everywhere. It is so much more than you could imagine until you actually go and experience it.
And with that I'll leave you to digest all this and have a think about when it's YOUR best time to go. You can always head to the Disneyland Paris website and have a browse at the holiday packages. If you sign in/register (free) you can save your selections for later so you can keep thinking about it: Disneyland Paris website
Find me on Instagram here for our trip photos.
Next post on this series will be on the different types of packages, travels sites and my personal recommendation on how we often book our holidays (and how far in advance to get the best price).
Thank you for reading!