Disneyland Paris With A Toddler: Surviving DLP With A One Year Old

by - May 14, 2018


T H E  H A P P I E S T  P L A C E  O N  E A R T H

This year I took my 6th trip to Disney and although I've been a few times before this experience was slightly different as it was my first as a Mother! Although it was tempting to take Bowie to my happy place fresh from the womb I waited until he was 17 months to show him the magic and I cannot wait to take him again and again. Contrary to popular belief, Disneyland is more than suitable for babies and toddlers and Bowie had the most amazing time and so here are my top tips for Disneyland with a one year old...

1. THE JOURNEY


All parents know that traveling with a toddler is no walk in the park however traveling via Eurostar is close enough. I pictured Bowie screaming the entire journey, running up and down the carriage like a maniac and throwing myself off the train half way through the journey because I couldn't take it any longer. 

In the past we've travelled standard class but with a toddler in tow we decided to travel Standard Premium this time to ease the stress a little and it was worth every penny. Our carriage had less than half the people in it than a normal carriage (there was only one other child in the entire carriage and a handful of over passengers! in other words NO SCREAMING CHILDREN!! b l i s s) which meant Bowie had plenty of space to stretch his legs and explore and the carriage was nice and quiet and peaceful. To keep him occupied we had the trusty iPad packed full of Mr Tumble videos, much to the other passengers delight and the table service of food and drink was a nice distraction as he happily wolfed down the entire carriage's yogurts. The Journey only takes just over 2 hours so with snacks, entertainment and a nice long nap Bowie was a dream. 
Our favorite part of Eurostar is that it takes you directly to the parks, we always pay extra for Disney Express meaning that our suitcases are taken off of us at arrival and taken back to our hotel for us so that we can walk straight from the train into Disneyland (or straight into the Disney store to blow the entire weeks budget in 15 minutes) without worrying about 25 suitcases and 16 backpacks of unnecessary emergency snacks. 

2. DISNEYLAND HOTELS

When we go to Disneyland Paris we always stay at one of the 4 main, higher priced hotels. These are The Disneyland Hotel, Newport Bay Club, Hotel New York and Sequoia Lodge. I know a lot of families opt for the budget hotels further out to save money but for us its just not worth it! Staying so much closer to the park is even more important when you have a pair of little legs with you. 

Picture one nappy changing room in the entire Disneyland Park, every nappy changing station occupied, barely any room to queue, a wriggly baby, no prams allowed inside and 8 different bags of spare clothes, snacks, nappy changing supplies... Its not fun and I was happy to avoid these hell holes as much as possible. Being able to just pop back to your hotel which is a quick walk from the park to deal with bum changes, outfit changes, naps and picking up all those things that you always forget to take with you is invaluable. As well as this, babies need breaks! Disneyland can get overwhelming for toddlers and they need some time to wind down so running back to the hotel for half an hour to enjoy your free hazelnut latte (one free hot drink per person per day, result) whilst your toddler trashes the hotel room and runs around naked is perfect. Our hotel also had an amazing swimming pool and sauna room that Bowie enjoyed on one of our more chilled days. 

The best thing of all staying so close to the parks though is the end of the day. You're exhausted, your feet are killing and you're not even sure if you have all your toes intact anymore. Your body aches, your eyes are barely open and 5406456509 people are trying to leave the parks at the same time. I've been tempted to curl up in a ball and sleep on the street outside the exit before but only having a tiny little walk to your hotel room, especially with an over tired toddler that needs his bed, is the best feeling. I do not envy those trying to cram into an over filled shuttle bus, trying to flag down a taxi or having to walk half an hour to their hotel on nights like that. 

3. CHARACTER MEALS


You never know which way your child is going to sway when it comes to meeting characters. Are they going to run and scream, plagued with nightmares for the rest of their lives or are they going to never want to let them go. Luckily for me Bowie LOVED the characters, giving them kisses, cuddles and high fives like he'd known them all his life. Thankfully we had Character Meals booked and if we hadn't I really don't think he'd have met a lot and wouldn't have enjoyed the holiday as much as he did. I nearly passed out when I saw the Princess Pavilion queue was 3 hours long (just to meet ONE Princess) let alone when I saw the Moana queue was pushing for 5 hours long! 5 HOURS LONG, to meet a lady in a wig. As well as this absurdity we had the bright idea of holidaying in the coldest week of the year and as the snow fell a lot of character meet and greets were cancelled or cut short and it just wasn't practical to plop a one year old in a four hour queue in the snow and so it just didn't happen. We had the premium meal plan however so 60 days before our holiday we had manically booked in for all of our Character Meals and so enjoyed Character Breakfast at Plaza Gardens, Character Meals at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel and Cafe Mickey, and the Princess Lunch at ADC. Walking past the 3 hour long queue to meet one Princess to attend our Princess lunch where we met 7 in the warm whilst eating our meal was brilliant. Bowie couldn't get enough of them, having a hilarious conversation with Snow White one day and blowing Minnie Mouse kisses the next. 

4. RIDES

Its easy to assume your child won't like a ride but the chances are they will! The Majority of rides at Disneyland Paris are suitable for toddlers and Bowie LOVED them. His favorites were the tea cups and its a small world (we went on its a small world so many times the song will forever be embedded deep in my skull). We also took him on Pirates of the Caribbean three or four times, Peter Pans Flight, Snow Whites Adventures, The Voyages of Pinocchio, The Carousel, Slinky Dog, Flying Carpets, Dumbos, Buzz Lightyears Later Blast, Ratatouille (just to name a few) and there were even more that were suitable for him that we didn't even have time to get on! Bowie was fine on every ride, laughing hysterically on the Tea Cups, shouting WEEE on Pirates of the Caribbean and mesmerised by the music on Its a Small World. 

5. FAMILY 

If you have the option of taking family members with you for that extra pair (or two, or three, or in our case 5) of hands then DO IT. Luckily for us we had my Mum, Siblings and Grandparents on hand to help with Bowie and we all took it in turns so that myself and Aidan could get on the bigger rides too like The Hollywood Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and Rock n Rollercoaster or the less suitable rides like Star Tours. If you can't drag your family along with you there is the option of Parent Swap but with family there you can enjoy the rides together!

OTHER TOP TIPS
1. Pack Snack bags! Bowie had two snack packs per day we were there filled with food and drink that was easy to carry around and didn't have to be refrigerated. Being able to whip out snacks at any given moment, especially in ride queues was great.
2. Pack for all weather! We did not predict at the end of March that we were going to be caught up in a snow blizzard in Paris. Luckily I had packed for all kinds of weather and had swimming trunks and flip flops to wooly tights and big coats backed for Bowie. (The Eurostar has no luggage limits)
3. Book your meals 60 days before. If you're dining Premium the Character dining and the more popular restaurants will book up weeks before your holiday so make sure you book them exactly 60 days before the first day of your holiday. 
4. Eat at Buffets. Children under the age of 3 are free and so don't get there own meal vouchers. This means unless you want to pay out extra for kids meals you have to provide your own food or let them eat bits off your plate, however if you eat at Buffets this doesn't apply and they can have their own plates and eat as much as they want for free. 
5. Buy the Disney Photopass Plus. This means you get to keep all of your ride photos as well as any meet and greet photos with a fast pass photographer and can download them to your phone from the app. We have so many priceless photos of Bowie on rides to cherish on ours. 


Anyone that says that Disneyland isn't for babies or toddlers has clearly never been with one. Bowie enjoyed himself from start to finish and spent the week smiling and laughing with characters, on rides and just having a great time with his family. There is no age limit for Disney and if you have the chance to go then do it! 



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