4 1/2 years old

Preparing for a Trip to Disneyland Paris


We recently went on our very first trip to Disneyland Paris!  It was so exciting for the whole family.  We surprised the kids on Christmas day with a big box for them to unwrap, inside were some warm Mickey and Minnie hats and a note that said that we're going to Disneyland!  Then some Disney themed clothes under the note, so they could start packing straight away!

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Before telling the children, of course, we had booked the whole trip and did the initial planning ourselves.  We did it all through the Walt Disney Travel Company because we were able to book the journey through the Eurotunnel, the hotel (we stayed at Disney's Newport Bay Club), the half board meal plan and extras like a character breakfast all in one booking.  Of course there are other ways of booking things separately which may save some money, so it's worth looking into, but because we were booking quite last minute this was the best option for us.  (We also loved the pack that they sent with lots of information and luggage tags for each of us).

Once the trip itself was booked they advise that you make reservations at the restaurants before you go (you can book up to 60 days in advance).  With our half board meal plan we were already good for breakfasts (2 in the hotel and one that we had already booked with characters in the park) but we needed to book for three dinners.  We decided to try the Yacht Club restaurant in our hotel on the first night (it looked really lovely and was conveniently located in case we were running late), then booked for Captain Jack's in Disneyland Parc on the second night and Chez Remy in Walk Disney Studios on our last night; both because they looked fantastic and themed towards Disney movies.  (Read all about our experience in our next post about Our Christmas Trip to Disneyland Paris).

Once the children knew about the trip, we wanted them to be a part of the planning and also to make the whole process fun, not just the few days that we were spending in the Disney parks but the lead up as well, so we got them involved as soon as we could.

Disneyland Planning notebooks

Of course I'm a big planner and always have notebooks and spreadsheets for everything, but that doesn't mean that the kids can't do their own planning!  We bought them each some notebooks that they could then decorate with Disney stickers, cut outs and drawings to personalise them.  We then looked through the brochure and the website together and they chose their must see characters and must do rides and shows that they could list in their notebooks.

I used all of their lists to then create my own lists.  I made a rough plan for each day, including anything that we had booked in advance (like restaurant reservations) and fitting shows and other things with set times around them.  I then had a rough plan for the rides that we would like to do and which ones might be popular and try to do them first (during the extra magic hours that hotel guests get) or during less busy times (like during parades that we had already seen).  I had some very detailed lists and plans by the end of this process, and loaded them all onto my phone for easy access.  I knew that we wouldn't follow these plans exactly as we like to just explore theme parks and do things that look fun as we see them, but having an idea of how things could all fit in worked incredibly well for us.

Disneyland Snack bags 

A great tip that I saw on the Disneyland for Brits Facebook group (which I highly recommend joining, it's full of very knowledgeable people to answer your questions) is to prepare snack bags for each of the children to have 1 per day.  We used these zip seal plastic sandwich bags and then of course we decorated them with more of our Disney stickers and filled them up with snacks for each day  (many of which were also Disney themed snacks from the Disney Kitchen range!) 

This really helped on the journey as well as in the parks as the kids had snacks for when we queued and whenever they needed a little break, and we didn't have to stop as much in the very busy cafes.

Disneyland Outfits 

We all had to be dressed for the occasion and I really wanted the children to have Disney outfits for each day (and then I went a little bit overboard and had the grown ups on theme too!) It actually really helped with packing as I usually just throw in lots of options, but having actual outfits for each day made it quicker to get ready in the mornings too.  I thought about what we would be doing each day and laid out each of our clothes accordingly (some thermals and extra warm socks were added to these piles as well).

Day 1 - driving, exploring Disney village and dinner
Day 2 - Disneyland Parc
Day 3 - Walt Disney Studios
Day 4 - Character breakfast and driving home

Ivy's Clothes:

Ethan's Clothes:

My clothes:

My husbands clothes (these were surprises for him on the day that we left, he never would have willingly bought them himself, ha ha!):

Disneyland Fun extras and just in case items to pack

Of course we wanted to bring a few other extra things that would cost us a lot more in the park if we needed them, and because we had room in the car we were able to, so we also brought: 
  • Glow sticks to play with during Illuminations
  • Rain ponchos just in case it rained
  • First Aid Kit (loaded up with extra Calpol, ibuprofen, etc.) 
  • Spare socks and gloves in waterproof bags
  • An extra pair of shoes/boots (you do so much walking it's good to alternate)
  • Soothing lotion for sore legs/feet (I use Arbonne Detox Gelee, it's the best!)

Disneyland Drive Presents

It is quite a long journey from London to Disneyland Paris (at least 2 hours to the Eurotunnel and about 3 hours on the other side, without any delays) so we really wanted to be prepared with things to keep the children busy in the car, and to build up excitement for Disneyland!  So I bought them some Disney themed toys (also much less expensive than buying in the parks) and made little Mickey Mouse shaped tags for them and gave them to the children throughout the journey.

Ready to go - big soft toy Mickey and Minnie Mouse

On our way - Disney magazine (Frozen and Spiderman)

Halfway to the tunnel - Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears

In the Eurotunnel - Disney colouring books / reading books (Elena of Avalor and Thor)

In France - Mickey Mouse keychains for backpacks

Close to Paris - Mickey and Minnie pouch for mementos

Driving past Paris - Disney lanyard for pins (Ariel and Spiderman)

We’re at Disneyland - Disneyland Paris autograph books in Disney bags

On the way home drive presents

On our way home - Disney Magazines (Princesses and Star Wars)

Going into the tunnel - Disney 3D Puzzle erasers

Almost home - Mickey and Minnie Mouse lip balms

All of this preparation definitely paid off as we had an incredible time at Disneyland Paris!

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And be sure to read our follow up posts about Our Trip to Disneyland Paris!

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