Disneyland is the most magical place on earth, but it can be stressful if you have young kids with you.
Disney is what dreams are made of and if you're planning a trip in the next few months you're going to love this post. This year will be our fifth time at Disneyland Paris in six years so I like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to dishing out park advice.
When heading to any theme park we hear of all the small old tips like arriving early and riding the most popular attractions first or to bring a picnic because the amusement park food usually sucks, so today we are changing things up a little by sharing our favourite Disneyland Paris hacks that we think every parent should know.
- First of all, let us talk about getting there! A trip to Disneyland doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, it is possible to do it on a budget but there is a little more work involved. You will need to book everything yourself. That includes your flights, transfers, accommodation and park tickets. Compare both the French and German Disneyland websites using Google translate. We usually fly Aer Lingus and use Magic Shuttle for transfers. However, if you have a large group it may be cheaper to book private transfers, something we are considering later this year.
- Want to come face to face with all your favourite Disney characters without queuing? Head over to the 'secret spot' located near the castle where characters walk past to enter the stage before shows. To get there walk through the Castle into Fantasyland and turn right immediately where you will go through a metal gate. Here you will find Cindrella's carriage but wait along with the gates down the end. The best time to go is fifteen minutes before showtimes and if you're lucky enough cast members will interact and pose for a photo with your small crew.
- There are various ways to skip the queues at Disney but using your official Disney Park ticket is without a doubt the most popular. Simply use your ticket at one of the many FastPass machines on the rides you plan to visit and insert your ticket. The machine will print a return time on a FastPass allowing you to wander off and do your thing until it's time to head back to the attraction and skip past the crazy queues. Once complete you can use your FastPass at another attraction.
- Another easy way of skipping certain queues is to dress up as your favourite Disney character. Before you head off on your holiday of a lifetime, pick up some costumes in your local Toystore, eBay or Amazon (they cost a pretty penny at both parks). Often kids get chosen to skip the queue when dressing up.
- Disneyland Paris also has a single rider line and a baby swap system at some rides that will save you lots of valuable time queuing but if you happen to be expecting make sure you bring documents confirming you are indeed pregnant and can't stand in line for long periods to obtain a green pass at City Hall. The same applies to anyone with a temporary illness such as wearing a cast or if you have recently undergone a minor operation.
- Finding the best spot for the parades can be a nightmare but rest assured, we know the perfect place and sometimes it's the quietest too. The best position to see the daily parades at Disneyland Paris is on the road curve just about 100 yards from the finish line next to Town Hall.
- Be sure to download the official Disneyland Paris app before your visit for showtimes, offers, park maps that can be viewed at any time without the need for WiFi and most importantly approximate wait times for rides in both parks. You will also need to download Lineberty to reserve meet and greet experiences with your favourite characters such as Spiderman. The app gives you an estimation of how long you will be waiting to allow you to plan your day. Lineberty will send you a notification when it's time to head over to the location of your meet and greet.
- Did you know that the nearest cast member will crown you a king for the day if you happen to pull the sword out of the stone? The legendary enchanted sword made from solid bronze is located in Fantasyland so make sure you give it your best shot! You just never know what might happen.
- And finally, unbeknownst to many there is a huge dragon hiding under Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Paris. It took us until our third visit to discover it and ever since it's been a highlight during our visits. If you walk to the left-hand side of the castle you will find a cave-like entrance, walk inside the dimly lit cavern but be quiet, you don't want to wake him...