9 of the Best Restaurants for family dining at Disneyland Paris – Reviews by a mum of 3

This is an easy post to write as I love both eating, and Disneyland!
There are tons of good options for eating at Disneyland Paris. Obviously I haven’t tried all of the restaurants, but we did sample a fair number on our recent trip. Due to some unforeseen medical circumstances we stayed longer than expected, but looking on the bright side, it means I can share more information with you all.

So, for my first top tip: If you’ve already booked a trip to Disneyland Paris, the first thing I recommend you do next is to book restaurants in advance if you plan to dine out at any buffet or sit-down restaurants. It might seem like over-the-top organisation to have everything mapped out in advance, but trust me. It’s much easier to book and cancel later than to try and organise a last-minute reservation, especially at some of the more popular restaurants.  There are a handful of restaurants that you can’t book beforehand eg Rainforest Cafe or Annette’s Diner in the Disney Village, which is probably fine if you don’t mind chancing it and waiting in a queue sometimes, but if your group consists of mostly small hungry people like ours then it makes sense to book!

Disney 25th anniversary chocolate cake dessert at Plaza Gardens
Disney 25th anniversary chocolate cake dessert at Plaza Gardens

My second tip: Plan dinner around the Disney parade times.  When we visited, the parade was daily at 5.30pm (this may vary so check the programme, which you can obtain at the entrance to the park).  You may wish to eat before or after this if you’d like to see the parade.  Though on days you aren’t planning to watch the parade you might find 5.30pm is a quieter time at restaurants and therefore a good choice!

There are 3 main types of places to eat at Disneyland Paris.  The first is a sit-down restaurant, where you order and your meal is served to you.  The second is a buffet style restaurant.  The third is counter service, where you order at the till and receive the food there, and carry it over to a table yourself.  I’ll mainly talk about the first 2 types as we visited those the most, and they’re the ones you’ll want to book in advance.  But there are plenty of counter service places where you can get yourself something to eat, eg fast food like hot dogs, chips or chicken nuggets, but the quality was a little variable and not necessarily cheap, either (though admittedly it is cheaper than eating at buffet or sit-down restaurants).

So without further ado, here is a list of restaurants that we dined at just a few weeks ago at Disneyland Paris.

Inventions – This is probably the most popular restaurant at Disneyland Paris, as it is THE place to meet the likes of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, et al, at the comfort of your dinner table, without queuing for eons.  It is located in the Disneyland Hotel, at the entrance to the Disneyland Park.  If you’d like to eat here, you absolutely must book in advance!  I booked a table a month in advance, for 8 persons, and the only time slots they had left during our 4 night stay were 2pm and 10pm, on one of the days.  Admittedly this was during May half-term, which is a busy period.  You can also book a character breakfast here, which I am sure would be a brilliant start to the day.

What we loved: The food is amazing at Inventions.  It’s a buffet style restaurant, but it feels high end and special.  Of course the main draw is that this is the only restaurant where you get to meet Disney characters during your meal (with the exception of Auberge, where you can meet the princesses).  They will come over to your table and pose with you for photos, and sign your autograph book if you like!  It really is lots of fun.

Would we go again: Given the opportunity, of course!

Just to be aware:  All this fun and celebrity experience comes at a price.

Auberge De Cendrillon – This was my second visit to the Auberge Restaurant, located in Fantasyland in the Disneyland park.  The last time we visited was 6 years ago, and my then 2.5 year old daughter met Disney princesses as well as some of the princes. These days for some reason the princes no longer do the rounds at Auberge, but it was still a lovely experience, albeit with a hefty price tag!  The Disney princesses Ariel (Little Mermaid), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Rapunzel, Cinderella and the two mice all visited us at our table.  There is a friendly chaperone with the princesses, who helps make sure each princess visits every table so in theory there is no need to worry that you will get missed.

What we loved: Besides the thrilling moments of meeting the princesses (though this was lost on our toddler, who just wasn’t interested at all, haha!) we loved the interesting desserts at the restaurant.

Meeting Rapunzel at Auberge de Cendrillon Restaurant
Meeting Rapunzel at Auberge de Cendrillon Restaurant

Just to be aware: Very expensive.  All this Disney magic comes at a price!  You may like us feel a little anxious waiting for the princesses to come to your table.  The chicken that I had as a main course was a little overdone.

Would we go again: As we have now been twice I think it will depend if the children are still interested to meet the princesses when we go next time.  But something tells me we will return to Auberge!

Prawn starter at Auberge de Cendrillon Disneyland Paris
Tasty prawn starter at Auberge
Dessert at Disneyland Paris Auberge
Dessert from children’s menu at Auberge
Disney Auberge de Cendrillon dessert
White chocolate “glass slipper” on a delicious velvet cushion biscuit – dessert at Auberge

Cafe Hyperion – This counter service cafe is located in Discoveryland (not far from the Buzz Lightyear ride) in the Disneyland Park. We only had breakfasts here, as it is one of the locations where you can get breakfast if you have a “Plus” breakfast voucher (more info on this, later in the post).  The breakfast consisted of a hot drink, bottle of water or orange juice, a croissant or pain au chocolat, and a bacon and egg muffin. I found this amount of food to be more than adequate, considering we had plans for a big lunch.  It was also good not to be TOO FULL before marching around the park with small children, trying to fit in all the attractions!  While you are eating you can sit and watch Star Wars clips and sometimes there are amateur music performances.  There was a visiting choir there when we went, singing Disney tunes.

Plaza Gardens – A buffet restaurant in the Disneyland Park.  Really great food!  Rather busy atmosphere.

What we loved: Great selection of delicious food, lots of variety.

Would we go back: Yes.

Sweet jars at the dessert buffet, at Plaza Gardens Restaurant

Restaurant Chez Remy – this sit-down restaurant in the Walt Disney Studios is very popular, particularly as it is new and Ratatouille-themed.  We were a little alarmed when we arrived for our 11.30am reservation as we were ushered into a waiting room which was chock full of families waiting for their table, but it was only a matter of minutes before we were shown to our table, and I think there was only a wait because the restaurant hadn’t quite opened yet.

Restaurant Chez Remy Disneyland Paris
A rat’s eye point of view – Restaurant Chez Remy

What we loved:  The “giant” furnishings.  Our chairs were champagne corks, and the tables look like giant jam jars.  From some of the tables you can see people getting off the Ratatouille ride.  Excellent food and a really helpful and nice waiter.

Would we go back: Absolutely.  And next time I’m determined to go on the Ratatouille ride as well!

Restaurant Chez Remy Disneyland Paris
My daughter enjoyed her eclair, from the children’s menu at Restaurant Chez Remy

Restaurant Des Stars – This buffet restaurant located in Walt Disney Studios has a relaxed atmosphere, and lots of old photos from classic films and famous actors from back-in-the-day.  The food here was truly delicious and there was a great variety.

What we loved: The ice cream and dessert bar.  You can help yourself to soft-serve ice cream (think Mr. Whippy) and decorate it to your heart’s content with sweets and sprinkles.  There were so many desserts and I was so stuffed from the delicious buffet…I need to go back again and this time save room for pudding!

Would we go back: In a heartbeat.

Steakhouse – We booked this place quite last minute and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It’s a sit down restaurant in the Disney Village.  It was actually very good, and the portions were large!  It has an airy feel inside, not too crowded and we all agreed it had a spacious feel to it with dark wood and quite high ceilings.

What we loved: Generous portions

Would we go back: Not my top choice, as I’m not a huge meat-eater, but still a very good restaurant so yes we would go again.

Disney Steakhouse chicken main course
Generous chicken main course at the Steakhouse – all items pictured were included as part of the main course – there was also a bread roll (not pictured). Needless to say I couldn’t quite finish it!

Parkside Diner – This 1930’s style diner is in the New York Hotel, which is just on the opposite side of the Disney Village to the parks.  We really enjoyed our meal here, and as the weather was so beautiful we actually sat outside and I enjoyed a lovely cool glass of cider with my starters.

Disney Hotel New York Parkside Diner
A refreshing drink at Disney’s Hotel New York Parkside Diner

Our little one was asleep at the time so it was an extra-peaceful moment!  Not much quiet time during that week in Paris so I really soaked it up.  The picture below just shows the starters I ate!

What we loved: Lovely location for sitting outdoors, wonderful food (though possibly not quite as much selection as Cape Cod)

Would we go back: Without a doubt

Disney Parkside Diner New York hotel

Cape Cod – This buffet-style restaurant is in the Newport Bay Hotel, about a 15 minute walk from the parks.  We booked this place quite last minute as well (just a couple days before), and didn’t get a table near the windows facing the lake, which we would have liked.  But on the other hand it did mean we were closer to the buffet which was quite a seafood feast.  My 4-year old even enjoyed fish soup, which is definitely a first!

What we loved: Mini pecan pie desserts.  Delicious food.  Lovely walk along the lake from our hotel (New York) to the Newport Bay Hotel.

Would we go back: Absolutely.  Though the location is not as convenient, it’s definitely worth going if you’re staying at one of the nearby hotels.

Disney dessert buffet at Cape Cod restaurant
Dessert buffet at Cape Cod restaurant
Panoramagique Disneyland Paris
View over the lake, walking back from Newport Bay Hotel to the Hotel New York.  You can see the Disney Village in the background

Should I purchase a meal plan for Disneyland Paris?  And how does it work?

Before going to Disneyland Paris this year, I did quite a lot of online research to work out whether we should organise a pre-paid Disney meal plan or not.  This has to be booked prior to your stay, and if you book a Disney hotel you will be asked or sometimes offered a meal plan as part of a package deal or offer at the time of making your Disneyland booking.

There are 4 plans that you can choose, if you decide to go for it: Hotel, Standard, Plus and Premier.  Hotel is the least expensive plan, Standard and Plus are mid-range, and Premier is the priciest option.

The Hotel plan is just that, it allows you to dine at your hotel.  Which may be a perfectly good option.

The Standard plan includes all of the buffet restaurants, for example Restaurant Des Stars and Plaza Gardens.

The Plus plan includes all of the buffet restaurants and some extra ones, for example Restaurant Chez Remy.

With the Premier plan you can dine at any of the restaurants, including Inventions and Auberge de Cendrillon (assuming you can get a reservation! Did I mention yet about booking in advance?!)

When you arrive at your hotel and check in, you will be given lots of meal vouchers which state which plan you are on.  If you are on half board you will get a breakfast voucher and another voucher which can be used for lunch or dinner.  The vouchers are flexible so it is absolutely fine to not use a lunch/dinner voucher one day, and then use two lunch/dinner vouchers the following day.  For full board you will get vouchers for all 3 meals.  Then when you go to a restaurant, you produce these vouchers instead of payment.  However, in practice you may need to pay a little extra if you have more drinks and so on.  The vouchers do not include alcoholic drinks.

As touched upon above, each restaurant at Disneyland is in one of the 3 categories.  If you have standard vouchers but wish to eat in a Plus or Premium restaurant, the voucher will have a value which will be put towards your meal at that restaurant.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck finding out what the value would be, before going to Disney, even though I did call up and ask!  But while at one of the restaurants we did enquire, as we had a Plus voucher and were interested in a Premium menu item.  To our amusement our waiter checked for us in a large complicated-looking spreadsheet he had in a folder, and I’m pleased to report the amount was reasonable.  But it might vary from one restaurant to another, I really can’t say.

You can find a list of all the available restaurants and use the filter to determine which category they are in, on the Disneyland Paris website:

http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/dining/

If you’d like to check out the prices of the meal plans you can find that here:

http://holidays.disneylandparis.co.uk/meal-plans.html

 

Overall I think the Meal Plan is a great idea if you are planning to eat at many restaurants in the same category, however it may not work so well if you have a mix of restaurants in different categories as we did!  However, if you can get a good offer on a hotel which includes a meal plan, it is really great to feel that food is already included and you don’t have to pay as you go.

I am not sure much money is saved as you may end up spending more than you would have on food, but you’ll be more inclined to have some dining experiences, and it does take some of the stress out of the trip!  Though one thing to note is that on some meal plans, the breakfast vouchers actually have to be redeemed at a cafe in the Disneyland Park, before it stops serving at 11am.  This could be a little inconvenient if you fancy a slow start to the day, or you like to eat breakfast the minute you wake up…and is just something you might want to factor in.

Another thing to mention is that a kettle is not provided in a lot of hotel rooms!  There was one in our room at the Disneyland Hotel but not at Hotel New York.  This was not great news for me as I really like to have a tea or coffee as soon as I am up.

And finally, they used to include an afternoon snack and drink called the “pause gourmand” with the meal plan, but this is no longer included.

Enjoy your dining experiences at Disneyland Paris!  It really is a major part of the fun, for us anyway, and it’s a great way to take the weight off your feet for a little while and soak up the great atmosphere at Disneyland.

Smoked salmon starter from the children’s menu at Auberge

If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out my previous post, for info on trip planning, accommodation and attractions at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Review and Top Tips by a mum of 3

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Disneyland Paris Review and Top Tips by a mum of 3

Yes it’s the review you’ve all been waiting for, our 2017 trip to Disneyland Paris, as a family of 5!  The last time we visited was 6 years ago exactly, when my oldest was 2 and a half.  She would have loved to return sooner, but we seem to have been so tied up with baby brothers and other holidays that all of a sudden she is now 8!  It was high time to return…  I’ve divided this post into hopefully helpful sections covering the following topics.  Of course these are only my opinions and I am not an expert, just a mum who loves Disneyland! (Please note: I’ll talk about food, restaurants and meal plans at Disneyland Paris in my next post)

  1. From what age is it worth taking the kids to Disneyland Paris?
  2. When should we visit Disneyland Paris
  3. Where should we stay at Disneyland Paris
  4. Rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris
  5. Should I get a photopass?
  6. How do we use the Fast Pass system?

From what age is it worth taking the kids to Disneyland Paris?

I’ve been asked from what age it is worth taking the kids to Disneyland.  I think it’s definitely enjoyable at age 2 and a half, but perhaps I’d say 3 and up is ideal, as they can remember more, and possibly by this age they may have seen a few Disney films and recognise more characters at the park (which is very exciting!)  However even children who have never seen a Disney film can enjoy Disneyland!  My 4 year old and 2.5 year old had a brilliant time and they hadn’t seen many films.  They barely knew who Mickey Mouse was, yet it was still magical to see him.

Given a choice I probably wouldn’t take a baby or a one year old to Disneyland, as it is quite an intense trip and so much more enjoyable just a year or two later (if like us you don’t live close by and only manage to go occasionally and not on a regular basis.  It is, after all, a fairly expensive holiday once you consider how everything adds up!).  Having said that, Disney is baby-friendly, and you can hire pushchairs there if you haven’t brought your own.  There is a baby switch service too so parents with young children can take turns getting onto a ride without having to queue twice.  So all in all if you’re a diehard Disney fan you’ll still have a good time.  Do remember to bring all the bits and pieces you need for your baby, including any medications…as there is no pharmacy at Disneyland and you would need to venture out to Val d’Europe even just to get some paracetamol (yes, we had this experience!)

When should we visit Disneyland Paris?

My main bit of advice is to avoid school holidays or any French national holidays if possible, as the park will definitely be busier at these times!  Both times we have visited have been during the May half term holidays.  We were lucky to have absolutely wonderful sunny weather on both occasions.

Where should we stay at Disneyland Paris?

We decided to make the most of our trip this time by staying in the Disneyland Hotel, which we had never tried before.  I can highly recommend this, especially if members of your party have little legs and/or tire easily, as it is the closest hotel to the park itself.  In fact, you might even say it is IN the park!  However, there are several other Disney hotels which are pretty close as well (walking distance) and somewhat cheaper…all include a shuttle bus to the parks and free “magic hours”, meaning you can enter the Disneyland park 2 hours before everybody else, at 8am instead of 10am.  (The Walt Disney studios did not open early for magic hours, only the Disneyland park, and note that even though it opens early there are some rides that aren’t open till later.)

There are also Disney character meet and greets in the hotel lobbies of all Disney hotels.  After the Disneyland Hotel, the next closest hotel to the parks is the New York Hotel, and we have actually stayed in this hotel as well.  It has a very different vibe and is a slightly longer walk, but the walk is through the Disney Village, full of restaurants, bars and shops which is good fun in itself!  My 4 year old son was cockahoop for the Lego store in the Disney Village.  This was almost a drawback, as we had to make a pitstop at the Lego store every time we passed by!

Toy Story characters at the Lego store at Disneyland Paris
Woody and Buzz at the Lego store, Disney Village, Paris

Anyway, I will share a little more about the Disneyland Hotel as we did love it and would stay here again if we can.  Upon arrival at the Disneyland Hotel the check-in process was quick and easy.  We were pleased to find we had interconnecting rooms with the rest of our party, as we had requested.  And we found a box of tasty chocolates and a card on the table (pictured below), which was a nice touch.  Additionally every evening there were little chocolates placed on the beds.

Chocolates Disneyland Hotel

Each room contains two double beds, with very comfortable pillows.  There was a mini-bar (though the prices were exorbitant!)

Disneyland hotel room

The bathroom has lots of subtle Disney details, including super cute Disney toiletries with mouse ears.

Disneyland hotel bathroom

The Disneyland hotel has a small kids club area called the Minnie Mouse Club as well as an arcade.  I believe you can leave your kids at the Minnie Mouse Club, but we didn’t on this occasion.  There’s a lovely indoor swimming pool too which our daughter enjoyed.  The hotel has a bar and 2 restaurants, one of which is Inventions, well-known for its character breakfasts and other meals.  I’ll write more about Inventions in my next post.

There are many, many accommodation options around Disneyland and a little further afield in Paris.  Previously we have stayed at the Radisson Blu hotel, which was a shuttle ride away.  You may find that you prefer an apartment-style accommodation.  There is something to suit most budgets.  You can check prices here for the Radisson Blu hotel:

https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/hoteldisneyresort.en-gb.html?label=opensearch-plugin;sid=ebf252bf5befd103a5c8a1086c5f72d2;dest_id=1569;dest_type=region;dist=0;hpos=14;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;srfid=f81818b6680f103531395a34afe0c31400f4cec0X14;srpvid=24e1976650d90029;type=total;ucfs=1

The Explorers Hotel looks like it is child-friendly to the max and you can check out prices here:

https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/explorersdisneyland.en-gb.html?label=opensearch-plugin;sid=ebf252bf5befd103a5c8a1086c5f72d2;dest_id=1569;dest_type=region;dist=0;hpos=10;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;srfid=f81818b6680f103531395a34afe0c31400f4cec0X10;srpvid=b3c4979c59ad0189;type=total;ucfs=1

This is the official site for booking the Disney Hotels:

http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/

I haven’t included a whole section on travelling to Disneyland Paris, but as we were travelling from the London area we found it easiest to go via Eurostar.  We had seats in the Standard Premier section, and a drink and light meal is provided.  Children under 3 do not require a ticket if they are able to travel on your lap.  The journey from London St Pancras to Marne La Vallee in Paris was smooth and straightforward.  The most brilliant thing, is that when you arrive and come out of the station you can see the Mickey Mouse ears and Disneyland gates straightaway, which is incredibly exciting!  There’s a service you can pay for as well (25 euros) which allows you to send your luggage straight to your hotel so you can enter the park immediately.  We didn’t use this, but it does sound ultra-convenient.  You can use this service on the way back as well.

Rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has 2 parks – the main Disneyland park and the Walt Disney Studios. There is high security getting into the parks and hotels, which I see as a positive thing. I’ll start by talking about the Disneyland park, which is subdivided into Main Street and 4 lands.  We spent the majority of our time in Fantasyland and Discoveryland, but we also enjoyed Frontierland and Adventureland.  In this section I’ll list a few of our favourite rides and attractions.

  1. It’s a small world 

The “It’s a small world” ride was a real favourite with our children.  Luckily the queues are never too long for this indoor boat ride as it’s fast-loading.  The tunes may drive you crazy eventually, but it’s a happy and gentle ride that will have you singing along…

Small World ride

2. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast ride

The Toy Story Buzz Lightyear ride was another huge hit with our children, especially our 4 year old son.  I think we went on this one about 6 or 7 times!  You get a laser gun with which to shoot targets and you get points for successfully hitting targets.  The competitive element makes it quite addictive.  Hint: Hit the moving targets for more points!  And smile for the camera 😉

Buzz lightyear laser blast ride

3. Casey Junior is a gentle rollercoaster train ride in Fantasyland which even my 2 year old son was ok with.

4. Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups – Our 2 year old also seemed to enjoy this ride which really made him giggle, and I didn’t suffer too badly despite all the spinning around in circles which normally makes me very dizzy!

Main Street by night, Disneyland Paris
Main Street by night

5. Disney Illuminations Show – The next most popular attraction, for us, was this beautiful show which took place every evening in the Disneyland Park at 11pm (but this varies according to park closure times).  It was pretty late for our kids to stay up but our older two (age 4 and 8) managed it quite happily, and it was well worth the effort as the show is absolutely sensational!  It includes amazing light projections onto the castle, pyrotechnic effects and fireworks, all accompanied by a stirring Disney soundtrack that included many of our favourite tunes from the Little Mermaid, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen, as well as Star Wars (which our 4 year old was particularly thrilled by).  Get there early to get a good spot to view the show.  The best position is probably directly in front of the castle, or along Main Street.

Disney castle by night

6. Autopia

The Autopia ride is great fun as well for any budding car enthusiasts.  The queue is very long however, due to slow loading!  But the length of the ride is quite decent.

7. Disney Princess Starlit Waltz

The Disney Princess Starlit Waltz show is a must-do for all princess fans.  This takes place a few times a day on a stage just to one side of the Disney castle, which is a great backdrop.  You’ll see most of the Disney princesses (though not Elsa or Anna from Frozen), as well as the corresponding princes.  Check the leaflet for the show times.

Disney princesses show

8. Peter Pan’s Flight – when we visited 6 years ago our then 2.5 year old daughter found this ride a little dark and scary, but this time she loved it, as did our 4 year old son.  You sit in “boats” which seat 4 persons, and are suspended from above.  It moves quite gently, and I do love the beginning where you see a cityscape scene by night, from above, but Captain Hook does look rather menacing in the dark!  Still, it’s a magical ride and a very popular one too.  Definitely try use the fastpass for this one!

9.  The Disney Stars On Parade –  Another must-see, this parade takes place daily in the Disneyland park at 5.30pm.  Last time we went to Disneyland Paris I recall seeing the parade twice, and it was a major highlight for our 2 year old daughter.  Frozen fans will be pleased to find that Elsa and Anna feature in the parade.

Disney parade dragon

I haven’t mentioned Hyperspace Mountain or Star Tours, but if I had had the chance to go on these I would have!  I’ve been on Space Mountain many times in the past both here and at Walt Disney World in Florida, and it’s one of my all-time favourite rides anywhere in the world.  Also, for all Star Wars fans out there, you can meet Darth Vader in the “Starport”.  He and his crew do not break from character for a second, and it’s quite a formidable experience not to be missed!  Professional photographer is present to capture the moment, but as with all meet and greets you’re welcome to take your own photos as well.

Shopping at Disneyland

Main Street is a fun and atmospheric place to wander and do some shopping.  Our daughter was treated to a new Snow White dress and some accessories (her last Snow White costume, from M&S has been well-loved for 5 years!)  I would advise though that if your child has their own costumes at home you should bring these along, to avoid having to spend exorbitant amounts in the rather overpriced shops, though it seems inevitable that most people will end up buying something!  We also enjoyed the Star Wars shop in Discoveryland and came home with 2 huge light sabers which I probably could have done without…

Snow white princess dress
A brand new Snow White dress, with accessories!

Walt Disney Studios includes many of my favourite attractions.

  1. Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular – I insisted that we go to see this epic show which displays some amazing automobile stunts. Disney “Cars” fans will enjoy seeing the real Lightning McQueen, too!  There are some loud bangs so parents may prefer not to bring children or babies who aren’t too keen on noise.  The show takes place just a couple of times a day so make sure to check the show times leaflet and plan accordingly.  There is usually a huge queue for the show but once the doors open it moves quickly, and there is normally space for everybody as the seating section is enormous.

Disney Studios Park

2. Mickey et le Magicien – Another not to be missed show is Mickey and the Magician.  It’s a vibrant, exciting show for all the family, with lots of singing, dancing and Disney magic!  A lot of the show is in French, with a little English thrown in.  You can see characters from many of your favourite Disney films, including Queen Elsa singing “Let It Go.”  And you know you want to see that!

3. Disney junior Live! was a fun show too, note that the audience sits on the floor.  My 4 year old was excited by the Disney clubhouse puppets and declared that it was ” the REAL Mickey Mouse!!”

4. Rock n Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith – Big kids and adults will enjoy the Rock n Rollercoaster which has an Aerosmith theme and music.  We didn’t get to ride it this time, but thoroughly recommend it as we loved it last time.  The queues can be long so you might like to use a fast pass for this ride (I’ll explain what this is at the end).

5. Toy Story Playland – Toy Story fans might enjoy the Toy Story land, which has a fairly gentle rollercoaster called Slinky dog.

6. Ratatouille – There’s also the Ratatouille ride here in the Studios, which is supposed to be awesome but sadly I didn’t get to ride it this time so I still have no idea what it’s like!

7. Crush’s coaster is in the Studios as well, which is a brilliant rollercoaster with many twists and turns!

8.  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – obviously this one is not for the faint-hearted!  Has some brilliant visuals, quite creepy and thrilling!

Should I get a photopass?

There are many meet and greets with characters in the Studios, including Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Spiderman, and the Toy Story characters.  I recommend getting a photo pass if you plan to do some meet and greets, and if you’re keen to get some good photos of yourselves.  It costs about 60 euros, but all of the professional photos that are taken of members of your party (there are photographers at many, though not all of the meet and greets) will be uploaded to your photo pass account as high quality digital images.  You can then use those photos however you like.  In addition any photos that are taken on rides eg. Buzz Lightyear, Thunder Mountain will be uploaded and saved to your account as well.  A word of advice though, if any photos are taken by photographers at meet and greets in the 1-2 hours before your holiday at Disneyland ends you may have trouble accessing them, so it is important to plan for this.  It takes a little while for the photographers to get the photos uploaded from their memory cards onto the system, in order for them to show up and be available for printing.  You will eventually be able to view them, provided you have shown the photographer your photopass card BEFORE they take the photos.  We got caught out by this, but in the end it was not a problem as I wrote to the photopass customer services and they were very helpful and fortunately were able to retrieve some photos of my son with Spiderman which I had thought were lost forever!

How do we use the Fast Pass system?

Make use of the Fast pass system!  This is free to use.  Some visitors may not be aware that it’s free, as there is often a charge at theme parks for this sort of thing.  Basically in order to use it you have to scan your Disney admission ticket at the Fastpass terminal (usually located near the entrance to a ride), and you’ll get a Fastpass ticket that tells you what time to return (usually in a couple hours’ time).  You then return at that time and you can board the ride via the Fastpass entrance which normally has little or no queue (depending on the time of day and popularity of the ride). You can only have one Fastpass ticket at a time.

Also note that some hotel packages may include fast passes, as ours did.  Additionally if you have a disability whether it is permanent or temporary, or if you are pregnant, you can obtain a special pass from City Hall to reduce your need to queue (you’ll need to provide some documentation). 

5 more Top Tips for visiting Disneyland:

  1. Remember to pace yourself and take breaks to relax and refuel.  You and/or your children will become exhausted and crazy otherwise! The Walt Disney studios tends to be a little less busy and taking in a show is a great way to have a rest and get out of the sun.
  2. Book 3-4 nights stay at Disneyland – We think a 4 night stay is ideal, and allows you to enjoy the best of both parks without having to adopt a breakneck pace. Though you can of course still have a fabulous trip if shorter. If you have longer you could venture to the sights of the centre of Paris itself, also there’s apparently good shopping a train stop away at Val d’Europe.
  3. Bring bottles for water!  There are several water fountains dotted around where you can fill your bottles up. Stay hydrated, without breaking the bank
  4. Bring suncream – there’s nowhere to buy this in the parks (at least, I didn’t see any!)
  5. Pack some on-the-go entertainment for the kids – the queues can be very long so you’ll want something portable to keep them occupied. We found the Animated encyclopaedia of Disney characters really good and it doubles as an autograph book…though it’s a little heavy to carry (we kept it mostly in the buggy!)

Coming soon: My next post is live! Click below to read about Restaurants at Disneyland Paris and understanding the Meal Plan system. Eating at Disneyland Paris is fun and can be stress-free, but it will really improve your experience (and may help you spend less) if you plan in advance!  Sign up for my email newsletter to be alerted when the new posts are published.

9 of the Best Restaurants for family dining at Disneyland Paris – Reviews by a mum of 3

If you enjoyed this post you might like to read my post on Chessington World of Adventures, please click below:

Chessington World of Adventures and the New Gruffalo River Ride – Mummy Review and Tips

Twin Mummy and Daddy

What Katy Said

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Wanderlust Kids

Naptime Natter
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Top tips for visiting Hampton Court Flower Show 2017

We had such a wonderful time at Hampton Court Flower Show 2017. I went this year (my second time) with my youngest (now 2.5 years), who was able to really enjoy it this time, as opposed to last time when he was only 6 months old and it was an extremely hot day which was quite tough on us both!

Tips if you’re going to Hampton Court Flower Show:

Arrive early if you need to park your car. Traffic in the surrounding area may slow you down more than you expect.  I arrived at 9.30am and was able to get a space easily in the main car park, but there was a constant flow of cars arriving and parking so it was filling up steadily.

Bring cash for parking (it costs £15 in the main car park opposite the main entrance to the palace). I am not sure about the other car parks. You may be able to park for free at Bushy Park and walk.

Wear a sun hat and sunscreen. Bring a bottle of water, which you can refill on site. Wear good walking shoes or sandals.

Buy a show guide (£5). It comes with a map, and is very useful for finding whichever bits of the show you’re most interested in.

 

Hampton Court Flower Show

There is a cash point within the show grounds.

If you have small children they might enjoy the children’s play area, which is quite small but does have a little ball pool and some soft play type items, some giant Lego bricks and giant Jenga. There are also various activities for children, especially on the weekend.

Don’t miss the butterfly dome! My toddler was excited though a little wary of these beautiful creatures. Bring a camera!

Blue butterfly

Check out the scarecrow competition, I was really impressed with all the creativity and detail. Each entry is from a different school.

There are loads of great food and drink options at Hampton Court Flower Show and you can get everything from champagne to churros with chocolate.

The restaurants require pre-booking but there are plenty of stalls where you can get various interesting foods, and free samples of treats like fudge. I tried some gin fudge which I must say was very tasty! The Allium Cafe is undercover and doesn’t require pre-booking. The queues were a little chaotic though, and they had run out of all the salads we wanted so we had to choose different ones at the last moment. Though we enjoyed some very tasty chicken and vegetable pies (£5.50).

There is of course a lot of shopping to be done, if you’re so inclined. Save some time to do this as lots of vendors offer special discounts on products if you buy it at the show (and you can bring/buy a crate on wheels to carry it in if you don’t have a buggy with you in which to stash it!) I came away with some lovely palazzo trousers and matching scarf, and half a dozen small potted succulent plants.

Have fun! I found the whole day flew by and I soon had to leave to get home for my older children. Till next time, Hampton!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about our trip to Center Parcs!  Click on the link below:

Center Parcs Longleat – amazing family break

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

 

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