The Dials do Disneyland Paris | Modern Mummy

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Dials do Disneyland Paris


A fortnight ago we were lucky enough to be invited on the UK Pre-Schooler's press trip to Disneyland Paris.  

Daisy is completely and utterly Disney obsessed at the moment; Frozen is her favourite film, Minnie's Bow-Toons and Sofia the First are her two favourite cartoons on Disney Junior, Now That's What I Call Disney Princess is her favourite CD. You get the picture. For her to be whisked away to the very place where all the magic happens was a dream come true. To be honest, it was a dream come true for all of us as Himself and I had been thinking about taking the girls there for a while.

The build up to our weekend away was amazing in itself. We were given three weeks notice - and so the 'twenty one more sleeps' scenario began. We spent the night before at my parents' house (it was like Christmas Eve!) and when our alarm went off at 6am and then a taxi came to pick us up and take us to St Pancras at 7am we couldn't have been more excited!



The 2hr 45min train journey disappeared in a blur of colouring in, croissants and Disney videos on the iPhone. Before we knew it we were getting off the train at the resort and being whisked up to our room in the Disneyland Hotel. Daisy's face as she saw our (very pink!) hotel from the bus was an absolute picture.

The hotel was wonderful - it goes without saying that there were hints of Disney everywhere, from the wall hangings and ornaments in the lobby to the wallpaper and the bathroom tiles in the rooms. There were lots of squeals of delight as new things were spotted - the lift dials with Mickey Mouse's hands were particularly popular! 

Our room was perfect and had everything we needed, including a bottle warmer and cot for Evie. We also had a brilliant view of the park. As soon as Daisy saw the entrance from our window she couldn't contain her excitement and we decided to ditch the unpacking to go and explore. 



Our first walk down Main Street was just brilliant. There was so much to take in - shops, restaurants, little old fashioned cars and horse & carts, the Disney Express train - plus, of course, the road leads to the beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle and seeing the girls, Daisy in particular, catch their first glimpses of it was one of my favourite moments of the weekend.



During the course of the weekend we went on rides (we loved the Mad Hatter's Teacups and Dumbo, and Daisy the daredevil was genuinely devastated to discover she was half a centimetre too short for Big Thunder Mountain which made me laugh!!), we had a private disco with Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) and Sofia the First, we had family photos taken outside the castle and of course we watched Disney Magic on Parade and Disney Dreams. We also ate a LOT of amazing food!



We were lucky enough to get to watch Disney Magic on Parade from a prime spot just outside the castle which was utterly fantastic - the characters waved and blew kisses to the girls and the suspense as each float made its way round the corner was almost too much for Daisy! I had my first tearful moment of the weekend watching hers and Evie's little faces light up every time a new character danced past.



I know it's a cliche but 'magic' really is the only word you can use to describe Disney Dreams, the spectacular night time show. The amazing light show was beamed onto the castle walls and also (somehow) onto huge jets of water alongside it and our Mickey Mouse ears flashed along in time with the lights and the music You couldn't help but dance and sing along to the whole thing - and of course the fireworks were out of this world. The whole family loved it, so much so that we watched it both nights we were there. 

Our own personal favourite parts of the weekend were:


Simon: Disney Magic on Parade was the highlight for my husband. He says 'I loved watching the girls' faces every time a new character came along.'



Daisy: Getting the very last Elsa (from Frozen) dress in the WHOLE of Europe. We had already tried every Disney Store in the UK without any luck, then we tried every shop on site, only to be told it was sold out. Then we saw a lady return a dress which just so happened to be Daisy's size! (OK it was a bit too big but hey!). When we bought it Daisy didn't know whether to smile or burst into tears! She changed into it straight away and it was worn ALL weekend. Now THAT'S Disney magic!



Evie: LOVED meeting the animal characters and the Slinky Dog ZigZag Spin in Toy Story Land was her favourite ride.



Me: For me, the Disney Dreams show was my favourite part of the weekend. Daisy and Evie were both mesmerised by the fireworks and when they recognised a character or a song from the light show they were so excited - it was so lovely to see. I adored watching their little faces when they got to meet their favourite characters too.




And speaking of watching, here's a little video of our personal Magic Moments at Disneyland Paris xoxo



MORE INFORMATION:

Travelling to Disneyland Paris
We travelled by Eurostar from St Pancras direct to Paris Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station, which is situated right at the gates of both the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park. The journey was brilliant - super fast and broken up into manageable chunks by the scenery outside! If you're coming from London, I would definitely recommend going by train. If you're coming from other parts of the UK, it may be more convenient to fly - and Paris Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports have shuttle buses that run straight to the Park (the first two journeys take 45mins and it's 2.5hrs from Beauvais).

Hotel
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which is a two minute walk from the train station and is situated at the gates to Disneyland Park. It was utterly amazing and well worth paying that little bit extra for. Other bloggers have written about their experiences; you can read Laura from Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy's account of her stay at Sequoia Lodge here, and Alexandra Goldstein talks about Disneyland-ing with a pre-schooler here

Food
Research your options beforehand. Book character meals in advance. My favourite restaurant was the Agrabah Cafe in Adventureland which served Moroccan/Mediteranean cuisine and is supposedly one of Aladdin's favourite hang outs! The food was delicious and I'm not going to try and hide the fact I went back to the buffet for seconds AND thirds! 

We also dined at the Silver Spur Steakhouse (fabulous steaks - naturellement!), Auberge de Cendrillon (a must visit for all Disney princess fans!) and the California Grill, which was in our hotel. All were amazing and the latter, despite still being perfectly child friendly, had a fantastic wine list to keep the grown ups happy!

Disneyland for Pre-Schoolers
One of the reasons for our trip was to see just how pre-schooler friendly Disneyland Paris is and I can honestly say it is ideal for pre-schoolers. They have baby changing facilities in all toilets and there is a dedicated Baby Care Centre on Main Street which has nappies and wipes should you need them, as well as a place to feed your little one in relative peace and quiet. 

Unlike other Theme Parks (not that any of them can compare to Disneyland!) there are HEAPS of rides suitable for young children and there is so much to see and do to keep them entertained. 

The huge amount of food options available is also fabulous when taking fussy pre-schoolers into account. The buffet breakfasts at our hotel were a huge hit and whilst out and about it was easy to find other eateries selling simple sandwiches and pizzas, perfect for a lunchtime snack. I loved how family friendly the restaurants were too, even in the evening. The high chairs had Mickey ears which Evie and Daisy both loved and I must mention that these were the very first restaurant high chairs that Evie was incapable of doing a Houdini out of - usually she is able to escape from any five point harness!

Puschairs can be rented for use within the Parks for €15 per day. They can also be taken out of the park but a deposit of €70 must be left. This service is located at Town Square Terrace in Disneyland Park and next to Studio Photo in Walt Disney Studios Park.

Modern Mummy's Tips
Book seats on the Eurostar for children if you can, and try to group your seats around a table. It made our travel activities (colouring, eating etc) so much easier, plus it meant there was room for Daisy and Evie to nap.

Book in for a meal at the Auberge de Cendrillon, Inventions (in the Disneyland Hotel) or Mickey's Cafe and dine with some of Disney's characters. It is SO worth the money to have Cinderella and Snow White sitting at your table, or for Goofy to come up and high five you! We had great fun chasing characters around the park for photo opportunities but Daisy and Evie both loved being approached by them; it made them feel extra special - plus they got some one-on-one time with them which was fab!



Mickey Mouse and friends do a daily mini show (currently at 4pm - although this may be subject to change - ask the concierge to confirm) in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel which is well worth a watch. We got to meet the elusive Mickey Mouse for the first time here, as well as Goofy and Chip & Dale. You don't have to be a resident to visit the hotel. 

Fastpasses are great for older guests that want to go on the big rides. For pre-schoolers they aren't really necessary as the suitable rides (with the exception of Peter Pan's Flight) don't have fast track queues.

Use the baby-switch service. No, this isn't where you exchange babies with someone else - it's a service that allows your babysitting partner to keep their place in the queue while you go on a ride that the kids aren't allowed on. When you're done, you take control of the kids and your other half gets a go without having to queue up again! Genius.

Make sure you get a good spot for Disney Magic on Parade or Disney Dreams. Main Street is best for the parade (it comes clockwise round the the Central Plaza from Fantasyland) and somewhere in the middle of the Plaza is ideal for Disney Dreams - if you get there about half an hour before they start you should manage to get a spot at the front!

If you're visiting at the weekend and Disney Dreams is on at 10pm, take your little ones back to the hotel for a nap beforehand so that they are able to stay awake. We all had a little siesta before dinner on the Saturday night and the girls stayed awake for the show, then fell asleep on the way back to the hotel! Perfect.

It goes without saying that we had the most wonderful weekend ever and created some truly magical memories that will last forever. Thanks so much to Disney for inviting us along!

xoxo

DISCLAIMER: We were guests of Disney and had our travel, accommodation, food and park entry provided to us for the purpose of this entirely honest review. 

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3 comments

  1. such cute photos, looks like you all had a lovely time especially the little ones

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  2. Thanks so much for including a link to my post! I'm delighted to hear you had such an amazing time. Just under a month to go before we return... *squee*!

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  3. Thanks for including my post. Looks like you had a great time. It really is an amazing place to visit. Our next visit is Florida. Can't wait!

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