If -like me- you’re a grown adult who loves Disneyland, you might be wondering exactly how soon is too soon to take your new baby to the happiest place on Earth. On the one hand, they’re not going to remember it … But on the other, you’ve spent the past few months sleep deprived and feeding a small thing every few hours. So the thought of strapping a pair of ears to your head and being the child again is quite appealing. It’s also quite a safe first holiday, given the Disney parks are geared up for families and Paris is a short flight away. Due to a last minute change of plan, I had to arrange Disneyland Paris with a baby in mind pretty quickly. And so I thought I’d share what I learned through organising our recent holiday.
Airport Transfers & Car Seats
I know that the rest of the World perceives the UK as health and safety mad (they have a point in fairness). However when it comes to the safety of my daughter in a car, I’m not taking any chances. The UK law is obviously that she needs to be in a suitable car seat for her age. However all the budget-friendly coaches which go from Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris do not have the three-point seat belts required to fit a baby car seat.
As far as I can tell, France have very similar laws to us regarding children and car seats. However when I emailed the Magic Shuttle Bus to ask about this, they said babies should travel on the parent’s knee. A few enquiries uncovered that this is the norm for the airport shuttle coaches and the only option would be a private transfer.
I came across Ez Shuttle who charged €70 Euros each way for a private transfer with the appropriate car seat for your baby. They were fantastic and got us all there and back safely.
Book A Hotel Near Or Inside The Park
Disneyland has great facilities, but I find a full day there too much so I can’t imagine it from a 7 month old’s perspective. Being able to nip back to the hotel for a quiet half hour is really handy. I found we were able to do more by being so close to the hotel.
Dress Them Up
This is less essential but Aurora wore a Minnie Mouse costume (that I picked up in the Disney store sale for a tenner a few months back, bargain!). I honestly think she enjoyed all the friendly faces and happy children’s reactions more than the park. She would have never seen so many people in one place and getting smiles and waves had her giggling to herself all day.
Go Early To Parades And Shows To Get A Good Spot
Parade time was hectic and the only way we could ensure Aurora could see was by finding a good spot and waiting around 40 minutes. Being close to the front had it’s draw backs though, we spent the whole parade being pushed by people behind us. A man used my head as a selfie stand (I’m all for getting a good angle but come on!) and shortly afterwards his elderly Mother spooned me. When I tried to ask him to remove his phone from my head, it got lost in translation and instead he held the babies hand. It made the parade a rather more intimate experience than I had planned, but Aurora enjoyed it.
Research The Rides Which You Can Go On
If you’re considering Disneyland Paris With A Baby, you might assume all rides will be off limits. However, there are a couple which are baby friendly. It’s A Small World is suitable for all ages. So if you can handle having the song stuck in your head for all eternity, it’s a good option.
Take Or Hire A Buggy
Definitely take a buggy. I considered just using a sling but I think it’s easy to underestimate how far you walk and how long you’re out for. I decided to buy a cheap buggy rather than bringing our eye wateringly overpriced ‘travel system’, just in case it got damaged. And I’m glad I did, as the buggy didn’t even survive it’s first flight in the hold. It wouldn’t fold down for the rest of the trip, but that didn’t matter too much. Disneyland also offer pram hire within the park, if you decide to travel without one.
Make Use Of Baby Switch For Rides
If you’re traveling with another adult -and weren’t suitably thrilled and terrified by It’s A Small World- and you both want to go on a ride unsuitable for the little one, you can still queue up once but then take turns on the ride using the ‘Baby Switch’ system.
Find the Baby Care centre
Most the bathrooms have baby changing facilities, but the Baby Care centre offers full changing facilities. Along with a place to feed and other useful facilities. It’s a good idea to locate this ahead of your trip, so you can make a dash there if needed.
Book Dinner For An Off Peak Time
The food places in Disney and the Disney hotels get super hectic. I found that by booking our table for an off-peak time, we were able to fit the baby in alongside us in her buggy. We had a pretty chilled meal, as she was able to nap or play in her buggy. Although for older children, the atmosphere during busier times would probably be a plus.
Book Park Tickets In Advance
This is a slightly obvious one and not really related to doing Disneyland Paris with a baby. However, I’m blaming baby brain for the fact I managed to forget. I ended up paying literally double the price the tickets are online, ouch.
We managed to survive our first trip abroad with a baby. And it actually went rather smoothly! As it all worked out, Disneyland was the ideal first place to take her.