3 Things You Must Not Miss At Disneyland Paris With Young Kids
Disneyland Paris is a magical place, one of the most magical to visit with kids. You all know how much I love Disneyland Paris and someone who shares that love is Cath from Passports and Adventures. Today she is here to share with us three things you must not miss at Disneyland Paris with young kids. Despite having visited Disneyland Paris twice before having their son, she and her husband never got to enjoy these things until their visit to Disneyland Paris last year. Let’s find out what they are.
A bit of a back story. My husband worked at Disneyland Paris when it opened as Euro Disney in 1992 as part of the opening crew. He then took me to Disneyland Paris during a long weekend in Paris when I was into my 30’s. Even then it was amazing, but I never realised the true magic of Disney until we visited as a family for the first time in December 2017. Sure, we did a few rides, walked down Main Street and marvelled at the castle. But we never experienced Disneyland Paris as it should be, through the eyes of a child, until we went with our then three-year-old son.
When planning our visit to Disneyland Paris I went Disney-zilla on it, think bride-zilla but worse. I researched everything we wanted to do, drew up a timetable and ensured we were going to make the most out of our three full days in the parks. The friends we were going with thought I was mad and commented “oh, we’ll go with the flow and see how it goes”. Within hours of our arrival on day one, the enormity of the parks dawned on them and they jumped on our timetable and tagged along. And we all had a ball.
So, what are the three things you should not miss at Disneyland Paris with young kids I hear you ask? Besides the rides and general experience, these are the three things I did not want to miss with our son during our visit as I know he will probably not want to do them in years to come so it was our only chance to experience them.
3 Things You Must Not Miss At Disneyland Paris With Young Kids
Characters Meet and Greet Experiences
Before researching our visit, I had never really gotten the point of character meet and greets. Years ago, before kids, I thought they felt a bit silly. I mean, why would you want to shake hands or hug someone dressed up as a Disney character. Fast forward to going with a three-year-old and I saw the light. I had read in a few groups about the character meet and greet options and the reaction other people’s young kids had to meeting their favourite character and I knew we had to do some.
If you aren’t sure what a meet and greet experience is, it is an opportunity to meet the Disney characters at various places around the parks. Some are available all day like Mickey Mouse in his special house, while others have timed events in certain places in the parks. These can be found on the latest Disneyland Paris timetable, and can be subject to change. Some will also have an official Disneyland photographer there for your Disney PhotoPass+.
While there may be an official photographer there, you are free to take your own pictures and often you’ll find a Disney helper on hand to take family photos for you, particularly if there isn’t an official photographer present. This is also your opportunity to get the character’s autograph. So, don’t forget your autograph books and a pen!
Personally, I think character meet and greet opportunities are best suited to younger kids as the older they get, the more reluctant and shy they may become, particularly boys. So, this is one thing you don’t want to miss out when visiting Disneyland Paris with young kids.
The Disney Parades
My husband had told me all about the parades that Disney put on in the parks but during our previous trips we’d only been there for the day and didn’t really have time to see any. While planning our trip I wanted to fit at least one in and we managed to catch the lunchtime Christmas parade. And it was amazing.
I had looked into where we should watch the parade from and we staked our claim on a spot to the left of the castle with the entrance to Adventureland behind us and it was a great spot. We could see the parade coming easily. And what a parade. It was only short, about 20 minutes, which was more than enough to keep our son and our friend’s son interested.
As we were visiting during December the parade had a Christmas theme to it and Mickey and Minnie were dressed in festive costumes. All the main characters took part and even Father Christmas made an appearance. There were also some Storm Troopers taking part and when one of them spotted our son dressed as Kylo Ren, he came over to shake his hand. So, it pays to get the kids into their costumes.
I do feel the parades can be enjoyed at all ages, but older kids might not be interested, and might favour doing rides during this time as some of them might have shorter queues. It is for this reason you should make an effort to catch one of the parades when visiting Disneyland Paris with young kids.
The Disney Shows
If there is one thing Disney know how to do, it is to put on a good show. Whether it is outdoors on one of the main stages in the parks, or inside one of the auditoriums, a Disney show will not disappoint. We pencilled in the Mickey and the Magician Show in the main auditorium in the Studios Park and we were not disappointed.
Without giving too much away, we were led through a story featuring Mickey Mouse and were treated to snippets of other characters from various films. From Beauty and the Beast to the Lion King, the show was amazing. From the costumes, to the stage setting, to the music and songs, everything was just specatular, everything you’d expect from Disney.
This show was one I had seen recommended on a few Facebook groups as one mot-to-be-missed. And I do think kids of all ages enjoyed it, even bigger ones. The two younger members of our party sat dumbstruck for the entire show.
We also caught the Moteur’s Action Stunt Spectacular as a certain Red Disney car called Lightening McQueen makes an appearance. Aside from him, there is a brilliant stunt show featuring cars and our son’s favourite, motorbikes. It was really well done and there was a narration to go with the show and the whole audience enjoyed it, young and old.
So, when visiting Disneyland Paris with young kids, ensure you catch a show or two. Once they get old enough for some of the more daring rides, you might find it hard to drag them away to go sit and watch a show.
And there you have it. My top three things you must not miss when visiting Disneyland Paris with young kids. We did all of them with our almost four-year-old son during our family trip to the home of Mickey Mouse and friends, and I’m glad we did as it is doubtful whether he will be interested in any of it when we next return to Paris. Make sure to put them on your own plan for your Disney trip.
Cath is an Irish expat who now lives in Portugal with her husband and son. A former scientist, she gave up working when they emigrated south from the UK. She is a family travel blogger and hopes that, through her blog, they will inspire more families to travel, especially with the toddlers in tow. As a family they love travelling and have started working their way through their family travel bucket list. Cath writes about their family travels and experiences on her blog Passports and Adventures. She can also be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.