Planning any vacation can be stressful. Planning a vacation to Disneyland can be stressful. And planning anything with a toddler can seem nearly impossible. What happens when you try to plan a trip to Disneyland Paris with a toddler? Countless nights reading and rereading blogs, Disney experts and Facebook group chats to make sure I planned this properly. This “Disney with a Toddler Itinerary” was the best way, we found, to beat the lines and make the most of our vacation despite the high volume and heat. It can be done!
Disney with a Toddler Itinerary | Disney Day 1
DisneyPark had Extra Magic Hours (EMH) from 8-10 am and it included the majority of Fantasyland and Discoveryland. EMH means only hotel guests have access to the parks at these times, and those from Paris or other hotels needed to wait until 10 am to gain entrance.
We went to Fantasyland Saturday morning, there was more for him to do there anyways. As we walked into the park, we noticed that there were very few people around. It was shortly after 8 am and we had already eaten, so we quickly but gently made our way to the back of the park. We decided that munchkin could be trusted to walk without holding our hand as long as he stayed close and didn’t run off. Having the park to yourself made it easy to “train” him into staying near us without worrying about getting lost in the crowd. He made it all the way to Fantasyland by himself.
We found the sword in the stone first. He saw another boy trying to pull it so he jumped onto the rock and tried it himself. We are still trying to teach him to wait his turn but the other kid looked like he was done anyways so we didn’t bother this time. Munchkin found Lancelot’s carousel next and dragged us to the entrance, he learned quickly that he couldn’t run to the ride without us. When we first were allowed onto the ride, he wanted to sit in a carriage but a family with an infant got their first and I didn’t want to run around it looking for another; we placed him on a small horse. He didn’t like it at first but once the ride started he was fine. He saw Dumbo from the horse ride and wanted to do that next.
Dumbo is only a two seater so we did the parent swap; I went with him, then passed him off to the hubby and hubby went on the ride with him. From there, we went to Alice’s Labyrinth; a large maze in the theme of Alice in Wonderland. There was a centre area with dancing water and he tried to catch it. After a while, the maze was becoming annoying and we followed another family out of the maze. Next was Peter Pan‘s flight, it’s a smallworld, Mad Hatter’s tea cups and Snow White before 11am.
Peter Pan was a tight squeeze, the attendant should have told us that two adults and a toddler don’t fit into one seat. The ride was dark and a little fast for the munchkin, near the end he asked to get out; this was especially odd since Peter Pan is is favorite movie. Small world was empty was so got on right away, I think he enjoyed being on a boat more than anything. Tea Cups was fun, he tried to help the hubby spin the cup. Snow White was the same as Peter Pan, but the seats were larger. It was dark and fast but he was ok with it since he had just experienced one not 30 minutes before. Because the park had just opened to the public, we had to wait 15 minutes, but the ride loads so quickly that we didn’t stand still very long. Disney with a Toddler Itinerary . By the end of fantasy land, I was pretty tired.
Not all of the quick service eateries were open by then. Most opened at noon so we walked around Main Street, going in and out of shops until one finally opened.
Discoveryland was our next stop. We tried to go to Star Tours but munchkin was a little too short to go on so hubby went by himself. Hubby used his fastpass to get into the ride and we left to go for a walk. There was a problem with the machine and it automatically spit out a ticket that said he already had a fastpass for this ride in 2 hours. He went to the gentleman in charge of the fastpass line, explained what happened, and the guy just let the hubby in.
I wanted to go on Buzz Lightyear but the line was 30 minutes long and fastpass wasn’t until 3 pm. The next option was trying to get him to nap. We ran into Pluto while walking so we stood in the two minute line and tried it out. He was not scared, but extremely not interested in the character. We got an ice cream and joined the hubby. He went on Space Mountain, in the single riders line, so he was in and out fairly quickly as well. After this, I wanted to do something too so we went to Captain Nemo’s submarine. Munchkin had a great time, he called it a tunnel and walked right into it. The portholes were underwater and he enjoyed looking at the fish and bubbles. The girl behind us was hysterical, she wanted to leave shortly after she got in and her dad was holding her infant brother so he couldn’t pick her up to console her. They walked slowly so we were able to get away before her crying got our little guy upset. So, over all, this attraction is not for everyone apparently.
Munchkin passed out seconds after we placed him in his stroller after Captain Nemo’s. This would have been around 2 pm. There isn’t much one can do with a sleeping baby in the park at this point so we went for a walk in the Village. Because the parks were open, the village was fairly quiet so we were able to take our time walking around the shops.
Once he was awake and fed, we went back into the Park to wander and eventually to watch the 530 pm parade. We walked through Frontier land and Adventure land but there wasn’t much he was allowed on. Pirates of the Caribbean was closed and so was the river boat. We found the Pocahontas playground and spend a good chunk of time playing there. We went to the Aladdin building, where they made miniature scenes in a somewhat dark building. He wasn’t too impressed with this attraction. I wasn’t overly fond of it either, actually. Finally, we found Pirates beach where we could walk into Skull Rock and into a pirate ship.
Our seats for the parade weren’t amazing but they were near the entrance so we could escape the madness quickly. Munchkin didn’t like the wait and he didn’t have anything for him to do for the 30 minutes we waited so we took turns taking him for a walk before the parade. He sat on hubby’s shoulders during the parade and he had a great time. He was able to name most of the floats since he has watched most of the movies at least once – not in their entirety but enough to recognize. We were standing behind a couple with an infant so the characters stopped to see the baby but didn’t notice munchkin one row behind; next time.
We had reservations at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show at 630 pm so we ran back to the village and checked in. We were seated immediately and each given a cowboy hat. We paid extra to get category 1 seats, which means front row. Because munchkin is under 3, he doesn’t pay for entrance or food, but this show decided that meant he didn’t get a seat either, as this was up to their discretion and seat availability. He was forced to sit on my lap for the whole show. If you have a toddler, you know that this only lasts for so long.
The poor woman that was sitting beside me was not impressed with the situation either; he accidentally kicked her every time he moved his legs. They offered nacho chips at the table and he basically ate that all night. The show was just shy of 90 minutes. There was plenty for him to see and keep him entertained at the beginning but the rodeo games was getting too long and we lost his attention pretty quickly after that. It was near the end so we were thankful for that, at least. It reminded me a lot of Medieval Times in Toronto. Next time, I will pay for his seat and food, even if he doesn’t eat it all; it was really good so I’m sure the hubby and I can split his portion no problem.
Right after dinner, we went back to the Park and found seats for the Disney dreams fireworks show. We had 1 hour to waste so we slipped into our hotel (the Disney hotel is literally at the corner of all three parks) and grabbed the iPad. He watched Nemo for a while then wanted to go for a walk.
He had been asking for the giant lollipop for a while and before dinner he found a pack of 5 suckers that he wanted. I told him he could have it after dinner; well, he remembered. When he saw the again, he said “suckers, after dinner. mommy, suckers. now”. It was so cute that I had to. He placed the suckers on the counter so I could pay. The cashier put them in a bag and he wanted to hold the bag. I made him wait to show daddy what he bought. He came flying out of the shop shouting “DAD!” and ran to the hubby and ripped open the back to show him his new treats.
He finished the sucker just before the fireworks started so hubby was able to put him on his shoulders again. Munchkin was even able to recognize most of the movies that they displayed on the castle and shouted each time Peter Pan’s shadow made an appearance. When it was over, he asked for more Peter Pan. That’s when we decided that we would do it again Sunday night. It was very much passed all of our bedtimes but Disney doesn’t happen often so we let it go.
For DisneyParis advice with a tween, check out a new post from Exploramum for her handpicked top 10 rides with a 10 year old.
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Christine Leger is the founder of Tapped Out Travellers, a Family Travel Blog About Travel with Kids. We explore travelling on a budget, splurging on bucket-list travel opportunities along the way. Although Canadian, she currently lives in Germany.
by Christine Leger · Published June 11, 2016
· Last modified March 24, 2017
Hi! I'm Christine, a Canadian girl, who with my husband and son moved to Germany for work, and an adventure! Since then, we have made an addition to the family and have travelled to 7 European countries (my husband 10) and have knocked some landmarks off our bucket list.
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