Paris is incredibly kid-friendly. Here are our top 10 tips for having an amazing family-friendly vacation in the City of Light.…
Kids’ Paris Travel Books
Such a beautiful, fast-paced city with so land landmarks, spread out across such a large area; it would be easy for kids to be overwhelmed with Paris. Kids’ Paris Travel Books are meant to prepare them for the concepts they will see in the City of Lights, and hopefully, give them a few tidbits of information to pass along to mom and dad during a tour.…
Get the most meal for your money
When booking your Disneyland Paris or any Disney holiday for that matter, what is the first things they offer?
The Disneyland Paris Dining Plan.
- But what do we really know about the plan?
- Is it really for you?
- What is included/excluded,
- Will you be restricted in where you can eat?
All of these questions have been asked and answered a thousand times, with hundreds of different opinions, around the internet.
Disneyland Paris Dining – Meal Plans
Today, I spoke with a professional versed in these matters. Britani Stratton from Ears of Experience, a Certified Disney Planner. I asked Britani for her expert opinion of the Disney Dining Plan and which plans work for each type of traveller. We will also provide a little insight into some of the sit-down restaurant reservations you might be interested in dishing-up during your visit. You can expect to part with good money for a Disneyland Vacation, budget accordingly. At Tapped Out Travellers we want to ensure you are well-informed and have the most exciting and cost effective Disney holiday experience possible.
Disneyland Paris Meal Plans
Only guests staying on-site are eligible for the Disneyland Dining Meal Plan. It is recommended that you purchase the dining plan if you intend on having any sit-down dinners, especially the Character Dining. Disney’s fabulous Character Dining can cost a pretty penny per person but are well worth it for the kids. Character Dining is very popular, and we strongly recommend that you make reservations well in advance.
On the other hand, if you are a day packer and only want quick service (fast food) for all your meals, the dining plans may not be for you. By this method, you will not see a return on your investment, as a combination of quick service dining and sit down service is the only way to make Disneyland Paris Dining cost effective.
From 29th March 2017, buffet breakfast will no longer be included with Disneyland Paris hotel bookings as standard. Except for Disney Hotels Club rooms (Castle Club, Empire State Club, Golden Forest Club) and suites.
You’ll receive 1 Breakfast Voucher per person per night of your stay, allowing you to enjoy breakfast at your own hotel’s Buffet Service restaurant only.
* Breakfast Vouchers only apply from 29th March 2017. For bookings before this date, breakfast is included at Disney Hotels as standard.
Also, from 29th March 2017, all Half Board and Full Board Dining Plans will include breakfast. This means that breakfast has been added to the standard meal plan which has definitely added value.
Check out these handy-dandy graphs showing you where and when you can use your meal plan, depending on which tier you purchase before 29th March 2017;
DLPGUIDE has produced a detailed guide for Disneyland Paris Dining Plans.
Just a note, gratuity is included on the check in Europe but if service is very good, an additional few euro is customary. Nothing crazy like in North America, though. 5 euro for a family is acceptable, even at the fancier restaurants. And to clarify, you do NOT have to stay on site or have the Dining Plan to do Character Dining or any of the sit-down restaurants. You can still make reservations and pay out of pocket for table service.
Disneyland Dining Reservations
Disneyland Dining Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. We recommend getting reservations for Character Dinners because the meet and greets in the park can have extremely long lines, cutting into your attraction times.
In our experience Disneyland Dining Reservations are strongly recommended for:
- Bistrot Chez Rémy, the restaurant inspired by the Disney film Ratatouille,
- Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Disney Village,
- Character meal – Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Paris,
- Character meal – Disneyland Paris Hotels Inventions Buffet,
- Rainforest Cafe in Disney Village
Café Mickey in Disneyland Paris.Cafe Mickey no longer has character breakfasts. They since been moved to Plaza Gardens permanently.
Call the Dining Reservation Service at +33 1 60 30 40 50, online during hotel booking, or through your Travel Agent.
Bistrot Chez Rémy
At Bistrot Chez Rémy, just like the movie, we were shrunk down to the size of a rat and ate in style. The menu was a little interesting to understand at first; there is a main course, and you can either pay for just the meal or meal plus drink and dessert. There are only a handful of options for adults and even few for the children, but this does lead to a quick turn around time. The food was a little expensive for my taste, but this is a Disney sit-down dinner so I wasn’t too surprised. We sat at 5:30 pm and the place was practically empty. When we left, however, closer to 7 pm, it was starting to get full, and with families, so there is something to be said for beating the rush. Also, we only made reservations at 11 am after we finished the ride and the kids say the front entrance. They were full for lunch but clearly, dinner was available: this was during our October visit, by the way. So slow season equals fewer requests for reservations.
Edit – When the park closes earlier, Bistrot Chez Rémy does adjust it’s schedule accordingly.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
The Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show is very exciting and set in the heart of the Old West it is the biggest Disney dinner show in Europe, great for families! We paid extra for front row seats, to make sure no one was in the way of our son seeing the show. They said under 3 doesn’t need to purchase a seat, which was great. In the fine print, however, they said that they will give him a chair for free if one is available, otherwise, he is on my lap. Since there were only enough buyers for one row of special seating, they decided not to open up the second row just for my son to have his own chair. We were nice and tight at the table…for 2 hours. He was served dinner first, all finger foods, and they brought out plenty of tortilla chips to keep him happy, but the older couple next to us didn’t appreciate all the fidgeting and complaining he was doing. Next time, I’m paying for a seat.
“Notably Medieval Times in Toronto, Canada has a beautiful dinner with arena show of “Knights of the Realm” performing skills competitions on horse back.”
Café Mickey was a cute little continental buffet breakfast in Disney Village. We arrived at the opening so we didn’t have to wait long for our table. Shortly after everyone sat down, the characters were escorted out, one by one, with a few minute intervals between them. This allowed each character time at each table, before being whisked away to another family. Our 2.5-year-old was not interested in the characters at all and refused to get anywhere near them unless in my arms, and even then. Be sure the kids can tolerate characters before trying your hand at a character dinner.
The Rainforest Cafe is also in the Disney Village, across the street from Cafe Mickey and near the Lego store. I mention this because you run the risk of your kids seeing it when you enter or exit the restaurant. You have been warned.
The prices are in line with Disney’s, and so are the long lines. While a reservation is not technically required to get you in the door, it will significantly reduce your wait time, like a fast pass vs standard queue. Around 530 pm is when the real lines start to form so be sure to jump in line before then. We arrived at 7 pm during the off-season on a Thursday night in October and still waited 45 minutes to be seated. The service was not as fast as I would have liked but the restaurant was full, loud, and included running children that had grown bored of waiting for their food to arrive. We love coming here on our first night (before grabbing tickets in the morning).
In case you haven’t realized yet, I have been working closely with my very own Certified Disney Vacation Planner, Britani Stratton, to compile all of this great information for you. She has also graciously provided a handful of these images, as I am clearly too involved in my food to remember to take any decent photos in the restaurant.
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Paris For My Birthday
With my 30th birthday closely approaching, my hubby decided to surprise me with a trip to Paris to celebrate… I say surprise. He suggested it about 2 weeks before, then asked me to do all the research, book the tickets and he would help me find a hotel. I even had to pick up my own birthday cake. Oh well, I was going to Paris, I didn’t really care what I had to do to get there. Preparing for Paris With Kids is another matter.
Points of Interest | Eiffel Tower / Bakery / Paris Kids
Since baby girl still can’t stand being rear facing and is much too young to switch around, we decided to take the train. Arriving at noon gave us plenty of time to look around before it got too dark – it is mid-December after all. Our hotel, Best Western Eiffel Cambronne, was stupid close to the Eiffel tower so we took a walk and found ourselves watching a demonstration in the gardens in front of the tower, surrounded by armed guards and police. I suppose that’s what happens when you visit a few days after the climate summit. The stroller was allowed through security and we didn’t need to fold it for the first elevator, which is great since baby girl was sleeping. We needed to fold the stroller to go up two sets of stairs before entering the second elevator to the summit; munchkin and the hubby went while I stayed behind and admired the view. Around the corner, we found free skating and I took him for a few laps of the ice.
Also see; top things to do in Paris
There was a carousel on the river bank so of course munchkin wanted to ride it. We found street food as well; good thing the little man likes bratwurst and brochen. I, of course, shared a crepe with the little miss – Nutella and strawberries, mmm.
Ferris Wheel / Louvre/ Market
The next day we tried to sleep in a little but the kids wanted nothing to do with that, not even sure why we bothered. We took local transit to Place de la Concorde. Munchkin spied the ferris wheel and made us promise to come back when the fog lifted. We walked towards the Louvre and had a nice conversation with the monster about how to behave in a museum. Turns out, I should have been talking to the princess; she wanted out of the stroller as soon as we walked in the door. Good thing I brought the carrier. Never leave home without it. One thing to mention, the Louvre offers strollers for rent, but they not allow you to park your stroller if isn’t needed. Also, there is a locker room to store jackets and bags, but nothing large like a jogging stroller. They only place that was suitable is the cloak room near the bathrooms, but those were reserved for large parties. This means, we were forced to bring an empty throughout, and navigate the maze of up and down the elevator. We only stayed for 2 hours, the kids were done at this point and the crowds were starting to come in.
We went back towards the ferris wheel, gave the munchkin a ride while princess napped and mommy shopped. The christmas markets lined both sides of the Champs Elysees so decided to skip the bus and walk our way towards the Arc de Triomphe. It was packed with people and the little lady was not pleased. We made it as far as the Disney store when we jumped on a bus and rode the last few minutes to the arch.I was looking for a specific ornament but couldn’t find it, but I had another crepe and the hubby found gluhwein in a souvenir mug so at least it wasn’t a total waste.
Also see; Tips for Christmas Markets
After an hour of upset babies, no balloons to be had and a stressed out mommy that just want to get their, we arrived at the arch. The elevator wasn’t working and we weren’t allowed to leave the stroller with security or the ticket master so one of us had to stay down with it. I strapped the baby to my chest (because she wasn’t interested in sitting or being with daddy at this point), took the munchkin with me and we went up. Fair warning, it is a spiral staircase, open in the centre and I am terrified of heights ( and haven’t done PT in…10 years?). We managed to be at the front of the line as we started the climb and after a few minutes, I asked one of the kind gentlemen behind me to walk with the munchkin. He didn’t need it but I felt better knowing someone would be able to catch him if he tripped. Once at the top and after looking around, I waited near the exit until someone was heading down and asked them to walk in front of him; I’m horrible, I know, I’m OK with it. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. Turns out, when we finally arrived at our hotel, it was roughly 9 pm. LONG DAY!!
HOHO Bus / Notre Dame Cathedral / Shopping
Day 3 was our last chance to see it all before going home. It was muggy, and cold and the fog just wouldn’t lift, so we jumped on the HOHO (hop on hop off) bus. The kids snacked, hubby and I listed and took pictures. We thought of using the bus to actually hop on and off but they were so quiet and I was so comfy… so we stayed put and just rode the bus from start to finish. Since Paris has two lines, we did the new one up through the Moulin Rouge area first, then took the second line to Notre Dame. We spent an hour in line, while both babies slept, and took a look around. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful; Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, toy store for the heck of it, and stopped at a pharmacy for more diapers.
Day 4 was supposed to be another touring day before jumping on the train at 1pm, but it was pouring rain, cold and this also meant we wouldn’t step into the house until closer to 9pm (hubby had to work the next day). The Thalys allowed us to change our ticket to an earlier time for an extra 100 euro. Arriving home in time to make a quick dinner before sending the kids to bed was well worth it.
We should have bitten the bullet and gotten off the bus at The Moulin Rouge Cabaret or Sacré–Cœur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris). Next summer we are heading back to check out the gardens, Versailles and Disneyland.
We decided to purchase the ParisPass; we didn’t have enough time to get them shipped to the house and they do not recommend having them sent to hotels (things often get stolen that way), so we were forced to pick them up. I do not suggest this. All three pieces of the pass can be purchased at the train station, this company gives a discount for buying all three together and the middle of nowhere is the only place to pick them up. Taxi’s refuse to pick up from here as well because it is surrounded by brothels. Terrific. I am taking my small children down an alley full of brothels. In hindsight, I would have bought them as soon as I made the choice to have them, or paid a little more to get them at the station, this was way too much work.
For ideas on things to do while in Paris – check out Melissa at The Family Voyage and her experience in cooking class
An excellent resource for planning all of Germany can we found with the Lonely Planet Paris Guide
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