Our family holiday to Disneyland Paris was definitely our idea of holiday heaven. Like others, I had watched the adverts and eagerly anticipated our dream holiday. However, secretly I worried that it would not be as magical in real life as I had always imagined- would queues, journeys, weather or other everyday holiday realities spoil our vacation? Luckily they didn’t and we had nothing at all to worry about.
As blog readers know, Danny’s early years were not easy. He was born with a serious heart condition and not able to travel far. Once he had been through three serious heart operations so bravely, we really wanted to spoil him and take him on a holiday to remember. Walt Disney World, Florida was out of the question as the flight was too far for him and we would need to organise in-flight oxygen. Now he is in good health, this would be possible as long as he passes a flight simulator test first and once again he will need oxygen.
Disneyland Paris, however was easier to organise for him. We just researched the best local hospitals, asked his French Cardiologist to write a cover note for him explaining his complex condition and paid a premium on our holiday insurance. We booked through
Thomas Cook Magic Breaks, they really helped to make sure our whole holiday went smoothly.
This dream was possible to make true.
Our holiday started at Travelodge Ashford. It was ideal being located so close to the Eurostar Terminal. The kids enjoyed watching the ducks in the pond and there were good restaurants nearby. I remember we had a Pizza Hut on our first night.
Euro Star Travel Heaven
The next morning, we went to Ashford Eurostar Terminal to catch the Disneyland Express. This was exciting from start to finish. On arrival the kids were given little rucksacks full of fun activities to keep them amused. We checked our luggage in and the wait passed quickly. Soon we were sitting comfortably on the Eurostar. We chatted as we went through the tunnel and once in France, we all enjoyed the new views from our windows.
Arrival and Disney Express Luggage Service
On arrival at Disneyland Paris, we were immediately greeted by Disney Characters. This made our kids day. There was no queuing or anxiously waiting to see the characters- they came to see the kids. While the kids were kept amused, our luggage was taken straight to our hotel and I collected all of the tickets for our shows and made reservations for our evening meals during our stay.
Heavenly Meal Plans
Paying in advance for the Premium Disney meal Plans definitely contributed to this being holiday heaven. The Premium Plan gives you the ultimate choice with a selection of twenty four buffet and table service restaurants. For us, the extra cost was worth it as it included Disney Character dining experiences. The kids also received a gift each night at their meal which helped to keep them amused too.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
Once all of this admin was easily sorted- staff are so helpful and friendly- it was a pleasure to deal with them, we were straight out of the station and into Disneyland. Very soon I was pinching myself as we approached Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a real fairytale come true.
We spent our first morning there exploring and taking in all the magical sights.
Auberge de Cendrillon Fairytale Dining
It was then time for our first meal, a true heavenly experience. On the way in, we were greeted by Cinderella and Rebecca enjoyed a meet and greet with her. I took lots of photos and also bought the official ones as they are so lovely. I will scan and share them one day too.
Bread and water was already on our table on arrival- so handy for the toddler Rebecca and baby Caitlyn to snack on as they patiently waited for their food. Disney Princes and Princesses then came around and spent lots of time with the kids. I have so many photos of this experience, including one of baby Caitlyn apparently trying to pull a prince’s nose off! He was so polite and laughed about it. The Princesses were beautiful and the Princes handsome. But, most importantly, I loved how friendly they were and how special they made the kids feel.
On top of the wonderful fairytale experience and setting, the food was heavenly too. We had a taste of French cuisine and then a trio of magical desserts, we even enjoyed a glass slipper! We were under dressed as we had only just arrived at the park, but guests are encouraged to wear their own Princess dresses if they wish so we will definitely do this next time too.
After our delicious meal, Danny tried to pull the sword from the stone.
The Disney Parade
It was then time for the famous Disneyland Parade. We had already been treated to a Minnie Mouse Parade earlier on Main Street to celebrate her birthday. To be honest there was something going on at every moment during our stay there. The parade was a magical experience. We loved seeing all of our favourite characters and for me seeing the looks on my children’s faces was priceless.
We stayed at Thomas Cook Explorers Hotel- now Explorers Hotel. This hotel was perfect and we would definitely stay here again. The family rooms are great for large families and multi generational holidays. We had a family room for six, but rooms up to ten are available. It was good having two rooms too as we had more privacy.
There was lots to do and see in the hotel. We just about managed to fit in a visit to the wonderful pool. There were also play areas for the kids to play in.
Each morning we stocked up on the tasty all you can eat breakfast buffet and by filling up we didn’t usually need lunch each day.
The Shuttle Bus
Then we would catch the shuttle bus into the park. All of these events were part of the experience for us and we enjoyed them all.
Animals and Wildlife
The kids found it exciting seeing the horses each morning directing the queues. We also used to watch the rabbits hop about as we waited for our shuttle bus and the ducks in the pond.
The park was so clean and beautifully maintained. We loved the flower displays and fountains. All of the amenities were clean too.
The Rides and Attractions
Travelling with young children, we were interested in the family rides rather than the big thrills and there were plenty of rides to suit our needs.
For the little ones, we loved Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, Casey Jr- le Petit Train de Cirque, Dinesyland Railroad, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Le Carrousel de Lancelot, Le Pasage Enchanté d’Aladdin, Le Pays des Contes de Fées, Les Tapis Volants – Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, Orbitron and It’s a Small World. There were lots more too, but these are the ones that we most enjoyed.
Family rides that we enjoyed were Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast, Les Voyage de Pinocchio, Adventure Isle, Pirates of the Caribbean, Studio Tram Tour: A Look Behind the Scenes, Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing and Toy Story Play Land. Of course we also enjoyed seeing the dragon in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and walking through all the different worlds, such as Pocahontas’ Indian Village.
For our kids Snitch Live and Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage went down well too- these shows also gave us a chance to rest during busy days.
The Wild West Show
We booked tickets for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show using our Premium Meal Plan. This was great entertainment, everybody donned the hats and joined in, washed down well with Western food and drink.
As well as our evening dining, we occasionally bought fast food in the park. We loved the novelty of Mickey Mouse shaped burgers and Pizza. There were always vegetarian options for me. The food was always served pleasantly and efficiently. I noticed them check each order as they gave it to you- no mistakes were made. The kids picked up some lovely free Disney toys again too.
Dining at Inventions
I fell in love with the Disneyland Hotel when we went to Inventions Restaurant– it may sound odd to say but it smelt divine! It was so smart and had lots of gorgeous chandeliers too. The restaurant itself was amazing- full of all sorts of food- Danny was in his element eating chillis, pickles and fish (don’t ask!). It was food heaven for him. Then the characters came around to see us including the main man himself, M..M..M..Mickey Mouse!
On our last day we went to Planet Hollywood. We enjoyed our food while taking in all of the Hollywood paraphernalia Eye Candy- I could have spent a day in there taking photos if I’m honest. Gone With The Wind, Jaws…this was my idea of Hollywood Heaven.
Then it was time to travel home. This was as effortless as arriving, but in reverse. Our luggage was again taken to the Euro Star for us. We waved goodbye to the characters. We had a very pleasant journey home.
A Perfect Hollywood Ending
Our heavenly holiday had come to an end but for us it was really a beginning. The family memories we made during that break have stayed with us forever and always will.
It truly was holiday heaven.
We can’t wait to go back and do Disneyland Paris now the kids are older- it will be Isabelle’s first holiday there. Thank you to Thomas Cook, Disneyland Paris and Eurostar for making our holiday so wonderful.