Like so many things in life, knowledge comes with experience, and sometimes it takes some time and a few mistakes along the way to ensure things go your way. What if though, your annual holiday and a chunk of your hard-earned cash are relying on it?

The Slinky family are avid Disney fans and we’ve just returned from Disneyland Paris from our first trip post-covid. I shared a few images on my socials, and received tonnes of messages in response, asking various questions and for some general tips and tricks… so decided to share with you all what we’ve learnt from 7 Disney visits in 7 years!

I hope this blog is useful for planning your own visit to see the main Mouse – do let us know in the comments!


The first time we visited back in 2016, we flew into Paris CDG and took the Magic Shuttle from the airport to the parks. My husband isn’t a keen flyer though, and we decided to drive on our next visit. We’ve driven ever since! It’s nine and a half hours door to door, and we find it far less of a faff than all the airport shenanigans. Plus we enjoy the benefits of having the car with us. We can take ALL the girls’ costumes and dress-up, pack loads of snacks and have easy access to the local area if we want to.

We tend to set off from home around 5am to take the Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais late morning. We stop for breakfast and a leg stretch somewhere on this side (usually when one of the girls needs a wee!) then stop again for a break in France. We both find France the more pleasant drive and can be heard ‘debating’ who gets to drive which side of the channel. It’s a super easy route through to Disney, very well signposted and with plenty of easily accessible services along the way.


We’ve done it all, celebratory stays at the wonderful Disneyland Hotel, and cost-cutting stays off site… for our trips going forward though, we’ll stay on-site wherever possible. This helps us make the most of our days and evenings in the park, and the magic very much extends to the on-site hotels too.

We’ve stayed in several of the hotels, and Disneyland Hotel aside (it’s currently closed and isn’t always doable for us, budget-wise) our favourite has to be the Sequoia. One of the main reasons we like to stay on site is for the extra magic hour you get in the morning. You’re able to access the parks an hour before they open, and we always put this time to good use.

There’s free parking at the hotels too, so we know our car is safe during our stay. A regular shuttle bus runs between the hotels and the park, but we’ve never used it. It’s only a ten-minute walk round the lake and through the Disney Village; for us at least, it’s all part of the excitement.

We stayed in a Golden Forest Club Room at the Sequoia this time, which came with a number of benefits. Golden Forest has its own reception desk, handy as the main Reception can have a queue, depending on when you arrive. They sent the luggage directly to our room for us and on the morning of checkout, collected it from the room and brought it to reception for us. Our breakfast buffet was in the Club Lounge, which was much quieter than the hotel breakfast at Hunter’s Grill. We appreciated this with having a baby as well as the two big girls to feed, but have always enjoyed the buffet at Hunter’s, too. There’s a great selection of continental and cooked items and we’ve often packed some as snacks to take with us for the day.

We also regularly stay for one night at either the start or the end of our trip at a local budget hotel, to make the most of our days in the parks. We like to stay at or close to Val d’Europe as the huge shopping centre is great to grab a bite in one of the restaurants, pick up anything we may have forgotten to bring (there’s always something!) and there’s even a Sea Life Centre, if we have a spare hour or two.


As self-confessed ‘foodies’ – dining is the one area we feel could be done so much better at Disneyland. But as long as you manage expectations and know in advance that it’s very standard fare, there will be no surprises.

We adore the character breakfast and Princess lunch! I highly recommend booking one of these. We’ve seen Pooh, Eeeyore, Tigger, Pinnochio and Gepetto, Stitch, and of course Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy and all the crew, at the character breakfast. They never seem in a rush, so the interactions are super fun, and there’s plenty of time for autographs and photos.

The Princess lunch is a wonderful treat for little ones who love Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and even some of their friends (Cinderella’s mice often make an appearance!)

The lunch itself is a set three-course menu with a mocktail and aperetif to start, soup, pasta and the famous chocolate slipper for dessert, for the children. The adult menu is one of the better ones on site, and we usually take our time at Auberge de Cendrillon, to enjoy a much-needed sit down, and a glass of wine with our meal. It’s one of the highlights of our trip, every time.

We discovered Captain Jack’s Caribbean-style restaurant on our most recent visit, and I’m so glad we did! I’m vegetarian and there were several awesome options, it ended up being the tastiest meal I’ve had at Disney.

My carnivore eldest daughter Cora, (7) would say that Chez Remy was her favourite. She and I swapped meal plans, so I ate the kid’s pasta and she ate an adult slab of steak several times the size of her head (see photos below!) she nailed the whole thing, then a pot of chocolate mousse for pud before announcing ‘I need some fresh air….’ whilst tenderly rubbing her belly.

All of this is made easier by a meal plan, which is available for purchase to hotel guests, at the time of your booking. We always go for the Half-Board as that entitles us to breakfast plus one meal a day. There’s so much to do that we never want to sit down twice, we fill in the gaps with snacks, and always ensure we have plenty of those with us. Snacks on site are very limited, and with the amount of walking we do, we find flapjacks and fruity bars are essential items when packing our bags for the day.


The shows are a highlight for us, and even 10-month-old baby Juno adored every last one, this time. She sat and beamed, clapping her hands and squealing with delight through each performance. The shows aren’t too long, so perfect for small children and babies, and most are on several times throughout the day.

You can now also buy priority tickets, which guarantee you a seat for your chosen performance for €15. We haven’t done this yet, but would if we didn’t have long left on our trip and wanted to see a particular show. The queues can be long, and it’s worth getting to the venue in plenty of time to assess the queueing situation. I usually ask one of the cast members (Disneyland staff) at the show venue and they will tell you how long before the start time you need to arrive.

General tips and tricks

  • We always book via the official website. It displays a colour-coded calender of the quietest and busiest times in the parks. This obviously affects the price of your holiday, so it’s worth consulting it before confirming your dates, as there are some huge bargains to be had! We just recently arrived on the 8th of January which was a fraction of the price of the week before!
  • Be sure to download the official app before you go, it has all the info regarding show times, character meets and parade info, etc. It’s also handy so that you have a map in your pocket and can navigate across the parks with ease.
  • If you have a Birthday Boy or Girl with you, let them know at Reception when you check-in. Our daughter Athena turned 4 the day we arrived at Disneyland last month, the receptionist called her over to the phone, and Mickey greeted her with Birthday wishes, she was over the moon! We then picked up a complimentary Birthday badge from City Hall which ensured Athena received maximum attention from every cast member and character we met for the duration of our stay.
  • At the end of Main Street there’s a Baby Room with changing facilities, highchairs, microwaves, comfy chairs… everything you could need for baby. There is a reception desk there where you can buy very limited baby food, nappies and wipes… but nowhere on-site sells formula. That’s worth bearing in mind if your baby uses formula, you’d likely need to go the shopping centre off-site if you needed more, which could take a good chunk of time out of your day.
  • PhotoPass! Perhaps unsurprisingly, I LOVE PhotoPass. The quality of the photos isn’t always the highest, but just ensuring we all get in them is well worth the €69 for me. Lots of the rides, attractions and general character meets around the park have PhotoPass photographers, who will scan your card and then all your photos are available for download, via an account you make. Do photograph the card itself on your phone, in case you lose it before you manage to access your images.
  • Cast members really can’t do enough to help, so don’t be shy, and ask a passing member of staff if you have any questions, we have always found them to be super helpful.
  • Extra Magic Time is the time to do ‘that ride you love with the massive queue’ or to be the first in the queue to see Mickey or the Princesses at the Princess Pavillion. It’s a time when you can ride the teacups three times in a row without getting off, choose your favourite carousel horse or ride Peter Pan without waiting an hour. We love our extra magic time and always make the most of it by being at the park gates before they open, ready. Let’s face it, no little ones are having a lie-in with the excitement of Disney, so embrace the early start and you’ll have loads under your belt by lunchtime then can enjoy a slower pace as the parks get busy in the afternoon.

    I hope this is helpful for you whilst planning your trip. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and have a peek at a small selection of images from our 2023 Disneyland Paris break!