Disneyland with Twins: A Guest Post by Namita

Today I’ve got a special treat. A fab guest post from a friend of mine, Namita who has just returned from Disneyland with her three year old twins. She had so many great tips to share and so I thought I’d put them here.

We are also off to Disneyland in June and so this was especially helpful. However after reading her misfortune in Paris, I’m glad we won’t be relying on much public transport.

Who Went

3 families; 6 adults, 5 children (3yrs/4yrs) This included two sets of twins.

Our Package

We booked travel separately and the Disney Hotel Sequoia Lodge through Disney Holidays. Our package included full board plus (breakfast at the park or grab and go croissants and coffee) during Marvel Season. We upgraded £10pp for Breakfast with Mickey & Friends. We had no fast passes.

Travel

We took the train from Leicester to London for £60 each return. There were no seats available and we sat on the floor on the way there! We returned on the first off-peak train at 7pm. Daddy had to stand with luggage and the pushchair in the busy aisle. I only just got seats for the boys and me by getting on a different coach – there was no room to sit on the floor!

We then went by Eurostar from London to Paris at £60 each return for adults only. Children under 4 are free but must sit on your lap if there are no seats. We had booked table seats each way and luckily no one joined us.

The Eurostar to Disney is on set days only and worked out more expensive. This way we were getting to see a bit of Paris too for the same price. The journey seemed quick and we had toys, cards and colouring to entertain us.

Paris

I booked the Ibis directly opposite Gare du Nord for the convenience of being right by the station for the next day’s journey which was a great location. What seemed liked a simple Metro journey to see the Eiffel Tower was not. It took about 10 minutes to work out how to get through the barrier with a pushchair. There is no one standing there to help like in London and this was the main station. So it was a waiting game for someone to feel sorry for us and help us through. Note – the barrier must slide shut behind you before you can put your ticket in for the front barrier to open.

The connecting Metro line to the Eiffel Tower was closed. But why would I have worked out another route! Common sense would have been to go back to the main station and start again but we didn’t! In the end we took a taxi and got stuck in rush hour. So by the time we got there the boys had had enough and wanted to go back to the hotel and watch TV!

We had purchased tickets to the summit however it took us ages to work out how to get into the Eiffel Tower itself. That was a waste of money so we took some pictures and got a taxi back!

Getting to Disney

There is only one train line to Disney, so this seemed like it was going to be a straight forward journey having already had a go the day before. We changed lines and the train flashed on screen in 4 minutes time and then suddenly disappeared. I made out in the little French I knew that there had been a suicide and the trains weren’t running until 11.30am!

Remaining positive we thought let’s get a taxi that’s a long time to wait and still another 40 minutes to get there. So we navigated luggage and pushchair back upstairs to be in the middle of nowhere with no taxi in sight. After half an hour of waiting, a replacement bus was put on which was a good walk from the train station.

….and the bad luck continues

Finally, having reached the bus station – there was no way we were going to get on the bus and several went by without us. The boys were clinging to us and we couldn’t carry them and the luggage and the pushchair. Hubby was like this is why I don’t do public transport. I felt like crying! Boys were crying and asking to go home because it was just too busy.

Some Americans turned up and asked me which bus they needed to get on. I took the opportunity to ask for help to get on the next bus too and they lifted the pushchair, grabbed the boys and we got on! 20 minutes later we were at another train stop and the end was in sight to get to Disney! We were all thoroughly fed up by this point but 3 hours after we left Paris, we arrived at Disney.

Must haves (all purchased beforehand)

  • Light up bubble gun (£3) – packed mini washing up liquid which was needed
  • Buzz light year / Mickey Light up spinners (ebay)
  • Glow sticks (£1.99 from home bargain with light up ears) x 3 packets
  • Costumes
  • Doll / figures (2 for £16 from Disney store)
  • Cars (Mickey hot wheels £2)
  • Mickey and Minnie ears (Primark £1 / Claires £5)
  • Colouring / paper / print outs
  • Autograph frame with sharpies (a whole pencil case full)
  • Mini teddies (Mickey, Winnie, Tigger)

Apps to Download

  • Disneyland Paris – for all your planning
  • Disneyland Paris PhotoPass
  • Lineberty for your character booking

Planning Planning & more planning

It was a must and all the reviews I had read beforehand had paid off. Family & friends who had been before had given me tips and whilst some said, go and enjoy the magic, most said plan. And so we created a schedule; a colour-coded spreadsheet which sounds extreme but was absolutely needed and we were glad we had one.

We were up and ready to leave the hotel at 7.30am We used the grab & go breakfast from the hotel after wasting precious time on the first day at New York Sandwiches which is in the village to get the same breakfast. We didn’t use our breakfast vouchers where you get an egg sandwich because this opens 10am (I think) and we couldn’t wait until then.

Alarms were set at 9.40am and 2.10pm ready for the Lineberty app. However all Marvel character were open to everyone and so only Mickey, Buzz & Woody were on the app. We managed to book these on the first 2 days without any issue.

Meeting the Princesses

We headed straight for the Princess Pavilion when having a planned day in the Main Park. The rope dropped at 8.30am and people ran like crazy. We saw pushchairs almost tumble. One of our bubble guns was lost in the chaos but apparently, it was worth it because we were first in the queue to see Princess Aurora. The queue was 90 minutes when we came out!

We were all smitten by the Princesses who took time to engage with us. The kids really believed they were real and were all wanting to cuddle Elsa and Anna who don’t come out as meet and greets. They had the same princesses on a few days. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Belle or Mary Poppins.

Note – Adults are not allowed to dress up as characters in case they get mistaken for the real ones and selfie sticks are not allowed.

Rides

We were disappointed Dumbo was closed and the Car Stunt Show. We did most of the rides in Early Magic Hours . It would have been disappointing to have waited any longer than 10minutes for Snow White or Pinocchio. The rides were, dare I say, underwhelming.

Later in the day, the queues were over an hour for the rides. I think the most we waited was 45 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean and Ratatouille. The queues were indoor which worked well in Princess Pavilion because the kids could sit on the floor and play and eat. However, in some queues, it was too dark to do anything and too hot with coats and bags. Buzz light year, Slinky the dog and Ratatouille were our favourite rides.

Photo Pass

Some of our photos were better than the photo pass pictures. However the reason for this was because the kids were looking at us taking pictures rather than the photographer. When we were in the pictures, everyone was looking the right way and so whilst we did get some good pictures on the photo pass they weren’t the best.

As a group, we should have purchased one photo pass between us. You get one main pass and 2 fobs in the box so we could have spent £20 each rather than the £60. Not all the places where you would expect a photo pass had one either. Woody did not have an official photographer and he was one character you had to book on the app. A plus was all the photos appeared instantly.


We didn’t get THE picture with the castle in the background first thing in the morning or following the fireworks as the kids did not share my enthusiasm!

Meet & Greets / Shows

We spent most of the days wandering around and waiting for meet and greets. We saw 20ish in total and had an autograph frame for them to sign so we can see the signatures on the wall. (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Daisy Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Baloo, Chip & Dale, Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Princess Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, The Genie and Jafar).

At no point did we feel rushed with the meet and greets. They took time to engage with the children and us too for cuddles and pictures, especially when the kids had dressed up too. We had a list of essential meet and greets and ones we had to hunt down. Like Winnie the Pooh for example who wasn’t with Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore at breakfast. But we randomly saw some other characters like Jafar and The Genie.

Dressing Up

The kids got lots of attention for dressing up and were made a fuss of in the queue. However the downside was carrying a bag of costumes everyday. You could not plan for who you were going to meet or that they would wear the costume for the right character.

Our favourite show was Mickey & the Magician which we saw twice. The production was just perfect and very magical! The Marvel show both inside and outside was scary for some of the children but the special effects were great and worth the queue. We also saw Stitch live which was funny and the 4D Mickey cinema show. These were both well needed when we wanted to just have a sit down and a break.

Parade

Again, we had planned the days we were going to watch the parade around meals and we waited about 45 minutes finding a good spot each time. An advantage of being in a group was that we could split off and some could wait and hold a spot. The children surprising waited patiently and had room to play.

The parade was just fantastic and featured all of the princesses and favorite characters. The Dragon was a bit scary and Elsa and Anna were just too high up. However, we had some great engagement from the Parade. We have got some great footage of just their faces when their favourite characters appear!

Fireworks

We only managed one evening to watch the fireworks and that was enough. All the children fell asleep on the walk back to the hotel. We waited for an hour beforehand, but the children were entertained by making bracelets and necklaces with glowsticks and it passed time.

There was no way they were going to see anything without being lifted unless you were at the front. We can only imagine how early you would have had to be there for that spot.

Restaurants

These were pre-booked at the 60 day mark and planned in accordance with if we were seeing the parade / fireworks / which park we were planning to be in that day. Bistrot Chez Remy & Captain Jacks were our favourites and worked well as A La Carte but the buffets at lunchtime worked well too so we could quickly eat and then carry on.

Whilst full board seemed a lot of food – we needed it as we were doing 20,000 steps a day and the kids needed a break to just sit and eat without eating on the go. On the day we had Breakfast with Mickey we had Counter Service from Colonel Hathi where we lost money on our vouchers and queued for over half an hour for a yummy Mickey Shaped Pizza however it worked well as a one off.

We are glad we didn’t need to queue for food at any other time which was a big plus of being full board. We didn’t spend a penny on food whilst we were there, and the kids hardly ate the snacks we had packed! Breakfast with Mickey and friends was well worth it. Mickey, Scrooge McDuck, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and Daisy Duck visited each table once and signed autographs and had lots of photos with the kids.

Lunch with Princesses was £60 per person and is included as part of the Full board Premium package.

Summary

We watched most of the classic Disney films beforehand to prepare and so we knew most of the characters and had picked favourites. We watched the parade and fireworks on YouTube and talked about the queuing and sitting and waiting for a long time! 3 years – almost 4 years is the right age where they are completely lost in the magic and believe the characters are real.

I love the fact that the boys were besotted with the princesses. We were lucky with weather breezy but sunny as we were guided by the best package rather than be restricted on dates. The pushchair was essential even for the good walkers.

The research was well worth it along with the planning and schedule. A Disney Hotel was a must just for the Early Magic Hours. Whilst we were completely in the Disney Magic whilst we were there, we wanted more rides and less shops. The Shows and Meet & Greets were top of the list of the wow magic, but unfortunately, we aren’t in the bubble to book again anytime soon.

It was brilliant to go in a group so we could help each other with the kids, the adults could go on adult rides and the kids could play together and we could entertain each other and share the pain of queuing.

The new song of the week is Disney Stars on Parade and we have had several shows around the kitchen table which involve dressing up in various costumes and lots of dancing with teddies and props – our own little stars on show.


Collectively we have been able to make memories with 1200+ photos and videos and looking back we did have a magical time although it didn’t feel like it at certain times. Someone said just because you are in a magical place it doesn’t mean your children suddenly become good – how true!

Thanks Namita for a fantastic overview of a Disneyland trip with 5 little ones.

This has certainly given me some more things to think about and go away and research. I need the app and I must book the restaurants too. If you’ve been to Disneyland, I love to hear your tips too. I’ll definitely be sharing our experience when we return.

PIN FOR LATER

Tip and advice for taking twins to Disneyland. Suggestions and first hand experience from a first time Disneyland mum.
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