Is Disneyland Paris a Good Baby Holiday Destination?

The short answer?

Uhhmmmm….  eeeehhhhhhh, not really.

But I’m sure you’re not here for the short answer, so here goes why I think that overall, Disneyland Paris isn’t the best choice of holiday destination for the tiniest members of your family.

Cheyenne Hotel at Disneyland Paris for Babies

We booked our holiday pretty much as soon as Ripley was born so the guys at the hotel Cheyenne had a good 5 months notice that a little bubba was gonna stay with them.  On the arrival day we got there about 4 hours before the rooms were ready at which point they knew again that I had a 5 months old baby with me and had brought my own travel cot.  Yet when we finally got round to finding our room we were still on the 1st floor without a lift…  Perfect when you’ve got a load of baby luggage and a little one in a buggy!

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Then, even though all restaurants at Disneyland Paris supposedly have baby food and bottle warming facilities, the rooms don’t even come with a kettle!  When your little one is still under 6 months, so you’re still boiling the water for his bottles, that’s not ideal.  However after some asking around at reception I was able to get a kettle sent to my room.  Quick tip – ask as soon as you check in so that you’re not left waiting for a kettle at the end of the day.

By the way, the check in process, especially with a family, not great!

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When we arrived Ripley was due a feed so I parked up near the reception area and headed in myself while my wife fed him, thinking it would save time…  Only to find that I had to fill in an individual form, complete with name, date of birth, full address (mine is pretty long), phone number and email address (again mine is quite long)…  for everyone…  including our 5 month old!  So that took way longer than it needed to!  What perplexed me is why they couldn’t just put families on a single form…  Not only is it going to save the environment, save Disney a huge amount of money over a year but also save us so much time.

On the plus side, once you’ve checked in and get your room keys, these double as your park tickets so you can go in as soon as you check in, while you wait for the rooms to be ready.  Plus in the mornings and evenings you get to use them for an extra hour before and after park closing to get breakfast and use a small number of select attractions.

Good points were that the rooms are a really good size, even though we got one of the cheapest options and come complete with a half decent sized bath, which is always easier than trying to bathe a fat little baby in a little sink or a shower (something we still haven’t had to do but should probably test run before our next holiday which is a cruise).  Also, they do have a shuttle service to the parks from the hotel reception, but for us the walk to the parks was only about 15 minutes, which after the prospect of walking to the reception, waiting for the bus, getting there and sorting out the buggy for the luggage compartment each time seemed like a much better option…  Plus with all the crap food you’ll be eating you’ll be glad of the exercise!

Meet ‘n’ Greet Characters and the Photo Pass

One of the activities which is best suited for your little one is the chance to get a photo with some of the Disney characters.  There is no extra charge for these but the queue can be quite long for some (we waited well over an hour to meet Chewbacca – thanks to loads of fast pass holders).  It’s not so much a chance for babies to meet them, because the experience is likely to go above their heads, but it can make for some great photos, and the characters usually seem to love meeting tiny babies – especially when they’re as handsome as our Ripley!

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We managed to do the set meet and greets with Chewbacca, Goofy and Jaffar as well as muscling our way in to meet Mickey Mouse before the Buffalo Bill dinner show.  Ripley didn’t really care about any of these, although once he woke up we got a really sweet photo of him grabbing Chewbacca by the hand!  They have made for some awesome pictures though, and they were well worth the wait each time.

With many of these you can take your own photos, as well as letting a professional photographer take photos to put on your photo pass which costs about 75 Euros, although we got ours for free with our package.  I would say that if you’re going to do a few rides and want ride photos it might be worth having, but if it’s just for the character photos, in this day and age of the mobile phone camera, they’re not really necessary.  The photos above were taken by my wife on a Google Pixel 2 phone (and she won’t mind me saying that she’s far from a professional photographer), whilst the photos below were taken from the photo pass.

You can make up your own mind, but without the rides, I wouldn’t bother with this card if I had to pay for it.

Can Babies Enjoy the Rides at Disneyland Paris?

There are a few rides which have no height restrictions and are suitable for all ages, but don’t let that fool you – they don’t let kids of all ages on anyway!  An example of this is the Armageddon special effects ride which should be suitable for all ages, but its only once you get right up to it and part way along the queue that someone tells you that it’s not for children under 1 year because it’s too loud…  They clearly haven’t seen Ripley’s taste in music!

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Never the less he did manage to go on a couple of rides / attractions.  He was thoroughly unimpressed by Lancelot’s Carousel when he went on that with his mum, although absolutely loved going on It’s a Small World with the 2 of us.  It’s a ride full of colours, movement and music, so everything which a baby wants, and because the boats take a fair number of people and there are a ton of them, the queue moves really quickly.

Finally we walked around Alice’s Labyrinth including a trip up in to the Queen of Hearts’ Castle which again, because of the colours of some of the decorations, was something which he really seemed to enjoy doing with us.

One thing which I will say is that the vast number of rides aren’t suitable for babies, especially when we were there as a large number of rides were out of commission for renovation.  We looked at a couple of rides for ourselves too, I for example went on the Star Tours ride which has the best queue in the world, but is essentially a flight simulator which is a type of ride I don’t really enjoy and the Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster which was quite fun, although I prefer rides which aren’t in the dark – I think they’re more exciting when you can see how high or fast you’re going.  But it seemed like no one knew how the baby swap feature worked, where parents can take it in turns going on a ride without having to both queue individually.  To this day I still couldn’t tell you how or where you do that!

Baby Facilities at Disneyland Paris

As I mentioned before there are baby bottle and food heaters in all of the restaurants, and we tried out this facility at the Rainforest Cafe, where they take the bottle away and after a few minutes it came back at the perfect temperature!  As well as this, when you stay at the hotels, they have travel cots available free of charge too.

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When you go around the park there are plenty of toilets, with each of these having baby change facilities, although it’s quite clear that many of these were a fairly recent after thought, especially in the men’s toilets.  Quite often the change table has been mounted in the place of an old sink or is just a counter top with no change table / mat or straps, so I would definitely recommend taking a travel change mat – something which we always keep in our change bag anyway.  Never the less, those change facilities are in place, all around the park, so big thumbs up for that!

Most places are also accessible with a buggy, other than some of the attractions and rides, but that’s understandable, although pretty much all of these areas have plenty of space for you to leave a buggy.  A lot of people do this, and I get the feeling that even with the change bags etc left on them that people generally tend to respect this and neither we had anything go missing and didn’t hear of anyone having something go walkies from their buggy.  But of course that really depends on how many arse holes happen to be in the park on any particular day.

One thing I can say on the topic of arse holes is that people there don’t respect the rules at all.  When it comes to littering it’s not a big problem as the cleaners are like ants, working in huge teams to ensure that the parks are super clean and tidy.  However one rules which isn’t enforced at all is the no smoking rule in most areas.  I saw a few smoking areas, but most smokers were just puffing away where ever they wanted, even with staff walking by them.

One good thing was that baby essentials are easily available at hotel stores (such as food nd wipes etc) as well as there being half decent baby shopping facilities in shops for clothes and toys.  However, as with everything at Disneyland Paris, don’t expect to get away with a bargain!

Shows and Parades

Especially the parades are part and parcel of Disneyland…  It’s one of the things they’re famous for and it’s yet another thing which some babies might enjoy, but be warned, they get super busy and are much louder than I was expecting.  The Princesses vs Pirates parade for example was really catchy and had all the princesses on a super colourful float, but the music was so loud that Ripley wasn’t a big fan…  Although it didn’t help that during that parade it started to snow a little bit.

The various star wars marches (we saw both the imperial march with Darth Vader as well as the first order march with Captain Phasma) on the other hand weren’t very colourful but also weren’t anywhere near as loud.  The contrast of blacks and whites makes them quite engaging for babies, and for adults, as a Star Wars fan, they are so cool to watch…  I absolutely loved them myself.

The only one of the shows we watched was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West dinner show, which we purchased tier 1 tickets for, meaning that we were in the front row.  This meant that we were close enough to the action that Ripley could actually see and the cowboys loved to see him!  We had him dressed as a little cowboy, and one of the guys on our “team” even came up to me and said that he’d seen Ripley earlier that day on Instagram and loved his outfit.

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Even though the show is quite engaging with lots of movement (he got very excited when the horses came out), it’s much better for adults and slightly older kids, with a lot of humor sewn in to the show.  Especially as they will be much less susceptible to getting scared by loud noises…  and this show is filled with loud noises.  The crowd participation is loud (shouting, and even banging tables and cutlery) and the thunder in particularly was ridiculously loud – he really didn’t like that.  He reacted fairly well to the show as a whole, and we all left wearing cowboy hats – baby, parents and all, but it was a long and noisy experience for him, so I probably wouldn’t do one with him again until he was a bit older.  I think if you’ve seen shows like Medieval Times which focus on a jousting element (so no guns), they would be much better for babies than this one.

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Incidentally, the food (from and adult’s perspective as it’s not suitable even for slightly older babies – all of whom have to sit on you lap for the whole show by the way until I believe 2 years) was at best a bit naff!  We ate at Wild Bill’s restaurant one day for lunch and that food was MUCH better than when they have to cook it for several hundred people at once.

That brings me on to…

Eating at Disneyland Paris with Babies

Most of the time we were accommodated quite well in restaurants and were mostly able to bring the buggy in, although that wasn’t always the case, and the high chairs are quite big on top which means that young babies just don’t fit in them.  Ripley slouched down and could have almost fallen out the side and certainly would have got stuck so we didn’t end up using them and had to have him on our laps in some places.

However when it comes to eating this is where we had our biggest complaint about the park, especially at one restaurant.

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We queued up at the Agrabah Cafe almost 10 minutes before it was due to open, and it then opened 10 minutes late as well.  All of the reservations went in which is fine (although some of these were 20 minutes early), and the restaurant was still almost empty.  So they came to us, knowing that we had been waiting as we were then at the front of a different queue, only to be told that they had no room for the 3 of us.

This seemed very weird, but we went with it and headed away as there was a 1 hour wait.  Behind us in the queue were 2 more families, also each made up of 2 adults and 1 child, although these children were 2 or 3 years old, so just old enough to have to pay for dinner…  Ripley of course was waiting for a feed but wouldn’t have paid to eat there.  As we turned around we went around the corner, realised we wanted to go the other way so turned around, to see these other 2 families get accommodated!  They also didn’t have a reservation, took their buggies in and as such would have each taken up the exact same amount of space as us.  Shitty move Disneyland…  REALLY shitty move!

I wouldn’t have cared about any of that if they hadn’t blatantly let the other 2 families in after seeing us turn the corner.  The only difference was that our kid wasn’t going to pay (although with our magic pass we wouldn’t have had to pay anyway) and that blatant level of greed on their behalf pissed me off enough that we had dinner elsewhere and looked forward to getting over to Sealife Paris (nothing to do with Disneyland, and something which Ripley enjoyed more for 1 hour than the rest of his 3 night stay at the park). It’s a complaint by the way which Disneyland apparently weren’t interested in as I never heard from them about it after emailing.

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Would I Take a Baby to Disneyland Paris again?

Baby?  No I wouldn’t, although I’ll be totally honest and say that I had a feeling before we went that it wouldn’t be a holiday for him, but more for me.  I’d never been before, he was still free of charge at the moment and they still had the Seasons of the Force Star Wars special happening, so it sounded perfect for me.  But I would actually go as far as saying that the lack of things for him to do actually went a little way towards making it less enjoyable for us as parents than it would have been for a lone couple or group of friends…  It really was a little limiting going with a baby.

I would however definitely go again when he is older, and it doesn’t even need to be that much older.  I think from 3 or 4 years old he’ll get much more out of it.  He’ll recognise some of the characters, interact with them, be able to go on a few more rides, walk around himself and dress up in much better costumes!  Kids visiting the parks in costume was really cute to see – especially all the tiny storm troopers and buzz lightyears!

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