Photo by Bert Ferranco on Unsplash
In the second of my Disneyland Paris series, I’m sharing my top 12 tips for what you should pack to really make the most of your holiday.
1. Comfortable shoes
Hands down my number 1 tip is to take comfy shoes! To make the most of your time in the parks you will be doing a lot of walking. The days are long (but oh so fun).
Our total visit extended over 5 days during the height of summer when it was really hot. I took two pairs of comfortable trainers to switch between. Each day I would wear the opposite pair to the day before. This gave my feet the chance to recover from any aches caused by the shoes having irritated me, before it was time to wear the same shoes again. This is a technique which has worked well for me on several occasions.
I also took some comfortable evening shoes to wear with my evening outfits. I was excited to find this adorable pair of Minnie Mouse ears pumps on one of my Primark hauls before our trip!
As a bonus tip, I would also recommend packing some extra sets of underwear! We returned to our hotel each day to clean up and get ready for dinner. Returning from the park you can feel hot, sticky and frankly ready for a shower! Having spare underwear to pop on after that blissful shower made me feel nice and fresh for the evening’s fun. If you don’t have room for spares, then consider washing some while away (though this can eat into your holiday time and is a bit of a pain to do).
2. A mini backpack
Some sort of bag or backpack is pretty much a must. Once you are in one of the Disneyland parks, chances are you will want to make a full day of it which means there are a few things you will want to take with you (some of which are covered in this article).
It’s important to strike the right balance. Too small a bag and it will be frustrating trying to cram in everything that you need. Too big a bag and the temptation is always to overfill it, which means it will be heavy and cumbersome to carry around. It will also be trickier squeezing it on the rides with you.
I think the perfect size of bag is a small backpack. You can carry one of these on one shoulder or across two (kinder on your back!) While I was doing my pre-holiday Primark shop I found this Mickey ears backpack which was perfect. I used this bag throughout our Disney trip and have since used it on a theme park day out back in the UK. I find it the perfect size to fit everything I need, it has a small front pouch for easy access, and is robust enough to cope with me flinging it around! Plus it’s Disney themed, so what’s not to love!
For the gentleman traveller, a small backpack, or even a hip bag would work well. For younger children it’s probably best to persuade them not to take a bag of their own because they will quickly get tired of carrying it - you can keep whatever you need for them in your own bag.
3. A refillable water bottle
There’s no getting around it, going to Disney is expensive. After your travel, accommodation and entrance tickets, there’s still food, drink and gift shop memorabilia to spend your money on! This is why it’s really great that there are plenty of fresh water dispensers located around both the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is important to make sure that you feel at your best, and to help keep tiredness at bay. I took my trusty Thermos water bottle (affiliate link) with me and filled it up at every opportunity. Any sort of water bottle would be fine though - even if you re-use a small mineral water bottle every day. One word of caution however, you cannot bring glass bottles into the park. There is strict security at the entrance to the entire Disneyland Paris plot (including Disney Village) - all bags go through an x-ray machine and you have to walk through a scanner (just like at an airport). So please don’t try to bring a glass bottle with you.
4. A lanyard with see-through pouch
Here’s a tip I picked up from my research before we went away, and I’d love to pass it onto you!
It’s super handy to take a neck lanyard to wear when you are in the parks. This is particularly true if you are a guest at one of the Disney Hotels. Once you are inside the parks there are a couple of items you may want quick access to (rather than having to search through your bag every time)…
Your Park Ticket (Day Visitors)
Day Pass tickets are used for entrance to the park(s) and to make use of the Fastpass rides
You will want your Day Pass handy for:
- Entering either of the parks
- Using the Fastpass machines
Your Magicpass (Disney Hotel Residents)
For hotel guests the Magicpass is your room key, your park entrance, your Fastpass access and your charge-card (if set-up with a credit card at your hotel reception). It also holds information of all packages or events that you have pre-booked.
You will want your Magicpass handy for the following:
- Entering either of the parks
- Using your pre-purchased meal packages
- Buying items at food outlets or in shops (if you have registered your credit card)
- When you want to have purchased items delivered to your hotel
- To use the Fastpass machines
When you use the Fastpass facilities in either park you receive a small printed ticket with the timeslot of your ride window. If you pop your Fastpass ticket in your lanyard with the time showing through the plastic you can quickly remind yourself of your allocated time without having to take your ticket out
I took my sparkly lanyard which my parents bought me as a souvenir on our P&O Cruise last year. It was perfect for the job and I love the bling!
5. A small umbrella
This is a tip which I’d read about before we went, but I didn’t follow it, which I regretted a little. It’s a great idea to take a small umbrella with you. The weather at Disneyland Paris can be pretty changeable, and rain is common. When I visited the park around the time it first opened (25 years ago ~gulp~) it rained every day.
This year I made a conscious decision not to take an umbrella because I checked the weather forecast just before we went and it was for glorious sunshine, with no rain at all. However, I forgot one of the tips which I’d read about online - umbrellas can also be used for shade from the sun! There were a couple of times it would have been great to have an umbrella with us (and I saw other people using them) - particularly when we were lining up for the parade.
I’m sure I don’t need to mention this, but also remember suncream! If the weather is hot it’s a good idea to take a small bottle with you for the day so that you can top up.
6. Rainproof ponchos
On the subject of rainy weather, particularly if you choose not to take an umbrella, you may want to consider purchasing a lightweight disposable poncho to take instead.
I remember when I visited the Disneyland Park last time, that when it rained there were Disney stalls selling ponchos, but these were really expensive. I have no idea whether ponchos are still sold in the park, or for how much, but I suspect that this could add up to quite an expensive purchase if buying one for all members of the family.
I bought this set of 5 ponchos (affiliate link) for £6.50 on Amazon before we went. The delivery was free because I have Amazon Prime membership (if you’re interested in trying Amazon Prime you can receive a 30 day free trial using this referral link) (affiliate links). We simply popped a poncho pack each into the bottom of our bags in case we needed them. Of course it turned out that we didn’t need them at all, but I was pleased to be prepared and we still have them for another trip now.
7. Spare Batteries & Memory Cards
According to the sites that I read online, if you forget or run-out of things like batteries, battery packs and memory cards they are available for purchase onsite. However the prices are much, much higher than you would usually pay. So remember to pack all the batteries, charging devices, cables, memory cards and any other electrical goods you need for your trip.
Even though my iPhone is still reasonably new (I got it late October last year), I took my portable battery pack with me, and I’m so glad that I did! My phone got way more usage than it normally does due to the amount of pictures and videos I was taking, as well as using the Disneyland Paris app to see wait times for rides and look at the map of the park.
8. Selfie Sticks
This list item will be the most controversial! Although Disney state that you cannot bring selfie sticks with you to the parks, we actually saw plenty of people with small selfie sticks and tripods. Disney make special announcements over the loud speakers to request that people do not use selfie sticks during the parade and the illuminations, for the comfort of others around. However during other times, if you were discreetly using one around the park I suspect no-one would say anything.
I must caveat this by saying that I didn’t personally take a tripod or selfie stick into the park. If you do choose to take one with you, there is always a risk that you will be told you cannot use it.
This is another tip I learned about before going on holiday. The nearest pharmacy locations are quite a distance outside of the Disney Parks. If you need some basic medication such as pain killers and anti-histamines it is far better to take a supply with you, than to try to get some there if you desperately need some.
It goes without saying that if you are taking prescribed medications you should always ensure that you bring sufficient with you for your trip.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the costs of food, drink, gifts and even official photos can really stack up. Disney know how to charge! Even if you have a meal package booked, or if you intend to eat at the food outlets in the parks for your main meals, it’s still a good idea to take along some small snacks with you. This is an especially good idea if you have younger children with you.
There will be times when you are waiting in line for a ride and you may feel your energy levels start to flag. Having a small snack can alleviate the boredom and provide a bit of a pick-me-up. Of course bringing your own snacks will also help you to keep your expenses down. I took along some bags of mini-cheddars and some flapjack bars which kept us going nicely!
11. Disney costumes for young children
If you are bringing small children to the parks, it is great fun for them to wear a Disney character costume. We travelled with my 7 year old niece and she wore a different costume each day. It’s particularly fun when they then go on a ride which is associated with the costume that they are wearing.
Various people have observed that kids in character do tend to get special attention and even special treatment which can extend to the whole party! On two separate occasions the Cast Members gave my niece special Fastpasses which we were all able to use on a ride together. She felt very special to have been able to give us all that treat!
12: Space in your suitcase (or a spare bag)
My final tip is not really about something to pack, but rather what not to pack! There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs in the Disney parks and it would be a pity not to have room to take these home with you at the end of your trip! If you are able, leave a bit of breathing space in your case, or pack a collapsible bag which can be expanded as an emergency extra if you have more to take home than you planned for!
I hope you’ve found these packing tips useful. If there’s anything you can think of that I’ve missed let me know in the comments below.
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You may also be interested in the first Disneyland Paris post in this series:
How To Plan For The Best Disneyland Paris Trip Ever.
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