Can Disneyland Paris still be fun with a toddler?

There’s no such thing as being too young for a first-time visit, says Hollie-Rae Brader

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I’d always dreamed of taking my children to Disneyland Paris. I was 20 when I first stepped through those magical gates, and I vividly remember picturing what it would be like to bring my future offspring. We’d frolic between the carousel and It’s a Small World, and skip through the grand archway of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

So, you can imagine my shock when friends called me “crazy” for planning a trip to Disneyland Paris with my then one-year-old son, Theo. Determined to prove them wrong, off to Paris we went. What ensued was two days of utter bliss. Trust me when I say mini Mouseketeers will love every second.

Our trip might not have been the adrenaline-filled visit of my child-free days, but watching as Theo’s eyes lit up at seeing his favourite characters (Donald Duck and Jessie from Toy Story) during the parades was something I’ll remember for ever. Fantasyland in Disneyland Park is perfect for under-twos as most rides have no height restrictions and queues don’t tend to be long.

Hollie and Theo Disneyland Paris
Hollie and Theo by Sleeping Beauty Castle

We loved the gentle-but-fun Flying Carpets and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides, as well as the teacups and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth maze. We stopped for ice creams and to buy bubble wands and Mickey Mouse headbands. In the wider park, a ride on the Disneyland Railroad train proved a hit with our transport-loving boy.

My favourite ride has always been Buzz Lightyear Laser, and Fast Pass access meant we could do it without a three-hour wait – something I’d never want to do with a tot in tow. Theo was mesmerised by the neon lights and seeing characters from one of his favourite films. In Walt Disney Studios Park, Toy Story Playland provided the perfect place for Theo to explore.

Theo was mesmerised by the neon lights and seeing characters from one of his favourite films

Pointing out characters he recognised, running between the legs of a giant Buzz Lightyear and clambering over alphabet blocks was enough to tire him out. We took a buggy with us (both parks have plenty of parking bays) but only used it towards the end of the day when his little legs couldn’t carry him any farther.

After the 10-minute stroll back to Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, Theo quickly drifted off to sleep, one happy boy. This trip proved to me that Disney is a hit for all ages, and while Theo might not remember it in later life, I certainly will.

Book it

Disneyland Paris offers two nights from £368 per person including accommodation at Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. The price includes flights with EasyJet and unlimited park access. Children under two travel for free.

PICTURES: Disney Enterprises, Inc/Cathy Dubuisson

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