Monday 2 July 2018

20 Things That Happen When You Take Your Kids To Disneyland Paris

Did I mention that we went to Disneyland recently? Probably not, I’ve barely spoken about it. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably haven’t seen a single photo of our trip. Right? Now that I’ve spent four nights in the magical world that is Disneyland Paris, I’m pretty much an expert on All Things Disney. This was the first time the kids had been to Disneyland and they loved it, even the toddler who I assumed would be too young to appreciate it but who hasn’t shut up about ‘Dinnyland’ since we got back.

Here are 20 things that will happen when you take your kids to Disneyland:

1. You’ll experience all the nostalgia
If you grew up watching Disney films, surrounded by Disney toys and dreaming of going to Disney World, it’s like taking a trip back into your own childhood. As soon as you walk through the gates, seven-year-old you is going to be the voice inside your head.

2. You will experience heightened levels of excitement
Not you, to be clear, the kids’. They are going to be beside-themselves-out-of-their-minds excited. We had to endure ten minutes of both kids jumping on the beds yelling ‘Disneyland’ when we first arrived at our hotel. It was all a bit much.

3. You’ll get straight back on a ride
Kids are so annoying, aren’t they? They’re not happy with experiencing wonderful things just once, they want to do them over and over again until all the joy has been sucked out of it. I think the only rides we went on that my six-year-old didn’t immediately want to experience again were the rollercoasters that made her cry.

4. You’ll implement a strict once-only rule where rides are concerned
After losing an hour of your life repeatedly riding the Dumbo ride, you’ll decide enough is enough. There are plenty of other rides to experience, you will say while guiding your pleading child away from the overly long queue to the ride they have literally just been on.

5. You will spend a fortune on something you forgot to pack
The shops at Disneyland stock absolutely everything you could possibly need. But Mickey Mouse branded and crazy expensive. It rained while we were there so I spent €30 on an umbrella. Never in my life would I spend that much on an umbrella, apart from at Disneyland where it was the cheapest option (some of them were €40!).

6. You will see people not washing their hands
This could actually be listed as one of the main attractions at Disneyland. In fact, I reckon you’re more likely to see this than you are to see Mickey or Minnie. The toilets get busy, but we never had to queue for longer than a couple of minutes. During those minutes though, what we saw was a long procession of mothers telling their kids ‘not to bother’ washing their hands and leading them straight back out to the park where they could touch all the handrails, queue barriers and safety rails they wanted. Hooray.

7. Your feet will hurt
Not just a bit, but a lot. One day we stayed in the park from 8:30 am until 11:30 pm and when we got home that night I was scared to take my shoes off. I imagined they might simply fall away and reveal blackened stubs where my feet used to be. My feet were still aching an hour after I lay down, that is some seriously sore feet.

8. Your kids will be amazed by everything
There is something so magical about Disneyland, every single detail has been thoughtfully considered to make sure it is as magical as possible. The lids on the shampoo bottles in the hotels have Mickey Mouse ears, Pluto is hanging out at the hotel, Elsa blew them a kiss. It's just all so sodding magical.

9. You’ll talk a lot about ‘the magic’
It’s not physically possible to go to Disneyland without talking about ‘the magic’. It is everywhere. They sprinkle it on your cereal in the morning, maybe. Disneyland is just so magical. As a kid, it’s uh-mazing. As an adult, it’s pretty mind-boggling. They put so much effort into the details that the whole place feels like another world.

10. You’ll lose the will to live waiting in line for the Peter Pan ride
I waited for 40 minutes to go on the Peter Pan ride. That may not sound like a long time, but I had already been on the ride twice and had no real desire to do it again. The six-year-old disagreed. And so we waited. In the heat, in a slow-moving queue, surrounded by screaming children and dead-eyed parents. I wanted to leave the queue but that was not an option, so I just stayed and waited for 40 minutes of the only life I will ever have to pass slowly by.

11. You’ll take a photo in front of the castle
How could you not, right? You’ll stand smiling in a line of strangers all doing the same thing while their long-suffering Instagram husbands attempt to get a decent shot of the castle with no hint of the rest of the line of strangers in the picture. Um, yeah.

12. You’ll cry at something weird
There is something about spending time with a constantly-amazed child that heightens your emotions. It’s impossible not to feel the feels when your child is having the time of their life. For me, it was a chat and a cuddle with her absolute favourite princess (Belle, obvs) that had me quickly wiping away tears.

13. You’ll start holding planning meetings at night
I really hope this isn’t just me, but we started planning our route at the park the night before. Not for the whole day, but just to make sure we used the Extra Magic Time as efficiently as possible. I know, it’s so lame, I hate myself, but also I do not regret those nightly meetings.

14. You’ll take a lot of photos
I always take too many photos, but I outdid myself at Disneyland. We spent three days there. I took 800 photographs. That is too many. I haven’t even looked at them all because it is just too many. Trips to Disneyland were probably a lot easier back when you could only take 36 photographs before your camera stopped working.

15. You’ll see a lot of questionable parenting
Disneyland is full of overheated, overtired, overstimulated, hungry kids who don’t want to stand in long lines. And it’s also full of overheated, overtired, overstimulated, hungry adults who don’t want to stand in long lines either. This is not a good combination where parenting is concerned.

16. You will spoil the magic for yourself
After waiting in line for an embarrassing amount of time to meet Mickey Mouse, you will be escorted into a little room to meet him. The next family to follow you in will not be the family who were stood behind you in the queue. You will then realise, with a heavy heart, that there is more than one Mickey Mouse and you will feel almost as disappointed as you did the day you found out Santa wasn’t real.

17. You will overspend in the gift shop
Set a budget if you want, but just know that you won’t stick to it. You will want to buy all of the things. All of the shops seem to have different things, and there is enough variety to suit pretty much anybody. You will spend a stupid amount of money on Disney memorabilia that, let’s face it, you could probably buy cheaper back home.

18. You will get obsessed with the autograph book
If you made the mistake of purchasing an autograph book for your child, then you will make it your mission to fill the damn thing before you leave. Your child will be equally as enthused about this endeavour but will not love all the queueing it entails.

19. You’ll wish you were a Disney princess
You will, trust me. Even when they’re sweating in their huge ballgowns and it’s 30 degrees outside. Even when they’re having to cuddle up to sticky-fingered children and fight off the advances of creepy dads (grim), you’ll still secretly want to be a princess. Just for a bit.

20. You won’t want to leave
You will experience the post-Disneyland comedown, and it’s not fun. Leaving the magical realm that is Disneyland to return back to your everyday life isn’t easy. You will find yourself planning your next trip before you’ve even arrived home.

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