Disneyland Paris is the most magical of holidays and there’s no need for Type one to stand in the way of an amazing time. We have just got back from 5 days there so whilst its fresh in the mind I wanted to share all my top tips with you to make sure you can make the absolute most of it.
There’s lots of different ways of getting to Disneyland Paris. We got the P&O Ferry from Hull to Zebrugge and had just over a 3 hour drive to Disney itself which worked a dream for us. It was so easy and the holiday begun as soon as we boarded the ferry with it being the first over night stay on a ferry for our 5 and 7 year old girls, they loved the excitement of it.
I’ve written a detailed comprehensive post on travelling abroad with Type One and you can also download your holiday checklist to make packing easier. Check them out below.
I’m not going to repeat all the tips for packing that are in that post but just wanted to highlight a few important things specific for when you actually arrive at Disneyland Paris that you will need with you.
Free Carers Ticket
One important thing to mention if you didn’t know it all ready is if you are officially a carer for your child with Type One you are eligible for a free park ticket. We had to claim this back retrospectively before we went by submitting our proof of Carers Allowance and DLA but it saved us about £250 so worth doing.
Important Things to Pack
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or PIP letter – needed as disability proof to get green fast pass card.
- Carer’s Allowance letter if you claim it.
- Holiday letter from the hospital – we call up the paedicatric outpatients secretary and ask for a holiday letter for a Type One child and they sort it out for us.
- Medical Device Awareness Card – print off to use for getting through park security.
- Lots of snacks – everything is so expensive in the parks and queues can be big so make sure you have plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout the day.
Arriving at Disneyland Paris
For those of you who haven’t been most of the surrounding hotels have shuttle buses every 15 minutes that take you to outside the Disneyland Train station which is a fantastic easy to use service.
You then pass through the security bag check to get into the Disney village with X-ray scanners. You do not need your tickets at this point but the queues can be long especially at peak times. Once you have got your green card (more about that in a minute) the person with Type One and one other if that person is a child can go through the side that is signed for disabilities. My daughter is on a pump and has a Dexcom so I just showed them the Medical Devices Awareness card and said she or her kit bag could not go through the X-ray machine just like you would at the airport. They were great and just let her in the side and didn’t even pat her down at all. We then had to wait for the rest of the family to get through the normal queue but it didn’t take too long most of the time.
You are then in the Disney Village where there is a vast array or shops and restaurants. You then pass through the main ticket gates to get into the Disneyland Park (underneath the Disneyland Hotel) or the Studios park.
Green Disability Card
Not everyone likes to get one of these but this was amazing for us and I would strongly recommend getting one especially if you are travelling with kids.
Disneyland are fantastic with making allowances for people with disabilities and you will see this sign everywhere you go. Not that you want to be treated differently with Type One but it is so busy and taking advantage of the provisions they have in place can make the crowds so much more bearable especially when it is hot and there is higher chance of hypo’s.
What can I do with a Green Card?
- Avoid queuing for rides: for the number of people in you party by going straight to where the disability sign is (often at the ride exit). There are quite a number of people with disabilities around the park doing the same thing but most of the time we got on the next ride. The longest we had to queue was 10 minutes for the Peter Pan ride a couple of times for 5 minutes but often the main queues were 30 – 90 minutes long.
- Avoid queuing for meet and greets: the pass allows you to book a time slot to meet characters, more tips on this later on.
- Priority area for the Parade and Illuminations: this saves you having to claim your spot an hour or two before they start.
- Priority seating for shows in the parks.
How do I get a Green Card?
Make this the first thing you do once you get inside the Disneyland Park. Head left once you are through the gates to the desk in the City Hall. There you show them your proof of Carers (if you have it), DLA and hospital letter.
They give you the green card and stamp it with the number of people in the party. Ours was stamped with 4 which allowed the child with Type One and up to 4 others with her onto rides. For the parade and illuminations they allow 2 extras with they child due to space restrictions in these areas. Although for the fireworks they actually didn’t question us taking 4 people in which was handy.
You need to keep this card handy as you need to show it all of the time. They should also draw on the map where the allocated area is for watching the parade and the illuminations.
Top 15 Tips for a Day in the Parks with Type One
Whilst it is still fresh in the mind from our fantastic visit last week, I just wanted to share with you some of our top tips relevant to Type One that you mind find helpful too.
- Make a dash for Princess Pavilion Meet and Greet booking: our girls are princess crazy and the queues for the meet and greets can be crazy too. It took us a while to figure out how this worked. There are 2 princesses here each day one most of the day and the other late afternoon into the evening. There is a sign outside that says which princesses are there that day. With it being so popular you are only allowed to book to see one each day. They also only release so many time slots for people with disability cards and they are often all taken by 1030 in the morning. So the tip is to head straight there at 930 when the park opens to book one of these. You don’t need the child with you to make the booking so just one person from your party can make a mad dash for it but you do need to show the green card to book it.
- Book character meet and greets early in the day: all of them will give you a time slot if you have a green card but again they fill up as the day goes on so book them as you see them. They are not quite so crazy as the princesses but they are normally booked up by lunch time.
- Random meet and greets: they pop up through the day with much shorter queues but head straight for them when you see them. Sometimes we were given a slot for in 15 minutes so with our Green card we could head onto a nearby ride and then straight back to meet the characters.
- Lineberty App: download this app, it can be used for Buzz and Woody meet and greets and Mickey Mouse and Friends in the studios park. Slots open up at various times throughout the day and they give you a ticket on the app to show when you arrive.
- Download the Disneyland Paris App: we sometimes didn’t have a great signal in the park but the app was helpful to see the map, where characters are and up to date wait times for rides which gave us an idea of which parts of the park were quietest.
- Drink plenty of water: we took our own bottles and filled them from the many fountains around the park.
- Test regularly or keep an eye on CGM: and keep levels up with snacks early to prevent hypo’s.
- Grab a quiet spot on a wall or bench if hypo: there’s no harm in having a few minutes of quiet and watching the world go by, you often see characters randomly walking past. A nice out of the way spot where you are likely to see princesses is round the back of ADC restaurant where the ornate Cinderella carriage is or near the old windmill to the left of Princess Pavilion.
- Make lunch from hotel: we made some sandwiches up each day for us all and put in sandwich bags in our rucksack and also took a bag or little croissants and pain au chocolats from the breakfast buffet which were great especially as the kids got peckish throughout the day.
- Take plenty of hypo treatment/ sweets/ fruit juice cartons: there can be queues for drinks and snacks so best to have everything with you that you might need incase you need urgently.
- Mickey’s Magic Show in the Studios park: show your green pass and they take you into a separate waiting area. It gets busy even for the green pass holders. If you get there an hour before you may get a bench to sit on whilst you wait and you will be at the front of the disability queue and will be guaranteed front row seats. This is what we did, we had a sandwich whilst we waited and we sat on the front row. However if you don’t want to wait around for that long just go when you are ready. They let all wheelchair users in first then all the green pass holders before opening up to the rest of the public. It is tiered seating and I actually think you would have a good view where ever you sit but well worth seeing, its a FANTASTIC show.
- Buffalo Bills Wild West Show: this is an absolute must if you get the chance. Again don’t stand in the main queue, show your pass to someone and they give you a table number on the front row, escort you through the side door in to the bar area where you can get a drink. The rest of the people going to the show come in here too but sometimes Mickey Mouse comes though whilst it is still quiet so you can grab a picture. People congregate round the bottom of the stairs to be first in but don’t panic because you are already allocated tables in the arena so there’s no need to dash. Enjoy the bar experience. My tip would be to stand infront of the little stage opposite the bar before it fills up as there is some fantastic live music and Wild West Goofy made an appearance and was singing and dancing.
- Use side entrance to Disneyland Park: looking at the main entrance, just round to the right there is another entrance that opens at 930 (main entrance needs to be used for early magic hours) and the queues are shorter, we generally got straight in here as most of the crowds head to the main entrance underneath the Disneyland hotel.
- Illuminations daily at 11pm: crowds start gathering for the illuminations much earlier on in the evening (8ish to get a good view). At about 9pm they cordon off an area for disabilities. People start gathering in here but at around 10pm this area has a staff member manning it and checking people are only in there who have green passes. Anyone else gets asked to leave the area. We got here around 9.45pm to make sure we could see but could have left it even later as there was plenty of space. We sat with our backs against the railings to be comfier and had a perfect view.
- Parade daily at 530pm: the cordoned off disability area is right at the start of the parade. Again we got here an hour before it started to make sure our girls could see at the rope but could have left it later but factor in getting through the crowds. There was plenty of space and there’s also some benches too. Again from about 4.45/5pm this area is manned and people without green passes are asked to move elsewhere.
Don’t let Type One hold you back. Make the most of the disability provisions because they really are fantastic and make the stay all the more enjoyable. Have a fantastic Disneyland experience!
I hope you have found this post helpful. Please comment below if there’s anything I’ve missed and don’t forget to sign up to my blog for more useful tips about living with Type One diabetes, it would be great to have you.