Planning a winter trip to Disneyland Paris? Disneyland Paris has distinct peak periods where the visitor numbers are high and the crowds are large – mainly Halloween, Christmas, any school holiday and the summer. January, February and March are the parks’ least busy months due to the cold weather but this in fact makes them the perfect time to visit! Smaller queues for rides, better views of the parades, your choice of restaurants, and amazing special offers – with all the Disney magic still as dazzling as ever.
Many people are put off by the cold weather and the potential snow but as long as you are prepared, nothing will stop you having the time of your life at the happiest place on earth. And if it does snow, you can see the most magical sight – Sleeping Beauty’s Castle covered in the white stuff.
We went on our very own Winter trip to Disneyland Paris in January for 4 nights for Ivy’s 4th birthday. We had such an amazing time, and the weather didn’t stop us. Yes, it was cold, yes, it snowed heavily – but we barely noticed! Read on to find out my top 7 tips to prepare for and survive a Winter trip to Disneyland Paris.
1. Pack snow boots
Even if it doesn’t snow, snow boots are the perfect footwear to keep your toes toasty and the winter chill out. A good pair of boots will keep your feet comfortable while you walk around the Disneyland Paris parks and stop any rain/snow reaching your socks. Both myself and Ivy had fur lined snow boots, but John decided to go without – massive mistake! His leather boots let the water in and he spent a majority of the time complaining about his damp socks.
Make sure you add a pair of toasty thermal socks and you are good to go for the full day!
2. Thermals and layers
Layers are key for both adults and children. The parks are even more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about being cold and you can easily take off a layer or two if the weather changes or you go indoors.
There is no need for your children to give up their beloved Disney fancy dress costumes in the Winter months either – as long as they are layered up, there are plenty of opportunities for them to show off their outfits. Ivy dressed as Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa each day with plenty of layers underneath. It went thermal vest > tights > long sleeved top/polo neck jumper>thermal leggings>costume>coat. I coordinated the colours of the long sleeve tops with the dresses so they looked like they were part of the costume. Perfect for when the sun starts shining and you can pull off your coat for a castle photo shoot.
Check out a few of our favourite thermal items for layering below. These Disney Princess thermals from Marks and Spencers were our favourites.
3. When the bad weather hits, get to the indoor shows
During one particular blizzard while we were in the Studios, we hit the Disney Junior Show, followed by the Stitch Live Show, and then straight on to lunch at Restaurant De Stars. We missed the worst of the snowfall, kept warm and didn’t miss out on any precious Disney time. Catching an indoor show at Disneyland is a great way to keep out of the cold and keep the little ones happy.
In the Disneyland Park, Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D show in the Discoveryland Theatre was a great way to spend half an hour indoors and was a really entertaining show.
4. Feet and hand warmers
Ok, I’ll admit it – even though I spent months planning and carefully crafting my packing list for our winter trip to Disneyland Paris, I forgot to pack something! Feet and hand warmers were recommended to me by so many people and I forgot to buy them before we left.
One wonderful cast member, who we got chatting to while waiting to meet Jafar during a small blizzard, had one spare and gave it to my mum. She didn’t stop raving about it for the rest of the day, saying what a difference it made. Just activate them, pop them into your gloves or socks, and feel the heat all day. They are particularly good for during the parades and illuminations when you are standing still for a long period and start to notice the chill.
5. Emergency ponchos
Lightweight, space saving, and cheap, rain ponchos are the perfect cover up for protection against both rain and snow. You can easily pack a few in your backpack or stow away under your pram without any noticeable extra weight. They are perfect when an unexpected shower hits and can be left behind when you are returning home.
BONUS TODDLER TIP: Take an extra adult poncho to cover your pram when leaving it in the designated pram parking spots. We left ours to go on a ride and we returned to a snow sodden seat. With nothing to cover it with, we saw many parents who ended up flipping theirs over and balancing them on the railings each time. A simple poncho over the top solved the problem!
6. Stay in a Disney hotel
Staying in one of the Disneyland Paris hotels really pays off in the Winter. If you want to pop back for a change of clothes or to warm up, the park is only a quick walk away from most of the Disneyland Hotels or jump on the free shuttle bus. With so many DisneyLand Paris offers available during the quieter months of January, February and March – including free dining and multi night offers – it won’t even break the budget.
We stayed in the Sequoia Lodge which is over the other side of the lake and it has a real wintry feel with roaring fires and log cabin decor – the perfect place to cosy up with the snow we experienced. We also really enjoyed the buffet restaurant within the hotel which was covered under our full board plus dining plan.
7. Enjoy the calm of winter
The first 3 months of the year are certainly the quietest time at Disneyland Paris for visitor numbers after the Christmas and New Year madness has calmed. Although the crowds are reduced and it is technically “off-peak”, the parks are still full of life and adventure with the program as jam packed as always. While we visited, it was the Festival of Pirates and Princesses in the main park and Star Wars Legends of the Force in the Studios. There were plenty of parades, special shows and special meets each day for us to choose from.
For thrill seekers, the reduced queues for rides is the best part. When the snow began, the amount of people who were unprepared was crazy – I saw people in denim jackets and thin tights who made a sharp getaway as soon as there was a hint of bad weather. During these times, we got on to rides such as Rock n Roller Coaster straight away and even went straight back round to get on for another go. When the weather cleared up, ride queues for the most popular attractions were never any longer than 30 minutes and by using fast passes strategically, we hardly ever had to wait anyway. Our last day there was much warmer and the weekend crowds had began to descend – there was a 45 minute wait for Hyperspace Mountain, the longest we had seen (which is still nothing compared to the peak months).
Plan a winter trip to Disneyland Paris
I couldn’t recommend a winter trip to Disneyland Paris more! We had the most magical time and created memories that will last a lifetime. Follow my 7 tips and you are guaranteed to have an amazing time, no matter what the weather throws at you. What is your favourite time of year to visit Disneyland Paris? Tell me in the comments!