I have been intending to do this post for some time and it wasn’t until I sat down to write it that I realised that I would need to break it down into a few blogs!
Going to any Theme Park as a Plus Size person can be a daunting prospect, I know before I came to DLP for the first time I spent ages googling to see what I could find out about rides, walking distances, waiting lines and anything else I could think of that might pose a problem for me. There really wasn’t very much information. I’m hoping to help with that here on my little blog.
A bit about me
In case you’re wondering what qualifies me to speak on this subject, I’ll let you know a few things about me. I’m just over 5ft 6″ tall, am a size 32/34 top half and a size 26/28 bottom half so am very much more top heavy in my Plus Sizeness. I would qualify as a ‘super fat’ within the given names we have for ourselves in the Plus Size community and have always been in that scale since visiting Disneyland Paris. My fitness isn’t amazing, although that’s something I’m working to improve. I have attended the parks whilst recovering from DVT so can advise in a ‘less mobile’ capacity too.
This is what I look like in my happy place
Before you go
The first question I think you need to ask yourself when booking a trip to Disney is where do you want to stay?
A day on your feet in a Disney park is no laughing matter, especially when you are larger than the average person. So where you stay and the distance you have to travel at the end of a long park day, with painful Disney feet, is something to seriously consider.
When you decide to book Disneyland Paris you will see that there are six ‘on site’ Disneyland Paris hotels to choose from as well as many ‘partner hotels’ which are near the resort.
The Disneyland Hotel is the closest (and most expensive) of all the hotels. It’s the beautiful pink building that makes up the entrance to the parks and is by far the most convenient of all the hotels.
To get from the parks to any other hotel is initially an uphill walk through fantasy gardens into the Disney village. Once in the village you can turn left and exit towards the train station where there are bus stops to take you to all of the other on site hotels, as well as many of the partner hotels. Should you choose to walk to your onsite hotel, you go through the village and out to the right hand side of the lake to go to;
The Newport Bay Club, this is approximately a slow 15 min walk from the park. The hotel has been recently refurbished and for design and comfort is the nicest hotel after the DLH in my opinion.
You turn to the left hand side of the lake to go to;
Hotel New York, this is approximately a slow 10 min walk from the park. This hotel is a business centre so is not to everyone’s taste, it is being refurbished later in 2018 though and will have a Marvel theme
Sequoia Lodge, this is approximately a slow 15 min walk from the park. This hotel appears to be a family favourite. It has a wooden lodge design and a lovely bar with a huge open fire.
Cheyenne (Cowboy/Toy Story Themed) and Santa Fe (Mexicans/Cars Themed) are also available to walk to, but as I have never done it I cannot tell you how long it would take me. I have always caught the on site bus when staying at these hotels, both of which are the budget options for Disneyland Paris.
All of the on site Disney hotels have disabled access, disabled/adapted rooms and the buses are wheelchair accessible. I have had no issues with any of the beds in the on site hotels, they are adequately sized and comfortable. They all have over bath shower facilities with those annoying shower curtains that stick to you. The baths are small, I doubt I would fit comfortably laying down but have never tried, all of the baths have handles to help with access though. Overall, they are easy to access and adequately sized as a shower facility, again I have had no issues with the bathrooms or toilet facilities in the on site hotels.
In the Parks
I hate that the first thing I have to list is a negative thing, but the very first obstacle you will encounter as a Plus Size visitor to DLP are the access turnstiles. Now, the ones at the entrance to the park aren’t to narrow, I can fit through them sideways without issue. There is an alternative to the turnstiles though as there is a door in the middle of each set of turnstiles, some cast members will notice and offer you to go through, others you may need to ask, but I’ve never found it a problem.
While we are on turnstiles, you will notice that they are a continuous nightmare throughout the parks. Access to some rides is via turnstile, these turnstiles are smaller than the ones at the entrance to the parks. I can fit through them on tippytoes sideways but it’s a bit of a squeeze. You can ask the CM if you can go through the access gates instead if you are worried you won’t fit.
Turnstile bruises are something you accept as a Disneyland Paris fan, my legs are always bruised after a trip!
Be prepared to walk for miles and miles on an average day at a Disney Park. Disneyland Paris’s two parks are relatively flat so you won’t be trekking up and down hills or steps constantly but even flat walking can take its toll when you are a plus sized person.
Should you struggle with the walking, you are able to hire a wheelchair at Disneyland Paris, if you have an infinity Annual Pass this is a free service, you just have to pay a deposit which is returned to you. There is a daily fee if you do not have an annual pass though and the seats on the wheelchairs are quite small, if you may need a chair to assist you during your trip, I would advise bringing your own.
Disneyland Paris do not have a relationship with a company offering mobility scooters, there are some which will bring one to your hotel for you to use though this site seems to the be the one that most people use. Please be aware that they do not offer mobility scooters for anyone over the weight of 18 stones, so you may need to bring your own. Also, mobility scooters cannot be left unattended so if they need charging during the day, you will be required to stay with the device as it charges.
Walking around the park there are plenty of benches, tables and chairs for you to rest on should you need to, It is also allowed to sit on the pavements when waiting for parades and shows. Queue lines often don’t have anywhere to sit/rest/lean, these are the times I feel the fatigue the most. Standing still can put a lot of pressure on your feet and joints as a Plus Size person, in some instances you may be able to sit off to the side and join your party nearer the front of the queue, however, many rides will not allow this. If you have a physical condition which hinders you standing for a long Period then you may apply for a disability pass which will allow you to be given a return time equivalent to the time you would have waited in the queue. You will need a Dr’s letter to be considered for one of these passes.
To prevent you getting blog reading fatigue I am going to stop this part of the blog here! The next parts of the blog will cover; the accessibility of rides at Disneyland Paris, show and parade access, plus size shopping at DLP and the Disney Village.
I hope you have found this section useful and come back for future instalments!
** This blog is entirely made up of my personal experiences and opinions, you may find that your experience differs from mine as we are all different shapes and sizes. I have been as transparent as I can be about my size and shape but please do contact me if you have any further questions **