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DLP & managing anxiety

Fareham, United...
Level Contributor
18 posts
5 reviews
DLP & managing anxiety

Hello.

I'm taking myself out of my comfort zone in a couple of weeks and heading to DLP with my 3 year old son, my husband and my mum (she's essentially a free au pair for the trip! *wink*) I suffer from anxiety and, whilst it's not crippling, I do find myself triggered by large crowds, rushing around, shoving and stress in general. I'm veering between excitement and absolute dread at the moment! But I'm not going to let that stop me. However, to avoid a completely hellish experience, can any other anxiety sufferers out there give me any primo tips on how they've managed symptoms at DLP which I can imagine is a very hectic, busy, potentially stressful place? I've tried to pick a less busy time of year and we've given ourselves 4 nights/5 days so we don't have to cram too much into each day, but I'd appreciate any other tips! Thank you. :)

17 replies to this topic
Bury St Edmunds...
Level Contributor
835 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Are you going during the week? If so then the crowds shouldn't be too bad overall. There is still the potential for it to be busy here and there though, so some of my tips would be...

If staying onsite don't bother with the buses, just walk to and from the parks

If you want to eat at any of the sit down restaurants then make sure you've booked before you go. For the counter service restaurants try and avoid peak times (12-2, 6 onwards etc) to avoid queues.

Make the most of Extra Magic Hours if staying onsite so you can ride things like Peter Pan and Dumbo that often have big queues later in the day

Don't just concentrate on rides - take some time to just wander round the shops or check out the quieter walk through attractions like the Nautilus or Swiss Family Treehouse

Use fast pass where you can

Take time out of the parks for downtime, using the pool if you have one or just exploring the other onsite hotels. Familiarise yourself with the parks by looking at maps, restaurant menus before you go so you don't feel too 'lost' before you get there.

That's all I can think of for now. Shout if you have any more questions.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
50 posts
1 review
2. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

In a couple of weeks it’s still Christmas at Disneyland which is high season meaning lots of people and long queues. Maybe you can try to change your reservation to after Christmas season? End of January/ begin of February will be slow.

Avoid weekends if possible.

Hope you have a wonderful time!

Level Contributor
28 posts
1 review
3. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

As someone who also struggles with large crowds and has had a complete melt down within Disney before my best bit of advice would be to get your bearings first. Spend a good hour just walking around the map and making a note of potential "quiet spots" you can escape to. This way if you feel your anxiety creeping up you can locate your nearest "quiet spot" on the map and take a breather! Also i find doing the various shows (Moteurs and Stitch Live) a nice break from the crowds within Studios. I always find Studios worse as it is that bit smaller so feels busier.

Also if you are like me and find you need to "plan" everything as part of your anxiety. Try your hardest not to overplan because your itinerary (colour-coded ;) ) will go out the window as soon as you get there. This also sent me into a spin whilst there. I learnt that lesson the hard way and on my subsequent trips I became more flexible and just went with the flow. We are off for our 3rd trip mid December and this time round im 100% excited and not at all anxious.

Dublin
Destination Expert
for Disneyland Paris
Level Contributor
3,228 posts
49 reviews
4. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Believe it or not I know exactly how you feel. I tend to manage it by planning. I make a rough schedule of what I want to do each day and I make sure I book any meals that need to be booked.

I find that disney is one of the few places that my anxiety tends to be less bad (than say london or central paris) because it's quite open and airy, there's lots of places to just stop and have a quiet moment to catch your breath.

I suggest making sure you eat properly, Proper meals help your brain to know everything is ok, it also gives you time to stop and rest. Download the app, you can view the wait times of rides and anything less than 15 min means hardly a queue. Use fastpass for busy rides like Thunder Mountain and Ratatouille, you'll still have a short wait but it's manageable. Don't feel you have to be at the front to see parades and shows, though for myself I prefer to be at the front as crowds in front and behind bother me more than knowing there's a crowd behind me. Wait to leave until majority of the crowds have passed you, especially at the end of the day, the crowd after illuminations is horrendous, especially due to people kicking your ankles, I do swear that people think they'll never get out.

Have time for the two of you, stick mum and your DS on a ride and take a saunter in the shops or grab a hot drink. I know only too well it can be hard to relax but tbh unless it's christmas week the park can be manageable (I've done it twice at Christmas and keep saying never again).

Feel free to PM if you've any questions you're not comfortable asking publicly ☺

Fareham, United...
Level Contributor
18 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Thank you so much everyone! Some really great tips. I have booked evening meals (we're half board) so that's taken care of at least. Breakfast will be in the hotel so I know that we'll all be fed- that is one less thing to worry about. The comment about over-planning really resonated with me as I'm an over-planner (exactly like you said, trying to control my environment) so I will try and go with the flow. I think the fact that we're there for so long will help with that. But then, on the flip side I worry about everyone getting bored! Think I need to remember that it's not my responsibility to make sure that everyone else has a good time! ;)

We are going mid-week (Wed-Sun) so will try and get most of the rides done on the Weds/Thurs and hopefully the queues will be shorter. There's no chance of moving the dates sadly; we're going for my 40th birthday. I wish I could move THAT a couple of months into the future, but sadly not! I think it'll be fine if I just relax and try not to get stressed out about other people. The ankle kicking thing is shocking! I think I'd punch someone if they did that to me!! :O

Thanks again for the advice. I think that it is going to be busy but hopefully I can keep my head together enough to enjoy it.

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives, Disneyland Paris
Level Contributor
3,000 posts
6. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

There is a crowd predictor here https:/… which will hopefully put you mind at ease a little about crowd levels. If you are going on green days, you can hope for a lovely quiet time, hopefully blue should be pretty easy, and even orange shouldn't be unbearable. The lead up to Christmas is an amazing time to go!

I'd say yes, remember it isn't your responsibility to make sure everyone has a good time all the time...and when someone (hubby...child?) has a strop, don't panic - it will pass, order will be restored, and everyone will soon forget it! 5 days is lovely. It takes the pressure off - you can do rides and see shows multiple times, pop to the Disneyland Hotel for (extortionate) cocktails, which is a lovely way to relax for half an hour, take your time over meals (if the little one allows), and generally move at a nice slow pace.

Fareham, United...
Level Contributor
18 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Wow, thanks for that link! We have 2 green days, 2 blue and 1 orange (Saturday, to be expected- will prob avoid the rides that day and get all my Xmas shopping done!)

My husband is FAR more likely to have a strop than my 3 year old, sadly. He's very much of the 'I'm being dragged to Disneyland against my will' mentality. *eyeroll*

I very much like the idea of cocktails. Trying to get linked rooms in the hotel so husband and I can leave mum with the small and we can hit the bar(s)!! :D

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives, Disneyland Paris
Level Contributor
3,000 posts
8. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Packergator, in which case fingers crossed for a relaxed and queue-free trip! IME when we have been at very quiet times, the only rides we have had excessive queues for are Big Thunder Mountain and Tower of Terror, although obviously your experience may be different, and you will go on some rides for little people that we no longer go on. We love a quiet cocktail in the Disneyland Hotel :)

Greater London...
Level Contributor
49 posts
9. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

Don't worry about hubby. Both my DH and one belonging to my friend had the same cynical attitude about a DLP holiday. Both fell in love with it when over there and now want to go back! Try not to approach it as a tick list - trying to do *everything* at all costs (I had to consciously stop doing that). Have a hit list of the top 10 things you really want to do - and everything else is an enjoyable bonus! My little one would have spent the whole 5 days going between Pirates, Peter Pan and buzz laser blast. If you're happy with that - just roll with it 😁

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Maldives, Disneyland Paris
Level Contributor
3,000 posts
10. Re: DLP & managing anxiety

My hubby was much the same...I dragged him, virtually kicking and screaming, the first time he went (well, in reality, he 'sacrificed' himself for the sake of the children)...now he is an absolute convert.

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