I’ve booked to go to Disneyland Paris this month and I cannot wait, I’m sure you’ll see lots of photos on my Instagram whilst I’m on the trip because lets face it there’s going to be sooooo many photo opportunities. Anyway I thought I’d put together a little guide including how I booked and things I’ve learnt along the way when planning the trip. Firstly it is just myself and my boyfriend going to Disneyland so this guide might be especially helpful for couples and those in their 20’s. It is also Sam’s birthday on the day we arrive so I’m really hoping my planning has paid off and we have a really magical time.
I looked at a few different websites and visited Thomas Cook as well trying to find the best price for the dates we wanted to go. I watched a lot of vlogs especially those by Brogantatexo and The London Girl as well which I think swayed my decision for which hotel I wanted to stay in. I knew when booking I wanted to stay in one of the Disney Hotels and the one that seemed to suit the most was the Sequoia Lodge, it was also featured in the vlogs of the girls above and they seemed to have nothing but good things to say about it. The hotel is themed around the American National Parks and is only a 15 minute walk from the parks, I’ve heard good things about the hotel lounge for drinks in the evening too. The hotel is sort of a mid range in terms of the standard of the accommodation and price out of all of the Disney Hotels there. I compared a few different prices from the direct Disney Website (http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/), Thomas Cook in store, Magic Breaks (http://www.magicbreaks.co.uk/) and Walt Disney Travel Company (http://www.disneyholidays.co.uk/disneyland-paris/). If you book through Thomas Cook online they use Magic Breaks but in store they call Disneyland’s direct booking line, strangely the two prices I was quoted were about £150 different with the in store price being more expensive. In addition to this the price on the Disneyland website was different to both of these. The best price I found for the dates we are going was with Walt Disney Travel Company.
Tip: Deals change regularly and prices sometimes daily. Definitely compare prices and don’t settle for the first one you see. I booked our trip in December with free Half Board Plus the same dates if booked now have free Full Board, so check out online forums to see if there’s a pattern when deals change. Also check whether it is cheaper for yourself to book as a package or transport, park tickets and accommodation separately.
PACKAGE/ MEAL PLAN
The package I have booked for our trip is a standard room in the Sequoia Lodge with a Half Board Plus Meal Plan, this means we get a continental breakfast in our hotel each day and also a meal voucher each which is worth around 35 euro’s each which we can use towards lunch or dinner. The voucher is for use at a variety of restaurants including buffets and table service in the parks and also the Disney Village. Its definitely worth checking out http://www.dlpguide.com/planning/dining/meal-plans/ to see the menu’s included in each package and the individual costs of adding these on to an existing booking. I got the Half Board Plus package free when I booked just as this happened to be the particular offer that was on at the beginning of December. The Standard Packages include selected buffet restaurants, Plus Packages include selected table service restaurants as well as the buffets and Premium Plans offer a choice of the buffet service restaurants, table service restaurants, Character Dining or Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show dinner. When looking through the options I was more than happy with the meal plan I had included with my hotel booking and from advice I have seen on other blog posts and in vlogs, I have pre-booked a couple of restaurants that we like the look of as I’ve heard queues can get quite long. The two we have booked are Restaurant Des Stars and Café’ Mickey. Annette’s Diner which cannot be pre-booked is also on our list of places to go and we will probably try and do this a couple of times throughout our time there.
Within the package I have booked through Walt Disney Travel Company I have also got travel included. I picked to travel by Eurostar which I have never done before but I’ve heard its one of the easiest ways as you don’t need to pay for transfers as the train station is right outside Disney and a shuttle bus takes you to your hotel (if you are staying in a Disney Hotel). I’m getting the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet as this is only a 20 minute drive from my house so the journey on this side isn’t long either. Also whilst looking into the trip I have seen that the luggage restrictions aren’t as strict on the Eurostar and travel sizes of liquids aren’t needed which is really handy.
Tip: Before paying any extra for a meal plan check the link to the DLP guide and see how many (if any) restaurants appeal to you and the rest of your party. It is only Disney owned restaurants/ experiences that are included in the meal plans – so places such as Planet Hollywood, The Rainforest Café and McDonalds aren’t.
There’s a few extra things I thought I’d add in that I have found out whilst looking into the trip. There’s a shopping centre called Val d’Europe which is one train stop away from Disneyland where there is a supermarket to stock up on essentials especially handy for those staying for longer than a few days, those that might be staying at the Davy Crockett Ranch which I believe is self catering or those that might choose to drive and want to stock up with alcohol and French treats before heading home. The shopping centre also has a Sephora, Zara and Lush so I’m hoping to persuade Sam that we NEED to go there for an hour or two. Its also worth a mention that there is an aquarium inside the shopping centre so again if you were planning on staying in the area for longer than a few days there is something different to do other than Disney.
We have also booked to go the 9:30pm showing of the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the Disney Village. I was tempted to book this when booking the holiday package but at 63 euros an adult it added quite a lot more to the price so at the time I decided to leave it. After looking on Trip Advisor and also seeing reviews from other people who had experienced the show it looked like it would actually be a really good thing to do whilst there, so whilst trying to find how to book the tickets online I found a website called http://www.attractiontix.co.uk/ which had tickets for the 9:30 showing for only £34 each. The price includes entry to the show and a three course meal including a drink, I’ve also seen online you get a cowboy hat to take away as a souvenir too. When they emailed me the tickets there was also a couple of vouchers attached; 5 euros off at the Earl of Sandwich and 10 euros off at Planet Hollywood.
Its also worth noting the above website where I bought the tickets for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had tickets for the park for sale too which may be handy for people trying to price up a trip separately instead of buying a package and they also had a deal for a meal at Planet Hollywood which is in the Disney Village.
I’ve downloaded the official Disneyland App which has a map of the park, shows waiting times for the rides, shows times for events/ shows throughout the day and also has information on dates that rides are down for maintenance.
Tip: Join the Facebook group Disneyland Paris For Brits (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DLPforBrits/), there are over 50,000 members on the group who have visited Disneyland many times or are planning trips. Everyone is really helpful and friendly and give lots of advice about how to get the best out of your trip.
I will write further posts on Disney when I’m back and I’m sure I’ll have some mini reviews on things that I did whilst I was there too. Feel free to comment anything I have missed.
Note – there are some changes to breakfast in hotels from March, this information is correct at time of writing this post. I booked in December 2016 and am traveling in January 2017.