Disneyland Paris - advice please!(66 Posts)
DH and I are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris with our four DCs (all under 6)in the first half of 2010. It is going to cost LOTS so I'd really welcome some advice on how we should spend our money...
Firstly, we are planning on going mon-fri during schooltime (rebels that we are!) in late March or late May. May prices are not available yet, but I'm thinking that we'll probably get a better deal in March so it's likely that we'll end up going then.
We definitely want to be within walking distance of the parks (it won't be much of a holiday if we spend the time getting three small children and a baby on and off mini buses) and we'd like to stay for four nights. As there will be five of us and a baby in one room it seems our only options are a family room at the Disneyland hotel or a room on the Admiral floor at the newport bay Club.
The Disney hotel family room is mega££££ - £2300 for four nights including premium halfboard (and that's in schooltime in March!!!) - Newport bay works out about £500 cheaper.
My main question is - is it worth paying the extra to stay at the Disney hotel? I love the idea of the children seeing Disney characters at breakfast... and I'm thinking that perhaps it is worth the extravagence just to have the whole experience.
We've also thought about going for three nights rather than four to make it a bit cheaper - would that be enough? Would four nights be too many???
I have been a few times. If you go for longer it will be more relaxing. If you are stressing to fit it all in it is not much of a holiday. I would use the lovely baby centre to take a few breaks in the day it is really relaxing in there. I never buy my children stuff at the parks this sounds really mean but it is so much cheaper if you can to pick up micky mouse stuff from pound shops before you go and make them appear as gifts throughout the break. I also take a pack of glowsticks for night parades.
I would buy The Unoficial Guide to Disneyland paris it is brilliant. If you are eating in the parks sit down at 11.30 any later and you will be stuck there for hours. Also there used to be may still be a fab cheap sandwich place at the station just outside the entrance to the park. If the weather is nice you can sit outside and eat and save a fortune.
Thanks Araminta - some v.ueful advice!
Any comments on whether it is worth paying extra for the Disneyland hotel over the Newport bay?
Look at the Explorers Hotel. They do family rooms which are basically a room with double bed and two twin beds and then an archway through to a room with bunk beds. It is not one of the Disney hotels but is serviced by the shuttle, which is not a minibus. They are really frequent, journey takes five minutes and are really easy to use. This is a fab hotel, the breakfasts are good, it has a soft play area and a pirate ship for kids to play on right next to the bar/restaurant, and a swimming pool. It is CONSIDERABLY cheaper than a Disney hotel. Admittedly, you don't get the charatcters at breakfast but you could use fraction of the money you saved to go into one of the more expensive restaurants in the park for lunch or dinner one day, where you can meet the characters.
For other tips, by all means let the kids look at all the merchandise and then let them choose one thing at the end. If your kids have disney costumes, let them take them and wear them there. Eating and drinking is expensive so fill up at breakfast, and I second buying a sandwich before entering the park.
Everything else is free and is fab so have fun.
You can also have breakfast in the park with characters - would n't think £500 more is worth it personally although you are right at the entrance rather than a 15 minute walk so could pop back with baby for a nap. 3 nights is enough tbh.
I have stayed in a few but not Newport bay - you won't have to walk at all if you stay in th Disneyland hotel. We have found that the disney hotels are not all that different on service really for the amount that you spend and you won't spend much time there.
I have also heard Explorer is great from friends.
Liz is right the best character meals we have had were at Cafe Mickey in the area outside the parks and not in the hotels. It was relaxing we were able to stay for ages and the kids got a lot more attention. They even made my dd a huge birthday cake and danced with her.
I agree with Liz the £500 is not worth it for what you get. When we have stayed in the more expensive ones we have wondered what we have paid for. Our best experience was in Hotel Cheyeene and it was the cheapest. The kids loved it and had pony rides etc.
We stayed in the Newport Bay hotel, but we stayed on a bed & breakfast basis which would obviously be cheaper. Twas very good, it was a ten minute stroll past the lake to the Park's entrance. Good Disney atmosphere too. Characters milling about downstairs which was fun and the swimming pool was lovely too.
If you stay before 31 March, then children go free. After that period you have to pay for them. So that's something else to consider. We went mid-March, but it was very cold and a bit wet aswell. Would recommend taking flasks and thermals with you.
We stayed in an Citea apartment at Magny le Hongre which is 5 mins drive from the Disney Park. It cost us 110 Euros per night and would sleep up to 6 people (two fairly large bedrooms, one double bed, one twin and a put you up in the lounge downstairs, plus plenty of room for a cot) and has good kitchen area with dishwasher. We took our own car (£66 return on the ferry at May bank holiday, probably cheaper at other times) and the drive from Calais was very straight forward. As we had our own car we took food from home for breakfast and evening meal, plus snacks to take into the park. This can save a lot of money as food in the parks is very expensive for what you get.
We did have to pay extra for our park tickets which we bought on line before we left, and this may be something which works out cheaper when bought in conjunction with the Disney package.
We drove the five mins to the park each day (there is however a bus which goes past the apartments), and found that the Car Park for the Disney Village is a lot nearer to the parks than the Disney Parks car park. It costs the same for the full day, but has the option of just parking for a couple of hours if you so wish.
I appreciate that this does not give you the full disney magic of staying in the Disney hotels but is another option if you are trying to save money.
Similarly the Adagio Aparthotel at Val D'Europe is a short drive away with flexible accommodation.
We stayed in the Newport Bay - it was fine but not particularly impressive. Costs far too much for what it is (we were v. lucky and won the holiday though, so I am not moaning).
Thing is, it is MASSIVE so lengthy queues for check in/out, breakfast and shuttle buses.
From there, you can either walk to the park (10-15 minutes) or get a shuttle bus (proper single decker, not a minibus, very frequent or from the opposite side get the little road train thingy - like golf car thingies. That costs a couple of euros each per trip, though, but ds loved it.
Oh, and we travelled on Eurostar - sat next to one of the people who plays Minnie! Ds was thrilled. He's old enough not to be disappointed that there are people inside the costumes, though.
Thanks for all the brilliant tips.
Have checked out the price of the Explorers hotel and it is over £1000 cheaper for the four nights!!!! So I think we may well go with that
I don't think you'll be disappointed. We stayed at the Explorers hotel with 2DC in the rooms with an interconnecting door to bunk beds & it was great - about 18 months ago though. The dcs loved the pool & play area & there is a reasonable pizza place in the hotel which is lots cheaper & easier than eating at Disney. The bus was OK but can get crowded. Have a fab time.
we've just got back and stayed at the Davy Crockett ranch as didn't want to be in one of the big hotels right on top of the parks. You do have to have your car though as no transport to parks from there.
I have to say, I was really quite pleased with the accommodation. It is basic, think it is 2 star but we were hardly there. A big bonus was that park tickets were included for 4 days (we stayed 3 nights) and the HUGE plus was that you got to go into the disneyland park 2 hours before the general public. You can get so much done in those 2 hours before it gets mad. Not all areas of the park are open then but most of the stuff for the little ones was.
The accommodation was very basic, but everything we needed. It had a decent size lounge with a sofa bed, small kitchen area with tiny hob and microwave (no oven) and a kettle etc. There was one bedroom with a double bed and bunk beds. You can (I think) also get a cot if you request it.
There were 2 adults, two (stroppy) teenagers, a 2.8 year old and a 5 month old and it was fine for us.
Breakfast was included which was a bag of croissants, french bread, jam, nutella etc together with OJ, coffee and sugar and milk which you collect every morning from the rangers hut. The kids quite liked that.
There is a nice pool there which we didn't use and a childrens play area, shop, pub, restaurant etc (alhough restaurant was very expensive) we took some disposable BBQs and bought some burgers and sausages from the shop and cooked outside everynight.
Down by the shops was an area where disney characters appeared for photo opportunities and it wasn't the usual bunfight to get near them as it is in the parks.
I'd recommend you having a look at it.
Thanks again everyone! Davy Crockett does sound good mumoverseas - but we are not planning to drive so I don't think it would be right for us. We're from Newcastle area, so driving would take ages and be a bit of a nightmare with four small children. Our plans at the moment are to get the train to Kings Cross and then go by Eurostar.
After reading all of your helpful comments our decision has boiled down to either four nights at the Explorers for £670 OR four nights at the Newport bay on the admiral floor for around £1350. The Newport Bay would give us the advantages of being able to walk rather than use the shuttle bus (which I've heard can be crowded)and the extra 2 hours in the park before the general public arrive. I also suspect the accomodation would be a bit nicer (??) and there'd be the Disney characters in the foyer etc...
Any comments on whether these advantages are worth paying double the price??
Freddo, if you're booking the Explorers hotel yourself it may not include park passes so factor this in. A 3 day pass is the best value for money. If you are booking a package, it will be. HTH
Thanks MissSunny - Explorers I think it is as we're planning to go in March Mon-Fri in schooltime!
Yes, I'm booking from the Disney site - it doesn't seem to be letting me book half board options with the Explorers though (any known reason for this or is it just a computer glitch?)
Thank you again everyone!
sorry to barge on but this thread has been FAB for us as am also considering going
can I just ask though if it is bloody freezing/wet in feb?!
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