When we went to DLP at Easter we had been advised to consider buying an annual ticket due to the discounts etc. As it happened at the time we went Disney were doing a child's ticket free for each Adult one so we ended up with 4 Dream annual passes. The perks include: - Early Magic hours into the park regardless of where you are staying - 20% off toys, merchanise etc - 10% off food - free aperitif with meals (typically a kir or a fruit juice) - free luggage storage - free parking - free stroler rental - 15% off wild west show - 50% of Halloween party tickets - discounts of Disney hotels
Based on our family expenditure I would imagine most families would be better off buying just one annual pass between them say though I guess it depends on how long you are there.
The possible downside is by having annual passes you are tempted to go more than once. I just come back from a 3 day stay with 2 dc on the Eurostar and we paid £259 for train plus hotel (and obv park entry was free).
In terms of hotels too I have now stayed onsite at Santa Fe, at the Explorers hotel and most recently at at Premiere Class (think travelodge) at Bussy St George (2 train stops away on the RER). The dcs preferred the Exploreres hotel because of the pool and play areas. But in terms of ease of transport and time spent travelling abck and forth they were all much of a muchness. If anything the trip by RER was quicker than taking the bus out to Explorers. If money is no object then the Disney theming is nice but the hotels are huge. If you are on a budget then I would stay outside Disney and buy an annual pass in order to get in early and get the discounts (or if you are truly stretched then there are plenty of cheaper places to eat etc outside of Disney).