Can’t avoid it any longer – Disneyland Paris

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  • Can’t avoid it any longer – Disneyland Paris
  • Premier Icon timmys
    Subscriber

    I’ve put it off so far but looks as though next year will be the year I can’t hold out any longer and will be making the pilgrimage to Disney Paris with the kids (will be approaching 4 & 7 when we go).

    We’d travel via Eurostar as St Pancras is dead easy for us to get to. My wife has looked into it a bit and informs me that prices for the whole shebang (trains/hotels/entry) looked best though the eurostar site (via MagicBreaks). Current offer (for May) is “Early bird – 15% off & Free Hotel Breakfast & 100€ Gift Card”. Is it worth holding out for Black Friday or anything like that? Offer codes? Other places to look for packages?

    Veterans please help me!

    The options would be either Feb or May half terms. Feb looks about 20% cheaper but is it too risky weather wise? Is it a grim experience if it’s freezing cold? I assume queues will be less in Feb or are all half-terms created equal?

    Consensus seems to be the on-site hotels are worth it as you get extra hours in the park (having done similar as Legoland this year I can see the attraction). Santa Fe (2*) seems to be considerably less wallet stripping than others (though in Feb actually Sequoia Lodge (3*) looks similar)

    Food? Is the half-board which offers breakfast plus either lunch or dinner at “one of 5 buffets” a good option?

    Wait for their Primary School to do a trip when they are in year 6! 🙂

    Premier Icon Rich_s
    Subscriber

    We did it in march with 8/6/3 y/o. Stayed at Newport Bay half board flex. Inc flights from Manchester it was around 2600 for 4 days. We got lucky as easter was 1 week earlier for us. Saved us about 1800 quid! It’ll be cold in February too. March was lovely – just right if a bit chilly from time to time.

    If/when we go again we’d do the Disney Hotel which was +400. Worth it due to the location as it saves you 15mins walk each way with knackered kids.

    Food is mostly crap. Disney is a monstrous machine designed to extract cash from you! I had a “steak” priced at 40 euro (included in our deal) and the cut was… skirt!

    We found that the McDs was actually pretty reliable and good and cheap. Planet Hollywood was dreadful.

    You can book restaurants online if you use the .nl site and let Google auto translate. Saves phonecalls.

    And FWIW Disney is a dreadful capitalist money making shitstorm of awfulness. But you’ll love it because of the look on the kids’ faces. And plan to go back 😉

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    We’ve been twice (last visit in Mar/Apr 2014 and to Walt Disney World in Orlando twice too.

    My tips/experiences:

    1) Relax, don’t fight it.

    2) Take snacks with you and “steal” fruit etc from the Breakfast Buffet for later in the day.

    3) We stayed at Newport Bay one year and Hotel Cheyenne the other.  Newport Bay was nicer and if you get a preferential room you get a special faster queue for breakfast.  This is a very good thing as it’s a scrum.

    4) McDonalds was cheap, Earl of Sandwich was also cheap and better.

    5) Worth considering a Character breakfast, definitely not cheap but your kids will adore it.

    6) Prepare for inevitable “Apparently WDW is supposed to be even better” conversation shortly thereafter and further spending.

    7) Have a plan https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/Disneyland-Paris-c-59.html has lots of useful info

    8) It’s OK in the cold, actually quite nice, just take all the feeces and down clothing.  Can be a bit rubbish in the wet.

    Premier Icon akira
    Subscriber

    We stayed in some Disney lodges, think it was Davey Crockett? Shuttle bus to Disneyland but meant we had kitchen so could do breakfast and dinner at home and avoid dreadful food.

    Premier Icon dknwhy
    Subscriber

    We did it and stayed in Santa Fe this year.

    You’ll be so tired that you won’t really care where you stay. Food was adequate but better buffet than most UK buffets.

    Download the app to check queuing times. Make sure that you get FastPass included in your deal.

    We went in Feb half term and it was around £1500 for us inc fastpass and meals (not lunch) but we drove from south London parked.

    Travelling by Eurostar means you’ll lose a morning and afternoon in the park I think. By driving, we arrived the night before and stayed in a local hotel 40 mins away so could get to the park first thing in the morning, drop bags at the hotel and heat straight into the park.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    just take all the feeces

    is that strictly necessary?

    A plan is a good idea, it removes fomo stress.  Other than that it is fabulous once  you just give in to it.  It’s fine in the wet, it’s quieter and calmer which is nice.  On-site (well slightly off site) hotels are fine but the extra 2 hours doesn’t necessarily get you on everything as our experience was that they are starting up rides during that period so it’s not all running

    enjoy though 🙂

    Premier Icon Mary Hinge
    Subscriber

    Timely.

    Looks like we will be funding something similar next year…but thankfully us grampies wont be going 🙂

    We stayed in some Disney lodges, think it was Davey Crockett?

    Another vote for this. We drove over and stayed there, it is only 5 minutes from the park. The ranch place was nice, relaxing and waaay cheaper. The supplied breakfasts were huge and included loads of baguettes which we then took in for lunch. We then had a meal plan ticket thing for the evening.

    I thought Disney was great. We were first in and last out every day. Kids adored it.

    natrix
    Member

    We went May half term which was good as the French kids weren’t on holiday. Took our own food in as the food inside is outrageously expensive. Well worth staying for the fireworks (finished about midnight), but it is a long day for the little ones compared to Legoland etc.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Few years since we went, but Santa Fe was basic but adequate, not too far to walk in to the park. 3 days was more than enough.

    If the kids are up early, get into the park early, maybe retreat to the hotel for a nap during the day, and then head back later in the afternoon.

    I remember the buffet breakfast being an international scrum, but we used it to make up ham and cheese rolls for lunch.

    Easy to be sniffy about it and find reasons to hate it, but if you relax and go with the flow it’s a great, if expensive experience with kids.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    on-site hotels are worth it as you get extra hours in the park

    I remember the park being open but most rides being closed, and none of the big rides were turned on.

    I’ve been twice. Stayed about ten miles away the first time, booked tickets directly and collected them on the day. That was cheaper at the time. Also meant we could stop where we wanted on the way. Last time, about 9 years ago, I went on a work ‘family coach trip’ which was more expensive than if we’d done it independently and I had to put up with inebriated colleagues. One had a disciplinary meeting about her conduct later. 🙄

    I enjoyed both times despite expecting to hate it. The constant jingly music though..

    Premier Icon xraymtb
    Subscriber

    Never been to Paris but have done WDW in Orlando.

    Some of the best advice above is to relax, dont stress about it once you are there, and have a plan – but we willing to change it on the fly!

    Character breakfasts are great for the kids. Some restaurants if you time it right you get breakfast but it changes to lunch whilst you are there so you can sample both! Food otherwise is very expensive and average at best.

    Never used a Disney hotel as the extra hours sound good but we found after a full day the idea of staying for another 2 hours didnt get a great reception!! Its a bit different in Orlando though as there are loads of villas with pools and things that work out a lot cheaper – not sure if Paris would be similar.

    johndoh
    Member

    Go to the Disney restaurant OUTSIDE the main gates (opposite the Rainforest Cafe) for cheaper food. And tell them it’s one of the kids’ birthday so all the characters come out and sing for them 😉

    And if you have any disability badge holders make sure you plan in advance to get queue jumper tickets (and free entrance for helpers etc)

    Premier Icon timmys
    Subscriber

    Thanks all – plenty to digest there!

    qwerty
    Member

    Pretty sure my wife used Tesco vouchers to buy the tickets & brought a queue jump pass too (but coulda bin Lego land).

    ads678
    Member

    We had a day there a couple of years ago as we were driving past Paris on the way back from the Pyrenees. We just stopped in a B&B hotel about half an hour away and drove there in the morning.

    That was enough for me though, never again. Fortunately my kids, 11 & 9, don’t seem bothered anymore. I just don’t get how people can spend any longer than a day or two there.

    globalti
    Member

    Legoland in Windsor is just as much fun but closer and cheaper.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Well, I could bore you with a list of things I’d rather do than return to the ‘most unhappiest place on earth’ but you’re doomed so why fight it.

    There are ‘Partner Hotels’ that are a short shuttle away from the park, they cost about half as much as the Disney ones. They’re all done up like Toys Boxes, but importantly don’t actually feature Disney characters. They’re all on a B&B basis, don’t bother with Star Ratings, they’re a measure of facilities, not quality and you won’t be doing much there other than sleeping, Disney is graft and you’ll be knackered by the end of it.

    Never underestimate the desire of Disney to separate you from your hard-earned. The Park is big, but not vast like the US ones, it’s separated into ‘themes’ so every ride is set in it’s own area of matching theme, in real terms it’s a fairground ride surrounded by 4 shops and 4 cafes (at a minimum). ‘Main Street’ looks a bit like you might imagine New Orleans is, but again, whilst they all look different all the buildings are just a false front for another large shopping area behind. I would guess shops and cafes outnumber rides 12/1 lots of people will no doubt tell you all sorts of wild, exaggerated prices, you’ll discover, if anything, they were under playing it. £45 for a stuff toy, easy, £30 for a small pizza for one, oh yeah.

    If you strip away the ‘Disney Magic’ of the place, it’s maybe a dozen big rides you’ve heard of separated from you by a long queue, there are lessor rides often with shorter queues, but they’re rides you’ve been on before that have been Disneyfied. Some, like ‘Tower of Terror’and ‘Phantom House’ have enough going on to make it tolerable, Phantom House for example had ‘ride’ element built into the queue and is pretty good, some like ‘Rock and Roller Coaster’ are just long roped queues.

    They offer an E-Queue type thing, which sort of allows you to queue for one ride virtually whilst you queue for another in person, but you don’t just walk on them, it’s still a queue, just shorter.

    In reality, if you really work at it, based on the times I’ve been you might get on 8 rides in a long day, that’s ‘getting lucky’ with a few 15 or 30 min queues and sucking up a few 60-90 min queues. That’s not Hyperbole, the little ‘clocks’ that show approx queuing times are optimistic by about 50% in my experience so 30 mins will be 45, 60 will be 90 etc. Your Britishness will be tested to the absolute limit as endless surly teenagers from across europoe will simply grunt as they psuh past you in the queue, or just hope the barriers, Disney won’t do anything about it because they don’t employ anyone who isn’t there to take money or look like a cartoon.

    After a long day, if you can stomach it, there’s a short parade and day time fireworks display (in summer at least) you can hear them, if not see them. You’ll return back to your £250 a night room after spending £100 on lunch, £100 on cuddly toys and think “do I want to spend another £100 on more beige carbs and fat for dinner, or drive through the suburbs of Paris to find, well McDs really and you’ll be so tired you’ll say “**** it” and another weeks worth of shopping will fall out of your wallet for a crap meal eaten in bed”.

    Apparently my Wife thinks we need to go again soon as our Daughter (5) will love it, I know she’ll hate it, she’s not very ‘Disney’ and she’s far less patient than even me. We like Folly Farm, it’s an 90 min drive away, there are real animals to look at and the ‘rides’ never have queues. The food is okay and I can go there, have a nice, relatively relaxing day and eat for the cost of a meal for 3 in Disney.

    canny1
    Member

    Dont go in school holidays if you can possibly avoid it, so busy.
    We have been 3 times, driven each time, first two before the twins started school. Went cheapest times, best was late November all the Xmas stuff was up, and it did actually snow a bit. Wrapped up warm it was fine Queues manageable 10-15mins but try to avoid Fridays/ W/e’s, definatly gets busier than Mon Tues etc.
    Staying in Disney Hotels is expensive but you can get deals that include fast passes and transferable meal passes to use against booked character dining and breakfast in the Park.
    Sequoia Lodge Golden Forest rooms were good as got own quieter breakfast dining area and free soft drinks all stay (liberated loads to take with us during the day) and afternoon cake available if you made it back. Obviously you are wasting time not being in the park but we needed down time.

    We have stayed outside the park and got the shuttle in but it does add 20mins or so each way and is a nightmare to get back if you have stayed for the fireworks etc then thousands of people try to get on the shuttles around the same time

    Make sure you do a deal with the mrs to let you nip off and ride the fast ones (single rider queue’s) esp at the end of the day in lead up to 10pm fireworks. No queues on Space mountain from 9:15ish onwards, got about 4 rides in, with no queue.
    We never managed to get ourselves up and out for Extra hours though, up too late previous day/night. We always had the double buggy as a portable storage unit, clothes, food and as a means to rush them round the park whilst they rest. Another advantage of driving is you can take loads of food/snacks etc with you.
    Luckily the spell has been broken for the Mrs by our last visit, it was Easter hols and was just so busy 1.5 hrs wait for rides, even close to 30 mins with fast passes.
    She’s now talking about the Florida version!

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    She’s now talking about the Florida version!

    Told you!

    canny1
    Member

    oh and the Mrs and her googling powers always ended up with us booking on the German Disney site .de
    They always seemed cheaper. Spoke to us in German at reception on arrival but then no problems

    Legoland in Windsor is just as much fun but closer and cheaper

    So so very wrong.

    P-Jay
    Member

    She’s now talking about the Florida version!

    TBh when I looked a few months ago a Fly/Drive deal with Virgin was ballpark with a week in some horrible Costa resort in Spain.

    The park tickets are eyewatering, mostly it seems because they think you’ll want to spend a week in the park without doing anything else in Florida.

    Disney seems very complex now, it’s not 1 park, but half a dozen, I don’t know if they’re at the same site or multiples or how the tickets work, I expect that’s done on purpose. Seems you want £400 per person, per week for tickets. According to my NYC living SIL anything in America involving queuing needs a fastpass, they’d do anything to avoid mixing with, or appearing to be poor people so the ‘cheap lanes’ are purposely terrible.

    I went when I was a kid, Disney World was great, far bigger (it seemed) than Euro Disney, but Universal was far better than both, but I was 14 and loved films far more than I loved Disney.

    When I went it was at the height of the car-jacking epidemic and it was pretty easy to end up in ‘the Hood’ by mistake, we were told by anyone whom we came into contact with the “stay the hell out of Miami” the era of the Cocaine Cowboy was coming to an end by then, but it was still a bit wild west, but instead of Cowboys with 6 shooters, it was coked up Colombians with Uzis. I supposed you’ve only got to worry about being shot by the Police now, best to look white I guess.

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    According to my NYC living SIL anything in America involving queuing needs a fastpass, they’d do anything to avoid mixing with, or appearing to be poor people so the ‘cheap lanes’ are purposely terrible.

    Not really, you can book 3 fastpasses per day of your visit either 30 or 60 (if you are staying on-site) days before your first day in the park.  You can then book more passes after you use those 3.  It can all be done on the app.

    Generally you can queue up for lesser rides between your fastpasses.  Plenty of rides aren’t on daft long queues.

    I went when I was a kid, Disney World was great, far bigger (it seemed) than Euro Disney, but Universal was far better than both, but I was 14 and loved films far more than I loved Disney.

    It s much bigger, the 2 Paris parks are roughly equivalent to one Orlando park.  There are 4 Orlando dsney parks plus 2 water parks.

    Dunno about Universal yet, we’re going in February, it looks great but different to Disney.

    shooterman
    Member

    When we went there was an arrangement where on site hotel guests could get into the park before other visitors. We stayed at the Newport Bay.

    We would get up and go straight to the park and have breakfast there. This meant we could go on the busiest attractions before the main crowd came in. We would go back to the room early afternoon and have a nap then head back in to the park for the late afternoon / evening parade. We would have dinner in there.

    Upside was that we could access the most popular rides without too much waiting. It did make our half board poor value for money though. Gorgeous breakfasts available in the hotel which we missed and had to take a croissant and a coffee in one of the park cafes. Same applied to evening meals – hotel food was excellent but we had to make do with the in park restaurants. We regularly had to top up the vouchers we had for half board with cash to get a decent meal.

    Buses run from all the hotels to the park regularly throughout the day.

    With the age of your kids the small world ride would be magical. One of my best memories of the kids being small.

    Wow. This thread is an eye opener. The way you people describe it it sounds like hell on earth. And 2400 for four days…… You could get a family ski holiday for that.

    Whenever we went to Fontainebleau when the kids were between 4 and nine I kept thinking we ought to do a day at Disney. Luckily the wife wasn’t keen, so we never did.

    Sorry, I realise I’m adding absolutely nothing to the thread

    ads678
    Member

    Is there any way of sending the kids without me having to go? E.g. could we just hoy them over the wall with a note pinned to them saying “once captured call this number”?

    craig_w
    Member

    Hey, just to try and give another hopefully balanced opinon, we went for the first time this year with a 4 and 2 year old and it was fantastic! The whole family enjoyed it 🙂 A couple of things though, we went on medium/low season (kids not yet at school) and did 3 and 1/2 days so could take it steady. My tips would be:

    1. Take a pram/buggy if you can (we drove) – the kids will collapse at some point and carrying them will be a pain. It also acts as a great storage for:

    2. As mentioned above, take loads of small snacks (pombears, harribo etc that will cost you nothing but save you a fortune)

    3. Stay on park in the best you can afford. Again we were off season so got a good deal and stayed compass club at Newport bay. You get the extra hour in the morning (gates open at 8am and rides at 8.30) We made the effort every morning and by lunch had done most of what we wanted to do most days.

    4. Try and get a good pre-paid food deal – it seems expensive up-front, but when you get there you realise its not too bad at all. Because of our package we got the breakfast with characters for £30, it would of been £118 on the day!!

    5. Use the single person lanes (for parents nipping off to have a bit of fun) and don’t forget the parent swap passes – these are passes to jump the queues – if one of you goes on with one child you get a quick pass for another adult plus child, this can mean you get a lot less queueing if done right.

    There are a few good forums on line, trip advisor forum (search for DLP) is quite good. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, the only down side is the kids want to go back all the time!!

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Drive.

    The in park catering is woeful and if you have a car you can go to Val d’Europe (Traff-a like 3 miles away) where the food is better.

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