Acommodation at Disneyland

Let’s face it – we all need to have a roof over our head when we’re visiting Disneyland and someplace to dump all of our souvenirs and merchandise after a long day at the parks. Which hotel you should pick depends on the size of your budget, how many that are travelling and on how much you’d like to immense yourself in the Disney experience. On Disneyland Paris own website you’re going to be given two different options for hotel experiences – either official hotels or partnering ones. There are no real difference in price between them if you book well in advance, the only difference is the quality in the hotel and whether or not it’s a Disney hotel.

Official hotels

The official Disneyland Paris hotels are directly connected to the theme parks and are all Disney themed. All the staff at these hotels are cast members and you’re going to find characters here! Disney hotels offer VIP treatments to the parks, like VIP fastpasses and exclusive meet and greets with the Disney characters. The prices are not more expensive than the partner hotels, unless you go full out with the most expensive hotel at the 5 star Disneyland Hotel. It’s only these hotels that’ll give you Extra Magic Hours and that’ll be part of Disney Holiday Packages. In my opinion you should be staying at one of the official hotels, since you’re in for an experience and in order to enjoy it fully, it’s my recommendation that you book an official hotel. The perks of getting all the ups of Disney will outweigh all your attempts of saving. You’re going to save more money on getting a package deal at an official hotel than you will at a partnering hotel, trust me. All the official hotels, except for Davy Crocket Range, is within 5-20 minute walk from the parks and they offer free shuttles all day long. At the moment the official are, in order of how many stars they’ve got:

  1. Disneyland Hotel (5*)
  2. Hotel New York (4*)
  3. Newport Bay Hotel (4*)
  4. Sequoia Lodge (3*)
  5. Hotel Cheyenne (2*)
  6. Santa Fé (2*)
  7. Davy Crockett range (no stars available)

Partnering hotels

They’re just like the official hotels, except for the fact that they’re not associated with Disney and are owned by different chains or private persons. Partnering hotels don’t offer any of the perks you get from the official hotels, but most of them do provide free shuttle bus to and from the parks. The hotels aren’t Disney themed whatsoever and there are not Disney character meet and greets or character dining. A good thing to remember is that these hotels are often in the middle of nowhere and, unlike with the official hotels which are onsite, you’re not able to walk to the parks from the hotels – you’re bound by bus or car. Like I’ve said, the prices aren’t necessarily lower at the partnering hotels and might not have the amenities that the official hotels will provide. Should you decide to book a room at one of the hotels that Disneyland Paris recommends, it’s worth to compare prices that are on the Disneyland website to the ones that are on the hotel’s own, official website, since you might be able to get a better deal through them. One thing to remember is the Package Holiday deals on the Disneyland website often requires you to book a room at an official hotel, and not at a partnering hotel, in order to get the deal. So, in fact, staying at a partnering hotel could actually end up costing you more money than it saves.

Tips

  • When you book the official hotels, always book them through the Disneyland official website in order to get the best prices.
  • Evaluate what the needs of you and your family or group of friends have and what size your group is, before you book. One hotel might be wrong for you if you’ve got a large group travel and the hotel don’t offer the room type you need, or connecting rooms. Booking two rooms might be necessary, but could be avoided with some research.
  • Phone up the hotel in question when you run into a problem and see how they can solve, for example with connecting rooms, or if your family is big. Disneyland is famous for being very accommodating on their official hotels and will work hard to try to find a suitable solution for you.
  • Breakfast is generally not included in price of a standard room, so getting a meal plan might be to your advantage – it’s possible to get a breakfast meal plan.
  • Don’t book Davy Crockett Range unless you’ve got a car, since they don’t offer shuttle bus to and from the park.
  • The earlier you book the hotel, the better the price is going to be.
  • Book your hotel as part of a package holiday, it’s going to save you a bit more than if you just book the hotel by itself.

There is more to come on the accommodation front, I’m working on a couple of posts about the hotels themselves too, just to give a presentation and what sort of amenities they offer at the moment.

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Tickets to Disneyland Paris pt. 2

With the Annual Passes discussed already it’s now time to discuss how you can save on tickets to Disneyland Paris, and how and where to get your tickets at the best price possible. Bad planning and not doing your research properly is going to lead to paying too much and be lured into buying tickets that on the surface appears to be priceworthy, but after doing the actual math comes out at a way higher cost and that you could have gotten them far cheaper someplace else.

1 day: 88€/80€ (Adult//child)

2 days: 139€/126€

3 days: 169€/156€

4 days: 209€/189€

Just look at those prices! And there are plenty of people who line up each and every day to purchase their tickets at these prices, people who, with a little bit of planning, could have saved a small fortune on tickets that could be spent on food, souvenirs or making memories inside the parks. Imagine that you’re a family of five people – 2 adults and 3 children – who are going to spend 4 days at the park, and are buying tickets at the gates. That’s going to amount to a staggering 985€! That’s almost 1000€, for an average sized family. Luckily, there’re a couple of ways to get this number down just a bit, leaving you with a bit of money in your bank account instead of theirs. I’m going to stick to a family of 5, with two adults and three kids, when I count out the examples, just to give you an idea of how things work and then you can calculate your own ticket expenses from your own, personal circumstances.

Are there cheaper alternatives than the gates? We’re going to find out right now, starting with Disneyland’s latest form of tickets.

Special Tickets

A few years ago Disneyland Paris introduced 3 new types of tickets named Mini, Magic and Super Magic tickets – a really great deal and the greatest way of saving on tickets, in my opinion. Naturally, you’re only going to save money with careful planning and booking your tickets in advance. With these tickets you’re given the option of purchasing either tickets for 1 park or both parks, and it’s worth noting that the Mini, Magic and Super Magic tickets only come as day tickets – but that’s of no concern, since you can still save a fair bit on the cost of entrance.

The cheapest option is the Mini ticket which will only be valid on weekdays and on certain dates. At the moment the going rate are;

1 day/1 park: 53€/48€ (Adult/Child)

1 day/2 parks: 73€/68€

Sure, these tickets are a fantastic way of saving, but only if you’re staying 3 days and purchase the 1 day/1 park tickets. On the fourth day, it becomes cheaper to purchase the four day ticket from the gates. For a family of 5, again with 2 adults and 3 children, the prices for Mini tickets are as follows:

DAYS GATES 1 DAY/2 PARKS 1 DAY/1 PARK

 

1 416€ 350€ 250€
2 656€ 700€ 500€
3 806€ 1050€ 750€
4 985€ 1400€ 1000€

 

Per adult it’s going to be:

DAYS GATES 1 DAY/2 PARKS 1 DAY/1 PARK
1 88€ 73€ 53€
2 139€ 146€ 106€
3 169€ 219€ 159€
4 209€ 292€ 212€

 

Per child it’s going to be:

DAYS

 

GATES 1 DAY/2 PARKS 1 DAY/1 PARK
1 80€ 68€ 48€
2 126€ 136€ 96€
3 156€ 204€ 144€
4 189€ 272€ 192€

 

As you’ve noted, and me too, it only pays to get the 1 day/1 park ticket for 3 days until it becomes cheaper to just get 4 days at the gate. When I first saw the mini tickets I really thought that it would pay in the long run, but apparently it only goes so far, proving that you should always do the math before actually making a purchase. Asking yourself the question: “will this actually save me any money?” is a very valid one, especially when something claims to be cheaper than at the gate. In this case, it only goes so far, but is perfect for a three day stay at the park, with two days at one park and one day at the other or three days in one park.

Next we’ve got the Magic ticket, a ticket that’s valid every day of the week except for holidays and special events. Magic tickets aren’t really that much cheaper in the long run, just like thee Mini ticket. In fact, magic tickets are only cheaper for a two day stay and that’s if you choose the 1 day/1 park option.

Per adult it’s going to be:

DAYS

 

1 DAY/1 PARK 1 PARK/2 PARKS
1 69€ 89€
2 138€ 178€
3 207€ 267€
4 276€ 356€

 

Per child it’s going to be;

DAYS

 

1 DAY/1 PARK 1 DAY/2 PARKS
1 63€ 83€
2 126€ 166€
3 189€ 249€
4 252€ 332€

 

As you see, the savings are smaller on this ticket and will only be useful for a 2 day stay on the 1 day/1 park option. Unlike the multiday tickets you purchase online, the Magic ticket isn’t valid every day either, which makes them a bad choice should you want to go to the parks for Christmas or the New Year.

The last “special ticket” is the Super Magic Ticket, which is valid on 365 days of the year – just like the regular tickets. Super magic tickets aren’t worth the money, since you can get cheaper tickets at the gates or simply buy the regular single or multiday tickets from Disneyland Paris own website.

Adult prices

DAYS 1 DAY/1 PARK 1 DAY/2 PARKS
1 79€ 99€
2 158€ 198€
3 237€ 297€
4 316€ 396€

 

Children are:

DAYS 1 DAY/1 PARK 1 DAY/2 PARKS
1 72€ 92€
2 144€ 184€
3 216€ 276€
4 288€ 368€

 

You can see for yourself that the prices are much higher than even purchasing the tickets at the gates and not really in your favour at all. This only shows that it’s not always cheaper to purchase your tickets online and that it can be cheaper at the entrance.

Next time I’ll be dealing with whatever remains of the ticketing world that you’ll need to know about your Disneyland Paris tickets.

Tickets for Disneyland Paris pt. 1

Tickets to Disneyland Paris are going to be pricy, but there are, naturally, ways to get them cheaper – or even free! Disneyland offer a few different options for tickets and annual passes and I’ll try to list as many options as possible for you, but always check their website for the latest offers and the most updated prices (www.disneylandparis.co.uk). Just like with the posts about eating at Disneyland, this will be a series of blog posts – about 2 I think – since there’s a lot to cover in regards to tickets. In this first part I’ll be covering Annual Passes. I personally wish I had the time and money to burn on an annual pass, but alas, I don’t.

Annual passes

The purpose of selling annual passes is for the park to reward regulars and help them save money, and to get more people to the park. Annual passes will give you a number of days to visit, along with a number of perks depending of what level you buy. I highly recommend purchasing annual passes, should you know that you’re going to come back within the year, even if it’s just once or twice. Tickets are expensive and you can save a great deal of money, by getting the cheapest, or the next cheapest one. Each annual pass is valid for both parks, which is great and is instantly a money saver.

A note!

It’s very worth checking what dates you’re going to the park, since it might actually be cheaper to buy an annual pass rather than actually buying tickets for specific dates. Let’s say that you’re going during weekdays at a time that’s not high season, it might actually be in your favour to purchase the Discovery annual pass for yourself and your family, or friends, rather than purchasing multiday tickets in advance, or at the gates. Otherwise, you’re not going to benefit from spending money on one, unless you plan on coming back within the next 365 days.

At the moment Disneyland Paris offers 4 different levels of annual passes and they’re perfect for those of you who’re Disney fans and want to go there often. When you buy annual passes, each pass is only valid for one person and each family member has to have his or her own pass to enter. Disneyland Paris does give a 20% discount if you purchase 5 or more like annual passes in one transaction, but they have to be the same and not, for example: 3 Infinity and 4 Discovery. When you purchase your annual pass, you’re going to be informed on when it’s valid and what perks are included in it.

Discovery

This is their cheapest option and the one with the fewest days of being valid – only 150 days. Prices might change, but a Discovery annual pass, at the time of publication, costs 139€. You’re only allowed to visit the park 150 days out of the year, only at weekdays and no major holidays like Christmas and the New Year. During peak times in the summer you might be extra restricted too. This is perfect for those of you who don’t have children or have young children, in kindergarten and therefore aren’t bound to school holidays or long weekends to get to the parks. Discovery doesn’t include any perks, other than entry on the 150 available days and cheaper parking if you’re visiting for the day. The Disney hotels all include free valet parking.

Magic Flex

Next we have the Magic Flex, with 300 days that are valid. On this level you’re getting most weekends, but not holidays like Halloween, Christmas and the New Year holiday. This one comes in at 189€ and comes with perks like free parking at the park – a great saving, since parking will set you back at least 20€/day if you take the car to and from the park. If you’re travelling with kids and will do so on multiple occasions during the year, this will most likely be the best option for you and your family.

Magic Plus

Priced at 249€, at least for the moment. This is when the savings start to really roll in. Magic Plus is the second highest level of pass there is right now and you’re going to get, for example:

  • Free strollers
  • Rebate on day tickets
  • Extra magic hours
  • Free parking

With this pass you’re also getting 350 days at the park, so almost the whole year, and I don’t even recommend visiting the park during the holidays anyway due to the sheer amount of people who’ll go there. Should you be a dedicated fan of Walt Disney and live a reasonable travel distance from the parks – then this will probably be a good pass for you.

Infinity

The annual passes that surpasses all the others – the ultimate card for Disney fans out there! For 399€ you’re sure to get all the perks that there is:

  • Free parking
  • Rebate on Character Dining
  • VIP seats for the parade

And a lot more! From a savings point of view it’s not really worth it to get it for your entire family, unless you’re planning to come to the park several times per year. It does, however, offer a great, lower price on day tickets for both parks that you can purchase for your family and friends. Getting one can be a fantastic treat for a loved one, or yourself, if you’re a big Disney Fan – but not really a way to save money on one single trip.

My recommendation is to at least have a look at the prices and complete list of perks which they offer before you book your holiday package to Disneyland. Depending on what sort of offers you find, you might want to supplement it with Discovery or Magic Flex annual passes for you and your travel company. However, you do usually get great deals on entrance and park tickets anyway, so it may not be to your advantage to get one.

Eating at Disneyland Paris pt. 3

This will, probably, be the last blog post about eating at Disneyland Paris and will contain miscellaneous information and general tips and tricks for your journey, such as advice about food allergies, how food works at Davy Crockett Range and character dining.

General tips and tricks

  • Disneyland Paris does allow their guests to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages with them to the park, but what they don’t allow is those large cooler bags where you store food in. You may bring food in your backpack and have a picnic for lunch inside the park, as long as it’s not in a large group, so my advice would be to have a picnic just outside the main entrance or by the lake in the Disney Village. Find yourself a spot on a bench and eat away, and remember to throw away the rubbish in the bins once you’re done.
  • If money is tight on food, there’s a McDonald’s in the Disney Village, along with a Vapiano and a Five Guys, where you’ll able to spend less money for more food than you would inside the park. Generally, the restaurants, even the Disney ones, outside of the park, are a bit better priced than the ones inside. The portions are also a bit larger and filling too.
  • There are no supermarkets within walking distance of Disneyland Paris, it’s a train station away, and the ones that are close are accessible by car. This is rather unfortunate, since a supermarket could really help you keep your food costs down. But then again, it would be a shame not to try some of the food at the parks, since it’s pretty tasty – but really pricy.
  • France has a law against refillable drinks, so you can’t get unlimited cups at restaurants, the only exception, for some reason, being Five Guys at Disneyland Paris. The price is slightly higher for sodas at their restaurants to compensate for that and their menu board clearly states that refills are included in the price.
  • Breakfast isn’t included in the price as a standard on regular rooms, but they are include when you book superior rooms or suites.

Saving at the restaurants

  • When you’re at a table service restaurant – ask for a set menu to save money. The general rule is that a set menu will be a bit cheaper than buying each dish separately. Restaurants will usually have a set children’s menu too, as well as adult menus.
  • At fast food restaurants it’s best to get a menu too, for the same reason as above – it’s on the whole cheaper to get a menu consisting of a main, side and a drink, like a hamburger, side salad or French fries, and a soft drink.
  • Go out from the park and eat lunch or dinner at McDonald’s – which is your cheapest option and they do have a couple of vegetarian alternatives too.
  • At counter service restaurants, or even at table service places, sharing a plate or two of French fries amongst yourselves is a great way to save money, especially if you’re a family with young children who might not eat a full portion of French fries by themselves. Sharing two sides instead of purchasing 5, one for each member of your group/family, will save you about 10€. Even if you get three sides, you’ll still save a bit of money.

Davy Crockett Range

Davy Crockett Range is a bit special as a hotel, it’s not even a hotel – it’s a series of cabins. The way they offer food is also a bit different. Davy Crockett don’t have a breakfast restaurant, instead you’ll receive your breakfast in a basket and you’re expected to cook it yourself at the cabin you’ve booked. Naturally the cabins are equipped with a kitchens and cooking it depends on your skills. Dinner can’t be eaten at their tavern either at the moment, since they’re renovating it. From 8.1 2018 to 31.7 2018 their tavern will be refurbished and not available to the guests, but they do offer alternatives for dinner.

Character dining

Character dining at all the Disneylands and Disney Worlds is one of the most popular forms of dining and the restaurants that offer it books up faster than lightning. Character dining is a meal, either breakfast, lunch or dinner, where you’ll eat your meal and is visited by various Disney characters during the meal, who cruises from table to table to interact with the diners and allow them to have their picture taken with them, or get an autograph.

A few of the hotels serves breakfast where Disney characters and princesses will attend, all of them are official hotels: Disneyland Hotel (5*) and Hotel New York (4*) are two examples. Drop your hotel a phone call, or check the Disneyland Paris website, to see what hotels offers character breakfasts. The breakfasts can be booked up to three (3) days before your arrival, so put in a reminder in your calendar or on your phone to get in on this meal, if you’re interested. For lunch meet and greets with princesses, Auberge de Cendrillon is the place you want to book a table at. They serve fine French cuisine and is well worth a visit! For a random mix of Disney characters at lunch time it’s the Disneyland Hotel, which overlays the main entrance, that’s the place for you. When you want to meet Disney characters for dinner, instead of lunch, you’re going to find them at Mickey’s Café. Mickey’s Café has a nice Italian menu and is a table service restaurant, unlike the lunch at the Disneyland Hotel which is a buffet with dishes from all over the world.

Character dining is primarily aimed at children, but adults attending without children are most welcome too. I’ve been to the character dining at Mickey’s Café and I thought it was nice, plus the cast members appeared to be used to adult Disney fans. They’ve seen it, so don’t feel ashamed or too old to choose this as an option for one off your meals, it’s perfectly okay! See it as a fun meal that’s part of your overall Disney experience and go with the flow. Remember that this option costs a bit more than a regular meal, unless you’re on the Premium meal plan – then it’s included in the price. You do need to be early to book this, again to avoid disappointment at the park. Call the Restaurant Reservations on +33 1 60 30 40 50 to make your booking. Should you forget it and not remember it until you’re actually already at the park, head over to your concierge or receptionist as soon as possible to assure a chance of snagging a table for yourself and your family and/or friends.

Now you, hopefully, know a bit more about how dining at Disneyland Paris works and what your alternatives are. Sometime in the future I’m going to write a post where I introduce all the restaurants and fast food places and tell a bit more about what they serve and what their prices are.

Guide to Disneyland Paris

I’ve genuinely fallen in love with Disneyland Paris after visiting it last year, but I was a beginner and afterwards I wished I had known more than I do now about the parks and how they work. If I had then I would’ve got more out of my holiday than I did. Therefore, I decided to write a few posts with tips, tricks and advice to how you can make your stay as magical as possible for you and your whole family, or group of friends.

In this series I’ll be posting about; how to travel there, hotels, eating, the parade and so much more, so stay tuned. The website can be quite confusing, especially if you’re new to it and don’t know how to work it to your favour. I will only touch on topics, so if you’ve got further questions – contact Disneyland via their website or on Twitter, they’re usually very responsive to future guests’ questions.

Disneyland Paris is truly a magical place and definitely worth a visit, no matter if you’re going there alone, with friends or with your family. In my opinion you never become too old to love Disney and even adults can have loads of fun at the parks.

So, please stay tuned – next week there’ll be a new post!