5 days in Disneyland Paris have come to an end. On one hand I am sad, we have had a fabulous time meeting Minnie and Mickey, Goofy, Eyeore, Tigger, Rapunzel, Snow White etc etc I am sure you get the idea.
On the other hand I am so completely exhausted I can’t wait to get home and flake out. If you have never been and you are thinking about it prepare to be more tired than you have ever been in your life and then double it. Your feet and legs will literally not feel like they belong to you, your back will ache but your children will be excited, delighted and completely subsumed by the whole Disney brand. Actually if I am honest so are the parents.
My husband and I have had several discussions about the whole trip and I thought I would share some things with those of you who are considering the trip but who are Disney ‘virgins’. I am not employed by Disney and these comments are purely my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of Disney.
We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel. It is a 3 star hotel. 4 nights and 5 days B&B for 3 adults and 1 child cost around £1300 (bearing in mind it is the first week of the summer holiday). We added the half board plus option for some £400 or so making a total cost of £1700 for a 5 day break. We drove to Disney as the Eurostar quote was for approx £1000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drive was very straight forward and only apptox 3 hours. The ferry cost £70 return to Dover although we incurred a £60 fee for arriving at Calais early and getting an earlier ferry. Still it was a lot cheaper than the train and less restricting time wise.
The hotel was completely fine. I don’t recommend reading the Trip Advisor comments as they consist of people moaning about how very expensive it is and how little you get for your money. Yes it is expensive but think of what you are doing. Disney is perhaps one of the biggest brands in the world. You are paying for the brand. The hotel is not 5 star but you are simply using it as a place to shower, sleep and eat. Does it need to be anything spectacular? There are daily meet and greets with Disney characters in the hotel with ample photo opportunities. There is no compulsion to buy the ‘official’ photo and you are very welcome to take your own photos, in fact several times the official photographer happily took pictures of us as a family with our own camera. You are paying for beautiful amazing memories. For many this kind of trip would be once in a lifetime. Ok including spending money a 5 day holiday has cost £3000 but I have beautiful pictures and memories of 2 children who quite simply have not stopped smiling.
Eating in Disney – I strongly recommend getting the half board plus option it will save you money. I also recommend booking your restaurants on arrival especially Cafe Mickey. They get booked up very quickly. I think there is an option to book online before you arrive but don’t quote me! You can check on the website. Expect to pay upwards of €30 per adult for a meal. A meal for us cost approx €120, we made considerable saving by getting half board plus. We highly recommend the Cafe Mickey experience. The kids loved eating their meal while meeting Disney characters. The characters were brilliant. They interacted really well with adults and children alike and posed for photos very happily.
Trip Advisor reviews mentioned the fact that breakfast was a bit like a scrum. This was not our experience. When you book in you are asked what time you would like breakfast. You get given cards for each of the days you are having breakfast and that’s it. You go down for breakfast, get shown to your table and it is a buffet style continental breakfast. Toast, croissants, pain au chocolate, 3 cereals, fruit, cheese, ham, yoghurts, coffee, tea and juice. You can pay for a cooked breakfast if you really want one!
The parks themselves
There are 2 parks. Disneyland and Walt Disney studios. We did 4 days in Disneyland and 1 in Walt Disney studios. Recommended rides are Tower of Terror, Rock and Roll Rollercoaster, both in Walt Disney Studios. In Disneyland park our youngest daughter loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and It’s a Small World. Space Mountain was awesome but broke down with my husband and eldest daughter on it so they had to walk from the highest point to the exit. The Dumbo ride and Rocket ride were ok and the Alice in Wonderland Maze entertained for a while.
The highlight for both girls was meeting a princess in the Princess Pavilion. This involves queuing for a reservation ticket which gives you a time to go to the Pavilion. You then queue again at your alloted time and finally meet 1 princess. You don’t get told who is there and it is pot luck who you get. The look on both my daughters faces as they walked round the corner to be greeted by Rapunzel was priceless and quite frankly made the expense worth it. If you have girls (and there were quite a few boys too) this HAS to be done.
A final word on queuing. Be prepared to queue. Be prepared for a variety of definitions on what ” to queue” actually is. There is nothing like a queue to bring out the indignant English in a person and boy did I get indignant. That said queuing is part of the experience too and there has been thought into the queuing experience. Most of the queues are covered protecting people from the sun. There are lots and lots of places to buy
drinks and also water fountains with drinking water available. Fast passes are available for some rides but we did not try this out.
Make sure you see the evening parade at 7 pm each day. We all enjoyed that a lot worth sitting on a kerb for hour to get a decent space.
Without fail every employee was smiling. There were polite, they engaged with the kids at every opportunity. The temperatures during our stay topped 38 degrees C and there were characters out meeting and greeting. They must have been so hot but they remained professional and did their job without any deterioration in quality of performance.
Would we go again? Oh yes definitely. Would we stay at the hotel again? Yes definitely. Go to Disney, immerse yourself in the magic, find your inner child again and have fun and make some amazing brilliant memories.