Talk to me about Euro Disney before we book

(56 Posts)
sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 08:29:06

We live in the North and would like to do a week in Euro Disney in the summer holidays. Sadly Florida is out of our budget but we want to give the dc the Disney experience at least once when they're little.

So, looking for hotel ideas, flying or train (ideally to get the most time at Disney), top tips and any good deals about.

I haven't been since it opened in 1992 so hope it's moved on a bit and worth the money smile

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 08:53:02

Ah no Disney fans about?? Should I post this in a more specific topic??

<<goes off to look at the topic list>>

Thewhingingdefective Tue 19-Feb-13 08:54:15

We went two summers ago with four children aged 1- 5. We took the car and went via the Eurotunnel, which was very quick. We stayed at the Davy Crockett Ranch and seven of us stayed in one cabin which was really roomy. You collect breakfast and take it back to your ranch - it's usually baguette, mini croissants, butter, Nutella, hot choc sachets etc.

The restaurant onsite is okay and reasonably priced and there is a pool. I thought it was a really good location to stay. The characters also make appearances and do photo sessions.

We only had three days in the park. It is looking a little tired and shabby in the main park now but is still good fun. The parades and fireworks were lovely. The Buzz Lightyear ride is awesome!

We didn't do any shows due to lack of time and we only visited the newer bit of the park (MGM studios) on our last day. Lots of new rides there and stuff from more recent films. Wish we'd done that bit first.

The food available in the park is crap - expensive fast food unless you go to a sit down restaurant. We ate from the street seller carts who do also sell fruit if you get sick of sweets and ice cream.

Our little twins who were just over a year old went on most rides with us. Queues were not too bad and this was August.

We are not the type of family to have a plan of attack when it comes to theme parks so I can't tell you stuff like 'go here first, do this next etc'. So not many useful top tips really, other than take some food with you. Oh, if you stay in Disney accommodation like we did you get an early pass so you can enter the park before it opens generally. Or, if you arrive at your accommodation in the afternoon, head straight to the park in the early evening. Lots of people leave then and queues are a lot shorter. There are fast track tickets from machines too if you want to jump to the front of long queues. It gives you a time slot to return to the ride.

Some of the rides are still open during the firework display so if you miss them earlier in the day you can catch them when others are watching the display (we did this with the Toy Story ride).

You can hire strollers (not sure if there is a charge) and lots of people did this. They all get parked up at the entrance to the rides.

Umm, can't think of anything else. For us it was a nice, relaxed few days and I think in a week you should have time to do/see lots.

Thewhingingdefective Tue 19-Feb-13 08:56:42

Ps, the travel section may be better for this.

Pps - I think our trip cost about £800 for the seven of us.

exiledmancityfan Tue 19-Feb-13 08:57:42

The train takes you directly to the park. It is a bit mad as its full of kids hyped up because they are going to disney.Don't take the car unless you are not staying on site, you won't need it. Book the prebooked meal vouchers it will save you a fortune and take good walking shoes and queue distraction toys.

GhostOfTheRobot Tue 19-Feb-13 09:05:13

I know 2 people who had pushchairs stolen at Euro Disney. Both stolen whilst on rides.
Staff confirmed that it was a regular occurance when they were told.
Take cheap & cheerful one just in case or hire as said up thread.

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 09:06:03

Thanks for the advice so far, was just about to post this in travel and then caught your replies grin

I went through a booking on the Thompsons website last night and it came up with £2300 to stay at a 3 star disney hotel and eurostar to Disney for 6 days (one day free). This included tickets but is a huge jump from £800. This was for 4 people (dc 3 and 5) in July.

thewhiningdefective who did you book through??

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 09:07:14

ghostoftherobot that's sad, thankfully 3 year old won't go in a buggy anymore.

momb Tue 19-Feb-13 09:12:54

We have been a few times, by car and by train.
I would definitely recommend going on the train, particularly if you are staying in Disney accomodation. They charge a little more for the disney express service but this means you check in on the train, drop your bags at the station and go straight into the park at lunchtime, so you get much more out of your first day; likewise you get a full day at the park on your last day and just collect your bags at the station before getting back on the train.

We have stayed at the Disneyland Hotel once which was fabulous and right next to the park (no shuttle bus required) with characters wandering the corridors, but was very expensive. Otherwise we have stayed at Hotel Santa Fe (the most basic hotel) and Cherokee (the next one up). The more basic hotels are clean but don't even have a kettle in the room, though you can hire one for a few euros, just remember to take your own tea bags and coffee as these are really expensive to buy at Reception.

Last time we were a group of eight aged between 7 and 70 (with bad feet and intermittent hired wheelchair use). We stayed for three nights/four days and did everything except one ride which kept breaking down as we got the front of the queue. We bought the half board vouchers and had a good late lunch on the park in one of the better restaurants using the vouchers which gave us all a break as we were doing a lot. Then as the park closed we wandered up to the village and bougth a sandwich before heading back to the hotel and falling asleep!

When the children were smaller we didn't do so many of the rides but spent more time enjoying the dragon under the castle, parades, meeting the characters etc. One of my best memories ever is when my eldest daughter met Mickey mouse aged 4; she really did have the expression of wonder that the children on the advert do. It really is lovely, albeit expensive, and your children won't see any of the shabby bits that we as adults notice.

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 09:29:37

momb thanks for so much information, tea & coffee tip greatly received. Sorry if I'm being stupid but do you check in on the Eurostar and go straight there or do you change trains???

Has anyone flown?? Only asking as we'd have to factor in long drive or extra train journey to get to the Eurostar.

trockodile Tue 19-Feb-13 09:30:12

I would recommend that you have a good read of some of the Disney forums, read through the travel reports etc and get a feel for the place. Look on the Dis/Dibb/Marne la vallee trip adviser forums and definitely do your homework!
We have been a few times and have stayed -depending on budget and offers- in the Disneyland Hotel, Newport Bay, Magic Circus(one of the partner hotels where you can get good deals on hotel only from expedia) and a cheapy French chain (very cheap from expedia!) if you decide against a Disney package you can buy annual passes cheaply from
www.ce-multiavantages.com/404/passeports-annuels-promos.html
You get one free pass for under 7s with each adult pass bought and they also give discounts depending on the pass.(restaurants/shops/free parking etc).
Going for a week in summer means that you can go early and take a break in the afternoon so I would advise getting a hotel with a pool. You can then return in the evening where they will hopefully still be running the Dreams 20th anniversary firework/laser show at park closing.
If you take a car it can save money by being able to stock up with drinks and snacks.

ByTheWay1 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:31:38

6 days is an awfully long time - Disney Paris is really more of a long weekend trip - which is why you are finding those prices! Davy Crockett turns out cheaper as you can cook and you need a car, so tend to go further afield - to the shopping malls and Paris for instance.

We went for 5 days to the Davy Crockett and that was long enough.... (£1200 in May) it was lovely, but gets repetitive.... We did 2 nights - in the Disneyland hotel which cost us £1000 (again in May) - on the way home from a cheap Eurocamp week, made the holiday special.. (thank goodness for inset days..)

July and August are expensive - May or October half term seem the best times to go crowd wise if you are tied to school hols.

trockodile Tue 19-Feb-13 09:32:10

www.dlrpmagic.com/planning/booking/annual-passports/
Gives information on annual pass usage/discounts etc.

ChiefOwl Tue 19-Feb-13 09:40:33

Go onto trip advisor and look for the Marne la vallee forum there are loads of experts on there who will help you with everything.

Don't even compare it to Florida there is no comparisons due to the difference in scale but it is Disney and the kids love it!

We have been once before, and are going back later this year. The train is fab(but we are in south so easy) as it takes you right there, may be cheaper to book with Eurostar and just use disney for hotel/tickets.

How old are your dc? You may want to consider just hiring a buggy there if you have any that don't normally use them at home. It is long days, lots of walking
And they are slightly higher than normal buggys so good for watching parades!

ChiefOwl Tue 19-Feb-13 09:43:00

Eurostar is direct there...

Just noticed you said 6 days, would think 4 days is more than enough (only two parks there) although if you go in uk summer holidays it will be very busy

6 days is way too long, you will all be so sick of Disney. We stayed 4 nights and wished we had only stayed 3 as we had done everything we wanted to after 3 days. Remember the train doesn't leave til 6 pm on your last day so you get a full day then. If we were going again I would book the most expensive hotel ( think it's called the Disney) and stay for just 2 nights. Every morning at breakfast there the characters come and join you. Kids love it and it saves a lot of heartache later as French children won't queue to meet the characters in the park (ds queued for ages to meet Captain Hook, got pushed in front of again and again, then Captain Hook left- very tearful boy). And it's right in the park so much less walking.
Top tip for lunch is to go early to the buzz lightyear pizza planet. At 11.30/11.45 it is empty, there's a lovely soft play area and Pizza Hut style pizza buffet. Not horribly expensive either.
Definitely hire a buggy or two. They are big (very like the Stokke high chairs in shape) so the 5 yr old can easily hop on for a ride. Much older kids are in them so your older dc won't feel babyish. Soooo much walking, you'll be pleased if you can let them sit. Dh ended up giving ds a lot of shoulder rides as we only took one buggy.

Oh and definitely try to book Monday to Wednesday. The park is absolutely heaving by Friday morning. We left Friday night but I bet Saturdays and Sundays are really grim.

HairyPotter Tue 19-Feb-13 09:58:29

We are in Scotland so have always flown. Usually into Cdg airport. The Disney shuttle takes you straight to the gates in around 45 mins but can be pretty busy. I haven't tried the high speed train but I hear it only takes around 15mins. No idea of price though.

I think 3 days would be the least amount of time you need. One day in each park and one more day to go back to do favourite rides or any shows you may have missed.

We have stayed in most of the hotels apart from the Disneyland hotel, far too expensive, the difference in price was just too much to justify it, and the NewYork which I have heard isn't too child friendly. It's used for a lot of corporate events.

I always try to go off season if possible, I juggle inservice days and weekends to try and keep costs down. Also it means the parks are much quieter. I love Christmas there, it usually starts early November, but Halloween is fab too.

I usually book with Thomas Cook or through Disney itself. Have a fantastic time.

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 10:05:52

Thank you all for the tips, loads to think about. Might price up some flights today as I think it will make it a lot easier. Have to try and find friendly flight times to get the most out of the days.

Definitely taken note of 6 days being too long, might look at 4 days and book another break somewhere else.

Unfortunately got to stick with school holidays as a teacher.

LegoAcupuncture Tue 19-Feb-13 10:11:48

We went a few years ago, was excellent. We stayed at hotel Sante Fe which was very basic, but we only slept there anyway.

Would recommend having at least one character breakfast at cafe Micky as not only do your kids get to meet loads of characters, you also get a lovely relaxing breakfast, breakfast at hotel I found was a mad rush.

I would say hire a pushchair when you're there from the park. Even if you 3 year old is good at walking it is a lot to walk around and you'll be glad you did. They are huge and we used ours loads. At one point there was three children on it. It as also good for the DC to stand on to watch the parades.

Dancergirl Tue 19-Feb-13 10:14:35

Would agree that 6 days is too long, 3 nights is perfect.

The Disney studios are great, just next door to the Magic Kingdom. More rides with shorter queues and really great shows. Allow a day for the studios and 2-3 days at Magic Kingdom.

Agree Buzz Lightyear ride is fab, I am the champion in our family! Also loved the Peter Pan ride.

Oh and don't worry about not going to Florida, the Magic Kingdom there is exactly the same! (Although there are a lot more theme parks).

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 10:23:01

Thanks again, looks like the pushchair will be a good idea, even if me or dp end up in it!

Dp and I have been to Florida before we had dc so have always wanted to go back but have decided to leave it until they are old enough to do the thrill rides.

You should plan to keep the dcs up late for the fireworks one night. It is absolutely beautiful, made me a bit teary. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the pool, had a mid afternoon snack, late dinner and finally got the kids to bed at 10.30. They were exhausted but it was well worth it and we all slept in a little later the next day. Dd still talks about when she saw Tinkerbell flying in the sky

sherzy Tue 19-Feb-13 20:16:45

It's working out cheaper to book the hotel and flights separately which only leaves the airport-hotel transfer to sort out. Has anyone done this via taxi or shuttle from the airport without booking in advance??

Also, will we really save money going half-board?? The half board option is an additional £264!!!

sherzy Wed 20-Feb-13 09:05:06

Thanks for all the help. Think we're going for the Hotel Cheyenne. Reviews are mixed but tend to be more on the positive side with loads of great tips.

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