Hey all! So this is a very highly requested blog post – A guide to an affordable trip to Disneyland! It is quite lengthy but I promise you it will be worth the read if you are planning a trip on a budget. Each section is titled so you can skip through if there are only certain bits that you are interested in.
Summer or winter visit?
We have visited Disneyland Paris twice. In November 2017 and July 2018. Both were amazing trips for different reasons.
In late November when we went, it was so magical! Disneyland is all Christmassy, with Christmas songs, decorations, the works. It was my first time ever at Disney too.. so as I walked through the park gates, I had tears in my eyes. My childhood dreams had finally come true.
The downside was that is was freezing bloody cold! We definitely had not prepared for it being so cold and on our next trip it will be all about layers!!!
In July 2018, it was gorgeous because it was amazing weather for our whole stay. The park was a lot busier but because I was pregnant with Mila at the time, we had fast track which was a godsend. We didn’t queue for longer than 10 minutes on any of the applicable rides and character meets which was amazing! (Do I have time to get preggers before December ?!)
This is also available to people with disabilities.. just head straight to the town hall in the Disneyland park upon arrival with documents proving this and you will be granted fast track for your time at the parks. (I brought along my pregnancy notes)
The negative of visiting in summer was that it was so much busier. We went in very early July, so before schools had started the summer holidays but it was still manic, which made us appreciate the fast track even more!
Travel to Paris
So there are various modes of transport to get you to Paris. The one that is right for you will depend on where abouts in the UK you are, your budget and your general preferences.
I personally love flying, but I will never fly to Paris now that I know how amazing the Eurostar is. We live in West London and catch the Eurostar from st Pancras, which is about 25 minutes in the cab (early in the morning when we travel! We would take the tube but we tend to catch the first Eurostar at 5.40am when the tubes aren’t yet running)
The first thing that I love about the Eurostar is that under 4s Travel free. Obviously on the plane only under twos travel free so this is a great save it for you if you have a child in this age bracket. It does mean that the child is meant to be sitting on your lap but on all occasions Jai got his own seat. You reserve your seats online for free and you can keep changing them up until the day before you depart. This is really handy because I could monitor when people are booking seats next to us and move our seats accordingly. On the day, even when people sat next to us, there was always empty seats around, and we always had a person who was happy to move so Jai could have his own seat (they always offered)
The other thing I love about the Eurostar is that there are no luggage restrictions meaning no messing about with liquid limits or weight of your suitcases, and you can bring as many bags as you want. Everything gets to stay with you so no waiting around for your luggage on the other side and everything is just so convenient. When you get off the train you can walk straight into Paris as all of your security is done before you even get on the train.
Finally, the pricing. We tend to book at least three months in advance. Three months is the minimum time you should leave it to book as prices increase every day of this point. You can get tickets for as low as 29 pounds each way and I have never paid more than this.
We get the earliest train at 5:40 which is best for us anyway because we get more time there and we always get the latest train back at around 9:30pm. Again, this gives us more time and is the cheapest option. I have checked for flights so many times and have never found cheaper than this.
The cheapest time to go it’s always during the week so if you can midweek trip would be best. Disneyland is obviously always quieter during these times but make sure you always look into holiday dates for other countries in Europe because different times of the year such as I think it is in September there’s a Spanish festival and Disneyland gets absolutely packed this week.
Obviously if there is no convenient Eurostar station near you and that all of the methods of transport such as plain, ferry or car. Have a look into which method would suit you best financially and the journey times.
My biggest advice if you’re on a budget is to stay at a hotel outside of Disneyland. On both occasions we stayed in hotels in central Paris which meant that we could also enjoy the sights and atmosphere of this beautiful city.
In the past when I’ve looked at Disneyland Hotel quotes, which I’ve done numerous times, they are just so expensive. And then when I look at other peoples photos and reviews of the hotels I really don’t see anything special about them other than that they are in close proximity to the parks and that you get the early magic hours (you get to enter the parks earlier than people not staying in Disney hotels which is pretty cool and gives you some extra time to get some rides done)
We always book a hotel through booking.com. The main reason for this is firstly due to the wide range of hotels available, secondly due to the fact that I trust the website and feel safe with my booking and the customer service. Also, there are a wide range of hotels to suit all different budgets. But my favorite part is that with most bookings you don’t have to pay until arrival at the hotel. This gives me the opportunity to book very far in advance, and save up before we go. I like to have my hotel booked along with my travel and then I can really start organizing other stuff, such as Disneyland tickets.
When we went in November 2017 we stayed in a really horrible Part of Paris. I can’t even remember the name but There’s no point in me looking it up Because I really wouldn’t recommend it. The hotel was an ibis I believe and the hotel really wasn’t that bad other than rude reception staff. It was just that the area was very dirty everywhere and there was lots of homelessness, a lot less than I had seen any part of London. This really gave us a bad first impression of Paris but we realized this is just one area and there’s so many beautiful other parts to see.
in July 2018 we stayed in a small hotel near Gare de Nord called Altona. The location was perfect for us as we traveled via Eurostar, which takes you to Gare de Nord. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the station, so very convenient. It’s also very quick and easy to travel around Paris from this area. It’s about 20 minutes on the metro to the Eiffel Tower and under an hour to Disneyland. The hotel really is nothing special though, although I did love the traditional parisian buildings on that street. We were there during the World Cup semi finals so the Atmosphere was amazing in the street. (France won!)
This year, we are going in December for Mila’s first birthday. I wanted a much nicer hotel this time so I’ve gone for the Explorers Hotel Marne-la-Vallée. It is costing 400 pounds for four of us for three nights. This includes breakfast and access to their inside waterpark. The rooms are also themed, and there is a 6D cinema on site! It overall just looks like a great place for kids.
This hotel is closer to DisneyLand (about 20 minutes in their free shuttle bus) which means we are further out from Central Paris, But we don’t mind as we’ve done all the sightseeing before. I would rather spend our time at Disneyland, the nearby shopping center (val d’Europe) which I’ve heard lots about and are yet to attend and just spending time at the pool. We probably will go into Paris for one day because we love the river cruises and there are always new things to see and do.
Have a look around for your Disneyland tickets before purchasing. The tickets arent cheap, but at least under threes are free! (We enjoyed not having to pay for Jai on the last two trips!)
On both occasions so far we have booked through the Disneyland website although I have seen some other deals so I’m going to shop around before I purchase this year‘s tickets. We are doing a one-day visit to Disneyland this year which will be on Mila’s birthday which is a Friday. Friday is still busier than the mid week but not as busy as the weekend. Weekday tickets are also cheaper than weekend ones so bad this in mind. It depends what you want to do and your budget. We personally always find one day enough for us so don’t feel like you have to stay there for ages. It’s all about planning a visit and you can get lots out of her day when you do this. The two things that we haven’t actually done in the past he’s watching the parade and the fireworks. On the last two previous occasions I was really enjoying the rides and kept a great day we miss the parade and his attention span was also not as good as it is now and he wouldn’t of want wanted to sit and watch it. He was also way too exhausted, to be fair we always, by the time that the Firework display was on however this year we intend on doing both. I would have the opportunity to sleep whatever she wants, and Joe’s older now and he’s looking forward to doing by for this things.
Food and drink at Disneyland
There are plenty of rides to do that for Mila as well which is one of the reasons were going on a birthday. One of my favorites is it a small world which is so lovely and such a special right. We also, well I say we but I mean Jai, love the buzz light year ride. He still talks about this ride all of the time and whenever we bring up dinner and Paris he tells us that he’s that’s the first thing he’s going on. Mila is also allowed on this ride on my lap which is really good. The one wide we really wanna go on in Disneyland that we haven’t been on before it’s a part of the Caribbean one with I’m not sure of meat is allowed on so I need to look this up. If not me and Jo will be going on anyway.
Just like any other theme park or traction that you know the food is very expensive. Disneyland is probably more expensive to be fair. But it’s all about being smart. I just made his birthday, and on the other Disneyland day trips, we did budget Inn for one nice meal. Last year we went to planet Hollywood for lunch and spent €90 which is crazy for what we had. Without giant absolutely love this pastor and it was his only real put the mail in Paris as he didn’t enjoy any of the other food. He finished a huge bowl of it and was so much happier and energetic after this meal. This year we are definitely going to do it one of the character lunches but they are very expensive and again you should Booked two months in advance by out that reservation phone number but you can find on their website. I think we’ll go for a princess one because Mila love this and say will drive because he is quite into his princesses lately.
To keep expenses down have a large breakfast before heading out. As I’ve said breakfast is included in our hotel stay So we will fill up a map before we leave. We will also be bringing lots of snacks and drinks from the UK. I’ll bring Chris’s cereal bars popcorn and any other snacks I can think of that can go in a suitcase. Bode drinks as there is no liquid restriction on the roster so I can bring quite a few bottles as well as the little squash squeezy things that we can put an eyeball for the day. Hopefully there’s a fridge in a hotel room so they can go in there to make them nice and cold.
I’ll also plan something that we can take with us to have as a light meal while waiting for the fireworks in the evening and if we want table just grab like a coffee and hot drinks it will mess up while we wait and keep in their expenses down.
Traveling around Paris is relatively affordable, it’s pretty much like London. You may spend about 10 euros a day on travel.
What annoys me about Paris is there a literally no supermarkets. I’ve never seen an equivalent of a Tesco, Sainsburys or a Lidl anywhere. All there are is corner shops or tiny grocery stores. The prices are really expensive and the food options are just rubbish especially for vegetarians. Even restaurant food is the same. The vegetarian options are awful and there range of food is poor (if you are looking for a cheap to mid range restaurant. I’m sure the expensive ones are very nice!)
I would recommend looking online and prebooking attractions, we luckily pre booked the Eiffel Tower on their official website and were so glad we did after seeing the queues on the day to purchase tickets. I have honestly never seen queues like it in my life. I would estimate way over an hour just to purchase tickets. Then there were other queues before you could get into the Eiffel Tower. It is something I would recommend doing though. The views are amazing and it’s such a special moment, being right at the top.
We also loved the river cruise that we booked through booking.com. When you book a hotel with them, they email you a little barcode that you can scan at attractions which saves you money, you can go straight to the front of the queue and they take the money out of your saved card. On the river cruise we got to walk up to the front of the prebooked queue, they scanned the barcode and on we got! It was around 11€ each for a one hour cruise but we got some lovely photos and enjoyed beautiful views of the most famous landmarks in Paris.
There is a lot more to see and do which I will mention in another blog post “top 10 things to do in Paris with kids”
I hope you have a lovely time and if you do go to Disneyland, and please do let me know if you found any of my tips useful!
If there is anything missing from this blog that you would like to know – please comment below or DM me on instagram!
Feel free to use this link for £15 off any booking: https://www.booking.com/s/35_6/amydas86