About 6 months in to our relationship, I took Vince to Disneyland Paris, this cementing my nickname of “overly attached girlfriend”. In my defense, I had just received a sizable sum of money for “ticking the box” (when you graduate teaching in Scotland, you can tick a box on your placement application to say you will go anywhere in Scotland for your probation year. Yes, even the borders – shudder) and I had wanted to take him to Orkney. It turned out that Paris was actually cheaper than going on holiday within our own country, so I booked up.
Here are my tips for booking a short Euro Disney holiday – based on the 3 holidays that I have personally planned here in the last 10 years…
How To Get There
I would recommend you would need 2-3 full days for this trip, depending on whether you’d like to do 2 days in Disney or if you’d like a day in Paris.
We flew Ryanair (a company which I despise but it’s cheap) from Glasgow Prestwick to Paris Beauvois. It cost me about £80 for both of us return. I’ve had a quick search and it turns out Ryanair no longer fly from Scotland to Paris so you would have to get a flight to Manchester then change. This is obviously much easier if you live in England.
Luckily, Easyjet run pretty cheap flights from Glasgow International to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. This is much easier because you used to have to ferry yourself out to Prestwick (about 45 mins from Glasgow) then when you got to the airport in France it was about an hour from Paris by bus. Charles de Gaulle Airport has great transport links.
I priced up some flights for the end of March and it came to £74.56. Obviously if you’re smart, you can keep an eye on prices and get a good deal. Apparently the Tuesday, 5 weeks before you go is a good time to book.
Flybe is also an option, but seemed more expensive. I like to use Skyscanner to help me see deals. It’s worth mentioning that you should always use Incognito Mode when looking at flights because companies like to keep your details and raise prices if it looks like you’re thinking about a trip.
Where To Stay
I would recommend hotels in towns along the train line from Paris to Marne-la-Vallee. Bussy -San-Georges and Noisy-le-Grand are two towns with cheaper hotels and good transport links. Again, I had a look for the end of March 2017 and it cost around £200 for 3 nights in Bussy-San-Georges and £230 for 3 nights in Noisy-le-Grand.
I also just had a look at staying in a Disney Hotel. At the moment they are doing a 30% off deal which includes park tickets and a half board meal plan at Hotel Santa Fe for £587.30. That’s for 2 adults.
Basically, shop around and you can grab a deal. The further in advance, the cheaper it will be.
How To Get Around
The train is the easiest mode of transport. Disneyland Paris is in zone 4 (be careful to make sure your ticket covers the right zones.) Here are a few options for train tickets.
Buy a 5 day Paris Visite Pass for £54.32. This gets you on the Metro, RER and buses. It’s also valid from the airports and it gets you discounts to a few museums and tourist sites. More info here: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-visite-pass-card/
Buy a Navigo Decouverte or week pass for £18.80. The difference between this and the Paris Visite Pass is it is valid from Monday at 12am till Sunday at 11.59pm while the Paris Visite Pass is valid for 5 days from day of purchase. This means that if you bought it on a Saturday, you’d only get two days use of it before having to buy another. You can also only buy it up until Thursday at midnight. The Navigo Decouverte is useful if you’re visiting midweek. So if you’re flight gets in on the Wednesday, then you leave on the Sunday, it’s perfect. The card itself also costs 5 euros. So in total, this would cost you £23.04. Some tourists have been hassled about buying these but it is perfectly legal for you to buy this ticket. You will need a passport sized photo and a pen to sign it. There are photo machines nearby ticket desks. More info here: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-train-metro-week-pass-navigo-decouverte/
Personally, I’ve regretted only spending a day at Disney each time. If money were no object I would buy the 2 park 2 day ticket for £106 which lets you go in and out of the 2 parks on both days.
1 day, 2 park tickets cost £68 but there are sometimes special deals on.
As far as I can see, it’s cheaper to book via Disney.
I would really recommend going to both the parks as you’ll feel you are missing out if you only go to 1.
In comparison to Disney World, Disneyland Paris has a lot more of the lovely little details and photo opportunities. Compared to the Magic Kingdom in Paris, Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom seems quite bare. I also like the layout better (but maybe that’s because this was the first park I went to so it made a foundation in my mind).
There are similar rides but no Splash Mountain. I do however, really like Alice’s Labyrinth which has a castle in the middle which, when climbed, gives you great views of the park. I also prefer Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (Paris) to Cinderella’s Castle (Florida) because there is a dragon underneath and it’s more visitor friendly.
Fact: The castles are designed specifically for their environments. Cinderella’s Castle is grey because this looks best beside the blue Florida skies, while Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is pink because this looks better against the usually grey skies of France.
Disney Studios Park has added a lot more since I was last there, but the old favourites Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are there.
Heading Into Paris
I don’t really want to go into too much detail about Paris because there are plenty of other websites with facts about it.
The last time Vince and I went, we were quite underwhelmed. Maybe it’s just because we tried to do too much. We visited The Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Sacre-Couer plus other places along the way.
If I were to go again I would have a day in Versailles or go for a tour around the catacombs.
Here is what I think the total cost would be for this trip if I were going on 29th March till 1st April for 2 people.
Flights: Glasgow to Paris CDG – £74.56 each so £149.12
Train: Navigo Decouverte – £23.04 each so £46.08.
Disney Tickets: £106 each so £212.
Hotel: Campanile Marne-la-Vallee £196 for two adults, 3 nights.
Total: £603.20 for 2 people