This post has been a long time coming but I think I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and the amount of tips I wanted to share at the same time. I want to help people but I’m not sure how valuable my tips are when there is so much online already. I know we found the various Facebook groups very handy because it was real-time advice which helped us get organized and know what to pack etc. When we arrived it was snowing so we knew from the photos being posted that we needed to pack thermals and stuff. I want to document our experience though. So many of you have sent me private messages on Facebook and Instagram and I’ve replied to everyone but it would be nice to have it all in one place. I probably won’t go through everything because seriously there is a LOT of information out there but I’ll answer the most asked questions and I’ll edit this post as time goes on if I feel I’ve forgotten anything.
I’ll start by saying we had a BALL and this trip was a total surprise for myself and Billy (my son. He’s four at the time of writing this). My husband planned it as a surprise after a tongue-and-cheek comment about how when we eventually bought a house (after YEARS of saving) we would go to Disneyland. He did a treasure hunt around the house and the whole thing was so so exciting. The actual surprise was revealed using a BOOMF at the end of the treasure hunt and I cannot recommend this enough for any kind of surprise gift or reveal. They’re cheap and cheerful (about €10 including delivery) and just an amazing keepsake after you’ve revealed the surprise. It arrives as an envelope and when the person opens it it pops up as a 3D square with photographs and texts you choose and upload yourself. If you’d like to watch our reveal it’s saved to a highlight on my Instagram page and you can watch it here.
Disneyland is an expensive trip. People pay extortionate amounts for the trip of a life-time but we actually got a really good deal. We flew with Aerlingus to Charles De Gaulle on the way over and Air France on the way home. Flights were €300 between the three of us (we added a bag on later as the weather was so bad we needed more bulky clothing). These flights were booked in October and we travelled in early February.
In terms of transfers there are lots of different options. You can get a private bus, a shared bus or the “Magic Shuttle” from the airport to Disneyland. There is also a high speed train (TGV) that takes about 10 minutes. We decided not to go for this as it can be busy, expensive and we got a good deal on a private taxi for around the same price. We paid €60 each way using a taxi company called Prestige. We were so impressed with them. They had a sign with our names at arrivals, car seats and boosters in the car and they played Disney Movies on an in-built DVD player while we drove to Disneyland. It really started and ended the trip in a calm and positive way. It was €60 each way and they cater for large groups also. Disneyland is about a 40 minute drive from the airport FYI. Again I have footage of all of this saved to the highlight on my Instagram feed which you can watch here.
In terms of actually booking Disneyland my husband booked it through a travel blogger’s link he came across online. Her name is Miss Tourist and I’ve linked her Instagram account here. She had some special offer/affiliate thing which made it really good value for us. So what we booked was a special offer via the Disneyland website. The booking included our hotel (we stayed in one of the Disney hotels. It’s called Santa Fe hotel and has a Cars/Lightening McQueen theme), our meals and our park tickets for 4 days. There were different options in terms of food but we went for Full Board because the offer was so good. We had lunch and dinner which is a full buffet affair in a choice of 7 or 8 different restaurants. Breakfast was not a buffet but rather a croissant and a coffee in the park which we never availed of. We could pay an extra €7 a head in the actual hotel to upgrade to the buffet breakfast. I did this one of the days on my own just to grab a few pieces of fruit and pastries for the day ahead. Cheeky.
The buffet in The Santa Fe hotel is Mexican so if you like Mexican food you will be in heaven. We adored it. They had plenty of pasta, pizza, salad etc too! We had lunch in the park twice and the restaurant was called Plaza Gardens. Highly recommend this one. Again they are all covered under your booking, you just have to pre-book in advance (online) and take your park tickets (they’re cards) with you. The card you’re given at check-in basically contains everything. It’s your hotel key, park tickets and carries information about your included meals. Keep it safe!
For three nights in the Santa Fe Hotel with lunch and dinner included as well as park tickets for four days we paid in or around €880 (he paid in sterling using Revolut as that bloggers link brought Peter to the Disney Land UK website. There are different websites for different countries so it’s worth shopping around such as Disneyland.fr or Disneyland.de etc) So with flights, accommodation, transfers, a suitcase and park tickets it cost €1350 all in for three people. As I said that included all of our meals too.
I know in some cases people go half board and and just get breakfast and dinner which we agreed would have actually worked out better because you could fill up on a breakfast and then pack snacks from the breakfast buffet to have for lunch. You could then have an early dinner and goodies/popcorn while watching the Fire Works in the evening time. A great tip is to pack water bottles, the little squeezy cordial things and sandwich bags. That way you can avail of the various water fountains around the parks and then use the bags to pack bread, ham, cheese, fruit etc from the breakfast buffet to then have in the park later that day. The food in the park is very expensive as you can imagine. We paid €4 for a small bottle of water about about €12 for a small bucket of popcorn!
If you want Fast Food there is always the option of Mc Donalds or Five Guys which is in in the Disney Village.
If you are pregnant or have any kind of medical issue or disability it’s a good idea to take some kind of documentation or proof to “City Hall” which is at Main Street USA on the left as you walk in to the park. I got a special pass which meant that for rides that were suitable for pregnant women we could essentially skip the queue. There were quite a large number of rides that did not allow expectant mothers though. If Peter and Billy used those the pass could not be availed of.
In terms of rides Billy was a massive fan of the Buzz Light Year ride and the Parachute one that was in Toy Story Playland section of the main park. It had a long queue (over an hour) but was worth it as he loved it! He also loved the Slinky Train, Ratatouille (this has massive queues but we availed of the fast pass which means you take a ticket which has a specific time and you come back at that time and go straight through. Note – you can only get one of these at a time). Other highlights were the Pirates Of The Carribean Ride as well as the Peter Pan one. The It’s A Small World ride was absolutely mesmerizing and my personal favourite. That is in the Fantasy Land section.
The Disney Land App is an absolute must. It gives you great map features such as all of the food and toilet locations as well as live attraction information including the queue length and time of each ride and the times that the shows start.
We absolutely LOVED the Walt Disney Studios section of the park. We went to Mickey’s Magic Show and it was honestly like a really short Broadway show. The costumes, effects and singing was out of this world, I cried and it was over in thirty minutes so everyone was happy. We also went to a Nick Jr show and Stitch Live which we all really enjoyed.
The park is full of shops selling Disney Land toys, costumes and merchandise which can be super expensive (€50 for a kid’s costume) but keep your eyes peeled for red sale stickers because a lot of the shops had a sale section and we got a couple of toys (The Incredibles in our case) for seriously good value!
Now – a few weird and wonderful random tips which might help you
Your Disney hotel probably has character visits. We got to meet Mickey Mouse one morning after a really short wait. Well worth investigating when you arrive as the queue for meet and greets in the actual parks can be huge. We were pretty lucky as my pregnancy pass got us a brilliant meet with Donald Duck! He even threw snowballs at Billy.
If you are travelling any time between November and February I’d seriously consider packing thermals. I have never ever felt cold like we did (travelled early February) and honestly without thermals it would have been a disaster. We also wore two pairs of socks, hats, scarves and gloves. I couldn’t believe the weather! Peter got Snow Boots for Billy and they were invaluable.
Here we are modelling our thermals LOL. Peter bought them from Sports Direct!
You HAVE to see the Fire Works at night. Well worth sticking around or coming back for. I balled crying and it was the highlight of the trip for me. So moving and beautiful.
Your Disney Hotel will have a free shuttle bus which bring you on the five minute drive from the hotel to the parks. They run every ten minutes and leave you at the train station which is directly beside the parks. Follow the crowds once you get off the bus.
- All of the toilets in the park are immaculate. I’ve never seen anything like it. Totally spotless, great baby changing facilities and they smell amazing.
- The staff in every single part of the park are on another level. Each person was nicer than the last and they cannot do enough for you. Everyone from the hotel staff (even the guy that scans you with a metal detector – security is great which I found reassuring) to the bus driver, to the person co-ordinating the queue for the rides. They are unreal.
- You can rent a buggy and lots of people do so even for older kids. Billy spent a lot of time on his Daddy’s shoulders.
That’s all for now. As I said it’s all saved to my Instagram highlights so if you’d like to check out the videos (there are three highlights from the stories I recorded during the trip) the link is here. If you have any questions at all of if I’ve forgotten something please feel free to DM me because I know there is a huge amount of information out there and it’s all a bit overwhelming.
It was the trip of a lifetime and I hope we will return again someday.