At the end of August we booked a last minute four-day break to France with a couple of days in Disneyland Paris. We booked to leave early Saturday morning of the Bank Holiday weekend and my husband Shilts, drove us to France via a P&O ferry from Dover. It was a fantastic break and we all had the most wonderful time, albeit a little too little. This post gives some indications to costs as requested and is photograph heavy, I’m not sorry though it’s Disney!
We drove down to Dover to catch our ferry (£212 return for a car with a roof box and 4 passengers) which we had booked just a week prior to our travels. We had prepared for the trip so made sure we had all the essentials for driving in France as well as a prepaid Travel Money Card from the Post Office which is brilliant for using in the tolls on the French motorway (the queues to pay by cash were huge and we drove straight through when using our TMC at the booth).
We arrived at our hotel, Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel, on Saturday afternoon and checked in. As we were all really tired we decided to head straight out and visit the Disney Village via the free shuttle bus from our hotel.
The Disney Village is full of shops, cafes and restaurants which is brilliant as you can get into the Disney Village for free and begin to immerse yourself in all things Disney. We headed into the shops to have a look at the huge array of Disney products, we popped into the Lego shop for a quick browse then into McDonalds for a drink and something to eat for Olly. We saw the parade through the Village for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show which was good to see then headed back to our hotel for an early night.
We booked our Disney tickets direct from the Disneyland Paris website. We wanted 2 Day 2 Park tickets. They cost us £132 for an Adult ticket and £117 for a child ticket. We didn’t need to pay for Freddie as he’s under 3 years old. These tickets were e-mailed to me and I printed them off ahead of our trip to exchange for paper tickets from a kiosk just outside the entrance to Disneyland.
Day One in Disneyland Paris
For our first full day in the park we had a leisurely breakfast at our hotel as the park doesn’t open to guests until 10am (unless they’re staying at a Disney hotel with Extra Magic Hours). We got on a busy free shuttle bus from our hotel and made our way over to the park. We were planning to stay all day in the park and stay late (11pm) for the fireworks so made sure we had enough snacks for the whole day plus change of clothes (for Freddie) and extra layers for the boys.
After getting all excited and having photographs, we made a beeline for the rides that we knew Olly loved. We went on Autopia and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, and took advantage of the rider / baby switch service which was brilliant. If you’ve got a baby with you who cannot go on the rides, tell one of the cast members at the entrance of the ride who will either give you a free pass or let you in at the exit to ride again.
After a late lunch at Cafe Hyperion (€40 for 3 meals) we walked around the park, Freddie slept and we loved to take in the atmosphere looking at the rides, deciding if Olly wanted to go on them or not and spotting various characters walking around the park.
The parade at Disneyland Paris starts at 5:30pm but people tend to find their positions around the route from 4pm. As we were all a little tired, we found our spot just in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Olly and Shilts sat on the floor and I stood with the pushchair behind them. Frustratingly people always seem to try and push in front of us but if you’re firm with saying no, usually they get the message!
The Disney Parade is always one of my favourite things to watch, the music is really catchy and the floats that go past are wonderful. I love the interaction you can get with the characters too.
After the parade we decided to head over to the Walt Disney Studios to enjoy some of the rides there. On our way out, we saw Daisy Duck was coming out for photographs so queued up for 20 minutes to meet her and have some photographs taken. I adore Daisy she was so lovely and I think Olly was pretty taken with her too.
Whilst in the Walt Disney Studios, we headed straight over to Cars Quatre Roues Rallye ride. The WDS park closed at 7pm so we were trying to cram in as much as we could. The boys then queued up for the Studios Tram Tours which frustratingly broke down just as they sat on the bus so they had to get off. We did a spot of souvenir shopping and more photo taking then headed back into the main park to go and get a late dinner where we ate at Fuente del Oro Restaurante and had the best meal and burrito I’ve ever eaten! It was so good and standard Disney pricing (around €40 for 3 meals).
Bizarrely we bumped into Bex from The Mummy Adventure who was there visiting with her family. She mentioned to me about the Lineberty app which is an app to download to reserve time slots to meet and greet with characters. This is something I wish I had known about prior to our visit but you live and learn.
As it was late we had a further walk around the park and found our pitch to watch Illuminations, the fireworks over the castle. We sat down on Main Street which is where lots of other people had decided to sit and wait. I ended up buying Olly a new fleecy blanket (€29.99 – ouch!) from one of the shops as he was complaining he was cold and we sat and watched the show. It made me cry as predicted. Last year I stood watching the Illuminations with one of my boys in my arms and one of my boys in my tummy. This year they were both here with me watching the show and it was just so lovely. Proper Mum tears were rolling!
Just as the show was ended we decided to walk quickly back to the bus stop. We knew it would be rammed full of people so wanted to get on with the pushchair and let people fill in behind us. Thankfully just as we got to the bus stop a bus arrived and we were one of the first on. We arrived back at the hotel and we all slept so well!
You can read all about our second day coming up soon!