Planning a Disney holiday can be a little daunting at first, there are so many different travel operators and websites to look at, not to mention vlogs, blogs, books and brochures! It’s no surprise that some people get lost in all the madness. I’ve tried to compile a little list in this post of my tips when booking a Disney holiday and the websites I found useful whilst booking – hopefully I’m not simply adding to the excess of info out there and this will actually prove to be useful for someone.
NOTE: These tips are for booking a Disneyland Paris trip, this is very different from booking any of the other Disney Parks. If you would like me to create a post with my tips for booking trips to any other parks then just let me know! 🙂
1. Figure out the basics
Before you even start pricing up your holiday, you want to decide when you are going to visit Disney and how long you wish to stay for. Obviously the longer your trip the more expensive it will be. If you book to visit in school holidays it is also likely to be more expensive and also busier, but the parks are likely to be open later and have more going on than if you visit in off peak times. If you have the opportunity to visit off peak then I would definitely recommend doing so, but if you are visiting during holidays, don’t panic as Disney are generally very good at handling the crowds.
2. Look at the official website
Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Travel Company both sell holiday packages to Disneyland Paris. This is a really convenient and simple way of booking your holiday so if you don’t have much time or are very unsure about who to book through, then this may be the solution for you. The downside of this is that there is generally a bit of a premium to pay for the ease of booking through Disney themselves. But, even if you would rather shop around, it’s still a good idea to take a look on the Disney websites first as this will give you a good idea of the costs involved in your holiday and set a benchmark total cost to compare with other prices you may find.
In addition, it is always worth checking the Disney websites because they often have special offers on which make your stay a little bit cheaper. So I normally book my vacation through a couple of different sites (which I will mention below) but Disney had an offer for 30% off and a free dining package if you booked through them and my stay was made a lot cheaper because of this.
3. Shop around!
Ok so you have your price from the Disney websites, now you can look around and try to reduce that a little. I would recommend looking at reputable travel agencies or, if you are like me and love Disney holiday planning, take a look at organising your holiday without the help of an agent.
Hotel-wise, it may be worth getting a quote from Disney for the hotel only or hotel and tickets, but remember there are some great hotels just off Disney property which are very reasonably priced! I will always recommend the Kyriad Hotel to my friends, as it is a nice hotel which is just a short bus journey from the parks and has very regular free shuttles to take you. If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious then take a look at the Dream Castle Hotel, which is seriously gorgeous, this is on the same road as the Kyriad and uses the same free transportation system. In addition there is the Magic Circus Hotel and Explorers Hotel, both on the same route and possibly worth checking out.
Less relevant now for UK travellers but its always good to be aware that Disneyland Paris do have various annual passes available for their parks. If you are planning on visiting multiple times in the year or are attending special events such as Halloween or Christmas events, then it may be worth looking into these to see if they will be good value for money, as they also offer food and merchandise discounts which come in very handy! Unfortunately Disneyland Paris have recently increased the price of their annual passes to bring them in line with the other parks around the world, which means you may have to visit a few more times each year to really make them worth the cost.
4. Getting there and back
So hopefully you now have an idea of where you plan on staying and what tickets you will be buying, but you want to make sure you have the best deal on your travel to and from Disneyland Paris. There are plenty of sites where you can compare flight prices (I tend to use travelsupermarket.com) and this is a great opportunity to look at other modes of transport like the eurostar or maybe even driving. However you decide to travel, make sure you look around at different times of day, as you will find there is a huge difference in price depending on when you want to travel. Very early or very late flights and trains tend to be much cheaper than those in the middle of the day, but if you’re really not a morning person then perhaps booking a 7AM flight is a bad idea. Remember that your travel arrangements may also cut into your park time whilst you’re in Paris, a 3PM flight on your last day will mean you probably won’t get much time in the parks that morning. And a flight which arrives at 6PM on the first day probably won’t allow you to hit the parks at all that day, as you have to take into account customs, travel time from the airport and check in at your hotel. So just make sure you factor in the time it will take to arrive at your destination, and be prepared for any delays which may occur.
If you are travelling by Eurostar you can actually get a train right to the front gates of Disneyland Paris making your journey nice and simple. If you are flying in to Charles De Gaulle, you have a couple of options to get to the parks. Your first option is to take a shuttle bus, this is very convenient and, if you book your holiday through Disneyland Paris, can be booked alongside your flights. You can book a direct shuttle through magicalshuttle.co.uk who have transport running very regularly to and from the airport. The other option available is to take a train to Disneyland. There is a train station inside the airport terminal so it is no more difficult to access than the shuttle, and at a 12 minute journey, it is far quicker than the bus. Just make sure you remember to get off at the right stop!
5. Plan your days
By this point you have hopefully managed to find a great deal on your holiday and booked something very exciting, the only thing left to do is countdown to the big day and plan what you want to do when you get there. I’d recommend taking a look at the Disneyland Paris website to see what attractions and food locations there are. If you want to book a character dining experience, it may be worth doing so prior to your arrival at Disneyland, although you can book once you arrive if they still have reservations available. Another important thing to consider is whether anyone in your party has any allergies or food requirements. If so its a good idea to look up some possible dining locations before you head out to the parks, as you may not have internet once you arrive in Paris, and nobody wants to be running around trying to find somewhere that will cater for their requirements when they are hungry! So make a list of locations in both of the parks before you go, and if you’re very limited or unsure about what you can have, maybe pack some snacks from home as well.
I understand that not everyone out there will want to plan every aspect of their holiday, but I think it’s a good idea to know roughly what you intend to do each day. For example, if you have three days in Disney, maybe plan to do Disneyland Park the first day, Walt Disney Studios Park the second day, then Disney Village and Disneyland Park on your final day. Having a rough idea of where you want to go will ensure you don’t miss doing anything you really wanted to do. Another way to plan your holiday without planning every last detail is to make a list of everything you absolutely must do in your holiday. You can then review this throughout your stay and tick things off as you complete them. Hopefully this will stop you from getting to your last day and racing round trying to do everything that you didn’t think of doing over the rest of the holiday!
So there are my (not so) brief tips on how to plan your Disneyland Paris holiday. Hopefully this has helped a couple of you and of course, if you have any questions or would like any further advice, I am always happy to help. Just drop me a comment or a message and I will get back to you 🙂 and of course enjoy your Disney holiday!
Have a magical day!