My Take on the Disneyland Paris Dining Plans

My Take on the Disneyland Paris Dining Plans

With my Disneyland Paris holiday fast approaching, I figured it was time to figure out the most important part of the trip: food. Within my hotel reservation I received the half ¬†board standard Disney Meal Plan (more on what that means later) and, if I’m totally honest, this confused me more than a little bit. I’ve always found the Paris meal plans quite confusing but I figured this was a great opportunity to try it out and see if I could get my head around it and hopefully help some other people out at the same time!

So there are quite a number of options for Dining Plans at Paris, but these can be broken down into three categories; standard, plus and premium. Then within each category you have the option of full board or half board. As you would imagine, the full board option covers all your meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. But unlike it’s counterpart in Walt Disney World, Florida, the meal plans in Paris don’t include any snacks or additional drinks (you get one soft drink per meal). The half board meal plans cover your breakfast at your hotel and either your lunch or dinner, but only two meals during the day rather than three. I plan on reviewing the Disney Meal Plan again once I return from my trip but as a quick tip, I have always found that having multiple sit down meals every day is very time consuming. So if you want to make the most of your time in the parks, I would recommend going for the half board meal plan and picking up snacks or quick service meals to keep you going in between.

Once you’ve decided on wither full or half board, the next thing to consider is whether you want the standard, plus or premium plan. The difference between the three is the choice of restaurants you are eligible to eat at as part of the plan. disneyholidays.co.uk have a great chart showing which restaurants are included in each plan so I will link that below for you to peruse. Simply put, the standard plan allows you to eat at any all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurants whilst the plus plan gives you a number of table service options on top of the standard options. The premium plan includes all restaurants on Disney property, including character dining experiences and the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disney Village. If you are planning on visiting character dining then it is probably worth taking advantage of the premium dining plan. If not then this may be an unnecessary expense and you might be better suited to one of the other plans.

As I mentioned earlier, I am booked onto the standard half board meal plan. On first glace I can’t say that I’m overly impressed by the restaurant choices available within this plan. It essentially includes the hotel restaurants plus a couple of locations in the Disneyland Park and one option in both Disney Studios and Disney Village. Having visited Agrabah Cafe on a previous trip, the restaurants I have chosen to visit on my three day holiday are: Plaza Gardens on Main Street, Restaurant de Stars in the Studios Park and La Grange at Billy Bobs in Disney Village. Unless you plan on venturing to the hotels, your restaurant choices on this plan are pretty much limited to the four locations mentioned above. Also be aware that Restaurant de Stars currently closes at 4PM so there is no option on the standard meal plan right now to get dinner in the Disney Studios Park.

Whilst I am slightly disappointed with the lack of options available, I am really looking forward to these new dining experiences. And I think it will definitely be worth the money since we are getting two all-you-can-eat meals each day of our stay. In addition I should mention that the plan works on a voucher system, which you present when you go for your meal to “cash in” your Dining Plan for that day. You can also use the vouchers in other restaurants which are not part of your meal plan. This will allow you to knock the meal plan value off your bill so you only have to pay the difference in price. This isn’t something I am looking at for this holiday but may be useful if you have used the Meal Plan before and want to try some new restaurants.

So what do you guys think of the Disneyland Paris Dining Plans? Have you used them before? If so, what did you think? Also let me know if you have been to any of the restaurants mentioned above and if you have any food suggestions comment below!

Have a magical day ūüôā

Meal Plan Breakdown: http://www.disneyholidays.co.uk/disneyland-paris/planning-holiday/meal-plans/

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10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

I figured it would be fun to do something that applies to all Disney Parks rather that just Paris and so here is a small list of things that I always take with me on a Disney holiday, regardless of where in the world I’m going!

1. My Camera!

Although my iPhone has a pretty great camera, I always take my digital camera with me to capture memories in the parks. Its great to have the extra storage and, lets be honest, better quality photos and the camera really doesn’t take up much space in my bag. Plus it means I can use my phone for other things like checking apps and contacting friends whilst still getting the best photos. If you have a DSLR camera then definitely take this with you! It is something I have wanted for a long time and there are so many fantastic places to take photos in the Disney parks, you will definitely not regret it!

2. Minnie Ears

To be honest I should qualify this by including all hair accessories, because I also tend to take a lot of hair bows and flower crows to the parks with me. But Minnie ears are a must. They are cute, easy to wear and fix any bad hair day. There are so many different styles now that it has become a bit of a collectable item, which gives me an opportunity to buy lots of new pairs on my trips!

3. Disney PJs

I love buying new Disney themed PJs for my holiday. Primark tend to have the best range, but I’ve also picked them up from places like George at Asda and Topshop in the past. There’s nothing quite as relaxing after a long day in the parks as jumping into a new pair of pjs and a comfy bed!

4. A Notebook

This should go in a list of things I carry everywhere with me, because you will never find me without some kind of notebook on my person. But I think this is especially important for on a Disney holiday. I like to plan out what I want to do on a Disney holiday before I go (see my last post all about planning!) and so I always take that plan with me so I can change it and tick things off depending on what I do each day. I also like to make a note of everything I do so I can look back at it and remember all the fun things we experienced on our holiday. Also if you’re meeting characters on your holiday, it’s always a good idea to carry some paper just in case you meet someone and want an autograph. I don’t tend to get character autographs as much any more, but every so often I will meet someone new in the parks and want to add to my collection. Having a notebook is a life saver in these situations.

5. Snacks

Disney have a lot of food locations around their parks, so I guess this isn’t a necessity, but I always like to have some snacks from home or a local supermarket with me, as the costs can really add up if you are buying meals and snacks from Disney every day of your holiday. I’ve also found it is useful to take snacks to eat whilst you are waiting to get on a ride or watch the parade, that way you don’t have to worry about losing your spot in order to get food. I take things like biscuits and cereal bars. It is also a really good idea to take snacks with you if you¬†have any dietary requirements, that way you know that you always have food with you that you can eat, should you get hungry, Whilst Disney do try to accommodate any dietary requirements, there is no guarantee that you will¬†find something you want to eat in a nearby location if you’re in a rush.

6. Park Tickets

This may sound like a silly one, particularly in places like Paris and California where you still use your paper tickets to enter the parks. But it is always a good idea to double check you have your tickets before you leave. If I am using electronic tickets which can be scanned from a smart phone, then I tend to print a copy off as well, just in case anything goes wrong with my phone on the day. But this point is more relevant for guests visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, where you can now use your magic band as your park ticket. Even though it is really convenient to have your park ticket, room key and everything else on your magic band, I would always recommend keeping your ticket in your purse as well. If anything goes wrong with your finger scan at the main entrance gates the Cast Member may ask to see your ticket to prove that you are the ticket owner. Plus if you lose your Magic Band or have any issues, you then have your ticket to hand and avoid a ton of stress!

7. Disney tees

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing cute outfits around the Disney Parks. I tend to plan some outfits before I go and have tried Disney Bounding before, which I love as well. But some days, you just want to throw on a t-shirt and some shorts/jeans and hit the parks. This is when some classic Disney merch comes in very handy. Plus, if you can’t wear Disney tops in the parks, when can you wear them?! I tend to buy most of my tops from Primark now, but I have previously found Disney tops in H&M, Topshop, the Disney Store (of course!) and even Walmart!

8. Sunglasses

Even heading to Paris in winter, you will always find a pair of sunglasses in my bag. There is nothing worse than squinting in all your photos when the sun is out or not being able to see the parade because the sun is in your eyes. Plus they don’t take up much space at all so they are easy to pack.

9. Some kind of rain gear

This one is cheating a little bit, because it does actually vary depending on which park I’m at. But I will always take a poncho or raincoat or umbrella with me to the park so I can stay out and play if it rains. The parks tend to be a lot quieter after a heavy rainstorm, so if you want to skip the queues then it pays to be prepared for the weather! Also, I have taken my wellington boots to Paris with me before when I knew it was going to be very wet weather, and I was very thankful for this decision!

10. A Disney Plush

This is a totally unnecessary item to take with me but I always take a teddy with me on my holiday. I have to say there is no particular reason for this, but it has become kind of a tradition now. I normally take Pascal or a small Mickey plush rather than taking a full size plush, I never have room in my suitcase for that!

Turns out there are a lot of things I take on my holidays with me, and I’m pretty sure I could list at least another 10 things that always come along too, but here are the first 10 that spring to mind.¬†Let me know if you guys take any of these things to the parks with you? Or if there is anything else you think I should take with me on my Disney holiday?

Let me know, and have a magical day!

How I planned my Disney Holiday – Some helpful tips and websites

How I planned my Disney Holiday – Some helpful tips and websites

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! ūüôā

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 ūüôā and of course enjoy your Disney holiday!

Have a magical day!

I Finally Have Something to Blog About!

I Finally Have Something to Blog About!

At the time of writing this I have 100 days until my summer holiday to Disneyland Paris! To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement right now!¬†I’ve booked the holiday with my sister for a mini celebration after her A Level exams and we will be staying at the Hotel Cheyenne on Disney property for 3 nights with 4 days in the parks.

This trip will be a little different for me as I have been to Disneyland many times before, but have never stayed in a Disney Hotel in Paris. I am also on the half board Disney Meal Plan whilst we are there which again is a first for me. But by all means, the most exciting part of this trip is that we will be visiting during the 25th anniversary celebrations, which have just started in the Parks. I was a bit impatient and watched the parade the other day but plan on waiting until I get there before I watch any other the other event entertainment. Whist I’ve heard mixed reviews so far, I’m going to go into it with an open mind and low expectations. And I will of course let you all know what I think when I visit.

So yes, I plan on creating a lot more blog posts over the coming months and perhaps even some videos, let me know if you guys would be interested in that. As always subscribe to my blog for updates and new posts (I promise there will be regular new posts) and I will also be revamping my insta account which has been dormant for some months so be sure to check that out as well!

I will be back very soon with another Disneyland Paris post, but until then, have a magical day!!

New Years Resolutions – Disney Style

New Years Resolutions – Disney Style

We’re half way through January and as I sit here eating the remains of my Christmas chocolate, I wonder whether I ever really intended to stick to my New Years Resolutions this year. So instead of worrying about how and when my other resolutions will go down the drain, I’m going to make some resolutions that are a bit more fun and of course- Disney themed!

  1. Visit a Disney Park
    This one should be easy but as I have no current plans to return to a Disney park, I want to write it down to make sure I get myself together and book something before the year is through.
  2. Organise my pins
    As I said in my last post, I have collected a lot of Disney pins over the years and they are all currently sat in my room on old cork boards, some are still in bags even! This year I want to find a way to display them nicely in my room.
  3. Print off my Cruise Line photos
    This time last year I was finishing up the most amazing contract working for Disney Cruise Line. Sadly I was unable to return for my second contract but I had so much fun the first time round and want to make sure I keep those memories safe by filling up my photo album I bought whilst I was there.
  4. Blog about my Disney Parks holiday
    Since my first resolution is to get to a Disney park, I want to make sure capture as much as possible from my trip and really utilise this space and my Instagram to share all the fun I have!
  5. Watch Beauty and the Beast in cinemas
    I am so excited about this film coming out so it shouldn’t be too difficult for me to get to a cinema and see it. But I often find that I¬†don’t prioritise films¬†and by the time I’ve actually got round to trying to book tickets it’s already out on DVD, which is great but isn’t quite the same as a cinema experience.

So there are a few New Year’s Resolutions for me to stick to over the next twelve months. Hopefully this time next year I can look back and say I completed them all and set myself some new and exciting goals. Let me know what you think of my resolutions and if you had any Disney resolutions of your own!