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Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

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Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Hi all, first time posting here having had a good look through many many posts :) I have a couple of questions which I couldn't see obviously answered anywhere (I did spend time looking through I promise!!!!)

It seems that a 3 day pass to both parks is about 400 quid for me, wife and daughter (3 years old) - I have family in France, is it cheaper to get them to buy the tickets for me (although they won't be coming in to the park with me). If so - any links to websites?

It seems the official disney hotels are crazy expensive - the cheapest seem like a couple of hundred quid a night (assuming that the park tickets are worth 400 quid). So on the basis i could get a decent enough hotel 15 mins drive away from the parks are they worth the extra money? They do half board so that includes a meal in the park, and I guess they will probably be walking distance so much closer. Thoughts?

Is there a general opinion on time recommended in the parks? Is two days realistic, or should we really aim for three days - or do some recommend even more than that?

I appreciate a lot of this is personal opinion, but i'd still welcome advice and get the general opinion.

Thanks!

Brechin, United...
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1. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

I would say for a first visit with a 3year old, try and go out with school holidays and choose an option that gives you access to Extra Magic Hours. Which means staying at an official Disney hotel, or investing in annual passes, but unless you are planning a second visit within a year, the AP option will probably not save you any money. We always used to stay onsite until DD reached 7, then the price really goes up.

I would aim for 3 days in the parks at least.

When are you planning to go, the day of arrival at a Disney hotel can make a huge difference in price.

Norwich, United...
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2. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Hi Stampax, for our first visit we had two days and it really wasn't long enough at all and just left is wanting more! I'd say at least three days for your first visit, and staying onsite is certainly worth it as the hotels are all Disney themed and, until November, they have characters in the lobbies in the morning.

Disneyland Paris don't give special offers on a one night stay, hence why, for our first visit a couple of years ago, we paid over £400 for one night in one of their budget hotels the Santa Fe (which I recommend, we thoroughly enjoyed our stays there), yet last Easter we paid about £550. (Can't quite remember the exact price) for six nights at the same hotel!

Make sure you book your transport separately and not with your Disney package as this can save you hundreds of pounds. We book Eurostar or flights direct with those companies.

London
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3. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Thanks for the replies :)

I'm a teacher so sadly it has to be school holidays - hence more expensive prices. Right, i'll def plan for three days then. Transport wise we'll drive - telco vouchers for channel tunnel, and staying at families near the tunnel in France to break up journey, so saving money that way!

The hotels do seem to be crazy expensive. I've been to disney in Orlando, and the prices in France are way way more expensive (in comparison to other hotels in surrounding area I mean).

Norwich, United...
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4. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Hi, one thing to do if you're booking an onsite hotel is to play around with your arrival date as it dictates the cost of your entire stay. Arriving on Friday, or especially Saturday can be much more expensive. Sunday is usually the cheapest day to check in.

Norwich, United...
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5. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

But the hotels in disney world Florida don't include park tickets. Disneyland Paris hotel prices include park tickets for each day of your stay when booked direct with Disney.

Edited: 03 April 2014, 12:05
Lancashire, UK
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6. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

You pay your money and take your choice. Are the hotels onsite "better" than offsite? It depends on your meaning of better. Ive stopped in all the hotels except HNY and NPB (we have booked HNY for the week before christmas this year). We have also stopped in Explorers, Dream Castle (when it was the movenpick) and the kyriad. the disney hotels have nice theming (except santa fe IMHO, it might be better after the refurb but for us it was a hostel :-) ).

I would say explorers was the most flexible for us but you didnt get EMH. With big changes coming to EMH in november this year then it will be more important IMHO. Previously we could have lived without EMH (the ride selection isnt huge but for a first trip with a 3yo it will be very useful).

Distance to the park is also another factor, depending when you go the ability for a siesta with a 3yo is not to be missed. We were lucky enough to stop at the DLH last year and the distance to the park was an absolute winner. With dreams starting after 11pm and EMH from 8AM we could get up at 6.30 have breakfast and be the first in. come out about 13:00 for a 2 hour nap and be back in the park for the rest of the day. If we were in the cheyenne then a 20 min walk back and a 20 min walk in would be a little more draining.

That being said, the free buses to the offsite hotel are always packed, full of jostle and not buggy friendly (in the can-of-sardine bus sense. Stopping in val'd'europe means you can use the RER ( not free but reliable and cheap enough) which will benefit from cheaper accommodation and a decent travel arrangement.

Annual passes can sometimes be a cheap way of getting tickets if you plan to stop for 4 days or more. Other than that, the FNAC website is good for cheaper park tickets a 3day2park ticket for 2A+1C will be about €400 however, for €477 you can get 3 annual passes that include EMH and give discounts in restaraurants and shops. There are ways of getting cheaper annual passes but these have been clamped down on recently - I believe you might be able to leverage the changes having french addresses but I cannot advise you on that one.

Sneakier ways to get cheaper accomodation is play on the french room tax options. Book 1A+1C in a disney hotel, this gets you 2 park tickets and guaranteed EMH, pick dates that fall outside typical *french* holidays (this year is bad because the french holidays coincide with our school holidays, next year our easter does not so will be a much better time to go queue wise! It also depends when you break up for christmas, we are lucky as our school breaks up on the 13th December this year) but more importantly pick a date that doesnt coincide with teh francilien annual pass blackout date. Have the second adult order a francilien annual pass way before the holiday (there are restrictions on the francilien annual pass meaning you cannot use it 2 days after it is purchased). Once you arrive at the disney hotel have the second adult added to the room. They *may* have to pay the residency tax ( €2/3 per night). This usually works out cheaper. This is the option I am doing in december at the HNY (except we are 2+2 and one child isnt free)

Edited: 04 April 2014, 10:46
London
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7. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Thank you for the very detailed reply :)

All the money saving tips are appreciated, but seem a bit complicated - i think i'm going to play it safe and lazy! I didn't realise about the extra hours you get for staying at disney parks - I think that will edge me towards staying at one.

Hotel Cheyenne is looking the best bet for us - i'd find it hard to justify spending so much on the other ones - especially as we don't intend to be in the hotel much.

I guess the other thing to ask is about the paying for the full board meal plan (admittedly i've not searched the forum for this yet, so feel free to ignore and tell me to stop being lazy....) 84 quid for all you can eat buffet voucher for the 3 of us, so thats 42 quid each night as staying for 2 days. Worth doing? Big range of restaurants - is that eating in the parks, or back at the hotel?

Northampton, United...
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8. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

I did the full board meal plan for me and dd on our trip and it was way to much food. I would say go half board I did full board plus before and it cost me and dd 140 for 2 nights. When I go in December I'm tempted to go half board premium so we can go inventions and Auburge without having to pay extra.

New Forest, United...
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9. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

Hi

I am on iPhone at moment so not easy to post long reply or give links. If you look in the top questions list there is one about booking DLP trips with info and tips.

If you are driving you can plan to arrive early and leave late on departure day to get maximum time. We do advise at least 3 days for trips - one day in each park plus an extra day for things you missed or favourite ones again. At busy times like weekends and school holidays when queues are longer people may need 4 or even 5 days to cover everything.

DLP have much better offers than WDW or Anaheim, and packages include park tickets for every day (including arrival & departure days) and breakfast. Sundays can often be the cheapest day to arrive. Some people stay somewhere cheaper nearby for 1st night if arriving late, then check in early next morning at their Disney or resort hotel so they are not wasting a park ticket. Or they stay somewhere cheaper for their last night if leaving early on departure day.

Francilien annual passports cannot be used on days 2 and 3 after issue from the AP Office in the park. Buying them online in advance makes no difference as it goes by date of issue, not date of purchase. You cannot enter the park on a Francilien or Fantasy Blockout date unless staying in a Disney hotel. (Francilien days 2& 3 are not Blockouts - they are invalid days ).

Only about 7 rides are usually open for extra magic hours but useful when the park is busy.

Obviously there are rides and attractions that a very young child may not be interested in, or they are too small for, so you need to read about both parks and make a list of things you want to do, plus time for watching parades and meeting characters, plus time for eating, resting or swimming if your hotel has a pool.

Many people like the 2nts + 2nts free offer which works for them with effectively 50% off.

New Forest, United...
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10. Re: Couple of newbie Q's (hotels/time needed)

May half term is usually a good time for UK visitors because other countries don't have this holiday. But this year Ascension Day National Holiday is during that week. It all depends when Easter falls.