I have been hugely lucky in my life to be able to visit Disneyland, Disney World and Disneyland Paris however as I venture into adulthood (a little late, many may argue) I found myself desperate for a return trip to the magical kingdom of Disney and struggling to find ways to make it affordable. Then suddenly, within the space of three weeks, I went from booking days off work, arranging friends to also be free and then hopping over to Disneyland Paris for three of the most magical days of 2018 so far. And here’s how I managed it all for less than £400 (including spending money)…
Step 1. Pick your dates carefully. Disneyland is by nature a magnet for children so if you have the patience do a little research into when school holidays/bank holidays fall in Europe. Avoiding these dates (particularly French, German, British and Belgian holidays) does wonders for the price and your overall experience. We travelled in mid-March 2018, and our maximum queue time for a ride was 45-minutes which most seasoned Disney-goers will tell you is really not that bad at all.
Step 1b. Avoid weekends. Yes you only use one day of your precious annual leave up but you’re also likely to use up a fair bit of your budget and encounter lots more people in the parks if you visit at a weekend. If you can spare an extra couple of days, travelling midweek (we went Monday to Wednesday) is ideal.
Step 2. Transport Trivia. Yes, the Eurostar is hugely convenient (it pulls up pretty much just outside the Disney Village) and avoids all the hassle of an airport but it can sometimes be more expensive. Weigh up the cost of taxis/airport parking with the additional cost of Eurostar and see which works out best for you.
Step 3. Be Hotel Savvy. Disneyland Paris is remarkably over 25 years old now, so some of the original hotels built adjacent to the park are going through a hefty remodelling meaning they’re available for a slightly cheaper rate than normal. If you want to go even more budget friendly the Hotel B&B is perfect – especially if you’re planning on just using your hotel room as a place to sleep and shower before another day trekking the parks.
Hotel B&B is basic, with simple beds, little in the way of amenities (no hairdryer you might want to note) but absolutely does the job. The big benefit is that by fitting 4 in a room you can lower the overall cost of the holiday but a decent chunk per person. It’s still within the Disney complex, so the hotel has a cute Disney shop, a microwave alongside the vending machines (great for a late night, post fireworks snack) and the complimentary shuttle bus to and from the parks.
Step 4. Plan Your Food and Drink. Contrary to expectation, you are allowed to take food and drink into the park. We packed ourselves a bottle of water (there’s potable water availble in the parks and in the hotels) each day, along with some flapjack, sandwiches and fruit bars. A bag of brioche and fruit from the supermarket provided breakfast and we were good to go food wise, planning on buying one big meal out each day to keep our costs low. However, I will admit we did over spend on the odd day! It’s worth remembering though that you can fill up a water bottle or ask for water for free within the Disney park. Also, the Disney Village contains chains like Starbucks, Vapianos and McDonalds all of which do reasonably priced food.
Step 5. Pack Light. This is particularly key if you’re flying as any checked luggage will likely incur an additional cost, so pack light! This is also helpful as it means you can arrive at your hotel, check in, get your tickets and dash to the park, making the most of your time.
Step 6. ENJOY! Once you’re there, you’ve spent the money, you can’t fret about that any more – just enjoy Disneyland and soak up ever magical hour you can whilst you’re there.