Today’s post on We Blog Travel is a guest post, by one of my favourite bloggers, Nikki from Stressy Mummy. This is her second visit to Disneyland in Paris, and so she has kindly offered to tell us all about her trip this summer. If you want to see more hints and tips she has written a great post on her own blog about all of the ‘must do’ things you need to do whilst you are there.
Nikki, over to you : Five years ago, we made our first visit to Disneyland Paris and I have to admit that I was very cynical. I thought it was over priced and over hyped and that it would be an amazing experience for the children but I wouldn’t enjoy it. How wrong was I? The Disney magic is infectious and we all loved every minute of it and as our daughter was only 18 months, we vowed to return when she was older.
We did return this summer, armed with a better idea of what to expect but we had a very different experience. The children were much older and wanted to do different things, it was a lot busier and we stayed in different accommodation but did the Disney magic still work?
Last time, we stayed in one of the Disney hotels, which was amazing, but having a family of five makes hotel stays more expensive, so a travel agent friend of mine recommended Davy Crockett Ranch. Just a few minutes drive from the parks; it is a holiday village with well-equipped lodges that has its own facilities such as a tropical themed pool, shop, restaurant, play area and more.
The lodge was clean and spacious with two bedrooms, two showers and toilets, a kitchen and a living and dining room area. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time there but the kids loved it and the pool was a big winner at the end of a long hot day on your feet.
The only disadvantage of staying at Davy Crockett is that you have to drive into the park yourself whereas the other hotels run a shuttle bus but it is only a ten minute drive and as you can go into the park from 8am as a guest, you can get a good parking spot just outside the park and get in a couple of hours before the park is open to the public.
We would highly recommend Davy Crockett Ranch as a very family-friendly place to stay.
Image taken from the Disney Blog.
Most of the Disney hotels offer a buffet style breakfast but at Davy Crockett Ranch, you have to go and pick up a breakfast basket each morning. The children loved doing this and we all enjoyed opening the box each day to see what was in there. There was plenty of food for everyone with croissants, baguettes, hot chocolate, fruit juice, coffee and more.
We opted for half board this time and it is well worth it. Eating out is expensive in the Disney parks and most restaurants offer a buffet where you pay on entry and then you can eat as much as you want. Half board gives you a buffet meal and drink in a good selection of restaurants (including the hotel restaurants) and there was plenty of food to choose from. As part of the half board, you also receive a snack and drink from selected places, which you can have between 3pm and 6pm.
We were really impressed with the food but the best meal of the week was at Café Mickey, a restaurant in the Disney Village; an area just outside the parks with shops, restaurants and entertainment. We paid extra for this meal and you get to meet the characters as you eat. The food was delicious but the faces of the children as the different characters came around was the best bit. You can book evening meals or breakfast at Café Mickey, we did both but the evening meal was our favourite.
Which Park To Choose?
There are two parks; Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios and there is a very different experience to be had in both parks. If you are there for a few days, I recommend you start off in Disneyland as that is where you find the real spirit of Disney with lots of characters to meet, the parades and a range of rides to suit all ages. Frozen fever has of course taken hold and currently there is a Frozen sing along show, which we all enjoyed.
As the park closes, everyone finds a spot around Sleeping Beauty’s castle to watch Disney Dreams, when the castle is quite literally brought to life with clever animation, music and fireworks and it is a real celebration of Disney through the years.
Walt Disney Studios is a completely different experience with some amazing rides for the thrill-seekers and Toy Story Playland, which is a real treat, designed to make visitors feel like they are in Andy’s backyard, lots of behind the scenes experiences along with shows. Of course you can meet characters such as Buzz, Woody, see the Incredibles in action and even come face to face with Spiderman.
Ratatouille is the newest ride in the park and it is by far the most popular. We didn’t get the chance to go on this time but people told us that you scuttle around Paris in little mice and it is the best ride in the park.
Even in six days, we didn’t see and do everything in the two parks but there really is something for everyone. The magic of Disney was slightly marred by the very long queues, which the children did struggle with at times. There is a Fast Pass system, which is free with your entrance ticket and this operates with ten rides across the two parks, it is well worth making use of the system to avoid at least some of the queues.
Overall, we all loved our trip. All of the children enjoyed different aspects of the trip; the 11 year old loved the big rides, for the 9 year old it was all about meeting the characters and the five year old loved everything Disney Princess and Frozen. They all want to go to Florida now so I had better get saving.