As with any Disney vacation to make the most of it a little pre-planning is essential. This includes researching pricing, hotel options, ticket options, meals, etc.. and you have to make decisions based on your tastes/interests/budget.
I will continue to flesh out this section as I think of tips from the trip and get questions, so please drop me an email with your questions.
I had wanted to visit all the Disney parks for as long as I could remember. Each time a new one opened around the world (and here in the US) I put it on a list of places to go. In 2015 I finally decided to take the plunge and venture to the overseas parks. I convinced myself it was time. In the Spring I visited the Asia parks and in the Fall I headed East to Europe and Disneyland Paris.
Before you go:
- How long to go for?
This is a sliding scale of how much vacation time you have, money you want to spend and what you want to see. This was my first trip to Europe so I did not know what to expect. I opted for a longer trip anticipating a few weather days and jet lag. I booked a 9 night, 10 day trip. My plan was three days of sightseeing and that left me 5 full days and 2 partial days for Disney. For a Disneygeek I would recommend a minimum of three Disney days, 1 day for each park and then 1 day to go back and see what you missed and take a quick look at the hotels. I went on the long side to ensure I could really take my time and enjoy the parks.
- When to go?
When to go plays a vital role in your trip planning. With Paris you have the regular factors of crowds, holidays, and weather. As well as seasonal celebrations to consider. I wanted to minimize the crowds and chance of really bad weather, plus I wanted to see their fall/Halloween celebration so I choose mid Fall.
- Park Tickets?
I did a little research into this but then opted to go with a vacation package that included a length of stay ticket. When looking at tickets be sure to compare multi day to length of stay to annual passes to see which deal is best for you.
- Is language an issue?
Language was not really a concern for me on this trip, where as it was in Asia. My assumption was correct most cast members spoke enough English to answer your question or point you in the correct direction. I do not remember encountering any that I had an issue communicating with. Same went for my days sightseeing outside of Disney. There always seemed to be plenty of people speaking English. The only place I did not hear English was on the train when we went to Normandy. The announcements were only in French and since I speak no French at all meant I really had to pay attention to the signs/locations as well as everyone else on board.
- Where to stay?
I took the same approach to this trip as I did my others. My goal was to maximize my Disney time, minimize moving around and go with something familiar so I opted to stay at Disney our entire trip. This meant longer transport times for our sightseeing days but I weighed the flexibility gain and ease of not moving around and thought it made sense for us. Disneyland Paris has several on site hotels as well as official/partner hotels to choose from. We opted for the Sequoia Lodge. It was on the pricier side, but meant a short short walk to the parks and the amenities were in line with what we thought we would like.
I was not concerned about finding food in Paris as I was in Asia since worst case I could live off the breads and pastries. The choices and quality at the parks were good and I never had a problem finding something I liked. I did have challenges finding places that were open when I wanted to eat though a couple of times. Disneyland Paris closes some dining locations on certain days and many have reduced hours. So keep that in mind when planning your days.
- How to get to Disney from the Airport?
The four choices we found in our research were Train, Bus, Rental Car or shuttle/town car service. We opted for the shuttle service since I found a good deal online and it was only a couple of Euros more than the bus. We ruled out the train because we did not want to deal with our luggage and carryons, since we travel on the heavier side.
Other Paris Sightseeing:
Since this was my first trip to Europe I could not travel all that way and not go anywhere besides Disney. Well I could.. but I should not. So in planning the trip I choose three days with "unique" itineraries. I spent one day in central Paris, one day in Versailles and one day I traveled to the D-Day beaches in Normandy. I thought this would give me a good variety of experiences. I thought this worked out well and was a good sampling of Paris/France. Traveling from Disney to all these locations did mean extra time since Disney is at the end of the RER line and a good 40 minutes or so from the city. The train ride did get a little long, especially the last one back after spending all day in Normandy.
I had a great time at Disneyland Paris and really enjoyed the parks and hotels. The festivities for Halloween were impressive too and they were included in regular park admission which I think is the way it should be.
I plan to double back and expand this page, but in the mean time if you would like to know more or have any questions drop me an email or tweet.