Friday, 1 July 2016

How to Travel to Disneyland Paris on a Budget

Two months ago I spent a day at Disneyland Paris. When I told friends and family, most thought it was crazy to spend that little time at Disney, and paying out to spend 1 day there. But to be honest, I was completely glad I did! For years I've wanted to revisit Disney after visiting as a child, but couldn't really justify the funds for the hotel stays etc when I've had a lot of other things to payout for (aka moving home, Cece and setting up a house for starters!)

Travel & Hotel; 
We travelled with the coach company Harry Shaw. They offer a huge range of Disney packages starting from £79-99 (dependant on the time of year you travel) onwards from a day in Disney, to a few nights in Disney. Some of the packages even include stays in the Disney hotels; some are during term time, but they do have some school holiday packages (which sell out quite fast!).

We booked 'A Magical Day in Disney' which included coach travel including all ferry/eurotunnel fees and your ticket into the Disneyland park - you could add a hopper ticket for the Walt Disney studios park for £15 per person. We opted for this, so our tickets and travel for 2 cost £230 altogether.

The coach leaves on Friday evening/night, then travels overnight to arrive at Disneyland Paris for around 9-10am Saturday morning. You get a full 12 hours in the park as the coach departs between 10pm-11pm Saturday night. After our journey to Edinburgh overnight on a coach, we knew that we wouldn't mind overnight coach travel.

I'm not very good with geography, so I'm not sure where half these places are but pick up points are Bedworth, Coventry, Dover, Hinckley, Leamington Spa, Maidstone Services, Nuneaton, South Mimms, Thurrock and Warwick - where you are located depends on how long your journey will be. We were very lucky to be getting on the coach at Thurrock, so we were nearly last on, and first off! Our coach picked up at 11:30pm, so our journey was not as long as those travelling from Bedworth! The perks though were that our seats were reserved and together, the seats were REALLY comfy ... they made me never want to travel by Megabus again! For little ones, they had films playing on the TV - I say little ones, I definitely appreciated Inside Out!

It was our first time travelling with Harry Shaw, but most on our coach had travelled with them before and had the proper kit; pillows, duvet, pyjamas and toiletries for the overnight travel, which they then left on the coach whilst going into Disney... obviously they can't guarantee they are safe every time, but we had no issues leaving items on the coach. I wished I'd of asked if I could bring a blanket/duvet as this time, I literally packed light thinking I'd have to carry everything with me all day! With stops at service stations however, families were washing in the toilets and brushing their teeth the next morning and changing into clothes from their pjs... definitely doing this next time!

Even sans duvet and pyjamas, I found it really easy to sleep on the coach - the seats lean back and are comfy enough to curl up in! I just took an eye mask and neck pillows to sleep with... next time I'd add ear plugs and duvet to that list! I slept pretty much the whole journey, and was wide eyed upon arrival to Disney.

Harry Shaw have a day each month of the year, usually departing on a Friday (looking at the booking,  November 2016 departs on a Sunday this year) and currently there are seats available on all trips! Comparing the prices of the Eurostar to coach travel, I'm happy with my £230 spend for park tickets and travel!

Opening Times & Ride Queues; 
We arrived at 9am, the park was supposed to open at 10am. A lot of the party stayed back by the gates; we opted to queue ready for opening... they opened the park 40 minutes early! My advice... if there is a crowd, get into the queues as you never know when they'll open! This meant that we could go and get straight onto Space Mountain as we were a lot earlier than most of the crowds!

Fastpass is another perk to take advantage of - a lot of the bigger rides have a fast pass system - you put your park ticket into the machine outside the ride and it'll give you a time slot FOR FREE to come back and get into the fast track queue - no crazy UK fast track prices here! We used the fast track for Indiana Jones & it was perfect as a 90 minute queue was substituted with dinner and then a 10 minute wait when we went back! I know most people know about Fastpass... but my mother didn't so thought if she didn't (and she knows a lot!) maybe others wouldn't either, or maybe others could assume fastpass = more money, which isn't the case!

This year Disney is undergoing a lot of refurbishments ahead of the 25th anniversary of Disney. We wrote down all of the big rides that were not open which included Aerosmith's Rock n Roller Coaster and Thunder Mountain. Peter Pan's Flight is another one which was closed which on every visit I've ever had to Disney it's always shut... I am planning a trip back later this year when they'll be open though! Below is the schedule taken from the Disney website until September 2017.

Spending Money ; 
We took 200 euros, which cost me about £160 which apparently was a brilliant rate. £160 for a day seemed quite a lot, and to be honest I could've done it a lot cheaper, but as it was my first trip back in 18 years, I wanted money to splurge! Here is what I spent it on...

Food & Drink; 
This is a topic I see debated on forums and social media a lot. From a family perspective, I can see how the cost of a family holiday to Disney adds up.

We took a packed lunch, breakfast bars and bottles of water in a cool bag on the coach. Really, I wish I'd taken a bit more, and had a filling lunch packed with more snacks! There is apparently a no picnic rule at Disney, but you can take your own food in...... just not hamper basket etc!

For our dinner, we ate at Planet Hollywood (read the blog post here). Now Planet Hollywood may seem an excessive place to eat dinner, but compared to the prices of Mcdonalds, and other outlets there, it's actually a relatively cheap place to eat and the food is really nice! We had a nacho starter, two main meals, a cocktail and a beer for 55 euros. We had a 20% off voucher from Harry Shaw too to use in the restaurant!

We did snack a bit in the park due to lack of lunch... we had bags of Lays (the best crisps on this planet!) for a couple of euros, waffles and chips which are around 4-5 euros each.

For drinks, we brought 4 bottles of water with us, took two into the park, and made use of the free water fountains in the park....... they were so lovely and so cold on what was the hottest day!

My advice would be try and cater for 2 meals yourself, and buy a meal in the park. If you are staying at Disney longer, I've seen on a lot of forums that people taken croissants etc in from breakfast to the park.

As I said, I did take out a lot of money for souvenirs... I'd spent about 70 euros on food, so had 130 left for souvenirs. Everything I brought, I wrote about in my post, Disneyland Paris Souvenirs. Next time, I won't spend half as much on souvenirs, and probably buy a momento for myself.

A lot of the souvenirs were overpriced, but I did find some souvenirs, such as the Tinkerbell earrings I brought were a reasonable 20 euros. The balloons are 7,50 euros ... I saw Mickey, Minnie & Winnie the Pooh balloons... which you can bring back on the coach!
Teddies, keyrings, magnets and sweets, in my opinion are really overpriced. I was shocked to find that Tsum Tsums were 5-6 euros + in the parks... where here in the UK I can buy them for £3. A top tip I found, and would so use if travelling with younger children is to buy presents for Disney from the UK and give them to your children whilst on holiday. In the case of Tsum Tsums DEFINITELY do this. I was going to buy my sister Alice in Wonderland Tsums, but didn't because I was not going to pay double when I could buy them back in the UK for cheaper!

Would I do it again?
Yes! Now I know I can take duvets and changes of clothes, along with knowing how easy the journey was, I'm planning a trip back on A Magical Day in Disney on the 9th December of this year through Harry Shaw again... I want to see Disney at Christmas time (and if you feel like going, let me know!)! For my spring trip, I spent £390 overall for 2 people, but could've easily spent £300 if I'd not of splurged on souvenirs!  To think when I looked at the money it'd cost me to stay through eurostar etc and never knowing when my trip to Disney would be, but now being able to go twice in a year, I'd pick travelling by coach every time.

If there is any questions you'd like answered, comment or tweet me and I'll try my best to answer them! And I hope this post would be of some help to you reading!

Disney Posts; 
♥ Packing for a day in Disneyland Paris
♥ Disneyland Paris in Spring
♥ Disney Magic on Parade
♥ Disney Polaroids

Wildflower HQ -  Twitter, PinterestInstagramTumblr & Snapchat - wildflowerhq
Bloglovin - Follow
© In Between Days | All rights reserved.