Disneyland Paris is a very special place for me and I have been there far too many times… My parents took me a few times when I was younger and I have been back twice as an adult (noooo, I’m still young at heart! 😉 ). What I found then was that I had to watch my budget more tightly than when I went with my family, where I wasn’t responsible for the budget at all. So this is a little guide for all of you who want to experience the magic of Disneyland, but not spend all of their savings in the process.
- Plan Your Travel Well in Advance
There are sometimes good last-minute deals around, but I wouldn’t rely on those. If you know you want to go to Paris, try and plan ahead as much as possible. Like this you will probably be able to get the best prices for travelling to and from Paris and your accommodation. Look around a bit for the best deals and browse different airlines and hotel portals. This might take some time, but it is worth it when you want to save on travel.
Some airlines can offer very cheap fares, but if you are living in the South of England (or rather close to London) you can also consider taking the Eurostar train. It’s linking London and Paris directly, it doesn’t take much longer than flying and you can take more luggage.
- Staying Overnight in Disneyland
Disneyland Paris has a few exclusive Disney Hotels within walking distance of the Park. It is quite convenient to book with them, even though it is very expensive compared to other hotels. But depending on the time of year there are a few discount offers, like 15% off or all meals included. The Disney Hotels rates include breakfast in any case, entry into both Disney Parks and also special extended opening hours (be there before everyone else!). Keep checking the website for these offers and you might just find the right deal for you. You can always take a Hotel somewhere else in Paris to save some quid, but Disneyland is quite far out and the tickets themselves have quite a hefty price on their own. In my opinion it is worth staying in Disneyland – it’s part of the experience (maybe not the best budget tip here 😉 ).
Don’t just look at your own country’s Disneyland website, but look at the French one as well, for example. There are sometimes much better and cheaper deals to find there. You will need a French address to book on the French website, but you might have a distant relative/friend/friend of a friend to help you out there.
- Eat Well
If you are lucky your Disney Hotel package includes meals. In that case you are definitely sorted. You will be covered for breakfast in any case, though, so make sure you eat enough to keep you going. I probably shouldn’t say this, but you can always (unofficially) take some fruit and a few croissants with you from the breakfast buffet. I always feel horribly bad when doing that, but it’s great for when the hunger kicks in later. And you pay enough for everything else anyway (I keep telling myself. Still a bad conscience…). On some meal plans you then get a free afternoon treat in the Disneyland Shops. It’s nice to keep any nagging hungry feeling at bay. Dinner will depend on your hotel, but it’s most likely a buffet. This is a perfect place to unwind, remember the day and plan the next.
Buying food in Disneyland is incredibly expensive and when you are not on a meal plan you will need to do that at some point. Unless you bring your own food. When you arrive in Paris and before you travel to Disneyland go into the nearest supermarket and do your food shopping for the next few days. You can still decide to buy some warm food when you are in the Park, but having a stash of food makes you a little less dependent.
- The Itinerary is Key
If you check the Paris Metro prices you will be surprised… Super expensive… I think it is definitely worth enjoying a few days Paris while you are there. Make sure you plan where you want to go in advance, though, because otherwise you end up unexpectedly spending a fortune on Metro tickets. This includes travel from and to the airport – do check the different options available before you leave, as the cost (and convenience) varies from airport to airport.
Do make a lose plan before you leave for Paris. It’s always good to stay flexible, though, when you realise you want more time in Disneyland or Paris once you are there. But be aware of the cost and plan accordingly.
- Set Yourself a Budget for Merchandising
It is so exciting to be there in this magical Disney World and the merchandising shops will make even the smallest Disney fan get all excited and giddy. But don’t give in to temptation and buy everything at once. Know how much you want to spend and don’t go overboard with the souvenirs. While they are pretty and amazing little things, you should always ask yourself: Do I really need this? If I just want a small souvenir to remind myself that I was there, would maybe a little postcard be enough? If you want to get Mad Hatter’s Hat, though, because you just don’t get it anywhere else, then go ahead… But that’s not a budget tip now, is it?
Wait until the very last day and then buy all your souvenirs. By that time you will have got a good overview on what’s around and what you really want to take home. This is a good tactic instead of buying the first best thing. You might regret spending your budget on a mug you do like, but that other mug was just perfect – and why would you get two mugs? Dilemma!
When you are going to Disneyland Paris expect to spend a good sum of your hard-earned cash, but you can watch your budget, so it doesn’t get out of hand. You should just have fun with this experience and not count every single penny when you come back. So my final tip: Just enjoy your trip and don’t always think about money. When you have planned carefully you will be just fine! I hope that my tips could help you a little and I wish you a happy and magical time in Disneyland Paris!