By Tyler Braun
Before the Trip
As any Disneyphile will attest, the planning of your next Disney trip is often times just as exciting if not more exciting than your actual trip. The anticipation one feels for months on end builds and builds over the course of planning; THAT is half the magic of a Disney trip. This sentiment has been echoed time and time again by my fellow Resort Loop bloggers because it’s absolutely true. It’s the same reason we love Disney to pervade our lives on a daily basis, it’s not only the magic we feel while we’re in the parks, it’s the before and after. We want back that magic we felt and we surround ourselves with the memories and paraphernalia in an attempt to capture the feeling. Merely seeing the Disney website, with it’s royal blue borders and character backdrops, is enough to give me heart palpitations. Even the “Please do not use the back button” pop-up box gives me goosebumps. You all laugh, but you know exactly what box I’m talking about. Call it impossible, but I have found a way to amp up the excitement factor to an even higher level than previously thought.
For those who don’t know, I am getting married in just a couple short weeks to fellow Resort Loop Blogger, Jessica Murphy. We’ve been planning our honeymoon for a few months and after much deliberation we’ve decided on Paris, France. While a trip to “The City of Lights” would be an amazing and complete honeymoon in itself, this decision was also strategic for another reason; as with most decisions in our lives, Disney played a role. We’ll be spending ten days in France, with Disneyland Paris taking up two days of our honeymoon itinerary. As someone who spends his free time researching the history and topical news of Disney Parks (I know none of you can relate to that), the possibility of visiting a park outside of Orlando was absolutely enthralling! Jessica and I hope to visit every Disney Park across the globe, and this is a perfect opportunity to cross another one off the list!
As I’ve been researching Disneyland Paris I’ve learned that it’s hard to strike the balance between learning everything I need to know to make our trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible, while simultaneously learning as little as possible to keep things a surprise. One of the benefits and downfalls of going to Walt Disney World as often as Jessica and I do is that there is not much Jessica and I don’t know about the planning and execution of an amazing Disney vacation. We haven’t looked at a park map in years, we can recite the Magical Express video by rote, and you can put us in a dark room, spin us around and we can still give you directions to the castle. That’s not to say we don’t absolutely love going to Walt Disney World – we often go twice a year for ten or more days! It’s our favorite place on earth, but we are both looking forward to the challenge of planning a trip to a different Disney park — one that comes with it’s own set of idiosyncrasies!
Keeping the aforementioned reluctance of learning too much before we go in mind, here are a few things I have discovered so far: Disneyland Paris sits about twenty miles outside Paris and is easily accessible by train & bus. The property actually contains two separate parks, Disneyland Park (where the classic Disney rides mostly live) and the Walt Disney Studios Park (where many attractions unique to Disneyland Paris reside). We’ve decided to allocate two days to this portion of our trip because we want to spend at least one full day in each park, especially since chances are we won’t be back anytime soon. The Disneyland Paris Resort is also home to seven hotels as well as a handful of “partner” hotels just off property. Their flagship hotel, in which Jessica and I will be staying, is the Disneyland Hotel, which doubles as the entrance to the Disneyland Park. It’s an elegant turn of the century Victorian inspired hotel, much like the Grand Floridian in Florida. While the other hotels are less expensive, Jessica and I decided to spring for this hotel for our once-in-a-lifetime trip.
One concern I’ve heard many people voice is the fear of the language barrier. This will be easier to report on once I’ve visited, but from the research I’ve done it seems almost every cast member speaks English. Announcements are done in French, then repeated in English much in the same way announcements are repeated in Spanish in Walt Disney World. That being said, however, if any of you are contemplating a trip to Paris you should always be courteous and at the very least learn some helpful phrases.
One day/one park ticket prices are considerably less for Disneyland Paris, starting at only €49.00 (about $55.00 US) for a base ticket (even as low as €39 in the off season) and one day Park Hopper tickets starting at €69.00 (about $85.50 US). This being said, however, it is considerably more expensive to book through the US version of the Disneyland Paris website! It was 40% cheaper to book through the UK version of the website and 50% cheaper to book through the France website for identical packages. The problem of course arises when the website asks for your address, and unless you have a UK or France address, you can’t continue. So what to do? You can actually book through expedia.co.uk (or a number of other UK travel sites) for the UK packages without having a UK address! I also read that some people will use the address of a hotel in the UK in which they’re staying or the address of friends & family they know living there. While this may seem slightly dishonest, it can quite literally save you thousands of dollars on your trip. As Jessica and I are staying in Paris for a week leading up to our Disneyland Paris excursion, we were able to use the address of the apartment we are renting to secure the lowest rate available. If you are able to book this way, keep in mind a) amounts will be in pounds or euros respectively, so be sure to use a conversion calculator so you know how much you’ll be paying b) your credit card needs to be able to book in a different currency. It’s helpful to give your credit card company a call prior to booking this way to ensure the payment is not questioned.
Jessica and I are getting very excited about our trip to Disneyland Paris, and you can expect a full trip report when we get back! I will have blog posts & plenty of videos on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/tylertravelstv. If you have any questions, suggestions, or anything in particular you would like me to write about Disneyland Paris, drop me a line at tylertravelstv [at] gmail [dot] com or facebook.com/tylertravelstv.
Tyler is a traveler, writer, & photographer and is currently engaged to fellow Resort Loop Blogger, Jessica. Check out TylerTravelsTV.com for more travel and Disney Parks blogs, and subscribe to his Travel YouTube Channel at youtube.com/tylertravelstv.