Sunday, 26 February 2023

Tips For Visiting Disneyland Paris On A Budget

Visiting Disneyland Paris is an experience like no other, but it certainly doesn't come cheap...but you'll be glad to know that there are ways to be mindful with your spending and make your budget stretch that bit further during your trip.

Here are my top tips to save money on your Disneyland Paris trip.

Choose Your Dates Wisely

The time of year that you choose to visit is what's going to have the biggest impact on the overall cost of your trip, as - like everywhere else - Disneyland Paris price according to crowd demand. 

Travelling during school holidays is always going to be the most expensive time, but it's worth being aware that it's not just the British school term times that you need to pay attention but the French & Northern European ones too as these will also significantly impact both crowd levels and prices during your trip. Pay particular attention to any French national holidays.

If you are able to travel during term times then you will save a pretty penny, and this is one of the reasons I recommend visiting with younger children before they reach school age - as well as the fact that under 3's go free!

If term time travel is not possible for you, then be aware that the colder months also tend to be cheapest - January, February, October and November often have some of the best prices available.

Hotels For Every Budget

Choosing your hotel wisely will also have a big impact on your overall budget. Many people prefer to stay in a Disney hotel, and I tend to be one of those people as the convenience of being within easy walking distance of the park makes it worth the cost to me...but the pricing varies greatly. Ask yourself whether spending an additional £2,000+ to stay at the Disneyland Hotel is really worth it, considering how little time you're likely to be spending in the hotel...when the Newport Bay is just a 10 minute stroll away and also lovely.

There is a Disney hotel to suit most budgets and tastes, with the lowest priced being the Davy Crocket Ranch.

Alternatively, you can save even more money by choosing to stay at a Non-Disney hotel nearby - this does mean that you lose the convenience of the Disney transportation and that you'll have further to travel to the parks, but often hotels nearby will put on their own transport anyway so it's worth looking in to.

How You Travel

How you travel to Disneyland Paris can also make a big difference to the cost of your holiday. If you choose to fly in to Charles De Gaulle airport then you need to be aware that it's around a 45 minute drive from Disneyland Paris, and you will need to either pay for a transfer service or book a taxi.

Our preferred (and cheapest) method of travel was always the Eurostar, as although the ticket price would sometimes be slightly higher than flying - it meant we didn't need to worry about luggage allowances and excess baggage fees, parking at the station was cheaper than at the airport, and the train took us directly to the Disneyland Paris Gates without the need for any transfers.

Unfortunately, the direct Eurostar service has yet to return post pandemic - but fingers crossed they bring it back soon!

Saving On Dining

Dining at Disney is always the biggest spend during your trip, but there are some ways to make it a little kinder on your purse strings.

The food in the theme parks is not cheap, and -in all honesty - it isn't even always that good! I often end up feeling that I did not get value for money. 

We usually try to avoid paying over the odds for food during our trip by bringing some breakfast items with us from home - simple things that travel well and are easy to eat on the go such as pre-packaged pain au chocolat or brioche, cereal bars etc or even porridge pots are all ideal options.

We also tend to pick up lunch from the convenience stores located within the train station outside the Disneyland Paris gates - they sell pre-packaged sandwiches' at a fraction of the cost of what you'd buy inside the parks, and the quality is pretty decent.

We also often tend to order pizza from outside the parks to be delivered to our room for dinner of an evening - this usually costs around 20 Euro and feeds all of us, saving us at least 30 Euros compared to what we'd pay in the parks. It's also really nice to relax in the hotel with pizza in bed after a long park day, my kids always look forward to it! 

Menu Planning

Having said all of the above, you WILL want to eat some meals within the parks and some of the restaurants can be fun...especially the character dining experiences!

I always recommend taking the time to look at the menus for the restaurants on the Disneyland Paris website before your visit, this will allow you to cost out a mock order and work out what your visit will cost you. It may seem a little excessive to some but planning like this allows me to make informed choices about where we dine and helps me to relax more when we're there without worrying about making my budget last - the food on offer throughout Disneyland Paris's resturants can also be a little unusual so fussy eaters will certainly want to check menus before booking.

Find the cheapest places to eat

If you're going to be enjoying some quick service/fast food meals at Disneyland Paris - there are some venues which offer better value for money than others.

For example, rather than paying £15.99 for a single burger & fries meal at many of the fast food outlets - you can get Double fish & chips at Mr Toads for the same price. This is essentially a double serving of fish & chips which is plenty big enough for two people to share! The same applies at Pizza outlets like Pizzeria Bella Notte - an adults Pizza meal comes with a side serving of fries, salad or garlic bread and is more than enough for 2 adults or 3 children to comfortably share.

There are also plenty of places to eat just outside the park gates in the Disney Village - such as Vapianos & McDonalds. Although they're not as cheap as they would usually be, they are still a lower cost alternative to food inside the parks - our personal go-to is always Five Guys as it's located just around the corner from the main village so is always just a little bit less chaotic.

The Val D'Europe shopping centre is also located just a couple of stops away on the train or a short cab ride away, and there are plenty of dining options here too which are also cheaper.

Bring Your Own

Be sure to take advantage of the fact that you ARE allowed to bring food into the Disneyland Parks. This will save you an absolute fortune!

One of the biggest expenses is drinks, so be sure to bring a water bottle with you which you can fill up at the water fountains around the park - bring some pocket-sized bottles of Robinsons Squashed or similar to add extra flavour.

If you're travelling with children, I highly recommend making up snack packs for each child for each day of your trip. This can include a selection of low cost, non-meltable snacks such as mini packs of Haribo, biscuits, fruit winders etc - not only will this save you money on buying snacks at the park, but it will be a lifesaver when they're getting bored in queues or fed up of waiting for parades and shows to start!

Be sure to also bring other items you might need from home too - such as rain ponchos, hats & gloves or sunscreen depending on the weather, as if you find yourself needing these due to a sudden change in weather - it will really cost you! I once had to buy hats & gloves for all of my kids from the parks due to a sudden cold snap, and it set me back around 60 Euro - I won't make that mistake again!

Set A Daily Spend Budget

I always find that it helps me a lot to allocate a certain amount of spending money per child, per day - this way they know that they have some money to spend if they want to, but they also know that if they'd rather get something bigger they need to save that daily allowance up.

Smaller items such as keyrings, pins and pens cost between 5 - 10 Euros, whereas medium sized cuddly toys and dolls tend to cost around 20-30 Euros.

I hope these tips have been helpful! Please share your own tips for saving money at Disney Paris below, and don't forget to check out my other helpful Disneyland Paris posts:

Dining In Disneyland Paris - Our Best & Worst Experiences

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