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Dates:Friday 5 October – Sunday 7 October Adventurers: Me, Cheryl and DH Mark Destinations: Disneyland Paris Resorts: Tulip Inn Marne-La-Vallee Celebration: We’ve been given a pair of free tickets, so it would be silly to waste them!
It’s not often that you log on to your emails and get a deal that offers you free tickets to a Disney theme park, but that’s exactly what happened to me one day early in 2012. I took another look at the email, rubbed my eyes a few times, read it again and it did seem to be offering us two free tickets for Disneyland Paris. Wow!
The offer had come through Sky TV, who provide our satellite service. They’d started a special reward programme a few months earlier, but to date all I’d seen was offers for special screenings of films, with the only location close to us in south east London and all the screenings on a weekday night. Now though, they really had come through!
I followed the link and, expecting to find something in the small print that said we couldn’t actually get them, but there was nothing. I had a chat with Mark and obviously we were going to go for a Saturday for the tickets, but which one. We discussed it and agreed that it would be nice to go back in October, as we’d really enjoyed all their decorations for Halloween when we’d visited during that time of year a few years ago. I had a look at the calendar and we opted for the first Saturday in October and put our request in.
Again, I figured that they’d come back with a polite but thanks, but a couple of days later, I got an email through confirming our two tickets for Saturday 6 October. Wow, so I guess this is legit then...
Once they were printed off, I didn’t do anything at all (and I seriously mean anything! ) until literally about six weeks beforehand. Very unlike me, but in my defence, we did have a Norwegian fjords cruise, a visit from my best friend and the most amazing time planned at the London 2012 Olympics, so we were a bit busy.. and heck.. there really wasn’t that much to plan.
The first issue was where we were going to stay. I knew there were only two options really – one was using our Disney Vacation Club points to stay at one of the Disneyland Paris resorts, as they are so prohibitively expensive, or two, to find a cheap resort near the park. Now when I say prohibitively expensive – let me give you an idea. About the cheapest resort, for the weekend we’d picked, was £455 ($682), while one of the medium priced ones (the equivalent I’d say to a moderate at Walt Disney World) was £750 ($1125), while the top priced Disneyland Hotel at the entrance to the Disneyland Park was a cool £1,000 ($1,500) – and all of these prices were just for two nights. Now you know why we so rarely visit Disneyland Paris – and why we won’t pay for the hotels. The prices are just obscene.
Instead, I had a look on hotels.com, as I’m a member and collecting welcome rewards night towards one free night, and found what seemed to be a very well rated hotel, both on that site and TripAdvisor, the Tulip Inn Marne-La-Vallee. That name was slightly misleading, as it’s actually a short walk from Bussy Saint Georges station, which is the next stop down from Marne-La-Vallee. However, that worked for us – a quick walk to the station sounded good to me. Even better, the price of just £155 ($233) for the two nights also included a free breakfast and free Wi-Fi, although we would have to pay for parking there. Oh well, you can’t win everything...
We couldn’t book our travel on the Eurotunnel for a while, as we were waiting for our new car to be delivered, and it was later than planned. We had to be sure we’d have it, as you need to give your licence plate details when you book. Finally, we got our new car, and the booking could be made – another piece of the puzzle in place.
There wasn’t much more we could do in the intervening period, although I did make a list of restaurants that I wouldn’t mind eating at during our visit. I figured we’d just see what was available on the day. We could have lunch, and dinner in the park on the Saturday, and then there should be time for an early lunch on the Sunday, before we’d have to head home. I have to be honest, unlike other Disney parks, there’s nothing that immediately sprang to mind from our previous visits as outstanding. Sure, we’d enjoyed meals there, but for the price, they weren’t amazing, as to be blunt, quite a few of the meals are overpriced for what you get.
However, a few days before, I decided to pluck up courage to phone and see if I could make any reservations. I was prepared to give my (very rusty) French a go, but they gave me two options on the phone, one for French and one for English. Honestly, I think French would’ve been easier. I hate to be stereotypical, but it came across as typical French guy not wanting to speak English. Eventually, I managed to get three bookings – the Agrabah Bazaar for lunch on the Saturday, which I guessed we could always easily change if needs be, Walt’s An American Restaurant on Main Street, which was a must for me, and the one place I really want to try out during this trip, and Cafe Mickey in the Disney Village for Sunday lunch, where we’d had such an amazing character encounter on our last visit. Hopefully it would be just as good this time. Interestingly, I tried two buffets at two of the Disney hotels, but I was told that they weren’t open for lunch, which was a shame.
As for attractions, I drew up a quick shortlist of things that I didn’t want to miss. To be honest, there wasn’t much on it. I think there were only three things at the Studios Park, with only about half a dozen things at the Disneyland Park. There are many attractions that I don’t feel the need to do at Disneyland Paris. Sure, if we get on them, it’s a nice bonus, but if we don’t, then it’s not a major issue either...
I did check in on the Disneyland Paris website last night just to get all the times of the parades and shows and get this – the pdf it links through to (they basically have a pdf of the park times leaflet) is only valid until today! I guess we’ll have a surprise when we get there tomorrow then, although hopefully the times won’t be too much different from during the week, but we’ll have to see....
So that’s us all set for now. The only problem may be the weather. The forecast has changed dramatically from earlier this week, when it was going to be in the high 60s (very warm for October) and sunny to more like the high 50s and drizzle or heavy rain, depending on whose forecast you believe. I don’t mind the temperatures, it’s the rain I can’t stand, as we’ve seen Disneyland Paris far too often in the rain already for my liking... Think good weather thoughts for us!
Can't wait to read about your trip, Cheryl! I've been missing DLParis since May. Here are some good weather pixies! Do they still have the same nighttime show from the summer? I hope they do so you can see it! So spectacular!
MNSSHP 2015: DH (Bane), Me (Batgirl), Genie, and our friends
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Yay, I'm so happy to see this trip report starting! I wish I could've come to DLP to meet up with you guys.
I thought you'd decided on the Relais-Spa hotel in Val d'Europe? How come you went for the Tulip Inn instead?
Oh yes... that was the original plan a few months ago... I completely forgot about that! I ended up going with the Tulip Inn because it was cheaper, came with breakfast and free wifi (in fairness, I think the Relais-Spa may have done, I don't recall now), but it was definitely cheaper...
Yep, the character interaction at Café Mickey was quite something, wasn't it! The restaurant is definitely on my must-do list!
That was such a fun night! We had a good time there at lunchtime as well...
Yes, prices are definitely higher than at WDW, although there are promotions virtually all the time... Actually, I got an amazing deal for our trip to DLP in March next year:
For our 3-night stay at Disney's Hotel New York, DLP's second-most expensive hotel, we're paying €768 ($1,000) - and that includes breakfast AND 4-day park hopper tickets for 2 adults
So if you deduct the €324 for the tickets, that leaves a nightly room rate of €148 ($193). And that's for a deluxe resort!!! Not bad, eh? Can you tell I'm just a tad excited?
That's not bad at all - especially not compared to the usual deals I see through Expedia of £400-£700 for two nights at Disneyland Paris!