Oh, you are going to Paris? You know that’s where Disneyland is, right? Don’t you want to… , you know? Yes! Yes, we did want to go to Disneyland. So I started the planning process by gathering some information. I decided that we would stay at a Disney Hotel. Was it worth it? Would I do it again?
Planning our trip to Disneyland Paris
After we had decided that we would finish our stay in Paris with a trip to Disneyland, we started planning. Fortunately, the Disney website has a lot of information in one place so that we quickly had answers to the first questions.
How to get from Paris to Disneyland
Our apartment in Paris was only a stone’s throw away from Gare l’Est. Our Carte Navigo Découverte was valid in all 5 zones of the Parisian public transportation system. Disneyland is in zone 5 and therefore well within the area we were allowed to travel in with our ticket. It was a 35-minute journey to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station, which is just 2 minutes from Disneyland.
We headed off reasonably early but the train got busier the further along the route we got. We reached the station about 30 minutes before the park opened and everyone was making their way to the gates. We moved in the opposite direction, to the bus stops. There is a free shuttle service between the park and most of the Disney Hotels and I was so happy that I didn’t have to walk far with our luggage. The bus dropped us off at our hotel after a 10-minute drive.
How does our daughter get to Disneyland from the airport?
We had booked a budget flight from Berlin to Charles de Gaulle and were now faced with the question of how to get to Disney.
The cheapest option would have been the train. But it would have been a ride to Paris, then changing into a different train and then the trip to Disney. We rather wanted to spend that time in the park together.
There is another option which is not as cheap but much more comfortable. The Disney Magical Shuttle connects the airport and most of the Disney Hotels. Also convenient: It does its tour the other way around, too - from the hotel to the airport.
I booked the bus on the Magical Shuttle website. I was surprised that I was only asked for a rough time window for our arrival and departure. What happens when the bus is full, do I have to wait for the next one?
Our daughter arrived in terminal 1 but the bus departs at terminal 2F. So she had to find her way through the enormous airport, first to the free airport shuttle, then to the departure gate of the Magical Shuttle and then, finally, all she had to do was wait for the next departure. The bus ride itself was about 45 minutes. The train might have been quicker after all. On the other hand, she was conveniently dropped off at the reception area of our hotel and didn’t have to make her way over from the train station.
For the trip from the hotel back to the airport, all three of us used the shuttle. Our departure gate for the return flight was in terminal 3. Fortunately, the Magical Shuttle also called at that terminal and we had a quiet and relaxed last segment of our experience at Disney.
Staying at a Disney Hotel – but which one?
We had decided that we wanted to stay at a Disney Hotel. But with 7 different hotels to choose from, it is not an easy task to pick one.
We were able to rule out Davy Crockett Ranch reasonably quickly, though. For that one, you’d need your own car as there are no shuttles from here to the park. We had no car and therefore that one was not an option for us.
There was another one that was also not really for us. The Disneyland Hotel is right at the entrance to the park, which does sound convenient but this one is the priciest hotel on property. The 5-star hotel offers luxury in the upper price segment.
So “only” 5 others remained on the list.
Disney’s Hotel New York
The Hotel New York is a 4-star house. It is themed around New York – a high-rise with spacious rooms and a pool. It is only a 10-minute walk from the hotel to the park, but there is also a shuttle bus.
On top of the hefty price we would have paid for three adults, the hotel wasn’t quite Disney enough for us. The rooms were rather “normal” without the dash of Disney magic and childhood nostalgia. And I don’t need a pool, to be frank. We wanted to spend every minute in the park and I couldn't see how to make any extra time for the pool.
Disney’s Newport Bay Club
I think I would have liked staying in the Newport Bay Hotel. The 4-star hotel is situated at the banks of the artificial lake near the park. It was recently renovated and now has a maritime décor based on the turn of the 20th-century mansions by the New England coast.
Lovingly designed rooms, a pool, a sauna, a steam room and a gym are waiting for the guests. But here, too, the price tag for two nights and 3 days plus the park tickets for three adults was a bit too big. At the end of the day, we’d only use the hotel to sleep and are otherwise busy exploring the park.
Disney’s Sequoia Lodge
This one I also quite liked. It is a 3-star hotel partly located in a little forest. It is designed after the houses in American National Parks. This hotel, too, has many facilities for the visitors to use, e.g. a pool, free WiFi and wonderfully themed rooms.
When I looked at the pictures of the rooms, I remembered: This is where we stayed in 2003 when we came to Disneyland for the first time. Even though we were really comfortable there the first time around, we thought we’d rather try something new.
Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne
Hotel Cheyenne is a 2-star hotel in Wild West décor. The buildings and rooms look like a Wild West Town and are Toy Story themed.
This would have been spot on for my horsey daughter. We would have been able to get a room, but elaborate redesign works were underway so that there was only a limited service available. We didn’t feel like living on a construction site. When we saw the hotel in person, tough, we noticed that it was a lot less busy than the neighbouring hotels but we didn’t see any signs of construction work.
Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe
We finally decided to book the 2-star Hotel Santa Fee. The design of the hotel is themed around Route 66. It is a 20-minute walk from the hotel to the park or a short ride with the free shuttle.
This hotel has cut back on many additional facilities like a pool for example which is reflected in a lower price.
Whether or not we were happy with our pick we dissect in a different article that is all about our hotel.