Part 1: Disneyland Paris
Disney Hotel Santa Fe:
Location: was pretty good, if you like to walk. We were placed in the building closest to the rest of the hotels, and it was a beautiful walk along a canal. There is a shuttle to the parks.
Room: very clean. Beds were very hard. Crib took a long time to arrive (longer than they told us, even after a phone call), so the toddler had quite the meltdown because she couldn’t nap.
Staff: less than helpful. We needed to transfer to Hotel New York after one night in Hotel Santa Fe (because we wanted to be in NY, but there wasn’t any available rooms on the first night we were in Disney, so we stayed in SF) and we asked if there was a luggage transfer service, but we were simply told no, with no suggestions for assistance.
Disney Hotel New York:
Location: perfect location to walk over to visit the parks. If you can walk easily, walk to the park and don’t take the shuttle, because it takes a long way to get there, picking up guests at other resorts before getting to the park.
Room: we ended up with the “show room”, which was perfect for us. It had a queen size bed and a sofa bed, instead of the standard 2 double beds. So we folded up the sofa and had tons of room for the crib. The bathtub had a very wide and tall side, which might be difficult to access if you have any mobility issues.
The bed was really hard, but not quite as grooved as the bed in Santa Fe, possibly because it hadn’t been used very often (see: show room).
We were annoyed that they took our soap that we had brought from home – it was a special soap to help with excema, but it looked very similar to the hotel soap, so I guess they though that it would be nice to give us a fresh one? I feel like that was a waste of their resources, and frustrating to us.
Staff: supremely helpful. When they learned that we had no way of getting our luggage from Santa Fe to New York (other than walking it over), they sent a driver over to pick up our luggage for us. They managed to get us a room in the same wing as my parents, even though there technically wasn’t any space (see comment above about being given the “show room”).
Pool: be warned – the pool is 5 feet deep EVERYWHERE. There is no shallow end. It’s also colder than you would expect. We didn’t go in the hot tub, because of the toddler.
Problems: the main lobby was overpowered by incense. I understand its purpose; to hide the stench of cigarette smoke blowing in from the smokers outside the doors, but it was cloying in the worst way. If there is one law that I would love for France to borrow from Canada, it is the 9m law: no smoking within 9m of any door. Walking through the smokers to get into our building was not a pleasant experience. The hallways were also perfumed with apple smell, although it was less pervasive. No scent got into our room, thankfully.
Walt Disney Studios Park:
It’s sad that my first thought when asked to describe a Disney park is “so much smoke”, especially when the parks are advertized as Smoke-Free. And there are definitely signs declaring that. There are clearly marked designated smoking sections on the map. And yet we still saw/smelled/gagged over people lighting up in lines (like in the line for the small children’s ride Slinky Dog Coaster) and while wandering the park in general. YOU HAVE TO ENFORCE YOUR RULES!!!
This park was cute, and we really enjoyed the Backlot tour, and our daughter enjoyed her first roller coaster (Slinky Dog), but there wasn’t much to do in this park. The best part was the Mickey and the Sorcerer show – highly recommend it. My father wanted to see it twice, and he never does that!
Also – why on earth would you close one of only two counter service restaurants BEFORE dinner (5 pm)? Talk about frustrating.
We had the same problem with smokers in this park as well. There are clearly marked designated smoking sections on the map. And yet we still saw/smelled/gagged over people lighting up in lines (like while waiting for a show, or in a restaurant’s outdoor patio) and while wandering the park in general. YOU HAVE TO ENFORCE YOUR RULES!!! I know I’m repeating myself, but it was seriously disgusting.
One of the attractions we were most looking forward to (Phantom Manor) was closed for renovations, which was incredibly disappointing. There were technical difficulties on a lot of the rides we went on, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
The most frustrating thing about this park was the restaurants for dinner. We were sticking with counter service meals, because the price of food was super expensive, and half the counter service restaurants closed at 5 pm!? It meant that the restaurants that were left open were over-run with people, and it limited our choices. Not only that, but it wasn’t indicated anywhere that the restaurants were going to close, so you didn’t find out until you got there that your dinner choice was not an option.
The best part of this park was the Pirates versus Princesses parade. Definitely worth seeing multiple times, so you can watch both halves.
Overall thoughts on Disneyland Paris:
The food was VERY expensive. I’m not sure whether a food plan would have been come out cheaper, but it is definitely a very strict meal plan; the one we would have gone with (Half Board) includes breakfast and one other meal. In Florida, you are not limited by time with any part of your meal plan, so the comparable plan allowed us to have a lot more wiggle room.
I think our main problem with this experience was that we have been to the Florida parks. The Paris one suffers where the Florida one excels, and it is very noticeable. There were definitely some high points (the shows and parades were excellent! The hotels were comfortable to stay at) but we struggled to find the magic of Disney, after having gone to Florida last year.
Are you interested in travelling to Paris? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. firstname.lastname@example.org