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Trip report to Disneyland Paris (things to do near Ile de France)

davewasbaloo

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We actually stayed at Disney's Hotel New York this trip as the Villas were all full. But I thought it might be worth while putting this on here as everything we did is within a 2 hour drive of Village Ile De France and may help with activity planning:

Hi folks,

We returned 1am yesterday from our trip to France (inc DLP of course). I don't know if anyone is interested, but I thought I would share.

We departed our house at about 8:00 and drove down to the Channel Tunnel, a pretty smooth uneventful 3 hours and then we were able to take an earlier train through the tunnel. Loaded the cars on and off we went, 35 mins later we were in France, and off to our first stop in Arras (about halfway between Calais and DLP).

We had stopped here before when Mikey was a baby, but never really looked around. This day we explored. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express for about 70 euro, £56, $112 for bed, breakfast and parking. Not bad and a great location (me missed Metallica's concert in the Grand Place by a few days )

We explored, shopped a little and then went into the wonderful caves under the town. A facinating tour presented in French in English. It rained a little, but not too bad.

We then had a a lovely dinner in a Medeterranian restaurant and an early night. we had hoped to go to Parc Asterix the next day.

Pics including more detail trip report:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.368rq0drd&x=0&h=1&y=2qwwg6&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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Day 2 - Travelling down

We got up early today, hoping to head out to Parc Asterix on the Friday rather than a weekend. When we woke up, the heavens had opened up, and clearly going to a non DLP theme park with little ones was a bad idea.

We decided to take a leisurely journey for the day (only a 90 min drive to the next hotel if we were pushing it).

We first of all went to the lovely town of Noyon and enjoyed the mix of architectural styles.

Then off to Compiegne, where I went on French exchange as a teen. Drove around the town including past the palace of Napolean and Josephine and into the forest.

After encountering a cross country horse race, we passed the Armistace Carriage of WWI (will stop by when the kids are a little older) and went to the storybook town of Pierrefonds.

We enjoyed the views of the castle, took in a small lunch at the cafe (croque Massuers, Saucisse de Frankfort avec frites and Leffe). Not the healthiest, but quick as the kids were hungry.

It was pouring with rain, so we went to a free craft exhibits where using my broken french and their broken english, we chatted for about an hour while the kids played with the yorkshire terrier puppy that was there. The quilting work and paintings were good too and it was a fun little diversion.

At about 3pm we decided to head to our hotel. We decided to stop at the Holiday Inn at Roissy near Charle de Gaul airport. No pool, but other than that, it was definately 4 star all the way.

We were upgraded to an executive room with robes and slippers and we were very pleased with the hotel.

We chose it to earn more points towards future DLP trips and also because of it's location. 15mins from Parc Asterix, a free shuttle to the metro station for easy access to Paris, and about 45 mins from DLP. We thought it would give us lots of options (which it did).

That evening we dolled ourselves up a bit and went down for dinner. We had a wonderful 3 course meal with a bottle of Cote de Rhone, and Sarah's duck was to die for (plus kids eat free).

This was a great choice. The room was a special rate of 79 Euro (£64 or $128 a night including parking). Dinner was good value considering it was an airport hotel - 124 euro - much cheaper than the DLP offerings (£100, $200). I recommend it for those that want a clean, modern, large room with good service not in the city.

More details and pics:


http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.30e00c42x&x=0&h=1&y=63w53y&localeid=en_GB
 
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davewasbaloo

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Day 3 - Parc Asterix - 40min from MVCI

We woke up that morning to beautiful sunshine. Even though as veteran park hoppers, we knew Saturdays are not a good idea. But the choice was Paris or Parc Asterix, and something told me the kids were history and cultured out a bit, so we went to the Park instead.

We swung by McDonalds for some chocolate pancakes and ham and gruyer pancakes, then on to Parc Asterix.

The queue to get in to the car park was mammoth and took us nearly and hour to get from the autoroute to the park gates (not a great sign, but we were there).

We had ignored Parc Asterix in the past because we thought the kids were too young. But Jessica really love Dolphins and I had heard really good things (including reassurances that little ones would have fun). We are really glad we went in spite of the crowds.

For those that do not know the Asterix stories, they are like a non PC version of Gummi Bears or Popeye to a degree. A great story of friendship and community by the celtic gauls beating the romans through the help of the druidic potions.

The park feels like a very french version of a Busch park or old school Knott's Berry Farm - great!!!! The shows are first rate (not quite Disney standard, but certainly at Universal Studios standards), and the craftsmen are wonderful.

There are lots of thrills on offer for those who are after them (the crowds were too big for me to try - not willing to spend 3 hrs away from the family for 2 mins of fun). There are lots of kiddy rides too.

But for me, the fun was the theming and entertainment, which is good, because it is a good way to beat the crowds.

I do recommend Parc Asterix, especially if you are a fan of the comics. We had a ball.

for more details and pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.27wbw7ull&x=0&h=1&y=-uf4g6s&localeid=en_GB
 

lprstn

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Thanks for posting!

This will help planning my trip for 2010 (yes I am researching all the specifics now).

Questions?

- Whats a good site for understanding the money conversions?
- How easy is it to get around Paris/DLP?
- Should we stay on site? or off site to save money?
 

davewasbaloo

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This will help planning my trip for 2010 (yes I am researching all the specifics now).

Questions?

- Whats a good site for understanding the money conversions?
- How easy is it to get around Paris/DLP?
- Should we stay on site? or off site to save money?
Please feel free to ask any questions (50 trips to DLP now under my belt, and we own here too). You may wish to check my posts from last June to as they give you other alternative options too.

Money conversions, I like to use this one:

http://www.xe.com/ucc/

It is very useful indeed.

Getting around Paris is quite easy (but I speak some French and use the London Underground for work). If it seems a little daunting, both MVCI and DLP offer bus tours in English. The day time tour will take you on a cruise on the same, up the Eiffel Tower, and some time to explore Notre Dame (it is a bit rushy and more expensive than doing it yourself, but if a foreign language and culture is a little nerve wracking, it's not a bad option. The night time one will show you the City of Lights all a sparkle.

But please be sure to check out other places other than Paris (I recommend Provins which is 45 min from MVCI).

Hmmmm as a tugger, I would recomend a 2 bedroom unit at MVCI, much better experience than the Disney hotels for our tastes, more room, better service. But be warned, there are no restaurants on site. there are take out delivery services, and places within a 15 min walk however.

If you are thinking hotels, for a family of your size, you would need a few rooms (not even the DLP suites sleep more than 5).

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
 

davewasbaloo

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DLP with the Baloos Day 1

Our first day at DLP we got up in the Holiday Inn at Charles De Gaul and had a hearty breakfast, hopped in the car, and 40 mins later pulled up at the Hotel New York.

Bell Services took our luggage, Sarah and and the kids went in and I parked. After some meet and greets with Pluto, and an exploration of the changes in the Village, we renewed our APS (getting Jessica her 1st - great deal right now, free AP for children under 7 for each adult AP purchased).

I was thrilled to be greeted with a live Dixieland band, the overdue return of live entertainment in the parks!!!!!

We managed to squeeze in a trip on IASW (lot's of photos included below so American guests can see the slight differences of ours), PotC and Phantom Manor before our glorious lunch at the Silver Spur. As always it was fantastic, and we had great service from an Italian Cast member who would like to participate on the Italian exchange to World Showcase at WDW. After 2.5 hours of a blissful meal and a good bottle of wine, we headed back to the hotel to check in and unpack.

We went for a little swim, had a rest and went back into the park for the evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the attractions as always and we got a great spot in front of the stage for Candebrellaration - not bad for Fantillusion, but great for the castle lighting and fireworks!!!

We were exhausted as we slipped into bed.

Here are some pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.257wp4q3t&x=0&h=1&y=eueyue&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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Well after the late night it was up the next morning, with a day at WDSP, swimming and Buffalo Bill's Wild West show followed by a romantic view of the fireworks from our room!!!!

The Studios were really busy, and the waits for Crush were silly. At least they weren't trying anything silly like Fastpass for it (sadly later in the week they did, and if ever I saw a reason to get ride of fastpass, that was it!!!!).

We really enjoyed the shows as always, and the new enhancements of the park shows that things are getting better and better. Tower has really made a positive difference.

I wonder if I actually prefer WDSP to DLP. Ok, maybe not quite, but wow, it is becoming a great little park.

We had a great day, and then dressed up in our Western Gear for Buffalo Bills (they made a few noticeable cutbacks for regulars, but nothing virgins would recognise). We met a huge family from the States and they loved it (they were a little cynical before the show, coming from Atlanta and Orange County Ca, but they loved it). And the French family next to us gave the show a stand ovation. The kids loved it too.

And me, I can't watch it without the darned ending bringing a little tear to my eye!

Into the Village, we were terribly disappointed with the generic merchandise in the Western Store, a sign they want to kill what used to be the resort's best themed store.

We had a couple of Mojito's and children's virgin cocktails in our hotel bar with souvenir glasses. Bit of sticker shock though - 39 Euro (£32, $64). But they were good and the glasses are lovely.

But watching the fireworks from our room was sublime.

Here are more details and pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.394cqzb8p&x=0&h=1&y=-25kbcz&localeid=en_GB
 

lprstn

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Called DLP for reservations for 6, and they only had 1 place that could accomodate us. 2 nights and a 3 day pass to the parks for $1989 (its the equivalent of Fort Wilderness). Has 1 bedroom/kitchen and bunk beds. If we did a tour from London/ 3 day tour which includes 1 day at DLP the price is about $489 per person, and includes hotel stays & the tour.
 

davewasbaloo

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DLP with the Baloos Day 3

Given the earlier bedtime, we dragged ourselves up at 6:00 awakened by Goofy, so we could be sure to in the park to enjoy Extra Magic Hours (2 hours before the park opens up to the rest of the general public). We got the kids dressed up as Cinderella and Buzz (thanks to a tip from friends, these 45 euro, £36, $72 outfits were available at TK Maxx for £12, 15 euro, $24). wow, what a difference it made to our enjoyment.

We were at the park for EMH and enjoyed Peter Pan, Dumbo, the Teacups times 2, the Carousel, Pinnochio, Buzz x 4 and Space Mountain all before the park opened. Cool thing is, because Mikey was a Space Ranger, we were escourted through the fastpass line each time.

We then queued for Autopia (a 70 min wait, 10 min before park opening). But the kids loved it.

We enjoyed the park a little while longer and then went out for a swim and nap.

We then had a great late lunch/early dinner at King Ludwigs. I had White Sausages and a pretzel, followed by schnitzel and fries, accompanied by a very large Dark Beer, followed by apple strudel and coffee.

Sarah had a beer flight with a mixed grill of sausages and pork on saurkraut, followed by a gorgeous Cafe Gormand. The kids had hotdogs and fries, with ice cream.

As usual great food and setting with ok service. It came to 140 euro (£112, $224) but it was very good.

Afterwards we watched the parade (am I the only one who thinks that 7pm is too late for the afternoon parade?). We enjoyed some attractions and then the very last train around the Magic Kingdom. Sarah insisted I stay and enjoy the night time festivities (the kids were too tired). After a debate, I obliged. I found an ok place near Discoveryland but there was aweful guest behaviour until they found out I could speak French. I came to the conclusion that we had a better fireworks view from the room. But it was nice to enjoy the vibe.

Here are the pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.1hamaeb8p&x=0&h=1&y=87z8jr&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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We had breakfast in the Manhatten Restaurant, followed by another morning in the Studios.

Tried the ToT and loved it. Same with Stitch, even better than Turtle Talk (and me made friends with a lovely dutch family of AP holders). We enjoyed Animagique as usual, and the kids loved the Animation exhibit (I still cry during the montage - so stupid, I know).

They were trialling Crush Fastpass, which was aweful - stand by waits at nearly 3 hours for it and while Sarah queued for 25 min for fastpasses, the time zipped by nearly 4 hours. It meant we could not use the 3:30 slots as we had 4pm reservations. It also drove the wait times for Cars up to an hour and the Carpets were at 45 min (same level crowds before FP the couple of days before - those were 25 and 10 mins respectively). If this isn't a sign that FP is evil, I don't know what is.

We had some good character encounters, and then went to the Steakhouse for dinner. Once again it was sublime, and Patrick was serving. You see he is quite important to us, as on Mikey's first trip to DLP age 12 weeks, Patrick made a huge fuss over us, and put bread plates by Mikey to give him mouse ears (you may remember the photos). He also held him while we ate our main course to give us some piece. Well he remembered us!!!! So cool. and gave Jessie some free ice cream. So nice.

It was a great meal, we then shopped in the Village and headed back for a swim and an early night.

Here are the pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.2poiijrvt&x=0&h=1&y=-vbw2z4&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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Our last full day at the resort, we were sure to make the most of it. We had some fantastic memories here, including being gifted by a cast member on Big Thunder (multiple rides with minimal queuing), seeing a cast member friend on Buzz, enjoying the company of the UKFAN posse, and a wonderful dinner overlooking the parade from Walts.

This day I got to dance with the African drummers (may put the video on YouTube if people are interested). A brush with nature featured in the day too.

And I have chronicled boot hill at Phantom Manor, Adventure Isle and the Adventureland Bazaar for some of my friends that are unfamiliar with it.

We finished up the day after exploring the park by night with watching the fireworks all cuddled up in our PJs in the room as a family. A great last night.

Here are the pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.17092dhk9&x=0&h=1&y=-fxqur3&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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Overall we had an awesome time. There were somethings that need improving, and other things that are almost as good as opening day. The resort was so busy, and yet pleasant, and it fills me with hope for the future.

On our last morning, we got up early, packed and went to breakfast. We enjoyed an extramagic hour and basically said our good byes. Due to timings we couldn't fit everything in we wanted (missing the Tram Tour, Rock n Roller Coaster, Armageddon, the Lion King, and the Nautilus). I really wish they had EMH at the WDSP and that the Lion King did not have dark days (also why is the Nautilus running such short hours, makes me nervous for it's future). We decided not to do the Labrynth, prefering to see it post refurb (though the leapfrog fountains were working).

We had some lucky moments meeting Cinderella with no queue, same for Goofy, and also enjoying a band concert before going to lunch.

We had an enjoyable meal with the UKFAN posse (cannot wait to read their trip report of the last days of the summer season). And headed off home. a quick stop off at the Hypermarket, and some good deals on cases of wine at the terminal, 8 hours later, we arrived home wanting to book our next advenutre to DLP.

Overall we were very impressed as DLP was the closest to Disneyland standards in years, and reconfirmed we will not be heading back to WDW for a while.

I just would like to see a return to greatness for the HNY, and the shopping, a standardisation of hours, and a continuation of live non character entertainment and I will be happy. But the resort is doing very well, the new additions are great quality, and I am cautiously optimistic.

Now, must find a way to get there for the Halloween and Christmas celebrations.

Pics:

http://www.kodakgallery.co.uk/I.jsp?c=56a8td25.24nl8x6w9&x=0&h=1&y=-wvi8iy&localeid=en_GB
 

davewasbaloo

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Called DLP for reservations for 6, and they only had 1 place that could accomodate us. 2 nights and a 3 day pass to the parks for $1989 (its the equivalent of Fort Wilderness). Has 1 bedroom/kitchen and bunk beds. If we did a tour from London/ 3 day tour which includes 1 day at DLP the price is about $489 per person, and includes hotel stays & the tour.
Hmmm, I am very nervous of tours, especially at those rates. Often in poor hotels and very little time to take things in. Be sure to check out reviews before booking.

How long do you want in France and what do you want to do? what sort of level of comfort are you used to at home?

Europe is very different to the US, much more expensive and some lesser service standards (and some much better too). I am happy to help your planning.
 

lprstn

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Hmmm, I am very nervous of tours, especially at those rates. Often in poor hotels and very little time to take things in. Be sure to check out reviews before booking.

How long do you want in France and what do you want to do? what sort of level of comfort are you used to at home?

Europe is very different to the US, much more expensive and some lesser service standards (and some much better too). I am happy to help your planning.
Well we would like at least 1 bathroom, and I did want to do Paris in 1 day and spend 2 days at DLP. My original idea was to go to the English countryside for 5 days / 2 days in London / 3 days in Paris @ DLP and spend 1 of those days on a escorted day tour from the resort. Or to go on a tour that included hotel/tour/some meals leaving from London.
 

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Thank you for your detailed trip report and pictures!

Maria
 

vacationhopeful

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A lovely travel journal.

I truly enjoyed your family vacation to Disney Paris. It is hard to believe they have been open almost 20 years; WDW opened in 1971.:eek:

Your recollections of the changes were appreciated also. And the prices make WDW a bargain in comparison. And also show how much the US dollar has declined when a decent lunch becomes equal to my monthly electric bill.

And where did you rent those cute kids?;)
 

lprstn

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Ok, I so want to go there now...nice pics what kinda camera you use?
 

davewasbaloo

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Well we would like at least 1 bathroom, and I did want to do Paris in 1 day and spend 2 days at DLP. My original idea was to go to the English countryside for 5 days / 2 days in London / 3 days in Paris @ DLP and spend 1 of those days on a escorted day tour from the resort. Or to go on a tour that included hotel/tour/some meals leaving from London.
Hmmm, it would be good to talk about this one in detail. I live in the UK and travel a lot for work. If you have any queries, plese let me know.

As for DLP, you could look into renting into MVCI, though the Holiday Inn is also a good call if you do not want to stay in the more expensive Disney hotels.

Personally I am not a big fan of multi day tours, but different strokes.
 

davewasbaloo

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A lovely travel journal.

I truly enjoyed your family vacation to Disney Paris. It is hard to believe they have been open almost 20 years; WDW opened in 1971.:eek:

Your recollections of the changes were appreciated also. And the prices make WDW a bargain in comparison. And also show how much the US dollar has declined when a decent lunch becomes equal to my monthly electric bill.

And where did you rent those cute kids?;)
Thanks. Hmmmm, I don't know, I was really disappointed with my last trip to WDW. Also, the days of cheap flights seem to be long gone. For us DLP was still much cheaper.
 

ciscogizmo1

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Thanks for sharing your trip report with us again!!! I really enjoyed it and hope to visit one day soon.
 
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