Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: How can we stay sane on our family trip to Disneyland Paris?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Friday 16 November 2012
Q I'm about to commit to an excursion to Disneyland Paris next summer with my two daughters (age 6 and 11) and a very reluctant spouse. What advice can you give to get the best out of the holiday whilst maintaining some resemblance of sanity? The plan is to stay on site at one of the Disney Theme hotels for 3-5 days, eating on site.
Simon Mulholland, Harrogate
A Great question, but I must say your plan “to stay on site at one of the Disney Theme hotels for 3-5 days, eating on site” strikes me as a short-cut to bankruptcy – without, actually, being a huge amount of fun.
Disneyland Paris is a superb theme park, and I have visited it with my two daughters a couple of times. Each time, we have stayed for a nights in the painfully-expensive-but-still-worth-it Disneyland Hotel. That’s not because we wanted to “savour the charms of yesteryear, and live it up in the unequalled style of a Victorian mansion,” as the Disney publicity has it, but because the hotel is right above the park gates and we wanted to get in early – the most alluring parts of Disneyland Park are available to hotel guests up to two hours before the park opens to normal people. That means you get in quick, whizz around the most enticing attractions with hardly any queues, and can wander back to the hotel for breakfast just as the lines start forming. (The Disneyland Hotel has an excellent swimming pool, which has been surprisingly uncrowded on our visits.)
Suitably reinvigorated, you saunter back in around noon, which is when lines start to dwindle because people are eating lunch. Spend the afternoon appreciating the atmosphere and picking up the less sought-after attractions, then take in the parade before dinner.
But beware: even eating frugally, I have never been able to dine at the Disneyland Hotel for under €100 for a family of four. So my advice is to push the boat out for a maximum of two nights at the Disneyland Hotel (or one of the less expensive and convenient Disney hotels) then retreat to proper Paris to savour the Parisian capital and its many excellent-value restaurants and picnic opportunities.
Better still, from Mrs Mulholland’s point of view, would be to stay in real Paris and commute out to Disneyland – about 35 minutes on the RER (suburban railway) from Gare de Lyon. My preferred place to stay in this locale is the Hotel de France, about five minutes’ walk away, and with quadruple rooms for €100 or less: grandhoteldefrance.com.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 - £18000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a high-end niche t...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: Flight Centre Business Tra...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Increases in tourism, the introduction of new...