Disneyland Paris On A Budget – How To Have A Magical Time Without Breaking The Bank! (Part 1: Travel)

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Hi! – I’m James (AKA ‘The Deal Daddy’). I’m a single dad who loves exploring the world with my son and sharing adventures together that we will hopefully never forget. Money can be tight and travelling can be expensive, so I’ve had to develop a range of tips/tricks to make sure we can travel affordably, and now I’m ready to share them with you too!

First up is a series of posts on how to have an incredible time at Disneyland Paris, without spending huge sums of money. I know it’s a bit cheesy, but Disneyland really can be a magical experience, particularly for little ones. If you don’t plan carefully, however, it can also be eye-wateringly expensive!

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My son and I have been three times in the last couple of years and I’ve done a lot of research to make those trips possible, so sit back and read on to discover how you too can enjoy a wonderful family holiday to Disneyland Paris, without it costing the earth.

Part 1: Best way to travel to Disneyland Paris

Obviously you can travel to Paris by plane and with so many budget airlines to choose from including Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet 2, Flybe & British Airways (yep, I’m including them in the ‘budget list’ now!) there are a lot of deals to be had.

If your dates are flexible, you can find flights for as little as £30.00 Return, though £60.00+ is more usual.

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It’s also worth remembering that children no longer pay Air Passenger Duty (APD) on flights departing the UK. APD is £13.00 in Economy on flights from the UK to Paris, so (as up to £13 will be removed from your child’s ticket as the APD discount) on the very cheapest fares your kids can actually fly free! This can be seen in action here:

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Regardless of what you might read elsewhere online, it’s really very difficult to predict with any accuracy when the best time to book flights is. Airline revenue management is a mysterious world to us mere mortals, with different airlines holding different sales (of varying value) all through the year.

My best advice is simply to work out what you can afford, keep your eyes open and have a price in mind for what you would personally consider a good deal. If you see a price you’re happy with and the flight dates and times suit your plans, then go for it!

I usually find the best site to search with is Skyscanner as it compares every airline and the month view feature is great. You can also download it as an App on your phone too.

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Depending on where you live in the UK (and if time is a big factor in your holiday plans) flying can definitely be a good option, but there are a couple of additional things you need to consider:

  • Getting to the airport and through security etc can add on a lot of time (and sometimes stress!) to your journey, particularly if you are travelling with small children.
  • Even if you snag some cheap flights, add-ons like hold luggage and airport transfers can easily double the cost of what seemed like a great deal.

Avios for flights

If you want to fly and your kids are of school age, then you’ve got to travel during the school holidays (well…more or less!), and obviously flights can be relatively expensive then.

This is where having (even a small) stash of Avios Points can really help. For just 4,000-4,500 Avios + £17.50 each way you can fly with British Airways to Paris, and that includes one checked bag (up to 23kg) too.

Finding Avios award availability for busy times of the year isn’t always easy, but there are lots of flights each day to Paris, so if you are organised and book well in advance you should be fine.

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Today (5th October 2016) you can book Avios award flights to Paris for dates up until 24th September – so 354 days in advance.

In fact there are currently still plenty of Avios seats available to Paris every single day of next year’s Summer Holidays!

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Eurostar

As much me and my son both enjoy flying, I would actually personally recommend traveling by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Disneyland Paris – you get dropped off right on the doorstep to ‘the magic’, which is a unique and incredible way to start your unforgettable holiday!

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Some of the other reasons I prefer the Eurostar are:

  • Security at London St. Pancras Station is effortless in comparison to airports, and you can arrive nearer the departure time.
  • Trains are far more spacious, so us parents can stretch out!
  • There is no need to pay extra for taking suitcases and you can take more than two if you like.
  • There is no need to arrange or pay for airport transfers.
  • Travel time from London St. Pancras to Disneyland Paris itself is just 2 hours 40 minutes.
  • London St. Pancras is just across the road from Kings Cross Station, so it’s extremely easy to get to from most of the UK. Unless you live more than 3 hours away by train from London, by the time you factor in getting to/from airports etc, flying is unlikely to save you much/any time.

In other words, it’s usually just a bit easier, more relaxed and generally nicer way to travel.

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Prices

Prices start from just £72.00 Return for adults with discounted kids fares available.

There are two main ways of travelling to Disneyland by Eurostar:

Direct services from London to Disneyland Paris run several times a week but the cheapest tickets sell out fast and can go up steeply in price very quickly.

Indirect services from London to Disneyland Paris (changing at Lille) run several times a day offering far more choice and flexibility at the same £72.00 Return for adults. These tickets can be booked up to 3 months in advance.

It’s incredibly easy and quick to change trains at Lille, as you literally get off the Eurostar and cross over to the opposite platform to catch your French TGV train. There are escalators and lifts to help with luggage or if you have mobility problems. On your return, just look out for the Eurostar signs once off your French TGV train at Lille.

The best places to book are the Eurostar site itself or the SNCF site.

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You can, of course, use Avios (or American Express Membership Rewards Points) to book Eurostar tickets, but unless you have a big Avios stockpile, I don’t think the value is good enough really as you get less than 1p per Avios.

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These guys are waiting for you!

Flying or going by train are both great options for starting your Disneyland Paris adventure. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below.

Part 2 will follow soon!

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