The best way to book your Disneyland Paris holiday
I'll be recommending some sites and methods here purely based on my personal experiences of booking for Disneyland Paris over the years, so hopefully it can help you book your perfect holiday at a good price. So let's get to it!
What are you intending to do?
Are you intending to only go to Disneyland Paris for your entire break or do you want to combine it with a visit to Paris or elsewhere? I'm asking because this is something you should consider and decide before you book your trip as there are different ways to get a better price depending on what you are planning to do during your trip.
We have done both, before kids we used to combine a trip to Disney with a stroll around Paris or Versailles, or just a day driving around the area or going shopping. Since we had kids, we have only done Disney. In our last trip we actually had plans to go to Paris on our last day for Joseph to see the Eiffel Tower, but who were we kidding?! We went back to the Disney Parks on our last day. Just bare in mind the age of your kids, if they are still young it might just be a bit too much to combine lots of things in one trip, but of course every family is different!
Before you start looking: Decide if you want to just do Disney or combine Disney with another attraction (s).
How long have you got?
Do you strictly only have weekends because you don't want to go during half term? (I would also strongly suggest you read my previous blog post here with my advice on how long to go to Disney for!) Or do you have a whole week (potentially!) because you will look at the half term weeks?
Knowing how long you potentially have in total is useful as often, for example, a holiday package of 4 nights will cost you the same as 3 nights. Deals which give you extra free nights are common so of course you want to get those if they are a good deal, so knowing that you have a whole week to play with, for example, will help you search for the best value for money options.
Before you start looking: Look at the calendar and jot down all the date periods you could potentially go. That way you can do a quote online for all the dates you have to see which is cheaper and which dates have any deals.
Do you have a budget?
So... many people don't have a budget when it comes to Disney (it's true!), they just try to get the best possible price. I do that. I do my quotes on all possible dates I can make it work for us throughout the whole year and then I pick the cheapest / best value for money. It's a long exercise, I'm warning you now. But if like me you don't have a lot of money to spare then it's what you have to do.
If you do work with budgets, then I'd suggest that next to your dates, you jot down the absolute maximum amount of money you can spend in order to keep you focused when you are getting your quotes. Often you will be able to make it work if you are strict and open to compromise on the hotel.
Before you start looking: If you do work with budgets, write down what it is next to your dates to keep you focused. REMEMBER that you will spend potentially a lot of money while you are there, so if you are writing down your budget for the whole trip, remember that you package is only part of the cost. I have a YouTube video telling you exactly how much I have spend on my trip last year, broken down by food, merchandise, petrol park tickets etc. Watch it here.
How are you getting there?
You may want to decide this after you check prices for all the transport options, but you may want to pre-decide what you are willing to do. For example, we don't like to fly, so we wouldn't be willing to do that. We are also not willing to do the coach while the kids are still so little (but we will soon as they get bigger). So I always quote for Eurostar, Ferry and Eurotunnel. If you don't drive, then of course driving is out. You get the gist.
If you are interested, our preferred way is always driving and I book the crossing with Clubcard vouchers. I know now that the crossing therefore is free, European Breakdown Cover is about £25 for the week, tool charges are £25 each way and we spend about 1 and a half tanks in diesel there and back. So I know already how much my transport costs upfront, but Eurostar of course always changes in prices so you do need to check. You can watch my video on the advantages of driving here.
As I said we have never travelled by coach by I know people who has via National Holidays and loved it. It is also a lot cheaper too.
Before you start looking: what are you willing to do in terms of transport? Useful for you to decide now as some sites will offer you a free crossing or Eurostar upgrade for example. But if you are using Clubcard vouchers let's say, then you're better off going for a different deal elsewhere that gives you a different perk.
You are ready to start quoting!
As I said, no matter what type of holiday you are having and how long for, do a quote for all the dates on your list and jot them down, so you can compare which date is cheaper and/or best value for money. Disneyland Paris has a grid you can download from the website which has prices for all the dates of the year (go to the links at the bottom of the page of the Disneyland Paris website here), which is extremely useful but it won't take into consideration any current offers, so although I do look at the grid, I will always for a quote too for all my dates. And don't forget to shift your dates by a day or two either way when possible as often you'll get a big price difference from Sunday to a Monday, for example.
After you selected a couple of dates that are the best price, go and do a quote for the EXACT SAME PACKAGE at another site or two. Make sure you are selecting the same dates, same hotel, same extras. This way you'll know which site is currently cheaper to book through.
My personal favourite booking sites
Right...these recommendations are from personal experience. Whenever I'm booking for Disney, I will always quote with Disneyland Paris directly first. It is quick to do it on the website and you can save your quotes for later if you sign in. Often, it is the same price to book your package with Disney directly than it is to book with an agent, so I prefer to book with Disney.
My second favourite option is to book with Magic Breaks. Although it may not always be cheaper to book with them, depending on what you want from your lists above, you may get extras that will save you money. For example, Magic Breaks will often throw in a free ferry crossing, or Eurostar Upgrade, a free PhotoPass etc. If you were intending to buy any those extras anyway, then you can save money this way. This is when knowing what you want beforehand come in handy, so you don't get distracted by stuff you don't need! They also have a pretty good customer service team and you can pay with a deposit (you can with Disney too).
If you want to quote like a Disneyland Paris pro, you can go one step further. Me and other seasoned Disney folk will also quote on the Disneyland Paris website of other European countries! I'd recommend checking the French, Spanish and German sites (just go to the website and change countries at the top). You will be surprised at the price difference you can get for the same date! Of course, bare in mind any currency exchanges.
Is it cheaper to buy a package or book things separately?
I go through this exercise EVERY TIME we book! and EVERY TIME it is cheaper to buy a package. So here's what I recommend:
If you are only going to Disneyland Paris for the whole holiday, buy a package. You will get a deal, it's less hassle and it will save you money.
If you are combining Disney with another attraction, it might be cheaper to book things separately as when you buy a package you are buying (expensive) park tickets for every day of your visit. Although you can book room only at a Disney hotel, it is nearly as expensive than a package and not worth it.
I have booked Disney partner hotels before with Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com . They have all been great. Then you can book your park tickets directly from the Disneyland Paris website in advance for a discounted price, only for the days you need.
Bare in mind that park tickets are expensive and it might still be cheaper for you to buy a package just for the days you want to go to Disney and then change hotels for the last part of your journey to carry onto your next attraction. For example, we don't like to go to the Disney parks on the day we arrive because we're tired from travelling and we like to sped the evening just chilling and checking out the shops in Disney Village. So it would be a waste to have (expensive) park tickets for our first day. However, it is always cheaper to buy a package for all days then to buy a room only for he first day. Got it? So we used to just book the whole thing and not use the first day tickets. Nowadays, however, we found we can save quite a bit of money but going to a Disney partner hotel (room only) just for the first night and then buy a package starting from the following day bat a Disney hotel.
Is is more expensive to stay at a Disney hotel?
Not necessarily. Remember the deals I talked about, where you can get extra nights or free half-board? They are only applicable to Disney hotels. So although a partner hotel might be cheaper on a room only basis, if you are booking also park tickets and with the extras, 9/10 times it will be cheaper to stay at a Disney hotel. My very next blog post will be on Disney Hotels, so watch this space!
However, you might want to book a partner hotel for the first and/or last days separately from you package like we do. Or if you are going at a time of the year when there are no deals going, a partner hotel package might be cheaper. Or if you are going to spend more time in Paris then in Disney, a hotel outside of the Disney bubble all together (like a self catering apartment) might work out cheaper. But if you are only doing Disney... I'd say stick with packages.
If you happen to have a Disneyland Paris annual pass... or thinking about one... then things change quite a lot. I'm writing a blog post on this too, as after days of doing the maths (I'm that savvy person!) we decided to buy an annual pass for our last trip because the discounts you get may make it worth it. It's all about what you want to do in your trip, so I can't stress enough about making the lists I recommended, so you don't get distracted when comparing different offers and perks.
In a nut shell...
Stick to a holiday package, either for the whole trip or just for the days you want to go to Disney and then change hotels for the rest of your trip.
Jot down all the possible dates you could go, your budget and transport method. Then spend an evening quoting for all dates on the Disneyland Paris website. Choose the best date which offer best value for money and then quote the exact same package at one or more other sites to compare prices.
Quote like a pro: try to quote on sites from different countries too. Shift a day or two of your preferred date to see if arriving a day earlier or later is cheaper. Watch out for deals that gives you extras you actually want, don't be side tracked by offers you probably won't make use of.
That's it, you've booked it! Then 3 months from now you see that a better deal has come up which would have made your trip cheaper or give you stuff you would prefer to have. If you booked with Disneyland Paris or Magic Breaks, you can call up and ask to swap deals. If the new deal means an upgrade, there is no amendment fee. If it is not upgrade there will be a fee but most likely you will still save money. I have done this twice before.
So.... if you see a good deal now, don't wait around to see if a better one will come up. Snap it. If something better comes up, call up and change the deal.
I hope this was useful in someway! I have lots and lots more tips for a smooth Disneyland Paris trip over on my YouTube channel here, please do subscribe! And find me on Instagram here, which is mainly where I (digitally) live.
Any questions, let me know! Otherwise, happy quoting!