Friday, 26 August 2016

All About Meal Plans at Disneyland Paris

Where to start? I suppose with the statement that food is expensive and extra so at Disneyland Paris. It might just be me personally, as I don't have a great relationship with food, but I resent having to spend so much money on it. Therefore it's inevitable that I would obviously rather use my hard saved for spending money on pointless souvenirs instead of sustenance.
That is where meal plans come in.
I am their biggest advocate. I recommend them to everyone going to Disneyland Paris. I love them!
As a quick explanation, DLP meal plans come in two varieties. Full Board and Half Board. For both there are three 'tiers' so to say - Standard, Plus and Premium which have different costs to suit your budget and needs. And now, I'll tell you more below...

What You Get -
Half Board // 1 x Pause Gourmand (Teatime Treat) & 1 x Main Meal  per person, per day.
Full Board // 1 x Pause Gourmand (Teatime Treat) & 2 x Main Meal per person, per day.
Teatime treats can be used in exchange for a hot drink and cake between 3-6pm.

What it Costs -
Half Board //  Standard = £21/11 pp pd     Plus = £27/13 pp pd     Premium = £45/23 pp pd
Full Board // Standard = £37/20 pp pd     Plus = £47/23 pp pd     Premium = £77/39 pp pd
The two varying prices above are that of adults vs kids, the lower, obviously being the child cost.

How to Buy -
You must be staying at a Disney hotel to take advantage of this awesome money saving scheme and it is only available to book in advance of your trip. We always book it alongside the rest of our package when booking the hotel.
If booking your holiday online, you will have the option to add this to your package when going through the extras.
If you have already booked and want to add this to your package at a later date, you can call the Disneyland reservations line on 08448 008 111.
The vouchers themselves will be included in your welcome pack when you check in at your hotel.

How to Use -

You can check the full list of where you can use your vouchers here as well as checking individual restaurants menus. Remember that you still need to reserve your table to avoid disappointment as your meal plan does not guarantee a seat!
I personally always like to inform the server upon entering the restaurant that we are on a meal plan, then if it is a buffet you can present them and pay right away and if it is table service, you can use them to pay afterward.
Be aware that in table service restaurants, there may be a set menu you must choose from when using vouchers, depending on your tier. You can also buy extras, or order from other menus and pay the difference once the value of your voucher has been deducted.

What is Standard?
Restaurants you can eat at - 7/24
These 7 are all buffet style, 3 situated in different Disney hotels, 2 in Disneyland Park, 1 in Walt Disney Studios and 1 in Disney Village.
I have gone for this option in half board once and found it very adequate. For fussy eaters or people not too bothered about trying different restaurants, this is a great option to still get value for your money.

What is Plus?
Restaurants you can eat at - 20/24
These 20 restaurants are a mix of buffet and table service, located all over both parks and the village, only omitting character dining  options (minus Cafe Mickey which is included) and the restaurants in the Disneyland Hotel.
I have gone for this option in full board once and very much enjoyed it. It made choosing somewhere to eat less of thought as we could pretty much go anywhere. Remembering that in table service places there are set menus, you still get fantastic value.

What is Premium?
Restaurants you can eat at - 24/24
By paying a little more, you get great benefits. You can eat at all 24 restaurants on the list, including the character dining Auberge de Cendrillon and Inventions in Disneyland Hotel. Oh, it also includes Buffalo Bills dinner show too apparently, though I am unsure for which seating catagory and can't find any info on that.
This is the only option I haven't personally taken, purely as the plus is enough for us and we don't do fancy places!

So now you can see it all broken down, let me give you a couple proper scenarios so that you can see how it can be worth it.
This year we have booked the Plus Half Board meal plan. This costs £27 per person, per day, totaling £270 for our whole trip. It seems costly when you see a huge price tag like that but just wait...

Each day of our trip we get a free breakfast as part of being in a Disney Hotel. 

Day 1
Snack at Cable Car Bake Shop -
Hot Drink €2.69  x2
Cake €3.59 x2 
Total for afternoon snack = €12.56 

Meal at Chuck Wagon Cafe -
Adult Buffet with soft drink €27.49 x2
Total for evening meal = €54.98

Total for 2 people for day 1 =  €67.54  approx. £58.21 

Day 2 
Snack at Restaurant En Coulisse -
Hot drink €2.69 x 2
Muffin €3.99 x 2
Total for afternoon snack = €13.36 

Meal at Bistro Chez Remi -
1 Starter & 1 Main Course €45.99 x 2
Soft drink €4.49 x 2
Total for evening meal = €100.96 

Total for 2 people for day 2 = €114.32  approx. £98.53

I won't go on and on working out each day but let's use these as an example. For meal plan, you pay £27 x 2 for one day which would equal £108 for those two days... or pay cash for each meal, at a considerable difference - £156.74.
Obviously, different restaurants make your prepaid meal plan more worth it than some, however, all do save you at least some money.
The money saving isn't the only upside to meal plans of course. They are handier to have and quicker to use, no need to carry large amounts of money or occur debit card charges.

That's pretty much it I think! I'll include a link or two below to websites that may be of use and other than that I'd love to hear from you on how you find the meal plans at Disneyland Paris. Have you used them? Do you think they're worth it? If you haven't would you consider it in the future?

Disneyland Paris Website - Meal Plans
DLP Guide Website - Meal Plans
DLP Guide Website - Restaurant Menus