Holiday's are expensive, and Disneyland is no exception.
On both of my trips as an adult I've had plenty people tell me that, 'You could of afforded to go to America for the same price as a Paris trip!' and so I'm here to prove that wrong.
I'm not made of money, and you all know that haha, but with a little saving up and these following tips, anyone can have a trip of a lifetime to the magical Disneyland Paris!
Go Off Peak.
First up, the time of year you decide to have your holiday makes all the difference. The cheapest times to visit are called the 'off peak season', simply meaning the times when it is less busy - usually when there are no big holidays like Easter, Christmas or when the schools are on break. (And not just the UK school holidays, remember Disneyland is in France so you have to take into account their schools too!)
When staying for less than 7 days I'd recommend avoiding the weekends where possible as well as obviously for the locals it's a popular location for a day out. For a full list of French public and school holidays, have a peek at this website!
A lot of people don't like to go off peak as at quieter times the park sometimes has shorter opening hours and closed attractions, but to be honest you will find closed attractions throughout the year as they are being maintained etc. You can actually check on the Disneyland website what the park hours will be and which attractions will be unavailable, though only for 3 months ahead.
Book at the Right Time.
I won't go too far into this point, but as you can imagine just like everywhere else, Disneyland has offers on through different parts of the year in which you can save between 15-30% off the usual price you would pay. For example, right now the '40 Yes Days' offers are on, on trips between the 1st of April and the 31st of October if you book by the 31st of March!
Some of these are even available during school holidays for those who can't take their children out of school and have to go during peak season which is handy.
You'd think that staying more days just means paying more money but it actually pays off to stay a little longer. Extra days are cheaper to add to your trip (or sometimes if you book 3 nights you'll get a 4th free etc) as well as meaning making the most of your park tickets, having the chance to see and do more.
This applies especially during peak season as queues are undoubtedly longer, taking up more of your precious exploring time by waiting! It's worth it though eh?
Make the Most of the Meal Plans.
When we went for my 6th birthday (1996) I'm pretty sure that 'half board' at Disney wasn't an option? Though I'm sure there are some experts out there who will prove me wrong. Anyways, both my trips in 2010 and 2014 were drastically improved by paying a tiny bit extra when booking to get meal vouchers.
Food, everything from meals to snacks, is super expensive - probably one of the biggest expenses at Disneyland Paris so I 100% push the meal plan option at anyone who asks for my suggestions.
With different options you can customize your meal plan experience to suit your families budget and eating habits, for more information click here!
It's no exaggeration that we saved upwards of 400 euro!!
Don't Go Shopping Straight Away.
It might be hard to compose yourself and not run directly into the hotel boutique right after check in, or even blow all your money in the park shops on the first day - but do try and refrain, it's worth it.
Perhaps buy your ears and an autograph book if you are doing so, but by leaving souvenir and gift shopping until your last couple of days you won't waste money on spur of the moment purchases and will have had time to have a good look around all of the different things on offer.
Take a Limited Amount of Cash Per Day.
Similarly, one of the biggest tips I have regarding shopping is to leave the majority of your money locked away in the suitcase or safe in your room. Budgeting is key and by only allowing yourself a certain percentage of your money per day, you'll be sure not to run out and leave sad on the last day because you can't afford that one must have item. (Another point to add is I really do not recommend using your bank card while away. Obviously take it incase of emergencies, but just be careful with the every changing exchange rate and card charges!)
Make a Wish List.
I had a good idea of things I wanted to bring back, that you can't get over here, before I went and so put together a wish list - which you can see here! I know not everyone has a blog or wants to make such a thing but it's just like going to the supermarket with a shopping list.
Buy the things you 'need' from your list first. Then at the end of the holiday if you have any left over spending money you can treat yourself to the extras you may have spotted.
Buy a Photo Pass+.
If you are the type who only has a mobile phone camera to take photos of the family with the characters, or would like your screaming face from Space Mountain in a frame at home, I highly suggest investing in a photo pass and buying the photos from the rides and that the professional photographers take for you.
Buying the photos individually can be pricey, so the PhotoPass+ is an excellent option which saves high quality digital files to the website where you can access them to share and download whenever suits you! (Well, within 1 year of its purchase..!) See more here.
Choose Travel Wisely.
There are many ways of getting to Paris. Plane, train or automobile (via ferry of course) so price up your different options and choose the best for you. This will vary from which part of the country you are in! For example, the cheapest option from where I am in the North East of England would probably be coach. You can get a 2 night stay for 2 for only a few hundred pound, with everything included, though it takes maaannnnyy hours of travel. Plane is the next best thing, you can get cheap flights from Newcastle with not much other travel than perhaps the shuttle from Charles De Gaul to Disneyland itself.
Next time however, despite it's extra expensive, I will definitely be going by eurostar again as my fear of flying is so bad and only worsened with our experience at Charles De Gaul airport! It's a relaxing journey, cheap in itself and you step out of the station right at the gates to Disneyland. The only thing that makes this the most expensive option for us are the trains in the UK, which at a minimum will cost around £100 each to get to London!!
Take Your Own.
This has been something we've had to do no matter where we've been on holiday because I am just that fussy. Last year we took the little Robinsons juice concentrate squeezy things with us so that we could buy bottles of water and add it to it, for something to drink both in the hotel room and in while walking around in the park. It wasn't just handy for fussy old me who struggles to find food and drinks that I like while out and about, but it also was a money saver!
For those who can drink just water, maybe you could take one of those water bottles that have the filter inside to fill up and take around the park with you.
And there we have it, my not so quick advice and tips for doing a Disneyland Paris trip on a budget. I hope this is of help to at least one person, even if with only one of the points.
Let me know if you enjoyed this, if you've used any of the options above or if you will in the future.
Thanks for reading and please do feel free to share this with anyone you know that has been looking into a Disney holiday.