Published: July 30, 2012 at 10:02 AMYou can get the Santa Fe and Cheyenne hotels at the resort cheaper than that. Only when they're part of a deal and never in the school holidays. But even then I don't think they're worth the money. The other hotels look really nice, but are so over-priced.
Like you said, there are some really nice hotels off-property at much more reasonable prices and most of them have a shuttle to the parks.
The main draw to WDS at the moment is Crush's Coaster and everyone gets very disappointed with the capacity problems on that ride, combined with the amount of times it seems to break down. Even when the park isn't busy you won't see a queue less than 90 minutes, because it's a unique attraction that has a height limit of only 1 meter. EVERYBODY wants to ride it.
You also have to remember most people who visit the park are European and haven't visited any of the other Disney parks. It is still pretty brilliant and definitely better than nothing.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 10:31 AMGood tips. A small note, the Val d'Europ mall is not only an outlet mall! The larger part is a regular mall, including a large hypermarche and several reasonably priced restaurants.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 10:37 AMI'll be visiting Disneyland Paris this October but having visited Paris in the past AND worked with a lot of French people in a previous job, I completely agree with your report. It is people first then business. My French teacher once told me that when entering a store, a restaurant or any other commercial establishment, one should act like they are entering someone else's house. Being respectful and starting everything with a Bonjour does work! :)
Published: July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AMWe visited Disneyland Paris around Christmas 2010 and have a fantastic time, although 5 inches of snow on the ground made access to all the rides problematic. I also am ashamed to say I didn't do enough research beforehand to know what all the rides were at the park - especially those unique to DLP - so we missed a couple of attractions that we would have liked. I had no idea there was a dragon AA below the castle, nor an Alice maze, plus a couple of other things. Ah well, live and learn. So my advice for planning a trip, especially in winter, is to be prepared with what you want to see. Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones were covered with snow, being outside coasters, so they were closed. Because there's a lot of foot traffic, there's also a lot of slush so wear good boots unless you want your socks to get soaked through (as my wife and daughter learned the hard way).
As for dealing with people - everyone we met in the park was delightful. I apply the same mindset I do wherever I go: be polite from the beginning of an interaction, smile, and be patient. They will 99% of the time be the same thing right back to you. I rarely ever have a problem dealing with someone in a park or restaurant if I go in with a good attitude.
Let me know if anyone's interested in seeing on Youtube the park video we shot of the day at the very snowy, very Christmasy Disneyland Paris.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AMWhat you mentioned about the credit card is spot on. It's enforced by the credit card companies for all EU countries and is not that long around (a few years ago it was similar to the US). Most excepted are MasterCard.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 11:05 AMI would recommend Val d'Europe as a base for anyone visiting DP - especially because it gives you the opportunity to experience things a little more French. There is a lovely patisserie in the station where you can pick up a fresh pasrty and coffee or even a sandwich and there are a few lovely restaurants there toom. If you love shopping the outlet mall has soe great bargains. We stayed in the Residome Val d'Europe which is right outside the station entrance to the station and I am convinced that we would be back in our hotel before the majority of on site guests had made the 20 min walk back their hotels.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 11:33 AMThis is such a great article -- not just about Disneyland Paris -- but about visiting Europe as a whole. Although it is off subject, it would be nice for Robert to let us know what other attractions he and his family enjoyed during their visit to Europe.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 12:36 PMBarry,
Uh, yes, I'd love to see that video! Please post the link!
Also, I was quoted $510 a night for Cheyenne, and Crockett's actually off the main property, so I didn't consider it. (It's a lower star rating and further away than some of the partner hotels, so I didn't see any benefit.)
Published: July 30, 2012 at 2:00 PMI posted photos and write a bit about the places we visited in France in a couple weeks ago.
As for London, I highly recommend Borough Market (I have developed a regrettable addiction to Pieminister, seeing as they do not deliver outside the GB mainland), Hampton Court, the British Museum, heck, just everything. We're having fun watching the Olympics (on the BBC live feed, shhhh) and recognizing all the places we visited around town.
A few tips: Go to Evensong at Westminster Abbey. It's free and you get to see the church in its proper context, as a house of worship. We were fortunate and were seated in Poets' Corner, the part of the church I most wanted to see on the paid tour anyway. I wanted to see the graves of Charles Dickens, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, and saw them all either on the way in or out of the service. The ministers also let you linger around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as long as you'd like, but they do rush you out of the rest of the Abbey after the service.
Street markets in England and France are amazing - the best food at the best prices. Laurie's missing the Monmouth coffee at Borough Market already.
The longest line we waited in in London was for the Platform 9 3/4 photo op at Kings Cross station. Don't rush by the neighboring St. Pancras Station, though - that was the station used as the exterior of Kings Cross in the Harry Potter films. One more Harry Potter note: Natalie bought a sweater at AllSaints Spitalfields on Portobello Road and just realized today that it's the same sweater Neville Longbottom is wearing in the final scenes of Deathly Hallows Part 2. So there's a place to go for your truly authentic Harry Potter gear.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 2:49 PMI found your comment on the lack of "service class" in France to be rather discouraging. In essence, they are not professional service people unless they are encouraged by their customers by knowing the French customs. in other words, the customer is required to know the code of conduct or else we will be screwed.
As least in the U.S., tips is how we reward good service. In France, they are happy to offer it via handholding. Here it is after getting an ego boost.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 3:18 PMTo the French, the concept of "service" is a bit demeaning. (It's viewed as "servant.") The French see Americans' embrace of fake enthusiasm for people who give them money as sleazy, at best. The French will help you, enthusiastically, but only if you avoid doing things that show you think you're better or more deserving than they are. Defer to their expertise, and you will get help.
(Which makes sense. Because if you need help from someone, it's usually because they have some knowledge, access or expertise you don't.)
And, hell yes, a customer damned well better know and abide by the code of conduct in the country he or she is visiting! A visitor who doesn't say hello and starts making demands in Spanish (or French) in the United States isn't going to get much good help in return over here, either. Nor should they.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 3:18 PMLoved these tips especially about the faux pas that many Americans would make in France, let alone Europe. I gotta agree with "people before business" as greetings, respect, and proper etiquette are sometimes lost when people travel. A lot of Americans also like to hear themselves talk and don't listen... they hear things, but they don't listen if that makes sense.
I'm actually surprised that tipping happens at DLP considering what I've heard about tipping in Europe and similarly, Australia.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 7:40 PMDid you notice how the French love to cut in line in the States? They make their kids walk through the queue line as if no one is stopping them. If you tell them it doesn't work this way, they act surprised and that they don't know the language.
The French are masters of having it both ways. They don't get a tip if they don't deserve it, but unfortunately, the service charge is usually on the check so you don't have any choice.
Sometimes a good host should help someone out. The French have no excuse if their visitors complain when they are not helping them understand. I can pretend just like they pretend they don't understand English.
As a person of Chinese ancestry, you should know bad service when you get it at Chinese restaurants and they don't expect tips either. It is race to the bottom there. Eat and get out.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 9:59 PMI agree with Robert! Saying hello or good morning resulted in excellent service (and sometimes responses in English or a few chuckles at my accent). I don't think it's very difficult at all to treat a person in hospitality or retail as a person first and a worker second. Being on the receiving end of whistles or a "hey, you" when someone wanted my attention when I was in that role might make me more attuned to that.
I found the best way to have lunch was to grab a baguette and some cheese and fruit before we left Paris. Noone seemed to mind we bought our own food and it was cheap and tasty. Im not sure if these are available in the US, but in Australia you can get things called Travelex cards that you preload with the currency of the place you are travelling to. They have chips and pins as well as magnetic strips and can be used like credit cards or to take cash out of ATMS.
Published: July 30, 2012 at 11:53 PMI'm busy planning my 10th trip to Disney (I live in the UK so its much more accessible for me) but my main tip for anyone thinking of visiting... DON'T only go for one day, there is no way you can experience all Disney has to offer in such a small amount of time even if its the much smaller Paris parks, even 2 days in the summer is a painfully short amount of time, you end up rushing (even if you don't notice you are) and end up missing a lot of things out. a second huge tip.... visit during the winter! a winter visit will give you at the longest a 30 min wait for the most popular rides (i got on crush's coaster in the Walt Disney studios after a 10 min wait on my last trip (Jan 2011)
and finally my case for the on site hotels.... extra magic hours.... this extra addition that is only available to guests in the on site hotels (you need whats called a hotel easy pass to get past the ropes into the lands of the parks) gives you up to a whopping 2 hours of extra time in the parks and that means you can easily get the most popular rides in discoveryland and fantasyland done before the regualr park hours even begin (get in at least one ride on peter pans flight and buzz lightyears lazerblast as they are the two most popular.... then go for the others)
just need to say now that i really enjoyed reading your report its made me all excited for my next trip (in planning for Jan 2013)
Published: July 31, 2012 at 5:34 AMTo say the french have a lack of service is very streo typical. its like saying all americans are fat. both statements widely untrue. The French in general are very helpful to those that are polite. And tipping in europe is done to reward someone for a good job, not something that is expected as in america. I have had many a rude waiter in orlando expect tipping even when a service has been terrible. On a whole the article made me chuckle. Best bet for park tickets is a 99 euro basic annual pass (approx $120-125), check the website for block out dates though.
Published: July 31, 2012 at 6:41 AMWe had a similar experience with credit cards in our trip to Sweden, Czech Republic, and Denmark over the winter. Before we left, we were able to get what's called a "chip and sign" credit card from a US bank. It was still a little confusing to most vendors, because they would hand us the keypad even though we didn't need to enter a pin. We quickly figured out if we just hit enter on the pad, it would cue the computer to print out a receipt for us to sign. Many of the heavily toured areas still had swipe machines, though, but anything that was self service required a chip-imbedded card. However, unless you're planning on just going to the super popular places, and don't plan out eating anywhere aside from major chains, a chip-imbedded card is almost a must now in Europe.
Published: July 31, 2012 at 7:25 AMOur trip to Disneyland Paris:
Published: July 31, 2012 at 7:38 AMSo basically, show good manners and you'll get on fine.
I think that's not really a "France" thing, but an "everywhere" thing.
Published: July 31, 2012 at 7:48 AMAs a frequent French visitor to the DLP parks, I must say that your review is spot on!
Published: July 31, 2012 at 9:33 AM$510 for Cheyenne? Have you seen the place? The rooms are not even half the standard of a value resort at WDW. When I booked it last year I got Eurostar, tickets and one night there for about the equivalent of $170 for two of us.
Published: July 31, 2012 at 9:49 AMCaroline, when did you visit? (I suspect that seasonal differences in pricing at DLP are huge.)
Also, I can't endorse enough the idea of shopping in the speciality or street markets to assemble a picnic lunch. The best meal we had in Europe was a picnic we assembled at a boulangerie, patisserie, and fromagerie in Vernon. Amazing.
Published: July 31, 2012 at 1:58 PMTo me as a small business owner I don’t feel as if it is my customers job to be the ones to act correctly or have good manners before I will show them any respect or give them good service. I have rude people come in all the time and I feel as if it is my job to treat them just as I would any other customer that comes in. I may think they are rude and talk about how rude they are after they leave but as long as they do not get belligerent I just get them what they need treat them with just as much respect as anyone else because it is my job. If I meet them on the street I would not be nearly as nice to them if they were that rude to me but it is just part of dealing with customers. I guess I just think it would be nice for everyone to learn another countries customs and for everyone to be as polite as possible when dealing with ANY place of business in ANY country, but its not reality. I would think that anyone in the service industry could have enough professionalism to over look it if someone doesn’t greet them the correct way or doesn’t ask for something the correct way and still give good service.
Published: August 1, 2012 at 5:29 AMGreat report. I'm going in October (for the first time since 1994) so it's very helpful.
Just a question, though - how "inevitable" really is it that there'll be a big-money rebuild in the future? I live in the UK and my cost for coach travel, 2 days in the park, and 3 nights at a partner hotel is just $400 so any upgrade to my local park would be great!
Published: August 1, 2012 at 5:15 PMIan, I don't know when Disney will do something about Studios. There seems to be quite a bit of hotel construction going on down by Val d'Europe. But other than Ratatouille for Studios and Star Tours 2 for DLP, I don't know of anything in the pipeline.
I think a re-do of the park entrance, a la what Disney did with DCA, would improve Studios immensely. The good news is Disney has plenty of space to work with in Paris. It's money and will to invest that seems to be the issue. If Disney spends the money to improve the Studios, will enough additional guests come, spending enough additional money, to make that investment worthwhile?
Published: August 1, 2012 at 7:16 PMIf I remember right, I think there was a news article not so long ago suggesting that the resort still isnt profitable. Might affect where and when they invest cash.
Published: August 2, 2012 at 5:19 AMI am very late reading and commenting on this - apologies. Its a great post and higly informative. I must agree (as do others) on making an attempt at French.