The cost of a family visit to the Disneyland Resort Paris can leave a big hole in your wallet, particularly once accommodation, admission tickets, transport, meals, snacks and souvenirs are all factored in.
To a certain extent, you get what you pay for, and Disneyland Paris offers a fantastic product that is worth paying a little extra for. However, there are real savings to be made if you plan in advance and follow the tips below.
Buy your tickets online, in advance
Disneyland Paris does not offer deep discounts on admission tickets, but there are some savings to be made by buying tickets via its website (including special ticket options that are not available on the gate). A variety of online retailers also sell Disneyland Paris tickets at a slight discount, including 365Tickets.
Visit during the off-season, if possible
Particularly if you are not a local, visiting Disneyland Paris during the off-season is the single most effective way to save money. Ticket prices are higher during the summer season, and hotel-plus-ticket packages are most expensive during any of its peak periods (particularly Christmas). Transport, especially flights, will also be cheaper. There are downsides (attraction refurbishments, closed parades, shorter opening hours), but if you’re on a tight budget (and don’t have kids that will need to be pulled out of school) this may be your best option.
Consider staying off-site
There are a huge variety of hotels in the Paris area, to suit almost any budget. If you’re from the UK, you may actually find it slightly cheaper to visit Paris than to visit London, depending on the current exchange rate. If you want to stay close to the magic, aim for a hotel in Torcy or Bussy-St-Georges, both of which are just a short train ride from the resort. To find a low-cost, good value hotel near Disneyland Paris perform a search through Kayak, Hotels.com, Travelocity and Expedia. It's also worth checking reviews of the hotel before booking through TripAdvisor.
Consider an annual pass
Year-round passes to Disneyland Paris are much cheaper than those for many of Disney’s other theme parks. If you plan to visit for 4 or more days, consider getting one for at least one member of your party – it will just about cost in on the admission cost alone, but add in the discounts it will bring on food and merchandise and you’ll almost certainly save money. If you’re planning two visits within a 12-month period, the benefits can be even greater.
Bring your own food and snacks
Disneyland Paris’ official policy is that guests should not bring their own food into the theme parks. While every bag is checked on the way into the park, bringing a few snacks (or even a packed lunch) is never a problem and can save you a bit of money on the expensive meals and snacks sold within the parks. Avoid bringing in large, separate picnic containers, though – these may not be allowed in.
Fill up on water at the in-park drinking fountains
Drinks at Disneyland Paris are expensive, but bringing a few empty bottles to fill from the water fountains in the parks can at least ensure that you won’t be constantly shelling out for bottled water to combat the hot California weather (be warned, though, that the fountains sometimes freeze up in very cold weather). Similarly, buying Coke and other soft drinks from the convenience stores at Marne-La-Vallée station can save you a few euros every day.
Exchange your currency in advance
If you’re visiting from abroad, buying euros in advance can be considerably cheaper than exchanging them at the resort. UK visitors can use the handy comparison tool provided by MoneySavingExpert. The site also offers advice on selecting the right credit card for spending abroad.
Book travel well in advance
If you’re visiting from the UK, booking Eurostar trains well in advance can save you a substantial amount of money. Similarly, budget airline deals often get more expensive as the flight date draws nearer (although they can sometimes plummet again at the last minute as the airline seeks to fill seats).
Look for discount rates at on-site hotels
Disneyland Paris runs an almost constant stream of offers on hotel-plus-ticket packages for its on-site hotels (and, frequently, those including a stay at a “partner” hotel). As well as saving money on “rack rates” for the hotels, you’ll also receive a host of other benefits such as early entry and the “full experience” of staying within a Disney resort. Watch Theme Park Tourist’s Disneyland Paris deals pages for the latest offers.
Bring essential extras with you
Make a list of essential items before you go – things like suntan lotion, camera film, hand wipes, etc. You can buy all of these within the parks – but at a significant premium. Pick them up at a supermarket before you go and bring them with you to save a few more euros.
Buy Disney-themed toys before you go
Particularly if you have kids, it’s unlikely that you’ll escape from Disneyland Paris without a few souvenirs to remind them (and you) of the great time you’ve had. However, while you may want to buy a few park-specific items, you can keep down your outlay on "generic" Disney toys – the type that are available in Disney sections at supermarkets and toy stores around the world. Pick up a few before you go, and keep them as a surprise.