How to save hundreds on a trip to Disneyland Paris

disneyland  paris   november 22 ...

A trip to Disneyland Paris may be a priceless experience for the kids - but it can cost the parents an awful lot of money.

A long weekend can cost well over a thousand pounds for a family of four, depending on dates and accommodation - which some might think is taking the Mickey.

However, if you can read another European language - or use Google Translate - it's possible to save hundreds of pounds on the cost of a trip.

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The secret is to book not through the British Disneyland website, but through the French, German or Spanish sites instead. These have their own set of special offers, which are often way better than those in the UK.

"I just made a huge saving by booking through I booked Davy Crockett Ranch for 2 nights/3 days for three people. Through the UK site it was £825, through the French site €709. That's a massive £285 difference!," one visitor tells MoneySavingExpert.

A separate study by The Sun looking for trips in April found that booking through the UK site for the Newport Bay Club cost £1,715 - while booking through the French site yielded the same break for £1,568 (£147 less). Likewise staying in Disney's Sequia Lodge cost £1,010 through the UK site, and £813 through the German site - a saving of £197. For a trip in July, staying at Disney's Newport Bay Club, the UK site quoted £1,293, and the Spanish site £965 - a saving of £328.

All your documents will be emailed to you - though they'll be in a foreign language.

If you are concerned about booking online, then one option is to call the booking office in each country and ask for someone who speaks English. You can then get them to quote on the holiday price over the phone - to ensure you don't make any mistakes with the translation.

It's worth having a currency exchange calculator open on your web browser while you are on the phone, so you can quickly check an approximate price in pounds for whatever you are quoted. You will be paying in euros, meaning you'll need a cheap way of doing this, such as a specialist overseas credit card.

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Regular Disney guests say it's always worth starting with the special offers on the UK sites, to find the lowest possible price for your trip. The either check the overseas Disney websites, or call their booking number, and see how the price compares.

It's also worth checking out specialist ticket agencies such as Attractiontix and Supertrips, which buy from the parks in bulk and then re-sell them, sometimes at a discount.

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And there are other ways to save money too. Unsurprisingly, going off-season is cheaper; and although the Disney websites offer travel as part of the package, the chances are it'll be cheaper if you organise this yourself.

It's generally less pricey to stay at a nearby hotel rather than one within the site itself; and, even within the park, some places are substantially cheaper than others.

And while many people believe that you're not allowed to take your own food on site, this isn't actually true. In fact, only coolboxes and tables are banned - so bring a blanket and a picnic.

How to do Disney on a budget
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How to do Disney on a budget

If you are staying at a Disney resort, take advantage of the Magical Express Transportation shuttle service, which is complimentary to and from your hotel/Orlando International Airport.

Travelling with children under the age of three? They get free admission to all Walt Disney World parks. If you're not taking your own buggy, it can be cheaper to pay for your buggy hire in one go ($13 for multiple days instead of $15 for single days) – or even consider buying a cheap buggy.

Eating healthily at the parks doesn't have to be expensive – for example, you can buy apples, pears and oranges for just 85 cents. And the ever popular giant turkey legs (which go a looong way and are made for sharing) are around $9.

Take water bottles so you can fill up at the fountains in the parks and save money on buying soft drinks which will quickly mount up in the Florida heat. If you're staying at a Disney resort, buy the refillable cup ($5.95 to $9.95) and then your soft drinks, tea and coffee will be free at your hotel.

Make sure you have a big breakfast to set you up for the day and take your own snacks and drinks into the park – there are absolutely no restrictions on doing this. Tom Sawyer's Island in Magic Kingdom is a relaxing place to stop and have a picnic.

Consider staying at a Disney value resort – choose from the Pop Century Resort and the three All-Star resorts. Rooms start at just £19 per person per night (based on four sharing), and you get all the benefits of staying at a Disney hotel, including Disney's Extra Magic Hours giving you more time to enjoy the parks before the crowds start arriving and free use of the transportation system (including the boat, monorail and bus).

For an inexpensive souvenir your kids will want to keep forever, get them an autograph book (around $6) and then they can collect characters' signatures as you walk around the park. And if you're going to give them some spending money, set a limit, and stick to it – they'll have fun working out what to buy with their US dollars and it will teach them how to budget, too.

Book your holiday as early as possible to get the best savings. For example, if you book for 2013 now (by 20 June), you get extras including dining for free for the duration of your stay, $200 spending money and a 14 day ticket for the price of seven.

The longer you stay, the less you pay - a multi-day ticket works out cheaper than buying individual day passes. Not only does your entry ticket give you admission to all the rides, but the parades and fireworks are included as well, making it great value for money. You can find out more info about ticket options here

The Disney Dining Plan is an easy way to budget for food during your stay. There are different packages available, saving you up to 40 per cent of the cost of meals, and you can choose from over 100 different restaurants.


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