Monday, 16 March 2015

Mack on Disney holidays

Before I had children, I would literally cringe when I heard adults talking about Disney.  I think that is because my childhood was Disney-starved (although rich in many other great things).  Tinkerbell must have sprinkled some kind of mind-altering fairy dust on me when I had kids, as, over the years, I have become a huge fan of all things Disney…particularly Disney holidays.  I hope to spread some of that fairy dust with you and share why I love Disney holidays so much!

The children love it:  My family’s first trip to Disneyland Paris a few years ago sealed my fate as a Disney holiday addict.  My heart simply melted each time I saw the joy and fascination in my children’s eyes when they saw Mickey Mouse (and the many other Disney characters) or the extraordinary fireworks display and parades, rode the children’s rides and giggled during the entertaining shows.

The adults love it:  I secretly liked the fact that the place brought out the “Big Kids” in me and my husband, as we walked around with Mickey ears and sang “It’s a small world after all” on re-run!  It’s just nice to walk around with a warm feeling inside as you soak up the Disney atmosphere and appreciate the wonder of the place.

The joy of planning:  I just love the planning that is involved in a Disney holiday. There is so much information out there to help you to plan as much as you want to, so you know how much to budget for, how to make the most of your time,and what there is to see and do (i.e. information on the Disney websites, the DLP Guide and various Disney vacation-related Forums such as The Dibb, Disboards, Tripadvisor and Magic Forum).  I really enjoyed the community spirit of the folks on the forums whose tips and advice really did help me to plan a perfect holiday.  Personally, I don’t think I can enjoy a Disney holiday without the planning.  Time at a Disney park is too precious (and expensive) to spend it all queuing, being turned away from full restaurants, not knowing what is available to help you if you have children and/or an individual with special needs to cater for, being shocked about prices, and/or leaving without having experienced the attractions and shows you hoped to.  However, maybe I am just a control freak and if it is not your style to plan in detail, I’m sure there are also benefits in just going with the flow and enjoying the spontaneity of it all.

Disney hotels and park amenities:  The onsite Disney hotels at Disneyland Paris are great – clean, spacious, helpful staff (in my experience) and with easy access to the Park.  The only negative point is that the breakfasts can be a bit of a free-for-all at some of the lower-star hotels (but you can get round this by choosing breakfast slots before 8am).  After sampling most of the onsite hotels  over a few trips to Disneyland Paris, Hubby and I prefer to stay in a 3 to 5 star onsite hotel but I think the lower-star hotels do offer great value for money.  There are swimming pools (in the 3 star plus hotels) and spa treatments available (at the 5-star Disneyland Hotel).   There is a regular and frequent free bus service from the hotels to the park and back. There are so many restaurants within the resort to choose from.  The baby change facilities and toilets are abundant and clean in the park.  Also, if you want a break from Disney, the park is so close to the Val D’Europe shopping centre (easy access by train, bus or car) and Paris is on your doorstep.  These are just a few of the many amenities within or near to the resort - see the Disneyland Paris website for further information.

Disney Cruise - Pure Luxury:  We experienced the wonder of a Disney Cruise around the Mediterranean last year on board the Disney Magic.  I love Disneyland Paris but a Disney Cruise is simply out of this world.  The service, food, and facilities and entertainment for both adults and children, safety and cleanliness of the ship were excellent.  We were treated like Kings and Queens, particularly by our assigned waiters.  I could go on and on about Disney Cruises.  Do have a look at them if you haven’t before, if you really fancy a treat for you and your family!  The videos on the Disney Cruise website say it all!  Disney Cruises can be as sophisticated and/or Disney-filled as you want.  There are adult-only areas (i.e. pool, spa, bars and clubs) where there is not a Disney character in sight and the Cruise stops at various ports, so there is time for off-ship sight-seeing and shopping! 

I do take different types of holidays with my family but Disney holidays are by far the best for us so far.  Disney holidays can seem expensive but for me, no other holiday provider caters so excellently for families with children and provides such magical memories.  If you check the Disneyland ParisWalt Disney World Florida and Disney Cruise websites, there are sometimes flash sales and freebie incentives such as free dining (for the parks) or free on board credit (for the cruises).  There are also some great deals for out of peak season holidays - for example, accommodation at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel at Disneyland Paris, park entry, breakfast for a family of 2 adults and 2 children at the end of March 2015 for 4 nights, 5 days was on sale for around £570 last year!  That was a cracking deal.  Rare, but these deals do come up!   
We are saving the pennies for the big trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.  I can’t wait to get planning for that!  If you have any tips on Disneyland Florida, I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to drop me an email or tweet if you have any questions about Disneyland Paris or a Disney Cruise.

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