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Old 21 Aug 18, 12:39 PM  
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Cazzius
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While The Cat's Away, The Caz Will Play With The Mouse! - Solo DLP - Sept 2018

Hello and welcome to my pre-trip report!

The Cast

Just me! I have travelled alone for work before but have never holidayed by myself.
I am a 30-something year old Disney and Harry Potter fan. Went to WDW aged 11 in 1993, and have been to DLP twice, most recently 2007, when I met the main mouse himself on his skidoo. Love hot, sunny weather and holidays are one of my favourite things.



The Background

My lovely boyfriend Chris went on a stag do in Berlin for his stepdad last year. They all had so much fun they decided to go back. They weren’t terribly organized and I ended up donating a chunk of my BA miles for Chris’ flights.
At this point I got a bit miffed that I was spending my miles, and I wasn’t even going anywhere!

I tried to organise a short, 3 night all inclusive break to somewhere hot and sunny with a friend of mine, but it didn’t work out as she had very little annual leave yet and we couldn’t be flexible on dates due to existing work commitments. The joy of being in marketing and September/October being a busy time for events!

I was really disappointed when the trip with my friend didn’t work out, I thought what if I went somewhere by myself… and of course, Disneyland Paris was the obvious choice!

Chris has said he doesn’t want to go to DLP, as his boss and family went and slated the whole experience. This way I get to go and will have such a great time that he will change his mind and we can go again!
Devious, moi?! Hahaha



The story so far

Like any good Dibber, once I decided what I wanted to do, I started researching!

To begin with I was completely horrified at the costs – 2 nights at one of the Disney hotels, including park tickets was coming in at the same price as a cheap week long package to Florida! No way!

Since I am hoping to meet a friend who is visiting at DLP around April/May time next year, and I am hoping to get Chris there too, I started investigating the cost of an annual pass.



As the perks with the pass include discount on the Disney owned hotels, or access to the extra magic hours if you are off site, plus discounts on food and shopping, it seemed like a pretty good deal! It also gives discount on buying park tickets for a friend/guest if they are attending with you, so perfect for when I persuade Chris that DLP is worth a visit.

I looked at the various packages and decided to opt for the Magic Plus pass. It includes all the perks I mention above. It does not include VIP viewing for parades and shows, but I couldn’t justify the extra cost when if I organise myself I can (hopefully) secure myself a good spot for free.



I used the French instance of the DLP website to book my annual pass, then had to fill out a couple of forms and send them over to the team in France, including a copy of my ID and my IBAN number for them to take the direct debit.
Originally they wanted this posted, but I was not happy about sending a copy of my ID and banking details in the post, so I spoke with a lovely chap in the Annual Pass customer service department who provided me with an email that I could use to submit my forms. Hurrah.

He also sent me the forms in English, which was great as where I had used the French instance of the website to book my pass all the forms were in French. Online I can muddle through in French, and use Google Translate, but a whole legal form was a bit daunting – especially when you are limited to the old French that you can remember from the year you studied it at school - “parles vous Anglais, sil vous plait” and “ou est la piscine?”



Forms submitted and annual pass number received, it was on to step 2 – travel and accommodation!

I started by looking at flights, but swiftly decided that travelling from my house to the airport, then CDG Airport to Disney seemed like a bit of a faff as you have to arrange a bus or taxi transfer.

Then, I had a lightbulb moment! I live in London and have recently moved house so am now on the Northern Line… why not just get the Eurostar as it drops you at the door?!

Off I went to the Eurostar website and had a look at times – there were still lots of available trains and the timings worked really well.



I didn’t want to leave the house until after Chris has left for his trip to Berlin as I want to send him a photo from in front the castle to tell him. I think part of the reason I want to keep my trip a secret is because he will try to persuade me out of going alone, and if I’m already there, then he can’t rain on my (Festival of Fantasy) parade.

When the cat’s away, the Cazzius will play with the Mouse!



I found Eurostar times I was happy with, departing at 12:53 (arriving at 17:07) with a quick change at Lille Europe. I checked this and it is just a case of going upstairs and finding the platform, so should be easy peasy.
I know it doesn’t arrive until late, but I’ll only be taking an overnight size bag so can stow that in a locker (or use the Express Luggage if I stay in a Disney hotel) and head straight into the park – hopefully in time for some fireworks, and maybe another one of these...



I’ll be travelling back on the direct Eurostar departing Disney at 17:09 and arriving at St Pancreas at 18:47. Chris might be home before me as he gets into Gatwick at 17:30 and will just get the train, but it’s going to be close!

Once I had decided what trains I wanted, I then began Googling for deals!

Happily, I have Vitality Health through work, and they are currently offering money off Eurostar for members (have to book by 31 August though, as that is when the offer ends). I would need to book through the Vitality hotline though, so wouldn’t be able to do a package with hotel and train. I didn’t mind that too much though as I am still undecided about hotels anyway.

I called up, and after beginning 7th in the queue, I finally spoke to a lovely chap who sorted everything out for me and booked me onto my preferred trains with my Vitality discount.

Immediately I hopped on the website to check my seats, and was persuaded into a cheeky £11 upgrade for the journey home - well, I’m going to be sad enough to be leaving Disney, I might as well have a bit of luxury… right?



No real need for new clothes or specific Disney shopping as I have clothes from our WDW trip last year, and I want to save my pennies for shopping there. As I travel to Europe every few months I already have some Euros in cash, and I will use my Revolut card while there, so no need to order currency or get a special travel money card.

So, 38 days to go and I need a hotel and a rough itinerary! Luckily DLP is smaller than WDW and doesn’t have the same Fastpass system so I should be ok.

Though, I have read stories of people RUNNING to get FPs for ‘must do’ rides like Ratatouille, Crush's Coaster and Big Thunder... is that true? I am not a runner!



Also, how do character meets work at DLP? It used to be wandering characters and a free for all, but I think it is a bit more organized now? I just want to meet Mickey and the gang!

That’s it for now I think, just got to decide on hotel, book it, make a rough itinerary and keep the trip secret!

Also, even though it's a solo trip, I will have my trusty travelling companion Neil T Ram to keep me company, and he's as excited as I am

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Edited at 10:53 AM.
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Old 21 Aug 18, 01:08 PM  
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duchy
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Sounds like you have it all worked out Caz, just the hotel to decide on !
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Old 21 Aug 18, 01:13 PM  
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Cazzius
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Originally Posted by duchy View Post
Sounds like you have it all worked out Caz, just the hotel to decide on !
I think I just give that impression!

Hotel to decide on, then depending on the hotel, what to do with my luggage!
So far I know I want to see fireworks on the first night, and I'm going to hit up the food festival in the studios on Saturday.

Any DLP tips gratefully received!

Thanks for reading and commenting
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Old 28 Aug 18, 01:50 PM  
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Annual pass ordered, Eurostar booked… but still no hotel

I have really been dithering over the hotel. I WANT to stay in one of the Disney hotels as then I can use the Express Luggage service and walk to and from the parks. However, my own common sense tells me that they are horribly expensive and I should stay in one of the partner hotels or in Val D’ Europe.




The partner hotels all run a bus to the parks and the Val D’Europe hotels are 1 short RER train journey away. Plus even the more fancy options are about half the price of the cheapest Disney hotel.

I’m deciding between…

Radisson Blu - Partner Hotel



I do like a Radisson. I earn points and their breakfasts are usually decent.
I know that the finish will be nice and while there is no theming at the hotel I know the rooms with be comfortable.



I’m leaning towards this one, but looking at the map it looks like it is really close to the golf course and a bit in the middle of nowhere, so I would have to get the bus to/from the hotel to the parks – I don’t fancy getting lost on a golf course in the middle of the night!

B+B Hotel Disneyland – Partner Hotel



The value option – though it still includes a breakfast!
The rooms look pretty basic, though I’m not planning on spending much time in the rooms. Similar to a Travelodge with built in furniture, but looks clean, comfy… and who doesn’t love a breakfast?!



Despite this being the logical, sensible choice, I am not convinced. I have read a few stories on Trip Advisor of bus troubles, timing issues and having to walk to the Explorer’s Hotel next door to get buses, which puts me off.

Algonquin’s Explorers Hotel – Partner Hotel



Love the theming of this hotel, it looks really fun and the rooms look good too. Maybe the theme in the rooms is a bit children's TV studio, but the communal areas like the reception and bar are a bit more subdued while still being themed.



This is another partner hotel and is part of the shared bus service that runs to/from the parks. This is up there as one of my top choices along with the Radisson, I get points with Radisson, but the theming here might win it.

Ibis – Val D’ Europe



A bit further out, but I do get points with Ibis and from reading online the Ibis is right by one of the station entrances and it’s only a 10 minute train journey to the parks.



Ibis also tend to do a good breakfast, have decent wifi and in my experience have super comfy beds. I have actually provisionally reserved a room here as a safety choice while I decide which to choose as I didn’t want to end up homeless for the weekend!

Hotel Santa Fe – Disney Hotel



This is the most Value of the Disney hotels, and I know the look is quite divisive (Disney Tourist Blog compared it to a prison), however, I do quite like it.



The new Cars theming is fun, it’s walking distance to the parks and I can take advantage of the Express Luggage service. Downside? Doesn’t include any breakfast, is pretty basic and costs more than any of the non-Disney options for a lower star hotel

Hotel Cheyenne – Disney Hotel



The second most Value of the Disney hotels. I do really like the look of this, and think it is really clever how they have made it look like a wild west town, with the different buildings of the town becoming the different hotel blocks.



I’m not hugely keen on the Toy Story theming, and as with the Santa Fe it doesn’t include any breakfast, is pretty basic and costs more than any of the non-Disney options for a lower star hotel. I prefer the Cheyenne hotel to Santa Fe - look at the reception/bar area!



However, it doesn't make sense to spend more for Cheyenne when the Disney options are already more expensive as Santa Fe offers the exact same perks.

Logic says to book the bargain Ibis in Val D’ Europe, or the B+B Partner Hotel. My heart is saying to book the Disney hotel for the luggage services and because I think they’ll be a bit nicer/safer if I’m staying alone.

Has anyone stayed in any of them? Any tips? Any I should avoid? Any not on the shortlist that really should be?

Let me know, as I am keen to get booked.

Just under a month to go
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Old 29 Aug 18, 08:13 AM  
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Of those for a solo trip I think I'd choose the Ibis. Both the Disney hotels are a fair trot from the gates so one stop on the train may actually be quicker room to gates.
I tend to avoid lots of theming hotels on solo trips tho as it tends to attract lots of families with very small people

I hear you about the luggage transfer. I really didn't like Santa Fee reminded me of a sixties council estate , of the two I'd pay the extra for Cheyenne as it's nicer theming and is slightly closer. Depends how much more though !

Off to the West End today,American in cousins in town so need to show them the family homes in London (all of which have become gentrified since ) when I'd rather be packing for Florida lol

Edited at 08:21 AM.
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Old 29 Aug 18, 09:24 AM  
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Hey there!

This sounds like it will be a fab trip. I'm sure you will be fine holidaying alone, in fact you will probably have a brilliant time as you will be able to do exactly what you want when you want!

I'm sorry but I cannot offer any advice at all as the last time I was in DLP was in 2000 so I doubt there is anything I could tell you that would be helpful. We have used the Eurostar before to travel to Brussels and then onto Bruges. It was fab, lots of space and the check in was really quick and easy, much nicer than an airport, so I hope you enjoy travelling on the train.

Will you be there for the end of the 25th anniversary celebrations?

Good luck sorting out a hotel, it's hard to make a decision sometimes when your sensible head gets in the way! You probably won't be spending much time in the room so it really will be just for sleeping in, there's only you so you won't need much space, but on the other hand ... you could stay in a Disney hotel!

Oh, I've just remembered Tara did a trip to DLP back in February, have you read her trip report? It was fab and had loads of details.
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Old 5 Sep 18, 06:48 PM  
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Just reading up on your plans and they look fab. I think I would probably more sway to the Raddison but that's purely because I love the hotel in Manchester.

I agree with Abby, being able to go where you want and do what you want is fab, I would love that!

I've never been to DLP so afraid I can't really help. Really looking forward to following your trip X
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Old 6 Sep 18, 11:09 AM  
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Originally Posted by duchy View Post
Of those for a solo trip I think I'd choose the Ibis. Both the Disney hotels are a fair trot from the gates so one stop on the train may actually be quicker room to gates.
I tend to avoid lots of theming hotels on solo trips tho as it tends to attract lots of families with very small people

I hear you about the luggage transfer. I really didn't like Santa Fee reminded me of a sixties council estate , of the two I'd pay the extra for Cheyenne as it's nicer theming and is slightly closer. Depends how much more though !

Off to the West End today,American in cousins in town so need to show them the family homes in London (all of which have become gentrified since ) when I'd rather be packing for Florida lol
Thanks Duchy!
I did have the Ibis booked as a safe bet fall back and you are right about theming attracting small humans.
It's just the luggage transfer that is pulling me towards the cheaper Disney hotels.
I've stayed at the Newport Beach before and it was lovely, but I'd rather save the 'nicer' hotels for being with someone else who would appreciate it with me, haha.

Hope the family appreciated the tour, that packing went well and you are currently enjoying sunny Florida!
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Old 6 Sep 18, 11:55 AM  
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Originally Posted by Goldia View Post
Hey there!

This sounds like it will be a fab trip. I'm sure you will be fine holidaying alone, in fact you will probably have a brilliant time as you will be able to do exactly what you want when you want!

I'm sorry but I cannot offer any advice at all as the last time I was in DLP was in 2000 so I doubt there is anything I could tell you that would be helpful. We have used the Eurostar before to travel to Brussels and then onto Bruges. It was fab, lots of space and the check in was really quick and easy, much nicer than an airport, so I hope you enjoy travelling on the train.

Will you be there for the end of the 25th anniversary celebrations?

Good luck sorting out a hotel, it's hard to make a decision sometimes when your sensible head gets in the way! You probably won't be spending much time in the room so it really will be just for sleeping in, there's only you so you won't need much space, but on the other hand ... you could stay in a Disney hotel!

Oh, I've just remembered Tara did a trip to DLP back in February, have you read her trip report? It was fab and had loads of details.
Thanks Goldia,

I haven't been for many years either. I'm going to treat this as a bit of a research trip for when I persuade Chris to go, hehe.

I'm hoping to catch the end of the 25th Anniversary celebrations. Years in Disney seem to work in an odd manner and don't necessarily work for calendar years, or even for 12 months so I am not sure.
I hope I am as the blue sparky 25th anniversary outfits look lovely, and it would be pretty cool as we went as a family the year it opened.

I am leaning ever closer to the Disney hotel under the excuse of research and also making use of the Express Luggage. Talk about heart ruling the head (and the purse strings!).

I did read Tara's report, but I think I will give it a re-read now I am going as I remember it being really detailed.

Thanks for reading!
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While The Cat's Away, The Caz Will Play With The Mouse - Solo DLP Trip Report
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Old 6 Sep 18, 11:57 AM  
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Originally Posted by caitlinsmummy View Post
Just reading up on your plans and they look fab. I think I would probably more sway to the Raddison but that's purely because I love the hotel in Manchester.

I agree with Abby, being able to go where you want and do what you want is fab, I would love that!

I've never been to DLP so afraid I can't really help. Really looking forward to following your trip X
Thanks Kelly

I must admit that being able to get up and go in the mornings will be exciting- if you read my Florida trippie you will see I spent a few mornings waking for my sleepy boyfriend to wake up!

I do like a Radisson too, we stayed in one in South Africa and it was lovely too. It's the leading offsite hotel in my offsite Vs onsite debate.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
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First Time Floribobs (The Irma Remix) - WDW trip report *Complete*
While The Cat's Away, The Caz Will Play With The Mouse - Solo DLP Trip Report

Edited at 10:07 AM.
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