We decided to go away for Christmas 2015, after a bit of a crappy one the previous year. We wasn’t sure where we would go, but it wouldn’t be spent at home! I had my eyes set on a second trip to Orlando for that year, but that didn’t quite pan out, so instead, we decided it would have to be Disneyland Paris! We booked our Christmas break in late August, at the same time that my sister decided she wanted to go too. This made me even more excited, as I’ve been desperate to get her, and her family out to Walt Disney World, so this was a stepping stone! My sister booked an offsite hotel for her family, and went a day before us, but we spent Christmas Day, and Boxing Day together. Read all about who is who in my Trip Report Index.
Steve and I went to Disneyland Paris for the day, when we were in the city for our 1st wedding anniversary in 2010. Other than that brief visit, I know nothing about the place – I don’t know the hotels, the restaurants, the parks, the rides… unlike Walt Disney World, where I know my stuff!
My first port of call was checking out the various hotels in and around the Disneyland Resort. We decided to stay onsite, and picked the Hotel Cheyenne. It was a toss up between that hotel, and the other value hotel – Hotel Santa Fe, but since I loved the idea of a Wild West themed hotel, we went with Hotel Cheyenne. All the resort hotels here are within walking distance of the two theme parks – Disneyland Park, and Walt Disney Studios Park, as well as Disney Village; with the exception of Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch, which is a 15 minute drive away.
I booked the hotel package direct with DisneylandParis.co.uk, and there was a special offer on, with 1 night, and 1 day free. We booked to go from Christmas Eve until the 27th December. Theme park tickets, and breakfast was included. For 3 nights, and 4 days, we paid £996.60 for three adults.
It was cheaper to book the train journey with Eurostar direct, rather than a package with Disney, so that’s what I did. Return tickets from London St. Pancras International to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy, which is the station direct in the heart of Disneyland, cost £436.50 for three adults. All told, it was a lot of money to spend for a weekend (ish) away, but it was so worth it! With the technicalities out of the way (that I would usually write in a pre-trip planning report), let me get on with telling you all about our Christmas at Disneyland Paris!
Our day started very early on the morning of Christmas Eve. We have a friend who drives a Black Cab, and he drove us to St. Pancras on his way into to work. This took away the stress of navigating the London Underground, and any line closures over the festive period. There was barely any traffic on the road, and we got to the station with more than an hour to spare. It was too early for us to check-in for our train, so we bought some breakfast, and found a bench to sit down on. There was some filming going on for Good Morning Britain, with a choir singing Christmas carols, which was nice – it helped elevate the festive spirit in me, that had been somewhat lacking. I was more excited though, to see the huge Disney Christmas tree, stacked high with Disney plush toys – how awesome does it look?!
Soon enough, it was time to go through security and passport control. Having travelled to Europe a few times now with Eurostar, I have to say how very easy it is.
You simply scan the barcode on your ticket, then go through the barriers to have your luggage put through the x-ray machine, after which, you walk through the metal detector. You then show your passport – twice. Once to the UK Border Control, then to the France Border Control. This means you just step off the train at your destination without having to do it again.
Once through all that, you go into a large waiting lounge. There is plenty of seating, plus toilets, a newsagents, and a couple of places to grab something to eat or drink. Eventually, the screen shows which gate to go to for your train. You go up a long travellator to the platform, and then find your carriage. The numbers are on a digital screen on the sides of the carriage, and can be tricky to spot if you don’t realise they are there. Luggage racks for larger suitcases are a bit of a premium on the Eurostar, so make sure you aim to get on the train first if you have one with you. Smaller cases, can be stowed on the racks above your seat.
When you book your Eurostar tickets, you are allocated seats, but you can switch them if there is room to do so – which I did. I put us near the loos and the buffet car – priorities, people! This train stopped along the way at both Ebbsfleet, and Ashford in Kent, and Lille in France, to pick up and drop off passengers. My sister went from Ebbsfleet and said it was easy and stress free. I think we’d do this the next time we go on the Eurostar. The journey to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy is around 3 hours, and going through the Channel tunnel, is really quick. The longest part of the journey is once you’re out of the tunnel and speeding down the tracks towards Disneyland.
Arriving at the station in France, we grabbed our suitcase, (we shared one between the three of us – less fuss that way), headed up the escalator. Everything in Disneyland Paris is well contained – the entrance to both theme parks, and Disney Village are right there as you step out of the station. There is also a taxi rank, and bus stops with free shuttles to the Disney hotels. There is a Disney Express service which you can use to send your bags to your hotel, freeing you up to go straight to the parks. I didn’t know about this service, as didn’t see it as an option when I booked. It may only be available if you book everything through Disney.
We actually had to go to the hotel first to pick up the mobility scooter we hired for our few days in Disneyland Paris. Unlike Walt Disney World where you can hire them in the parks, the parks at Paris do not offer this. You can hire wheelchairs though, if you need one. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do full days of solid walking, and didn’t want to ruin this short break by slowing everyone down, so it was the best option for me. I hope that this is the last time I will need one for touring a Disney theme park. We used a French company called MobilityScooter.fr who found a scooter for my size, which I’m very grateful for, as they didn’t have to do that. To me, they went above and beyond my expectations. They very friendly, and helpful every step of the way – and they spoke English, which was very helpful, as our French is limited to what we learned during school! The total hire was €140, plus a refundable deposit, and that price was more than worth it for me. I would highly recommend them if you need this sort of equipment at Disneyland Paris.
Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne
Back to the free shuttle bus… it’s a bit of a free for all, with no lines set up, but we got on the first bus that arrived, and it took all of about five minutes to get to Hotel Cheyenne. My initial thoughts of the hotel were good – I loved the theme already, and if you know me, I’m all about the themeing!
We walked into the main reception area, and it wasn’t too busy. We were a bit early for check-in, but a room was available. On learning that we had a mobility scooter with us, they put us on the ground floor, as the room buildings do not have lifts. When I initially booked the hotel, I didn’t think I would need a scooter, so didn’t book an accessible room – but they are available if you need one. The man from the hire company wasn’t there yet, so I took a few photos in the reception – the Christmas trees were particularly cool, with Western themed decorations on them.
From the main reception you can get to the resort buffet restaurant – Chuck Wagon, and the bar – Red Garter Saloon. We only had breakfast in the Chuck Wagon, and didn’t even venture into the saloon. There was also a store which sold Disney merchandise, drinks and snacks.
The hotel rooms are set out in various buildings, and I love how it really does feel like an Old West town. All that was missing were tumbleweeds rolling by! The buildings are named after famous Western heroes/legends – we were in Wyatt Earp, which was right by the reception area (a couple minutes walk, if that).
We had a moment of panic with the scooter, as there were a couple of steps to go up to get inside the building, but then discovered one at the other end of it. We also had to do a bit of manual manoeuvring to get the scooter through the hotel room door – but we managed it fine in the end. The scooter I had was pretty big – a lot bigger than the ones I hired in Florida.
While the general theming of the resort was fab – the rooms were quite plain in comparison. I have read that Hotel Cheyenne is having a makeover in 2016, and the rooms definitely need it. There were scuffs and marks on the walls, and the bathroom, although clean, didn’t feel super clean. Towels were very thin, and tiny – even for my husband and son! We did get a couple of Disney toiletries – shower gel, shampoo, and a bar of soap. Toilet paper was also the cheap kind – made me glad we brought a roll of our own!
We had a kettle in our room, but nothing else – cups, tea bags etc., but we knew this in advance and had brought our own, including dried milk, as rooms do not have a fridge. My understanding was that you have to request a kettle, so we had actually brought a small travel kettle with us. Similarly, you have to ask reception for things like an iron, or hair drier if you need them.
Our room had a double bed, and a bunk bed. There were no extra pillows, so I was thankful for that extra one on the extra bunk! I need two pillows to sleep on at night. The beds were not very comfortable at all, and none of us slept particularly well. However, with the curtains closed, at night it was very dark, and quiet too, so we did manage to get some sleep – just not a comfortable one. The room also had a television, which had a welcome message for us, as well as a short programme about the theme parks, which we actually sat and watched through, as we didn’t really know anything about them. Our telly wasn’t working properly when we first arrived, but a quick call to housekeeping was all that was needed for it to be replaced.
I’ll close out this first part of my trip report with photos of the Hotel Cheyenne resort that I took during our time there, and will be back with part 2 very soon, which will cover Disney Village.