Disneyland Paris, Which Hotel?

This is a blog post that has been requested and actually it’s probably quite a good question – which hotel do we chose when visiting Disneyland Paris?

Most of the contact that we receive is Disney related. So over the next few months I will aim to do separate blog posts to help those booking their Disneyland Paris Trip!

We have visited DLP now many times and by the time 2019 draws to a close, Ita will have visited 4 times!

First up – Disneyland Paris, Which Hotel?

We have previously stayed at The Disneyland Hotel, Vienna Magic Circus Hotel and Algonquins Explorers Hotel. We will be staying at Disney New Port Bay on our next visit!

Let’s start by explaining that there are six Disney hotels;

The Disneyland hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York (currently being revamped into The Art of Marvel), Disney’s Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne and Hotel Santa Fe.

There are then two Disney Nature Resorts; Disney Davy Crockett Ranch and Les Villages Nature Paris.

And then there are eight “partner” hotels; Radisson Blu, Vienna House Dream Castle, Vienna House Magic Circus, Marne-la-Vallee Val d’Europe, Algonquin’s Explorers Hotel, Campanile Val de France, Hotel I’Elysee Val d’Europe and lastly B&B Hotel.


This is the main Disney hotel in Paris, situated just outside of the park gates. The decor is Victorian inspired and is described as being opulent and luxurious.

The convenience of this hotel is non comparable. You step outside and the park is right there. Many of the rooms overlook the park too.

The price does reflect this though and it is the most expensive hotel to stay in at Disneyland Paris.

This hotel also includes the Disney benefits of magic hours, park tickets being included and also the character encounters (although we actually didn’t see any characters at all when we stayed here and that was very disappointing!)

The downside to this hotel is the fact that almost all visitors to the parks will want to visit the hotel for a look around. As such, it’s always very busy.


This hotel is currently closed amid renovations and will reopen in Summer 2020. It will be Marvel themed.

We can’t wait for this hotel to open and will definitely plan to stay here at some point! We’re expecting it to be expensive, but this hotel seems like it will be worth it!

This hotel will be the only hotel in which you can meet Superhero’s!! There will even a “photo-location” on site.

Something that really sets this hotel apart will be the Marvel Design Studio where you will be able to learn how to become a comic book artist.

The hotel itself is not far and is walking distance to the parks at about 10 minutes.


Renovated as of Spring 2016, this hotel is based on a coastal mansion right by Lake Disney. This hotel is 15 minutes walk from the theme parks and runs a free shuttle.

You can upgrade at this hotel to the “Compass Club”. This includes a private check in/out, beautiful huge rooms overlooking Lake Disney, access to the Compass Club Lounge, complimentary food and drinks and also a dedicated concierge.

Many people have recommended the upgrade and it is currently something we are debating!

This hotel also includes the Disney benefits of magic hours, park tickets being included and also the character encounters. Best of all, the pool at this hotel looks amazing!!


The Sequoia Lodge is based on a cosy mountain retreat and those who have stayed there have feedback that it really does feel authentic. It is described as having a “Bambi” feel to it. Although, my perception is a tad different as I personally think it is the least themed Disney hotel!

It is a 15 minutes walk to the parks and a free shuttle bus.

This is one of the cheaper priced Disney hotels, but is really worth the value since you still reap the benefits of staying in a Disney hotel ie Magic Hours and Park tickets being included in your booking price. However, as states above, it really doesn’t have a Disney feel.


This hotel has a very heavily themed Wild West style so over the last few years especially, it has become associated with Woody (from Toy Story of course!). Woody’s Roundup rooms are standard but feature decor inspired by Sherrif Woody himself.

Aesthetically, this hotel looks amazing and is so fun for small children. It is so heavily themed that although it is a very reasonably priced option, you do feel like you are always in “Disney”.

There are even pony rides here!

However, it is a 20 minutes walk from the parks (there is a free shuttle though!) which can be a pain when you just want to get back and rest.

This hotel also includes the Disney benefits of magic hours, park tickets being included and also the character encounters – infact it is not uncommon for Woody to be spotted in the hotel often.

Parents – there is a Starbucks on site!!


This Disney hotel was initially designed based on Route 66 but is now more commonly known as the “Pixar Cars” hotel. All of the rooms are now based on this movie!

The “La Cantina” tex-mex buffet restaurant is so different to what is served in the rest of Disneyland Paris and I know people who, even though they weren’t staying here, have deliberately eaten here!

This hotel also includes the Disney benefits of magic hours, park tickets being included and also the character encounters. Again, there is also a Starbucks on site!

This hotel though does feel more dated that the other 2 star hotel being Hotel Cheyenne and they are the same cost too. So it’s really worth debating what theme you would prefer.

NOW, that is the round up of the Disney hotels, let’s move on to the two Disney Nature Resorts.

These are based a bit further out, both at about 15 minutes drive. I wouldn’t recommend taking a walk as it isn’t an easy route. There are shuttle busses which take about 25 minutes to take you to the parks.


This resort is described as a holiday in itself and therefore it’s probably not somewhere you would stay if you were only visiting Disneyland Paris for a few days.

Within this resort there is a huge water park and heated outdoor lagoon, a farm and a forest with tree top trails! Activities include cooking classes and bowling.

As explained, it is further out and you do have to pay for the shuttle. Also, this is NOT a cheap option at all for a Disney Trip and there is no Disney magic on site.


Now, this is a strange one. I say that because most people, children especially, will be thinking “who the heck is Davy Crockett?”. Well turns out he is an American folk hero and was famous for hunting! And this is why I believe the concept is totally lost on Europeans.

The retreat is nestled in a forest and the rooms are more so like cabins. Again, there is no Disney feel here and there is also no shuttle service either! I really would not recommend this accommodation if you are planning a short trip to Disneyland. It makes no sense to.


Let’s discuss the Partner Hotels.

These are without doubt the best “budget” hotels. I use that term very lightly however, since sometimes these hotels cost more than staying within a Disney hotel.

It is worth noting that if you are staying in one of these hotels, then you will need to add the cost of your park tickets on top!

We have stayed at the Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel and Algonquin’s Explorers Hotel – both before Ita was 3 years old (as this is when she would be charged as a Disney customer). However, did it actually work out cheaper? Hmmm, no! I’ll get to that in a bit…


This hotel is stunning and is very much like a castle, perfect for a little princess. It is very close to the parks at only 10 minutes by free shuttle bus. The interior is beautiful!

However, when we have previously searched for Disney breaks, this hotel actually came up as more expensive than staying at Disney’s Newport Bay!! And here is why, the hotel itself is not cheap and on top of that breakfast is an add on.

As this is a partner hotel, park tickets are not included either. This means, if for example you are a family of 2 adults and 1 child over 3, you will need to find an extra £232.50 per day (for a 1 day/2 Park ticket)! Of course you can pick up discounts and offers, but it really is never going to be too much less.

Here is a quick example! If you were to book this hotel for a Friday to Monday, early October it would set you back a whopping £1,036 on booking.com – crazy!! JUST THE ROOM!!

My advice here is simple, do your research.


This hotel is obviously styled on a Circus theme which we found was carried throughout the hotel. It really is quite striking and fun which is why we initially chose to stay here.

With that said, there really is no Disney feel and even though the Dream Castle hotel was also not a Disney one, it had the princess theme to rely on!

I’ve heard that this hotel wanted to make you believe it was based on Dumbo, without actually having a Dumbo presence.

My advice is the same as above – it is not a “cheaper” option in the long run and we found that whilst the shuttle busses going to the parks were done, coming back was a nightmare!! The busses aren’t too frequent so they get completely packed out.


The Radisson group are well known and have cleverly places themselves here by Disneyland!

Prices start at about £90 per night so this is definitely a cheaper option but again it has no Disney fell whatsoever and park tickets are not included. However, you can bet this hotel will be clean and perfect for a short break. It’s especially cost effective if you are travelling with a child under 3!


Well firstly this is more so a set of apartments rather than a hotel. It is also by far the cheapest option of accommodation since you can get an apartment for about £70+ per night.

Since it is a self catering apartment this may appeal to bigger families or those on a strict budget.

There is a free shuttle and it is only about 10 minutes away from the parks.

However, it is not somewhere to stay if you want Disney magic.


This hotel is described as having a marine style to it but unless you are staying in a standard room, you might miss that!

Budget wise this hotel can be booked at about £80+ per night. It is very close to the parks but again tickets are not included.

We found staying here was ok, we just didn’t feel any of the Disney magic and found the shuttle busses to be problematic!


Hmmm ok let’s start with a compliment. The views are pretty and it includes a free shuttle too! Yay!

Now, what you need to know! The rooms are TINY!! Yet they are loaded with furniture – a standard room has one double bed and one set of bunk beds but there is no room to swing a cat! It is described as “cosy” and I genuinely think they were giggling to themselves when they came up with that one!

We have also found this hotel to be more expensive than Radisson Blu! So cheeky considering! I also don’t understand how this hotel is a 3 star when both Santa Fe and Cheyenne are considered 2 stars!

Personally I’d avoid!


So many people have rated this hotel highly and I can see why. It has a total Parisian feel to it and is convenient since there is also a free shuttle bus. It is also really close to the Shopping Outlets and the Sea Life aquarium.

If you are planning a Disneyland trip for longer than a few days then this really is an ideal place to stay!

It is also very close to the train station that can bring you into Paris in just 35 minutes.

Prices don’t always work out cheap here to be honest but every now and then I have seen you can secure a room here for about £120+ per night.

Here is a little tip here too – on Magic Breaks I have seen you can book 2 nights stay with 3 day Disney passes for only £209 per person! That really is a bargain!


If you are planning on a short Disneyland trip then it almost always works out more convenient (and actually cheaper!!) staying in a Disney hotel.

Many firms now including the likes of Magic Breaks allow you to book with a deposit and pay it off as you go along.

We have booked to stay in a 4 star Disney hotel for as little as £700 which includes our park tickets (for 4 days) AND meal plans AND also a character breakfast! YEP, read that again.. it’s true!

It’s easy to become fixated on saving money and thus you may end up booking things separately and staying far away from Disneyland – but ultimately it all adds up and why would you not want the Disney spirit continued in your accommodation?

In the next few weeks I will also upload a post on restaurants in Disneyland Paris and the Disney Village (including meal plans) which is also something I’m often asked about!

London Zoo

On the weekend we were invited to visit one of our favourite zoos, ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park.

Firstly, let’s start by saying this post is entirely a positive one. We love a day out at a Zoo. Therefore not likely to be for you if you believe that those who visit zoos are heartless monsters, or who believe these animals are held in cells by the cruelest of captivists.

ZSL London Zoo very clearly adore animals and the welfare of their animals is held in the highest regard.

There is nothing quite like seeing wildlife up close, especially animals that you would not normally see, such as giraffes, tigers and kimono dragons!

Here, you have the option to come as close as possible to animals from the Lemur Walkthrough to Butterfly Paradise.

One of our favourite areas of London Zoo is the new Land of the Lions!

The concept is based in India’s Sasan Gir and allows you to get close to the lions whilst exploring India.

It is visually stunning with its bright colours and traditional elements. We probably spent the most time in this area soaking it all in and Ita especially enjoyed the little safari hut with the interactive phone. (It rings when there is a lion emergency!!).

Here you can also pick up a little leaflet and stamp things that you have spotted ie lions.

There are 3 walkways within this section with various areas including a train station, temple and a traditional high street.

Right within this area is Gir Lion Lodge where you can spend the night!!

How amazing would this be, right?

Here is the link below, for more information on staying a night in one of the Lion lodges.


Prices start at £159 per person, per night.

Without doubt my favourite area is Penguin Beach! This exhibit is England’s largest penguin pool. Penguin Beach recreates a South American beach landscape where the Humboldt penguins live. In fact there are bred here too!

This area features a large pool with an underwater viewing area (seen below).

There are 2 shows held here daily too showing the feeding of the penguins. Be sure to take your seats early though. We saw people sitting down for the show almost 40 minutes before it started!

One exhibit that always stays in my mind is the butterfly walk through, known as Butterfly Paradise!

It’s absolutely stunning and the butterflies fly right around you (some even land on top of you!). Here is a tip though, it is very very hot in this area so best to leave your coat outside!

Butterfly Paradise features butterflies from Africa, South-East Asia and Central and South America.

In the 1980s London Zoo created the first butterfly house! I can really remember this from visiting many years ago!

Ita was possibly most excited to visit Gorilla Kingdom. She genuinely thought she was going to meet one!

Gorilla Kingdom is based on the African Rainforest where western lowland gorillas live.

There is a huge viewing area of this habitat and although it was very busy, we were still able to see the gorillas quite close up. As this is quite a popular attraction, it might be wise to visit here first so that it is slightly less busy.

After seeing the gorillas we headed to “Africa” to see the giraffes!

This is by far the best giraffe viewing area that I have ever been to. The way it is set out means that you will always have a good view, and on sunny warm days the giraffes come right out to greet you.

Also in this area are the hippos and the meerkats. Straight away Ita was shouting “there’s Timone!”.

The Rainforest Life exhibit is also in this area. It is an indoor centre based on the rainforest where monkeys, sloths and bats live! It, like the butterfly exhibit, is incredibly warm so best to remember this!

The Lemur Walkthrough is also based by this exhibit and you literally are face to face with ringtail lemurs! It’s amazing. The zoo keeper in this area was, quite rightly, very protective of the lemurs. He was making sure that people did not get too close and intimidate them. This was very genuine and, I think, shows just how loved the animals are.

Some of the other animals that we really enjoyed seeing was the Tiger and Kimono Dragon. Harri The Tiger could be heard even when we were in Land of the Lions!

Costs to enter ZSL London Zoo vary depending on the time of year you visit. Personally I think Autumn and Spring is the best time although we did visit last New Years Eve to see the light exhibition and we really enjoyed that too. Keep an eye out for this event!

Booking online in advance saves you at least 10% than what you will pay on the door – link below.


There are plenty of places to sit down and eat should you choose to bring your own food and there is also a big canteen style restaurant too. The food portions are very big and both hot and cold food options are available.

By the restaurant area there is a carousel and face painting too, both at an extra cost. Ita had a snow leopard painted at £4 which was very reasonable. We have paid £8-10 previously in similar places.

In terms of parking, on this occasion we used the Zoo car park at £14 for the whole day.

There is also street parking at 60p for every 15 minutes. Depending on how long you think you may stay, you can work out the best option for you.

The zoo is within close walking distance of either Camden Town or Regents Park tube stations (15-20 minutes walk).

During December there is a special event running called the Living Nativity. It runs from Monday – Friday only and is aimed at reception, year 1 and year 2 children.


Along with visiting the zoo as a day out, there are also special other things that you can do such as “Keeper for a Day”, “Meet the Animal Experience” and “Junior Zoo Academy”.

How amazing would these be as Christmas gifts?!


We had a great day at ZSL London Zoo and cant wait to visit again!

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, at the Hertford Theatre

Yesterday we visited the theatre to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

This is one of the first books that we bought Ita and was actually her very first theatre trip back when she was around 14 months old!

The show is full of catchy songs and Ita especially enjoyed learning the dance routine to the sausages and chips song! The fact that the audience were encouraged to get on to their feet to participate, meant that children did not lose interest at all. The story was so easy to follow. In fact, it was the closest adaption from book to show that we have seen.

I was also really impressed with the production set – it looked exactly like the illustrations in the book!

The show ran for about an hour (with no interval) which is the perfect length for small children.

The tour continues all around England until next year!

Tickets and tour dates can be found here


Tickets start from £14 with a small admin fee.

The Dream Garden, by Boo Productions

We had the most amazing and magical experience thanks to Boo Productions! We were invited to The Dream Garden pop up event in Leicester Square to meet the fairies of each season.

You see, once in every Dream Year, a magical portal to the enchanted fairy kingdom appears and a special few are granted access…

Ita and Mia met with the fairies from Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. They learnt their secrets, made fairy dust, and caught magical honey in their special nets.

At the end they were each given a special key, with individual powers. This was a lovely little extra and as it was completely individual, it made them feel so special.

The team behind this particular pop up were brilliant! They completely engaged the children from the moment we entered and their energy kept everyone enthralled.

There is expected to be a Christmas event too which we will undoubtedly be attending but keep your eyes peeled on their Instagram account.

Their website is also


Drayton Manor Theme Park (in collaboration with Red Letter Days)

During the bank holiday weekend we were kindly invited to Drayton Manor Themepark in Tamworth. This was via Red Letter Days.

Drayton Manor is of course home to Thomasland, based on all the characters from Thomas and Friends. Thomasland is situated within the main Drayton Manor themepark.

Ita is not a big Thomas fan and our niece Mia, is almost 10 years old so I assumed that we would be spending much of our visit in the main park! I was so wrong! The girls really enjoyed this part of the park and so we spent most of our day here!

Thomasland is definitely aimed at the younger ages – I would hazard a guess at babies to maybe 5 years? However the rides are so diverse that even Mia enjoyed them! Since our last visit in 2017, more rides have been added and although the lines are long, there was so much to look at aesthetically, that it seemed to distract the girls.

Within the main park there is also a Zoo with a dinosaur trail and a 4d cinema experience.

The Zoo, albeit small, is spread out well and has just the right number of animals to pass a small amount of time. I believe we spent about an hour in here looking at the reptiles, tigers and of course the red pandas. The dinosaur trail was really very small so it just adds an extra few minutes to the zoo! (Literally 5 minutes!).

The 4d Experience based on Ice Age, was a highlight for Mia! She wanted to go on again and again so definitely factor this into your visit! It’s only about 15-20 minutes long but it’s a funny show with great effects.

There is also a hotel situated at Drayton Manor themepark although we didn’t have time to explore! However, having had a quick look on line there are offers to stay here which include tickets to the park. If you are travelling far then this may be the better option for you.

As mentioned above, our trip was via Red Letter Days. This is a gift buying company that I highly recommend. Red Letter Days covers all budgets, all over the UK, from spa visits to afternoon tea, car racing and hot air balloon rides!

The thing we love the most about Red Letter Days concept is that there is a gift for any occasion. For us, family days out are the most important. You can’t put a price on the memories made. Our trip included our meals too! So if you were to purchase this as a gift for a family, they wouldn’t have to spend extra (which is so helpful!).

Vouchers are valid for 10 months which is great as it means you can plan way in advance.

One of the reasons we think Red Letter Days is considerate is the sheer fact that you can even exchange your experiences for FREE. The onus really is on the gifting experience with minimal stress.

Here is the link to Red Letter Days but below you will find a link direct to the Drayton Manor Experience.



Sticky Fingers Restaurant, Kensington

Yesterday we headed to Kensington to have lunch at Sticky Fingers which is an American style diner.

As we visited on a Sunday parking was free and we pretty much parked across the road which was handy! (A big tip of ours is to plan trips to London on a Sunday if you’re driving as not only is it free but it’s so easy to find street parking!).

The food here was absolutely delicious! We had a feast of mac n cheese (of course), buffalo wings, a chicken burger and fries and a steak that Dominic described as heavenly. All was topped off by a signature Sticky Fingers freakshake!

Best of all, this place is totally child friendly. As soon as we arrived Ita was given a colouring sheet and crayons to keep her occupied. Marco, our waiter, was so attentive and kept asking Ita if she was happy! It’s such a relief when a restaurant is so inviting when it comes to children.

Although there was rockerbilly music playing, we couldn’t help but notice all The Rolling Stones memorabilia. The restaurant is actually Bill Wymans (he was the bass guitarist until 1993!).

So if you love The Rolling Stones, this place is a little gem.

The restaurant is next door to Holland Gardens – handy to walk off the American size calories after 😅 There is an amazing play area there and of course the beautiful Japanese Gardens which are absolutely worth visiting.

Aliens Love Underpants at the Troubadour Theatre, White City

Yesterday we headed to White City to see the new show on at The Troubadour – Aliens Love Underpants! It was brilliant!!

We weren’t too sure what to expect since this was one of the very few books that we hadn’t read. However it honestly made no difference! The show was completely interactive with the actors continuing their narrative whilst searching for Underpants amongst us, the viewers!

We especially loved the songs which are now thoroughly stuck in our heads. The puppets are beautiful and the show itself is really well thought out.

This show is part of Kids Week and therefore you get a child’s ticket for free with every paying adult. Tickets start from £17.50. This show is running until 1 September. (Link below).


Heads up though, there are smoke and lighting effects which may not be suitable for all children. Although this is recommended for 3-8 year olds, those under 18 months are free as lap sitters.

We parked in West Fields so we could enjoy lunch there beforehand. It’s very close to the Troubadour! If you sign up to Smart Parking you can park there for the entire day for £7.50 which is a reduced rate. (Link below).


Dinosaur World Live at The Troubadour, Wembley Park

Today, we had the best dinosaur adventure EVER!

We were fortunate to be invited to see Dinosaur World Live at the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley and frankly it was AMAZING!!

The show is so cleverly put together and is presented/narrated by Miranda, an explorer who has grown up with Dinosaurs.

“Miranda” was so lively and I loved that she spoke directly to the crowd. It’s a really interactive way to learn about dinosaurs.

I was so worried that Ita would be terrified of the dinosaurs as the sounds and aesthetics are quite scary! Within 2 minutes she was putting her hand up to go on stage with the biggest of dinos!

The show is aimed at 3 years + and I think this is simply dependent on whether you think your child would be afraid or not. I was hesitant but I’m so glad that we went as Ita really enjoyed it! (As did I!)

It runs for only 50 minutes which is perfect for smaller children but we enjoyed it so much that we really wished it was a bit longer! There is also a meet and greet with the dinosaurs after – perfect photo ops!

One issue we found was the parking! Wembley will forever be the most expensive place to park I think! We parked in the “yellow” car park which is very close to the theatre but as there was an event on at the Arena, it cost us a hefty £20! On non-event days parking should only be £1 an hour. Plan your visit on a day when nothing else is going on!

This show is part of the offer on London Kids Week (where a child goes free throughout August with a paying adult). If you are only going to see one show this summer, let this be it!

There is also an offer on Groupon if you’re simply an adult who wants to see it too!


The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Troubadour, White City

Today we were invited to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar Live at the new Troubadour Theatre in White City 🐛 🍎 🍉 🧁 .

The show is of course based on the famous book by Eric Carle, which sees a very greedy caterpillar eat and eat before turning into a beautiful butterfly. This is one of Ita’s favourite books and I’m so glad that the live stage version didn’t deviate far from the original story! There was actually 3 short shows beforehand, all telling various tales and encouraging children to get involved. The show was narrated beautifully by 3 actors who also handled all the puppets.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is showing at the Troubadour until 1 September and is also per of London Week – where a child goes free with a paying adult. It is recommended for ages 1+.

Up to 18 months can enter as babes in arms.

I would say this is perfect for very small children!

A little tip I want to share is that parking around White City is mostly permit only and this theatre does not have its own parking. However, if you register with Smart Parking then you can park at Westfields (which is very very close by!) and pay a maximum of approx £6 for the entire day!

Link below.


Dior Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley

Yesterday we visited The Berkeley Hotel to enjoy their themed afternoon tea – Pret-A-Portea also known as Dior Afternoon Tea.

The Berkeley is described as a 5 star luxury hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge. A night here will set you back a crazy £570! (I know, madness right?). However, it is also home to one of the best afternoon teas we have ever had!

Inspired by the most iconic creations by Christian Dior, the most well known pieces have been transformed into biscuits, bakes and fancies.

The attention to detail is non comparable – each treat was just like the professional photographs we had seen when booking (something I tend to complain about!).

The tea is priced at £60pp or £70pp with champagne. This is very reasonable for London teas and I would say is really worth the expense. We paid for two as the staff here were kind enough to make Ita her own plate of ham sandwiches. As she doesn’t really eat sweet foods she was quite happy to have a little taste of our cakes. “Sharing is caring” as she says! Also of note is that we were not charged for Ita’s sandwiches. This gratitude goes so far with us. It really isn’t of much cost to hotels such as this but it is a clear indication of how well children are received.

The staff at The Berkeley were so warm and inviting. At least 3 members, including our waiter, made time to talk to Ita. She was given a colouring in book and pencils to keep her occupied too!! We have never had a real problem bringing Ita to nice places but this occasion really stood out for all the right reasons. When children are made to feel welcome, adults relax and enjoy the experience more!

Link to the reservations page is below.