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Spending diary: what my family of four spent on one day at Disneyland Paris

My plans to take my kids to Disneyland Paris have been in the pipeline for a long time, and this summer it finally worked out as part of a larger road trip across France. I committed to one-day only, which most Disney fans will tell you is not enough to do the park justice. However, in the midst of an epic heatwave with two excited youngsters (aged four and eight) in tow, one day seemed just the right amount to me! Here’s what our family of four spent on a one-day trip to Disneyland Paris.

Several characters from the movie Toy Story pose together at Disneyland Paris.
Discover the magic of Disneyland Paris © Krzysztof Dydynski/Lonely Planet

Pre-trip spending

Transport: we travelled by car from south London to Serris. The outward Eurotunnel ticket, booked several months before, was £86. It was approx half a tank of petrol at around £30. As an indication, the return Eurotunnel booking (which we didn’t use for another two weeks) was £93, along with fuel and toll road costs. These costs have not been included in the totals here.

Accommodation: £210.46 for two nights in a one-bedroom apartment through Airbnb

Tickets to Disneyland: £223 for one-day one-park tickets for two adults and two children (booked through Picniq). These tickets specified the date of entry and were non-flexible.

Food for the journey: £13.55 for snack bars, fruit, sandwiches, crisps, mints and gum. In an attempt to be organised for the evening meal, we also included fresh pasta and sauce.

Total: £563.01

A small boy puts his foot in to a jet of water streaming up from the pavement
Playing in the fountains in Serris © Marc Naylor / Lonely Planet

On the ground

Wednesday

Total: €54.94

We used one toll road en route, which cost €22.50. Upon arrival at the apartment we promptly decided that our dinner plan was a bit weak, so we went to buy some more supplies for dinner and a quick breakfast for the morning. The groceries (bacon, onion, butter, baguette, two beers, four croissants, juice) from a supermarket chain cost €10.13.

After a swim and dinner, we strolled out into Serris, which has several fountains and jets of water, perfect for cooling down on a 40°C day. My son promptly interpreted the instruction ‘don’t go in that fountain’ as ‘jump in and get soaked thoroughly’. We stopped for a drink each (lemonade, apple juice, crémant and a beer at €20.37) in place de Toscane to allow him some drying time. Once we were ready to move on through the thick hot air, we grabbed a box of four ice creams from the supermarket (€1.94).

Groups of people make their way down Main St in Disneyland, heading towards Sleeping Beauty's iconic castle
Heading down Main St, U.S.A. upon arrival at Disneyland © Claire Naylor / Lonely Planet

Thursday

Total: €174.84

The big day I had been planning had finally arrived, and the best bit – it was a surprise for the kids! We casually asked if they’d prefer to tour Paris for the day ‘as we’d planned’ or go to Disneyland, and of course, they chose the latter. Both kids got ready to go in record time. 

The free shuttle bus service provided by our apartment took us straight to the park, so there was no charge for the transport. Armed with our tickets, we headed straight through the gates. We made good use of Fastpass, which is included as part of every ticket, and means you can avoid large sections of the queue by returning at an allocated time. This was an absolute blessing in the extreme heat! We spent the morning on the rides including It’s a Small World (magic!), Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Pirates of the Caribbean (which was a little too dark and threatening for my littlest one).

A stage lit in orange has several actors in costume from the Lion King
The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands stage show at Disneyland Paris © Claire Naylor / Lonely Planet

We had a cool bag with us, including a couple of sandwiches, some snacks and plenty of water in refillable bottles (there are water fountains around the park), so our food/drink spend was  fairly low. We bought four Kinder Bueno ice creams from a stall near Main St (€15.26) before taking shelter in the spectacular Lion King stage show. 

For our main meal, we left the park and headed for Rainforest Cafe in Disney Village. The restaurant has a rainforest theme, including animatronic animals and the occasional thunderstorm. Here, we spent €106 on a meal for four, plus a tip of 10% (€116.60). This included six drinks, two portions of chicken nuggets and chips, a large burger, a mixed platter and two ice cream sundaes.

Two life-like gorillas surrounded by fake foliage in a rainforest-themed cafe
Rainforest Cafe is lined with animatronic creatures, like these gorillas © Claire Naylor / Lonely Planet

We returned to the park for a few more turns on various rides, but found ourselves spending most of our time under the hoses spraying water instead. Due to the heat all outdoor shows and the main parade were cancelled, and there were no characters to be seen in the park that day. We spent a lot of time exploring all the shops and kiosks, which had excellent air-conditioning! 

And how could we possibly let the kids go to Disneyland without letting them buy themselves a souvenir? With a budget of €20 each, they chose a set of Lion King figures and a cuddly Stitch toy (from Lilo & Stitch). Together, these went slightly over their budget coming in at €42.98

We were beat after an exhausting day on the move, so we started the journey home. There was no sign of the free shuttle bus, so it was time for an Uber (€7.07) back to the apartment, where we jumped in the pool. 

The final tally

Overall spend: £563.01 (pre-trip) and €229.78 in location

Note: as mentioned, this doesn’t include the return transport costs to London, as it was part of a longer onward journey.

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