I'm Going to Disneyland Paris!! If I Can Figure Out How to Get There First.

When I told Elias he could choose a place to go for his graduation gift...any place at all...he knew immediately.  London.

Perfect.  London is a great "starter" city to go on an overseas adventure.  But I double downed...

"You know, right across the street from London is Paris.  And in Paris is Disneyland Paris."

I'm kind of an idiot.

So the graduation gift has become a two week European extravaganza.  Which seems kind of fitting for us.  My plan is to update the research process occasionally until we get to go-time.  And the process was really hitting a snag with the one place I thought would be the easy part.  The part I was dumb enough to mention.  Disneyland Paris.

Look.  It's no surprise that Disney World is my favorite place...anywhere.  I've hit Disney World nearly once a year for the last 10 years.  Elias and I have done Disney World twice with just the two of us.  We did Disneyland two years ago.  We figured Disneyland Paris would be easy enough.  We know the rules for Disney.  We know how this works.  No big deal.

Cue the record scratch.

Disneyland is our last stop on our journey.  The plan is to check out of our hotel in Paris on Monday.  We will take the RER train to Marne La Vallee, the Disneyland Paris stop.  We will arrive on Monday afternoon and get our bearings...maybe lounge by the pool a bit.  But we will also be at the end of the journey.  And staring down a day (ok...two days) of Theme Parks (which historically take more out of me than I think they will).  Tuesday, we hit one of the two parks.  Wednesday (which was a last minute add), we hit the other.  We go home on Thursday.  Done.

I started looking at hotels around the beginning of the year.  But at the beginning of the year, we couldn't book anything.  Mostly, because the rooms weren't available yet (though I couldn't really afford the room yet either, so...tomato - tomahto).  But we could look at the hotels to figure out which one we wanted.  This is the time we really dig into TripAdvisor.  And not gonna lie, we were a little disappointed by what we saw.

The reviews for the Disney hotels were just not great.  I mean, they weren't awful.  They were just ok.  I'm not sure what I expected.  Though it's Disney.  I expect a lot.  The deeper I got into the hotel research, the more of a review spiral I began going into.  Review spirals are the worst. thing. ever.  What was good was the news that the hotels we were looking at all included Free WiFi and Free Breakfast.  Hey, these were my two criteria for hotel rooms, so it's a good sign.

Now you're probably thinking, "Hey.  You know you don't have to stay at a Disney hotel.  In fact, you could just take the RER to Disney every morning."  Yep.  You are completely correct.  We could just take the train in.  But you know what...it wasn't even an option.  If we're going to do Disney, we're going to Do. Disney.  We're going to spend a huge amount of money to do this no matter what, so we're going to soak in the Disney flavor at every turn.

In February, after stalking the Disneyland Paris site on a near daily basis, I was able to book the hotel.  I knew the hotel.  I knew the date.  I plugged in all of the information and saw the price.  Oh...the price.  That's ok.  I knew this was going to be pricey.  And the price also included tickets to the park.  Good.  That's what we need.  But it included four tickets (per person) to the park.  No good.  That's not what we need.  I found a button to make changes, but changing tickets was not an option.  Ok.  We still had plenty of time.  There had to be a way.

At this point, I decided to try a different tactic.  Elias and I met up with Adele and Sooj at the Travel and Adventure Show.  We found a Disney Vacations expert who could help us with anything right there and then...except for foreign Disney trips.  But she took my information and promised to call.  She never did.  Which was a bit disappointing.  I could have given her all of my money, but nope.

But I tried again.  I reached out to two Disney travel agents (not an agent from Disney, but companies that focus on Disney travel).  And no response.  The more research I did, the more I read that Disneyland Paris is not the most United States-friendly park.  Now that's not to say they don't want us to show up.  That is not the case at all.  The park just doesn't market itself towards the United States visitor.  And the website is not super helpful.

In my Google searching and other research on the Disneyland Paris site, a Paris phone number was listed for questions.  On a Sunday morning, I looked at the website again and paused.  I looked at my phone's World Clock and saw that in Paris, it was 530p.  The phone line closed at 6p.  If I was going to do this, it was going to be now.  The next week, I was going to be out of town.  And I just wanted to pin down the hotels.

First step - figure out how the hell to call internationally.  This is not something I do on a regular basis, so research is necessary.  This is why I love the internet - I can type in "How to call Paris from..." and not only does it populate the rest of my question, but it tells me what I need to know.

Second step - make the call.

And seriously, the call could not have been any easier.  I blurted out what I wanted to do, "We'll be there these days and need tickets for two days only and I couldn't do it online and this is the hotel I want and I think I must be missing something and how can we do this??"

I was trying to make it a quick call since it costs $0.08 per minute.

The woman on the other end had that Disney Magic and was able to talk me down.  She told me that you can't choose the number of tickets you want online, but you can over the phone.  I didn't ask why.

After 20 minutes, I had a hotel and two days of park tickets booked.  Not only that, but we set up space on the bus from our hotel to CDG on the day we head home.  That...is a big deal for us.  And the best news is I could put down a deposit, but pay the balance shortly before we arrive.  Nicely played, Disney.  Nicely played.

My biggest takeaway from this story is to suck it up.  If you're not getting anywhere online, you do have an option to pick up the phone.  Sure, it's going to cost to make that call.  But it's a whole lot less than paying for two days of extra tickets.  And the fact that I'm even giving this advice is kind of hilarious considering I'm the world's worst person on the phone.

So we are done.  The flight is booked.  The hotels are booked.  The hard stuff is done.  And now, we start putting our days together.  We have two and a half months to get everything planned.  No big deal.  We've got this covered.


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