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Contents listed here refer to the full sized book 'Unofficial Guide to Disneyland Paris' Available from all good bookshops

CONTENTS

List of Maps xi Acknowledgements xiii

Introduction 1 Why ‘Unofficial’? 1 Declaration of Independence 1 The Importance of Being Goofy 1 Letters and Comments from Readers 5 ‘Mickey, Donald, et Moi’ 6 Disney’s Gallic Wars 9 The First Decade: A Trial by Fire 11 The Newest Kingdom in Europe 12 Disneyland Paris: An Overview 13 What Does Disneyland Paris Consist Of? 13 ATTRACTIONS FOUND ONLY AT DISNEYLAND PARIS DISNEY-SPEAK POCKET TRANSLATOR

15

16

P A R T O N E Planning before You Leave Home 19 Gathering Information 19 A Word on Phoning or Faxing Numbers in France 20 Disneyland Paris on the Web 20 DISNEYLAND PARIS PHONE NUMBERS 21 Entry Requirements and Customs 22 Taking Your Pet 22 Timing Your Visit 23 Selecting the Time of Year for Your Visit 23 Disneyland Paris and Paris 23 Selecting the Day of the Week for Your Visit 25 The Disneyland Paris Calendar 27

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VI

CONTENTS

P A R T T W O Making the Most of Your Time and Money 29 Allocating Money 29 Disneyland Paris Admission Options 29 Where to Buy Disneyland Paris Tickets 30 Discounts 31 Allocating Time 32 Operating Hours 33 Official Opening Time vs. Real Opening Time 33 The Cardinal Rules for Successful Touring 33 Seeing Disneyland Paris on a Tight Schedule 35 Touring Plans: Of Utmost Importance – Read This! 36 Overview of the Touring Plans 39 Extra Magic Hours 43 FASTPASS 45 Understanding the Attractions 49 Cutting Your Queue Time by Understanding the Rides 49 Cutting Your Queue Time by Understanding the Shows 52 Understanding Traffic Patterns in the Parks 54 Traffic Patterns at Disneyland Park 54 Traffic Patterns at Walt Disney Studios 56 P A R T T H R E E Accommodation 59 Staying at Disneyland Paris 60 All Things Considered 60 The Goofy World of Disneyland Paris Hotel Reservations 61 Disneyland Paris Hotels and the Davy Crockett Ranch 63 Disneyland Paris Hotels at a Glance 64 DISNEYLAND PARIS HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS 65 Selected and Associated Hotels 72 DISNEY HOTEL SERVICES AND AMENITIES 74–75 HOW DISNEY AND ASSOCIATED HOTELS COMPARE 76 Lodging outside Disneyland Paris 76 Most Convenient Lodging outside the Park 76 Staying in Paris 77 P A R T F O U R Getting There 79 Getting to Disneyland Paris by Air 79 Which Airport Should I Use? 79 Flying into Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) Airport 81 Flying into Orly Airport 85 Getting to Disneyland Paris by Train (Eurostar and SNCF) 88 Les Gares (Train Stations) 89 Train Reservations and Tickets 90 Getting to Disneyland Paris by Car 91 Travelling by Car from the United Kingdom 96

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CONTENTS

VII

Travelling by Car from Other Countries 98 Hiring a Car 98 P A R T F I V E Getting Around 103 Using the Métro and the RER 103 RER SIGNS 108 Getting to Disneyland Paris from Your Paris Hotel 109 On Your Own: Timing Your Ride 109 P A R T S I X Practical Stuff 115 Money Matters 115 Changing Money 115 Banking in Paris 118 Using Credit Cards 118 Tipping 118 Inside Disneyland Paris 119 Credit Cards 119 Telephones 120 Rain 120 Cold Weather 120 Same-Day Re-Entry to the Theme Parks 121 Visitors with Special Needs 121 Excuse Me, but Where Can I Find . . . 123 P A R T S E V E N Disneyland Paris with Kids 125 The Brutal Truth about Family Holidays 125 Mental and Emotional Preparation 126 Division of Labour 126 Togetherness 126 Lighten Up 127 Something for Everyone 127 Whose Idea Was This, Anyway? 127 Basic Considerations: Is Disneyland Paris for You? 128 Different Folks, Different Strokes 129 The Nature of the Beast 129 Know Thyself, and Nothing to Excess 130 The Age Thing 130 Disneyland Paris for Infants and Toddlers 131 Disneyland Paris for 4-, 5-, and 6-Year-Olds 133 The Ideal Age 134 Disneyland Paris for Teens 134 About Inviting Your Children’s Friends 135 A Few Words for Single Parents 137 ‘He Who Hesitates Is Launched!’: Tips and Warnings for Grandparents 138 How to Childproof a Hotel Room 139

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VIII

CONTENTS

Physical Preparation 141 The Agony of the Feet 141 Sleep, Rest, and Relaxation 143 Developing a Good Plan 144 Logistic Preparation 145 Remembering Your Trip 151 Trial Run 152 About the Unofficial Guide Touring Plans 153 Pushchairs 154 Bringing Your Own Pushchair 154 Pushchair Wars 155 Babysitting 156 Disney, Kids, and Scary Stuff 157 SMALL-CHILD FRIGHT-POTENTIAL CHART 158–161 The Fright Factor 161 A Bit of Preparation 162 A Word about Height Requirements 163 Attractions That Eat Adults 163 Queuing Strategies for Adults with Small Children 164 Lost Children 168 How Kids Get Lost 169 TIPS FOR KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR BROOD 170 The Disney Characters 171 Character Encounters 172 Character Dining 176 P A R T E I G H T Disneyland Park 179 Arriving and Getting Orientated 179 NOT TO BE MISSED AT DISNEYLAND PARK 179 Starting the Tour 182 Main Street, U.S.A. 183 MAIN STREET SERVICES 183 Main Street Attractions 184 Frontierland 186 Adventureland 192 Fantasyland 196 Discoveryland 203 Live Entertainment at Disneyland Park 209 Fireworks 209 Disney-Character Shows 209 Parades 210 Disneyland Park Touring Plans 213 General Overview 213 Preliminary Instructions for All Touring Plans 214 The Touring Plans 215

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CONTENTS

IX

P A R T N I N E Walt Disney Studios 233 How Much Time to Allocate 233 NOT TO BE MISSED AT WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

233

Arriving at Walt Disney Studios 236 WALT DISNEY STUDIOS SERVICES 236 Getting Orientated at Walt Disney Studios 236 Walt Disney Studios Attractions 237 Front Lot 237 Production Courtyard 237 Backlot 242 Toon Studio 244 Live Entertainment at Walt Disney Studios 250 Walt Disney Studios Touring Plan 250 Preliminary Instructions 251 The Touring Plan 251

P A R T T E N Dining 253 Eating in Disneyland Paris 253 Disneyland Paris Half Board Meal Plans 254 Alternatives and Suggestions for Eating in the Disneyland Paris Theme Parks 256 Disneyland Paris Full-Service and Buffet Restaurants 258 Disneyland Paris Dining during Cold-Weather Months 260 Disneyland Paris Menus 260 Disneyland Paris Restaurant Profiles 261 DISNEYLAND PARIS RESTAURANTS RATED AND RANKED 262 Dining outside Disneyland Paris 268 Some General Advice 273 P A R T E L E V E N Nightlife, Shopping, Sport, and Recreation 275 Disneyland Paris at Night 275 In the Theme Parks 275 In the Resort Hotels 275 At Disney Village 276 Shopping 278 Disney Village Shopping 279 Val d’ Europe Shopping 279 Sport and Recreation 280 Davy Crockett Adventures 280 Golf 281

Index, Clip-Out Touring Plans, and Reader Surveys 283 Index 283 Clip-Out Touring Plans 295 Unofficial Guide Reader Survey 303 Disneyland Paris Restaurant Survey 305

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PART THREE

ACCOMMODATION

L O D G I N G I S A P R I M A R Y C O N C E R N for Disneyland Paris visitors. The most convenient accommodation is generally to be found at the resort’s six hotels; however, these are also the most expensive. Just outside Disneyland Paris are seven so-called Selected and Associated Hotels – non-Disney-owned properties that participate in Disneyland Paris holiday packages and provide shuttle service to the resort. Though very few hotels exist in the small villages surrounding Disneyland Paris, a limited number of affordable modern hotels can be found within an 8–15-minute ride on the RER (Réseau Express Régional) commuter train or by car along the A4 highway. Hundreds of hotels of all sizes, of course, are available in Paris proper. Commuting time on the RER from Paris to Disneyland Paris is about an hour one-way. Specifics concerning use of the RER, as well as some information on air and auto travel, are detailed in Part Four, Getting There. In addition to proximity and a certain number of guest privileges, there is a certain peace of mind associated with staying inside Disneyland Paris. ‘I feel more a part of everything and less like a visitor’, one guest says. There is no real hardship, however, in stay- unofficial T I P ing outside the resort and driving or taking the Rooming outside DisneyRER or a shuttle bus to the theme parks. Meals land Paris puts you in a can be had much less expensively, too. Some more receptive mood for of our research team lodged in a comfortable, enjoying Paris and other though not plush, hotel within easy walking area attractions. distance of the train station in Torcy (three stops towards Paris on the RER) for less than half the cost of staying in the least-expensive Disneyland Paris hotel. Our commuting time was 8 minutes one-way by RER to the Disneyland Paris station or 15 minutes by car to the Disneyland Paris parking complex.

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STAYING at DISNEYLAND PARIS HERE ARE THE SPECIFIC PRIVILEGES

and amenities you enjoy

when staying at a Disneyland Paris hotel: made possible by easy access to Disneyland Paris’s internal transport system. Especially convenient is the Disneyland Hotel, which literally sits astride the entrance to Disneyland Park. The other on-site hotels are connected to the Disneyland Paris transportation center by bus, though the walking time from the most distant hotel to the theme parks is less than 20 minutes for most people. The single exception is the Davy Crockett Ranch camping complex, which is 10 minutes away from Disneyland Paris by car. 2. Early entry to the theme parks. Resort guests are eligible to enter Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios one to two hours earlier than day-guests (the general public). This privilege, called Extra Magic Hours, allows resort guests to experience many of the park’s most popular attractions before the park becomes crowded. 3. Preferential treatment in making Advance Reservations for Disneyland Paris evening entertainment. 4. A number of alternatives for babysitting, child care, and special children’s programs. 5. Guaranteed admission to the theme parks on days when attendance is particularly heavy. 6. Free parking in the Disneyland Paris car park. 7. Preferred tee times at the Golf Disneyland course. 1. Vastly-decreased commuting time,

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED 1. EASE OF ACCESS If you stay at Disneyland Paris (except at the Davy Crockett Ranch campsite), you are within walking distance of everything at the theme parks and at the resort as a whole, and you are within a 50-minute train commute to central Paris, depending where you want to go. 2. SMALL CHILDREN Although the actual inconvenience of commuting to most hotels unofficial T I P outside Disneyland Paris is slight, a definite If you stay either in Paris peace of mind results from staying on site. If or at Disneyland Paris, you you are travelling with small children and can will not need a car. afford it, go for the Disneyland Hotel, at the entrance to Disneyland Park. If that’s too expensive, try to book at the Sequoia Lodge.

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If you are in a party that will occasionally be going in different directions (as frequently happens in families with children of widely-varying ages), staying at Disneyland Paris offers more transport options and therefore more independence. 4. FEEDING THE TROOPS If you have a large crew that can eat more than a platoon of French paratroopers, you might be better off staying outside Disneyland Paris, where food is far less expensive. 5. VISITING PARIS AND OTHER AREA DESTINATIONS If you plan to visit Paris or tour the Île-de-France area, it may be more convenient to stay outside Disneyland Paris (see page 76). 3. DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS

THE GOOFY WORLD OF DISNEYLAND PARIS HOTEL RESERVATIONS T H E R E A R E T H R E E W A Y S T O D O J U S T A B O U T A N Y T H I N G : the right way, the wrong way, and the Disney way. Regarding the last – whether it’s right, wrong, or a little of both – you can count on the Disney way being maddeningly complex. Predictably, trying to get a hotel room at Disneyland Paris takes only slightly less effort than building your own hotel. First, you cannot simply reserve a hotel room. Unless you are attending a convention at Disneyland Paris, you must buy a package – one that includes lodging in one of the six resort hotels, park admission, and various other goodies like buffets, Continental breakfasts, a dining plan, and even transport. Concerning transportation, all packages sold in the UK market include it, even if that means bringing your car to France by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel. Package prices are per person, per night, with different rates for adults (age 12 and over) unofficial T I P and children (ages 3–11). Disney also offers The maximum number of packages that include lodging at the seven persons allowed to share a Selected and Associated Hotels. All but one of Disney hotel room is four, these are three- or four-star hotels, and most including children. At Davy are as expensive as or more expensive than Crockett Ranch, the maxithe Disney hotels. Unlike the latter, the inde- mum number allowed to pendents can be booked directly if you simply share a cabin is six, includwant a room as opposed to a package (which ing children. must be booked through Disney). The cost of your package is determined, among other things, by the number of nights and your choice of hotel. Among the Disney hotels, the Disneyland Hotel is most expensive, followed by Hotel New York, Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne, and Hotel Santa Fe, in that order. To get a feel for the difference, the most costly hotel, the Disneyland Hotel, is more than twice as expensive as the Hotel Santa Fe, the least costly. The seventh Disney property is Davy Crockett Ranch, which offers free-standing cabins for up to six people. The cabins are a good buy only if you have four or more persons in your party.

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Package prices vary according to season. At Disneyland Paris, these are not seasons of the year but seasons that Disney makes up, like ‘Value Season’, ‘Regular Season’, ‘Low Season’, ‘High Season’, and ‘Holiday Season’, to name a few. Logic would suggest that the seasons flow in sequential order through the year so that, say, Value Season is 9 January–15 March. But with Goofy creating the calendar, all seasons can be scrambled in a single month – sometimes in a single week. Seasons (and therefore hotel prices) vary not only according to the time of the year but the time of the month and even the day of the week. The system is so confounding that you’ll need either a Disney reservationist or a Disneyland Paris brochure (which you can download online or obtain from a travel agent) to figure it out. But figure it out you must, because package prices for the respective seasons vary by as much as 56%! The per-night cost of your package is determined by the Disney season in effect on your arrival day. Last year, for example, if two adults arriving on 10 June had booked a one-night holiday package at the Sequoia Lodge, it would have cost €472 (£422, $687 US). If, however, they had booked the package for an 11 June arrival, it would have cost €523 (£468, $762 US), and if they had arrived on 12 June, it would have cost €577 (£516, $840 US). What a difference a day makes! If you’re booking on the Disneyland Paris website or with a travel agent, remember that package prices are per person, per night. A recent advert for Disney’s Newport Bay Club, for example, stated that rates started at €144 (£129, $208 US). True enough – but that was for one person, and had you indeed tried to reserve for one person, a single-occupancy charge of €60 (£54, $87 US) would have been applied, so the total would have been €204 (£183, $295 US). So the only way you could’ve obtained the lowest advertised price would have been to book for two people, in which case the room would have cost €288 (£258, $419 US). Oh, and did we mention that the only days this price was in effect were Sundays through Thursdays in January? When choosing a package, try to book one that lets you use as much as possible of what’s included therein. For instance, all Disneyland Paris packages include non-optional ‘length of stay’ theme-park admission. If unofficial T I P you book a three-night package, for example, Be aware: With any Disneyyou must buy the included four days of land Paris holiday package, admission. you pay for the various For just about everyone, arrival day is a components whether you travel day. But whether you arrive at Disneyare able to use them or not. land Paris at 10 a.m. or 4 p.m., when the parks are open, or at 9 p.m., after the parks have closed, you are charged for that day’s admission because it’s part of the package. The same holds true for your departure date: if you have to leave for the airport at 9 a.m., that’s another day’s admission down the drain.

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To get the best deal, be flexible in your travel plans. Be willing to move your visit up or back a few days to take advantage of lower rates. Because seasons (and rates) change an average of ten times per month, you should be able to get pretty close to the dates you prefer. Also, before making reservations, enquire whether any special deals are available – Disney reservationists generally won’t volunteer this information, so you’ll have to ask. Sometimes you can get a three-night package for the price of a two-night package, or a four-night package for the price of a three-night package; at other times specific hotels offer a reduced rate. Another frequently-run special allows one child (ages 3–11) to stay free for each paying adult sharing the same room. During the economic recession of 2009, there was even a special that unofficial T I P included free dining. Check the Disneyland Paris website for Disneyland Paris is not the special offers before you call. Also take a look only player in the holidayat MouseSavers (www.mousesavers.com), a site packages game. To see devoted to finding deals and discounts all over who the sellers are and what packages they offer, the world. If you own or purchase stock in Euro Disney do an Internet search for S.C.A., you are eligible to join the Sharehold- ‘Disneyland Paris holiday [vacation] packages’. If you ers Club. It offers 5–16% discounts on tickets, meals, and purchases. For more information plan to stay in Paris, also see corporate.disneylandparis.com/shareholders search ‘Paris France holiday [vacation] packages’. (click ‘Shareholders Club’ at left).

DISNEYLAND PARIS HOTELS and the DAVY CROCKETT RANCH T H E R E A R E S I X R E S O R T H O T E L S A T D I S N E Y L A N D P A R I S , each designed to reflect a particular American region and historical period. The flagship property, rated luxury-class, is the four-star Disneyland Hotel, at the entrance to Disneyland Park. Also rated luxury-class is the four-star Hotel New York, on Lake Disney and about a 10-minute walk from the entrance of either theme park. The Newport Bay Club and Sequoia Lodge, both three stars, are also on the lake and are rated first-class. Walking time from the Sequoia Lodge to the theme parks is about 14 minutes, from the Newport Bay Club about 16 minutes. Rated moderate-class, and located farthest from the theme park, are the two-star Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne, each about 20 minutes away by foot. Finally, a 10-minute drive away is the Davy Crockett Ranch campsite, which offers cabins as well as emplacements for tents and caravans. Reservations for all six hotels and for the campsite can be made through a central reservations centre. Disney reservationists are

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multi-lingual, but separate phone numbers are assigned for information and assistance in each of 16 languages and dialects. Write or call Réservation Centrale Disneyland Paris S.C.A. Boîte Postale 100 77777 Marne-la-Vallée Cedex 4, France # +33 1 60 30 60 53 UK: # 0844 800 8111 FAX for all languages: # +33 1 49 30 71 00 or 33 1 49 30 71 70

DISNEYLAND PARIS HOTELS AT A GLANCE have guest rooms that sleep four persons. American in design, décor, and appointments, each room has a private bathroom with one or two sinks, plus a bath and shower. Guest rooms at the Disneyland Hotel, the Hotel New York, the Newport Bay Club, and the Sequoia Lodge are large by European standards but much smaller than comparable hotel rooms at Walt Disney World in Florida. Rooms at the Hotel Santa Fe and the Hotel Cheyenne are smaller still. Each guest room at the three- and four-star hotels is equipped with a telephone, a television, a mini-bar, and air-conditioning (which often isn’t sufficient on really hot days). The Hotel Santa Fe and the Hotel Cheyenne offer no air-conditioning. The Disneyland Hotel has an indoor pool, while the Hotel New York, Sequoia Lodge, and Newport Bay Club have both indoor and outdoor pools. Each of the six resort hotels has a bar, at least one restaurant (all with children’s menus), a games arcade, and a shop selling necessities as well as international newspapers and magazines. Likewise, all hotels have non-smoking rooms and rooms for guests with disabilities. Finally, each hotel offers daily meet-and-greets with the Disney characters. Each resort hotel has its own parking facility. Bus transport is provided from all hotels (except the Disneyland Hotel, located at the Disneyland Park entrance) to the transportation and train station between Disney Village and the theme parks. Walking time from the bus-unloading area to the parks is about four to five minutes. ALL DISNEYLAND PARIS HOTELS

Disneyland Hotel The Disneyland Hotel is modelled after a turn-of-the-twentiethcentury Florida resort. Easily distinguished by its many spires and cupolas, flamingo-coloured facade, and white-trimmed balconies, it is the most luxurious of the Disneyland Paris hotels. It is also the most convenient to Disneyland Park, lying directly over the park entrance. This proximity makes it easy for you to return to the hotel to eat and rest – an important consideration if there are small children or seniors in your party.

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Disneyland Paris Hotel Recommendations NICEST ROOMS

1. Disneyland Hotel 2. Hotel New York 3. Newport Bay Club 4. Sequoia Lodge 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe

BEST FOR ACTIVITIES AND RECREATION

1. Hotel New York 2. Sequoia Lodge 3. Newport Bay Club 4. Disneyland Hotel 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe

BEST VALUE

1. Sequoia Lodge 2. Newport Bay Club 3. Disneyland Hotel 4. Newport Bay Club 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe MOST CONVENIENT TO THEME PARKS

1. Disneyland Hotel 2. Hotel New York 3. Sequoia Lodge 4. Newport Bay Club 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe

BEST HOTEL RESTAURANTS

1. Disneyland Hotel 2. Hotel New York 3. Sequoia Lodge 4. Newport Bay Club 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe BEST FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN

1. Sequoia Lodge 2. Hotel Cheyenne 3. Disneyland Hotel 4. Hotel New York 5. Newport Bay Club 6. Hotel Santa Fe

BEST THEME PRESENTATION

1. Sequoia Lodge 2. Hotel Cheyenne 3. Disneyland Hotel 4. Hotel New York 5. Newport Bay Club 6. Hotel Santa Fe

MOST ROMANTIC

1. Sequoia Lodge 2. Disneyland Hotel 3. Hotel New York 4. Newport Bay Club 5. Hotel Cheyenne 6. Hotel Santa Fe

The spacious guest rooms are decorated in pastels and light woods. Bathrooms, with two sinks, are the nicest at any Disneyland Paris hotel. Additionally, many guest rooms afford excellent views of Disneyland Park. The food here is the best available anywhere in Disneyland Paris, and the hotel’s array of services and amenities – including indoor pool and health club – is appropriate to its luxury classification.

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DISNEYLAND HOTEL STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Closest hotel to Disneyland Park Guests can return easily for meals and naps Excellent restaurants and buffet Very nice guest rooms Views of Disneyland Park from guest rooms Provides each guest one FASTPASS per day Second only to Hotel New York in services offered Only Disney hotel with a spa Recreational options

Extremely expensive No outdoor pool No launderette No outdoor children’s playground

On the negative side, the Disneyland Hotel is extremely expensive. Our only other real complaint relates to how incredibly spread out the property is. Guests in the west wing must hike several hundred yards to reach the lobby; conversely, guests in the east wing must walk a comparable distance to reach the pool.

Hotel New York The Hotel New York attempts to capture the sophistication and grandeur of Manhattan. Consisting of a central high-rise flanked by smaller wings, the building is intended to create the illusion of a skyscraper positioned among elegant brownstone row houses from New York’s Upper East Side. Falling a bit short, the hotel’s cluster of buildings more closely resembles the architecture of a suburban office park. The lobby and public areas of both the hotel and the adjoining convention centre are cold and impersonal – probably the most verisimilitude the hotel manages to achieve. An exception is the New York City Bar, easily the most inviting and aesthetically-pleasing space in the hotel. The comfortable guest rooms sport an Art Deco décor, with rust-coloured furniture and lamps in the shape of the Empire State Building. The luxurious baths rival those of the Disneyland Hotel. The restaurants in the Hotel New York serve palatable but vastlyoverpriced food. Owing to the hotel’s proximity to the Disney Village, however, another half-dozen or so restaurants are a six-minute walk away. Amenities and recreational offerings include indoor and outdoor pools, winter ice-skating, a health club, lighted tennis courts, and a hair salon (the only one at Disneyland Paris). The Hotel New York is at the end of Lake Disney. Disney Village – a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex – is just around the

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HOTEL NEW YORK STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Second-closest hotel to theme parks Closest hotel to Disney Village Guests can return easily for meals and naps Good restaurant and buffet Very nice guest rooms Views of Lake Disney Offers the most amenities and services of any Disneyland Paris hotel Only Disney hotel with tennis courts Provides the most sport and leisure options Has ice-skating rink in cold-weather months

Extremely expensive Somewhat cold and sterile ambience No spa No launderette No outdoor children’s playground

corner from the hotel. Bus shuttles to the theme parks are available, though we’re not sure why: the walk to the theme parks is only about eight to ten minutes, only a minute or so more than the walk from the disembarkation point for the bus. Bus service is also available to the golf course.

Sequoia Lodge The Sequoia Lodge is reminiscent of the massive, rugged log-and-stone hotels that grace American and Canadian national parks as well as many western US ski resorts. Located along Lake Disney, the Sequoia consists of a U-shaped main lodge flanked on one side by six smaller lodges. The public areas of the main lodge, including the fireside Redwood Bar & Lounge, are warm, cozy, and exceedingly beautiful, with high-beamed ceilings, natural wood trim, and a huge hearth. Though rated first-class, the Sequoia is in many ways more beautiful and plush than the luxury-class Disneyland Hotel or Hotel New York. Amenities, comparable to those at the more expensive hotels, include indoor and outdoor pools and a health club. The Hunter’s Grill Restaurant, though not cheap, is one of the better hotel eating establishments at Disneyland Paris. Like most other Disneyland Paris hotels, however, the lodge is large and rambling, which means that some guests must trek a long way to reach the restaurants, lobby, shops, or pool from their rooms. Guest rooms at the Sequoia Lodge are characterised by their simplicity, much in the style of a Canadian hunting club. Dark wood furniture contrasts with clean white walls. Beds are covered with quilt-like patterned spreads. Wall lamps are carved to resemble deer

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SEQUOIA LODGE STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Warm inviting public spaces Most tranquil and relaxing of the Disney hotels Excellent execution of theme in public areas Third closest hotel to theme parks Good restaurants Second best buffet at Disneyland Paris Warm and inviting bar and lounge Landscaped grounds with walking paths Indoor/outdoor pool complex Variety of sport and leisure activities

Very expensive No launderette No room service, bell service, or valet parking Inadequate air-conditioning

antlers. Bathrooms are attractive and well designed, with a dressing bench next to the shower and tub. The Sequoia Lodge provides bus service to the transportation and train station between Disney Village and the theme parks. If the weather is good, you can walk to Disney Village in about 8–10 minutes and to the parks in about 14 minutes. The Sequoia Lodge is our preferred hotel for couples on a romantic holiday, though like all the Disney hotels it’s teeming with children.

Newport Bay Club At the far end of Lake Disney, facing the Hotel New York at the opposite end of the waterfront promenade, the Newport Bay Club is NEWPORT BAY CLUB STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Well-executed New England seaside resort theme Nautical-style guest rooms Adequate restaurants and buffet Landscaping Indoor/outdoor pool complex Excellent line-up of services and amenities Variety of sport and leisure activities

Very expensive Poorly-designed and somewhat worn public areas Lack of quiet and relaxing indoor public spaces Low level of maintenance and upkeep 17-minute walk to the theme parks

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a careful re-creation of the grand New England seaside resorts of the late nineteenth century. An imposing structure of seven stories, the cream-coloured facade is punctuated with striped awnings over small balconies. A lake-side lighthouse and immaculately-manicured lawns complete the picture. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a health club, two decent restaurants, and a lounge that overlooks the waterfront. The Newport Bay Club is an 8–10-minute walk from the Disney Village and about 17–20 minutes on foot from the entrances to the theme parks. If you do not want to walk, shuttle busses run about every 20–25 minutes. Guest rooms at the Newport Bay Club reflect a clean, nautical theme with white enameled furnishings offset with navy patterns on the bedding and drapes. The baths are well designed, with plenty of counter space. On the other side of the ledger, the hotel in general, especially its public spaces, looks somewhat worn and in need of a face-lift. Though the restaurants, bars, and sitting areas are adequate during the less busy times of year, they are overwhelmed during summer and holidays.

Hotel Cheyenne The Hotel Cheyenne is a huge, sprawling complex of two-story lodges designed to resemble an 1880s trail town in the American West. By far the most exotic of the Disneyland Paris hotels, the Cheyenne embodies Disney carrying a theme to its limits. If there is any place in the entire Disneyland Paris where you’ll forget you are in France, it is here. Gaily-coloured wood buildings with covered boardwalks flank two intersecting gravel thoroughfares. There are water towers, bunk-houses, a saloon with swinging doors, Indian tepees, a Western-themed children’s play area, and even covered wagons to complete the illusion. These days, however, the Hotel Cheyenne is HOTEL CHEYENNE STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Best-executed theme of all Disney Hotels Creative outdoor play areas for children Rollicking Old West–themed saloon with live music Decent buffet

Expensive Distance of most guest rooms from lobby, restaurants, and park-shuttle departure points Somewhat run-down appearance No air-conditioning No swimming pools Inadequately-staffed check-in counter 18–20-minute walk to theme-park entrances Small, rather cramped guest rooms No bell or room service

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looking a bit too authentic – there are buildings longing for a fresh coat of paint, carpeting in need of replacement, grounds wanting attention. Rated moderate-class, the hotel’s guest rooms are small, each containing a double bed and a set of bunk-beds. Rooms are appointed in Western décor with lamps like cowboy boots and drapes patterned after the traditional Western red-and-blue bandanna. The décor is so juvenile it makes you feel as if you have taken over the bedroom of someone’s 10-year-old son. While there is no air-conditioning at the Hotel Cheyenne, each room does contain a ceiling fan. The bathrooms are small but well designed. As at the more expensive hotels, you’ll find a phone and a television. We found the rooms at the Hotel Cheyenne comfortable. During warm weather, however, when one must sleep with the window open, noise from the street and American Western music – broadcast from speakers, seemingly 24 hours a day – conspire to make rest a difficult proposition. Getting to an ice machine is also a hassle: if you want ice, you must go up the street to a separate building to obtain it. You could argue that amenities at the Hotel Cheyenne are limited: no swimming pool, no health club, and only one (buffet-style) restaurant. To most guests, and particularly to children, however, the whole place is an amenity – and a great adventure to boot. Shuttle busses connect the hotel with Disney Village and the theme parks. If you prefer to walk, you should be able to reach Disney Village within 12–15 minutes and the theme parks in about 20 minutes.

Hotel Santa Fe Intended to look like an adobe pueblo in New Mexico, the Hotel Santa Fe more closely resembles a Los Angeles council estate. The hotel did not have much to recommend it when it was new; now, almost two decades later, the Hotel Santa Fe is tired and worn and in need of restoration – or better yet, a complete make-over. Once-landscaped areas have become patches of packed dirt, and the once-vibrant earth-tone exteriors are now the colour of rust. Tidy cleanliness, a Disney hotel hallmark, has given way to haphazard upkeep and overall dinginess. The Hotel Santa Fe also has the unfortunate distinction of being the only Disneyland Paris hotel to have its car park insinuated around and alongside its guest-room buildings. The theme here, always tenuous at best, certainly wouldn’t make anyone want to go to the real Santa Fe. The best feature of the Hotel Santa Fe is its entrance, with a bright neon marquise. A photo of the entrance is featured at the Disneyland Paris website and those of many Internet travel sellers – if ever there were more of a disconnect between a glamorous entryway and an uninspired reality within, we can’t recall it. One long rectangular building houses the registration area, a sundries shop, the Rio Grande Bar (the hotel’s best feature), a Tex-Mex

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HOTEL SANTA FE STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

Southwestern US–themed bar with live music

Expensive Distance of most guest rooms from lobby, restaurants, and park-shuttle departure points Weak to non-existent theme Run-down appearance Poorly-kept grounds Cars parked within the hotel complex No air-conditioning No swimming pools Extremely-limited dining options Inadequately-staffed check-in counter 18–20-minute walk to theme-park entrances Small, rather cramped guest rooms No bell or room service

restaurant, and a games arcade. Outside is the loading station for shuttle busses to the theme parks. All are located a pretty fair distance from the great majority of the guest rooms. At one end of the complex – and on the roof, no less – is a children’s playground. During our stay few children apparently were able to locate the playground: whenever we stopped by, it was mostly populated by Disney cast members on break. There is no pool. Guest rooms, decorated in American Southwestern earth tones, are small. Bedding and wall friezes bear colourful Navajo Indian designs. Bathrooms are small but adequate. As at the Hotel Cheyenne, there is no air-conditioning, though ceiling fans are provided. Finding an ice machine can be a challenge here, too. The Hotel Santa Fe is quieter at night, however, and you do not have to fall asleep to the crooning of Johnny Cash or the theme from that American TV classic Bonanza. The Hotel Santa Fe is a good 12–15-minute walk from Disney Village and an 18–20-minute walk from most guest buildings to the theme parks. Busses run every 20–25 minutes to and from the transportation and train station.

Davy Crockett Ranch Set in a 56-hectare (138-acre) wooded area about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the theme parks, Davy Crockett Ranch is a large resort campsite featuring fully-equipped one- and two-bedroom air-conditioned

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cabins. Each cabin, designed to accommodate four persons (pleasant) to six persons (claustrophobic), contains a kitchenette, bathroom, television, and phone. Cookware, dishes, cutlery, bedclothes, and towels are provided. There’s a grocery store on site to stock your fridge, but you’ll do much better price-wise to shop in markets outside Disneyland Paris. Next to each cabin is a barbecue grill and a picnic table. Crockett’s Tavern offers a creditable buffet serving, well, a lot of meat. A ‘saloon’ periodically features karaoke or American country music. Aside from cabin accommodation, Davy Crockett Ranch features a petting farm, a stunning indoor swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, sport fields, an elaborate playground, evening campfire entertainment, bike and golf-cart rentals (for travelling around the campsite), a general store that sells groceries and other necessities, hiking and jogging trails, and pony rides. The campsite is also home to Davy Crockett’s Adventure, a tree-swinging ropes course. The only place to park a car at the campsite is at your cabin. There is no parking at the restaurant, pool, or recreation area. If you want to travel around the campsite, you must walk, use the in-ranch bus service, or rent a bike or golf cart. Guests at the ranch must provide their own transport to the Disneyland Paris car park, a 15-minute drive away – there’s no shuttle-bus service. On the bright side, ranch guests may use the car park at no extra charge. SELECTED AND ASSOCIATED HOTELS M A N Y H O T E L S I N T H E I M M E D I A T E A R E A of Marne-la-Vallée and neighbouring Serris provide comfortable accommodation at costs much lower than those of an on-site Disney hotel. The following are designated as Disney Selected and Associated Hotels, which means you can book them through Disney as part of a holiday package. You may also reserve a room separately from a package by contacting the hotels directly. ADAGIO VAL D’EUROPE (# +33 1 58 21 55 84; www.adagio-city .co.uk) In Serris, about a 25-minute walk from the theme-park gates. This hotel is popular with families and generally has the lowest rates in the area – as well as the smallest bathrooms we’ve ever seen. Rooms are small, too, but feature a double bed and sleeper sofa. Friendly bilingual staff. Plentiful restaurants and shopping are within a five-minute walk at the Val d’Europe Shopping Centre. The hotel has a swimming pool and restaurant, but no air-conditioning. Wi-Fi service (available only in public areas) is sporadic. HÔTEL L’ELYSÉE VAL D’EUROPE (# +33 1 64 63 33 33; www.hotel elysee.com) Also in Serris, but at the opposite end of the Val d’Europe mall. Larger rooms with air-conditioning. A 25-minute walk to the park gates. Slightly more upscale than the Adagio, but possibly the least expensive summer hotel choice with air-conditioning.

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KYRIAD HOTEL (# +33 1 60 43 61 61; www.kyriad-disneyland-resort -paris.fr) In Magny-le-Hongre, about a five-minute bus ride to the park

gates. Rooms feature air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. Typical rooms have one double bed; some have a double and two twin beds or four twin beds. The hotel has a restaurant but neither a swimming pool nor air-conditioned rooms, important considerations during the summer months. RADISSON BLU HOTEL AT DISNEYLAND PARIS (# +33 1 60 43 64 00; www.radissonblu.com/golfresort-paris) Directly adjacent to the Golf Disneyland course. If golf is a large part of your Disney holiday, this hotel is the way to go. Views are picturesque, with 360 degrees of gently rolling fairways. The 250 rooms, including 18 suites, are lavishly furnished in contemporary style and earthy tones. Standard amenities in each room include a double bed, flat-panel TV, in-room safe, hair-dryer, and mini-bar. Two restaurants, a bar, 24-hour room service, an indoor pool, a fitness centre, meeting facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the complex make the Radisson Blu the most complete accommodation choice outside of the on-site Disney hotels. THOMAS COOK EXPLORERS HOTEL (# +33 1 60 42 60 61; www.explorers hotels.com) Magny-le-Hongre. The Explorers’ rooms sleep up to four with one double and two single or two twin beds. Rooms for six include a separate space with two bunk-beds, which might be the least expensive option for a family of five or six persons. The hotel has a heated pool and in-room Internet access, but no air-conditioning. Two restaurants and a pizza kiosk are on site. VIENNA INTERNATIONAL DREAM CASTLE HOTEL (# +33 1 64 17 90 10; www.dreamcastle-hotel.com) In Marne-la-Vallée, a short bus ride away from the parks. The Dream Castle Hotel features a medieval castle theme. Smaller rooms fit two adults in a double bed; family rooms sleep two adults in a double bed and two small children in bunk-beds. Two-bedroom suites are an option as well. All rooms are non-smoking. Wired Internet access is available at an extra cost; rooms are not air-conditioned. VIENNA INTERNATIONAL MAGIC CIRCUS HOTEL (# +33 1 64 63 37 37; www.magiccircus-hotel.com) Marne-la-Vallée. Run by the same company as the Dream Castle preceding, this circus-themed hotel has rooms that hold two to four adults, or two adults and up to two children. Rooms have bunk-beds or double beds. All rooms are nonsmoking. Wired Internet access is available at an extra cost. The hotel has a new swimming pool. Rooms are not air-conditioned. A great luxury alternative to the on-site and Selected and Associated hotels is Marriott’s Village d’Île-de-France (# +33 1 60 42 90 00; www .marriott.com), a Marriott Vacation Club property located near Davy Crockett Ranch and overlooking the Golf Disneyland course. Although the Village d’Île-de-France is a time-share development, anyone can reserve their choice of a one-, two-, or three-bedroom town house. The

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Fe Disney’s D Crocke avy tt Ranc h

Disney’s Hotel S ante

Disney’s Hotel C heyenn e

Disney’s N Bay Clu ewport b

Disney’s H New Yo otel rk

Available Available upon Request Extra Charge

Disneyla nd Hote l

Disney Hotels

Disney’s Sequoia Lodge

Disney Hotel Services and Amenities

ROOM FEATURES International TV channels Air-conditioning Mini-bar Hair-dryer Safety deposit box Bath Bunk bed OTHER ROOMS (upon request) Suites (supplement applies) Rooms for guests in wheelchairs SERVICES Free shuttle to the Disney parks

1

Wi-Fi web access (in some locations) Bell service Room service Free parking Safety deposit box at reception Currency exchange Launderette (not including products) SPORT & LEISURE Tennis courts Jogging track Celestia Spa Indoor pool and/or whirlpool Fitness room Sauna and/or steam bath Massage Disney Shop CHILDREN Meet ’n’ Greet with Disney characters Children’s menu (paying) Outdoor children’s playground Video-games room Activities (on certain days)

1— Located at entrance to Disneyland Park

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75

Hotel l’ Ely Val d’Eu sée rope

Adagio Val d’Eu rope

Radisso n at Disne Blu Hotel yland P aris

Kyriad H otel

Available Available upon Request Extra Charge

Thoma sC Explore ook’s rs Hote l

Selected and Associated Hotels

Vienna Int Castle H ’l Dream otel Vienna Int Circus H ’l Magic otel

DISNEY HOTEL SERVICES AND AMENITIES

ROOM FEATURES International TV channels Air-conditioning Mini-bar Hair-dryer Safety deposit box Bath Bunk bed OTHER ROOMS (upon request) Suites (supplement applies) Rooms for guests in wheelchairs SERVICES Free shuttle to the Disney parks Wi-Fi web access (in some locations) Bell service Room service Free parking Safety deposit box at reception Currency exchange Launderette (not including products) SPORT & LEISURE Tennis courts Jogging track Celestia Spa Indoor pool and/or whirlpool Fitness room Sauna and/or steam bath Massage Disney Shop CHILDREN Meet ’n’ Greet with Disney characters Children’s menu (paying) Outdoor children’s playground Video-games room Activities (on certain days)

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accommodation is among the best in the Disneyland Paris area, but as with the Selected and Associated Hotels, you don’t have to buy a Disney package to stay here. Plus, the rates aren’t based on double occupancy: a studio suite in May, for instance, goes for about €127 (£114, $188 US), regardless of whether one or two people occupy it.

Disney and Associated Hotels Rated and Ranked The chart below rates and ranks both Selected and Associated and on-site hotels. The star rating grades the overall experience, while the numerical room-quality rating is self-explanatory. Star ratings are the same as those used in all Unofficial Guides and may or may not be in agreement with the European star system for rating hotels.

How Disney and Associated Hotels Compare HOTEL

STAR RATING

ROOM QUALITY

Disneyland Hotel

....H

91

Disney

Hotel New York

....

84

Disney

Radisson Blu Hotel at Disneyland Paris

....

84

Independent

Vienna International Dream Castle Hotel

...H

80

Independent

Sequoia Lodge

...H

76

Disney

Newport Bay Club

...

74

Disney

Vienna International Magic Circus Hotel

...

73

Independent

OWNERSHIP

Adagio Val d’Europe

...

72

Independent

Hôtel l’Elysée Val d’Europe

...

70

Independent

Thomas Cook Explorers Hotel

...

70

Independent

Kyriad Hotel

..H

64

Independent

Hotel Cheyenne

..

57

Disney

Hotel Santa Fe

..

52

Disney

LODGING outside DISNEYLAND PARIS MOST CONVENIENT LODGING OUTSIDE THE PARK does not have to mean an hour’s trek to Paris. A number of lodging alternatives exist along the A4 motorway and on the Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy RER line. In addition,

‘OUTSIDE’ DISNEYLAND PARIS

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there are several tiny, charming villages near Disneyland Paris that, while short on lodging, offer some wonderful dining alternatives to the resort’s on-site restaurants. STAYING IN A TOWN ALONG THE RER LINE If you want to be near, but not in, Disneyland Paris, we recommend staying in one of the nearby towns accessible by RER. Even if you have come to the area by car, you can park at your hotel and walk to the train station. Small and mid-size hotel chains offer a considerable reservoir (some have up to 300 rooms) of comfortable accommodation, which can usually be booked through a central number or on the Internet, often without a deposit. The rooms tend to be small, but they are relatively inexpensive, clean, and pleasant, albeit largely devoid of charm. Start your Internet hotel search on the search engine Kayak (www .kayak.com). The four closest RER stations to Disneyland Paris are, in order of proximity, Val d’Europe (actually only 20 minutes away on foot), Bussy-Saint-Georges, Torcy, and Lognes. So for a hotel in Torcy, you’d search the hotel listings on Kayak for ‘Torcy France’. A key consideration for any hotel that interests you is how close it is to the RER station. STAYING IN PARIS

a visit to the parks with a stay in Paris, we will not try to present a guide to Paris hotels here. We recommend The Unofficial Guide to Paris by David Applefield (John Wiley & Sons) unofficial T I P and the red Michelin France (Michelin Travel It’s actually easier to find a Publications) to guide your selection. Here hotel room in Paris during again, we recommend Kayak for your online- July and August than it is in search needs. June and October. BUSY TIMES FOR HOTELS IN PARIS Paris hotels book up further in advance for trade shows than for tourist periods. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau lists the following periods as the most heavily-booked dates for all classifications of visitors (tourists, businesspeople, and trade-show and convention attendees): BECAUSE MANY VISITORS WILL BE COMBINING

Second week in January Last weekend in January and first week in February First two weeks in March First week in April Last three weeks in May

All of June First two weeks in September All of October Third week in November Last week in December

Seeing the Paris Sights If you are staying at Disneyland Paris and want to visit the city, transport is fast, easy, and economical by train. Because you will be travelling to Paris on the RER, whenever possible we have routed these trips to the

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nearest RER stop (rather than the Métro), assuming you would rather do your walking in Paris above ground than below. If you get tired of walking, bear in mind that the La Défense– Château de Vincennes Métro line (I) runs parallel to much of the RER A line within Paris. This line includes stops at the Louvre (Palais Royal– Musée du Louvre and Louvre–Rivoli), the Tuileries, Concorde, and Champs-Élysées–Clemenceau (the beginning of the Champs-Élysées). IF YOU WANT TO GO

from Disneyland Paris (Marne-la-Vallée–

Chessy) to . . . ARC DE TRIOMPHE/CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

Take the RER all the way to

Charles de Gaulle–Étoile. CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU (BEAUBOURG)/FORUM DES HALLES ) Take the RER to Châtelet–Les Halles, which leaves you right in the centre of Les Halles. Beaubourg is a ten-minute walk away, by way of a colourful, boisterous pedestrian zone that is worth experiencing. THE EIFFEL TOWER Take the RER A line to Porte Maillot, then change to the RER C line – C2, C4, or C6 only; take care to avoid the southbound western fork, which goes to Versailles – and take it to Champ de Mars–Tour Eiffel. LATIN QUARTER (Quartier Latin) Take the RER to Châtelet–Les Halles, then (1) switch to the southbound RER B line, direction Robinson or St. Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, and take it to St Michel–Notre Dame, or (2) if the weather is nice, walk straight south and cross the Seine. THE LOUVRE/TUILERIES Take the RER to Châtelet–Les Halles, walk to the rue de Rivoli, and then head west (towards the Arc de Triomphe in the distance). It will take you less than 15 minutes to get to the Louvre or the Tuileries. Or transfer to the La Défense–Château de Vincennes Métro line, direction La Défense, and get off at Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre or at Tuileries. MONTMARTRE Take the RER to Nation; transfer to the Métro Nation–Porte Dauphine line (2), direction Porte Dauphine, and get off at Anvers; look for signs for Sacré-Cœur, and be prepared for a long walk uphill. MUSÉE D’ORSAY Take the RER to Châtelet–Les Halles; transfer to the Métro, direction La Défense, to Tuileries. Walk through the gardens and across the Seine. The museum is on the opposite bank of the river – you can’t miss it. THE PARIS OPÉRA (Opéra Garnier) Take the RER line to Auber, in the centre of the Boulevard Haussmann department-store district. Auber is a short walk from the Opéra.

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Unofficial Guide to Disneyland Paris Miniguide  

Unofficial Guide to Disneyland Paris Miniguide

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