Arriving at Les Villages Nature® Paris just 37.5km from central Paris (and a 15-minute drive from Disneyland Paris), what struck me was how lush, green and relaxing the resort is. When I think of a trip to Disneyland Paris, my thoughts turn to queues and hectic rides and rollercoasters. But being based at this innovative holiday village celebrating nature in all its diversity allows for a more laid-back break.
Our two-bedroom Country Premium Apartment was elegant with a contemporary feel, with lovely views over the lake from the balcony and a well-equipped open-plan kitchen with dishwasher. We opted for a daily delivery of Continental breakfast, which was left at our front door; there’s also an on-site supermarket with lots of choice at reasonable prices. We dined that first evening at Cépages, which was also running a pre-bookable wine-tasting session (additional charges apply) that we thoroughly enjoyed (waiters gave the kids some colouring to keep them busy).
‘The “line 47 bus” picked us up close to our accommodation and ferried us round the park to the bus stop for the shuttle to the Disney Parks and Disney Village, which takes about 15 minutes by car (25 by public bus).’
Our first experience of the activities on-site was the Aqualagon, an amazing water world with giant waterslides and Jacuzzis, heated all year round. After a quick lunch the children also explored Lait’s Play indoor playground (which is massive at 300m^2), which has lots of hiding places and is a great place for families to burn off some energy if the weather isn’t so wonderful.
Aqualagon at Village Nature Paris
The next day we were up bright and early for a day of Disney, with two very excited children. Les Villages Nature® Paris has a ‘loop bus’ that picked us up close to our accommodation and ferried us round the park to the bus stop for the shuttle to the Disney Parks and Disney Village, which takes about 15 minutes and incurs a small fee (€2 per person per way).
There are just too many great Disneyland Paris attractions to list (in both Disneyland Paris: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park) but we headed straight for 'It’s a Small World' in Fantasyland – a lovely smooth boat ride with dolls from all over the globe singing and dancing in their native language. Another must-do at Disneyland Paris is watching the magical 'Disney Stars on Parade' that starts at Fantasyland and heads down to Main Street USA, featuring Mary Poppins, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. There was even a float from Frozen.
In the afternoon we headed to Walt Disney Studios Park, showcasing the most magical scenes from Disney films and TV. We loved Ratatoullie: The Adventure 4D; with sights, sounds and even smells of a Parisian bistro, and the Studio Tram Tour®: Behind the Magic, which does make you feel you’re on an actual film set.
A family day out at Disneyland Paris
It’s worth noting that one of our party has disabilities, and we were impressed by the park’s many services to help guests with disabilities or special needs. On arriving, you need to head to City Hall to pick up a Priority Card for anyone officially registered as disabled or an Easy Access Card for guests with a temporary illness and for expectant mothers. You’ll also be given an Accessibility Map showing, for example, if a ride or attraction is wheelchair friendly. On entering each attraction, we headed mostly to the disability entrance or to a member of the Disneyland Paris team and showed the Priority Card. It was a relief not to explain our disability needs each time, and every team member looked at the card in detail and knew exactly when to call us and show us where to go.
At lunch we experienced the exclusive Meet & Greet & Eat character dining (with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck) at Inventions in the Disneyland Hotel (additional charge applies). Here, a buffet of seafood, cold meats and salads, hot meals and seemingly endless desserts features plenty for smaller, fussy eaters plus lots of options for those with food allergies and dietary requirements. Disney characters popped in and out for a chat, giving my daughter lots of selfie opportunities. This is hugely popular, so do book in advance (up to two months before your arrival date). In the evening, we sampled the California Grill, a fine-dining table-service restaurant also in the Disneyland Hotel, overlooking Main Street Station and Disneyland Park itself.
We got to Disneyland Paris on Eurostar – quicker than flying, with no hanging around at the airport prior to departure, plenty of space for baggage (Eurostar allows each person two bags/suitcases and one piece of hand luggage) and much wider seats than economy-standard airline seats.
Read more about self-catering family breaks at Les Villages Nature® Paris and Disneyland Paris, easily accessible by car from the UK, Eurostar or by plane.