So as I type I am 120 days away from my next Disney vacation. But where exactly am I going???
Well it's somewhere we haven't been in a lot of years, in fact we haven't visited here since 2006....and it's a lot closer to home than most of Disney...yes we're going to Disneyland Paris!!
|Me and the kids back in 2006|
OK, so in 1996 we took a vacation to Orlando (our fourth at this point) and stayed in a Disney resort for the very first time and loved it. But then the following year we had our first child and this kinda meant a bit of a re-think when it came to our vacations.
Firstly there was the money aspect to think about; although I went back to work after having Ethan I was working reduced hours...but the good thing was that babies/toddlers often got to go 'free' on package deals or at the very least had cheaper rates than adults. But Florida was a 9 hour flight away, did we really want to subject a small child to a flight that long...or more to the point did we want to subject ourselves to a flight that long with a very small child!!
So we began to look elsewhere and Disneyland Paris seemed the most logical answer; we got our vacation and we got our Disney fix but with much more reasonable travel times and expense! In the Summer of 1999 we made our first visit which turned out to be the first of quite a few over the coming years.
The following year we visited twice, once in the Summer with my parents and then again during the Christmas season, where we had a little side adventure into Paris. It was a couple of years before we visited again due to the arrival of child number two but when we did get to go we visited once more at Christmas (the weekend before to be exact - boy was it busy!).
In 2004 we took the kids to WDW for the very first time. They were both of an age where we could easily take them out of school and therefore take advantage of the cheaper times of the year to go on vacation...we went in early December saving ourselves a significant amount of money compared to going during the school holidays. But a trip to Orlando from the UK is still not cheap and we knew it would be a few years before we could afford to go again as we would have to visit during the school holidays the next time.
So by 2006 we were in need of a Disney fix and Disneyland Paris beckoned again, the kids were still young enough that we could take advantage of cheap discounted rates and it filled the gap between visits to WDW.
I think it was probably around this time that we began to realise just how much we loved WDW and how DLP hadn't really changed or expanded in the few years that we'd been visiting. It was also starting to get rather expensive to visit DLP with a 3/4 night visit costing sometimes the equivalent of nearly 40% of the cost of a 14 night visit to WDW. So we decided that we would rather not visit DLP in the future but that we would save the money it would have cost us and put it towards a future visit to WDW. After all although WDW costs more we figured we were getting better value for our money with more nights, travelling over 3 times the distance compared to DLP, better weather, more parks, water parks, better shopping, a more authentic Disney experience (there is something I feel that makes a US Disney park different/better compared to the Paris version!) and at Orlando you also have all the non-Disney entertainment to experience should you wish to do so!
So why then I hear you ask have I booked a trip to Paris?
Well...there are a few reasons! The first (and probably the main reason) is cost...due to personal circumstances we are just not in a position to be able to afford a vacation to WDW at peak season for 2 adults and 2 teenagers! So when DLP started advertising 'free days' I was intrigued. After some investigation I discovered that we could book for early next year, when the kids are off school, and get 2 days and nights for free! So after doing some calculations and much family discussion we decided to go for it (this is going to be all of our Christmas presents this year I think!!). Plus having not been to DLP since 2006 there have been a number of changes and additions that we would really like the chance to see and experience. And as the kids are now that much older compared to the last time they visited they will be able to appreciate it in a completely different way. Oh and I NEED my Disney fix ;)
So let the planning commence!