It happened! We actually went to Disneyland, Paris this half term for the first time EVER! I’m still squeaking about it because A) I’ve been waiting years (all my life!?!) to go – as has Little Button *she reminds me that 6 years wasn’t as long to wait as my one hundred years… erm, thanks and B) it was every bit as magical as they say it is. We are all still riding that sweet Disneyland high, even though we are back in London now. And, I’ve no idea why we didn’t go sooner!
So. The number one question I asked EVERYONE before our trip was ‘which hotels would you recommend?’ *sound familiar? Deciding where to stay can be pretty overwhelming, especially when it’s your first visit. I’m not joking when I say that I spent a good month looking through blogs, internet reviews and Facebook groups for the inside scoop on where to stay. And, I don’t regret it either, because we ended up with an absolute gem and didn’t have to compromise on comfort or quality at all!
This is the gem we found! The Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel. It’s a Disneyland partner hotel, so it’s likely that you will see it popping up in your Disney accommodation searches. It’s off site, meaning that it’s not located directly in the Disneyland village as you immediately walk out of the Disney parks. But, it’s very close by and has a free shuttle bus to and from Disneyland which only takes about 10 minutes. Top tip: if arriving by Eurostar, when you come out of the station head to stop E and you can take the free shuttle bus to the hotel. It’s a hop on and off, so no need to show any paperwork or tickets.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the Vienna House Dream Castle hotel as we pulled up the drive in the (big) shuttle bus. I wasn’t expecting it to be so grand! Once inside, we found that the plush reception area was huge with comfy seating, a children’s entertainment area, small Disney shop, beautiful views and of course the reception desk area. There wasn’t a que in sight, maybe because we were checking in in the afternoon, but after Eurostar, that was enough to have us grinning from ear to ear.
Checking in was a breeze. We felt that the reception desk staff were warm, friendly and welcoming. No question was too silly and there were lots of smiles for a shy Little Button who climbed the fun steps up to the reception desk so she could get a better view. Our room was on the 3rd floor and with plenty of good sized lifts ready to whizz you up, finding our room was a doodle.
Top tip: There was a big water dispenser by the reception desk filled with lemon/lime water that you could help yourself to free of charge. A lovely pick me up after a long journey.
Not really knowing what to expect, I had booked a standard family room, with breakfast. But when we opened the door, the room was unexpectedly spacious! Far bigger than any standard room we’ve stayed in before. We were treated to a huge bed and Little Button got the pick of large bunk beds. All of which were super-dupa comfortable. Top tip: If you need extra pillows, just ask reception. We did and they were happy to pop them up to us.
In the room there was a small table and chair, tub chair, coffee and tea making facilities (bring extra t-bags and milk – especially for the first night ), a fridge, luggage rack, wardrobe, a safe and a place to hang your coats and pop your shoes at the front door which was a lovely touch.
The décor was tasteful, with royal touches in keeping with the royal theme of the hotel. But above all it was clean, spacious and very comfortable. Top tip: We found it could get quite warm in the room, but our window opened to solve that.
Now, when it comes to bathrooms I’m extra super fussy (which I guess is why I’m including it in my review). It’s not rational, I know. But a below (my) average bathroom will have me running for the hills and attempting to persuade everyone to check out and into another hotel. I’m really pleased to report that the Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel did everything right and got a big thumbs up from me *possibly the fussiest person on the planet.
As you walk into your room, the bathroom is opposite where you hang up your coats. It’s big – hoorraa! The bath/shower combo is full sized and not part tucked behind any walls, making washing hair over the bath a piece of cake. The shower pressure was great and yes, it was hot! There was plenty of space to store all your bits and bobs where the sink was. And, a built in hair dryer worked just fine. Like most hotels, the Vienna House Dream Castle provides a selection of toiletries. Except, we weren’t expecting to see full sized bottles of shower gel and shampoo! *So many brownie points.
Ahhh breakfast. The most important meal of the day if you are going to be out and about in Disneyland all day. When we booked, we added breakfast for the duration of our stay (for a small fee via the Eurostar website) and it was definitely worth it. The breakfast restaurant is located in the restaurant downstairs and opened at 7am when we visited. I wish I’d taken photos because the spread was impressive and delicious. A kids corner had the fun breakfast bits like American cereals, a vat of Nutella and even popcorn. For everyone there was a milk, juice and squash station, as well as tea, coffee and hot chocolate machines. All great. There were buckets of pastries (these were so good!), breads (super fresh), butter/jams, some sort of cake, yoghurts, cereals, cheeses, hams, salad bits and cooked goodies like tomatoes, eggs, bacon, sausages and chips (which Mr Button couldn’t get enough of).
Plenty to keep the most fussiest of eaters happy I’d say. And, what I really loved about Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel is that there was no pressure to hurry up at all. There was no awkwardness about going up for more (which we did). And, on the day we came down for breakfast a bit later than normal, one of the chefs were doing the rounds to each table offering out yet more pastries from a basket and stopping for a chat. Now that’s what I call excellent service! We always left happy and with full tummies.
One of the perks of staying at the Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel is that it runs a free shuttle bus service to Disneyland. It takes about 10 minutes to get there and leaves every 20 minutes from right outside the hotel. A handy screen in the hotel reception gives live arrival times for the shuttles which is brilliant. I’m not sure when the service generally starts, but we got the shuttle at about 8.20am each day and were told that it would run until midnight (well after the park closed at 7pm in February). The shuttles are bendy buses, large and were always clean.
The thing to remember with the free shuttle is that it services 5 hotels. Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel is in the middle of the pick up/drop off route, so the shuttle does get very busy at peak times, particularly after the Disneyland fireworks in the evening. To counter this we either headed back to the hotel before or during the fireworks or an hour or so after they had finished. The Disney Village stays open till late, so there are restaurants (which will be busy at this time – but doable) and shops to mooch around in. Generally speaking, we happily used the shuttle service without a problem and only found it very busy during that period where the fireworks finish. *We are regular users of the London transport system so are quite used to the hustle and bustle.
On our first day at Disneyland we made the mistake of watching the fireworks before eating and found that with a tired Little Button in tow, finding a place to eat out without a big que was tricky. We then made the second mistake of heading straight for the shuttle bus, which was super busy. And by the time we got back to the hotel she was falling asleep but also starving. Too tired to sit in the restaurant for the evening buffet (an add-on to your booking), we headed upstairs to our room to try out room service. The menu we found in our room was limited, but had a good selection of favourites and included a children’s menu which was a bonus. The prices were quite high, however, the food was presented so beautifully and was tasty, hot and plentiful. Very welcome after a long first day and something we would order again if we were back late.
We love the Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel and felt it was a fantastic place to stay for our first ever visit to Disneyland, Paris! It completely exceeded our expectations in terms of grandeur, quality and comfort, making it very much part of our holiday experience and far from just a place to sleep at night – a phrase I’ve heard others using who were staying at different hotels. The happy, friendly staff added positively to the atmosphere which was gently buzzing with excited little ones (and big ones) dressed to the nines in Disney ears and princess dresses. And whilst the hotel is ‘off site’, it felt very much part of the Disney scene.
Because we did spent most of our time in Disneyland, we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the vast grounds, swimming pool, evening buffet and some of the other facilities the hotel offers. – But that just gives us more things to look forward to when we visit next.
We would definitely recommend the Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel to other families visiting Disneyland, Paris. And hope to be back soon ourselves.