A first-look inside the new five-star, royal-themed hotel at Disneyland Paris (2024)

Not every hotel can make you feel like a princess from the moment you check in but then, most hotels aren’t turreted candyfloss-pink castles.

Located in prime position at the entrance to the Paris theme park, the five-star Disneyland Hotel has been closed to guests since the pandemic forced its doors shut in March 2020.

Since then, the whole building has been renovated and I was one of the first guests to check in last week when it finally reopened as a hotel now entirely dedicated to the world of Disney royalty.

The three-storey lobby is certainly the stuff of fairytales. There’s a sweeping staircase perfect for grand entrances, a glittering 1.3 tonne chandelier made of Bohemian crystal, courtly comedians who appear from nowhere for interactive story-telling and songs and even a troupe of dancing maids who pirouette as they polish furniture with feather dusters.

Without warning, trumpets announce occasional appearances by Disney princesses such as Cinderella or Rapunzel, who swish through the hall in a flurry of pastel taffeta and pose for photos with wide-eyed children.

Bedrooms are equally regal. If you have serious cash to splash, there are 18 top suites to choose from including the medieval-themed Sleeping Beauty Signature Suite with its own colour-changing ballgown or the mega-bucks Frozen-inspired Royal Suite with its silver décor, icicle chandelier, grand piano and balcony overlooking the park.

For those of us without a royal budget to blow, even ordinary rooms keep up the theme, with a coffee machine stored inside a jewellery box, gold brocade throws and a huge magical mirror than turns into a TV.

I stayed in a deluxe room, which costs a little extra but comes with a nifty illuminated canopy above the bed, Disney artwork that magically glitters at the push of a button and access to an exclusive lounge that serves complimentary afternoon tea each day.

Within moments of lounging on the impossibly comfortable bed while selecting my preferred pillow from a dedicated menu, I realise that I could definitely get used to the royal way of life.

Elsewhere in the hotel, there’s a boutique for children to be transformed into their favourite royal characters, a swimming pool beneath a vaulted glass ceiling and even a spa offering Clarins’ treatments – though I’m still not sure who finds time for a massage while visiting a theme park.

Don’t expect greasy burgers and fizzy drinks on tap either.

The hotel bar serves its own-brand champagne – this is still France after all – made by family-owned producer Maison Pierre Mignon while lavish fine dining restaurant La Table de Lumiere serves Michelin-star worthy food as Disney princesses circulate between tables.

A major coup when you consider that the queue time to meet them in the park itself is rarely less than two hours.

Just next door is the Royal Banquet, a luxury all-you-can-eat buffet where there’s not a frite in sight (but you can gorge on Mickey-shaped potato croquettes). Instead, there are platters of pâté and mussels, a teetering mountain of langoustines and an entire table devoted to gourmet cheese.

The dessert section looks straight from a Parisienne patisserie, with a tower of pink and purple macarons, cakes shaped like roses and ballgowns and tarts topped with mini chocolate swords and crowns. At €100 for adults (€50 for children) per head, it’s not cheap but the price includes several tableside visits from Mickey and Minnie plus other Disney characters, all dressed in new regal attire exclusive to the hotel.

Best of all, staying here means it’s easy to make the most out of your time in the two Disneyland Paris parks.

It takes less than a minute to get inside the main Disneyland Park from leaving the hotel while guests at all seven Disney Hotels can hit the rides an hour earlier than other visitors – a valuable benefit well worth taking advantage of.

By the time the gates opened to everyone else on the morning I visited neighbouring Walt Disney Studios Park, I had already battled Spider-Bots on the interactive Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure, blasted through the galaxy on high-octane rollercoaster Avengers Assemble: Flight Force and been chased through a Parisienne restaurant on 4D ride, Ratatouille: The Adventure.

Afterwards, I strolled through the primary-coloured Toy Story Playland presided over by a giant Buzz Lightyear figure, then gave my already-aching feet a break while watching feel-good stage-show TOGETHER: a Pixar Musical Adventure.

Disneyland Park itself pairs white-knuckle rides with old-fashioned Disney charm including all-singing-and-dancing parades and firework displays.

Getting there:

Standard rooms at Disneyland Hotel start from £250 per person per night including unlimited access to Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park for two days. For further information and to book, visit www.disneylandparis.com.

While younger children will adore Fantasyland with its traditional carousel, Sleeping Beauty’s castle and gentle attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight, I loved the wooden railroad rollercoaster Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and the full-throttle Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain where I was catapulted into the pitch black at a terrifying 44 miles-per-hour.

Still, the biggest thrill of all is knowing that your room is just moments away for a well-deserved mid-afternoon flop.

That really does make staying at this hotel feel truly magical.

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This trip marked a first-ever for me as we enjoyed a two-night stay at Disney Newport Bay Club – despite the perks on offer, opting for less expensive accommodation than Disney hotels has always been an easy budgeting choice to make. Would it meet the lofty expectations its cost heightened?

Firstly, yes, being able to walk to the parks in the morning in time for the extra hour of exclusive access Disney hotel guests get is as satisfying as I imagined, especially after a buffet breakfast of hot food and many, many pastries. The service was fantastic too.

However, the hotel rooms are tired for a four-star Disney offering (and cost). Much as Disney wallpaper and shower gel bottles with Mickey head toppers are adorable, the bathroom was incredibly basic – complete with an ineffectual shower door that allowed water to flood everywhere.

In a welcome discovery, it takes longer for the parks to become crowded in Paris than in Florida, even at peak holiday time. With a later opening time of 9:30am, it was getting on for 11am before the masses really started to gather, allowing for us to whip around some of our priorities, like Pirates of the Caribbean,Phantom Manorand, of course, Thunder Mountain.

From the day’s start, it was evident than Paris certainly has that ‘improvement’ I heard of previouslywhen it comes to the classic rides– being built years later than the originals in Disneyland California and then Walt Disney World, Imagineers were able to fine-tune the experience, adding in more length, variety and intensity.

It’s worth taking note – some of these rides might be a little too much for any of the more cautious rollercoaster-riders, even if they can cope in Florida. For example, I sat out Hyperspace Mountain even though I’m fine with its Floridian (non-loop-the-loop) counterpart after a colleague told me it made him the sickest he’d ever felt after a theme park ride. It was the same for Avengers Assemble: Flight Force, which my friend confirmed was a comparable experience to Hyperspace Mountain for her.

The parks themselves are also beautifully maintained, from cleanliness to landscaping, keeping that Disney bubble intact. Of course, Paris has to replicate Disneyland California and the Magic Kingdom in some ways, but there’s also a vibe that’s unique to these parks. Plus, the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle – considered by many to be the most beautiful Disney castle of all – has its amazing dragon’s lair tucked away underneath, just as exciting as it was almost 30 years ago.

When it comes to food, things have improved since the ‘90s, but it’s still not up to Walt Disney World’s standards. Disney burgers and fries are significantly better than you’d expect from bog standard theme park fare, which is certainly the case in France too, but while Disney has widened its offerings vastly in America there is a little less adventure for the palate here.

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A first-look inside the new five-star, royal-themed hotel at Disneyland Paris (2024)
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