Driving to disneyland, anyone done it?

    I'm planning a trip to disneyland in november, and debating driving to keep costs down. Is there anyone who can give me info on whether its worth it?
    We'd be going from Sheffield, and would probably stay in a travelodge or something before getting on the ferry first thing in the morning.
    In terms of fuel, my car is a 2.3 petrol so that could add up?
    Is it well signposted? Easy to drive abroad? (first time!) What about the toll costs, how much are they and are there many points on the way?
    I have a tomtom so would probably just download the Europe maps for that.
    I'm contemplating driving as I have a child in a wheelchair, bit worried about the cost of flying in case they want me to hire a special needs seat which seems extremely pricey (he'll be fine sitting in a normal airline seat). I've also looked at the cost of transfers from the airport and for a 3 seater wheelchair adapted transfer its over £300 - and theres 5 of us so we'd need a normal one as well
    I have to use Thomas Cook to book, as I have some holiday vouchers but their charges seem extremely high, and they don't seem to include the free child places or other offers. I'm tempted to just book the hotel through them for this reason, then buy the tickets to the park on the day (disabled child reduction that way!)
    Any help and suggestions gratefully received, still have the passports for some of us to sort out yet :\



    Edited by: "slamdunkin" 22nd Jun 2011

    Driving is possible, and can be quite fun, but from Sheffield can be quite a long journey, so make sure you stop before catching the ferry, no point getting the tunnel imho. Tolls when I went (a long time ago) were about 7 euro's if I can remember rightly, and there was only one, it is about 2 hours from Calais, and the French part is easy. I would recommend borrowing or investing in a Tom Tom EU though to make sure you do not get lost, as a safeguard.

    Booking, if you book through the Disney Paris site, tickets are included, so you may be better off not using the Thomson vouchers you have, best to check. Fuel in that car may be quite pricey, petrol is the same if not more in France, I would budget at least £200 for fuel.

    Also remember things can be expensive in France, so keep your wits about you.

    PS, before I get hammered by other posters, it was about 6 years ago when I last drove to Disney.

    We (well my hubby drove) did it last year and it was fine. Kids loved the ferry journey which was an extra bonus for them and yes, was easily sign posted enough. Would defo do it again if money was tight xx

    Driving is quite do-able but its quite a long trek and I wouldn't start from Sheffield out of choice.
    It's as broad as its long I guess but with 5 of you and the wheelchair it would probably be the best way. The driving will all be on the motorway - don't consider doing the D roads coz you'll just stress youself out. Good service stations on the motorway if you need to stop for a break. Assuming that your a reasonably competent driver, its quite easy once you get used to it - just need to concentrate at roundabouts in particular. Take your time and don't put urself under pressure. You may also want to consider the train as there is a staion at Eurodisney or a DIY flydrive using a budget airline and a self hire car/van the other side. Nothing stoping you sorting all this out yourself - no need for Thomas Cook and the like. Go for it and sit down and google away - look for deals. Try Tripadvisor as well - good advice. Enjoy!
    By the way, I have assumed you mean Paris - wouldn't drive to Orlando as your windows will mist up as you drive under the atlantic.

    Original Poster

    I have to use the vouchers as they would be for quite a sizeable chunk, would certainly pay for the hotel rooms!
    A self hire car is out, as I can't deal with finding one that the wheelchair can go in. Mine has the ramps and harness etc, hence why its so big!
    Hubby would do the driving abroad I think, he's been driving about 17 years. I've only been driving 5, not sure if I'd fancy it, although I'd probably do most of it before we got to Dover.
    We've flown before on a DIY trip, but my son was a babe in arms then (well, 18m and using a normal pram) we just used a normal coach transfer but they wont take the wheelchair obviously.
    I'd like to do the train, but they haven't started booking for November then, and I need to get this booked so I've got time to sort out payments and things. I'd hate to wait, and find the prices are extortionate for the dates I need.
    Thanks people for the help!

    Ok I can help you here, we drive to paris and disney often and im in a wheelchair. 1st of all its quite easy to do and tbh you don't realy need a map or sat nav as when you get close to paris theres sign posts everywhere.

    The toll road has gone up abit recently it works out around £10 each way now, or did about 2 weeks ago, You dont need cash for these you can just swipe your card in the machine so you do not need to speak to anyone.

    Takes about 3 1/2 hrs from calais to drive so isnt that far, and nearly all the petrol stations and rest stops have disabled facilites the whole way. The only thing with driving is the paris ring road can become very busy and you could get stuck there for quite awhile.
    If you need somewhere cheap to stay in france premier class are very cheap and have disabled rooms if requested.

    You have to pay to park at disney regardless if your disabled but if you show them the badge when you go in they give you the code to park at the disney hotel so you will do have to wheel far.

    If you are a carer as well; you will get in for free and all they require is the blue badge as proof and this could save you quite abit of cash.
    Once in the park go to the customer service and they will give you a card to let you on the rides without queing (or with little queing) and show make you sign some forms stating that you will help the disabled person on and off the rides.

    Overall; the themepark is very disabled friendly as well., they only thing to remember is you will have to go in all the exits to get on most of the rides, and tbh most can be a pain to find.

    Any questions just ask! ive done the trip- quite alot and im in a wheelchair, p.s I would go to parc asterix instead of disney as I think its better but thats my opinion
    Edited by: "fridgehead" 22nd Jun 2011

    Original Poster

    LOL its got to be Disneyland, as my son has only recently started to recognise and respond to characters, and the toy story ones are the main ones so its a bit of a treat for him! I did notice there is a playmobil park in Paris too, so if we drive, may have to detour there for my girls who are huge playmobil fans
    The free carer is the main reason I'm thinking of waiting to buy tickets till on the day

    Better getting the boat, yer car will sink. Alternatively get a bloody big jet ski like teh one you need to get from Beijing to Tokyo!

    Don't believe me?

    Go to Google Maps, get directions from Beijing to Tokyo. Check out instruction 32.

    The park itself is very expensive for food & drinks, so take some stuff in with you, but don't make it obvious because sometimes they ask to check your bags and refuse to let you take stuff in.

    Some help for driving in France:

    1. Make up a small sign (e.g. a Post-it) that says "Drive on the RIGHT" & stick it on to your steering wheel, just to remind you. Most accidents happen when drivers are starting off after stopping for a break, when they're least likely to remember.
    2. If buying fuel in France, Unleaded is "Sans Plomb", Diesel is usually called "Mazout".
    3. Do NOT speed, regardless of what everyone else is doing, especially on the way back to Calais/whatever port you're sailing from - you WILL get stopped & have to pay a cash fine.
    4. Check what extras you need in your car, and where about in the car they must be carried (e.g. warning triangle in the boot, hi-vis jacket in the car etc).


    p.s I would go to parc asterix instead of disney as I think its better … p.s I would go to parc asterix instead of disney as I think its better but thats my opinion

    To be honest i would definately stick to Disneyland. We used to go there quite often, but after repeated requests from the kids after going past the signs for Asterixland, went there for a change. The staff were nowhere near as accomodating as Disney. The breaking point came though, when my 8 year old son had queued in the sun for 40 minutes for a ride with his Dad (with the operating staff pointing and whispering about them) and then after they had boarded the ride and where checking passengers where strapped in, they hauled my son off and shoved him up against a height chart. Minimum height for all but a handful of rides is 120cm and he measured 119cm. We were given strict instructions that he was not to go on any of the 120cm rides (including all the ones that they 'sold' photographic evidence of him being on!) After sending a letter of complaint - we were sent a voucher for 1 day on the parc which had 6 weeks before it expired.

    Yes, lots.

    we went by car...we drove from warrington in the morning with a teatime chunnel crossing which was fab..30mins roll on off..
    drove to around an hour away from disney and stayed overnight cost around £40..we could only find one place with a family room but it was spotless. Next morning drove the hour and did an early check in at new york hotel. Was lovely. Im sure you're aware food is extortionate but there is a supermarket 5 mins away. Lots of people made butties from the breakfast i saw had bags checked and buggies were overloaded with york is only a short walk so no issue with car parking as its free. they do family rooms too, which we werent given..we have two doubles..but one lady had complained and was given a suite.

    on the way back we stopped at calais for the booze and sailed next day.

    i would do it again np...just be sure to get your fast track for disabled etc.
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