Review: A Feel-Good Stay at Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe Disneyland Paris

By Rebecca Cox

10 months ago

Can you go green for a theme park visit?


It is the stuff of childhood dreams: a surprise school holiday visit to a Disneyland park. But can you add a feel-good element to your trip by making it as eco-conscious as possible? Rebecca Cox and son Jack gave it a go…

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe Review

Getting There

Step one. There’s only one choice when it comes to eco-conscious travel to Europe and that’s by rail. I never say ‘no’ to a trip to Paris and I never say ‘yes’ to any other method of transportation to get there. Train travel is roughly six times more sustainable than the air alternative and at least 20 times more enjoyable, especially with kids in tow. It’s a no-brainer. eurostar.com

Stay: Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe 

Hotel choices are a little trickier. Not only will many of the official Disney hotels (though fun for Mickey fanatics) break the bank, but once on site your choices may feel limited to the mega-complex of the Disney village, holding little aside from fast food outlets and themed mega superstores. In terms of value and values, the Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe is well worth checking out. Located a 10-minute free bus shuttle from the park, the hotel is comfortable, bustling and modern, simply decorated throughout with one show-stopping shared space found in the atrium below the George restaurant on the lower ground floor, which was blissfully empty for our entire stay. 

Hotel L'Elysée Val D'Europe 

Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe

And it’s not just the indoor garden that has gone green. The hotel is on the path to achieving its Green Key accreditation, as well as being a member of the She Travel Club scheme and Happy At Work label projects, taking the wellbeing of its staff as seriously as the satisfaction of its visitors. We asked how they operated a breakfast buffet in an eco-conscious manner, and were assured that the guest list was carefully monitored throughout service, with new food only added as long as additional guests were expected, and any leftovers (though limited) ethically disposed of via the Too Good To Go app. 

On this note, since France’s food is too good to go (without), you can stock up before hopping back on the Eurostar across the road in the enormous mall’s supermarket: we’d recommend packing an empty shopper for baguettes, cheese and wine, and stocking up on snacks to take into the park with you, too. hotelelysee.com 

Do: Disneyland Paris Celebrates 30 Years

Going green in a theme park is never easy, but there are no strict rules in operation on what you take into Disneyland food and drink-wise, so you can take some of the aforementioned Parisian snacks with you rather than opting to dine in the park to save money and to have more control over what you’re buying. There are water fountains in the park (the ones in the central square near the castle were the most obviously marked) so pack a refillable bottle to avoid buying single-use plastic once inside. 

My eco-warrior son’s main concern when it came to environmental impact was the nightly fireworks show, which now usually incorporates a drone element, presumably to cut down on the reliance on fireworks, though poor weather meant we didn’t get to see this part of the show (the fireworks continued, despite the rain). 

We asked Disney what they’re doing in this area and they told us about the construction of one of Europe’s largest solar canopy plants that began in 2020 that will cover the resort’s main guest parking lot. Its production of renewable energy is set to reduce the Val d’Europe territory’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 890 tons of CO2 per year. To date, over 46,000 panels have already been installed, and the first section of the solar plant is now operational, supplying 10 GWh per year, with work set to be completed this year. Disneyland Paris has also distributed nearly 20 million euros in in-kind donations to charitable organisations and healthcare facilities in France and Europe since the beginning of the health crisis in March 2020.

Together at Disneyland Paris

TOGETHER: a Pixar Musical Adventure at Disneyland Paris

Of course, one way to make any trip as eco conscious as possible is to do less, but do it better. This means packing as much as possible into your visit so that you don’t need to make a return trip in the imminent future. This is harder said than done at Disneyland, however, as there are seemingly endless options inside the two parks to fill your days with. And though not every visitor to the park seems concerned with the waste being generated on-site, one thing not going to waste is the talent of the cast members. Every show audience from open to close is packed, queues bursting and ovations enthusiastic. 

The highlight of our trip (since my 7-year-old son understandably refused to accompany me on my favourite ride, the Tower of Terror) was a visit to the new TOGETHER: a Pixar Musical Adventure show, a blend of traditional and state-of-the-art technology, creative lighting, multisensory effects and modern choreography. Well-loved songs, an ensemble cast, a live orchestra, 4D elements and a story thread to keep the whole show, well, Together. The new Marvel Avengers Campus was also a winner, with the Spiderman ride a particular favourite, despite the lengthy queue. (Speaking of which, if you’re on a tight deadline, investing in the queue jump ticket scheme, Premier Access, is a worthwhile investment to save you time and moaning.) disneylandparis.com

THE FINAL WORD 

There’s a long way to go to make a visit to this tourist mecca a completely green endeavour, but with a little foresight and a few tweaks, and picking a hotel that’s doing things right, you can add even more feel-good to your visit to Disneyland Paris. (Purchase of a Goofy cap remains unavoidable, once you’re swept up into the magic of things.)

BOOK 

Plan you next visit to Disneyland Paris by visiting disneylandparis.comBook a stay at Hotel L’Elysée Val D’Europe hotelelysee.comBook your train tickets to Paris at eurostar.com


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