It’s pretty simple to break up the Disneyland Paris hotels into four distinct categories, much like you can with the hotels at Walt Disney World. Firstly there’s the Value Resorts, Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne and Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe. Then there’s the Moderate Resorts, Disney’s Newport Bay Club and Disney’s Sequoia Lodge. The most expensive options are the Deluxe Resorts, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hotel New York. Finally there’s Davy Crockett Ranch, which can be put into its own category due to the activities it offers.
Although Disney doesn’t place the hotels into categories like this officially it is an easy way to work out the quality of the hotels on-property and compare them to those hotels you may be used to at Walt Disney World. During my last two trips to Disneyland Resort Paris I’ve stayed in the two Value Resorts, Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne (February ’08) and Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe (August 09) and I thought it would be a good idea to compare both in order to help readers decide which hotel is the best option when on a budget.
I’ll start off by talking about price, simply because it’s the easiest to discuss. There’s really no difference between the price of both hotels, many times when I’ve been planning a trip the prices have been identical. Every now and again prices at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe may be a little cheaper than the Cheyenne but this is only by £10-£20 per person which when compared to the price of a two or three night stay is minimal, although it is something to take into consideration if you do see price differentials when booking.
The rooms at both hotels are very similar, both sleep four people, have an en-suite bathroom, television and a fan in the centre of the room for those hotter days and nights. The main difference comes with the types of beds. Rooms in the Hotel Santa Fe have two double beds whereas the Cheyenne has a double bed and bunk bed that sleeps two. If you’re travelling as a party with two adults and one child either may be fine, in fact the Hotel Cheyenne may be easier as the kids wont have to share, however, if there’s two couples sharing a room or people who may not be able to climb to the top bunk the better option may be the Santa Fe.
Another think to take note of is that the Cheyenne has two-story buildings only, whereas the Santa Fe has some three and four story buildings. The four story buildings do have elevators but it’s always a good idea to consider that the elevators may be out of order at some point during your stay. Of course this shouldn’t be a problem as you can always request a ground-floor room if there is someone in your party who may not be able to walk up multiple flights of stairs. On the same subject many of the two-story buildings don’t have elevators, so I’d always suggest requesting a ground floor room if there is any trouble with members of your party going up stairs.
Proximity to the parks
This is one of the big aspects in the decision making process for me. Both parks are a fair distance from the parks. Walking from the gates of Disneyland Park up to the lobby of the Hotel Cheyenne will most likely take you around 15 minutes minimum if walking at a fast pace. The Santa Fe on the other hand may take 10 to 15 minutes longer to walk to the lobby from Disneyland Park. Whilst both hotels seem to be very close to each other when stood along the ‘Rio Grande’ the far end of the Hotel Santa Fe is pretty far from the river that separates the two resorts, meaning it can be a long walk to your room at the Santa Fe, especially when carrying bags when checking-in.
Both parks do however offer shuttle services, although you will have to wait for a shuttle and may be behind a considerable line at peak times, although I never witnessed large lines at either of the hotels shuttle stops. My use of the shuttle service is a good way to illustrate my point about the proximity to the park, during my stay at the Cheyenne I used the shuttle services once, whereas during my stay at the Hotel Santa Fe I’d use the shuttle service near enough every time I went to or came from the parks, which isn’t too nice on a hot and crowded day.
I had two different experiences checking in at the Value Resorts. The check-in at the Hotel Cheyenne was quick and simple. It was around 25 minutes from walking into the hotel lobby to dropping my bags off in my room and heading out to the parks. The Hotel Santa Fe took a lot longer. There was snaked lines at check-in which took around 15 minutes to get through and the whole process seemed to take a lot longer. Add onto this the longer walk to the room and it took me a lot longer to get from check-in to the parks.
As you’d expect both hotels met the expected level of service that Disney has long provided at all of its resorts. Staff were friendly and always willing to help with anything we needed. This isn’t something you’re going to have to worry about when choosing between the two hotels as both offer exceptional levels of customer service. That’s the ‘Disney difference’ as they say.
Both offer very similar amenities to each other. Both come with complimentary (though basic) continental breakfast. Both have counter-service food available as well as a dinner and lunch buffet that takes place at set times. Both have fully-stocked bars.
There’s a gift-shop at both hotels so you can chose from a limited selection of products that you may have seen during your visit to the two parks or the Disney Village. Disney Hotel Santa Fe does can boast having an arcade whilst the Cheyenne can’t. However, the Hotel Cheyenne does have a playground as well as pony rides. This may mean that the Cheyenne is more suited to younger children whilst older children may find more to do at the Santa Fe. Let’s not forget though that there’s two of the worlds best theme parks on your doorstep, why would you kids want to spend time in the arcade or playground?
It wouldn’t be a theme park blog if I didn’t discuss theme. For me the Hotel Cheyenne wins this hands down. All of the buildings at the Cheyenne have highly themed exteriors, even if they are a little lacing inside. All buildings look like realistic Western buildings and some, dare I say it, wouldn’t look out of place in Frontierland. If either one of these hotels is going to capture the imagination of your kids, it’s the Cheyenne.
The Santa Fe does have a theme, though you wouldn’t really be able to guess. All the buildings look very bland externally and the whole place just looks a tad run down (of course they’re not, but it’s just the way the place looks). It’s worth noting this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as the hotels are near enough identical inside, but it’s worth noting that the Santa Fe isn’t much to look at, especially in comparison to it’s theme rich counterpart over the river.
Where would I stay? Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne. The location is a lot better than the Santa Fe and the whole place is more visually appealing. That’s not to say that the Santa Fe is a bad hotel, in fact I really enjoyed my stay there. It’s just that I think the Hotel Cheyenne offers a little more and with little to no difference between the price of the two hotels I’d much prefer to stay in the Hotel Cheyenne.
If you agree or disagree with me feel free to mention it in the comments section.