I booked via Magic Breaks, a UK based travel agent that we had used a few years ago to book a similar trip to Disneyland Paris. We had previously stayed at Davy Crockett Ranch. We chose the Villages Nature resort because we liked the sound of all of the facilities (especially the ‘Aqualagon’ water park) and we wanted to have a self-catering apartment/cottage type space, but with the added benefit of ‘Early Magic Hours’ and free parking at Disneyland Paris. I believe that the resort is part owned by Disney and part owned by Center Parcs, which is a great combination.
Magic Breaks were very knowledgeable about the hotel and room options, and about Disneyland Paris in general. Our package included a six night stay at the Villages Nature resort, two day passes to Disneyland Paris (including both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios) and the return Eurotunnel crossing between Folkestone (UK) and Calais (France). The Eurotunnel crossing was for a high vehicle, as we packed a roofbox on top of our car.
Where was the hotel located, how did you get there?
Villages Nature is just outside Paris, a ten minute drive from Disneyland Paris. It took us about seven hours to drive there from home in Hertfordshire, UK. The Eurotunnel crossing was very easy, and as we arrived slightly early at Folkestone we were moved onto an earlier train. There’s a useful terminal building at Folkestone with a couple of shops and food outlets, including Starbucks and Leon. You don’t need to have a car at Villages Nature (unlike the nearby Davy Crockett resort) as they do offer a shuttle bus to Disneyland Paris. Make sure that your satnav is set for the correct entrance to Villages Nature, as there is a separate entrance elsewhere for ‘day visitors’.
On arrival, check-in takes place at a drive-through booth (like at Center Parcs). We then drove round to ‘Car Park A’ which we were told was closest to our block (Air Island, room 1512). Unfortunately there were no luggage trolleys left (we arrived at around 5pm) so we had to do several trips to the car. Our apartment was on the second floor, and there are lifts available.
How was your room?
We booked a two bedroom Cocoon VIP apartment, which was very centrally located in the resort. There was a master bedroom with en suite shower and Jacuzzi bath (but no toilet), a twin bedroom for the kids, separate toilet, and a spacious kitchen/lounge/diner with a sofa bed. The room also had a balcony overlooking the lake, with space for a table (with four chairs), two deckchairs and a swing chair.
There were TVs in the lounge and master bedroom, and the kitchen included a dishwasher, induction hob, Nespresso machine (three capsules provided) and a large fridge with a small freezer compartment. The sofa bed in the lounge was extraordinarily uncomfortable to sit on, so we ended up having it opened out as a bed throughout our trip, and our daughter chose to sleep in there, rather than sharing the twin room with our son.
I had seen some worrying reviews before our arrival about poor cleanliness in the rooms. Our room was ok, although one of the bathrooms could have done with a deep clean. I made sure that when I packed our self catering supplies I brought some Dettol, and also toilet paper, as only one roll was provided.
Daily housekeeping is not included, but I had seen on Tripadvisor reviews that it’s possible to pay extra for daily visits, but that the service itself was a little lacklustre, so we didn’t bother. After a few days I asked for a change of sheets at the Welcome House and I was told that as we were staying for over four days we were entitled to one free housekeeping visit, so I booked this in. It’s a shame that we hadn’t told about this in advance. They were also happy to provide us with a clean set of sheets for one of the beds, but they simply arrived at the door and handed them over. When I asked if they were planning to make up the bed, I was told that they just didn’t have the time. This made me laugh, and I guess it reflects the fact that this really is a big collection of self-catering holiday apartments rather than a hotel resort. We were there during a particularly hot period and there is no air con in the rooms, but there are fans available and it wasn’t too bad.
How were the hotel facilities?
The hotel itself is a self-catering holiday village, rather than a traditional hotel.
There is a ‘Welcome House’ on site that offers information and activity bookings. This is where we went to collect our Disney passes. If you book direct through Villages Nature then you can access activity bookings via an app, but as we had booked through Magic Breaks this wasn’t possible. Virtually all of the staff spoke good English and the resort seemed to attract visitors from across the various neighbouring countries.
In the main buildings by the lake on the Promenade du Lac, there are several restaurants, plus:
– Franprix supermarket – I was very impressed by the selection of food and drink and other useful items on sale, much better than we have experienced in other ‘on site’ shops at holiday parks
– Bowling alley
– Kids Club – We didn’t try the kids club out but it looked like you could book two-hour sessions.
– Arcade – Our kids loved the games in here, although we didn’t spend too long. Tokens for each game cost 1.50 euros.
– Indoor climbing wall and games – We didn’t explore this but it looked like it would be fun on a rainy day
– Farm – You can visit the ponies and chickens and there’s a small petting zoo area with some goats. Our daughter did a 30 minute pony ride (15 euros, booked in advance at the Welcome House) which she really enjoyed. There’s also a restaurant here with a soft play area, and other bookable activities.
– Woodland playground – There’s a lovely outdoor play area, along with some bookable activities, including a version of ‘Go Ape’. Our children loved taking the ‘Mini Jeeps’ out for a spin.
– Aqualagon – The pool complex is excellent, and was a real highlight of our stay. You enter by swiping your wristband and the changing facilities were spacious and clean. Locker access is also via wristbands. There’s an indoor pool with wave machine, another indoor pool that connects directly to a big outdoor pool, various slides, splash play areas (indoor and outdoor) and a small lazy river. The water temperature was warm and comfortable. There are a few different slides suitable for different ages/heights.
– Boating – there are electric boats and pedalos for hire on the lake.
Plus I am sure that there are many more activities that we didn’t even notice!
How was the food?
We mostly ate breakfast and our room and lunch off-site, but there were a few good options at Villages Nature:
Chez Meunier Bakery – Selection of fresh pastries, quiches, pizzas, crepes, ice cream and coffee. Great for a morning treat when we weren’t racing to Disneyland.
Vapiano – Italian pizza/pasta restaurant. We ate here several times in the evening and really enjoyed the food. It’s mostly pizza and pasta with a few salads too. It’s a light, airy, comfortable, casual restaurant where you choose a table and order at the counter.
Cepages – a more upmarket French restaurant. We ate here one evening and the food was nice but our children definitely preferred Vapiano!
Miam Miam Burger – burger restaurant near to the pool, we didn’t try it.
There’s also a café inside the Aqualagon and a restaurant by the farm.
The Val D’Europe mall (free parking) is close by with a few restaurant options, including Del Arte (Italian) and Hippopotamus (Brasserie). These two had both been recommended to us for an easy, child friendly meal. We had a tasty Japanese lunch one day at Kyoto after a visit to the Sea Life Centre. We also attempted to go there for lunch on a Sunday but be warned, it was incredibly busy and we struggled to find a parking space.
We were very impressed by Villages Nature and would very happily go back. It’s a great location if you want the benefits of Disney (free parking and Early Magic Hours), with the feel of a chilled out self-catering resort. The Aqualagon was fantastic, one of the best resort swimming pool areas that we have seen, and we spent plenty of time there as it was so hot during our visit.