Advice for London/Paris Trip

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by hilarys, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    We are going on the London/Paris trip in early June and I am still trying to plan our two pre-days in London (this lack of time to even plan 2 days over the course of 1 year is exactly why we take ABD trips). I am looking for a few recommendations from those who have been on the trip or who are frequent London/Paris travelers.

    1) Any recommendations for good, small guidebooks for each city. They do not need to be huge since ABD plans everything but I would like to have a small book to throw in my day bag to have as reference in our on your own time. I especially would like it to have good maps.
    2) Any apps that are recommended for walking/Tube/Metro in those cities
    3) Our flight arrives at 2pm on a Saturday after leaving San Francisco at 7pm. We do not have business class seats so we probably won't get much sleep. However, I want to try to keep everyone up as long as possible so that we get on the right time zone. One friend of ours suggested going to the London Eye on arrival night. Thoughts?? I read on a trip report that the participants received passes for the London Eye upon check-in. Does anyone know if this is still the case? Other ideas for that first night?
    4)High Tea - the description of the scone making activity on Day 3 describes it as "scone making and tea." It does not really sound like it is the full "High Tea" experience though. Is this assumption correct?
    5) If my assumption above is correct, I wanted to try to work High Tea into the plan. I currently have it booked for 3pm before our initial Meet and Greet and Dinner. I booked the Tea at the Landmark because it received good reviews and I like the convenience factor if the kids wanted to leave and go back to the room a bit early. The other thing I am considering for this day is a Food Walking Tour through one of the markets/neighborhoods which would run from 10 to 2. My family does like to eat and try new things so this sounds like fun, but it seems like it may be too much food in one day?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
  2. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    Boy, the only one of your questions I feel qualified to answer is about the London Eye. I don't know how they handle the tickets these days, but I'm not sure that that's a good activity for that night. It involves a LOT of standing around, which is the last thing I'd want to do if I was jet lagged. You stand in lines to get on ( which can be extremely long) and you stand or sit in the cabin as it goes around. That would kill me if I was fighting jetlag. The London Eye is great, and a must do, but I'd leave it for another day.

    Sayhello
     
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  4. Woodview

    Woodview DIS Veteran

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    Think this through.

    Your plane lands at Heathrow or Gatwick at 2pm ( there are 5 terminal buildings )

    Then proceed to Passport control , which could take sometime as you are non EU passport holders ,

    then to baggage claim , ( Via shuttle bus ? )

    Then Transport to London ...... this could be an hours drive.

    So now the time is 2 to 3 hours after landing by the time you are at your hotel.


    Now go for your ( 5 ) High Tea which is , as far as I know , Cakes ( cup cakes ) & Proper Tea.& Realaxing

    Note .... Do you really want to spend your holiday time "Scone Making" on day 3 ?

    Food Walking Tour ..... forget it .... Walk to see Sights of London which you might never see again .

    Take a River boat trip on the Themes
     
  5. Ava

    Ava DIS Veteran

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    @Woodview has a good point about the timing on your arrival day. If your flight lands at 2pm, it will be late afternoon by the time you get to your hotel and get checked in. I'd go to your room & freshen up, then just take a walk to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood around the hotel before going to dinner. Have a nice dinner, walk a little more, then head back to the hotel for an early bed time.

    I disagree about the Thames river boat, though. Don't do that on your first evening when you'll be extra tired, it will probably put you to sleep. (Been there, done that.)

    Do you just have your arrival day and the morning/afternoon before your welcome dinner to plan? What are your interests? Museums, theater, historical sights...? There are a ton of great museums in London, you could choose one or two to visit. If you have theater/Shakespeare fans, you could tour the Globe Theater & possibly see a show if the timing works to get back in time for the welcome dinner. There's honestly so much to do in London it's hard to recommend something without knowing what types of things your family likes.

    Oh, as far as an app, Google Maps works in both London & Paris for walking and public transit directions.
     
  6. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Thank you SayHello. Very good points - tired and grumpy parents and young teens plus standing in lines, I will cross this off the list for the first night. Maybe just get out and walk a little bit near the Landmark Hotel and grab a quick dinner.
     
  7. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Thank you Woodview, very good points on timing. I think our friend who recommended it may have had a flight from San Francisco that came in earlier. Based on your feedback and sayhello, I will cross that off the list for the first night. If we really want to do it, the second night could be it.

    The scone making is an included part of the ABD trip and it is one of the things that makes the ABD trips so memorable for us. The kids have great memories of making pretzels in Germany with their new friends from the Central Europe trip.

    As far as the Food Tour, this is the type of thing my family loves. We love to eat and I find something interactive like this will show them the famous sites as we walk and allow some immersion into the culture. I am just worried that I have booked too many food activities into one day. I guess I am the only one who can make the call on how much food is too much for my family. :)

    Thames Boat Tour is included on the ABD trip so we have that requirement met, I would agree that it is a must-do.

    Appreciate your tips and thoughts.
     
  8. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Thank you for the recommendation for Google Maps - have used it plenty in the USA, but have never used it for public transit. Thames boat cruise is included in the ABD so we will have that box checked. That one is a jet boat ride, so I don't think we will be falling asleep.

    Here is my tentative plan so far:

    Saturday - flight scheduled arrival at 2pm. Walk around after hotel arrival and grab casual dinner.
    Sunday - Harry Potter Studio Tour @ 10 am. Planning about 4 hours for this which should be enough time as we only have one HP super fan in the family. Late afternoon and evening free at this point.
    Monday - morning - possible food tour through the markets of London. This will be our only timing to do this if we decide it is a must do as the tours that I have looked at either don't run on Sunday or conflict with HP tour timing.
    afternoon - High Tea at the Landmark at 3:00
    evening - ABD kick-off meeting and dinner.

    We will have two on our own dinners in London during the tour. For one we need to stay in the hotel as it is the Junior Adventurer night, the other is completely on our own.

    Ava, I agree that there is so much to do in London. The kids have never been and DH and I have only been once, so we are just trying to hit some highlights and provide an immersive experience and then will plan to have to go back some day. ABD covers a lot of the check the box historical sites, so those will be well (although not completely covered). Sunday night could work for theater, I may take a look. I also want to use the pre days to acclimate to the time change and be rested for the very busy ABD days to come.
     
  9. Ava

    Ava DIS Veteran

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    If you don't want to commit to buying theater tickets in advance, you can get tickets to most shows the day of at the TKTS booth. Some are discounted and some you'll pay full price, depending on the show, but that way you can decide after your HP tour if everyone is up for seeing a show that night. It'd be a bummer to spend a lot of money on tickets only to have someone sleep through the show.

    I've been to London a few times for 2-3 days at a time, and spent a month at a school about an hour and a half outside of London on an exchange program when I was in high school, and I've still barely scratched the surface of things to see there. (Probably because I go to the Tower of London every time. It's my absolute favorite over-priced tourist trap, lol.)
     
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  10. Woodview

    Woodview DIS Veteran

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    Here is an Idea for someone who is around London on Sat.17th June 2017 at 11Am

    " Trooping the Colour " The Queen's Birthday Parade

    Look it up on Google


    And The Changing of The Guards Parade a good event to watch

    You will not see this anywhere else
     
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  11. Tozzie

    Tozzie DIS Veteran

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    I went to london after my scottland trip and one of the favorite activities I did was the Ceremony of the Keys at the tower of london, the tickets are free but you need to book them a couple of months in advance I so enjoyed that cameras were not aloud but it is one of my best memories.
     
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  12. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    Tozzie!! Haven't seen you in a month of Sundays!

    Actually, they sell out now on the Ceremony of the Keys more like a year in advance... Their website says they are currently sold out through April of 2018!

    Too bad. I agree it's a great activity!!

    Sayhello
     
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  13. White Rose

    White Rose DIS Veteran

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    We did a non ABD London and Paris trip and our first day we did the hop on hop off bus tour..easy to do and does not require a lot of planning. We got to relax, see exciting stuff, and we got off the bus a few times so we did not nod off.
     
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  14. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Too bad it sells out so early and that I am so late in my planning. This sounds very cool.
     
  15. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Sadly we will miss this by two weeks. My parents were lucky enough to see the Trooping when they visited London many years ago.
     
  16. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Great idea for the last minute tickets.
     
  17. Tozzie

    Tozzie DIS Veteran

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    Yeah well my days of traveling may be over, I have some health issues related to 9/11 and I don't think I will be able to travel outside of the USA too much. I have 2 bucket list trips that I would love to go on but I don't think I can do them. That is the reason I have stayed away from the ABD Boards it makes me sad. I want to go to Germany and Australia. Hopefull some day as I have wanted to go to Australia since I wsa 12. Hopefully one day they will find a cure as of now I am sticking with WDW and DCL
     
  18. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    Tozzie - I hope you'll be able to go to Australia and Germany too someday. We appreciate everything you did that day.
     
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  19. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    Oh, Tozzie! I'm so sorry to hear that. I'll keep good thoughts that a cure will be found, and you make it to Germany and to Australia, and to hundreds of other places!!

    Thank you for your service!

    Sayhello
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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  20. seashell7290

    seashell7290 Mouseketeer

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    I did this trip last may and had a fabulous time!
    -I used google maps for public transportation. I would hook onto the wifi at the hotel to get the directions and screen shot them so I did not need internet on the trip
    -London eye: I was given tickets upon check in so you can use them before the trip begins. I did this early a day before the trip began as soon as it opened to avoid lines.
    -I know you want to do high tea before the welcome dinner but with as much food as you will most likely be served, it may not be the best idea. You do get to have tea with your scones during the activity.
     
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  21. Lawyer Mommy

    Lawyer Mommy Earning My Ears

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    Hilarys, how did your trip go? DH, DD, DS, and I are scheduled to go on this one in early August. I must admit that the recent news in London and Paris has me slightly worried. If I was choosing again, I would likely go somewhere else. If it was just me, I wouldn't worry at all. I think it's just that my kids are going with me. Also, any advice for OYO time or from your pre-days in London would be appreciated. Other than getting tickets for the Harry Potter tour, I'm not prepared.
     

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