Over the 23 or 24 years I’ve been visiting Disneyland Paris, there’s only one onsite hotel I haven’t stayed in – the Hotel Santa Fe. I’ve actually had this hotel booked a couple of times in the past and switched it to the Hotel Cheyenne when a better rate came out. When the Disney Fandaze packages were released though, my criteria was simply “this thing is expensive enough, so just get the cheapest hotel possible”. That hotel ended up being the Santa Fe, and so I stayed here for two nights from Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June.
The first thing I need to discuss is the external theming of this hotel. Up until this trip the closest I’d ever been to the Santa Fe was from the opposite side of the river when walking to and from the Hotel Cheyenne. When looking at it from afar I never found it to be aesthetically pleasing in the slightest, and I’m afraid to say that getting a closer and longer look at the hotel has done nothing to change my initial impressions. I know that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but to me the hotel just looks like a bunch of orange concrete buildings. If you take the hotel shuttle when you arrive the first view you’ll get of the hotel is similar to this:
Nothing about this entrance screams “Disney hotel” to me. It looks like a dodgy US motel with a Cars advertising board on top of it. Some exterior Cars theming has been added throughout the resort but it is sparing at best – restricted to mostly signage and light detailing to the tops of each building – and not impressive at all. As I walked through the hotel, I didn’t get any of the warm and inviting feeling I typically associate with Disney hotels. It has none of the immersion of the Cheyenne and none of the colour or whimsy of the value resorts at Walt Disney World. It’s more Mexican prison, less Disney resort. My feelings on the exterior of the resort can best be summed up with this picture:
After querying on Twitter I was told what this is meant to be, but on first viewing it looks like something from an abandoned Chernobyl playground.
Thankfully, the rooms were a nice surprise.
These have also been given the Cars treatment but much more successfully than the exterior. Particular favourites of mine are the cone lights (seen in the picture above) and the cone mirror (in the picture below).
I understand that some people have issues with the beds here but I found them to be perfectly comfortable (although I was doing 16 hour days on this trip..). The shower was also great and the bathroom was a nice size for a value hotel. Unfortunately the room hasn’t had some of the more recent updates that have been afforded to other resorts like the Newport Bay and Cheyenne. This means a rubbish hair dryer (in my opinion) and a lack of plug sockets in the room. My main issue with the room though is the lack of air conditioning. I was lucky enough to be on the first floor and as such I was able to open my window, but I don’t understand how £50 a night hotels at Val D’Europe can have air conditioning and then these rooms don’t? There is a fan in the room, however this doesn’t really help much in the warm summer nights. I should note that this issue (and the terrible towels) are the same at the Cheyenne.
The only real interaction I had with the staff at the hotel was with the reception staff at check in. I’m afraid to say that was also massively disappointing. I won’t go over the issues with my FanDaze package again. I will however reiterate that the cast member who checked me in was disinterested and completely unhelpful. On the other hand the concierge staff were helpful and apologetic over the issue I had, but that first impression really leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
As with the other onsite Disney hotels you get Extra Magic Time, however this hotel has not started using the new card system. There is a restaurant and bar at the hotel. I didn’t use either of them but the bar prices are some of the cheapest in the resort. In addition to these there is a Starbucks which I used for breakfast on one of the mornings. Like most quick service eateries at Disneyland Paris it managed to make a two person queue feel like a queue of twenty. This would however be a good option if you don’t want to pay the ridiculous price for a hotel breakfast.
To summarise, the Hotel Santa Fe is my least favourite onsite hotel at Disneyland Paris. By a large margin. If you’re looking for a budget onsite hotel, go to the Hotel Cheyenne. If you don’t need the onsite perks, have a look at some of the offsite hotels. Places like the Hipark in Val D’Europe are half the price of Santa Fe (or less) and are about the same walking distance away.