Video Tour of the hotel at the bottom of the page
The perception of circuses enjoyed a much needed adrenaline shot in the arm with the release of the smash hit movie The Greatest Showman. The success of this film no doubt influenced the nature of the recent revamp of the Magic Circus Hotel, one of the Partner Hotels in the Disneyland Paris Resort, with more than a pinch of Harry Potter thrown in for good measure. From this recent Vlog in March to now there has been an incredible transformation!
On arrival at the hotel you are presented with a bright red revolving door which transports you from the outside world to the beautiful red reception area. This feels like a reference to the classic red big top circus tents and it looks breathtaking and feels spacious and luxurious. Older guests may suspect they are in the Twin Peaks Black Lodge but maybe this is me? Check in is a simple process and reception staff are welcoming and helpful. Details include a white rabbit lamp and a portrait of a magician/ringmaster hangs alongside the reception, you will be forgiven for thinking he has winked or smiled at you because he does… come alive. Clearly inspired by the paintings in Hogwarts the picture moves and it really starts to sell what’s in store at the Magic Circus.
Transitioning from the reception area to the bar/lounge is like walking through a wardrobe from an old professor’s house into Narnia (coincidentally the professor in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe is himself a magician’s nephew?). From the red of the Big Top you enter a midnight blue fantasy realm with huge animated windows into fantastical gardens between which are arches which form portals into intimate cosy blue lounge areas. This feels much more like a magical world than a circus, and the aesthetic and detail offer a modern take on themed hotels that isn’t matched in several of the on property Disney hotels. The sheer amount of space in the hotel is incredibly calming and relaxing.
The bedroom was a good size, freshly decorated with a turquoise colour scheme featuring constellations and a gorgeous moon detailed light on the back wall illuminating the room and on the other side of the room was a second themed light in the shape of a balloon. The room also featured hotel staples a TV, safe and mini fridge. The bathroom was a lovely spacious wet room with a shower tray and no bath, although we were given a disability friendly room so I can’t speak for bathroom facilities in other types of rooms. The room felt brand new and recently decorated, there was even cellophane over the hairdryer in the bathroom. Bedside tables feature adjustable reading lights and USB ports. Unfortunately, there are no drawers in the room, so your case will need to be where you keep anything you don’t hang in the two small hanging areas. For short stays this is fine, but for longer stays this could be an issue. Tea and coffee making facilities are in the room with disposable cups.
The lifts up to the rooms are decorated with sparkling midnight blue interiors, interestingly during our stay we saw old Big Top tent vinyl stickers removed from the lift doors and replaced with the midnight blue ones and the difference was significant. The change represents a transition from a literal interpretation of the circus to the much more artistic and abstract interpretation of a magic circus. Our room was on the mezzanine level, which was decorated with consistent midnight blue walls and carpets, here we have a minor gripe which was that there are no stairs to the ground floor. With only two lifts there can be long waits for and it’s a little embarrassing getting an elevator for less than one floor, we often found ourselves feeling a bit judged and we resorted to loudly saying “It’s a shame there are no stairs from this floor” by way of an explanation.
Two small snags with the room were that our adjoining room lock was broken and we didn’t have a safe. Both issues were fixed immediately, and this shows excellent customer service from the team at the Magic Circus. Rooms were serviced every day to an excellent standard, the hotel offers gifts for those who decline a room service. All in all a fantastic room, I am sure this new and fresh Magic Circus will play host to a million dreams over the coming years!
Breakfast is included in the very reasonable Magic Circus price and it doesn’t disappoint. The breakfast room is an elegant burgundy with Navy blue finishes and, as with the lifts, I know that this used to be decorated with images of clowns and other circus paraphernalia. This newly decorated room is so much more calming and less ‘in your face’ than the previous décor, and most people don’t really want to be grinned at by a pratfall of Clowns whilst munching a croissant (yes, I googled the collective noun for clowns). Breakfast choices include all of the usual favourites for a hot breakfast, sausage, bacon, eggs etc or continental breakfast choices including yogurts, fruit salad, cold meats and cheeses. There are also a variety of teas, coffee and juices. If you want to fight off a hoard of excited children visit the two Nutella stations where you can pump warm Nutella into an edible waffle pot for the 7am chocolate hit you need before rushing to the parks. The breakfast was really good and easily as tasty as breakfasts we’ve had in the Disney hotels. The croissants and pain au chocolate were lovely, I’d have liked some pain au raisins, but for some people its just never enough is it? We did not try the evening meal at the hotel, but the offering is a buffet and is priced similarly to the Disney hotels.
Other hotel facilities include a swimming pool, inflatable play area and arcade, none of which we tried but definitely seemed popular with other guests.
There is one major gripe with Partner Hotels, there is a free shuttle service running several times an hour between all 6 of the partner hotels and the park entrance. Travelling to the parks catching the 10 minute shuttle journey was never an issue and in most instances we had a seat, however we caught a bus back at approximately 11pm one evening and it was absolutely crammed, the bus door stopped one metre from us and we barely got on such was the scrum of people who charged the door. The bus can handle approximately 200 passengers and yet at peak times this was no where near enough capacity. Its not a great end to a magical day in the park to literally fight for a place on the bus. As you pull away, your face pressed up against the window, you enjoy a soundtrack of tired babies crying as parents frantically make sure they have all their children and grandparents with them. You look apologetically at the 200 souls who couldn’t get on board rubbing their knocked shins and elbows. I last stayed at a partner hotel 10 years ago and it was exactly the same experience then, it seems this is a characteristic of a stay at a partner hotel and its an awful bookend to the day which influenced the time we left the parks so we could avoid the chaos. I don’t expect this is the fault of the hotels and I’m not certain how the service can manage the varying degrees of demand for the shuttles throughout the day (they do lay on additional shuttles at peak times). We would, in future, look at getting a taxi back and cost that into the stay.
In summary I’d describe the hotel as an impressive and immersive experience that I would absolutely consider for future visits, there are huge financial benefits to staying off Disney property but some of that benefit is offset in the potential for an awful shuttle experience if you elect to go back to the hotel at a peak time. The circus element of the Magic Circus has been toned down into a much classier and adult interpretation of that inspiration and I wonder if a complete re-brand is on the horizon? The hotel itself successfully walks the tightrope between affordability and high quality theming, it is only the end of day shuttle experience that differentiates the hotel from those that are on Disney property.
Full hotel tour below