Oh welcome back, can't wait to hear all about it.
No rush. We won't expect anything till your clothes dry out.
mini-V What will you celebrate?
Adult daycare for the kid inside you.
The journey to Paris started not only very early, but very wet too. Nan arrived at our's around 4.10, and by twenty past we were on our way. At that time of the morning the roads were very empty, so except for the rain and spray from the road, it was a very easy journey to the Eurotunnel terminal. We had just enough time to grab a quick breakfast and a look around the Perfume shop, before the screen showed our train as boarding, so we headed back out to the car.
- The train arrived in France 9.15 local time, and as the terminal links directly onto the French road systems, it was only a few minutes before we were heading south. The drive to DLP took just under 3 hours, not bad at all really.
- Having checking in, collected our park tickets, half board vouchers, breakfast time slot cards, and been given connecting rooms (and discovered the sale on in the hotel store) we dumped our bags and headed down to the parks.
- From the Hotel Santa Fe it was about a 10minute walk along a river to reach the Disney Village and another 10minutes through that, past the restaurants and shops (oooh look, more sales) to get to the park gates. Once inside the Disneyland Paris Park (like MK) we went to Adventureland and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Jason had been wanting to do this in WDW and we never got round to it, so we did the long climb up the wet steps in the rain, then the long climb down the steps in the rain.
- So not exactly the most exciting start, but it made Jason very happy so was totally worth it. We headed through to Hook's Pirate Ship, which sadly was closed (i'm guessing to slippy in the rain) and on to POTC.
- I was really keen to ride this as i'd hear its better than the WDW version and was keen to decide for myself. About half way through the indoor line area Alex suddenly decided he didnt want to ride and started crying! As a loving Mum i told him to stop being silly and get going! To be honest, walking through he has come across a very dark area and had paniced a little, once he was a few meters further on he was fine. By the time we had found the back on the line to join, we were stepping onto the boats (lines like that i can handle!!). And i have to say, much as i love WDW, DLP POTC is wayyyyyyy better. The ride is longer, and there is so much more to the ride although a refurb to add Jack Sparrow would be good. Arriving back in the dock be were given the option to ride again as there was nobody waiting, heck yeah!!! At this point one on the CM's flicked Nan's coat hood up, Nan put it down, he shouted in french, she put it back up, the boat left the dock, nan put it down, so the CM started running along side the boat shouting more in french!! This was the first perfect example of how little the language barrier affects DLP, nearly all the CM's we encountered spoke english, many spoke 2 or 3 languages fluently. But to be able to have a laugh and interact with CM's was based much more on actions than words, and it didnt matter one tiny bit. Through the course of the trip i did discover the best way to greet any CM was with 'Bonjour Hello', that way they knew to reply in english. If you try and be polite and greet them in just french, you can expect fluent (and very fast) french in return!!
- After POTC we all decided we had rumbly tumblys and needed to find one of the restaurants on the half board plan. We had 'half board plus' so went for one of the better restaurants available to us, The Silver Spur Steakhouse in Frontierland. I could not fault anything about the meal, i could probably write a whole page about the food.
- By the time we left the restaurant it was dark, wet and the park was 95% empty, and it looked beautiful, the lights were all reflecting in the puddles and it was so quiet! We walked over to Sleeping Beauty Castle and checked out the Dragons Cave below, its a great addition to the castle, especially for two boys who really don't care much for princesses.
- Having watched Alex jump every time the sleeping dragon moved, we climbed up the steps into the Arribas Bros store within the castle where i found the perfect wedding band!!!! Dippy with excitement i asked for the ring in my size (did i mention i was excited) and then was told my size was out of stock (please excuse me while i cry in your store)!
- So a little deflated we walked down to the front of the castle where the ropes were just being put out for Candleabration. This is the ceremony for the lighing of the 15 candles on the castle to celebrate DLP's 15 years, and the rest of the very pretty light too. With 30 minutes still to go the idea of standing in the cold and wet wasn't too appealing, so we walked to Discoveryland and rode Buzz, again, no lines!! DH scored the highest, i scored somewhere in the middle, and Nan is convinced her gun was broken (yeah, right!).
- We went back to watch the candles, by now, cold, wet & tired! Its a very pretty ceremony that lasts about 15 minutes. Mickey and Minnie stood on the castle balcony and introduced the ceremony, about 7 or 8 characters were in front of the castle fooling around together and with some of the guests at the front of the rope, and it was beautiful once all the candles and lights were on.
- Heading down Main St we stopped for hot drinks at the Cable Car bakery then waved goodbye to Mickey (stood on the railway station above us) as we left the park.
- We decided to skip the bus back to the hotel and walked back along the river, passing the Hotel New York, Newport Bay, Sequoia Lodge and Hotel Cheyenne, i decided I wanted to return and stay at all of them (and the Disneyland Hotel too)!!! We arrived back where the kids pretty much fell into bed and didn't move again, chris and I had a short walk up to the hotel shop, but didnt look at much as a pillow was calling my name.
Last edited by DisneyDreamer13; 02-10-2009 at 06:14 AM.
Welcome home Fiona and Nan! Sounds like you had a brilliant time! I want more! And pics too!
Sisterhood of the traveling pirate in the pants: charter member
A friend will help you mend a broken heart; a best friend will get a shovel and help you dig the hole.
Oh Fiona, what a great time you all had..... I wish you would have unzipped me so i could enjoy also But thanks to Jason and Alex, they did supply me with some great food
April 23rd, oh yeah it's gonna be ON!
Fiona and Joan, those photos came out perfectly lovely, really. It is a beautiful park and you were right about the rain making it prettier. All that light reflection, gorgeous. Sounds like a great time and such fun.
P.U.S.H.-A mantra MOST will not understand.
Disney rocks, Walt was a genius.
Great TR and I can't wait to read more! Beautiful Pictures!!!
Tiffany~ºoº ~ D23 member
Sufferer of Disney Vacation Depression
97'~French Quarter, 99'~CBR, 01'~Movies, 03'~Music/PORriverside/DCL, 05'~POP, 06'~Movies, 08'~Movies, 09'~Disneyland/ Embassy Suites Irvine/ 10'~Music, 12'~LBV Best Western Disney View
I have a silly question, you took your car on the train???
I would love to see the dragon underneath the castle and PotC as is, without Jack Sparrow.
Welcome back! Bonjour, Hello. Good idea. You couldn't have made that suggestion before I went there? Their POTC is cool, but I love POTC at WDW too. It's nice to be able to compare and enjoy them both. We did several back to back Buzz Lightyear visits. The pirate ship looks cooler than it actually is. You didn't miss much. There's a bus you can take to and from the hotels? Again, where were you when I needed that info! (Actually, we were at the Sequoia Lodge, which was closer to the parks which could account for why we weren't looking for a bus.)
mini-V What will you celebrate?
Adult daycare for the kid inside you.
Not quite the same as actually seeing it but I will upload a "dragon under the castle" photo to my album.
What is that train called? I am fascinated!
We awoke to more rain, but its rain at Disney, so its the best sort of rain possible and there was no way it was going to ruin our fun!!!
Our first adventure of the day was to go to La Cantina for breakfast. When you check in you pick time slots and are given colour coded cards to allow you into the restaurant. We had 8am for today and although it was fairly busy by that time, it was very easy for the self service buffet. The continental breakfast consisted of cereals, toast, croissants, pain au chocolate, bread rolls, yoghurt, fruit, cold meats, cheese, fruit juices and hot drinks. Once you're in the restaurant you can go up as many times as you desire and linger for a long as you want. Hotel Santa Fe was like a value resort and i couldn't fault the food, apparently the higher grade have more selection, but that was plenty for us to start the day with (i just wish Alex hadn't insisted on Salami with Nutella on toast!).
With the need for food temporarily dealt with we headed to the main building to catch the bus to the parks. The walking distance to the parks wasn't a problem, but the bright yellow bendy buses with Disney characters down the side were a must for the kids.
The Disneyland Park was pretty much empty as we arrived a little after 9.30. Once inside we immediately saw Mickey hanging around at the entrance. Having waited for only about 3 other families to get photos, the boys took their chance to hug the main-mouse! I figured with such a great start, it was sure to be a wonderful day!!
Jason was very keen to ride one of the old trollies up Main St, so Chris took the boys on that while Nan and I went to The Emporium (Nan wanted a new winter coat). We'd nearly finished looking at every item in the store when the boys returned to find us, and just as we got to the register, music from a mini parade started up in Main St. Now, I'm not saying the store was quiet, but the CM told Nan to go and join us to watch the fun while she rang all the items up. We returned to finish paying and arranged to have the (very large) bag sent over to the Santa Fe (which makes shopping dangerously easy!).
After a walk/skip/run up a very empty Main St we took the time to walk around the balcony inside and outside of Sleeping Beauty Castle to see all the beautiful stained glass windows.
I'm sure walking the outside balcony is much more fun in the summer when you don't feel in danger of being blown off and sailing away like Mary Poppins! The kids especially loved the snoring suit of armour in the castle. Climbing down the stairs and back into the castle we opened the door and almost fell straight into Eeyore, Tigger and Pooh, with the park being so quiet the boys had plenty of time with them before hugs with Pluto and off to Fantasyland.
The rain (lots of it) meant the rides were all walk-on. We started off with Snow White's Adventures, then two rides on the Carousel. Next was a brief break in the rain, so while Nan and I had a hot drink in Toad Hall the boys got lost in Alice's Curious Laybrinth. Sadly, the break in the rain was only short lived, so by the time we met back up it was a case of returning to the indoor rides. We rode Peter Pan and Pinocchio (twice), followed by another two trips around POTC before meeting Jack Sparrow for a quick photo.
That left just enough time to ride BTMRR before lunch. I love the way that in DLP the station for Thunder is on the main path through Frontierland, but the track takes you through a tunnel onto the island for the ride.
Having rapidly decided it was much faster than WDW's (i'll stick to IASW from now on) we walked over for our ADR at the Lucky Nugget Saloon. Even though we were a little early we were shown to our seats immediately. This was a tex-mex buffet restaurant with characters and a very welcome break from the cold and rain for a while. The food was lovely in there, and although we were nearly onto our desserts by the time our drinks arrived, i would go back there in a heart beat! The character interaction was out of this word! Not long after we sat down Tigger, Goofy and Pluto came out. Within moments Tigger had decided to pull up the extra chair and join us for at least 10 minutes. He wasnt too interested in the drinks menu until we found the wine page, at which point he started banging knives together trying to get a waiters attention (even Tigger couldnt get a drink either!).
The kids were in fits of giggles and loved every minute of his antics. As time continued we were also visited by Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Capt Hook and Baloo. Tigger did return later to try and feed Alex, the game was fine until alex tried to feed Tigger too!!! It has to have been the best charater interaction i have ever seen and it makes me think i would never plan on a warm sunny visit to DLP, give me rain, no lines and plenty of character fun any time!!!
Following the meal we decided a low impact ride on the train from Main St, all the way back to Main St was a good plan! The train track is built into the park a lot more than DLP, and i loved going through the upper caves of the POTC ride in the train!
Once we returned to Main St we caught the last few minutes of the parade and then walked over to ride Buzz and Autopia (very very very wet but Jason had his heart set on it). While we went on Autopia Nan waited in Cafe Hyper. Despite being blue with cold the boys loved driving the cars and it was totally worth the hypothermic wait. The kids grabbed a bite to eat when we met back up with Nan in the cafe before we went to get a front row place for Candelabration. It was a long wait, thankfully the rain had eased up a lot, and tiredness was the biggest battle. But once the characters came out it was all worth while a hundred times over! From memory the ones that came out were Donald Duck, Mr Smee, Goofy, Koda, Kenai (sp?), Pluto, another bear i dont recognise and Baloo. I have no ide how or why, but Baloo took a real shine to Alex and must have spent over half of Candelabration with him!! He was hugging and playing with Alex for a heap of time, would visit 1 other child, then return to alex!?! It was amazing that without words, Alex showed Baloo his 2 missing front teeth, Baloo showed Alex his gaps too!! And the best thing was Baloo slowly pointing to his eye, then to alex, then to his other eye, then to alex. Whenever he walked away from us, he would suddenly stop wherever he was, turn back, point to his eye and then to alex!! It was bringing me to tears how much attention he was giving, and once he realised Jason was the big brother, he had more than plenty of hugs too. The time was finished off with the biggest squishy bear hug i have ever experienced. I truly hope Alex will remember those 15 minutes for the rest of his life, i cant imagine it ever being topped!!
From there we walked back down the arcade to the photo store to view (and buy) the photos taken at the Lucky Nugget.. I got the most beautiful one of Alex, Jason & Tigger at the table, as soon as i have the internet back I'll scan, slurp and post!
From there is was a very short ride on the bus back to the Santa Fe, collected our earlier shopping and head back to the room where we fell exhausted into out beds.
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