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Thread: Disneyland Resort Paris - March 2017

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    Disneyland Resort Paris - March 2017

    DISNEYLAND RESORT PARIS QUICK, BEFORE THEY TAKE AWAY FREE BREAKFAST!

    When
    Monday 13 March to Friday 17 March 2017

    Who
    Carolyn trip planner and organiser, Disney-aholic since 1989
    DH more recently confessed Disney-aholic, but no less obsessed than me!

    Transport
    Car, Aeroplane, shuttle bus

    Accommodation
    Disneys Newport Bay Resort hotel

    Experience
    Carolyn 8th trip to Disneyland Resort Paris, previously stayed at Santa Fe, Cheyenne, & Sequoia Lodge resorts
    DH 4rd trip to Disneyland Resort Paris, previously stayed at Santa Fe & Sequoia Lodge resort

    Planning
    A few months ago, the Walt Disney Company announced that they were going to start charging guests for breakfast in the Disneyland Resort Paris hotels from later in 2017, which was decidedly annoying the free breakfast has always been a brilliant idea, and has saved us a lot of money over the years. So we decided to make one last visit while breakfast was still included, and in September 2016 I attempted to check the Disneyland Resort Paris Shareholder discount price against the current offers from Disney, (I am a shareholder, and we used to get 30% off room and ticket bookings; however, over the last few years this discount has dwindled somewhat and now it is quite often cheaper to book directly with Disney Holidays UK online). After spending 40 minutes on the phone to the shareholder line, on hold and waiting for someone who spoke English, at a cost of 1 per minute, I was less than impressed to be cut off before I actually got to speak to someone. Rather than try to ring them back, I decided to email Customer Services to complain about this, and this is the point at which I realised the days of shareholder discounts on rooms and tickets are probably over and I guess I shouldnt bother with this route again.

    In the meantime, I began to look at which hotel to stay in. We have been to the Santa Fe together before, but more recently have been opting for the Sequoia Lodge resort. However, our last stay there was a little marred by the building location we were given at the time, which was quite a long way away from the main building with the restaurants, shop, reception etc. I quite fancied trying the Newport Bay Resort, as that had recently undergone a massive, 12month long refurbishment, and looked amazing on the website. I showed the pictures to DH, who was quite happy to give this resort a try, so I priced up 4 nights/5 days there, with park tickets, which had a current discount of one free night and 30% off tickets. This all looked good, so I ended up booking it online.

    I then emailed Customer Services to complain about the whole telephone call debacle; they replied within a few days to say that although the current offer was for extra free nights, and was a better deal than the discount for shareholders, they were just about to release a new deal for free half-board plus dining, which would actually work out to be a better deal for me, at around the same price as I had already paid. They apologised for my issues with the phoneline, and offered to change my booking to the new deal, plus refund my 41 for the phone call, and also give me free Memory Maker. I was more than happy with this, and agreed to accept all this. Within a couple of hours, I had my new invoice and a credit to the card I had used to pay for the holiday.

    Next, I found and booked flights with Air France from Birmingham airport at a good price, and then also booked the return coach transfers from Charles de Gaulle airport to DLRP. The next thing to do was dig out some Euros that I had left from last year, and then also just to double-check our EHIC cards were still in date. Eek they had run out 6 months ago! I had to very quickly get those renewed online, and hope that the new ones would arrive before we left luckily, they arrived quite quickly.

    As we now unexpectedly had the half-board dining plan, we needed to decide which restaurants we wanted to eat in. The half board plus dining entitled us to one table service meal per day, at selected restaurants. We had a chat about the places we had visited before, and had a look online to see if there was anywhere new we wanted to try. We both thought the other one was really keen on the Blue Lagoon inside Pirates of the Caribbean, but this restaurant was currently closed as Pirates was undergoing a huge refurbishment, (rumoured to be adding Captain Jack Sparrow to the ride), so after initially expressing disappointment, DH finally admitted he wasnt that bothered about going back there again anyway! I was astonished, as I had thought he loved this place, but it turns out he LIKED it, but didnt necessarily have the urge to go back there again. I felt exactly the same way, but hadnt told him because I thought he really liked it, and vice versa!

    Anyway, we finally settled on 4 places we wanted to go to, and I rang the Disney Dining Reservation number and made the reservations. One of our choices was Walts, we have eaten there a couple of times now and really loved it, it felt like our special place. Unfortunately, since we last visited DLRP, the pricing structure for the dining plan has changed, and Walts has become a signature restaurant. In America, this would mean using 2 table service credits per person; in Paris, this means that you can only use the Deluxe Dining Plan here, or you have to pay a small amount extra if you use the Half-Board Plan. This looked to be around 12 Euros in total, which to us would be well worth it, we decided.

    The only other thing to think about now was suitcases we had had a bit of bad luck with cases lately, having several break on us, and after DHs big case had been burst open at the zip when we were on our way to Hong Kong Disneyland last year, we had decided that one needed to be thrown away. (Although typically of my husband, he is incapable of throwing away old suitcases and this is now in the loft, being used as storage for a variety of travel bags hmm, he may actually have a point with this one .) We were shopping in Tesco supermarket one day in February, when we spotted that they had a really nice range of 4-wheeled suitcases. We havent had 4-wheeled cases before, and when we lifted one of these off the shelf to have a look at it, we were amazed at how easy they were to move around. They were also incredibly lightweight, but looked strong, so after a bit of consideration and dithering, we decided to buy a couple.

    My sisters birthday is in February, so I bought her tickets to a show called The 80s Invasion at the Town Hall in Birmingham, which was on the night before we were due to fly to Paris. Therefore, we decided to spend the Sunday with her, take her to the show in the evening, take her home again, and then get her to drop us at the airport that night, as she lives about a 10 minute drive from Birmingham airport. I booked us a room at the Novotel at the airport, so at least we wouldnt have to get up so early on flight day!

    Planning all done, we now waited for our holiday, although a couple of months before we went, we suddenly became aware of the 25th Anniversary celebrations the Disneyland Park would be celebrating its 25th birthday in April, and the celebrations were due to begin about a week after we left oh, brilliant timing (not)!

    Day -1 Sunday 12 March 2107
    Plan : Family day, stay overnight at Birmingham airport hotel
    Actual : We had a lovely day with my family, (I checked us in online for our flight in the morning), and a great night at the show! We saw Toyah Wilcox, China Crisis, Paul Young (my sisters favourite!), and Martika. Of these, we enjoyed Toyah the best, she was absolutely fab, and obviously my sister enjoyed Paul Young. Wed never heard of Martika, and thought she was a bit rubbish really, but then she sang one song that DH and I recognised Toy Soldiers, from 1988, so we quite enjoyed that. Anyway, it was a lovely night, and afterwards we took DS home and then she took us and our cases to the airport.

    We checked into the Novotel, and settled down for the night. What we didnt realise at the time was that DH had the start of a chest infection though, so when he was coughing all night and keeping us both awake, I was a bit cross with him and blamed his taking up smoking again, which he did recently after having quit for 7 years. Although I think Im starting to realise that trying to sleep the night before a Disney trip is something that is never going to happen, and so I look for reasons or excuses as to why I am awake all night!

    Day 1 Monday 13 March 2107
    Plan : Travel to DLRP, check in to hotel, Disneyland park
    Actual : We did eventually get to sleep last night, and awoke when the alarm went off at 7.00 a.m. We got ready for the day, repacked the cases, and checked out. The Novotel is a really nice hotel, and so handy it is literally across the car park from the airport. The reception area of the hotel was full of people with very pretty dogs, whom we assume were there for Crufts at the nearby National Exhibition Centre the dogs were an assortment of cuteness and fluffiness, but were very snooty and carefully avoided patting hands, particularly those of sticky children!

    We made our way over to the airport, and joined a short queue to drop off our cases and collect our boarding passes, before heading through security (huge queue!) and into the departure lounge.

    We decided to pick up some sandwiches from Pret a Manger for breakfast, as we didnt really have time to stop for a proper breakfast. I got DH a cheese & ham baguette, and for myself I picked up a tuna mayo baguette. (Mine went all the way to Disneyland Paris, sat in a bedside drawer for 2 days, and then got thrown away!) I also got us a coffee to share.

    I left DH with the hand luggage cases and the coffee, and went to W H Smiths to pick up an arrow-word puzzle book, bottles of water, and I also bought him a huge Toblerone you cant possibly visit an airport without buying a Toblerone! I hate them myself, so got him a dark chocolate one as I knew hed love that. (The theory behind that is that I am not a fan of dark chocolate either, so at least this way he would get a chocolate bar for himself, that I absolutely wouldnt want to share!)

    By the time wed finished the coffee and DH had eaten his sandwich, our gate was on the announcement board, so we walked round to it. Surprisingly, it wasnt far we normally get the gate that feels like its halfway to France. We used the restrooms and waited to be called to board.

    At about 08.45, we all began to board. Our seats were on the right hand side of the plane, near the front, and DH let me sit by the window! (I love sitting by the window, but so does he and I normally let him sit there. This time he insisted I took the window seat!) The flight took off bang on time, and as it is only a short flight, the stewards soon came round with croissants and coffee, both of which were very nice. The plane wasnt very full, and there were several empty seats around. I really like this flight to Paris, you can see land for most of the way out of the window as the plane doesnt go above the clouds. The flight was very smooth, and we were soon landing happily in Paris. The weather was warm and dry, we were pleased to see.

    We collected our cases from the baggage carousel, cleared customs, and headed over to the clearly marked Disneyland Paris Resort shuttle bus stop. I was quite pleased as we were in time for the next bus, (they only run about every 40 minutes and there is a long wait if you miss one!). However, when I handed over the tickets, the return tickets were printed on the reverse of the sheet of paper, and the bus driver was saying he needed to keep the tickets. I pointed out that our return tickets were on the back, and he suggested we go to the ticket sales and information point in the airport to get them to photocopy our return tickets. This concerned me somewhat as I thought the bus would leave without us, and we had already put our luggage in the storage area underneath the coach, but he reassured me he would wait, so I shot back into the airport and luckily the man I spoke to at the ticket point was very nice and understanding! Photocopies in hand, I went back to the coach and we boarded, finding seats near to the back as the bus was quite full at this point.

    Just a couple of minutes later we set off, and we sat back, relaxed and chatted until we excitedly began to spot Disney landmarks in the distance! I realised I hadnt set my watch forward to French time, but as I attempted to do this, the watch winder snapped off! This was a new, pink-strapped, Mickey mouse watch I had bought just a few days ago, so I knew I would be able to return it for a refund or replacement on our return, but that now left me without a watch for the week gosh darn, I would just have to buy a new one from Disneyland!

    The first drop-off for the shuttle bus is Newport Bay, so once the bus stopped, we leapt off and grabbed our cases from the storage area. The hotel looked gorgeous! All pale blue and white, very like the houses in Boston, or Disneys Old Key West Resort in Florida. We went into reception and checked in, although the lovely Cast Member confirmed that our room wasnt ready yet, which we had expected as it was still early. He gave me our room package, which included park tickets and the half board plus dining vouchers, and asked me what time I wanted the breakfast sittings for. I tried to choose ones that werent too early, given that the parks didnt open until 10.00 am. One of our breakfast times would include breakfast in the Disneyland park, at the Plaza Gardens Restaurant, so we picked that for our final day, Friday. We also got our Teatime Treat vouchers, that entitle us to a free hot drink and doughnut or mini ice-cream between the hours of 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm each day, at selected locations.

    We took our luggage back outside to the Left Luggage office, and well, left our luggage with them! Time for lunch we walked round to the Disney Village and the Earl of Sandwich. DH went upstairs to find us a nice table outside on the balcony, while I joined a small but busy queue, (that included a group of around 6 friends who didnt decide what they wanted to order until they got to the order point! Grrr read the menus all over the walls around you, in advance!!) I ordered an Original 1762 for myself, and an Hawaiian for DH; there was a meal deal where you got a drink and a dessert for ten Euros, so I got us both a brownie and a soda too. We sat upstairs in the sun, and enjoyed our lunch!

    From there we went to Starbucks as I wanted to see if they had a Disneyland Paris You are Here mug, but they didnt, they just had ones that said Paris, so we left there and did something weve never done before we walked to the nearby train station. I had read online that there was a small convenience store in there where you could pick up drinks and snacks, and indeed there was two, one at either end of the station, but they were very tiny indeed and didnt have a lot of choice. However, we managed to pick up a couple of bottles of soda from there and they were certainly cheaper than Disney soda; plus, I got a flavour of Fanta Id never seen before it was called Fanta Agrumes, and was a mixture of orange, mandarin, lemon, and pink grapefruit. It was so good! I love anything citrusy flavoured, and this was gorgeous! I fully intended to pick up some more at some point over the next 5 days, but in reality this didnt happen so I only ever had this one bottle, sadly. I tried to make it last but I was quite thirsty and it was so delicious that it was soon gone! I was glad we had taken the time to go and explore the station though, as at least now we knew where we could pick up any extras that we needed, such as a bigger (and slightly cheaper!) variety of drinks and snacks than are available in Disneyland.

    We took a slow stroll back to the Newport Bay Resort, and our room was ready by this point. We got two key-cards to room 2136, and set off to find it. Wow! It was a corner room, and was just gorgeous! So light and airy, no view particularly but then not really overlooked, either. Quite a big room, with a large, comfortable bed, and painted portholes all around the top of the room with Disney characters in them!

    We unpacked a bit and freshened up, and also rang down to housekeeping to ask for the loan of a kettle for the room; we had taken teabags, powdered milk, and sachets of coffee with whitener in, as the hotels in Disneyland Paris dont have tea and coffee facilities in them. However, they will loan you a kettle for the length of your stay, free of charge. This was brought up to us quite quickly. I donned my pink, sequinned Minnie ears, and was good to go!

    We were now ready to begin our exploration of the Disneyland Park. We left the hotel, took a gentle walk round the lake and through a security check-point, and back into the Village. We stopped briefly in World of Disney to redeem the voucher we had for PhotoPass/Memory Maker, and they happily handed over a box containing a PhotoPass card on a lanyard, and instructions as to how to use it. The value of this had we paid for it would have been 40 Euros.

    As we approached the entrance to the Disneyland Park, there were lots of really lovely flag banners on the lamp-posts all celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the park. Each one had a different character on, and were done in gorgeous shades of dark blue and silver. I took some photos of these as we walked. Then when we got to the park entrance, we could see that a massive 25th Anniversary mural had been put up on the back side of the Main Street Railroad Station. We went through the turnstiles, and immediately noticed a huge, silver-coloured bandstand in the middle of the entrance square, just after the Railroad Station, that we didnt remember being there before. It looked a bit odd but we presumed it was also for the 25th Anniversary. We could see more of the flag banners on the lamp-posts going up Main Street, too.

    Last time we were here, the Railroad Station had been closed and covered with tarpaulin and scaffolding; it had almost completely been rebuilt, so we were interested to see how it looked now. However, we decided to start our visit with a quick coffee from the Main Street Bakery, which we sat outside in the sun to drink. We watched the crowds to see whether the newly revigorated smoking rules would be adhered to EuroDisney had recently made a big fuss about installing proper smoking areas, increasing signage, and retraining their Cast Members to be more aware of guests smoking everywhere. We noticed that a lot of the rubbish bins now had a sort of giant ashtray thing on the top, too. We watched a young couple quite close to the entrance to the side road we were sitting in both light up, and unthinkingly blow smoke towards all the people sat there trying to enjoy eating things from the Bakery. Luckily, we were too far back for it to affect us. We watched the Frozen A Royal Welcome mini-parade pass down Main Street from where we were sitting, but didnt go over to watch it as we had seen it several times before and it consists of a horse-drawn carriage containing Anna and Elsa, waving at everyone, and thats it.

    We also helped to rescue a little girls Frozen balloon while we were there! Her mum had a pushchair containing a slightly unhappy baby, and this little girl who looked to be around 6 years old; they appeared to be on their own at that point, without any other friends or family around them. We watched as the little girl was playing with the balloon weight, and just as I was about to comment to DH that she was probably going to let it go at some point, (obviously referring to the Frozen theming), she did indeed let the balloon go and it floated away. Predictably, she was devastated and began to loudly shriek. A couple of tall guys (DH included) tried to catch it, but it was too fast. However, as we all watched it and her mum tried to console her, weirdly the balloon stopped rising, and hovered around the top of the Bakery building. Then, to everyones amazement, it began to descend again! It very slowly came down, and looked like it was heading for a tree top, but DH heroically leapt up in the air and managed to snag the balloon weight what a hero! Several people applauded and the little girl was delighted!

    After all this excitement we thought it was probably time we went off for a bit of an explore, so we walked back down Main Street to the Railroad Station, noticing how pretty and fresh the Station looked since its massive refurb. We had to wait for the next train as one had just left, but 15 minutes later we were comfortably settled onboard the W F Cody and thoroughly enjoyed our ride all the way around the park. As we pulled back into the Main Street Station, the daytime parade was just ending and we paused at the exit to the station to watch the last few floats go past.

    Once this was over, we battled through the crowds a bit and into the Emporium. There was a lot of lovely 25th Anniversary merchandise around, all in shades of blue and silver, and we immediately spotted a load of stuff that we wanted to get! A lot of the t-shirts etc. were also steampunk themed, and were really fab. However, for the moment, we restrained ourselves there were still another 4 days to go and we didnt want to peak too soon! I browsed the Disney watches as this was something I needed to get fairly soon, and first of all selected a Minnie Mouse watch with a really cute, black and white spotted strap. However, DH, who had been mooching around elsewhere in the store, came back to me with a 25th Anniversary-themed watch, dark blue in colour and steampunk themed, which I really loved, so that was the one I got in the end. I also picked up an anniversary fridge magnet in the same style, and took them to the cashier. I remembered to get my DLRP Shareholder Club membership card out, as I get a 10% discount on purchases from Disney outlets, so this saved me a few Euros! I told the Cast Member I wanted to wear the watch straightaway, so she helpfully got some scissors and opened up the packaging for me, as well as setting up the watch with the correct time and activating it. Yay, I now had a working watch again!

    We left the Emporium and walked to the Hub, turning left and into Frontierland. We strolled to Phantom Manor, which was showing a 5 minute standby time, and happily climbed up the steps, through the desolate and ruined gardens, where we were held outside the Manor front doors for a few moments. We took the opportunity to have a look at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad behind us, as during our last visit to DLRP in 2015, this had been closed for a major refurb, with the Rivers of the Far West which surround it having been completely drained. Big Thunder looked amazing now, and a huge, new stone archway had been built in the middle of the River beside it, which really added to the theming. We were looking forward to riding this at some point its my favourite ride at Disneyland Parks, (apart from Grizzly Gulch Runaway Mine Train in Hong Kong Disneyland, which JUST has the edge on standard Big Thunders!).

    Phantom Manor was great fun as usual, and as we exited we explored the little graveyard, which most people bypass as they just follow the pathway from the exit, rather than turning left and walking around the tombs and gravestones! We glanced over at Big Thunder again, and noticed it was clearly broken down a train was stuck halfway up an incline, and all the lights were on in the tunnel you can see from this angle. We could see Cast Members walking up the stairs next to the train track, so it looked like they were going to evacuate guests. This was something that used to happen a lot before the big refurb, and was a bit worrying as I would have thought they had ironed out any previous issues during the rework!

    Anyway, it was now time for our dining reservation at the Silver Spur Steakhouse, which is next to Phantom Manor, so we strolled down the hill and went to check in. We were asked to wait to one side, and found a bench to sit on, which was good as we had to wait for about 20 minutes before being seated, despite the restaurant being quite empty.

    Eventually, we were called and taken to our table, which was at the very back of the restaurant, near the kitchen. Our waiter was a very sweet, young French lad, who took our drinks orders first. We both had an orange Fanta, which was included in the dining plan, and DH also ordered a beer. For starters, we both had prawn cocktail which was served in a tiny bread bowl, and was delicious really fresh and clean-tasting. I then had steak, (which was nice but very chewy!), fries, corn on the cob, (sweet and delicious!), and a really fresh salad which had a slightly sweet, citrusy dressing and was yummy! DH ordered a veggie burger with sweet potato fries. Hes not vegetarian but equally is not a big fan of steak, so quite often will order a vegetarian option when I have steak. However, his veggie burger was just layers of cooked vegetables built up into a stack he said it was nice, but just not what he was expecting! He then finished with carrot cake with a vanilla sauce, which he enjoyed, (I hate carrot cake, so wouldnt try any of this!), and I had vanilla ice-cream with crushed raspberries, which were really tart and balanced out the ice-cream beautifully. Overall, it was a really good meal, and after paying 6 Euros for DHs beer, we left feeling very full indeed.

    We were quite tired by now, so once we left the Steakhouse, we took a slow walk out of the park. The Disney Dreams fireworks show was taking place, but we were too tired to fight our way to find a space to watch it, as there is a lot of projection work in the show and you need to be positioned in front of the Castle really to see it all. We knew we could catch it on another day, anyway.

    We left the park, walked through the Village, and around the lake to Newport Bay. When we got to our room, it seemed really hot in there the weather today had been hot and sunny, and the air conditioning in the room didnt run if you werent there. We tried to set it to cold, but it wouldnt go below a certain temperature, and so we opened a couple of windows. However, that tripped a sensor in the air con and it turned itself off! So we shut the windows again and reset the air con to the coldest setting it would let us, and hoped for the best.

    DH watched a bit of TV while I got things together for the next day, spending money, stuff like that, before we finally settled down at around 11.30 pm for some much needed sleep.

    Day 2 Tuesday 14 March 2017
    Plan : Disneyland Studios
    Actual : I had set my phone alarm for 8 am and we got up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day, if still a bit hot! We had both slept really well, although I was worried about the room temperature as it had been a bit stifling during the night. I opened all the windows and hoped some fresh air would cool the room better than the air con had.

    Our breakfast time today was 9.15 am, although when I had checked in yesterday, the Cast Member had told me that it really didnt matter what time we turned up for breakfast or even if we didnt use the time tickets at all, as long as we gave our room number when checking in at the restaurant podium. Now, when we have stayed at previous Disneyland Paris resorts, our breakfast choices have been assorted pastries and bread, breakfast cheese and cold meats, yoghurts, fruit juice, cereals, and coffee or tea, all of which are plentiful and fresh. However, we walked into the Cape Cod restaurant today to be confronted with all of the above, PLUS scrambled eggs, USA-style crispy bacon, French Vanilla buttermilk pancakes, sausages, fried potatoes, and maple syrup. Wow! Instead of just orange or apple juice, there was also cranberry and grapefruit juices, too. We were really surprised, and very pleased at this!

    I had the scrambled eggs, which were really creamy, some bacon, (actually, quite a lot of bacon!), a small spoon of potatoes, and a pancake (that I didnt realise was French Vanilla until I tasted it!) with maple syrup, followed by a tiny pain au raisin. I also had orange juice and coffee (I couldnt find the grapefruit juice, which was a bit disappointing!). DH had eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and then followed this with a pain au chocolate. He had apple juice and coffee. It was all really, really good!

    After breakfast, DH popped to a restroom and we noticed a sign outside one of the bathrooms stating that it was being cleaned for your future enjoyment we wondered just how much enjoyment you got out of a clean bathroom??

    Anyway, we walked around the lake and were soon in the Studios. We both love the entranceway to this park, (called Studio 1), it feels like you are walking through a film studio and is very well themed. Our first destination was to see if we could get a FastPass for the Ratatouille ride, which is always notoriously busy. We managed to pick up FastPasses for 1.00 pm to 1.30 pm, though, which was only 3 hours away.

    Next we walked round to Rock & Roller Coaster for DH only I have ridden this in Florida, but many years ago, and dont feel the need to ride it again! He loves this ride, and so I am more than happy to wait on a nearby seat for him. The standby line was only 10 minutes long, and while DH happily went off to ride, I used our entrance tickets to pick up a couple of FastPasses for him to use later, then found somewhere to sit in the sun and just relax for a few minutes bliss! DH really enjoyed the ride, as usual, and we decided to exit the park for an hour after this. We walked down the pathway towards the exit, and were totally surprised to see Push, the talking trashcan! He used to be in the Magic Kingdom in Florida, but had been retired from there in 2014, and I had absolutely no idea he would appear in DLRP! I was delighted, as I used to love interacting with him. I was pointing and laughing at him, and he noticed me, wheeled over to me, and chatted with me for ages! He said he liked my t-shirt and my Minnie Mouse ears, and then told me I was beautiful and began to sing to me! It was so much fun, we had a great time with him.

    Eventually, we managed to drag ourselves away from Push and left the Studios park. Our destination was Salon Mickey - this is a private club just for Disneyland Resort Paris shareholders, is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to midday, offers complimentary refreshments (which must be consumed in the club), and each shareholder has to present their Shareholder Club member's card and park ticket to gain entrance. We are also allowed to take up to 4 guests in with us, and are allowed up to 4 visits per month. The club is situated near a side entrance to the Disneyland park, behind an innocuous and unmarked green door. You have to knock to gain entrance this appeals to the inner child in us both, and we always say that we have to give a 'secret knock' to get in, although I highly doubt this is true! The room you go into is tiny but so beautiful, all dark woods and comfy sofas, with rather exquisite paintings and pictures on the walls, an old grandfather clock, and a lovely bust of Walt Disney on the mantelpiece. It only holds around 14 people if full, but weve never seen more than half a dozen people in there at a time, previously. We went in, using our secret knock, got a muffin and a chocolate doughnut each, and some coffee and orange juice too. Today, there were around 8-10 people in there, but they were very spread out, and the only available space was one sofa, opposite a German couple (I know they were German as we got into conversation with them, they spoke quite good English but DH speaks a smattering of German and began chatting to them in their mother tongue!). We asked if we could join them, and they were quite happy for us to do so.

    After a relaxing hour in there, and a quick restroom visit, we made our way back to the Studios. We had a short wait until our Ratatouille FastPasses were open, so we sat on a bench and just relaxed for a few minutes. A few minutes before 1 pm, we joined the short queue for the ride the park was quite busy, but not insanely so today, and the regular standby line was only around 60 minutes at this point weve seen it much longer than that before! The ride was fantastic, we loved it so much and it still made us laugh a lot, despite having ridden it before.

    The Rock & Roller Coaster FastPasses were now open, so we walked round there, but DH decided to only ride it once and to let me keep the second paper FastPass as a souvenir. The standby time was up to 20 minutes at this point.

    While I was waiting for him to come out, I had a look at the Times Guide for the park, and saw that a performance of Lights, Motors, Action! was due to start in about 20 minutes, so as soon as DH came back, I suggested we go and watch the show. We headed to the theatre, which is next door to Rock & Roller Coaster, and followed the hoards in, finding seats up towards the back but quite centrally placed. We sat and waited for the show to start; I love sitting quite high up in this theatre, as you get really good views around the rest of the park. However, when the show started, we were in for a bit of a disappointment Lightning McQueen broke down and had to be towed off, during the gunfight the stunt man on top of the building didnt fall off and plunge to the ground like he normally does, there was no gunfight on the jetskis (in fact, they werent used at all), and, most disappointing of all, there was no big finale! The show just seemed to stutter to a halt after one of the car chases, and then everyone came out for applause, so there was no big, dramatic explosion with the red car bursting out of the building. We have seen this show both here and in Florida many times, and have seen a car catch fire once when an oil gasket failed and oil spilled all over the floor causing a small fire underneath the car; we also saw two cars bump slightly against each other once during the ballet section, but the show went on both times after a slight delay. This was the first time weve seen so many things go wrong and I have no idea why this happened! We also noticed that the low brick walls on the right hand side of the stage area were all padded with thick plastic and foam, which they hadnt been before. Overall, a bit of a disappointing performance.

    We left the theatre at the end, and walked back towards the park entrance. On the way, we stopped for a few minutes to watch a new stage show, The Season of the Force, which was taking place on a very high temporary stage set up next to Tower of Terror. It looked quite fun, but as we are not big Star Wars fans, we didnt stop to watch it all. We went into Restaurant En Coulisse in Studio 1 for coffee and doughnuts, (although I saved my doughnut for later as I wasnt hungry), using our Teatime Treat vouchers. We then went out to the front of the entranceway to use the restrooms there, as they are a bit quieter than the ones in the park, and on our way out there we stopped at the information desk to pick up a Disability Access Park Map for our lovely daughter-in-law back home. She and my son are planning a visit to DLRP at some point soon, and as she is a wheelchair user I thought the DAP maps would be useful for them.

    The queue to meet Goofy near the park entrance looked to be quite short, and this was one of the very few PhotoPass opportunities we saw, so we joined the queue after our restroom break. However, after not moving at all for over 10 minutes, we were very hot in the blazing sun, and decided to leave it. So far, we had been deeply disappointed in the PhotoPass package, and were glad we hadnt paid for this all we had up to this point was two pictures of DH on Rock & Roller Coaster! There were no random PhotoPass photographers around at all, unlike other Disney parks, and certainly none dotted around the Castle in Disneyland.

    We walked back through Studio 1, and turned right, going to the Flying Carpets over Agrabah. We only had a 10 minute wait before we were happily sailing around on our own flying carpet! Once we had enjoyed that, it was time for us to check in for our dinner reservation at Chez Remy. This was somewhere we hadnt eaten before, and we were really looking forward to it. The check-in area is horrendously small though, and was jam-packed with lots of families and pushchairs, there was barely room to push our way to the check-in desk. We gave our name to the Cast Member and then had to take two separate seats as there werent any together. A couple of different people ran over my feet with their pushchairs while we waited, it really was horrible in there.

    After about 10 minutes, our name was called and we fought our way out of the room, and followed the server into a huge, gorgeous, and fairly empty restaurant! So weird, there was hardly anyone else in there! Anyway, the theming in here is amazing, so well done and imaginative. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant, and could see into the ride exit area from where we were. A gentleman came over and introduced himself to us as our waiter, and he took our drinks orders orange Fanta for us both. He then explained the menu to us it was a set, 3-course menu, with 3 options for entre and dessert. We didnt have to wait long, luckily, as we were both quite hungry by that point, before he began by bringing out our mixed leaf salad to start with, and some warm bread rolls. I thought the salad was dreadful, although DH said he enjoyed it. It had a couple of long slices of artichoke on the top, which was grey, rubbery, and tasted like elderly vegetable matter yuck! Then the salad dressing was very strongly flavoured, and was drizzled over some leaves, and that was the whole content of the salad artichoke and leaves, with a bit of grated cheese. Anyway, DH ate his, I moved mine around the plate a bit, nibbled at some of it, and left most of it there. For entre we both had the steak, and that was very, very good indeed soft and tender, full of flavour and very succulent. You got to pick the accompanying sauce so DH picked tarragon and mustard, which he said was lovely, and I picked barnaise, which was okay, but a bit cold and congealed. The chips that came with it were really good, but the biggest surprise was the small bowl of ratatouille that we each had. I had expected not to like this at all, as I am not keen on cooked tomatoes, cant digest onions, and am not generally a fan of mixed vegetables. However, this was AMAZING! It was very flavourful, chopped up into pretty, tiny cubes, and we both really enjoyed it!

    Dessert followed soon afterwards. DH picked tiramisu, and when I tasted it I really wished I had ordered that too, it was incredible! I actually chose something called Gusteaus Dessert, which was a cake with a kind of macaroon texture, filled with a delicious and very tart lemon filling, and topped with soft meringue. It was really good, very light, but I still think DHs dessert was nicer!

    As we were on the dining plan, we knew there was no bill to settle, and when we had finished dinner we waited for the server to acknowledge that we were done and leaving. (They take the dining voucher from you at the start of the meal). However, we sat there for quite a while and he didnt reappear, so in the end we just left a tip on the table for him and left.

    The park had been really busy all day, but it was now considerably quieter, although this may have been due to the fact that it was closing in about an hour! We took a slow stroll out, past a bunch of Stormtroopers just marching around, and went into the merchandise store in Studio 1 to pick up some shopping. I picked up a white, long-sleeved 25th Anniversary t-shirt, and also a set of two matching 25th Anniversary mugs, one is blue and one is dark pink, and they are lovely. We were trying to find an Anniversary t-shirt for DH, but really struggled to find one to fit him! He normally takes a size 2XL, but all the t-shirts that appeared to be 2XL would not have fit him at all, we held them up against him and they were much more like a large than even a 1XL. In fact, we compared the size of a 1XL and a 2XL and they were exactly the same! We found a manager to show this to, she was surprised and said she would investigate this as it looked like they had had a bad batch. She did say that if we bought a t-shirt and it was too small, we could take it back and exchange it, but we declined as we wouldnt have been able to exchange it for a bigger size if the largest they stocked was a 2XL anyway.

    We walked back to our resort, and settled in for the night. The room was much cooler tonight, and we realised that ignoring the air conditioning and just leaving all the windows open was the best thing to do. We were on the second floor and had a corner room with no balcony, plus the windows have a restrictor on them so they only open a very small amount anyway, so we reckoned it would be safe to leave the windows open. We were in bed by 11.00 pm, but DH began coughing again

    Day 3 Wednesday 15 March 2017
    Plan : Shopping day
    Actual : We were up a bit later today, and after freshening up we headed down to Cape Cod for our usual yummy breakfast. We were so happy to have the selection of hot items in addition to the usual pastries, cheese and ham etc.

    Full of baconey loveliness, we took a slow stroll round to Disneyland park, where I queued at the Disability counter to pick up a DLP Disability Access park map. From there, we went into Salon Mickey as we were running out of time today to visit our club, and we got some coffee, orange juice, water, and muffins, which we saved for later.

    After a refreshing break, we walked into the park and the first thing we saw was that the big, silver bandstand had had some blue fabric draped around the top, which softened the glaring silver and made it look a lot better. This was the point at which we realised that this structure would have something to do with the Anniversary celebrations.

    We meandered round to Frontierland and picked up some Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FastPasses for later. We checked to see if it was worth riding standby, but the standby queue was very long at that point, so we walked round to Adventureland so that DH could check out the Indiana Jones & the Temple of Peril rollercoaster. This is a small, outdoor coaster, that is very intense and has a single, inverted loop. I rode this years ago when my family tricked me into it by saying it didnt go upside down, and I had vowed never to ride it again! However, DH was getting braver and braver where rollercoasters were concerned, and he was keen to give this a go. The standby line was only 15 minutes, so I took his camera and backpack off him, and sent him off to ride. There is a brilliant viewing point for this coaster, where the cars stop for a couple of minutes after loading and before they begin the actual ride, and I was able to get some great photos of DH sitting in the ride car and grinning away! He really enjoyed the ride, he thought it was loads of fun, and so I sent him round for a second go while we were there!

    When he came back out again, we walked to Adventure Isle to explore the caves and rope bridges there. The huge pirate ship that has been there for years has now been converted into a play area for kids, which we thought was a great idea. The whole area around Pirates of the Caribbean was blocked off, not just the ride, so there was clearly some refurb going on around there, and we saw notices saying that the ride was being refurbed too it didnt state that they were adding Captain Jack Sparrow to the ride, but it did have a line from the films on there which led you to believe that he was being added. We noticed Captain Jack was doing a meet and greet on the nearby beach, so we wandered over to check out the length of the queue; however, as we got there, a Cast Member told us that they were closing the queue. Drat.

    So, instead, we took a quick restroom break in Fantasyland, before going into the theatre where Mickey Mouse does his meet and greets. This was beautifully themed to resemble an old, traditional theatre with lots of red velvet and gold trimmings. The queue system is across a series of gold railings, but there is a huge projection screen in there which shows classic Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons. We queued for 35 minutes, but because we were watching the cartoons, the time went very quickly. There was one extremely funny cartoon involving Mickey and a seal, which we really loved and made us laugh a lot. Mickey accidentally takes a baby seal home from the zoo, and the seal has such a great time that when Mickey takes him back to the zoo, he gathers up all his mates and they move into Mickeys house! (I have subsequently managed to find this on DVD and have just bought it!) Anyway, when we finally got in to meet Mickey, we had a really great interaction with him. He loved my red and white polka-dot Minnie-style nail varnish, and also made a fuss of DH because he was wearing a lovely Hong Kong Disneyland t-shirt that we had bought from there last year. Mickey insisted on showing his handler and the photographer my nails, which was funny, and he kept giving us big hugs! It was great fun, and we got some lovely photos which luckily are in the Memory Maker package.

    When we eventually left there, DH went for a cigarette break and I got chatting to a nearby Cast Member, as I had heard her talking to some guests and she was clearly British. Her name was Amy, and she was lovely really chatty and friendly, we had a lovely talk about all things Disney! We were a bit peckish now, so once DH came back to me we sat on a low wall near the carousel and ate our muffins and doughnuts from Salon Mickey. Still feeling in need of refreshment, we went into Toad Hall and, using our Teatime Treat vouchers, we got coffee and mini Magnum ice-creams.

    From there we walked down towards the hub, as I wanted to check out the small shop in the Aladdin/Moroccan themed area there they quite often have some unique merchandise, often Lion King or Animal Kingdom type-themed, that isnt available anywhere else. We found a lovely Scar t-shirt that said, Im surrounded by idiots!, that we bought for our daughter in law, and a Simba daddy hat for my son. We had these sent back to our resort.

    It was now time for our Big Thunder Mountain FastPasses, so we made our way over there and were soon whisking through the queue. We encountered a handful of rude French guests here, who seemed to think that personal space was something to be ignored and tried to hustle us along a bit, which DH got a bit uptight about, understandably. Anyway, we tried to take no notice, and we still really love this ride. We tried to pull funny faces when we knew we were approaching the photo section of track! When we got off the ride, we raced round to the PhotoPass booth to get the picture put onto our account. I gave the ride photo number to the Cast Member, who was British, and while she was looking for the photo, she said to me, Ill let you off this time. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, and said so. She replied with, you know youre not supposed to wear your name badge when youre not working! I was flabbergasted, and spluttered something about the badge being a guest one that I had bought years ago from Disneys MGM Studios in Florida. (It is a green-coloured badge, shaped like a Cast Member badge, with a picture of Tigger, my name, and Guest of Honor written on it). Normally, Cast Members think I work for the company and panic in case I am someone important; however, this Cast Member clearly wasnt intimidated by the badge but made a serious error in mistaking me for a Cast Member off-duty. I was really narked by her mistake, and when I told her it was a guest badge, she didnt apologise at all, she just said oh. With hindsight, I should have made more of this, maybe taken her name and complained about her to City Hall, as it really upset me maybe I should have asked her whether she had considered that I might be management, or where she thought I worked? Anyway, I felt stupid for overreacting like this, but couldnt help feeling put out by her rudeness and ignorance.

    We went into the nearby store to check out the pins, as there is normally a good selection of them in the little store there, but to our dismay, there wasnt anything new or exciting there. In fact, there seemed to be a lot less pins overall, both in the parks, and in particular, in this store.

    We left the store, and decided a trip on the Riverboat would be nice. We queued for about 5 minutes, and a boat pulled up. The guests disembarked, and we all milled round, waiting to get on. However, after a few minutes of us being held back, an announcement was made that the Riverboat had broken down and would not be sailing in the near future. This was a bit disappointing, and we discussed what to do next we decided on Phantom Manor, and headed over there quite quickly before everyone else go the same idea as us!

    There was a 10 minute standby queue for the Manor, and it wasnt long before we were happily singing along with the Grim Grinning Ghosts! When we exited the ride, we had a look round Boot Hill again, and got chatting to a Cast Member who looked like he was just going on duty in the Manor. We somehow got onto the subject of Disney Cruises, and we told him we are doing our first Cruise later this year on the Dream. He was very knowledgeable about them, and we had a really good discussion with him, he was very interesting.

    When we left the area, we could see the Molly Brown Riverboat appeared to be loading up, so we went over there and were soon stood at the front rail, right on the top deck. There was a lovely view up there, and we really enjoyed the ride, particularly when we sailed around the back of Big Thunder Mountain and got close-up views of the new archway, and the geysers that had been repaired and were now working enthusiastically.

    After we docked again, we wandered back to the Hub and watched the Celebrate the Magic parade, which we have seen several times but still enjoyed. Discoveryland was next, for a pointless battle on Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast DH thrashes me on this ride every time these days. It used to be that I beat him all the time, but he has got so much better over the years (or I have got worse!), that I now only ride it to give him the rare opportunity to gloat. Anyway, there was about a 20 minute wait for this and, as predicted, DH beat me by miles! Our ride photo is always really funny from these rides, as we both always look super-competitive and fierce. We remembered to have the photo added to our PhotoPass account at the end.

    We strolled over to the Emporium to do a little pre-dinner shopping, and picked up a 25th Anniversary Minnie Mouse and an Anniversary Mickey light-up spinner for our granddaughters forthcoming first birthday, before leaving the park and heading into the Village for our dining reservation at The Steakhouse. We were seated quite quickly, and got chatting to a lovely mother and daughter sat at the next table while we waited for our food to arrive. We both ordered Fanta to drink, and perused the menu we were told that our dining plan entitled us to choose from the Chicago menu. I opted to miss out the starter, as I knew I wouldnt eat 3 courses tonight, but DH chose the marinated beef Carpaccio, with parmesan shavings and rocket salad. I nibbled on some delicious bread and butter, and DHs starter was very quick to arrive he said it was really tasty, and he enjoyed it. His main course was chicken with a baked potato and creamed mushrooms, which was very good indeed; I opted for Angus Beef Skirt Steak with fries and peppercorn sauce. My steak was really delicious, cooked to perfection and full of flavour the best one I had had all week. For dessert DH had a bowl of fresh fruit in mojito syrup, with a circle of puff pastry and whipped cream. Again, he really enjoyed this and said it wasnt too sweet. The presentation of this dessert was really pretty, and he had loads of different fruits in his dish banana, pineapple, starfruit, dragon fruit, physalis (Chinese gooseberry), etc. I had the Sicilian Lemon Crme Brulee, with a raspberry fondant centre. The waiter set fire to my dessert at the table! I was a teeny bit horrified, but it clearly worked as the dessert was utterly superb very lemony and creamy, with a crispy, crunchy topping, and a very tart raspberry centre. Gorgeous!

    We left our dining vouchers and a tip for the waiter, and took a slow walk back to the Newport Bay resort. We had a good look around the resort store for the first time, but didnt buy anything from there, we just collected the t-shirt and hat that we had bought earlier, and made our way back to our room. A bit of TV and internet surfing, before lights out and we were asleep by 10.00 p.m.!

    Day 4 Thursday 16 March 2017
    Plan : Disney Studios
    Actual : We slept really well and got up reasonably early. I switched on the TV while DH was in the shower, and was a bit surprised to see a welcome message on the TV screen for another family! Eventually, we made our way down to Cape Cod to enjoy our usual breakfast of delicious scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and pastries. We had a chat about our final breakfast tomorrow, which was scheduled to take place in the Plaza Gardens Restaurant. We decided that as this would involve getting up a bit earlier, a long walk into the park before breakfast, and an offering of what would probably be just cold meats and pastries, we would much rather stay at Newport Bay for breakfast tomorrow. I said I would check with the concierge in Reception to see if this was possible.

    So once we had finished breakfast, DH went outside for a cigarette and I went upstairs to concierge. I had a short wait as there were a lot of people checking out and just generally milling around, but eventually I saw a very sweet Cast Member. I told her about the welcome message this morning on our TV and she said not to worry, sometimes the computer programme will run slightly ahead of itself and we were definitely booked in for one more night! Then I asked her about tomorrows breakfast, and she told me we could most certainly stay at Newport Bay for breakfast if we wished, so we were happy about that!

    We met up again and began to walk over to the Studios. Once again, the weather was hot and sunny, we were having so much good luck with the weather this week! When we got into the Studios, I sent DH off to the left to ride Rock & Roller Coaster, while I went to the right in order to pick up some FastPasses for Ratatouille. As I approached, I could see a huge queue, right back to the giant Buzz Lightyear figure at the entrance to Toy Story Land. I walked past it, thinking it must be a character meet & greet, (they have these here, sometimes), but it turned out to be the ride queue! I found a Cast Member to talk to, and she said that the ride was currently down and so were the FastPass machines, so I gave up and walked round to the Backlot area. After a couple of minutes, DH emerged from the ride, and we sat near the Blockbuster caf while he told he about the ride and I told him about Ratatouille. I sent him back for another ride on Rock & Roller Coaster, as there was only a 5 minute standby line. While I waited for him, I watched a giant queue form for the Lights, Moteurs, Action! show, in the most uncontrolled and inconsiderate manner. People formed a queue in a direct, straight line outwards from the show entrance, right across the walkways, and directly across the entrance to Rock & Roller Coaster, meaning people were struggling to enter the ride or walk around there. No Cast Members appeared to direct or move the queue at all, and it didnt clear until the LMA theatre opened and guests began streaming in. DH came out after his second ride and sat with me, and we agreed that there was a definite lack of Cast Members around both parks this year. Normally, you would see them around guiding queues, directing the flow of people, being there to answer questions or chat with guests, but there were none at all around that we saw. It was a bit worrying as there didnt appear to be anyone checking on the crowds of guests anywhere. Luckily though, Disney do seem to have improved the smoking situation a lot it was probably 70% better this year than previously. We saw lots of signs up about not smoking outside of the designated areas, and then very well signposted smoking areas, plus as I mentioned earlier lots of rubbish bins with ashtray lids. For the first time in years, we didnt once encounter anyone smoking in the ride queues, which was brilliant.

    Next we walked back to Ratatouille, and were delighted to find everything was up and running again. We picked up FastPasses for 1.45-2.15 p.m., and then headed over to Salon Mickey for our daily fix of coffee, cookies, illicit water for later, and orange juice. After a relaxing half hour, we went into the Disneyland park and the first thing we noticed was the extra dcor on the big, silver bandstand Tinker Bell had now been added to the top, and 25th Anniversary plaques were now studded around the top edge. It looked absolutely gorgeous, and if you stood by the Railroad Station and looked down Main Street, it framed the Castle perfectly.

    We walked round to Tomorrowland, being passed by the Frozen mini-parade on the way. We went into the store by Buzz, and picked up some socks for my daughter for her birthday, before riding Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast again. Surprise, surprise DH won again! Back to the Emporium where I got a 25th Anniversary snow globe, and DH bought me a cuddly Remy to match the cuddly Emile he bought me last year! (We arranged to have these sent back to the resort, but I was a bit concerned as the Cast Member just shoved the (unboxed) snow globe into the carrier bag without any kind of padding wrapped around it!)

    Back to the Studios we went, and to Ratatouille to ride with our FastPasses. Once again, the ride was just delightful so cute, I just love the bit where Emile is snatching bites from a cracker that Remy is holding, to the point where he almost eats Remys arm!

    And back into Disneyland Park again such a lot of walking today! We stopped at the Main Street Bakery for a coffee break at this point, and saw the Frozen mini-parade pass by for the second time today. Feeling somewhat rested, we then made our way over to Frontierland to see if we could get FastPasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for later, but sadly the machines were all covered over meaning there were none left for the day.

    We were feeling really tired by this point, it was a very hot day and the park was really crowded, but it was still a while away from our next dining reservation so we were struggling to find things to do next. We realised we hadnt visited the dragon under the castle yet, so we headed down there and spent a good 20 minutes in the cool and shady cave, watching as the dragon growled and snorted smoke out of his nostrils every few minutes.

    At around 3.30 p.m., we left the dragon and walked slowly down Main Street to Walts An American Restaurant. We were seated quite quickly, in a room at the back where we hadnt been before. The restaurant was really quiet, there was only one other family in our room and they left shortly after we got there. Our server was very nice, and explained how the dining plan worked here, which we were already aware of. We were directed to Walts Menu on the selection card, and unusually we both chose the same food we normally have different things so that we can taste several different meals, but the menu has changed quite a lot recently so choice was very limited, and we could only really find one set of dishes that we liked the look of. Our starter was smoked duck with pineapple coleslaw. This was tasty, but the duck was extremely rare and therefore quite tough to chew. Then we had chicken with Thanksgiving stuffing, sweet potato mash, and giblet gravy. The chicken was lovely, but the stuffing had too much onion in for me, and I realised that after really wanting to like it for many years, I dont actually like sweet potato mash very much! Dessert was apple cobbler with vanilla-bean ice-cream, and this was really delicious, although DH had to finish mine as I was too stuffed to eat much more than the ice-cream and a couple of mouthfuls of cobbler topping. We both had orange Fanta to drink. After we had finished, we had to pay 40 Euros extra, which was considerably more than I had been led to believe the meal would cost us. The food was really good, but the choices were now so limited and the cost so high that I think it will be a while before we go back to Walts again.

    We left the restaurant really stuffed, and waddled past everyone waiting for the next parade to start. We were really tired but trying to walk off some of the huge meal we had just eaten! We ended up at Colonel Haithas restaurant where we picked up coffee and (unwanted!) doughnuts with our Teatime Treat vouchers. We relaxed with our coffee, and discussed our next move, while stuffing the doughnuts into DHs bag for later. Eventually we had to concede that we had been beaten by the heat and the crowds today, plus all the criss-crossing of the parks this morning, so we decided to we were too tired to hang around for the fireworks tonight, and just took a slow stroll out of the park.

    When we got back to Newport Bay, we called into the hotel shop and collected the shopping we had bought earlier. As I had suspected would happen, the characters around my new snow globe were in several pieces! I drew the attention of the Cast Member to this, and she was very surprised that I hadnt been given a brand new, boxed up item in the shop originally, but had just been given one off the shelf. Anyway, she was very apologetic and picked a new snow globe out of a drawer, boxed up and protected by polystyrene inside the box. She opened it to check it was okay, which it was, and exchanged it for my broken globe.

    We relaxed in our room for a little while, I checked us in online for our flight the next day, and we were in bed asleep by 10.00 p.m. About half an hour later, I was slightly disturbed by the sound of fireworks this was odd, as the Disney Dreams fireworks had all gone off at 8.30 p.m. I went back to sleep, but at around 2.00 a.m. I got up for a bathroom visit, and could hear something that sounded like parade music. I listened to it for a few minutes, and given the direction it was coming from and the actual music and singing I could hear, decided it was definitely parade music, although it kept fading in and out on the wind. Despite this, we both slept really well for the rest of the night, and when we woke up and discussed what I had heard during the night, we came to the conclusion that I had probably heard rehearsals for the fireworks and the parade for the 25th Anniversary celebrations, which were due to begin in a couple of days.

    Day 5 Friday 17 March 2017
    Plan : Pack, DLP, fly home
    Actual : We woke up around 8.00 a.m. feeling refreshed and ready for the day! We decided to have breakfast before packing up, so went down to Cape Cod, really pleased we had made the decision to stay here this morning. Typically, as it was our last day, I finally found the pink grapefruit juice today grrr! Yesterday, Id seen someone having 2 pancakes sandwiched with Nutella spread, so I thought Id try this idea today it was yummy! We also had our usual bacon, eggs, etc.

    Eventually, we made ourselves go up to the room to face the dreaded packing, although this didnt really take long as we hadnt unpacked our clothes from the cases all week. We made sure we had everything, then thanked the room for a lovely stay and sadly went down to reception.

    Reception was utter chaos there were suitcases, bags, pushchairs and children everywhere! DH took our cases round to bell services for collection later, and I made my way to the reception desk to check out. In the end, it wasnt as bad as Id feared, but we were definitely glad to get out of that area!

    We walked round to Salon Mickey for one last visit for this trip, and had coffee and orange juice, saving our cookies for later. We felt a bit sad, as potentially this may have been our last ever visit there the Walt Disney Company had launched a takeover bid for the whole of Disneyland Paris Resort, and if successful, they intended to compulsorily purchase any shares not voluntarily sold to them, and delist the company from the stock market. If this happened, which seemed likely, we assumed the Shareholders Club would be disbanded and Salon Mickey would be closed. Therefore, we tried to enjoy the Salon as much as we could without dwelling on its potential future!

    When the Salon closed at midday, we left there and walked into the Disneyland Park, which was celebrating St Patricks Day with a vengeance! The park was decorated with Irish flags, and there were loads of guests all dressed up for the event, which was lovely to see.

    We walked round to Phantom Manor, which was showing a 15 minute wait time, and realised that our last few hours there were probably going to be spent queueing, as the park seemed really busy. We had already checked on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as we passed it, but the standby queue was 45 minutes and FastPass times were for after 18:00 hours, by which time we would have left the park. However, after our Happy Haunts trip on the Manor, we decided that we loved Big Thunder so much that we would be willing to wait for 45 minutes, as this would be our last ride this trip, so we did and it was so worth it!

    We then went to Indiana Jones so DH could have one final go on this, and luckily the wait time was only 15 minutes. I stood in my usual place so I could get some pictures of him riding the train. From there, we walked to Fantasyland and checked out the smaller, dark rides, but even Pinocchio had a 30 minute queue, so we rode Its a Small World instead, with a 10 minute wait.

    We only had about an hour and a half left before we had to leave, and I thought we had better get something to eat as once we set out for the airport, we wouldnt have much opportunity to stop for dinner. Therefore, we went into Bella Notte and I got us a 3-cheese pizza to share (25% off with my Shareholder Club card woohoo!), and also coffee and doughnuts with our last Teatime Treat vouchers.

    The pizza was surprisingly good, and afterwards we took a slow stroll back down Main Street to the Emporium, where I managed to pick up some of the lovely 25th Anniversary notepads Id seen earlier in the week but hadnt bought. I wanted one for myself and then a couple more for Christmas gifts.

    We knew we should leave now, but lingered for a little longer, sitting on a bench at the bottom of Main Street for about another 10 minutes and just enjoying a last few minutes in the park before we could tear ourselves away. When we could delay the inevitable no longer, we sadly left and walked back to Newport Bay to collect our luggage, and wait by the bus stop for the 17:05 coach back to the airport. By 17:20 we were still there and getting quite worried, I had built in lots of spare time before our flight but this was trickling away while we stood and waited. I went to find a Cast Member to ask about the whereabouts of our bus, and was told that the 17:05 bus had been full so it hadnt even called into Newport Bay, (we were the last stop for the coach before it drove to the airport), but that another bus had been ordered and was due at 17:30. Sure enough, just after I arrived back at DH and all our luggage, a bus swung into Newport Bay and luckily this one hadnt been anywhere else first, as by this time where was quite a queue at this stop. We stowed our luggage carefully, boarded the bus and managed to sit right at the front, and got to the airport with no delays, in plenty of time for our flight. We walked to our terminal, which was E2, checked in our luggage and cleared security (very short queue!), and then found our departure gate, L23. We had about an hour to relax and drink coffee before boarding, and the flight was on time, quick, and absolutely easy. Once again the plane was half empty, and we were very comfortable with no-one sitting around us!

    We landed at around 8.30 p.m., rang my sister, and she came to collect us. After saying hello to my parents, we set off for home and arrived back happy and exhausted around 11.00 p.m.!

    SUMMARY
    We had a really enjoyable week, although we were slightly surprised at how tired we felt all week. However, looking back on the amount of walking we did every day, with criss-crossing the parks and going back and forth to Salon Mickey almost every day, I can understand now how we ended up so shattered every night. We did sleep really well for the most part, apart from the odd couple of hours here and there when DHs cough kept us both awake. Subsequently, he came down with a horrible chest infection that warranted antibiotics in the end, but he recovered well once he had medication.

    We were really lucky with the weather, it was warm and sunny with the odd cloudy day, but we had no rain whatsoever. The evenings went a little chilly, but they werent too bad and we were usually back at the hotel before we got too cold.

    As I was writing this trip report, it has only just occurred to me that we missed the Disney Dreams fireworks entirely on this trip! I put it down to over-tiredness every day, and therefore not staying at the park until it closed.

    We LOVED the Newport Bay Resort, and it may have spoiled us for future visits it was just so light and airy compared to our usual hotel, Sequoia Lodge, and the breakfasts were amazing, although it remains to be seen what happens when breakfast becomes something extra to be paid for. We may just end up going back to the value resorts in order to save money.

    One minor disappointment was the PhotoPass package. Unlike in other Disney parks around the world, there didnt appear to be any PP photographers placed at strategic points, such as in front of the Castle, or near the Partners statue. This meant we ended up with a total of 14 PhotoPass pictures, most of which are DH in Rock & Roller Coaster! We got a few with Mickey, and a couple on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast. I think had we paid out of pocket for this, we would have felt a little cheated, as if we are going to pay for pictures, we like them to be mostly with characters. Anyway, as the whole thing had been free, we werent too disappointed.

    So the Walt Disney Companys bid to take over the EuroDisney company was eventually successful, they compulsorily bought out my shares, and delisted the company. However, the President of EuroDisney promised ex-shareholders that, as a thank you for our loyalty to the company, the Shareholders Club would continue for the next 10 years, with a new Club membership card being sent out to us once the deal was settled. As at the end of July 2017, reports are circulating on the internet that Cast Members at Disneyland Paris are refusing to accept Shareholder Club cards as they are saying the membership is no longer valid due to the takeover. We await further news ..

    Whats next on the horizon? An adventure on the high seas, thats what! Look out for my next trip report, as we set sail with Disney Cruise Line for the first time, stay onsite at Universal Studios for the first time, and stay at a new-to-us Walt Disney World Resort all coming in October 2017!

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the report.

    Silvercat

    (Enjoy reading trip reports? Why not try my books, "Tiggerific Travels Parts 1, 2 & 3" - available now as e-books)

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    Thank you for the trip report. It brought back a lot of memories from our trip last September, our only visit there. I loved the Ratatouille ride, even though it triggers some motion issues at times. I'm really glad that's going into WDW as that will be much closer to get to.

    I loved Chez Remy. I'd go there quite often if I had the chance. And while I like ratatouille, their's was amazing and so pretty and tasty.

    We stayed at the Sequoia, and I really enjoyed the serenity of that. There was a little stream right outside the entrance, and it amused me that they turned it off sometime in the evening.

    While we were there, a lot of things were closed for the refurb for the 25th anniversary, so no Big Thunder, no river for us at all. If we ever go back, I'm looking forward to experiencing those.

    I became a little too obsessed with Phantom Manor. I have a ton of pictures from a billion different angles. My only disappointment was that I could never really get a good look at the stretching portraits because we went on the ride while it was still light out, and our eyes weren't yet adjusted to the darker interior, and I'm realizing the portraits weren't really lit.

    Glad you had a good time!

    Within the valley of shadowless death; they pray for thunderclouds and rain
    But to the multitude who stand in the rain; heaven is where the sun shines.

    Dinner at Pez Cantina - March 4, 2017
    Sometimes, "be the better person" is code for "be a doormat".
    "Would it help?"

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