Travel dates: 4 to 9 Oct 2007
Travel method: Eurostar and high speed rail from London
Resort: Sequoia Lodge
Ages Represented in Group: 4 to 37
Disney Experience Represented in Group: All of us have been to WDW several times and two of us are ex-cast members!
Comments: It was magical mainly due to the fantastic weather and our relaxed attitude to the vacation
Cast of characters:
Claudia - mom and biggest Disney fan in the family, ex-CM in WDW but now works in more mundane jobs
David - dad and not quite such a big Disney fan BUT he is also an ex-CM. His current job is even more boring than mine.
Samuel - toddler, son and all-around cutie. Has great knowledge of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy but that's about it. He's never even heard of Nemo, Sully, Buzz or any of their friends.
Disneyland Paris trains, taxis and tapis volants Day 1 (Thursday)
It had been a long time since my husband and I went to DLRP and our son had never been so we made the most of the offers at the moment and booked our trip a few months ago. Finally the day came when we could start our adventure and we were all excited!
We couldnt get tickets on the direct Eurostar to DLRP so we had booked a later train with a connection in Lille. We decided to take the train from Milton Keynes to London, cross the city in a taxi instead of the underground (easier with luggage) and then arrive in time for our check-in at Waterloo. It all worked quite well as we were away from the morning rush hour and after a great taxi ride through London, we made it to the terminal.
Check in was very easy and before we knew it we were boarding a very quiet train to Lille. Our little boy nearly four really, really enjoyed the train journey and didnt mind the tunnel one bit as that meant that we could go faster! We had a quick connection in Lille and when our TGV arrived we were thrilled to note that we had seats on the upper floor of a double-decker train. Our little boy couldnt have been happier and was almost sorry when we got to DLRP and had to leave the train.
We arrived at the resort and were initially confused as to which way to go: we knew where the hotel was but somehow we got a bit disorientated as we hadnt been there in such a long time. But we made our way to the Sequoia Lodge pretty quickly and after a very efficient check-in, we were in our room, grabbed our stuff and ran out to enjoy Disneyland Park before it closed in an hour. We got on a few rides and then went to the castle to watch Candleabration which was actually a big disappointment. It was a pretty cute song and dance show with Disney characters but the big finale was actually rather dull. Nevertheless, we headed out of the park and looked for somewhere to eat.
We settled on the fixed price menu at Billy Bobs saloon and after a bit of a rush to try and find a table, we ordered our dinner and got it very quickly. We both had baked potatoes with chilli and the portions were generous. We finished our dinner and headed back to our hotel for a very welcome rest. It had been a long day but at last we were on holiday!
Disneyland Paris trains, taxis and tapis volants Day 2 (Friday)
We awoke very, very early as we had breakfast booked at 7.45 (plus we are travelling with a toddler that likes to wake up at the crack of dawn) and after getting ready we went down for our breakfast. It wasnt too busy but we could see that it got busier and busier as it got later. We had our fill and headed out to play in the parks.
We walked to the Studios, taking in the beautiful surroundings: the weather was foggy and a bit cold but with a promise of a clearer day later. It did clear up, but before it did it was actually colder than we expected and were glad when the sun finally came out. The trees all looked so lovely with their russet leaves against the foggy skies.
We got to the Studios but as it wouldnt open for an hour decided to spend it in Disneyland instead. We got on a few rides (including Pirates) and finally left for the Studios shortly after they opened. We actually had never been to this park as it was a big hole in the ground last time we visited so it was all new to us. We noticed that it wasnt huge and didnt have that many rides so we decided to make sure we saw all the shows and parades. We managed all of this quite easily because even though the park was busy it didnt seem THAT busy. The one exception seemed to be the Crush coaster that constantly had waits of 60 minutes plus and we just didnt want to wait that long.
Lunch was at the Backlot Express and that was pretty good. After lunchtime we continued our visit to the park and quickly ran out of things to see as wed done them all! We somehow managed to see all 5 presentations of the High School Musical show, but without planning it. It was a good show and our son enjoyed it, though.
His favourite ride was definitely the Flying Carpets (Tapis Volants). We did it over and over as it had a very short queue and every time he wanted to go higher and higher. When we finally managed to convince him to leave we went back to our hotel. I went for a run while the boys went for a swim and, fully refreshed, we went out in search of dinner. We decided on burgers and fries at Annettes and although we had to wait a little while we enjoyed our dinner. Service, on the other hand, was just about good enough but could definitely do much, much better.
Another day ends and after our great walk back to the hotel, we finally got in bed for some well-earned rest.
Disneyland Paris trains, taxis and tapis volants Day 3 (Saturday)
We knew Saturday would be crazy busy so we made arrangements to have breakfast in Fantasyland. It worked out very well, better than we thought, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that the choice was basically the same as it would have been back at the hotel. This of course also got us in the park early and we started our explorations.
We also noticed that the park was celebrating the first day of the Halloween celebrations and the decorations everywhere were quite amazing! We spent a good while taking it all in before heading off to Phantom Manor and the start of a busy, busy day.
We took a very calm approach and knew that we just wouldnt manage to do it all so if any ride had a wait that was too long we just didnt bother. We also spent a long time in Adventure Isle playing on the slides and climbing frames while enjoying the gorgeous sunshine and clear blue skies. The weather was certainly much, much better than expected!
We caught a few Halloween shows, did lots of rides and enjoyed being together. We were disappointed to learn that The Legend of the Lion King wasnt being performed which was a real shame as that is SUCH an amazing show but we did manage to get fantastic seats to watch the parade. This parade has got to be one of the best quality parades Ive ever seen at Disney (Florida, USA or Japan) and I took tons of photos. Even the music was magical.
Speaking of music, my one shock was the special song that was being played because of Halloween. It is some awful song called Happy Halloween or something like that and it GRATED. It is probably the single most awful song ever produced by Disney for anything and it sounds like some awful parody of a song. I am a huge fan of Disney music, especially park music and Ive never heard anything so irritating. The single was available for sale and as I collect park music I debated whether I wanted to add this hideous piece of music to my collection and decided it wasnt worth the 5 euros. I never want to hear that song again!
After spending hours in the parks the boys decided to head off early to go swimming and I stayed behind for another hour, doing a bit of shopping (only a bit as it was crazy busy) and taking photos of the park at dusk. We then met back at the hotel and went to dinner at the Santa Fe Tex-Mex buffet. The food here was pretty good and the price not too bad so we enjoyed our dinner. We also had some entertainment for the children in the form of yet another High School Musical pep rally which the children really seemed to enjoy!
The park was incredibly busy and it meant that there were queues everywhere. It didnt really spoil our time because we didnt expect to get on everything but the crowding does take some of the pleasure away. All in all we did well and I couldnt wait to get back in bed for some welcome rest.
Disneyland Paris trains, taxis and tapis volants Day 4 (Sunday)
Sunday was always a day that we werent sure what we would do. We did talk about heading to Paris but quickly decided that with the stroller it probably wasnt such a pleasant adventure. Besides, we have travelled to Paris before and we just couldnt think of what to actually DO once we got there so decided instead to spend the day in the resort.
I headed out shortly after breakfast to do a 2 hour run while the boys went to the parks and we arranged a time and place to meet. It all worked well and after my run (which was great and actually quite reviving, even though Id walked and walked for days) I caught up with the boys in Disneyland. Apparently theyd just been on the flying carpets YET AGAIN and my little boy had just as much fun as before. We had lunch in the park and spent the rest of the day wondering around, getting on rides occasionally and just generally soaking up the atmosphere. The weather again was gorgeous with a bright blue sky and bright sunshine so we took lots of good photos.
We decided to leave the park relatively early so that we could beat the rush for dinner and went back to Annettes as we liked it so much. Dinner yet again was good but with service that could do with some improvement. After eating we actually then spent some time in the Village watching the entertainment and checking out the shops before walking back to our hotel. Once there we went to the bar for some drinks (and a welcome seat next to the fire as it was chilly once the sun set) and then off to bed.
Disneyland Paris trains, taxis and tapis volants Day 5 (Monday)
Our last day. After breakfast (which was pretty chaotic actually but by then wed got used to the crowds and the bedlam) we checked out of our hotel and left our bags so that we could go out and play before our train at 3pm.
As our son had enjoyed the Tapis volants so much we decided to head off to the studios and we must have done this about 5 times! We also managed to get onto the Crush coaster with little queuing thanks to a secret scam by then we felt that wed pretty much done the parks but as we had time to kill we mainly walked around and caught shows or rides that looked quiet. We then had lunch and all too quickly the time came to get back to our hotel, grab our bags and head to the train station.
Yet again we didnt have a direct train so we got on our TGV back to Lille (no double-decker this time, much to our sons disappointment) and then the Eurostar to London. Before we knew it we were back in England and catching another taxi back to Euston. Our son was in very good spirits and really enjoyed this taxi ride he even thanked the driver as he got off! Pretty soon we were on a train back home and our adventure was finished.
We had a great time and did everything we wanted to but there would have been no chance to do it all had we wanted to. The size of the crowds meant that the queues were just far too long and in some ways, there isnt enough to do in the parks after a while. The Studios in particular could do with some new attractions (Hollywood Tower is due to be completed in Jan 08 and will add a welcome ride) and even some more places to eat as it feels like its a very small park. But we really did enjoy it and the weather played a big part as it was beautiful most of the time.
Our one big regret is that we didnt book the half-board option before we went as we didnt know if it was worth it but it turns out it is. Now we know for next time!