So my trip to DLRP is done, and so I thought it only right and proper to tell you all about it. This trip really was sponsored by the DisneyBrit Podcast. Go on click the link!
I’m going to break this report up into three sections, each representing a day of the trip, so this one is primarily about trains!
My day started at around 8am, and after some breakfast and a shower (not at the same time), I had time to play a little bit of Xbox. I hope you realise this is the sort of crucial detail I shall be including.
Louise dropped me off at Manchester Piccadilly train station, which was handy, as this was where I was due to catch my train to Euston. I picked up my tickets from one of those clever automated machines, without struggling in any way to figure out how it works, as I am dead technical and clever.
With twenty minutes to kill I wandered into WH Smiths to find some stuff to occupy me over the next endless hours on a train. I quite fancied the new Chris Evans book, and via his twitter, had found out that it was on special offer. It was that special that WH SMith had none left.
I therefore switched my attention to the fiction section, and chose a James Patterson novel. I’ve read quite a few of his, and they are decent page turning stuff, without making you think too much. This is a pre-requisite for holiday/travel reading.
So with that, a bottle of water, a newspaper, some paracetamol (just in case) and a pad and pen (for trip report notes) it was an astonishing £16.
Upon boarding the train, some bloke was sat in my reserved seat, but with lots of available ones around I just took another one. The fact that he was slumped across the table, and looked like he needed a good wash were other contributory factors. However, shortly afterwards I was asked if I would mind moving to let Keira (the grand-daughter of the woman asking me to move) to sit next to her. So I moved to the seat opposite, and settled in for the peaceful journey to Euston.
Alas no. Keira’s grandma is one of those so full of pride in her offspring’s offspring that she “performs” all the way to Euston. You know the sort of thing. Everything the child says is repeated, but louder, and with a chuckle in the voice, and a look around to see who is watching.
So the whole carriage “enjoyed” Keira and her grandma looking through her Disney Princess magazine for two hours. What do you mean I sound like a grumpy old git? And???
So I tried my best to read my paper, and then my book, but couldn’t really concentrate over the noise of grandma reading stories out loud.
About an hour in thankfully she fell asleep….Keira, not the grandma, so I made the most of it and played some games on my phone. This was OK as the train had a source of power for it. As you will learn my phone has a battery life shorter than one half of the Krankies.
The train arrived at Euston exactly on time, and I decided to walk to St Pancras rather than catch the tube, as my google map showed me it was just down the road. It took about ten minutes, and I went to more of those automated ticket machine things to print off my tickets for the Eurostar. After a few minutes of entering stuff with no joy (a familiar tale) I started to wonder if I had the right reference numbers etc, so I called home, and asked Emily to take a look on my laptop.
I was in no way a bit short and panic-stricken, and after realising I did have the right numbers, I put the phone down and went in search of a human being to ask. There were none. So I wandered deeper into the station and came across an Information desk. I joined the queue, and whilst waiting, glanced up at the sign above the Information desk. The one that said Kings Cross Station Information.
Realising I was sort of in entirely the wrong train station, I made a quick exit and went next door to St Pancras. Seriously, who the hell had the bright idea of building two stations next door to each other!!
Once in the right place I was now close to missing the train, and after quickly printing my tickets, I heard the last call being made, and I hurried through to check in. It entailed all the pre trip rituals of a flight, such as ticket check, passport control and security checks. I had somehow not imagined all this would not be necessary! At security, I did some bleeping, and this resulted in some big bald bloke wanding me. There is a first time for everything, and it didn’t hurt at all!!
I arrived on the platform, and luckily the train was still there. I checked with the member of staff on the platform that I was in the right place, and I indeed I was. I also asked him where my carriage was. He says the one right in front of me…..is number 2 and I am in 18, so I’d better start jogging!! With a sweat on, I clambered aboard carriage 18 and found my seat just as the train pulled away.
I was sat next to a French lady (what are the chances?), and had to disturb her to sit down, and then again moments later to get at my bag again to rescue my book, and my lunch. Having had no time to procure anything close to lunch, I had to rely on the emergency Sports Mixture, packed for me by Louise. At this point they were literally a life saver, and I polished them off quickly as I got into my book.
Shortly after boarding, as usual I discovered that I was sat near to a screaming child, and this one was going for it big time. To me, it sounded like a tired cry, and my mind raced back to the days of my girls being this age, and at this point I would have been stood up, rocking and gently patting her on the bum to get her to sleep. I offered this to the young mum, but she didn’t want me to pat her bum at all.
Honestly, a screaming child does not usually bother me at all (apart from in restaurants, when the parents don’t take them outside if they won’t stop crying). We have all been there at some point, and as a parent I have developed the ability to block out child noises!! However, a couple sat just in front of me were having none of it.
One of them stood up and announced to the whole carriage that he was not sitting next to THAT all the way, and was off to find another seat. He demanded his boyfriend followed him, and off they flounced out in a flurry of designer clothes, stubble and false tan.
Very quickly we were under water, and then out again, and I took it from the emergence from the tunnel, that we were now in France.
We arrived in Lille bang on time, and I had about half an hour to wait for the train to DLRP. I wandered about for a bit wishing I’d taken French and not German at school, as it may have helped me read a couple of signs. In the end I asked at the Information booth, and was relieved to at least be in the correct station this time. It turns out I needed the Perpignan train and it was due to leave in ten minutes.
I watched the board for the platform to be announced, and soon enough I am aboard. Despite a couple of announcements on the train about its destination, I was none the wiser. By the time they did the same announcements in English the train was already moving, I couldn’t make out what he said anyway, so I just crossed my fingers that I was on the right train, or I would be doing an impromptu tour of France.
Thankfully, I was on the right train, and at around 6.15, the train arrived at Marne la Vallee-Chessy. It is a good job I had looked this up beforehand, as you might expect the Disneyland train station to be bedecked with all sorts of Disney stuff, and have characters parading up and down the platform. It doesn’t, and it is only as you ride the escalator up to ground level that the hordes of folk in Disney hats assure you that you have indeed arrived.
Adam had let me know he had been delayed, and this meant I had even longer to wait until he turned up. So first of all I went for a wander around Disney Village. It was very un-Disney like to be honest. The music was generic pop stuff, and it felt really just like a shopping precinct, which happened to have a few Disney shops in it.
It was nice, don’t get me wrong, just not at all like Downtown Disney. This is a theme I need to avoid, as it is unfair to compare the two locations, as I really don’t think Paris is trying to be Orlando.
After a quick browse around the shops, I nipped into McDonalds and had Le Big Mac et Pomme frites. I found a table for one and tucked in. A French child approached me, asking (in perfect English) if she could have the prize sticker thing off of my drink. I agreed, realising that if she actually won anything, the resultant wrestling match would be quite embarrassing, and not at all conducive to Anglo-French relations.
At this point I decided to head for the hotel, and settle in for the wait.
The train station really is right next to the Disney Village, and in turn the buses to the hotels are there too. The bus was waiting there as I arrived and I jumped on as it set off on the loop of non Disney hotels. Adam had let me know by text that we were staying at the Dream Castle, rather than the Magic Circus as first thought, so I got off at the right stop and wandered in.
The hotel is themed in a medieval style, and is decorated for Halloween as you might expect. I couldn’t check in until Adam got there, frankly as he was paying, so I made my way to the bar, bought a Stella (and the glass for that price I presume) and settled in with my book in a corner. The corner position was required, as I happened to have found a power supply behind a curtain, which means I could plug my phone in again! It had run all by itself for about two hours and so was now quite tired!!
So after lots of reading, I made my way to reception, and sat there for a while. I got updates from Adam about his hellish journey. His delayed plane meant that he had missed his train, and was now having to use the Metro (is that what it is called? I am so metropolitan, pardon the pun), and he expected to arrive sometime on Tuesday!
After a while I went back to the bar, had another beer, and a sandwich (I always eat when bored), and finished my book! It was now coming up to midnight, and I was so tired that I was tempted to go to reception and see if they had a spare room and just book it myself.
Anyway, being tight, means that I sat and waited instead, and finally Adam arrived around 12.45am. I shook his hand, bleary eyed, and we quickly checked in and went up to the room. I can honestly say I have never gone to bed with anyone so quickly after first meeting them!
We had a quick chat for half an hour or so and then realised it was bloody late, and we went to sleep.
Tomorrow, (and the next blog) some actual stuff that may be interesting, rather than trains and waiting.
Till the next time…..