Studio Here We Go!

Despite a very tiring day on Saturday, we embraced the theme park commando ethos, and Adam made a point of setting his iPhone alarm for 8.00am.  However, with the whole clocks going back thing, this all went wrong, as Adam manually adjusted his phone before going to sleep, only to find the iPhone then adjusted itself during the night.

All this confusion meant that when his alarm went off it was actually 9am, and not 8am.  As welcome as the extra hour of sleep was, this now meant that all our plans of getting to the Studios early lay in tatters amongst our twisted duvets and dirty clothes.

However, we did not do anything stupid, like miss breakfast.  After quickly showering, dressing and packing, we made our way down to the restaurant to find a fairly long queue to get in.  This was a worrying sign for the day ahead.  We were soon shown to a table, and unleashed on the crepery etc once again.

After checking out, we joined the cast of Ghandi outside the hotel, who were all waiting for the next bus to the parks.  As it arrived, Adam trampled several small children and got on, but alas, I was trapped behind people who were quite frankly bigger than me, so I could not get past them.  No matter, the next bus was only five minutes away, and I met Adam at the train station, after he had checked that France actually had trains running today.  Luckily, today was one of those special non strike days in France.

Once again, the scrum to enter the park was large and unorganised, and we had to do it twice, once to get into the Disneyland park, and check our luggage in Guest Services so we didn’t have to cart it round all day, and then again to get into the Studios next door, as the latter has no facility to hold your luggage.  When checking in my bag I put my receipt in my back Jeans pocket, along with my mobile phone (which now has a full charge!).  That might be important later!


RC Racer
Don't get RC with me!

Adam was keen to try to ride the RC Racer ride first, as it was new.  Having not arrived at the park at first opening our fears for the queue situation were large and valid, as the posted time was 75 minutes.  As it was only likely to get worse, we decided to give it a whirl, and were then delighted to spot a single rider line.  We clambered through and over a couple of barriers to get to it, and waited around 15 minutes for me to get on first, shortly followed by Adam a few minutes after.

I took a video of Adam’s go, which is both the wrong way around, and the reason I then had minimal battery for the rest of the day again!

The ride itself was another one of those that looked less intense than it turned out to be.  I wouldn’t say I would wait 75 minutes for the two minute experience, but it was good fun, and worth the 15 minutes we waited.

Adam was not keen to ride Tower of Terror, and wanted to take some photos of the new Toy Story area, so I toddled off, VIP Fastpass in hand, to ride it solo.  I couldn’t spot the Fastpass entrance initially, as it had a queue all of its own.  I was shocked to realise that this queue was (mainly) French folk, waiting to speak to the CM, and see if they could get in now with a 2.30pm entry time!!  I floated gracefully to the front, with my timeless, uber Fastpass, and endured the hatred as I was allowed into the hallowed halls.  Once inside, I used local knowledge (from Orlando!) to stand at the right place in the library, allowing me to leave first and get to the loading area.

The ride itself is a good one.  There is no forward moving section as there is in Orlando, but the droppy stuff is just as good.

After meeting up with Adam in the gift shop, we made our way over to the Rock n Rollercoaster.  Another 75 minute wait is thankfully avoided with the magic pass, and again, a ride similar  to Orlando, yet different.  It was very good indeed, and brought out similar shrieks and screams all the way round.

Frank Father of the Bride
Hello Mr Bonks!

Next, was one of my favourite attractions of the weekend, Cinemagique.  This to me is a great example of what Disney does best.  I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone yet to experience it, but it is a live action and film show, brilliantly executed, and thoroughly entertaining.  As an added bonus for me it stars Martin Short, who I love in O Canada, and no matter how many times I see them, makes me howl with laughter, as Franque in the Father of the Bride films.

I did some extensive gift shopping in the area where last night Cast Members were “attacking” guests in a ghoulish manner.  Today was business as usual really, and in a typical Dad type shopping session, we are were quickly in and out of the shop area, equipped with two suitable presents for the girls.  Job done!

Having largely done the park now, in addition to what we covered last night, we headed for the exit, and across to the other park.  You may have noticed a complete absence of food since breakfast, so we remedied this at this stage with a welcome Hot Dog at Caseys.

Suitably refueled, it was time to do battle on Buzz Lightyear.  Being honest, my expectations of victory were low, bearing in mind Adam was a veteran of 35 previous visits.  We got through the first battle, which was the usual congregation of confused French folk around the Fastpass entrance, trying to negotiate with the CM, that it really was time for them to go in.

With a wave of our “golden ticket” we were in, but still had a 10 minute queue or so before loading.  As expected Adam wins easily, however he was very gutted that we both achieved the same level (Level 4) even though our scores were miles apart.  I counted that as a creditable draw, and quickly moved on.

Star Tours was next, and this was almost identical to the one I am used to, apart from, of course, the fact that the pilot does the whole thing in French.  No matter.  Having ridden it countless times I knew the script anyway.

Dragon's Den

Next, we wandered to the castle.  It was very pleasing to see that they have actually used it for something more useful than just a restaurant, and a place for Tinkerbell to jump off.  There are shops of course, in which Adam bought a Christmas bauble, but they also have an area you can wander around, and do some sort of walking tour, plus in the basement, an impressive dragon in its lair.

After watching a few minutes of the show currently in progress in front of the castle, it was time to make our way out, and head for the train station.  Upon collecting our bags, I discovered that my receipt must have fallen from my pocket upon me taking out my phone to see how little battery I had left somewhere in the park.  Luckily, with some ID and a description of my bag, it didn’t pose a problem.

At the train station, Adam discovered that his original train was delayed by an hour, which would have meant he missed his flight, so after a quick review of the time-table he realised he had to take the train leaving, sort of nowish.

So a rushed thank you (from me) and good-bye, and he was off to his train.  This left me with nearly two hours to kill until my train, so I set off for a wander around Disney Village.  Having my bag with me, I was wanded at the entrance.  Beggars can’t be choosers!!  A touch more shopping happened, in which I picked up a present for Louise, and then had a general mooch.

Disaster was narrowly averted, when in a crowded shop, I turned around only to hear the bag on my back bash into a load of Disney mugs hung up in the aisle.  I closed my eyes, and prayed that no further sounds followed, which would signal the smashing of the mugs, and either a quick getaway or a painful use of the credit card.  Luckily, nothing fell to earth, and I quickly moved on.

Having exhausted my interest in retail, I went back across to the train station, bought a drink and sat outside people watching for quite a while.  I then wandered around the station, and frustratingly discovered a source of power for my phone in the waiting room, about ten minutes before I was due to board!!   A quick injection of juice, a tweet bemoaning the shocking battery performance of my phone, and it was time to go to the platform.

I won’t bore you with the details of the train journeys home, as everything was on time, and pretty uneventful.  I will comment on the delightful food I endured on the Eurostar leg, which was basically a microwaved pitta bread with a slice of dairylea and wafer thin ham.  It only cost me around £7, with a soft drink!

The walk from St Pancras to Euston was brisk, as the time between trains was short, but I made it quite easily, and took my seat in First Class (this is very cheap at 8.30pm on a Sunday night!!), and settled in for the last leg.

Louise picked me up just after 11pm, and I was more than happy to find my own bed about half an hour later.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the weekend, and would once again like to thank Adam, Juz and Craig (the DisneyBrit Podcast folk) for their generous prize, and of course to Adam for looking after me all weekend.

Having never really fancied or planned a trip to Disneyland Paris, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience.  Once inside the parks, they are of the same quality of the Orlando parks, and indeed some parts are better!  For me, my obsession is not just with the Disney parks, but now I realise it is with the whole Florida experience.  The whole place feels like a theme park!!  In Paris, I felt that once outside the gates, the “magic” did not pervade.  I’m not saying anyone was rude, or we had bad service by any means.  It is an intangible thing, that you just feel.

The one thing that did strike me was that unless you are careful, a weekend at DLRP, with the family could get very expensive very quickly.  With flights (or trains), hotel, park tickets, food etc you could easily be into a couple of grand.  I’m sure you can do it for less of course, with knowledge and experience, just like Florida, but I’m not sure I would want to invest that sort of cash into such a short break.

If money was not an issue I would gladly return, with the family, and have a really good time I’m sure.

Thanks for reading these unusual blog posts, and with these travel journals providing a break from sheds, garages, work and general Meldrew style moaning, normal service shall be resumed next time around.

Till the next time…..

Vive Le Fastpass!

Adam’s alarm woke us around 7am, so we had a plentiful five or six hours sleep, which was splendid.

Brown sticky's crepe!

We showered (separately), and made our way to the restaurant for breakfast.  Things were pretty quiet at this time of day, and we had  “kids in a sweetie shop” expressions as we cast our eyes over the pretty impressive array of wares on offer.  A little cereal got us warmed up nicely, as we then progressed to the cooked items, which included, quite weirdly we thought, chicken sausages, and finally we have a really big crepe.  That’s French for pancakes.

First on the agenda this morning was an interview with the manager of the hotel we were staying in (and the one next door) for the podcast.  We loitered in reception until she turned up, and Adam had his microphone out and everything.  She’s all polite of course, but it turned out she did not want to do an interview….at all.  Not to worry, we accepted her offer of a tour around both hotels anyway.

Halfway through this I had a horrible sinking feeling that I had left my phone in the restaurant after breakfast and I was ever so slightly distracted for the latter part of the tour, being keen to get back there and find it.

Once we were done we quickly dashed back, but with no joy.  I then realised that I was indeed an idiot, as I must have taken it back the room after breakfast, as I had taken a photo of the view from our window.

Still, I was still ever so relieved to see the little beast, charging next to my bed.  This is a situation my darling phone would find itself in for much of the next few days.


View from our room
Our room with a view

Senior moment over, we got ourselves ready for the day ahead, and headed for the parks.  The bus service to the park was (as it was all weekend) pretty good, and we were soon on our way.  Upon arrival at the main entrance, the weather was the worst we would see all weekend, with a light drizzle.  However, the weather was nowhere near as grim as the queue to get in.  A huge crowd was congregated, slowly inching its way to the bag check.  It turned out that we were through it in a  few minutes so it was not as bad as it looked.

Crowd at main gate
A crowded entrance

At this point we needed to convert Adam’s magic letter to actual park tickets, so we joined the horrific looking queue at the Guest Services windows.  There were only three of them, which would have been OK if they were just used for queries etc, but they were also being used for normal sales, despite there being about three hundred other sales windows ten yards away.

I would say we waited here for about an hour, with the star of the show being an Italian chap who occupied one of the windows for at least forty minutes all by himself.  I obviously could not understand what he was discussing as I understand neither French or Italian, but I did feel quite a bit like punching him in the back of the head.

Finally after sorting our tickets, Adam suggested we go into Mickey’s Salon.  Having no real idea what this is I of course agree.  It turned out to be a special place for shareholders.  It is a beautifully decorated room, with free hot and cold drinks, and the odd croissant, so it would have been rude not to partake.  Anyway, with all this waiting around, it was hours since we had last eaten anyway.


Salon 1


Salon 2
and on....


Salon 3
and on and on.

For me, it was at this point that things started to feel a lot like Disney, probably for the first time.  Ironically, this experience is not available in Orlando for shareholders, for long complex reasons that I will not trouble you with here.  So, like a 70’s disco, we were full of hot chocolate, and on our way to do some fun.

Ah not quite yet.  One more stop at City Hall so Adam could pick up our essential VIP fastpasses.  Looking at the hordes of folk around me as I waited, it was worth this wait, to avoid much more later on.

A pink castle

Now, whether this was Paris or Orlando, nobody was going to stop me taking the traditional first view of the castle photo.  OK, so now it was definitely time for some fun type stuff, and we decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain first.  Adam flashed the fastpass and we avoided the hour of queuing lesser mortals had to face.  The ride itself was, like a lot of this place, strangely familiar yet different.  The first thing I did realise was that if you come to Paris in the seriously cold months, then a couple of rides like this would see you picking ice out of your eyelashes.  The wind chill factor took the temperature down a lot, so a balaclava would be essential kit in February!

We then wandered across to the Indiana Jones ride, and again from the special fastpass line, we boarded very quickly.  I was mildly surprised to see that this ride went upside down, but coped manfully, and my warnings to Adam about my world-renowned coaster Tourette’s, were largely redundant.

There were some rides that didn’t have fastpass.  After lodging my formal and official complaint about this we queued for Pirates for about thirty minutes.  This seemed to pass fairly quickly, as it was constantly moving and we were chatting away about….well, Disney stuff.  As the French might say, quelle surprise.

I remembered thinking that this version of the ride was probably actually a little better to the Orlando version.  It felt longer (not that this is a guarantee of satisfaction of course!), and somehow more logical in the story line, although much of the ride is pretty much identical to its US cousin in many respects.

We then found ourselves in Fantasyland, and knowing that most rides here were aimed below our demographic, I still decided to queue for half an hour for the Pinocchio ride.  Well, there is no point coming all this way and missing stuff out!


Two grown men waited 30 minutes to ride this!

Likewise Peter Pan saw two odd-looking (not old-looking in any way) blokes waiting amongst hundreds of kids, but hey I enjoyed it, and again felt this version slightly superior to the Orlando one.  We walked across to Frontierland now.  On this note, it was very odd for me not to have a clue where I was going, and not to have any sense of my position in the park.  We long since stopped needing park maps in Orlando, so it was a little strange to be following Adam around all day.  I think he knew where we were, based on his 35 previous trips!!

It was lunchtime now, actually around 2.30pm, and the eatery of choice was the Cowboy Cookout.  We joined the line, and waited to order, and witnessed, in the adjacent queue the greatest contribution to Anglo-French relations since Sasha Distel.  An English chap approached the French cast member on the till and started to order.  However, he was of course using his best slow and loud English so that Johnny Foreigner could pick things up.  However, being a part of the modern Europe he must have felt compelled to make some sort of effort to speak the lingo, and so we heard….

“Bonjour, could I have one diet coke and…..erm….deux….erm…..normal cokes”.

Genius.  Sir I salute you.

The cast member, who no doubt speaks at least three languages, just carried on as if he heard this stuff all day everyday, and he probably does!

Our double cheeseburgers were huge, and tasty….and huge.

On our way over to Phantom Manor we passed Jack and Sally, and I don’t mean the characters from Coronation Street.  The make up for Sally was excellent, and if I put some weight on, Jack’s suit might fit me nicely!

Jack and Sally
Jack isn't a character I am built to play....

Again, Phantom Manor was a no fastpass ride, so we settled in for a long wait.  I think it was posted as a 75 minute wait, but it either wasn’t, or my memory has fooled me into thinking otherwise.  Now, doom buggies aside, this ride is pretty different, and the house itself, to me, reminded me of the Bates Motel.  You start with a stretching room type thing, but beyond that there are few similarities between the US and French versions.  Both are very good, and both often stop mid ride a lot!

At this point we headed over to Space Mountain, which from the outside looks a very similar animal to the one I am used to.  Adam warned me however that not much else was common between the two.  After a restroom stop in Videopolis, which seems to be a vast auditorium built for a now dead attraction, currently being used to show old cartoons, and somewhere to eat your lunch, we took the fastpass back entrance, and still queued a fair bit.  A sign of how busy the parks were today.

Space Mountain
A mountain of space

Once at the point of boarding, it quickly became very clear that this is a VERY different ride.  The fact that we got into a Rock and Rollercoaster style carriage with full on pull down restraints gave me a big clue that I had better take my glasses off for this one!

It was a wise move.  It started like the Hulk, and I spent the next few minutes teaching the French some English swear words!  A great ride though.

At this point, it was coming to the time that Adam had arranged to meet up with some of the cast from the Buffalo Bill show, for interviews for the Podcast, so we made our way out of the park.

Back at the Village, we waited a while outside the show, having a welcome sit down, and eventually Buffalo Bill (Trent) and Annie Oakley (Lesley) came out to see us.  After brief intros and chatting, Adam whipped his microphone out, and launched into his interview, and I just loitered a bit trying not to get in the way.

They were both very lovely, and treated us both to a back stage tour of the arena.  We shook hands with most of the cast, walked behind too many horses for my liking, and had a look at the buffalo too.  They are pretty big!

Complete with our cowboy hats and tickets for the show we made our way front of house to mingle with the muggles now entering, and we watched the pre show in the lobby before going up to our seats in the arena.

At this point, we say goodbye to my phone (and therefore camera) for most of the rest of the weekend.

The food and drink were brought out almost immediately, and we take on board some welcome beer, and some pretty nice Chilli. I also had some (if not all) of the corn bread on offer!  The rest of the savoury food wasn’t the greatest, but I guess this is to be expected at an event of this scale.  The crumble to finish was nice though and we both made short work of that.

The show itself is based on the central sand arena, with lots of horse trickery, a section of songs including a few Disney characters, and it ends with a set of rodeo games that pit four different sections of the audience against each other, as we each cheered on our respective players.  Good fun!

We left the show and headed for the bus.  We were quickly back at the hotel, and in the room preparing for the Terrorific Night 2 at the Studios.  This involved the addition of a few more layers of clothes, for me, a thicker warmer hoodie, an attractive hat, and gloves.  Being two males this took us a matter of minutes, and we were back on the bus at 8.50.

Once at the studio gates we had the same organised chaos to get in.  Having no bags, surely we could have simply walked through the no bag entrance?  Alas, there wasn’t one, so we jostled with everyone else for about ten minutes.  As we did get in, I was asked by a burly, surly security guard to open my coat, as with my 23 layers of clothes it looked like I was smuggling in a small child.  I chuckled, and told him that I was simply fat, not a terrorist.  My humour did not translate and I narrowly avoided Le Glove Rubber.

All around the park, the atmosphere was superb.  Obviously at this point I had not seen the park in normal circumstances, so I could not judge how much work had gone into transforming it.  Well, after seeing it the next day, my verdict was, quite a lot!  Cast Members wandered the park, mingling with/attacking the guests, in some fantastic costumes.  As the posters said, this was definitely an event for those over twelve years old.  We saw one Dad rushing for the exit, carrying his young daughter who was quite distraught.  Adam did a video of some of the night’s events.

Ride wise, we headed for Crush’s Coaster first.  A ride unique to Paris, but also with a huge queue.  This took around forty minutes, but the ride itself was very good indeed.  Again, Adam told me it was very different to normal operations and I had to take his word for it.  Anyway, it was a belter!  Many of the attendees tonight had dressed up in Halloween costumes, and indeed I had come as a grumpy, overweight, balding UK Dad.  Scary enough I think.

Next we decided upon the backstage tram tour, which for tonight had been rebranded as the Terror Tram (or something like that).  As queues went, this was the Daddy of them all.  It took an age, and towards the end we were both tired, cold and in danger of losing the magic a little.  Finally we got onto our tram and set off.  It all began quite normally, but soon enough the usual pre-recorded patter on the video screens “broke down”, and we had just white noise as we entered Catastrophe Canyon.  This was pretty much unchanged, but upon leaving that we came upon a scene from (Adam told me) Dinotopia.  If you have watched the video by now you will know that a scene was played out here with a large devil type bloke and his minions.

As they stole the young girl from the carriage it did take a few moments to realise the boyfriend was in on it.  His subsequent “performance” as he himself then turned into a zombie was truly impressive, and he absolutely frightened to death the young girls sat behind Adam and I.

Next, at a London scene, more zombie types appear, only to be chased off by chaps in welder masks at the last moment, who then in turn, also reveal themselves to be “not of this world”.

All in all the whole experience was pretty amazing, pretty hard to describe here, but suffice to say, it was easily impressive enough to put all thoughts of grumpiness about the queue out of our minds.  Typical Disney!

Our next ride was Armageddon, which in effect was “closed down”.  Instead we were invited to do a walking tour, which quickly turned into an attack from more deformed types, this time in the shape of aliens.  Again, anyone showing the slightest sign of fear was targetted for “ghouling” and there was a lot of screaming and shrieking along the way.  Again, really good fun.

To finish off the night we ended up in the odd position of doing a couple fo rides in the Toy Story section, on a night of horrors and Halloween.  I think this is called a juxtaposition, which I always thought were an 80’s pop band!

First we rode the Slinky dog ride, which is a pretty simple merry-go-round type thing for young kids, but we jumped on nonetheless as it had no queue at all.  We had no shame!


Image pinched from Google due to lack of phone battery

We then did the new parachute drop ride, which was surprisingly more intense than it looked, and a definite tummy tickler.

By now it was going on for 1am, and we were both, not to put too fine a point on it, cream crackered.  What we really needed then was to have to sprint to jump on the final bus of the night to avoid a forty minute walk back to the hotel.  So after a full-blooded Dad run, a red face, and asthma attack, the bus then sat there for ten minutes with us sat on it, heavy breathing.

We got off the bus and into bed within moments, and it took me seconds to fall asleep!


Euston, we have a problem.

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.

Good Evans!

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… 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.

Disney Village
Village People

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!!Book and beer

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…..

Everyone’s a winner..ah no, that’s just me then.

I thought I had to do a special midweek post to mark a landmark event.

Anyone who knows me will realise that my life is a constant stream of injustice, bad luck and persecution.  What do you mean I am a drama queen?  What do you mean I have a lovely family, habitable house, enough money to service my debts, and enough food in the fridge.  Don’t spoil my sense of self-pity please.

Well, it seems the tide has turned as I have actually won something.

I got a phone call late last night informing me that my entry into the DisneyBrit podcast competition was the winning entry.  The competition celebrates their 50th podcast.   I had to say in less than fifty words why I should go, and it seems my promise of a brown envelope stuffed with cash did the trick.  I jest.  I actually sent in an entry outlining the benefits of taking me along as my Halloween candy eating exploits will easily recoup any DisneyBrit expenditure.  I can on board enough candy to maximise the return on the prize budget….or something like that.

I think Adam recorded the phone call for the podcast too, so you shall be able to hear my stunned gobsmackiness if you decide to listen to the next podcast, and you should.  Luckily, I did not swear.

The prize alas is only for one person, unless you fork out for any other travellers, and with Louise officially recovering for the next twelve weeks, she will not be able to come along.

Planes Tranes and Automobiles
What about those bears!!

This leaves me in the rather odd situation of “bunking”  (I said bunking!) with Adam, having never met him.  This brings up images of the classic scene from Planes Trains and Automobiles, where Steve Martin and John Candy wake up in the same bed.  “Those aren’t cushions!!!”.

I am assured we have suitably platonic sleeping arrangements in place.

So after breaking the news to Louise that I would be flying solo and some very quick research about Eurostar, I am all booked train wise.  From Manchester to DLP for just over £100, including First Class on the way back from Euston to Manchester!!

Adam has given me a rough breakdown of the weekend, but I won’t go into it here, as I feel it my duty to encourage you to listen to the podcast after Halloween to find out what happened.  I may of course do a mini trippie, because of course I don’t have enough on in that regard already!!

We are staying at the Magic Circus hotel, which looks splendid, but then most hotels that you stay in for free are!!  The only other thing I shall tell you about is the advertised prize –

  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 2 day park hopper ticket
  • a ticket to Disney’s Terrorific Night at Walt Disney Studios on 30th October
  • food over the weekend
  • a few surprises

I’m not sure the “food over the weekend” element of this prize has been thought through to be honest.  I hope the budget planning was suitable!!

So there we go.  I am as you may have noticed a tad excited to be going to DLP for the first time, and with an expert such as Adam to show me around.

More news as it breaks.

Till the next time…..