As you read in previous blog, my wife and I had a VERY quick chat whether to go on holidays or not, and where we might go. We opted for holidays and Disneyland Paris.
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Welcome to Paradise, if you are a kid or an adult with a childish mind. Either way, the Disney Parks will give families an adventure of great proportions. You will get an opportunity to see and meet all your Disney heroes, and at the same time see your kids absolutely ecstatic of being so close to the magic kingdom.
We got off the bus, by the main train station at Disneyland Paris, and slowly walked towards the main attraction – literally following thousands of people, like cattle walking slowly to the fields of dreams.
The kids got more and more excited, as we got closer to our final destination.
There it was. The famous Disneyland Paris was in front of us and the kids started to scream of happiness … and, so did my wife. I swear I could even see a tear forming in the corner of her eye.
Paradise opened up in front of us as we stepped through the ticket booth, into the magical kingdom, where dreams come true. There it was. Main street of Disneyland, with it’s red bricked road, Georgian / New Orleans houses packed along the road. Each road was filled with souvenir shops, full of families wanting to buy anything possible with the Disney label on.
The kids refused to move and just stood there, sucking it all in, and in a complete daze of happiness. Was it too much for the kids?
We jumped on the Disney train and took the tour around the entire park, seeing all the amusements and villages scattered around the park.
As we got off the train, at the main street, music was blarring from the speakers and Mickey’s familiar voice was shouting “Welcome and we love you!”. I knew what was coming and quickly dragged the family to a good spot. Low and behold, the Disney parade was driving up the main road. The kids started to scream as they heard and saw their heroes get closer.
Suddenly, Goofy and Pluto came running towards us, literally, and my daughter let out a loud scream. Not out of fear but of pure happiness. Imagine, the characters you have seen on tele come alive in front of you, running to you to shake your hand. She was so ecstatic that I was afraid she would pass out, but she pulled herself together and gave Pluto a high five.
The next thing that happened took me somewhat by surprise. I know my son is totally devoted to Woody and Buzz, but I didn’t expect his reaction. He was sitting on my shoulders, cheering and shouting. As soon as he saw his Toy Story heroes, he stopped. He was just sitting up there completely in shock. Suddenly, as the Toy Story train came closer, he started to shake uncontrollably. He screamed so loud that half the park looked in our direction, and then he just burst into laughter – all while shaking.
He could no longer hold it in and peed on my shoulders + back, simply because he was so over the moon to see his heroes in the “flesh”. Initially I thought it was me sweating, until I could smell the pee as the sun heated up my shirt and neck. There’s nothing I could do about it, so I just had to let the sun dry my shirt and smell of pee the rest of the parade.
Most days we had to eat fast food, which we normally don’t, but there weren’t any other options. To my disgust, a “light” lunch consisting of pasta and pizzas for the family cost a whopping €60! Well, that was including two souvenir straws shaped as Tiana from Princess & the Frog + Buzz Lightyear. Still, I thought it was fairly expensive for fast food.
What else did we experience during our long weekend in Disneyland Paris?
- Meeting the Stars – again; I was walking around with my son, when he suddenly screamed and pointed – unable to mutter a single word. It was a lucky coincident. Sully (Monsters Inc.) walked straight in front of him, followed by Jessie, Woody, Stich, Lilo, Incredibles, Mike Wazowsky and Buzz. He went ballistic, and we started running to catch up with them. It was the Disney Stars Show.
- Paparazzi Disney; As we walked around the vast Disneyland Park, in 30 degrees, we were lucky enough to have our pictures taken with Micky, Minnie Buzz and Woody. The kids were uncontrollable and super proud. I almost lost the pictures late one afternoon, but luckily I found them again – just where I had left them – in the men’s room on the hand dryer.
- Queued for “fun”; we tried a few rides for and with the kids, but the heat was unbearable, and we had only queued for 10 minutes when my daughter expressed her disappointment. She was bored queueing. “Honey, we still have to queue for another 30 minutes!” Most rides had queues between 45-60 minutes, which is too long to queue with 3 kids below the age of 6.
- French Connection; During one of the many parades, my wife had a verbal bust-up with a huge French woman (I know, it’s not like the French being really fat, but this one was). My wife had been sitting on a bench, during a parade to breastfeed the baby, when this french gigantor crawled up on the bench and sat on my wife’s shoulders. The missus was not impressed, and ended up calling the lady a fat elephant – which resulted in our daughter greeting all women with the new French words she had learned “Hello fat elephant”.
- Princess Dinner; We had dinner with ALL the Disney princesses, much to the amazement of our daughter. This is also were she discovered the autograph phenomenon, and managed to get ALL the princesses’ autographs. Our son danced with Ariel and they both gave bear hugs to Snow White.
- Playhouse Disney (in Spanish); We watched the live show of Playhouse Disney, in Spanish, so the kids were overly amazed – again. I didn’t have a clue what the characters were saying, but that was irrelevant. The main thing was that the kids had fun.
- Slinky Ride; The last ride was on Slinky the Dog. It was basically Slinky going super fast around in a circle. The kids screamed and I did too. Arms in the air and screaming, while the ride was going 20 kph – and getting dizzy.
There are two parks in the Disney complex; Studio and Disneyland. We actually enjoyed the Studio a lot more than Disneyland. I think it was because the queues weren’t as long and the rides were more fun for the kids. And, they had the Toy Story Land theme park.
I was trying to get my wife into the ‘Dropping Elevator’ attraction, but that back fired slightly and we took the Studio Park train instead.
We walked a marathon every day, but the great thing was that we could rent strollers for the entire day, which made it a lot easier for the kids to survive – and, us parents lost a few kilos from pushing these dudes around in their private limos.
The only thing that pissed me off was the fact that nobody told me, until I returned home to Ireland, that we could have received VIP tickets because my son is born with Down Syndrome. It would have allowed us to skip all the queues. We are not trying to milk the system for freebees, but we would have been able to try a lot more. See, my son is not exactly the most patient person when it comes to queueing. That said, we still tried all the stuff we wanted to try and the kids had a blast.
Disneyland Paris. Was it worth it? Hour long queues, thousand of people and expensive merchandise. Well, when your son pees on your shoulders out of pure happiness of seeing his heroes, your daughter becomes a paparazzi during the Princess dinner and your wife cries when seeing the kids happy (and experiences Disney spirit), then it was absolutely worth it.
I do think that the kids were too young to try out all the attractions. We definitely want to go back to the Disney parks, but we’ll wait for a few years, when they are around 10 instead. They will be able to try a lot more rides, and so will I.
We have already agreed that we will experience the Disney mania again, but next time it’ll be in Disney World Florida.