Monday, 3 September 2007


I’d been planning this trip for years. No, not our trip to Paris, but a trip to Disney with the kids. I actually thought we’d go to DisneyWorld in Florida our first time, but there never seemed to be the right time to go.

So here we were, already in Paris for ten days, the kids were to start school in four days. And I thought, “this is the time. This will be our Disney moment.” We don’t have to travel far- only 40 minutes away by train. The kids are old enough to remember it – 9 and 6 years old. And it might just not be too crowded. Many of the French schools are back in session. We didn’t tell the kids until the morning, lest they stay up all night in anticipation.

When we tell the kids, Quinn cheers “Yes!” Maggie says, “Why?”
“WHY?” That was not quite the response I was expecting. What kid asks why when you tell them you are going to Disneyland?
Then I realize she doesn’t know what Disney is. What kid doesn’t know what Disney is? Ours, of course. So I tell Maggie that Disneyland is an amusement park and finally, she is excited. But not as excited as I am.

We buy our train tickets as well as our Disney tickets in the métro station. We board the train and travel 40 minutes, and disembark at Disneyland Paris. It is only a short walk to the front entrance.

We enter, and I start fastwalking like a crazy person. “C’mon, let’s go!” I keep saying . Poor Maggie was blindly holding my hand trying to keep up when I made a sharp turn and she smacked right unto a cement pole. BIG OUCH. She cries really hard and loud. Sean informs me that I have to calm down a little. Okay. I’ll try.

We make a beeline for Peter Pan’s flight because I knew the line would be longer later. But first we had to stop for a picture in front of the Magic Castle per Sean’s request. “Come on!” my brain is screaming, but I remain quiet. We get a fastpass for Peter Pan and then get in line. This is so we can ride twice in a shorter amount of time. In about 20-30 minutes, we board Peter Pan’s flight and fly through Wendy’s window, over the town of London. I still love it. The kids love it and we do it again.

Next, we go on Pirates of the Caribbean which had a very small line, and even smaller the second time. It was a bit scary and fun.
And then, PHANTOM MANOR (France’s version of the Haunted House)! The line was as small as my excitement was big. Would it be the same? Would the room sink and the pictures elongate? Would there be the dining scene with the ghosts whirling around? Will the green ghost magically appear in our car at the end?

Yes, yes, yes and yes! It was practically the same as I remember it. The lead up to the Manor isn’t as frightening, but once inside, things are very similar to Disney World’s version. I had the kids each ride with a parent in case they were too scared, but Maggie said she wasn’t scared when asked along the way. I could hear Sean and Quinn trying to figure things out. “DON’T FIGURE IT OUT” I plead, I like it to be magical. We all loved it, and do it again. This time the kids can ride it together.

Next we rode Maggie’s favorite, Thunder Mountain. It was a really fun roller coaster that isn’t too rough. Quite an enjoyable, thrilling ride. We get another fastpass to ride again.

We head back to Fantasyland and board the boats for It’s a Small World After All. I totally love the overly cheerful colors, lights and music, as well as the nice ride on the boat. The song totally takes me back to my childhood. Where did that song come from anyway? I kind of remember my mom singing it, but was it also on a TV show?

We get good seats for the big parade which turns out to be very spectacular. There was a pirate that tried to take a snack away from Maggie. Good luck. She just shook her head no. I’m glad we took the time for the parade even though it would have made for optimum ride riding.

Having read many tips about Disney, I knew we’d better flee to Space Mountain to beat the crowds while they were still watching the parade. Maggie was too small, but happily rode a rocket ride with her dad. Quinn and I walked the long and often dark path to get on Space Mountain. We finally get to the ride, and there is no line, really. We are excited and nervous. We board the coaster and it launches off in the darkness. At one point I hear Quinn yell out “I love this, mamma!” I’m glad for him. As for me, I’m kind of freaked out. “Are my body parts shifting around in ways they shouldn’t,” I’m thinking. “What’s all that cracking in my neck just now,” I wonder. Thankfully, the ride ends. Quinn is so excited and wants to ride again, but has no willing grown up to take him.

We watch a half hour rendition of the Lion King which is very good, but of course, not Broadway. No animals coming down the aisles, and not the same level of costume, although they all look fabulous.

We finish up with a couple Fantasyland rides- Snow White and Pinocchio which were just fine. I had to go on “It’s a Small World” once more with the kids before leaving. It is totally magical in there.

Maggie really wanted to ride the Dumbo ride. So we get in line at 7:10, even though the park supposedly closes at 7:00. More and more people keep getting in line. Finally I ask the family in front of me what time the park closes, and they inform me that it closes at 7:00 except for the people staying at the hotels. You can ride after 7:00 if you have a hotel bracelet on. Durn. We have no bracelet. I explain the situation to Maggie. We decide to see if we can get on without the bracelet that I now see everyone wearing. Yeah! After about 40 minutes, we finally get on Dumbo and are ready to call it quits after that.

I originally thought we had to spend two days in Disneyland in order to see and do everything, but we felt like we had done it all. Disneyland Paris is a bit smaller than the others, and possible to enjoy most of it in a day.
But we can, of course, come back!

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