Sunday, July 15, 2012

Euro-Disney. A Real Treat.

Oh, there you are! I've been looking for you without success for a few weeks, believe it or not, because something has happened to my blog page and I couldn't find where to start a new post. Anyway, here I am, having looked up another blog in desperation! I was trying to tell you about our visit to Euro-Disney, back in June, which was a treat for Grandson for his eighth Birthday. Our trip started at the unearthly hour of 4.30am, when my alarm went off. I had booked a taxi for the station, luckily, and so arrived on time at Brighton to catch the 5.40am train to St. Pancras. Eurostar is lovely, and once you're on it, it doesn't seem to matter about the v. early start. We had brought some picnic stuff, and so passed the time until we arrived in Lille. Next we caught the Disney Express, which took another hour or so and arrived at the Disney Park at about midday. Luckily it was lovely weather too; not too hot but nice and sunny. Grandson's favourite part of the journey was seeing so many windmills (the new eco-variety) from the train as we whizzed through the French countryside. When we arrived we couldn't check in to our hotel immediately, so we started looking around the Park - which was not what I'd expected at all. It's rather like being on a magical film set - there are pink and white castles, larger-than-life Disney characters wandering about among the mere mortals, there's music from the movies - perfect reproductions of old building and working trams, trains and stage-coaches. Daughter and Grandson were anxious to get started on the fun, so we queued a bit for some rides, whizzed around a lot and gazed in wonder at everything. I had a gentle ride on an old-fashioned Carousel (with proper painted horses), but didn't fancy the fast and furious ones, so I watched a lot of the time - but even that was great fun. Maybe the word magical is over-used, but I really hadn't seen anything even remotely like it before. Next we wandered up through the Village to our Hotel, which was possibly the biggest hotel I have ever seen - and one of three at Euro-Disney. We reclaimed our bags and found our room, which was a large family room with two queen-sized beds, a superb ensuite bathroom and a dressing area. Lovely. I collapsed on my bed and immediately fell asleep for an hour or so - don't know what the others did but when I woke up I felt fine and we ventured out again for more magic. And so our day continued with fabulous fireworks and amazing film projections onto the castle, another magical experience which was all put on in honour of Euro-Disney's 20th Anniversary, but felt as if it was just for us. We staggered back to the Hotel at about midnight, and were all asleep within minutes - not surprisingly! Next morning we joined the throng for our (time ticketed) breakfast;I swear there were 5 thousand people in our hotel. But again it was all perfect - the staff were both charming and helpful, and the breakfast was marvellous. Lovely french croissants and brioches, fresh juices and masses of fresh fruits, really good coffee, hams and cheeses for meat fanciers, and a constant stream of willing helpers replenishing everything. So, suitably refreshed, we caught the little white train outside the hotel and set off to the park again. More walking (we walked for a minimum of four hours each day - you don't see many obese people here!), and more exciting rides for Daughter and Grandson. The highlight of my day was taking a trip on a real paddle steam boat round a real island and seeing a pair of herons nesting on the sheltered side of the island. We spent the afternoon by the outdoor pool in the sun, with Grandson swimming and splashing about while we took turns to splash about too. Later, after showering and changing, we went to the Rainforest Cafe, which Grandson loved becaused it was very dark,overgrown with damp ferns and had occasional pretend thunderstorms with flashing lightning and loud thunder. Daughter and I loved it because the food was great and we could enjoy a bottle of French rose for a very reasonable 18 euros! And so our Disney visit continued..we had three days and two nightss, and I have to say that we only managed to do half the things that were on offer. Would I go back? Yes I would. I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it - and it was without doubt the best Birthday present an eight year old boy could have had. Grandson brought back a little Mickey Mouse as a souvenir, plus some great photos of him with Mickey, Donald and Goofy. My souvenir is a shiny chrome wine stopper in the shape of Mickey's head, which is studded with fake diamonds; it's just perfect and makes me smile every time I see it:-)