Bear with me. It’s not an England post; it’s not whinging about school life; it’s not a new recipe (although that oat flour pancake recipe is turning out to be pretty popular); it’s not even a useful review of visiting Disneyland Paris — BUT — we did visit Disney Paris, our first family trip to any of the Disney parks, on the final long weekend of the summer before the start of school. And we had a great time. If you don’t want to be cornered into checking out a few photos from my wallet (so to speak), bail out now. Maybe check out that Cotswold Drive post again, and wait for the next post coming up (in the works: National Trust’s Croome Court). Still here? Okay, here we go:
We’ve been on the Chunnel train so many times, it is almost boring. HA! Not boring! I LOVE IT.
This trip, instead of the bocage or beautiful Paris, we entered the heady alternate universe of Disneyland Paris.
I don’t remember Paris looking quite like that, but … ooooookaaaaay.
As I mentioned, this was our first visit to any of the Disney parks (insert astounded Brit commentary — “Never? And you’re American?”). The park does not disappoint, with non-stop photo-ops.
Walt Disney Studios, adjacent to Disneyland Paris, has a truly disconcerting American-esque look. If I had not had a lovely frenchwoman pass me croissants and baguettes with Nutella for my petit-dej that morning, I might have wondered in what country I had landed.
We stayed at one of the Disney hotels — the Davy Crockett Ranch. Recommended for families greater than four, especially ones who have decided that all of the American West looks like a scene from Bonanza or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
There was a bar-b-que on the night we arrived. Pony rides past those big green doors in the background. Pluto and Robin Hood stopped by. There’s a massive pool with a multi-story slide. It was awesome.
The cabins are — again weirdly — very similar to cabins you might find in a National Park. With room for six, two bathrooms, a decent kitchen and dining area plus an outdoor patio, it suited us just fine.
We navigated the meal plan options and found one that worked — but splurged one day for the ridiculous brunch buffet at “Inventions” in the Disneyland Hotel proper. And met a dozen more Disney characters. I may have cried when I met Minnie Mouse. (Okay, fine, I did cry.)
One of the many food options inside the park. This one … just … was absurd. We did not eat here. But I’m sure it was “So very British!”
As the park drifted into twilight and then evening, the lights turned the whole scene into something even more magical.
The Mad Hatter may have been our favorite ride — at night I loved it even more.
The Dumbo ride felt surreal — especially after waiting in line for over an hour.
One advantage of staying in a Disney hotel is getting in to the park two hours before regular opening. Even that early, the park doesn’t feel empty.
You can see the floats as they dance out of their hiding places for the morning parade.
Or wait FIVE MINUTES to get on Space Mountain. The whole of that five minutes was the time I spent walking from this signpost to the ride. No line. No line at all.
Tigger. My old nemesis. I have a photo of myself as a very young child, in my only other visit to Disney, being terrified of the mid 1970s incarnation of this larger-than-life stuffed tiger. He haunted my dreams. You no longer have the power to destroy me, Tigger. But, ummmmm, let’s keep walking. Before he gets too close.
Oh, are you looking at me, Jack? Over here, just a little to the right.I have a place we could go. Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.