Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Holiday Report -
Disneyland, Paris, 2004


Background

For the February 2004 Half Term, Alan and Philip were both booked onto a school ski trip. Ian was scheduled to take part in a French exchange trip at Easter, and Sue decided he needed a bit of practice at being in France, and perhaps a bit more exposure to the French language before he went.

After various ideas were discussed and dismissed, and after we discovered that Parc Asterix does not open until Easter, we decided to take Ian back to Disneyland Paris. We had visited several years earlier, but Ian was too small at the time to do many of the rides, and this was his chance to catch up.

The Mechanics

Sue searched around on the Internet and found us a good deal with a hotel, le Roi du Lac in Lognes, just a few stops down the main RER line from Disneyland, and the Eurostar tickets. For Disneyland, we had three-day passes, which allowed us to move between the two main parks as we liked on any of three days in the next three years: this turned out to be just about right.

The only potential problem in the booking procedure was that Disneyland required us to fill in a form to confirm our booking and post it back to them before sending our tickets... presumably too many children have discovered their parents' credit cards and decided to book a holiday without checking first. Anyway, the tickets arrived on the Thursday, two days before we departed - too close for total comfort.

On the Friday, we waved Alan and Philip goodbye. On Saturday afternoon, we drove to London to Paul's parents, via Pip and Philip in Newbury. On Sunday we rested and visited Greenwich Park and the Observatory there - well worth another visit. Monday morning, Roger gave us a lift to the station, then up to Waterloo for the Eurostar. We then had to buy another ticket for the last stretch of the journey on the RER to Torcy, and walked to the hotel: they had sent us directions, which were fine.

We relaxed in the hotel for the rest of the day, visited Disneyland on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then back home on the Friday: RER then Eurostar to Waterloo, train to Eltham, parents picked up up from the station, gave us tea, and we drove home arriving a little before midnight. Alan and Philip arrived back safe and sound the next day.

Tips and Traps

A few pieces of advice for the unwary...

Take care to read what they tell you.

Don't believe everything you read.

And, these may be obvious points, but here they are anyway...

The 'Fastpass' system is nearly brilliant. On some attractions, you can get a ticket from a nearby machine that allows you to come back at a specified time (usually in a half-hour range) and go nearly to the front of the queue. However...

The Parks

There are two main theme parks: the main Disneyland Paris, and the Disney Studios. We basically spent one day in each, and then spent the final day revisiting a few attractions and catching up on the ones we missed the first time around. This seems like quite a good plan if you have three days.

Conclusion

It all depends on whether you like Disney. For my money, The Jungle Book is entertaining as long as you can completely forget Rudyard Kipling, but their Winnie-the-Pooh is a complete Abomination.

I suppose the characters wandering around in suits and signing autograph books as 'Goofy' or 'Mickey Mouse' entertains the younger children, but it doesn't work for me. I might enjoy Fantasia, but I don't want to pretend I have met Mickey in real life.

I had two basic problems with the whole experience.

But anyway, it is certainly an experience, and there are some snippets of interesting details and facts slipped into the "Let's pretend this is educational" bits. And Ian enjoyed himself in France, which was the main purpose of the exercise.

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Copyright © 2004 Paul Hazelden
 
http://hazelden.org.uk/news/rpt_holiday_2004.htm was last updated 4 August 2008
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