Lisa Cubbon -- June 2003 -- Disneyland Paris (DRP)
Sunday, June 8. We had spent the night at a Holiday Inn near Heathrow.We were in England for a conference and this is our R&R week. The taxi was on time and we were at Heathrow well before our Air France flight closed. We headed to the Business Class lounge and had a bite of breakfast. I saw an Internet machine but I could not figure out how to make it work and the flight was about to be called. The gate was just a few feet away and we were called there to sit and wait. This was the only time we saw anyone with a mask on for SARS protection. There were a couple of Japanese men and one was covered. Guess he was just more cautious. The Air France employee who called the flight was the same one we had watched refuse to help a passenger at check it. A man was flying Business Class (like us) and she had to stop reading her brochure, look at his ticket, and send him down two places. The agent there just looked at the ticket, looked at the girl and shrugged. The passenger agent who checked us in just did it and we did not have to go wait in another line. They were not busy. When we were boarding, I said something to the man and he just laughed and said there are plenty more like her. She was just rude.
The flight to Charles De Gaul is a trajectory flight, up and down and they serve lunch in First Class. The flight was pretty empty but it was 11:15am. I suspect it's not a busy time for them. Since we had been to this airport a few years ago, it was not nearly as confusing this time. We gathered up the bags, I extracted some euros from the teller machine and off we went to the VEA Disneyland Paris bus stop WRONG! We had the brochure but there was no sign at the stop. It was the same place as two years ago but something felt wrong. I went in to ask and we were sent upstairs to the OTHER end of this terminal. SO we lugged our luggage (getting heavier each time) and found the right bus stop, just as a bus was pulling away. There was a family from Hastings, England who arrived after we did and we all watched two busses drop off passengers and not take anyone new, meaning us. Finally a bus did stop and get us. This scenario is exactly what happened two years ago. Each bus driver said the right bus was only 5 minutes away. Right& We got to The Disneyland Resort, Paris (DRP) Hotel at 4pm. It had been a long day already.
This is the deluxe hotel at the Resort. It's located right at the main gate to the Disneyland Park. The entrance is actually under the middle of the hotel. It is designed to look like the Grand Floridian at WDW. It's a light pink with a darker pink roof and little twinkle lights along the edges at night. It's quite pretty. We booked a seven-night package with our travel agent that included our room, breakfast daily and length of stay passes for both parks. I handed the cast member (CM) our voucher and this look of total confusion came over her face, she excused herself and came back a few minutes later. Asked a couple more questions and then left again. I asked what was wrong. The date could be interpreted as August 6th not June 8th (they use day first dates) but she said the reservation was in the name of Andrew, C. OK, so once we established that Cubbon was the surname and Andrew the first name we were off and filling in more forms. From then on Andy was C. Andrew, all the reservations everything. It was much easier to just smile and go on. No need to explain. Oh, we also got a Character Breakfast the next day at Café Mickey in the Disney Village (DV). It was part of the package. That was news to us but what the heck. Plus as guests staying at the Disneyland Hotel, we were each given three fast passes to be used anytime we wanted. Hot Dog! Now, last time were here Peter Pan was running an 85 minutes standby line so these passes are gold. This is not to be a commando visit. With seven days and seven nights and the park open until 8:00pm each evening, there is plenty of time for us to see everything we want to see and not rush about. We envisioned a nice leisurely holiday at a four star hotel. My kind of life!
We were assigned Rm 3444 (3rd wing, 4th floor). The luggage was on its way up via the bell staff. The hotel is divided into wings. We were in the most westerly wing towards Walt Disney Studios (WDS). To get to our room, we had to take one set of elevators up to the second floor and then cross over the bridge where the gift shop and lounge and two restaurants (California Grill and Inventions) are located. As we passed the California Grill we noticed that there was someone at the reservations podium so Andy got us a 7:00pm reservation for dinner that night. We had both enjoyed out meal there so much two years ago that we were planning on two nights this trip. Yummy.
The room was exactly what we wanted, king bed, non-smoking (whole floor was non-smoking), with a little balcony to look at Disneyland Park (mostly a view of the train station and a tiny bit of the Main St second floors. The castle views are reserved for Concierge guests) and Disney Village and to watch the people walk by. The room was wonderfully appointed, especially after a week in a small English hotel. As we walked into the room, there was a little alcove, similar to The Boardwalk Inn. That was very nice since it cut down on hallway noise bleeding into our room. There was a large closet with a safe on the left side and the bathroom was directly across from the closet. We had a nice bathroom, two sinks (which would play a major role during our washing up party later in the week. Stay tuned.), plenty of hot water and lots of fluffy towels. Oh, the bed covers were spectacular. There is nothing so wonderful as crisp, pressed cotton sheets and a crisp, pressed cotton duvet cover too. I keep waiting for them to appear at home but no such luck. It was perfect except the AC was not working and the room had a peculiar (not-smoke) smell. Two calls to and two visits by engineering resolved the AC issue and leaving the balcony door open got rid of the smell.
We had time before our dinner reservations so we headed into the Park! Woohoo. It was packed. People were smoking all around. Uh oh. Walking down Main Street, in line (even though the CMs were telling folks to put the cigs out), pushing, and no sense of queuing for a ride. Very interesting. I just pushed along with the rest of them but Andy can't do it, bless him [Andy: I was raised to not elbow women and children out of the way]. Which means I often get ahead of him and he can't find me and I left my purple hat at home. We went on It's A Small World. It was the shortest line and something to do. We got to share a row with some teenagers who weren't exactly thrilled to have us with them but oh, well.
Dinner at the California Grill was terrific. We shared a starter called tomato, three ways. It was tomato crostini, tomato and green apple charlotte, and a bloody mary. The kitchen divided it for us and it was fantastic. The green apple charlotte consisted of finely minced apple, yellow tomatoes and a wonderful tarragon mayo. For dinner, I had the roasted monkfish and Andy had a thick steak that came with spinach potatoes and a wonderful sauce. We agreed that I got the best dish. For desert, Andy had the most sinful Tanzania Chocolate tart. It was a very dark, almost bitter chocolate pudding [Andy: with a side of ice cream]. I hardly got a taste. I had the raspberry tart with a small scope of vanilla ice cream. Just wonderful. We both felt like pigs. We each had a glass of wine too and a 100cl bottle of water. Water very expensive at DRP. And there was not a store anywhere near by that sold it cheaper in bulk, so you had to pay dearly for it in the parks or at the restaurants. Cost of the meal? Well, if you have to ask you can't afford it. Seriously, it was worth what we paid for and that was a lot. It's more expensive than California Grill at WDW and a different experience; California decor with a decided French twist.
After dinner, we needed to walk. It was 8:30pm and still light out so we headed to Disney Village (DV) to check out the shops. But first we went by the concierge's desk to check on the character breakfast. The tickets said 7:30am. Ugh [Andy: I barely have a heart beat that early, much less an appetite]. We changed that to a 9:30am seating and then went to the Disney Village (DV). The place was packed. DV at DRP is smaller that the DV at WDW (no Pleasure Island or West Side). It has just a few shops and houses mostly restaurants: Wild Buffalo Bill's Dinner Show, Annette's, Chicago's, Chef Mickey's, Mc Donald's and a new one, King Ludwig's Castle. We pushed our way through the crowds to the lake and walked around to visit the other hotels, looking at their restaurants and just trying to settle our wonderful meal.
Monday, June 9. Started the day around 7:00am for me after a delightful sleep on our now sufficiently cooled room and comfy bed. I got Andy up about 30 minutes later. That pattern would hold for the whole week. He would get up and moving while I went to ransom a newspaper from the gift shop. We had planned to go to Normandy for a day but there was no tour there from Disneyland and we just did not want to rent a car so that and a drive through the Loire Valley goes back on the next-time list. We had to scamper down to our character breakfast. Now first I must mention, this is our very first character breakfast ever. Andy is not a morning person. I am. Eating in the morning is not a big event to him. It is to me. I wake up hungry and he doesn't so changing the time to 9:30 was a tremendous help for him. I didn't care too much since I was at Disneyland Hotel and had a little balcony to watch the comings and goings into the park.
We got to the restaurant on time and were soon seated in a non-smoking section. It was a buffet and the food was pretty good. The characters consisted of Smee and a penguin from Mary Poppins. Now, maybe the French are wild about these two because we saw them everywhere. At the Disneyland Hotel, in the parks, everywhere. There were kids of all ages and sizes at the breakfast, and most were very well behaved. We finished up and headed to the RER station at the entrance to the Disney Resort complex to pick up train brochures. Andy wanted to plan an adventure for one day. More on this later.
We headed to Walt Disney Studios. I was excited to see what this was all about. They were building it when we were there two years ago and I had read a couple of trip reports about the park so I knew it was not the same as the one at WDW but then neither is the Disneyland Park like the one at WDW or in California. We entered the park and I was surprised that the courtyard was kind of barren, just the gift shops. Then you enter an arcade (Studio 1) where there is another gift shop (with pretty much the same stuff as every other shop within the resort area.) and a very large snack bar/restaurant. Then on the other side of the arcade the attractions begin. We checked on handy park map and saw that Moteurs& Action! was about to start. So we headed there while we scoped out the rest of the park. It's big, open, not a lot of trees (it's only been open a year remember). It must be really hot in the summer. It was in the high 70s when we were there. Most of the attractions are indoors. I would guess because it's in a northern climate and it snows and get cold there; not while we were there. Moteurs& Action! is simply wonderful. It's a stunt show that uses tricked out Opels (yes, Opels at about 1/3 the weight of a standard one) and motorcycles. They cast guest roles like at Indy and then begin the Action! And they mean action. The set up scenes where the good guy in a red car is chased but the bad guys in black cars. It's spectacular. The ballet they do is amazing. Lots of fast passes, screeching of brakes and tires, close calls, and ramp jumping. They motorcycles play a role in the next scene with some of the black cars coming in. During this scene one of the motorcycles riders .crashes. through fire and his clothes catch fire too. Then at the end the red car leaps out of a second story window and goes right under the stands we are sitting on. We were so impressed with this show that we saw it three times.
After the chills and thrills of the stunt show, we craved something milder so we used two of our precious complimentary Fast Passes on Rock'n Roller Coaster. We really didn't need them once we figured out the queue system. The ride was a disappointment. The theming in both the pre-show and the ride seemed to be missing and the ride was not as smooth as the one at WDW. We did not go on this again. After that attraction, the parade was about to start so we thought we would grab a quick lunch at the Backlot Express and then sit outside to watch the parade. Alas, it was not to be that easy. This was our introduction to buffeterria, Disneyland Paris style. There was food already prepared and there for the taking but folks just seemed to be having difficult times with making those decisions and then there was an ever present discussion over the currency/language at the check out kiosk. Hot stuff was getting tepid before it could all be sorted out. We got a salad and a wonderful croque monsieur sandwich and a couple of waters and headed outside to watch the end of the parade. It's cute and very fast paced. After our lunch we headed over to the Studio Tram Tour. They divided the queues into English/French and Spanish/German. The entire narrative is on video. I guess it's the best way to manage all the separate language requirements. There was a CM on board to manage issues but mostly he just sat there and looked bored. The backlot itself had a really neat looking set piece from Dinosaur. A big temple façade and lots of crumbly ruins. Catastrophe Canyon is of course the big draw and it's just a good at at WDW. Next came a ride down a section that combined the underground in London with the subway in NYC. It was a very realistic looking after-an-earthquake scene. Then we made a mistake. It was warm out, our tummies were full and we went to Animagique. It was cool, and dark in there and the show was only mildly interesting. So we both had a short nap. So, we headed back to the hotel, less than a five-minute walk even at our snail's pace. Clearly, it was time for a lie down.
We headed back into DLP around 4:00p. The park was not nearly as jammed up as Sunday. We headed back towards Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the coolest of the three Pirates I have been on. The ride seems longer and goes by the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which looked decidedly empty, so we decided to try there for dinner. We went to the check at the podium and luckily they could take us in non-smoking right now. Last time we were there, when we tried this we were turned away. This time, not a problem. Dinner was very nice. We chose a dinner from their fixed price three-course dinner. Andy got Curry Chicken and Rice and I had the Vegetable Colombo (curried veggies). Starters were a salad of some sort (can't remember right now). Dessert for Andy was a banana in the skin that had been flambéed with cinnamon ice cream, and I had a pineapple cake that was very good. Two small beers and the ever-present 100cl bottle or water rounded out the meal. It was a good value for Disney.
Next it was off to the Phantom Manor. I like this one. It's set high above Frontierland and it's a real cool view out the front porch waiting area. The attraction itself is different too. The theme is about a bride who was left at the altar. It's a bit jerkier than at The Magic Kingdom (MK) WDW but fun. At the end everyone gets the same ghosts, not different ones like MK. By then it was 7:45pm and the place was closing down. We headed back to the hotel and to the concierge desk to ask a couple questions.
We wanted to find an Internet café and see where the self-serve laundry was. Well, the little fella at the concierge desk (did not like this one person the whole week we were there) said Planet Hollywood had Internet machines and that there is no self-service laundry at the DLH. I knew that DLH didn't have self-serve laundry facilities, but the brochure indicated that there was one at the Newport and Cheyenne. He knew nothing about that, of course. Well, it was still early so we walked over to the Newport Beach Hotel. One thing about DLP Resorts is that nothing is very far away. The other resort hotels are located past Disney Village around a small lake or a short walk from the lake. It was a nice night out (they all were) so we enjoyed the walk. Well, I was disappointed. The brochure lies. No self-serve laundry but an expensive laundry service, e.g. 3.50 euros for a pair of panties. Not me! I was not amused. So after a stop at MC Donald's coffee bar, we decided to tackle the washing up ourselves. We went back to the hotel and had a joint washing up party in our room. The two sinks in the bathroom really came in handy; as did the hand washing liquid I had bought in England. I had one sink for my smalls and Andy had one sink for his slightly largers. We counted out what we needed and did just that. Took a couple days for my heavy socks to dry and the room did take on a Chinese laundry look but we got the job done. A dirty shirt doesn't seem to bother the French so what the heck. Turned out we did just fine and even had clean clothes to bring home. Although Andy's jeans were pretty rank but the end of the week. We watched TV. The only channel in English was BBC World. That was fine but it was almost the same program run continuously. None of the fun stuff that BBC does. Just dry somber news. There was one segment on vacation planning in India and Sweden. Didn't sell me on the idea of either.
Tuesday, June 10. Today it's breakfast at the hotel. It's included in the room and last time it was excellent. This time it was very good. They had cold cereals, wonderful fresh mini-sized pastries and little glazed donuts, bread for toasting, cheese and meat platters, terrific bacon, the best scrambled eggs I have ever had and fruit, yogurt, etc. The only thing missing were the wonderful breakfast sausages they had two years ago. They had sausages at Café Mickey so I am glad I had some there. They serve breakfast in the hotel from 8-11am and open up all the restaurant space so it's not a long line to get in and it's self serve so they don't rush you. They will bring coffee and hot chocolate and hot water for tea and juice too.
After breakfast we headed back to the room for a few minutes and then into the park at the crack of 11:30am. Remember, there is no rushing in this trip at all. It drizzled off and on all day. Sometimes it was enough for an umbrella but mostly not worth the effort. We headed into Discoveryland. This area is themed around Jules Verne's .Journey from the Earth to the Moon. and similar early 1900s visions of the future. I rode Star Tours. Andy's not big on this one [Andy: I'm not fond of rides that make me nauseated]. Then we went to see Le Visionarium (their Timekeeper). The gags are about the same but it's not Robin Williams voice and the film itself is slightly different. I liked seeing it since it was closed last time. Autopia, their version of the Speedway cars ride at MK, was closed; too bad I enjoy driving the little cars and Andy is content to just ride.
We headed over to Frontierland to the Tarzan Show. Yes, I don't understand why it's in Frontierland either except that's where the nice big open theater is? The show is terrific, lots of tumbling and the kids get to come down and bang on pots during Turk's big number. We then wandered into Fantasyland and went on Pinocchio with a 5-minute wait. The line for Peter Pan was 85 minutes, I kid you not. We wandered a bit and they settled on lunch at a deli on Main Street. We picked out croque monsieur again and waited and waited and waited. Seems in this buffeteria, in addition to the normal currency and language issues, the gal running the till also runs the drinks! The hot sandwich was tepid. I toddled ahead while Andy finished the room-charge transaction and found a table that wasn't too dirty (many guests don't bus their own tables here) and not too wobbly. It was a cobblestone courtyard. As we are sitting there, I noticed a little girl who was maybe 3-4 years old and barefoot. She was very carefully taking popcorn out of a box and placing it in a puddle, kernel but kernel. Then another taller girl who is also barefoot appears and the smaller girl goes over to the table. There is a small boy with them who then takes off his shoes and lays down on the cobblestones. Not a parent or adult to be seen. I just don't get it. [Andy: they seemed to be holding the table while the parent(s) were getting the food.]
We headed back to the room for a lie down. I could hear the music for the Princess Parade but I just could not move fast enough to get to the park. Remember, no commando and there is always tomorrow. We got to the park about 5:00pm and rode the train around the park and left for dinner. We had not made reservations and just took a chance on an early dinner somewhere. We decided on Annette's and had very nice burgers and fries. Filled our tummies, walked to Hotel Cheyenne. It's one of the budget hotels and very interesting view of the Wild West through a French mind [Andy: I suspect it came from western movies; maybe even spaghetti westerns]. The main street is barren and wide. The buildings are all two story and look like old frontier clapboard buildings. This hotel is not located on the lake but set back so it's a bit of a longer hike but not bad back to the hotel. We trotted through the DV shops since they had been so crowded on previous days. The merchandise is OK but not enough variety [Andy: few varieties of tee shirts and each variety in only one color combination]. I can't find a pair of earrings anywhere or a watch [Andy: there were actually a few, but nothing like WDW especially the World of Disney]. As the week progressed, we noticed that every shop had basically the same stuff. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by the tourist information office to get some particulars on going into Paris and the woman was very nice and helpful. We have decided to go to Paris on Thursday. Back in the room I stepped out onto the little balcony to people watch and was treated to music coming from the park! There was a sign that they were filming in the park today so I guess they were working on something tonight too. Main St was all lit up and you could hear the music start and stop and then do it again. Very cool.
Wednesday, June 11. Got up, had breakfast and headed to WDS to continue touring the new park. We headed over to Armageddon. This attraction is a little like Alien Encounter because the main part (the scary bits) uses a shaker floor and it got dark and stuff spit out at you. But instead of sitting in a round theater, you stand in a simulation of the Russian space station and it uses real fire (I doubt they could get away with this in the U.S.). There was a CM walking the floor all the time and it was over very quickly. Andy thinks this would be great at WDW. Then we did Moteurs& Action! again. It's a wonderful show. Different drivers this time so you could see minor variations in the patterns [Andy: like this time the red car didn't jump the ramp backwards!] but still pretty darn good. I took the digital camera with me today and I was busy snapping photos and dumping what I didn't like. This is real cool. We watched the parade this time and I was busy standing on a bench taking photos. There were not a lot of guests in the park today but they all seemed to know where to stand and they don't rope off the roads except where the wheelchairs go (however the route is well marked in the pavement). The parade is very snappy and fun to watch. It's a salute to many Disney Movies. Now it was time for CineMagique, which was very funny and clever. It's starts out with an actor playing Marin Short come out of the audience and up onto the stage in front of the move screen talking on a cell phone about his lost luggage, which it seems was in Frankfort. This was in English. There was a simulated black and white movie on the screen and the actors are interrupted every time he talked into his cell phone, which they truly did not understand. Then, he was sucked into the film by magic and we are treated to a clever montage of movies through the ages in which Martin Short finds himself in various predicaments. It was very funny.
We headed over to the Rendez-Vous des Stars buffeterria for lunch. It was on china dishes and very nice. Same scheme as the others but higher class of grub. We got a half rosemary chicken, wine, veggies and cheese and water. It was pretty good. Back to the room for our after-lunch lie down.
Today we did get to the DLP in time for the Disney Princesses Parade. Andy found a bench in the mostly shade (it was warm out) [Andy: I could see well enough to fulfill my parade viewing needs] and I took photos. The parade is a real big deal parade; lots of floats and all the princesses and lots of little princesses in the crowd. We went back and I took one of our free guests FP and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Andy's leg was bothering him and since he had had back surgery only about 6 months earlier, he decided to not push it [Andy: plus coasters are not a big thrill for me]. I missed him on the ride, as I love this BTMRR. It's wonderful how it goes through a tunnel and then the whole ride is on an island in the river with Phantom Manor on one side of the river and the riverboat cruising the river. Amazing. Next, we took the river boat ride which is similar to MK. Very peaceful and as the narration was in French, we could easily ignore it. I did not go on the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril ride. The previous visit was enough. It's a head banger and backwards. The last time I did this one; my head rang for a day [Andy: as I recall, it was pretty smooth, but hard on the head and neck]. We headed back into Fantasyland to see what we could do. I was disappointed that Alice's Curious Labyrinth was not open this trip either. It looked like they had it just about ready but not before our stay was over. We did go on Snow White, and Peter Pan with a FP (standby line at 45 minutes this time), and the fairy tale boat ride. Andy really likes this one [Andy: it would make a great model railroad layout]. It's way at the back of Fantasyland and you have to go over this half circle bridge and get in a boat and ride through various scenes from movies. It's so cute and restful. Then Pirates again. Love this ride.
We headed back to the hotel but this time through the arcades at the back of Main Street. This element is one of the great things at DLP. Since the weather is often bad or can turn bad, these arcades offer a way out with access to the store but avoid the masses on Main Street. They are generally cool and un-crowded in good weather, and they house various exhibits and the ATMs. Well, the bank ATM card I had with me would not work so we trotted into DV to a cash machine there and it was broke (out of money or out-of-order). Now, I had used this card at the airport and there is plenty of money so what's the deal? We went over to the RER train station and it would not work there either. Seems some of the machines are not on my bank card's network. But I had a Visa debit card back in the room so we will try that later tonight. Now we needed to rest.
We did not have dinner reservations for tonight and despite what they were saying at the hotel we never had a problem but we eat early. I saw one woman get a dinner reservation for her family at 10:15pm. Dinner; with kids; after 10pm? No way! We decided to try King Ludwig's Castle. It's a brand new restaurant in the village serving German food. Got a table in the non-smoking area. You could smell the fresh paint. We each got beer, very good beer, and Andy got sausages and sour kraut and I got smoked pork chop, red cabbage, and a giant gummy potato ball. Every thing was splendid but the potato ball. We stopped by the Postale ATM at the train station with the debit card and all was right with the world again. This card worked. Back at the hotel, I went out on the little balcony to people watch and heard parade music coming from the park. With our 4th floor room, I could see a little bit of light flashing here and there down Main St. They are really getting ready for the summer season.
Thursday, June 12. Today we head to Paris. An adventure. Andy packed up the backpack last night and we decided to take both since I wanted to buy bottles of water. I was really low on fluids. We also decided to not take the umbrella since it wasn't supposed to rain. Bad decision. When we got to the RER station, we had to hunt around to find the ticket kiosk and Andy paid cash since it looked like the cashier was having a bad day. [Andy: I didn't want to deal with credit cards and language issues this early. After all, it was still before noon.] It was 11.70 euros each for all day passes [Andy: this included the Metro in Paris had we chosen to use it. Even then it was cheaper than two one-way tickets]. The train was there when we got to the platform and it took about 45minutes to get to Chatelet Les Halles, where 7 rail lines all converge. After a few starts and stops we managed to find our way out of the station and up into Paris. We had both been to Paris before so the purpose of this trip was to do something other than DLP. We had no agenda at all. When we finally emerged from the station, we were in a lovely shopping area/park and it was raining. Sigh& We wandered about getting our legs and Andy rotating a map to get oriented and headed back in a different direction towards Notre Dame. It was a pleasant enough walk. The rain stopped but it remained gray and threatening. Notre Dame was the sight of a demonstration. These had been going on all week. The French were protesting changes to the pension scheme. The façade of Notre Dame is all cleaned off and looks great. From the front courtyard you can see the Eiffel Tower too. It was a lovely view. Andy wanted to see the Deportation Memorial dedicated to the thousands of French who were sent to concentration camps during WWII, so we went to that area. It's located at the tip of the tip of the Ile de Cite behind Notre Dame. Then we walked over to the left bank and just walked around. The rain was coming harder now so we headed back toward the Seine. I spotted a café and we popped in for lunch just before the skies opened and the rain really began. The waiter brought us menus in English (imagine that!) and we each got a glass of wine and croque monsieur. Now, I realize this is the third time we had had this particular sandwich but it's really very tasty. After we finished lunch we headed back to the train station. My feet were tired and I was tired of being wet. We went looking for a small superette to buy water and found one after we wandered down a side street. Got three 1.5 liter bottles of water for less than 1 euro each. What a deal!!!! Finding the RER train at the Challet les Halles was not too hard. We followed the signs and the RER was there about the time we arrived. Got our seats and settled in for our end-of-the-line ride. We got back to the hotel around 3pm and had a nice long rest.
We decided to have dinner at the Sequoia Lodge. On a previous walkabout, we had seen this restaurant and it's rotisserie grill and it looked very good. The Hunter's Grill offers a fixed price three course meal and that's what we got plus a whole bottle of wine. I can't remember the last time just the two of us ordered and drank a whole bottle in one sitting. The meal started with a very nice salad with lardons (thick bacon) and a poached egg (I got them to keep the egg off mine) and some great bread. The French know bread. The main course was meat and a lot of it. First, you got a sausage and a pork tenderloin medallion wrapped in bacon, corn on the cob and potatoes. A few minutes later we got a small piece of beef and a chicken leg. All of this was pretty darn good. Then for dessert, Andy opted for a chocolate thing and I got an apple thing. He got the best dessert [Andy: In France I always go for the chocolate dessert; it's usually the best one]. It was a great meal and we walked back to the hotel very satisfied. I went to my post on the tiny balcony and watched the technical rehearsal for the fireworks show that will start the end of June. How did I know it was for the fireworks? Because, the sound of aerials bombs going off were built into the music! Very cool! They were moving lights around on the castle too. Different shades of pink and lavender.
Friday, June 13. Today was a very lazy day for us. We went into DLP and I rode Space Mountain using one more of our guest FPs. I got to ride with a very surprised kid when the teens in front of me realized that one of them had to ride with me. Oh well. I am not doing this one again. It's a head banger like the Indy coaster and I just can't take it. [Andy: I already knew this; that's why I didn't ride.] I don't fit into the headrest well enough to make it not hurt. Next, we went to Honey I Shrunk the Audience. This is the identical 3D movie to the one at Epcot; it's in English. The back rows have translation headsets for other languages. Afterwards, I took some more photos and we decided on a late lunch at Casey's Hot Dog Stand. It was OK but I am not a fan of tepid hotdogs. The fries were very good. And the beer was good too. We were sitting outside and I watched a very bored, very thin French woman smoke a cigarette. Then her male friend came out with a hot dog and two beers. She took a beer and he tucked into the hotdog with a lot of gusto. She continued to slowly smoke her cigarette and drink her beer and I now knew the perfect diet! Back to the hotel to rest.
Dinner tonight is at the California Grill. We promised ourselves two of these wonderful meals. When we went to check in, we had our priority seating stub but the young woman said she would take care of it herself and then told us no room! I showed here the slip and one of the second waiters recognized us, and Andy pointed to our name (Andrew, not Cubbon) in the computer. So that problem was quickly solved and we were seated in the same non-smoking section with Phil as our waiter again. He's great and knew that Andy wanted the Chocolate tart. He even showed him a whole one so Andy would not worry. Again they started us with some of their wonderful dinner rolls and French butter. And then for starters we shared the Tomato Three Ways again. Andy had the Monkfish and I had sole [Andy: she's right, the Monkfish was the best choice this time]. We had a half bottle of a lovely French white wine the name of which I cannot spell. It was so light and just right with the fish. Plus a 100 cl bottle of water. Gotta have the water. Dessert was the tart for Andy and I had the raspberry tart again. I would have tried something else but it was so darn good. We also had coffee. We rolled out of the restaurant and went for a walk. Gotta walk after a meal like that. When we got back to the room, I switched on the TV and we watched Survivor in French and Greg, Le Millionaire in French. Talk about a global village! Greg was a construction worker who had to be taught to ride a horse, use the right fork, etc. Sounds familiar to you? The women on this show were very similar to the ones on Joe Millionaire. There wasn't any special stuff going on in the Park tonight. I saw some lights but they seemed to be maintenance lights. Guess they all got the night off. It's Friday and we had one more day here.
Saturday, June 14. Last Day. Have to pack and get us in a travel mode for tomorrow. We wanted to see what we haven't seen, again in non-commando mode. We headed over to WDS. It was almost time for Moteurs& Action! so of course we went to see it for a third and final time. We sat on the far left this time to experience the show from a different angle and it was wonderful from that side too. You could see the cars getting into position behind the scenery. We then completed our tour with a visit to the Art of Disney Animation attraction. The second part of this has a cute sequence with Mushu from Mulan. An aminator was conversing with with the guests and explaining just how Mushu got his character and shape. Mushu was not amused at some points. Eddie Murphy was Mushu's voice and it was very cleverly done. And lastly a trip through the Television Production Tour, which was just OK. It's big attraction for the guests was taking the tour that was the only way to get to the interactive games gallery (similar to the one at Innoventions at Epcot). The only attraction we skipped was the Aladdin Magic Carpet ride; it's similar to the one at MK.
We left the park and headed back to the room to continue packing and for a rest. We had 2:30pm reservations at Walt's on Main St. at DLP for a late lunch. We got to the park around 2:00pm and just watched people for a while until our reservation time. We were shown to an upstairs room and seated in a room decorated to look like 1900s parlor. The décor was decidedly Disney since it was all done like Captain Nemo's parlor. I wandered a bit and the other rooms look a lot like the one we were in. There was an ornate mantle and fussy furniture. We had the fixed price luncheon, which was quite tasty. I wish I could remember what it was.
After lunch we lumbered around the park. We went to Pirates again and then left the park during the Princess Parade. It was just about over for us. We left the park and decided to walk out to Hotel Cheyenne and Santa Fe to take pictures. I had the digital camera with me and I had been taking photos like a crazed person in the Park. Don't like it, dump it and move on. It was getting late and we were a bit peckish so we were looking for something light for dinner and finally decided on& Mc Donald's. Yes, indeed. We don't eat at Mc Donald's twice a year and so far we had been to this one twice. Well, I pushed my way to the front, got in the wrong line (the line where everyone seemed to be ordering for a very large families), and got the food. It was really pretty good. We strolled through Disney Village past the Salsa contest and the bucking bull machine and headed to our room for final packing. BBC World had an interesting show on about a man in America who had survived an avalanche and bridge building in England. Nice background noise while we were closing it all up. Early to bed. We have to get up at 5:30am.
Sunday, June 15. Well, this is the .dreaded going home. day. The day we both pretty much would like to avoid. Its lines and waiting for hours. [Andy: I get a good book or two and attempt to zone out for the duration.sometimes I succeed.] I woke up at 3:30am. Could not sleep any longer so I showered and got ready. Andy got up at 5:30am and got dressed. [Andy: dang this was early. Almost needed CPR to get going]. The taxi was picking us up at 7:30. We could not take the bus since it wouldn't get us there before 9:00am when the flight closed. No breakfast for us. We had a couple cookies and some water in the room but that was it. We schlepped the luggage down to the reception area and the taxi was there already. He flew to the airport at about 90 mph. [Andy: The roads were quite empty that early on a Sunday, and he only hit that speed for a couple of short runs, mostly he was doing 75-80 mph.] We were at Charles De Gaul at 8:15am. Very good time and plenty early and only 95 euros. That's a hunk of money; about $110 U.S. But you do what you have to do.
We were quickly checked in and went into the duty free area where I shopped for French chocolates and stinky cheese. We love strong French cheese and will have a little party when we get home. The salesclerk did a great job wrapping this up tight since it can smell. No pâté or sausages since they aren't allowed into the US. We went down to the Business Class lounge and used the Internet machines to clear out email and dump the spam. The French keyboard presented quite a challenge as some but not all the letters and punctuation are on different keys.
That done we went up to board the plane to Miami. We got on a bus that took us over to the new Air France terminal and we walked up and into the plane. We had very nice seats. The business class section wasn't full and I don't think the coach was either but they try very hard to keep people separated. The First Class section was on the main level in the nose on this plane. The last Air France flight we took home, First Class was upstairs which I preferred since we got upgraded to First Class last year. The upstairs on this flight was more Business Class. The plane was late leaving since they had to rebalance the cargo hold. We left about an hour and thirty minutes late. Good thing we did not have a tight connection for our Atlanta flight. The flight was nine hours. We were served a lovely meal of Guinea Fowl, potatoes, salad, cheese and dessert. We drank a little wine; I watched About Schmidt (I enjoyed it), slept a bit and walked the aisles. On Air France they set up a self-service area with wine, water, soft drinks and fruit. That was really nice. I spent time there watching out the window at nothing but clouds and just doing something on a long flight that was not the end of our day. Shortly before we landed, they offered us lunch. I still don't know what it was but I think it was a salmon mousse. It looked a lot like high-end cat food. I couldn't eat it. The garlic, butter, chive sauce was wonderful so I ate that and the cheese and the pineapple dessert.
We landed in Miami about one hour late. They had announced tight connecting flights and I think they had some folks mustered to get off first since they had tight connections and you have to get through Immigration, baggage and customs and before you can go on. It's a colossal pain especially at Miami. Our Air France flight came in at Terminal A and the Delta flight left from Terminal H, at the opposite end of the airport. But first we had to get the bags. Since we were traveling Business Class, our bags get priority status. It worked on the flight over but this one, no way. Since they had rebalanced the load in Paris, our bags came off last and one bag came off and the attendant had already taken it off the belt before we ever saw it. Then the meat-sniffing beagle stopped by the cheese bag! Oh no!!!!! Her handler asked if we had meat in the bag. No, no meat. She asked to see the contents and opened the cheese and said is that it? Yes, not meat, sausages, pâté. So she moved on. Whew! I was afraid the cheese was going to be dinner for someone else. Then we had to hand in our customs declaration and that took time since the customs guy wanted to chat and not about our customs form. Then we had to recheck the bags to Atlanta. And of course they had to be checked for bombs or whatever they check for. Then we were free to exit into the airport and walk four miles to our Delta flight, recheck-in there and go through security, with shoes off, AGAIN!!! Andy was in a bad mood by now. [Andy: This zoning-out trick only works for so long.] We had been up for close to 20 hours now. I got out some of our US currency and ransomed a pizza and a couple drinks. Then I headed to the newsstand and found the 4th volume of Harry Potter, bought that and started making cell phone calls. Thank god for wonderful friends. Sha-Ron and Kenneth were coming to pick us up in Atlanta.
Andy was pretty amused that the first announcement we heard was in Spanish! At the gate next to ours was a charter flight that was like hours late with mostly or all Spanish-speaking passengers. Something had happened to the plane and it was a mess. Our flight to Atlanta was fine. As hard are the flight attendants tried, I did not want anything to drink but water and Andy was just growling by then. As we were leaving the plane in Atlanta, our kind of town, Andy said no more flying international into Miami ever again. I hope he's right. We landed in Cincinnati two years ago and that was a piece of cake. This was awful. The security guard said lots of planes had been delayed due to storms in Miami, which increased the general mess there, but still no more.
In Atlanta, as we were trudging towards Carousel 9 (the farthest one of course), there was Sha-Ron and Kenneth. Inside waiting for us. The car was parked close by and we had a great ride home. We got to the house about 9:50pm. Sha-Ron and Kenneth stuck around just to make sure the house was fine and took off. I was in bed by 10:15pm, over 24 hours since I got up.
So that's it. I am .Disneyland Resort Paris.'d out. I have seen enough. I loved the week in the fancy hotel and the weather was pretty good too and the rest was wonderful. I am thinking about Disneyland Tokyo but that's in the distant future.
Thanks for reading. Happy to answer questions.