Peter Schouten -- February 1998 -- Disneyland Paris (DCR)
DLP Trip report February 1998
Report of a three adult, 1 child stay at DLP's Camp Davy Crockett
Friday, February 27
3 am. At the sound of my alarm, I jump to my feet and switch on the computer to say goodbye to my #RADP-friends on Sandnet. I finally give in admitting that I wont find my Mickey World Traveller Money Bag, with emergency foreign currencies. Having looked for it in all corners of my home, I guess it must be lost and its the first thing thats not as planned.
5 am. Arriving at friends house. Friend is almost awake, his girlfriend is already awake and her ten year old son is very much awake. While we wait till everybody is ready a early morning radio show gives a riddle. "Cheese" I say. Looking at me in amazement friend asks what I mean. "The riddle" I say. The guy on the radio repeats a phone number and friend starts calling it. Hes the first caller, at this hour not really surprising. Girlfriend comes in and says shes ready to leave. "Just a minute, gotta win a T-shirt first" is our reply.
12 pm. Later than planned we arrive at Davy Crockett Ranch. Its the designated drivers first time in France, and shes not keen on the traffic signs in this country we all dislike. I wouldnt say we missed all exits we could, but we missed quite a few. I check in. The people in front of me all had reservation problems, but neither of them booked directly through CRO and most are classic case examples of how not to do it. It also occurs to me that only 2 people in the lobby are foreign, both of them are castmembers. All others are Dutch. We know its Carnival vacation, so you can expect a Dutchman to take a trip, but since there are only 16 million of Dutch natives the percentage is very high. The number of fellow countrymen was so high, that I spoke more Dutch than English or French during this trip, which was also a strange experience, being abroad and all.
After viewing my Walk around the World brick we enter the park. Since much time has been lost we start with Frontierland, knowing that we can finish it easily in an afternoon.
The ten year old doesnt like black-box attractions, and since you can never really tell what will be next while waiting in line he gets really nervous. Unfortunately only the ride itself can assure him that thrill rides are fun (although he rode rollercoasters I wont even dare to ride). His mother likes rollercoasters to be fast and nauseating, but doesnt like being scared and refuses to go inside Phantom Manor. I tell her shes nuts and afterwards she admits its more like beautiful than scary. A side-order of fries helps us bridge lunch and dinner and after some shopping in Main Street Im fully enjoying my Shareholders Club discount card. We go back to the Davy Crockett Ranch.
"Didnt I say: write down the parking lot number?". Yes, I did, but I forgot about it when I left the car as well. Like so many other people feeling stupid we look for the car, wondering why we didnt have a bright pink elephant as transportation.
7pm. At the ranch it turns out CRO didnt inform me correctly of the beds in the cabins. I was told 1 double bed and 1 bunk bed, but there are two bunk beds, which is considered a major problem by travel partners. There are no free 6-person cabins, and I wont pay for an extra bungalow for just me, so a solution is found in exchange for me not sleeping very much (second day in a row). We cook ourselves, with the electric stove, microwave, coffee machine and dish washer that come with the cabin. Father and son go swimming and I try to reschedule for the weekend to come, taking into account that we didnt see much of the park on this first day and that for a rainy and stormy February there are simply too much people in the park. I also learn from the mother that her son has already been on the Python-rollercoaster, which makes me wonder why he shouldnt ride Space Mountain then (something we decided before we left). It will be the first attraction tomorrow, and we both think he should go.
Saturday, 28 February
5 am. Child is the first to awake (not counting myself, since I didnt sleep). His mother quickly follows, and after I turn on the lights at 7 daddy is able but not willing to get up.
8.30 am. Well, this is a first as well: theres a queue at breakfast. Apparantly people who can pick up a plate and leave are waiting in line behind the people who wait for their bacon in the American breakfast. With a free continental breakfast, however, most people dont opt for that and it looks very silly. Since we also have the last table in the house, we decide to be the first to enter the breakfast cafe tomorrow.
9:15 am. In the dark waiting area of Space Mountain the kid gets the chills again. This time theres no reasoning with him, he starts crying as his final argument. I want to make sure it isnt only the darkness and the screaming that is scaring him, and assure him that he can get out before its to late. At the final chicken exit I give him the choice and he decides to leave it. Since the attraction is over in 5 minutes and he says hes big enough to be left alone, he waits for us to come out. After the ride his mother is convinced it was a good thing we didnt take him, because there were many things he might not like. We finish Discoveryland and take most of Adventureland (we skipped Swiss Family Treehouse). At Indiana Jones et le temple du peril a waiting line of 1 hour and 15 minutes is found, the only real long line we will have to face this trip. The boy is worried there will be a looping in the rollercoaster, and his mother signals to ignore his whining. I lie to him that I didnt notice a looping last times, but that there will be a rubber hammer inside the attraction that will hit him. Very anxious to see that he rides Indy and tells me afterwards that there was a looping and that he enjoyed it very much. "There was? Hmm, have to pay more attention next time then. And they replaced the rubber hammer, I noticed".
6:30 pm. The Buffalo Bill Wild West Dinner Show (or La Legende du Buffalo Bill, as its known now in leaflets) has gotten a new outside appearance. We are in time for the show, which is too late, and our seats have little view of what is happening on the far right. One of our waiters is a total idiot who doesnt speak or smile during his serving drinks and dinner. The other one is very talkative and wants to learn a few catchphrases in Dutch. When I learn him "Careful, its hot" for use with the serving of the dessert, he has all the time to practice, because like I said there were dutch everywhere you looked.
Some shopping in Disney Village concludes the day, although a nice ceramic Dopey is not to be found, which friend had set his heart on. One American chat-friend needs not worry, though, for I found everything and more he wanted. Everyone is tired, and although we want to get up before others do, no one wants to commit to that.
Sunday, March 1st
7 am. Everyone has been awake for some time now, and I even slept 6 hours, but even the wake-up call doesnt wake daddy. When mommy jumps on top of him and all lights are turned on, he must admit he is awake, but just does not want to rise. A precise hit on his receding hairline with a bag of sugar, does the trick. The child comes to me and says that after a good night sleep he decided to try Space Mountain after all.
7:45 am. We are the first to arrive at the breakfast hall and everything goes smooth.
Afterwards we meet Goofy and Pluto and kid has to be helped over his shyness with the remark: "Of course they are your friends, they know you as the kid who watches their cartoons all the time, dont they?"
9 am. We buy an autograph book (because he did enjoy the hug from Goofy) and enter the park where we are confronted with Goofy again (changed clothes quickly) and some other characters. Daddy is enjoying this as well. Today is Fantasyland and the characters fit nice in with todays theming.
10:15 am. CM by the name of Hanne tries to put us 4 in 1 row of the boat at Storybook land. Being with two large adults this is impossible, and the only way off the moving platform is for the party to split in two boats. Only advantage was that daddy convinced the person next to him to give him the new entrance card, which even I dont possess yet.
11 am. When we spot a crowd like the 3 OClock parade is early it turns out that a massive amount of characters has been set loose, and all but two apes (Abu and Rafiki) escape our signature hunting daddy. A photographer with many black coat CMs around him is making pictures of me and a grey coat on mission from Orlando expresses his wish to be at the opening of Animal Kingdom, which he must miss because of this assignment. When I meet Captain Hook, I see that his sword is hanging on his back and point this out to him by stealing it and challenging him to a duel. Let me tell you, he got very cross with me, but bystanders seem to enjoy it.
4 pm. Just before the parade we find a ceramic figure of Dopey, so all shopping is done.
Only five vehicles are in the parade, because of Carnival they invited costumed people from around Europe to join the parade. Another huge amount of characters is found on
Main Square at the end of the day, and kid manages to kiss both Mickey and Minnie. A penguin from Mary Poppins comes up to me and gives me a major hug. Its a female penguin, definitely a female penguin <G>
6 pm. Because we have a long way to go we skip the Electric Light Parade and go to Annettes diner in Disney Village for a nice meal. The manager of the place found it a little silent I guess, for she jumped on the table and gave her rendition of YMCA. 4 castmembers decided later in the song to join her, 1 child, and a party of 4 whos names I wont reveal, but you know them by now. After that song the traditional Greased Lightning broke down the house, and I thanked the manager for doing this so early in the evening (at 9 pm they always do Greased Lightning), and we leave for home. At the gas station the first time occurs that cash would come in handy, for cigarettes cant be bought on a Credit Card. The moron behind the counter probably sells stolen cigarettes, else why would someone want to do that? A boycot for the Esso gas station across the street from Hotel Sante Fe is in order!
11 pm. I cant open my eyes, yet Im wide awake. I cant move my hands except in uncontrolled motions. My body is definitely telling me that after 4 days its time for a full night sleep. We get at friends house after 1 am, and like a zombie I get on my bike to be in bed by 2.
Monday, March 2nd
I awake at 10 am, read my mail at 11, and open a letter which tells me I have two hours to get to the office, which is two and a half hours away. Even more tired I hit the sack thisevening.
Tuesday, March 3rd
2 pm. Starting work again, behind the computer at home. When I come back from restroom stop I trip over.. my Mickey World Traveller Money Bag... go figure.
7 pm. Writing a trip report for those interested. Will add the pictures when they are developed later this week. Need to make a bill for travel partners, and wonder when I will be back. You tell me :-)
Peter Schouten (FDC Timekeeper/FilmInfo)