Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Disney Paris

The husband was in Texas for business while the girls and I were in England with nothing but time on our hands since the school year already ended.  What to do, what to do? I know - convince a childhood friend from Texas who now lives in Holland to meet us at Disney Paris for a little nausea-inducing fun.  Walk until your feet are swollen, eat junk food like cotton candy at least twice a day and get on all of the rides that make upside down loop-di-loops.  Isn't that what every fortysomething momma dreams of doing for summer vacation?

But seriously... we had a good time.  The crowds weren't too terrible and we knew what to expect with the French folks having no shame about shoving their way to the front of lines and blowing cigarette smoke in your face.

My friend's 8-year-old son Adam became a sort of honorary little brother over the course of the trip.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon and wasted no time getting into Disneyland once we had all chowed down at the Rainforest Cafe in Disney Village.  It was terribly convenient that we had to walk through this retail mecca dedicated to all things fun and Disney and pricey on our way into both parks, Disneyland and Disney Studios.  

The parks were very similar to Orlando in terms of attractions, but it was on a much smaller scale that made it easier to experience the whole shebang in one full day.  Plus we had the added bonus of temps maxing out around 70° F for our entire stay.  It was a refreshing change from the heat and humidity that beats you down until you cry uncle after a couple hours braving an Orlando June.  

There were little things in the park that reminded you you're in France.

For some reason, the Buzz Lightyear blabbering on in French just tickled my funnybone.  

My youngest is NOT a fan of the rides that lift her out of her seat or toss her around so that she feels like she's about to fall to her death.  The first day she stuck to the very safe rides.  However, she decided to give Crush's Coaster a whirl on day two.  She had psyched herself up for it by watching a video of the ride on You Tube.  I was afraid it came across as a bit tame compared to the real thing... and I was so terribly right.

The teen and Adam loved it while my youngest was reduced to tears and shouts of "Get me off this thing - I don't like it!"  About 10 seconds into the ride.  It whirled around, dipping and dropping and curving, all in the dark, and totally freaked her out. She was kinda weepy but held it together until we got off and then the tears really flowed.  The teacups are definitely more her speed.  The spinning doesn't bother her - it's that sensation of falling that scares the bejesus out of her.

After a good night's sleep to get over the coaster freak out, she decided to give Big Thunder Mountain a go the next day.  She just about talked herself out of it as we shuffled along in the queue up to the entrance gates.  But she persevered and had a blast.  And so we all rode it again.

We were too cheap to purchase the pic of us on it, but I snapped a really bad photo of the pic on the monitor.

The teen and Adam are behind the lone woman in the front car while the younger one and I are in the last car, ducking our heads and holding on for dear life.  No one has ever been thrown off this ride, but you just can't be too careful, hence the death grip and closed eyes so we won't see the ground rushing up to meet us.

Above I took a pic of the teen taking a pic of my friend and her son in the exit area of Big Thunder Mountain.  Her Minnie Mouse ears with the polka dot bow are too danged cute.

No Disney visit is complete without seeing the parade of characters, albeit from a distance since we weren't willing to sit on the pavement for 30 minutes before it started.

For the grand finale at 11:00 pm Saturday evening - gotta wait that late because it's not full on dark until then - we camped out on a bench with a great view of Cinderella's castle at 9:30.  The kids climbed up on the bench seat while my friend and I stood on the pavement to watch the show.  I always love this extravaganza of lights and lasers, music and dancing fountains and fireworks.  

And now the obligatory cute shots I took along the way.

The younger daughter and I were killing time while the three of them rode some coaster requiring a vomit bag.  You push a button and rain pelts the umbrella - how fun!

Candied apples... YUM, YUM!

Above: We stopped at the Aladdin scene for a pic with the lamp (Adam) and bed of nails (teen).  The younger daughter struck a very genie-esque pose.  Below: The younger daughter and Adam climbed atop the Fantasia broom for a quick pic.

The girls just had to have a couple of those Vinylmation characters.  I wouldn't get one because it's a random thing where you can't choose the one you want so it's a surprise when you open the box.  Both girls opted for a Toy Story figure.  The teen got the horse while the younger one got Woody.  

The younger daughter took the above pic of the castle at about 10:15 pm while we were waiting for the big finale show.  

Disney's PR department has a rather inflated view of their parks, calling them the happiest places on earth.  I think that's a bit of a stretch, but I'll admit it was a fun way to visit friends and keep the kids off our backs engaged while enjoying all things Mickey.

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