With the arrival of guests comes the task of ensuring they have a pleasant stay. With some, it's more challenging than others. With Lil' Dave, it's fairly easy. He has an idea of what he wants to do - whether together or alone. And unlike last May when his visit was more culturally intense, this visit he wanted to throw in a bit of fun. So yesterday, we went to Disneyland!
Just an hour outside of Paris, it's easily accessible by train. When the theme park first opened, apparently it had its opponents in the French community. But from the looks of it yesterday, Disneyland has assimilated quite quickly.
Walt's European vision was overflowing with tourists - most speaking French. And with school out for the week, the 13-18 year old base was unfortunately out in full force on the crisp fall day. Besides cutting in line, they're obnoxious behavior made for longer lines and resulting wait times.
We stood in line for hours. We waited one hour to buy park tickets and another 45 minutes for the Haunted Mansion. After our 35-minute line for a "fast food" lunch (and undeniably one of the worst hamburgers I've EVER had), by 1:00 we had barely made a dent in Disneyland.
For the next few hours, we worked our way around to the Indian Jones ride (85 minute wait for an one minute subtle thrill) and Alice's Curious Labyrinth (targeted for kids 5-8 but featuring a castle with one of the best views of Disneyland). Both rides were must-sees considering they both are unduplicated attractions from the States. But around 4:00, not only was I a bit sick from hunger, we had to head to Disneyland's neighboring park, Walt Disney Studios, to make us of our second pass we purchased for an addition 10 euros (53 euros total for the day).
I could barely walk. The "burger" hadn't settled well. I was dehydrated. My body was in shock. So after a quick ride on the Rock n' Roll Rollercoaster (a carbon copy of MGM's but with only a 15 minute wait) and a pathetic detour through Armageddon's Special Effects show (no wait but a poor excuse for an attraction), we rushed over to the Disney Village in hopes of finding McDonald's or another quick dining option for a snack.
Disney Village is a bit like Universal Studios Citywalk in Orlando. With movie theatres, bowling, shopping and more, it's more condensed than Disney's Village. After searching for McDonald's with no luck, we settled for a New York Style Deli serving "New York Style Baguettes." Yes, that's right. New York is now known for its baguette sandwiches!
Of course, after finishing our snack, we stepped 10 feet outside the deli and spotted the McDonald's to our right. Though it was tucked away in a corner, the McDonald's was gigantic. I'm not sure how we missed the oversized arches, but considering they support our stay in Paris, we visited the quick serve restaurant and purchased a sundae for a sweet finish to our meal.
With only a few hours left before the park's closing, we returned to Disneyland to ride Space Mountain 2. With Fast Passes finished for the day, we were forced to stand in a winding line full of "cutters" for almost 80 minutes. Dave was a bit cold. I was still a bit nauseous. But we knew the ride was to be our grand finale so we forged ahead.
If we were to apply a calculation for time waited and resulting thrills from each ride, Space Mountain would rank behind the Rock n' Roll spectacular. But on it's own, Space Mountain 2 is far superior than the original (as it should be considering it wasn't built in 1971) and well worth at least a Fast Pass wait.
With eight o'clock looming on the horizon, we rushed through shops to find Dave a magnet and gift for his sister. We were unsure of the mad dash to the train station so we wasted no time in exiting the park. After another snack break (milk and apples), we hopped the train to return to Paris.
I was glad to be leaving. The day was fun but my seasickness was taking over. The hour train ride home seemed like an eternity. But after helping a lost couple find their way, we raced home to not only find something to eat, but to finally relax from an exhausting day of over stimulation and standing in line.
Not that I have plans to return to Disneyland Paris, but if I did, there are some lessons I learned. Arrive early to purchase your ticket, or find an alternative on-line or in an agency near you. Pack a light snack, or two, for times when food isn't accessible. Source Fast Pass entry times, for all rides, upon your arrival. And most importantly, go with someone you cherish. That way, if all else fails, not only will you make good use out of standing in line, they'll be more apt to withstand your bitchiness. And with me, that's always a possibility!