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  1. #1

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    First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Y'all may remember me from a few weeks back, asking my aggressively newbie questions; and here I am, a few weeks after my trip, recounting my adventures. I took upwards of two thousand pictures on my four day jaunt, so be prepared for some slow loading times, in addition to dozens of pictures, I've decided to be somewhat long-winded, so beware... and here we go!

    The players:
    - Me.

    Yep, just me, a nineteen-year-old university student in England who is a veteran of both stateside Disney parks, and who has since made it a goal to visit all of the Disney parks worldwide. This was my first solo trip to a park, and my first solo vacation, really, so it felt very different; but I consider myself an outgoing, self-reliant person, so to me, it was an adventure.

    Day One

    I departed Sunday 28 November. At the hellish hour of 4.30 AM. Well, I awoke at that hour. Which didn't feel so great after waiting for my housemate to return until one in the morning with the Euros I was going to buy off of her. No matter, I was really too excited to sleep anyway, taxi at 5 AM, to Heathrow Airport to await my 8 AM flight to Charles de Gaulle. I wasn't checking any luggage, so I breezed through the airport and was seated at the gate by 5.30. Two and a half hours of reading for me. (Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood, if anyone cares. It was really good). For about the first hour and a half, I was the only person waiting, I got a bit nervous that I was in the wrong area, but nope, I checked the board again, I was at the proper gate. An AirFrance employee came around and informed me that because the flight was so small, they would gate-check my second carry-on (a small rolling suitcase) and I would be able to pick it up on the tarmac. Slightly put-off by his talking about being able to leave it on the tarmac, I smiled and let him tag my bag.

    We started boarding early, and to my surprise it was such a small plane that we did actually walk across the tarmac to board. Just like I imagine flying used to be like, we paraded across the tarmac, left our bags, and then marched up a fold-out staircase. The Sunday morning flight was practically empty, and we each had a whole row of seats to ourselves. It was a lovely, pleasant flight, taken up with me reading the very few English captions that the AirFrance magazine included and enjoying the delicious pan au chocolat offered to me by the stewardess.

    And then before I knew it, I was in France. And I was adding a third country to the list of my world travels.

    I found the bus transportation fairly easily, though I did spend two minutes waiting in a queue that I didn't need to (what can I say, the Brit in me loves to queue). I found the desk shortly after, the man spoke rapidly in French at me, I panicked for a moment, and squeaked out a sorry 'Sorry'. He said something unintelligible and pointed me to the clearly-marked Disneyland bus outside the sliding glass doors. I grinned and dashed off, not entirely pleased with my own reaction to my first non-English encounter.

    I boarded the bus (which felt oddly like I had hopped aboard Magical Express in Orlando) and then I was truly on my way.



    It took me a good ten minutes to realise we were now driving on the opposite side of the road. About forty minutes later we arrived on Disney property, and I tried to contain my excitement, we stopped at the Sequoia Lodge first, and I couldn't help but think it looked like a cheap Wilderness Lodge and then we arrived at my home for the next three nights:





    My initial thought when we turned into the drive and I got the full vista was, "Oh, where's Clint Eastwood?' and then, 'Oh, this is so much better than an All-Star'.

    We were dropped off right outside Reception, and I got helped right away, with nary a queue in sight, by the first in a long line of amazing, lovely, bilingual, generally very good looking French cast members. And lucky me, my room was ready (at 10 in the morning! before a 3 o'clock check in! now this is good service.)

    I was put in Building 51, which was pretty much adjacent to La Cantina (where breakfast was served). Score.

    Here's my room, it's pretty standard, but it felt like heaven to have a hotel room all to myself; I could sleep on either bed, shower with the door open, watch whatever I want on television, walk around naked if I want to. Never before had I looked forward to having my own house.



    And the view outside of my window:



    I absolutely adored the theme of the resort, because I love Route 66 kitsch, it was so fun, and it was even more festive due to the impending holidays. I unpacked the little I had brought for my four days, and then, eager beaver that I am, I suited up in a half dozen layers, and I was off and on my way to the parks, less than four hours from when I had been in foggy England.

    Here's an idea of how close I was to the main lobby, when I stepped out of my building, this is what I could see:



    I stopped on my way through the building to take a peek at where I would be eating breakfast the next day:



    Then I found my way to the bus stop.



    Here is where I'll stop and sing the praises of the Disneyland Paris bus system. I never waited more than five minutes for a bus. The double long accordion buses were so so good. No one was ever left angry at the stop, because they could all fit on the bus. Plus, the simple cycle of the system made confusion impossible.

    Waiting for the bus I had my first Walt-spotting on a new continent:



    Also, remember what this looks like, as it's not going to look quite like this tomorrow:



    You can also see the bus that I got on coming up in that photo.

    We disembarked outside of the railway station, marched steadfastly past the Disney Village without a second look, my eyes were on the prize, Disneyland Parc.

    But first, obligatory French flag picture:



    And then:



    BIEVENUE DISNEYLAND. SUCCESSSSSS.



    I was quietly in awe at the beauty of the place, the gardens, the fountains, the bridges, the gazebos. I shot into OHMYGODI'MATDISNEYLANDPARIS mode rather quickly, which manifested itself as taking pictures of anything and everything. It felt sort of odd that I had no one to freak out with, but I was having my own moment that I was glad no one could interrupt.

    I followed the stream of people under that fantasy of a hotel, and I walked directly under the sign



    wanting to feel the full weight of the thing.

    I slid my ticket through and then I was in Disneyland. GAHHH.

    My heart started to beat fast as I emerged from under the Disneyland Hotel, and it truly started started to thump as I ducked under train station.



    I tortured myself, delaying my Castle gratification by taking photos around town square



    And then the moment. I rounded the enormous Christmas tree in Town Square and laid my eyes on it



    The most picturesque fairytale castle I had ever seen. I would be lying if I said I didn't cry a little bit.




    The rest of my first day in my next post.
    Last edited by nicoleloveswalt; 12-23-2010 at 11:41 PM.
    someday, when we are wiser,
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    when we have learned


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  2. #2

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Fantastic report! Keep it coming.

  3. #3

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Nice review! Waiting for more!

  4. #4

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing, anticipating some more beautiful pictures!


  5. #5

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Very much enjoying this.
    I'm a student in England too (apart from I'm English), what university are you at?

    You're very brave for travelling on you're own! Also, this must have been very expensive!

    I love seeing trip reports to any of the resorts through the eyes of first-timers. Keep it coming.
    Shiny and New

    DISNEY TRIPS
    October 2000 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2001 - Walt Disney World Resort
    April 2002 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    October 2003 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2004 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2005 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2007 - Walt Disney World Resort
    December 2008 - Walt Disney World Resort
    July 2009 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    July 2011 - Disneyland Resort California

    July 2012 - UK Cultural Representative Cast Member at Epcot


    (VERY OLD!)
    TRIP REPORTS


  6. #6

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Thanks for your trip report! Can't wait to read more.

  7. #7

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Great report so far! Did you consider the train too (although I bet it is more than the flight). We did a european vacation in 2008 and took the train from DLP to London - it was pretty neat to leave right from the station next to the parks and be in St. Pancras a short while later.

    We did stop by at Santa Fe for the pin trading night. It does look very nice! We stayed at Hotel New York with our DVC points.

    Can't wait to see the rest of the report! Want to go back!

  8. #8

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    This report is off to a great start and I can't wait to read more!
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  9. #9

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Great beginning of your trip report. I loved your naration because you recreated the feelings I probably would have had in your situation

  10. #10

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Can't wait for more!!!

  11. #11

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Love the TR so far! I'm also making my first DLP trip this summer, so I'm really interested in how yours went. But looks like it was a blast!! I'm going solo too, so dont feel alone in doing that. How did it go, being by yourself? Are the CMs and guests there friendly and outgoing like here?

  12. #12

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Fantastic TR, thanks for sharing. Looking for reading more.

  13. #13

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    This trip report is interesting, that it's only one person. Anyways, post more!


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    Also, this picture and my Avatar was taken with a Nintendo DSi System and Nyko Magnification Lens & Case for DSi.

  14. #14

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Thanks for all of the lovely feedback, folks, and boy, do I feel honoured to be in the weekly roundup!

    Thought I'd answer the questions you've posed before posting the next part

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway View Post
    Very much enjoying this.
    I'm a student in England too (apart from I'm English), what university are you at?
    Royal Holloway, University of London

    Quote Originally Posted by mrshiny View Post
    Great report so far! Did you consider the train too (although I bet it is more than the flight). We did a european vacation in 2008 and took the train from DLP to London - it was pretty neat to leave right from the station next to the parks and be in St. Pancras a short while later.
    I did consider the train, but for the days/times I wanted to go (i.e. a Sunday morning), it was not only inconvenient, but more expensive. I live nearer to Heathrow than to London, so it was just a quick taxi ride there for my 8AM flight, I wouldn't have been able to get on a train till around 11AM, and it would have been a waste of a day; in addition I was only booking three weeks in advance, so it was phenomenally expensive.

    I may as well have it out with the cost here. It cost me 391 pounds (about $600) for the package I booked which included airfare, airport transfers, three nights in the Hotel Santa Fe, a four day uh, Park Hopper, early park entry and breakfast. I spent an additional 10 quid ($15) a day on food. Considering I was alone, and did therefore have to pay for a four-person hotel room, I don't think I did too badly in terms of price.

    Quote Originally Posted by HiddenMickey87 View Post
    Love the TR so far! I'm also making my first DLP trip this summer, so I'm really interested in how yours went. But looks like it was a blast!! I'm going solo too, so dont feel alone in doing that. How did it go, being by yourself? Are the CMs and guests there friendly and outgoing like here?
    I loved being by myself, although I do frequently do things by myself, and I can see that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. I (obviously) like to take photos, and I found that I barely noticed I was alone when I was occupied with my camera and getting the perfect shot. You get things done much much faster when you're by yourself, so after sailing through all the rides, you have tons of time to really soak up the atmosphere.

    Now seems as good a time as any to address the whole 'French people are rude' thing.

    The cast members are absolutely amazing, all were polite and friendly, and I would say I didn't meet a single cast member who didn't seem to be loving their job; Stateside, you do occasionally run into a cast member who just doesn't seem into it. Absolutely never happened in France. Also, their language skills really deserve praise.

    The only thing I would say, and this applies to Disney Parks worldwide, is that they need to sort out their policies for single people. Most attractions will give you a row to yourself. And I believe this is how it should be, if I wait in the queue, same as everyone else, I think I should be entitled to my little bit of privacy. But two of the times I rode Pirates at DLP, I was put in a row with other people. Once with a couple who proceeded to make out through the ride, the other time with three little girls whose three mothers were sitting in the row ahead of us, and who kept turning around to take pictures of their little ones. All I could do was smile apologetically for ruining their vacation photos. It's just awkward for all parties.

    The guests. Okay, I'll preface this with the fact that I did go at a rather uncrowded time of the year, but the guests did not seem any more rude or pushy that tourists anywhere in the world. To be honest, the French seemed to be a bit more in control of their children. And children were not as plentiful as I thought they would be, there was also quite a population of adults who had nary a kid in sight. The only overtly rude guests I encountered were some English folks who thought it would be nice to charge ahead of me towards a spot along the parade route that I was headed for. As they plopped down, one said loudly to the other 'that's what you get if you're too f***ing slow'.

    It also seems that some of the more persnickety safety rules are not followed or enforced, but one can see how telling people to not stand or walk across rows of benches will always be a losing battle, and if I'm honest, I kind of like that such rules aren't enforced, when they are, you always are left with a sour taste in your mouth, feeling that you've been singled out for something that everyone does.
    someday, when we are wiser,
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    when we have learned


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    "It's kind of fun to do the i m p o s s i b l e ."
    - Walt Disney

  15. #15

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    Re: First Trip to Disneyland Paris

    Good, I'm glad that everyone was friendly. I'm just like you, love going on my own, taking a bunch of pictures,enjoying that free time. Can't wait to visit!

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