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  1. #1

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    Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Now I have suitable recovered from my journey back from the land of magic, uploaded my huge amount of photos and (most importantly) unpacked my new pressies, I figured you might want to hear about it all......so, shall I begin?


    Day -1...the Surprise is unveiled....

    Here is the backstory. 2 years ago I went on my first 'adult' DLRP trip with my sister and brother in law, my long suffering hubby and my two adorable nieces, then 4 and 2. In hindsight taking the kids when they were so young was probably not the best idea, we ended up having to drag lots of bottles and nappies and pushchairs etc from england and it was apparent the girls didn't really remember a lot of it. Still we had an amazing time and we made a promise then and there to go back when they were old enough, maybe when they were 8 and 10.But the need for Disney, the constant advertising on UK television and the near constant emails we were all getting from the mouse with special offers made us decide to go this year, to see the 20th anniversary and to take advantage of the free kids offer while it was still running.

    The one big difference we made this time however was not to tell the girls we were going. We had seen the adverts showing a series of overexcited children jumping up and down, hugging their parents with gusto and crying and thought 'that's for us!!'. We spun a web of massive lies, saying we were going to Cornwall (like we did last year), showed them pictures of the cottage we were staying in, explained how we would be getting a train to cornwall as all of the roads were closed (that was a crap lie, needed because me and my sister forgot one day and were talking about the eurostar train in front of them.....doh)... in retrospect we might have created too much of a great lie as the result in the video below is not as 'excited' as we had planned......

    Disneyland Paris Surprise!!!! - YouTube


    Yeah......it took 3 hours to explain what we would be doing, how the family in Cornwall we were renting the cottage from wouldn't mind and yes, we could get a cornish pasty on the way to Ashford. This aside, it was lovely to see their faces when the penny actually did drop!

    Early on in the planning we had decided to get the Eurostar. We flew from Southampton last time, which was chaotic and took a long time. Since that trip I had gone across to the park two more times, using Eurostar and was determined to do it again. However, because the trains from our region goes into Waterloo we would have had to go across London on the tube in rush hour with luggage and 2 children, so we settled on ashford as our departure point.

    We bundled the kids into the car and set of from Waterlooville to Ashford for our night at the Holiday Inn Central. This came from the panic my sister had built up during the months about getting to the station on time and everytime we spoke our time of departure had snuck forward another hour, until I was getting up at 3am....so I snapped and booked us all into the hotel, which helpfully came with parking and complimentary taxis. I cannot recommend this enough. The rooms were comfy, the breakfast was huge and the hotel manager personally came out to see us and the other families off in the morning, giving the girls chocolate for their trip.

    We had a lovely meal at the restaurant and then settled into our beds for the next exciting part of the journey.....eurostar!!!!!!

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Day 1 The Journey Begins!

    Sorry for the delay.....hospital....brain scan, all very boring. Anyway good news is that I do have a brain in my skull, so thats answered that long standing question!!

    So we all awoke excitedly on the Thursday morning, set off with stomachs full of english breakfast to Ashford international. I'd only ever travelled through the station so I was interested to see how much they catered to the Disney crowd.

    I was shocked to see the entire station had been wrapped in Disney advertising! The lift up to the depature lounge had been wrapped to look like the castle, both inside and out, the depature lounge was covered in various characters and a hidden mickey game (which I played, much to my niece's annoyance) and when it came time to get on the platform, Mickey made the annoucement. All this I thought was great and really got all of the kids excited.

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    The journey itself was pretty uneventful (except for bizarre seating allocations, the kids by themselves down one end of the carriage with all the adults in seperate single seats). Luckily everyone else in the carriage had the same problem so we just all swapped over. As we had checked in at the station, all we had to do was enjoy the ride! What made this easier was the little bags the girls were given at the train station with a puzzle, postcards and guide book inside. I would have taken a picture but couldn't wrestle it from their mits! In fact the bags were so popular the girls used them all trip.

    When we arrived at Disney the usual scrum for Disney Express was in full swing, so after we fought our way through we pulled ourselves together and headed into the park!

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    The first thing that hit both me and DH was that the park was sparkling clean. It was nice to see after our previous visits. The paint on the train station was especially nice (except they have only painted the front side of the beams, leaving the back with the same peeling paint). All of the buildings were covered with bunting and it looked as if a hell of a lot of work had taken place since our visit in October.

    Just as we were taking it all in we walked directly into the Disney Magic Train (or whatever the latest incarnation of the train is called). The 'Magic if you believe song' we heard repeatedly for days and were all singing word for word by the end of the trip.

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    Despite the fact the train could have been seen from space it was very much the same show it has been for the last 2 years. I'm sure they could have done more with it.

    First things first, we decided to get the ride we wanted to do the most out of the way first....Star Tours.

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    Now don't gag too much on your coffee over this. When we all came as a family two years before the littlest niece was too sort to go on the ride, so she was determined to get on it (and considering the queue's for everything else were over 60 minutes) so off we went.

    It is true it's in a sad state, but the fanatastic news that it's getting replaced made me appricate it one more time....despite the fact the film in the main queue space was playing the promotional film backwards or that the main robot in the repair shop was missing....sigh. Despite these things everyone loved it and enjoyed flying with Rex on his 2 billionith first flight.

    We then went off to hunt characters around it's a small world, quickly meeting Eeyore, Pinnocho and Chip n Dale, all of which made the girls scream with joy before we went onto It's a small world to have all of the joy zapped out of all the adults.

    Because the park was full to busting and we had dinner reservations at 6.00 at cafe mickey we didn't get too much done on day one. We couldn't get near the castle to take any decent pictures so headed off past Space Mountain and down the side arcade to leave the park. Throughly knackered we arrived at Cafe Mickey and had, actually, a really nice meal.

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    Food was pretty decent (and we were so pleased we had gone half board) and the girls met all of the major characters they failed to get near to on the last trip.

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    Because of the weather forecast for the week we thought that this night would be the best one to view Dreams, so we heading to the hotel to check in, freshen up and get ready for the late night.

    On the last trip we had stayed at The Newport Bay and had been throughly unimpressed. So this time I suggested we stayed at the Seqouia Lodge. We had stayed there for a quick trip in October and although we had not been in the refurbished rooms, we had still had a pretty decent time.

    Because we had got to the hotel quite late and had requested connecting rooms, we were placed over in one of the lodges, Sierra. Disapointed not to be in the main building the lady on the check in desk explained that these building were better for large groups and were on the whole quieter. Happy with that we started to sort our breakfast times but again because we were late at the hotel we didn't get the best choice, with most of our breakfasts being late. In the end this was a bit of a god send due to the late nights but we were visable disapointed at this. The check in lady then said that because of this she would see if she could arrange for some of the breakfasts to be in the park but could not. It was a shame but I was glad she went the extra mile to try. She also dug out some colouring books for the kids which was a nice touch.

    Our rooms were the new refurbished ones and can I say, they were lovely. The basic layout of the rooms have not changed but they were very nicely decorated (pictures to follow later). We hurried out of the rooms and straight over to the park to see Dreams.

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    Wow.

    It was amazing, the technology to show all of the images on the castle was spot on and the fireworks and music worked completely in synch. Having enjoyed mulitple firework displays over at WDW in my time I would say this is on par, if not better, than anything I have seen before.

    We carried two knackered children back to the hotel and all collapse in the heap, attempting to get some sleep before tomorrow!
    Last edited by Pinkflutterby; 05-17-2012 at 01:41 AM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Thanks for your trip report and pictures. It seems you and the kids had a wonderful time.

    I can't wait to see the Sequoia Lodge pictures, because we stayed there last time and we very a bit disappointed by the rooms. It was before the refurb started.

    We have eaten twice at Cafe Mickey, but always in the afternoon, because of the crowds. We ate there, because we are vegetarians and that restaurant offered a wonderful veggie pizza and we always enjoyed the food. We aren't that much into characters, but I admit, I enjoyed taking pictures with them.

  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagobert View Post
    Thanks for your trip report and pictures. It seems you and the kids had a wonderful time.

    I can't wait to see the Sequoia Lodge pictures, because we stayed there last time and we very a bit disappointed by the rooms. It was before the refurb started.
    Here are some of the pictures I took that night of the hotel room. I was really impressed with it.

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  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Thanks for the pictures, Pinkflutterby!

    The new rooms look indeed a lot nicer than the old one we had. However I think they still don't look as nice as compared Disney hotel rooms in the US. SL is a moderate hotel and so I think it's fine, but Disney should care a lot more about their Deluxe hotels.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagobert View Post
    Thanks for the pictures, Pinkflutterby!

    The new rooms look indeed a lot nicer than the old one we had. However I think they still don't look as nice as compared Disney hotel rooms in the US. SL is a moderate hotel and so I think it's fine, but Disney should care a lot more about their Deluxe hotels.
    I've not stayed on property at WDW, it's on the list of things to do lol!

    The quality of the fitting and fixtures were much higher than the room we had in October, but there were still problems (soap dish hung off the wall) but at least it's a step in the right direction!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Day Two - queue much?!?!?!

    We woke up the next day with sore feet but couldn't wait to get into the park for our first proper day in the park. Breakfast scrum over with (with several homemade ham rolls stowed away te he he) we headed out to meet.......absolute chaos next to the trainstation. Because of our late breakfast time we got to the gate at 9.50 and were shocked by the amount of people there.

    Immediately we realised that DL would be over run and so decided to head over to the much quieter WDS.

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    The park itself was very much as I remembered it, except the extensive work taking place in the courtyard entrance on the fantasia fountain (tried to get a picture, but because the work had caused a massive bottleneck at the entrance, we got pushed along before I could get a shot).

    Crush's Coaster was our first stop, we figured that the park was bearly open and this would be the best time right? Wrong......80 minutes wait. Nuts.

    So, we headed over to Toy Storyland instead.

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    Queue's here were much shorter, so we started with the parachute drop and the excellent queue (although it was very dirty and some of the figures were damaged quite badly).

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    And this is when I am going to whinge....I don't like to whinge. We were a party of six at the front of the queue, we figured we would be okay to get on the ride together facing each other right? Wrong. The cast member opened the gate for us to get on the ride and we headed over to the far side of the loading platform (so I could get a good shot of the next expansion for you all). However, we went to take our seats and 3 people who had previously ridden were still in their seats. Me, my sister and niece took seats opposite them, assuming they would be moving.....nope. They pulled the bar down and the cast member walked past and checked it was secure. We went to protest and the cast member shushed us. Meanwhile my hubby, brother in law and other niece had failed to find another seat and were almost told off by another castmember for hanging around. Luckily, my hubby speaks french and explained the situation. She said that it was too late to take them off the ride and they would be front in the queue next time.

    We did the ride and got off, waiting so that out three could take our seats (by this time my niece was so upset) but watched again as the people who didn't move last time, pulled the bar down again to have a third ride, giggling as they did!!!!! Again, we protested at the castmember who told us they were aware of the situation but could not do anything because the seat mechanism was locked. He then said to my husband to take a seat and not make a fuss!!!

    During all of this hub bub the other cast member had shoed more people onto the ride platform, meaning AGAIN that my niece was without a seat. This is when it helps to have a 4 year old niece with no idea about politeness. She went over to the three who had locked the seat and shouted very loudly 'You have taken my turn again, you are horrible nasty people' and fell to the floor crying.

    Finally at this point a manager appeared from nowhere and wanted to know what was going on. We explained calmly and he said that unfortunately they could not kicked the three off the ride as it was our word against there's. The castmember said he couldn't remember if the people had ridden before either. Luckily for us, three french women who were standing near by the exit had watched all of this and backed us all up. The manager apologised again and then asked all of us to step off the platform so the ride could go ahead (this was about 15 minutes later). We all got pushed through the exit with the manager, my niece walling at this point. Once the ride had finished the manager himself strode across the platform and escourted the three young ladies off the ride (which they actually protested at!) and put all 6 of us back on the ride. Here is the picture I took of the new expansion.

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    The whole thing took almost 40 minutes to resolve. We were all finally rode together the manager walked us to the Barrell full of Monkeys and let both of the girls have free toy story mickey ears, which we all agreed was a nice thing to do...if not entirely too big for them, so they stayed in the bag for the whole day.
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    We were disapointed though, took most of the day to get over it and my niece kept referring to the horrible women on the green ride.

    We tried to put this all behind us and indulged in some of the park's kiddy rides to cheer up the girls, like Springy Dog, Genie's roundabout thing, Playhouse Disney (got the language wrong....oh well, it was good in french too) and Stich. We then saw auto car show, which was perfect for aching feet. The kids appricated the new addition of Lightning McQueen....me, not so much. I much prefered Herbie!!!
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    Crush's coaster???? 120 minutes....this was getting silly. We failed to get on it at all the last trip due to the wait times! But by now it was 5 pm and we had reservations at The Blue Lagoon for 6.30 so decided to switch parks.

    Eating at the blue lagoon had long been a dream for my hubby. So he was giddy with excitement. We were early, so we decided to do a quick ride on Pirates before embarking on dinner.
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    Dinner was lovely, the best we had on the whole trip. We especially liked the kids meals on giant Mickey plates!
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    Oh flamey!!!

    Service was brilliant, we had a brilliant time and were not rushed to eat which was great.

    Afterwards we went straight to Fantasyland to ride lots of rides, as the queue's had pretty much disappeared! Walked onto the teacups, Peter Pan, Pinnocho, Snow White and It's a Small World.....again.

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    We then headed over to Tomorrowland to get a ride on Star Tours, as it was International Star Wars day!!!! Again another walk on and we started to wonder where the hell everyone had gone! Hubby and brother in law walked onto Space Mountain while all the girls did orbiton (which scared the life out of me) and finished the day off with a go on Buzz Lightyear (being the last ones on the ride before closing!).

    The temptation to stay in the park to watch Dreams again was very strong, but we were all dead on our feet so bid the park farewell and head back to the lodge through the village. It had been a long day and we were glad for our late breakfast the next day lol!!

  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Wow, I don't know what to say. It's unbelievable what happened to you at TSPL and such things can only happen at DLRP. At least the kids got a toy.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    What a story ! I hate people like this. Luckily, an attraction manager was here... Horrible women ! 3 times and any cast members didn't see them.

    It's the responsability of the cast member to check something like that, however I consent that it could not be easy in an attractions like parachute drop due to efficiency procedures for load/unload (that's not an excuse, of course !).
    Last edited by Loc Potter; 05-23-2012 at 09:46 AM.

    Guest Relations & Ticketing Coordinator @ Disneyland Paris
    English is not my mother tongue, I hope you would forgive me for my spelling mistakes.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    It did put a damper on the whole day but not the whole holiday which was the main thing. I could see the position the cast members were in and I could understand how the situation got to that point but it highlights the inconsistancies of ride loading. If everyone was removed from the ride before loading more on it would not have happened.

  11. #11

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    One might think that after one and a half year in operation Disney knows how to load and unload a ride in the most convenient way.

    Loic Potter, it seems you have some insights at DLRP. Don't get the CMs trained for such things? It works on nearly all rides, but it's not the first time I have heard about loading problems at the Parachute Drop. Usually the ride is unloaded and then the new riders are allowed to load. Do the TSPL attractions have loading gates?

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    The management of this part of WDS could decide to load / unload at the same time to save minutes and increase the capacity per hour.

    Guest Relations & Ticketing Coordinator @ Disneyland Paris
    English is not my mother tongue, I hope you would forgive me for my spelling mistakes.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    That completely backfired then!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Day Three - Let it rain!!!!!

    After yesterdays hilarious dealings in WDS we decided to spend the morning in the Disneyland park. We had reservations at Restaurant du stars in WDS at 2.00 so we chucked breakie down out throats and headed out to the village.

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    I am assuming at some point when the new store opens this whole area is going to get a bit of a facelift (or at least that is what I am hoping).

    The park was definately quieter today so it meant we actually got to go through the castle!

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    That meant I could scope out some of the new structures hidden in the castle moat.

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    Being a fanatic I noticed them but I thought it was quite a subtle way of hidding all of the pipes.

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    The castle itself looks so much better since it's refurb. It's definately the one area of the park they have not scrimped over.

    The 'hub' is also looking pretty fantastic.

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    As we were in early, we decided to wander through Fantasyland and then head over to adventureland to get thundermountain fast passes and do the mansion!!

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    We had planned on walking past the pirate ship so I could get some pictures, but for some reason the path had been blocked off. So we headed back through the castle and then through the main entrance (with the by then hundreds of others!). We stopped at the Aladdin photo op with the lamp and bed of nails. When we were here in October the smoke affect was working and served as a good timer to get people the move along. However, it seems to be another thing which has broken.

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    We grabbed our fastpasses and headed straight over to the mansion. The queue was already quite long but moved swifty right up until we ended up on the porch. Then it all seemed to go a bit (no pun intended) dead. We waited on the porch for about 30 minutes, which seemed really odd. Finally we went through and I am more than happy to report that the ghosts appear to be keeping themselves in working order. The only thing I sported were the four singing heads (3 of them were not working) and the ghost ride along did not happen...hmmmmm.

    Anyway, all of that waiting meant we had reached our fastpass for Thunder Mountain!!

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    Everytime I ride this ride I am reminded how superior it is to the Florida version, in both terms of theming and ride quality. My niece screamed herself stupid and because all six of us were in one shot on the photo we decided to get one as a reminded of our bravery....unfortunately the photoboth was being manned by one person (on a Saturday!!!) and the people in front of us did not know there number. So the castmember was scanning through every picture taken over the last hour. 30 minutes later, we walked away with our pictures.

    As the park was rapidly filling up we thought we would move across to WDS to see if we could get on the Studio Tour (which had a stupid queue time the day before) and to make sure we were in the correct park for dinner.

    Another ride, another stupid queue story. This time the tram's were causing the problems. We queued for 40 minutes, in that time 2 trams were loaded. One tram had 3 cars broken, one had 2. It took over 10 minutes for each tram to be loaded. It was stupid.

    Still, we got on and because of the new expansion some of the commentary did not fit the new scenery we were driving by, completely confusing just about all of us. This ride is in desperate need of an full overhaul. It should be the park's number one ride but it just disapoints massively.

    We got off the ride and unlike the Disneyland Park, WDS was almost deserted....this might have had something to do with the weather (gloomy at best) and the fact it was 1pm, so most people had probably already park jumped. We took the oppotunity to see if Crush's Coaster was any better today? 60 minutes. The lowest we had seen but it would be cutting it fine for dinner so we decided to let the thrill seekings handle The Tower of Terror while us chickens had another go on Stitch (my niece adored it).

    Once the boy's stomachs had recovered, we braced ourselves for a late lunch with Remy. Now we had heard mixed reviews on the resturant but it was the one thing that my older niece really wanted to do, so we had relented.

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    Food? Excellent, probably the best we had. The selection was huge and as it was serve yourself, it was plentiful.

    Remy? Again excellent. The girls loved the one on one time with Remy and the cast member with him was very funny.

    Atmosphere and service? In a word, crap. The staff wanted to clean up to get finished so we didn't get our drinks until we had our deserts, we were spoken too like we were morons and no one seemed to care. It wasn't just us either, we could see several animated conversations between staff and families. It was a shame. I know the likelyhood is that this site will be closed when Remy's new pad opens, but it could have been much better.

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    As we were now stuffed full and the rain was threatening we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxing. The kids were pretty much asleep by the time we got back so the plan to go swimming was out of the window...to be honest we all had a bit of a nap!!

    At around 6 my DH decided he wanted some kid free time (translated to a beer, watching the footie at the sports bar). This was nothing I was going to disagree with!

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    The booze may be stupidly over priced, but damn it was good!!!

    When then decided to head into the park, reasoning all of the guests would be heading out to get dinner between the parade and Dreams that night.

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    We only caught the end of the parade, but the plan was we were going to watch it tomorrow with the girls so headed straight over the Discoveryland to see if we could get on Buzz anytime soon (nope, 50 minute wait). So guess what we rode on?

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    We walked on and I was glad to see some of the broken affects in the queue had been reinstated since the day before.

    When we headed out of Star Tours (through the 'arcade'.....don't get me started) the heavens had opened....so Dreams was out for the evening. Typically, I had decided not to come out with anykind of weather protection. So had to pony up 27 euro's for an umbrella, my reasoning being I wouldn't want to waste 10 euros on a poncho, I knew I wouldn't use any branded coats (plus I didn't like any of them) but thought a brolly would always come in hand in the UK.

    Wading our way back to the village we ducked into Earl of Sandwich (YUMMY!!!) for a cheeky Tuna Melt and then went to bed early, preparing ourselves for Paris the next day!!!

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  15. #15

    • Member
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    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Marne-la-Valle, France
    Posts
    103

    Re: Disneyland Paris Surprise Trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinkflutterby View Post
    That completely backfired then!
    I completely agree with you and I'm hoping the manager you met on the story as well. Maybe, a reason to change the procedure.

    Guest Relations & Ticketing Coordinator @ Disneyland Paris
    English is not my mother tongue, I hope you would forgive me for my spelling mistakes.

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