France, Out and About, Travel

Dragging a family of 5 out the door before 6am…

…is how our week at Disneyland Paris began.

We lied and we lied some more about why we had dragged them out of bed at such a god-awful hour.  We began with something about the power going out and all the clocks resetting but Master 9 cottoned onto that one (we were watching BBC News and the time was on the screen, oops!).  We played the fool, “dang honey, the clocks didn’t reset at all…how silly are we?  Oh well I’ll just head into work early then“.

We blamed the luggage on Daddy getting his stuff ready and at work for his next trip to Zurich and we tried to jazz up the experience of accompanying Daddy to work this morning, just for fun.

They grumbled out the front door (not nearly as grumbly as their Mum) and off we went.

The littlest two didn’t suspect a thing (granted they were half asleep) and didn’t think it odd we were getting our passports stamped and our luggage x-rayed.  They did ask very sympathetically, “aww Daddy…do you have to do this every day before work?!?“.

They didn’t pick up on our waving and rather loud, “Us, us!  We’re on the 7:20am train” as the overhead announcer was giving the last call to board for the 7:20 to Paris Nord and we were still waiting to go through customs (punctuality is not one of our strengths).

Master 9 was pretty convinced he knew what was going on after we had all run the length of the train, the last to board and stressed to the eye teeth and were settling into our seats.  He still didn’t utter a word, just in case he was getting his hopes up for nothing…but there was a distinct grin starting to creep onto his face.

Finally we told them!  10 minutes later I kinda wished we had waited until we were almost there.  Kids are wriggly and noisy enough on a long train trip at the best of times, throw we’re going to Disneyland and another country into the mix and things get super wriggly and silly.

rocking the bum bags

We’re cheap skates and we told ourselves it would give us a little taste of Paris to not get the Eurostar all the way to Marne La Vallee but to navigate the RER from Paris Nord….yeah, mainly we’re just cheap.

To anyone planning a similar trip to us, getting the RER from Paris Nord will absolutely not give you a feel for Paris so if you can, absolutely get the Eurostar direct to save yourself dragging your luggage through two train changes.

If the RER were a fine example of what Paris is like then I haven’t a clue why anyone would want to visit there…eek!  It’s filthy, smells like urine and people beg onboard (one man played the accordion then asked for tips…perfectly understandable…but the other guy had some nicely printed cards he handed out telling of how he was homeless, has two children and no job….he then popped back around to collect his cards and any donations….cheeky bugger, where’d he print the cards then hey?).

We took the free shuttle bus to our hotel, Thomas Cook Explorers Hotel  (part of the Val D’Europe chain) and lucky for us they let you check in early free of charge if your room is ready (alternately they’ll store your luggage for free and you can head to Disneyland when you’re ready).  Honestly this hotel was amazing!  The cheap rooms are basic but the beds are comfy and the facilities are adequate.  Daily housekeeping is enough to keep me happy and really the hotel primarily services visitors to Disneyland so how much time are you going to spend in your room other than sleeping anyway?  The hotel has an awesome pool (be sure to bring your own towel or you will have to pay to rent one from the pool) and Marco’s Pizza downstairs make yummy pizzas and are probably one of the cheapest options for a quick dinner outside of McDonalds at Disney Village.

The complimentary buffet breakfast was awesome.  I came home from our holiday with a new found addiction to fresh cut fruit (watermelon, pineapple) and pastries…the fruit thing being a positive, the pastries not so much!  They have a hot breakfast option you can pay extra for but the continental breakfast was more then enough with:  pastries, pancakes (microwave to heat them if you like), fresh breads for toasting, jams, a selection of french set yoghurts, dried fruit compote, fresh fruit, selection of cereals, juice, hot chocolate, tea and coffee.

The hotel staff were extremely helpful and all speak English (thank goodness).  When our son was sick and needed a doctor the front desk contacted one for us right away.  Our son needed to be taken by ambulance to the hospital and the hotel paid the paramedics for us in cash (ambulance needs to be paid for before they’ll take the patient to the hospital…unless you’re a French citizen of course) so we could concentrate on our son.  We just paid the front desk when we checked out of the hotel.

After a painful 8 hours at the hospital the hotel sent a staff member to come and pick us up.  It was almost midnight and due to me not speaking French (none of the signage at the hospital was in English) I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to exit (I was shouted at crossly when I left via the door the paramedics had brought us in hours earlier and ushered into a room).  The lovely staff member from Explorer’s Hotel came in to find me and found our way back out to the car.  It was such a relief to have a friendly face walk through the door, I was exhausted and imagining I’d be trapped in a French hospital all night when she walked in so I was a bit of a mess!

To take full advantage of our 6 day pass to Disneyland we stored our luggage at the hotel after checkout on our final day and spent a few hours at Disneyland.

Anywho!  Enough about the accommodation.  Onto the park’s.  Beginning with the main Disneyland Park…


Woody’s Roundup Village (none of the characters were actually there the two times we tried…but standing in front still counts, right?)

Phantom Manor, one of my favourite rides!

waiting in line…view of Big Thunder Mountain behind

Big Thunder Mountain, Master 5 and 7 loooved this ride….Master 9 and I are wimps and only went the one time

Monsieur Duck hung out with me whilst I waited for them to finish on the rollercoaster….isn’t he handsome….the girl duck wasn’t taken with him at all (or so she claimed)

Part Two is here!  Part Three is here…(I know, I know…you’re waiting with bated breath for my thrilling commentary and happy snaps…)

7 thoughts on “Dragging a family of 5 out the door before 6am…”

  1. Wow, this will be a vacation for the books! I’m not a big ride person, I’d rather watch everyone else enjoy themselves. I’m good for holding jackets, bags, and other stuff.

    What is RER?

    It doesn’t look really too crowded. Here in the states, I hear horror stories of LINES!! If you don’t have a special pass, you can wait on line for 30 minutes or more!

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! Where to next?


  2. I’m not really a ride person either and definitely not a fan of rollercoasters or thrill rides (I just don’t like feeling like I’m about to die! Even if I know I’m technically safe) but I did enjoy a few of them 🙂

    The RER is one of Paris’s rail networks. It made me REALLY grateful for the Tube and the U.K’s overground trains! Granted the U.K has a bad reputation for their trains running a tad late but I appreciate how clean and well maintained they are now! I didn’t see enough of Paris to judge it as a whole (we only wandered about outside of Disneyland once) but from what I experienced I much prefer London.

    We went I think at the best possible time. It was the last week of their “off season” and happened to be beautiful and sunny (nice change to gloomy London at the time) and school was still on in the U.K and France (we were naughty and took our kids out of school for a week) so the park was probably at a third of its peak season capacity. The longest wait time during the week was probably 30 minutes. It was a bit of a pain but fortunately the weather was good (not wet and not too hot) and EuroDisney has a similar special pass like the U.S Disney’s (they are free, you just swipe your tickets and the machine gives you a fast pass with a time slot printed on it for later in the day) so they were really handy.

    Our final day was a Saturday and the difference in crowds/lines was awful! I hate to think what weekends are like in the summertime. There were 75 minute waits on some of the rides. We ended up going on two rides and heading off for the Eurostar. You know how I feel about crowds 😉


  3. I’m the same way…I have NO patience and start feeling claustrophobic! But if Saturday was your only day for crowds, then you did great. I was going to mention that you lucked out with the weather being so nice.

    Can you believe my brother and sister-in-law go to Disneyland in Florida like 3 times a year. They’re in their 60’s. They have a time share property down there as well. I don’t see the attraction, but they love going. Once a year they drag their daughters and their families down as well. I have no desire. Am I missing something?


  4. 3 times a year! wow. I can’t imagine finding something to do there 3 times a year!
    Maybe once you get into the live shows and the other non-ride attractions it opens up doors to a whole different scene to what we experienced? No idea, but given that there weren’t any rides I’d be in a hurry to go on again personally I’d much rather go on a cruise or stay at a cushy resort with a pool and a huge buffet rather then go to Disneyland 3 times a year. Each to their own though!.

    Lots of couples without kids love visiting Disneyland so I guess there must be something I missed but personally I don’t think I’d bother going without the kids, the fun was in watching them having a good time (alternately maybe having to concentrate on the kids so much blinded me to other things there were to do?).


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