…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.
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?)