Disneyland and I have a love-hate relationship. Going to Disneyland is like having a baby: labor and delivery and recovery are miserable but three years later all anyone can remember is the “magic” of childbirth. Why? Why do I always think it’s going to be magical and rewarding and memory-building?
Disneyland Paris is not the same as the stateside parks. For starters, in the winter it’s cold. In the fall it’s cold. In the spring it’s cold. We went at the end of March and had low 40 degree weather the entire time. We were blessed with waterless skies but come on, you can only stand in line for Autotopia for so long in the freezing cold before you want to gouge your eyeballs out with a cheese stick.
This was our first trip without a baby in ten years and I have to say that was the one thing we did right: we left Georgia behind. But even without diapers our backpack was more like a 72-hour survival pack. Water, hand sanitizer (that we never opened), granola bars, a flashlight and a whistle, a tooth brush and a travel size tube of toothpaste because I’m currently on a clean teeth kick–we really didn’t even need to go back to the hotel for anything.
(FYI – I spent the last night there cleaning up puke from two of the kids. The hand sanitizer would have been a good idea.)
We stayed at the Davy Crocket Resort about five minutes away from the park. It’s incredibly affordable, we paid for a three-day trip and got an extra night and two free days in the park because Disneyland in March is miserable and they know it. But the resort is great, something I wish was replicated at the stateside parks. It’s a glorified trailer park and refreshingly affordable. All the “bungalows” are oldish trailers with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen/dining/living space. It’s got it’s own village with a working farm, archery (closed), a zip line (closed), a few scattered tee-pees for show and the best pool in Europe. It comes with a criosant/juice breakfast (available for pick-up at The Breakfast Hut between 7-11) and an Easy Pass for park parking, fast pass tickets, and the get-into-the-park-two-hours-early “Magic” misery.
For the record, the only ride open at 8 am is Dumbo. I am dead serious. Do not go early, if you want to stand in line for the princesses feel free to tack on an additional two-hours to the usual 140 minute wait. Not my best idea.
The pool at Davy Crockett was open and great and the kids made us go swimming Every. Single. Night. When I say the pool was great I mean it was great for the kids. It was mostly cold and the hot tub was tepid. But hey, my kids loved it and I sat in the “watch” area and read a book.
Feel free to gawk at Jason’s face throughout this post. You are looking at a raging case of March Madness. Three. More. Days.
Things I really really missed at this park: Toad’s Wild Ride, Rapunzel in general, Toon Town, the Beauty and The Beast stage show, Indiana Jones, The Jungle Ride (loses it’s punch line in translation), and Splash Mountain (a tragedy) to name a few. But the park is well laid out and still has plenty of fun for everyone. Space Mountain 2 almost made me wet my pants it was so fun.
Directly across the street from Disneyland is Disney Studios, a spin-off of California Adventure meets MGM minus the Bug’s Life Tree (sob). It does have the Crush Coaster which is literally like riding the EAC, best coaster ever. But the most important ride in all the parks is there: The Tower of Terror.
Harrison went in The Tower of Terror a few years ago but it wasn’t too hard to fool him into thinking he was remembering another ride from another park. We were also careful to avoid using words like “terror” in the preliminary stages.
When we finally got into the ride’s hotel lobby June quickly commented on the cobwebs and wanted to know why the walls were broken. Rex was happily reviewing all the countries from “It’s A Small World” and Harrison was having PTSD flashbacks from two years ago. He started muttering things like, “I think I have to go to the bathroom,” and “Do we really have to go on this ride?” and “Isn’t this that ride that freaked me out?”
Thank goodness the Twilight Zone video was in French. The last part of the wait is in a rather dismal looking service area of the “hotel” and thunder and lightening effects rain supreme. By the time we stepped up to the elevator doors Rex was sobbing quietly and I was making false promises to the kids that the ride would be fun and we’d get to “see the whole park” from the top of the elevator.
That’s true, you do see the whole park. Then the bottom falls out and the elevator drops.
When that elevator went up and started the drop sequence the entire park could hear my kids screaming their heads off in absolute and total terror. It sounded like we were being attacked by an axe murderer.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I just…could not stop laughing. Worst parent ever? Possibly. Favorite memory of the week? Absolutely.
I’m pleased to report that for the rest of the trip we had extremely well-behaved children. We probably threatened them on three dozen different occasions that if they didn’t behave and get along we’d go back to the Tower of Terror. It was like…magic. Disney magic? You know it.