Alongside my ‘Resolutions’ updates, I will be starting a Travel Diary. For the most part, this is so I can have a record of the places I’ve been too, but should you happen to be visiting any of the places I recall, I’ll be sure to spare some handy tips.
‘It’s the happiest place on Earth!’ my boyfriend said, expertly trying to convince me that this was the trip of choice for a twenty-something-actually-he’s-thirty couple. In actual fact it was the price that was most persuasive; in mid-January Disneyland tickets are most affordable and upon arrival you’ll be met with short queues all round, which is definitely a bonus. What Sebby failed to mention is that he booked the trip the day after the ‘Season of the Force’ opened, so we were also met with swarms of stormtroopers. Whilst that might not be quite the happily ever after I’d imagined – mostly because my aspirations are slightly more realistic than Disney promises- it was definitely his. Which is most definitely good enough for me.
How I got there:
We got the Eurostar – very handy for Londoners like myself although a longer journey for my boyfriend who lives in Wales. We changed at Lille and the connecting train went directly to Disney. On the way back our first connecting train got delayed and we had to do a ferocious Mad Dash through the security and run to the platform in 2 minutes, which incidentally is the most exercise I’ve had in 394639 years (approximately).
Where I stayed:
The DREAM CASTLE HOTEL! It could have been an absolute dump and who’d care? You get to say ‘I stayed in the Dream Castle Hotel’ forevermore! Thankfully, it wasn’t a dump. Lots of little touches make it feel regal; most of all the grounds although unfortunately it was too cold to explore them. Plus one morning I missed my mouth at breakfast and basically chucked orange juice all over myself so I can confirm you’ll still be welcomed as a guest even if you do not fit in with your regal surroundings.
What I did:
Walked around Fantasyland: It feels like you’re walking through a Disney film. The attention to detail is incredible; down to anything as mundane as a drain, light fixture or bin, everything is be weirdly good-looking.
Went to see shows: We went to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, where you get given a cowboy hat and enjoy a three course meal of ‘wild west’ inspired food during the show. CinéMagique was my favourite of the free shows in the parks and my boyfriend’s was the Galactic Celebration, although I got distracted in the latter by a couple having an argument over a selfie.
Ride a ride: After putting on 3D glasses and whizzing through the Ratatouille ride I will now live my life in disappointment that I was not born an Animated Rat. I also loved Rock n Rolla, The Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror and… you know, all of the other rides. Sebby’s fav was the Buzz Lightyear ride and I had a sulk that I couldn’t shoot anything so he swapped guns with me half way through so it looked like I had a high score. Ha! The one downside to a January trip is that some rides will be closed for refurbishment, although the super short wait times means you can make this up by going on the other rides more than once.
Spent an evening in Paris: The direct train from Disneyland takes about fifty minutes. Whilst we didn’t have long enough to visit the Eiffel Tower or visit Sartre’s grave (back at uni I wrote my dissertation on Existentialism…) we did have a chance to wander down the river, see the Lourve and Notre Dame and go to a lovely vegetarian restaurant.
Highs: DISNEY DREAMS! My theatre company uses projected animation as part of our show so I was fascinated by Disney’s use of multimedia magic which was timed perfectly with fireworks, songs and fountains.
Lows: I was caught between wondering why Disneyland hadn’t caught up with it’s recent critiques of cultural appropriation or if it’s multi-lingual shows and signs are a good introduction for small children to different cultures, who might not understand the complexities anyway? I’m not convinced.
Tip for vegetarians: DON’T trust the part of the brochure which says ‘everywhere serves veggie food’ unless salad in a bun counts as food to you. My boyfriend, who eats meat, said his ‘low’ of the week was seeing my face when I noticed this was my only option in a few cafes…. DO take cereal bars in your bag if you don’t want to stretch to the mid-priced restaurants every meal, which actually do some very yummy veggie food!