Sunday, November 20, 2011

Disneyland Paris: "I need a Captain EO."

On the Disney property, just behind our hotel
We got up nice 'n' early on Saturday to walk to St. Pancras, which was a breeze with backpacks. (We're seriously wondering if we'll ever vacation with luggage again, in fact.) The Eurostar took us to Lille, where we switched to the TVG (high-speed train) to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy, inside Disneyland Paris. After quickly checking in at Sequoia Lodge, it was off to the parks, to make the most of our day and a half there.

The all-important "picking of the ears"
Highlights of our time there included:
  • The Christmas tree trimming in the Disneyland Park; we arrived in time for the unveiling.
  • That first glimpse of le château de la belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) lit up at night.
  • It's A Small World: we all adore that ride. (It was my favourite part of the parks, actually; it satisfies something deep down in me.)
  • Space Mountain: Mission 2: we were expecting something along the lines of the original Space Mountain, 'til we saw the shoulder restraints; it's more like the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and all the better for the unexpected thrill.
  • Goofin' around on Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast: the girls had to take care of Zorg, as Stephen and I were too busy trying to screw up each other's shots.
  • The big roaring fireplace, open on two sides, in the Sequoia Lodge; a great way to banish the last of the evening's chill.
  • The Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, lit up beautifully with Chinese lanterns.

Early on, Stephen pointed out the profusion of what he deemed "space coats": puffy, shiny and ribbed, we then couldn't fail to see them, on adults, teenagers, kids, whole families. Maybe the French are starting something.

Finally, the subtitle comes from that 80s ride, which was playing in the Disneyland Park. Stephen told us about how he fell asleep in it the first time 'round, in the 80s, and was looking forward to seeing whether what he remembered was in the movie or just his dreams. Well, needless to say, history repeated itself, and he took Tea with him this time. (It was a euphemism for a nap from then on.)

I found it really interesting, the way it obviously liberally borrowed from Star Wars, as well as the H. R. Giger Alien, while at the same time clearly inspiring those who would design the Borg: particularly their housings and the Queen.

All in all, we had a great time. It was surreal, standing in spots we'd swear we'd been before, only those were now some 7000 kilometres away. We all agreed that Tea summed it up best: while Disneyland Park was a fantastic copy of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, you couldn't help feeling that it lacked depth; like there was something missing, below the surface. (Which is true, of course, as it is smaller.)

Up next: Paris, France

PS: Check out our Picasa album for more pictures from the trip.

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