What is it? That the water pressure in our hotel rooms was so dire, so we could have planned having showers at different times. Several times there was no hot water whatsover – don’t know why.
Where? Take food and drink with you into the park. Even if are willing to spring for lunch, the queues during peak times can be mind-boggling, so have snacks and plenty of liquid on hand. We watched people queuing up to half an hour to buy a hot dog! Saying that, the fresh orange juice in the Hotel New York was unbelievable, as were the croissants and other breakfast goodies.
Description: The Hotel New York has an indoor and outdoor pool, fitness room, sauna and solarium. Saying that, we were so knackered by the end of each and every day I barely had enough energy to eat (and drink) before collapsing in my bed. If you can take advantage of the fitness opportunities, go for it.
The Disney Village outside the park has various shops and eateries, and there is always Paris!
“When are we going back to Candyland? I love Candyland! I want to go back now!” Clementine, aged two and three quarters.
Seafrance has numerous daily crossings from Dover to Calais, which takes just 75 minutes. Prices start from L33 each way for a car of up to five people. For more information, visit www.seafrance.com or call 0871 663 2546. You can also fly or go via Eurostar. For more info about Disneyland Paris, visit www.disneylandparis.co.uk Day tickets begin at L32 for an adult, L27 for a child aged 3 – 11. Special packages are available, including one night free and children under seven free – ask for updated details. In Calais we stayed at the Holiday Inn Calais Coquelles, which had a fantastic swimming pool and delicious breakfast. Visit www.holidayinn.co.uk or call 0870 400 9670. Rates start at roughly EUR 260 per night in summer, for a king-sized bed and sofa bed, family of four.
The girls were suitably impressed when I announced we were going to Disneyland Paris. Josie, six, was excited about taking her new camera to record every image for posterity. Tilly, four, wanted to buy buckets of candy floss and ruin her teeth. Clementine, two, had no idea what was going on. “I want to go to Candyland!” she cried when I told her we were going on a long trip and would stay in a hotel. “I want to sleep in a big girl’s bed! I want to go in car!” [clementine_and_duncan.jpg] So off we all jumped in our battered secondhand Vauxhall, Duncan grumbling behind the wheel (as usual) and our au pair, Renata, squeezed in between two car seats (as usual). The drive wasn’t too bad and was broken up by almost two hours on the SeaFrance ferry, where we bought an expensive breakfast and nicked a few packets of salad cream to put on sandwiches later. Roughly seven hours after leaving London, we spied the Magic Kingdom in the distance. To say the girls were excited was an understatement. Hotel New York was clean and comfortable, and we had two interconnecting rooms so nobody could stray far (at least, not without my knowledge). Off we ran to the park. The next three days were fantastic, and even Duncan had a good time. Renata accompanied the children on all the rides that make us parentals puke (teacups, roller coasters, even merry-go-rounds), so my gut – and good mood – remained intact. Best of all, I got to relive my childhood – in amazing detail. Rides I adored – especially Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World – had been recreated exactly in their entirety, everything from the treasure chests of dusty gold to the stripes on the magic carpets hovering magically above the dolls. I swear I could even spy a cobweb streaming from a pirate’s arm that had been there since 1969, and the pioneering wagons took me back to my Utah roots. C’etait incroyable! [tilly_and_josie.jpg] The only thing that seemed to have changed was the non-ride entertainment. We saw lots more characters than I remember in Anaheim, and the parade was fantastic. In fact, our only non-Disney moment was during a screening of Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which is filmed in 3D. When an enormous snake seemingly appeared in front of every viewer’s face, teeth bared, Clementine began to scream. Maybe it should have had a PG rating. I loved the weather, I loved the French (hey, I’m not English!), and I loved Disneyland. Sadly we had no time to get into Paris, but as we spent our last night in Calais we had a delicious steak and frites there, followed by creme brulee, and I was satisfied. Josie took lots of pictures and Tilly had candy floss. Clementine shared a large double bed with Renata, and Duncan found a hotel barman who served beer at the right temperature. My only regret was that we did not stay longer (and I did not eat more). Everyone happy. (Wendy Sloane is the Travel Editor of entertainthekids.com. She divides her time between writing and taking care of her three daughters, Josie, Tilly and Clementine.)
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