Thursday, October 18, 2012

France Part Deux

Last week we didn't just torment our elder son by going to Paris, oh no, that wouldn't be evil enough, we also dragged him (kicking and screaming) to Eurodisney, where to pile on the humiliation, I booked us into the Disneyland Hotel, you know, the big pink palace-y looking one...My logic being that this could well be the one and only time we do the whole Disney thing* so we should do it 'properly'.

The Disneyland Hotel is amazing, it's huge for starters, with all the staff dressed in salmon pink Edwardian/Victorian outfits (knickerbockers and floor length frocks and frills) there's valet parking and those luggage carts that I've only ever seen in the movies, then there's the two (or was it three?) restaurants, piano bar and the essential shop (wall to wall Mickey 'n Minnie). 

But the overriding impression of the hotel was the smell.

It was (to me anyway) a faintly unpleasant odor, but the children claimed it smelt of 'old lady' and I can see what they mean, it was a sweet, powdery perfume that clung, fortunately it wasn't too noticeable in the actual room but in the huge reception area it was very pervasive.

We had a family room capable of sleeping five, but isn't it funny how, no matter that the hotel knows the ages and sexes of the children they still fail to realise that a 15 year old boy and his 11 year old sister are unlikely to want to share a double bed, fortunately the sofabed was quickly made up and every night someone from houskeeping turned up to make sure the sofabed was ready to be slept in and every time they visited they left behind special Disney chocolate coins**.

The main problem with the hotel for me was the fact that it was full of children.  In a normal hotel you wouldn't assume that everyone staying there would have children with them, at Disney it's pretty much a prerequisite, which is fine, or would be fine, except for the fact that all the parents seemed to have relinquished all hold on behavioural boundaries. Running, screaming and tantruming*** all seemed to be allowed and ignored.  Working in the service sector takes a certain kind of person, working in the service sector for Disney?  Another level entirely.  On the other hand the youth of hotel guests did provide amusing sights, three foot tall Eeyore and Woody chasing each other along the corridor and literally every other little girl at breakfast dressed as her favourite Disney princess, cute if surreal.

I had 'forgotten' to tell Ben about the highlight of breakfast.  During the 2-3 hours that breakfast is served there are Disney characters available for a cuddle and a photo opportunity.  I didn't tell him because I thought there would be a good chance that he would just call room service and never come out of the room, instead he was forced to run the velour gauntlet although I'm sure he averted his eyes so as not to contaminate his retinas with Mickey Mouse images!

Jas and I came out of breakfast one day and found Tigger at the fireplace.  I have a soft spot for Tigger, something to do with his irrepressible springiness and the fact that he misspells the word 'tiger'.  Jas thinks Tigger is OK but wasn't fussed about getting a photo and a cuddle with him...I was, so I forced Jas to stand in line with me and then to have her photo taken with Tigger, poor child, probably mentally scarred!

Eurodisney itself is compact and bijoux, big enough, but not the monstrous sprawl that the original U.S. parks are.  Ben refused to set foot in either the Walt Disney Studios park or the actual Eurodisney, and in retrospect I can see his point. He's not a huge fan of big, scary rides and everything else is geared towards those who love Disney and cartoons, I don't think we saw any other teenage boys in the parks, loads of kids and adults but teenage boys?  No.

Disneyland is an oddly magical place, I found myself grinning for no reason, I am convinced they pump something into the air, it can't be natural to have such a happy face (or maybe I've lived in Germany too long?)  We watched the parade and the special end of day 'Dreams' show, which was enthralling and we managed to introduce Jas to Princess Jasmine, and of course we met Mickey.
I think by the end of our few days there Jas was Disney'd out, she slept almost all the way home (five hours) and then went straight to bed and slept through another 8-9 hours, she was either knackered or suffering withdrawal from the Disney Magic!

* the last time we did Disney was Florida, 11 years ago and we stayed off-site.
** which I got to eat, because this being France, the coins were rather nice dark chocolate which neither child will touch!
*** if when you win a medal you've 'medalled' then surely if you're having a tantrum you're 'tantruming'?

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