View Full Version : Waltzing Matilda's 1st trip to DLP - Day 3 part II and Day 4/Final Thoughts

12-26-2008, 05:36 PM
Day 3 Part II:
Sorry for the delay in finishing/posting this but i've had surgery on my right hand and i'm finding typing with one hand incredibly frustrating - this has taken a few days to type! Anyhoo, onwards and upwards...

After lunch at Cafe Mickey we made our way to the Studios park. I must admit that I wasn't as excited to visit this park mostly because there wasn't much for us to do there as a family. However I really loved the entrance and the whole boulevard thing, it looked really fun and if we hadn't have been in a hurry to get back to Frontierland later to see Mickey's Winter Wonderland i'd have loved to have just hung out soaking in the atmosphere.

Making our way to the Studios



The Christmas decorations were fabulous

I love this statue, we have a small bronze of this at home which we bought last time at WDW and it was nice seeing it in the Studios.

After having a wander around we rushed to see Animagique. I had heard so many great things about this show and we were not disappointed!!! I loved it very much and Matilda enjoyed it too and didnt cry once even though it was quite dark and at times really loud. She especially loved the LittleMermaid bit, we stood her up against a seat and she bopped up and down to the music, it was a special memory for us :)

After Animagique we practically ran back to the Disney park as we wanted to catch the last showing of Mickey's Winter Wonderland. This is where the rest of the trip starts to go a bit pear shaped. We got to the entrance and Phil went through with his ticket and I had Matilda so I walked to the door so the CM would let me through. We had about 8-10 minutes to get to Frontierland and we would have made the train as it left Main Street 5 minutes later. However, when I tried to go through the door the CM stopped me and asked me to wait. Then out of nowhere some young CM's started to come through the door, most of them holding some brochures, they had probably just finished some training course. I waited while about 20 people came through really slowly then asked the CM to please let us through as we were running late and he just lifted up his arm and held up his hand, basically telling me to wait whilst they all left. I waited and heard the train leave. I couldn't move to another place as the CM had taken my pass to put through the machine. Needless to say I was in tears by the time I got through and I told him he that never in a million years would the CMs at WDW ever treat a guest like that and he just looked at me with a blank stare. We still rushed to Frontierland but it was too late and we missed the show.

I was so gutted and was feeling sad and sorry for myself so Phil just hugged me and said it was time for some hot chocolate and a mickey brioche (I wasn't going to argue) so we walked around and settled on Hakuna Matata which we thought might cheer us up. Big mistake. I sat down at one of the few tables available very near the tills and Phil got in the queue which was 8 people deep so I figured it might take 10-15 minutes. At the table behind us were 4 teenage boys with a can of whipped cream, sitting there filling up their mouths and having a competition to see who could take the most, snort the most, it was pretty stupid and they were loud and making a huge mess. Thankfully after 20 minutes they left, only to be substituted by two boys under 5 who each had a plastic sword and thought it was funny to swing it at Matilda and try to poke her. I told them to stop in English, French, German and Portuguese just in case and they just smirked and kept swinging. I grabbed both the swords and they both looked over to their father who was in the queue and he stared at me and called both his sons over. I let go of the swords and off they went.

After 35 minutes poor Phil finally came back with 2 hot chocolates and a brioche and I have to be honest, at this point we actually discussed coming home that evening. We were miserable, cold and just tired of having to fight our way through everything. Disney should not have to be this hard so we thought best to go early.

We quickly downed our hot chocolate (which wasn't very hot if i'm nitpicking) and started walking back towards Main Street when I realised it was time for the afternoon parade so I thought let's stay for this and at least we'll have a happy memory with which to leave the park. So we watched the parade and it was beautiful and Matilda loved it!! And that music is so infectious, I was humming Chante C'Est Noel for ages afterwards :)

Feeling better after the parade we decided to not come back to England that evening but to stay in the park a while longer and come back the next day. As we were freezing we headed for the Plaza Gardens as it looked so nice and inviting and WARM! We were able to get a nice table and I got a nice kir royale for free thanks to my AP so I was well on my way to warming up! The Plaza really is a fab restaurant, will post a review and photos of the buffet on the Plaza restaurant review page later but here are a few shots of the restaurant:



The food was nice and it was such a relaxing setting. Matilda was grateful for the warmth and promptly fell asleep as soon as we got in. The selection was very good and they even had yogurts and fromage frais for the kids and were really kind in giving me some for Matilda to eat later in the evening when she woke up.

We then left and staked out a good place for the Enchanted Candleabration. This was my favourite thing of the whole trip, it was so beautiful and this time my tears were of joy and happiness ;)

We decided to leave the park after this as the bitter cold was getting to all of us and Matilda needed to crawl around so we walked back to the bus stops. We waited 30 minutes for a bus and people pushed and shoved so much we could barely get on. Matilda was now crying so I took her out of the pushchair and Phil squeezed himself onto the train with her and I stayed behind with the pushchair and waited another half an hour for another bus. I was an icicle by the time I got to our room!!

Day 4:
As we had decided to not go back to the parks today we slept in, relaxed in the room and had a late breakfast again in the restaurant which was nice. After one last stop in the gift shop we made our way for home. I was sad to be leaving but also relieved which was also sad in itself. Matilda however seemed happy to be in the car nice and warm:

We decided to stop in Vimy to see the Canadian War Memorial as i'm originally from Canada and i'd never been there. It was beautiful and very moving. Here's a photo of the memorial:

We stopped in Carrefour in Calais to buy some food for a late lunch and for Matilda's birthday party the next day and at 6pm we were in the tunnel headed back to England. We were home by 8pm and I set out right away to make her birthday cake - i'll leave you with a photo of the cake, it was yummy and she loved the characters:

Final thoughts:
I found this report very hard to do. I love Disney and wanted so much to love DLP as its so close to us - 4 hours door to door if we take the train - and to be able to go lots with Matilda when she's young so that she can love it the way I do and experience the magic. But I am gutted that a lot of the magic just wasn't there for us. Phil was not impressed and does not want to return. I must be more forgiving or more optimistic as I would like to go again in better weather and give it another chance in case it really was just bad luck for us. But if i'm truly honest i'm only doing this for Matilda as I don't think I would go back if it was just Phil and I :sad1: We've just had such magical vacations at WDW and knowing that magic is there we'd probably just save up and go as and when we can.

But I don't want Matilda missing out because of us - she won't care about pushy people or rude CMs or cold expensive hot dogs. The magic will be real for her so we're gonna try real hard to go back and see things through her eyes. I'm certainly hopeful!! I think we'll be going back in September and we'll be bringing my parents too so hopefully my next TR will be better!
Thanks for sticking around and reading my TR, happy new year to you all!

12-27-2008, 05:10 AM
Sorry to hear your trip was such a disappointment to you and Phil.

We've just had such magical vacations at WDW and knowing that magic is there we'd probably just save up and go as and when we can.

This may be your best bet. There seems no doubt that there is a difference in attitude in staff between DLRP and WDW and if your prefer the WDW style then you could end up frustrated at spending vast sums of money for a holiday at DLRP that is just not 'you'.

At least it sounds like Matilda had a nice time, which must make up a bit for you having such a bad holiday.:goodvibes

12-27-2008, 06:46 AM
I've enjoyed your trip report but it is such a shame your trip wasn't what you expected. That CM who held you back must have missed his Disney training course :scared1: what happened to putting paying customers first? It saddens me that parents would allow their children to run amok in a restaurant. I always tell my children that they stay put - as much for their safety as for the other diners! I am worried about facing rude people when we go - it infuriates me when people are like that.

Matilda is a sweetheart! You must be very proud of her.:goodvibes

12-27-2008, 11:57 AM
I'm sorry that the Disney magic was not there for you. I haven't been to WDW, (but would love to go sometime!), but I think the cold in winter in Paris and the crowds there for Christmas does take away from the magic. Also doing things with a baby/toddler makes it more difficult too. I wouldn't give up on DLP yet. I am jealous that you only live 4 hrs door to door away! and I'm sure that Matilda will have a great time there in future years - maybe when the crowds are lower & the weather is warmer. I have made a few trips with my eldest daughter (aged 6) just me & her since she was 4 & they have been wonderful. Just can't wait now for my youngest (just turned 2 and a handful) to get older so I can head off on my own with the 2 of them! Unfortunately DH doesn't always share my enthusiasm and would be very glad if we all headed off without him!

I enjoyed reading your report & looking at your lovely photos.

12-27-2008, 02:08 PM
i really enjoyed your tr. its a pity you were disapointed. i have to agree that maybe the weather and the crowds had a part to play. i went in october and my little girl was 22 months and i cant tell you how much i enjoyed it. seeing it all through her eyes was wonderful. if there were any negatives on my trip they were either ignored or long forgotten about lol. i know if you have been to another disney park then of course you will expect the same style of service. i have not so i was happy with what i got there.

12-27-2008, 03:31 PM
I definitely agree with you guys, I think the cold and crowds didnt help. Phil and I were talking about it today as we were watching our dvd of the trip and we were mostly smiling and happy on it, honest! I'm starting to feel bad, maybe my TR came off as too negative...we'll have to wait and see what my next TR will be like...I might start it early and call it 'The Make or Break trip to DLP!' :lmao:

I'm sure September will be better, not as cold anyway:) I'm hopeful, almost on a mission now to find the magic at DLP and I need to get some usage out of my Dream Annual pass :rotfl2:

I think that if we ever go back in winter though we're definitely staying at the Disneyland Hotel. ;)

12-27-2008, 05:48 PM
I think that if we ever go back in winter though we're definitely staying at the Disneyland Hotel. ;)

That's where I'm staying in 2 weeks time - for that very reason (and because I will be celebrating my 40th too!)

12-28-2008, 03:00 PM
Sorry to hear that you were disappointed this time round. It won't be as cold and dreary as it is in winter, so hopefully your trip in September will be a much better one (plus you won't have so many thick coats to contend with - I hate wearing lots of layers/thick coats when we go on holiday lol).

Lovely photos though and Matilda is such a sweetie :lovestruc

01-11-2009, 01:09 PM
Shame that your trip did not have all the Disney magic.

Some great photos of Matilda so hopefully you have some memories to treasure :goodvibes

Ware Bears
02-22-2009, 04:50 PM
I've really enjoyed reading your reports Eloise. I can quite understand how you were upset by both the CM's behaviour :sad2: and those kids in Hakuna Matata :mad: and I think the fact that these things happened on your last park day will have definitely put a downer on your trip, if it had happened on your first day it is a lot easier to put out of your mind.

I really hope you get to go again and have a much more magical experience next time. :wizard: To be honest, I think I have experienced more rude people at WDW than I have at DLRP but somehow the glorious sunny warm weather at Florida tends to make us take less notice things of these bad experiences than when the weather is cold and miserable.

Thanks for all the lovely photos, and I especially like Matilda's birthday cake! I hope she enjoyed tasting it! :goodvibes

02-23-2009, 03:58 PM
I just finished reading your trip reports and the one thing that sticksout in my mind is how different the CM's are.

I recently took the parents to DLP and my children. the latter have been to Florida (my ex lives out there) and have the pleasure of WDW a few times and having the real Disney Magic. I honeymooned at DLP back in 1999 (during the eclipse!) and had a great time. I went back several times (all August) and loved every minute of it. That was until I did WDW and realised how different the atmosphere was - coming from someone who swears that DLP is the best place on earth I found myself feeling a traitor lol.

Anyhoo, Paris was a nightmare, the CM's were rude, the crowd to overwhelmingly rude and like you I also cried (which majorly upset my dad as he'd NEVER been to Disney, period.

In WDW they bend over backwards. I lost my creditcard and a CM found it for me! On one occasion the line for Minnie was halted just in front of us but the CM let my 3 year old through because she's said "please can I see Minnie" and thanked her.

Yet DLP I got a few things stolen from the pushchair, my daughter got SAT on in her pushchair by a lout running through the crowd and the CM just looked at me and raised her eyebrows. Grrrrrr!

Saying that, we booked for 6days in July because my DAD wants to go again! He said the the magic I am always screaming about, wasn't there and he wants some of it! We're at the Cheyenne and are hoping the weather will be kind and I'll feel like I'm in Florida again.

Lisa x

P.S I hope your next trip is a "real one". If not, join us next year in Florida!!! I can't wait to go back home again, if only for two weeks lol.

02-24-2009, 03:47 PM
I really hope you get to go again and have a much more magical experience next time. :wizard:

Thank you for reading my report! I'm glad you liked it. Yes, we are going again. I wrote a letter to Disney explaining my disappointment in our original room (the one with missing light bulbs etc) and they sent a really nice apology email and offered us 1 free night at the Santa Fe and 2 day park hoppers for Phil and I so we can experience the Magic so that was really kind of them :) We are definitely going to go for 2 nights I think in September so here's hoping this time will be better! :thumbsup2

P.S I hope your next trip is a "real one". If not, join us next year in Florida!!! I can't wait to go back home again, if only for two weeks lol.

:rotfl2: Is that an offer? You might not like having us 3 tag along with you to Florida :laughing: We are definitely going to give DLP another go (especially as they invited us back at their expense!). I hope you guys experience some magic your next trip. :wizard:

03-17-2009, 10:01 AM
I'm really sorry to hear that you and Phill didn't enjoy DLRP as much as you thought you would have done.

I had a very, very similar experience in December 2009. The only advice I can give to you is (if you can talk Phill into it) trying DLRP again, mid-week sometime in May, June, September or October where there are no school holidays.

I have always found DLRP off-peak to be a much more enjoyable, relaxing holiday than I found in December 2009.