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Old 07-03-2011, 02:07 PM   #1
smallpig
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Our first fantastic trip! Days 1,2,3 - Complete!

Our trip - Sun 26 to Tues 28th June 2011

I have been to WDW and DLP a few times with family, but this was my first trip with my boyfriend who has never been to Disney before. After lots of not so subtle hints, forced watching of YouTube videos and extensive price comparisons, we finally settled on 2 nights, 3 days, travelling by Eurostar indirect and staying at the Ibis in Val d'Europe (DLH next time, I told myself..!)

Day 1 - the practical bits


We're off! Up not too early for the short journey by tube to St Pancras, we arrive in plenty of time to collect tickets and head to the Eurostar check in. We both travel through Kings Cross every day for work and mostly just grumble about the crowds of people with suitcases wandering aimlessly out of Eurostar arrivals... today we were one of them!

Check in was straightforward, and we bought a (not very nice) soggy mushroom sandwich thing from the cafe in departures. Before we had a chance to tuck in we were on the Eurostar and on our way.

Journey was very straightforward, but on surfacing on the other side of the Channel I grew worried about the gloomy grey clouds ahead - ironic considering the sweltering heat of the next 3 days.

We changed at Lille, which was easy enough, and on to a really nice TGV (much nicer than the Eurostar) for the short hop to Marne La Vallee. I got VERY excited to see the top of the castle and space mountain from the train! oh, and by now it is HOT, stepping out of the train you could have been in Florida!

Here we got a bit confused, and somehow walked several times around the station before figuring out where the Metro/RER part of the station was! This was our stupidity, as it's clearly easy to find! Bought the 'carnet' of 10 tickets from the machine (thanks to advice from Carrie Cat!) and hopped on the RER for the short journey to Val D'Europe.

Here we got confused again.... I blame the heat... despite checking the directions to the hotel we came out of the wrong end of the station, and wandered around in the heat like idiots before spotting the Ibis/Etap on the other side of the station.... oops... Note to everyone: it's very easy to find both the RER and the hotel, we're just dense... again, blame the heat.

The Ibis was much like a Travelodge, clean and functional but won't win any awards from the Hotel Inspector! Well suited for individuals/couples but a bit small if you're with kids I'd guess. But can't complain for 60 euros a night. Dumped our stuff and headed off to the parks.... this time using the correct entrance to the RER which was clearly visible from our hotel window...

The RER is really very easy and incredibly quick to the parks, we headed for the main park first, as I wanted my OH to have the 'wow' castle moment first!

We bought our Fantasy passes easily from the ticket booths (very quiet, as it was by now about 3pm), and they sort of explained we needed to exchange them 'somewhere over there' [vague gesture]. We wandered around aimlessly (sensing a theme!) before finding Donald's Desk (I love the literal translation of bureau) and joining the queue. Fortunately a very nice CM explained that we could swap them at any point today and the queue in the studios would be much shorter, so we decided to do the exchange later and headed into the parks!

Here we got our WOW moment! OH was so impressed by the detail in everything and just how big and complete everything is! He kept touching things to see if they were real (and not MDF or whatever they use at Chessington!). I was just so pleased to finally be there and be walking down main street!

[IMG][/IMG]

We (ok, I) decided that POTC should be our first ride and headed slowly down main street, through the Castle and round to Adventureland. The queue was pretty long and we were hungry so stopped for a hot dog before joining the line, around 30 mins. The ride was as good as ever, and OH was very impressed by the detail of it all.

tbc (after dinner...!) Next stop, Phantom Manor..

Last edited by smallpig; 07-28-2011 at 02:21 PM. Reason: adding pics
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Day 1 part 2

So, after potc it's off to phantom manor, one of my other faces and with a nice short queue. As usual I get very scared in the lift, but three teenagers behind us are completely freaking out, which lightens the mood! Loved the ride as ever, and still get scared someone might jump out!


Big Thunder Mountain from Phantom Manor

We then decide to head to the studios, as crush is closed from the next day and I wanted to see if the queue would decrease by the end of the day... No such luck, 90 mins up to park closing! Instead we go for RC Racer.... Terrifying, but fun!



We then exchanged our tickets for our APs at the office in studios, lovely CM explained all the benefits etc, very helpful! Spotted a short queue for RnRc so forced the boy into another scary experience- still love this ride, though I think it'd be better if it was darker and you couldn't see the track?

It's 7pm by now so we head out of the park, and decided to grab some food before returning to the main park until 10pm closing. Opted for rainforest cafe this time, and while the decor is fun and service was good, the food was a bit bland and not quite hot enough. But we were out by 8pm ready for more park time. We did appreciate out 10% discount with APs though!

I loved the final hours in the park each day, with the heat and crowds subsiding we got so much done!

First stop Buzz- a first for both of us and absolutely loved it- love the Buzz model talking in the queue and that the ride was so long and engrossing! Scores nothing to write home about though!



Then star tours, a walk on tonight, so it was almost a shame to miss the great queue decor, still good but showing it's age and I also found the ride really jerky (I have a bad neck, and this was far worse than the coasters!) I hope the revamp from WDW makes it to DLP soon!



Then headed to fantasyland and the obligatory trip on it's a small world- a walk on again. DB amused by the whole thing! There were still some big lines for Dumbo and the carousel so we went on Peter Pan (about 10 mins wait) - is it just me or are the ships really really jerky too?! Sweet ride, but if I had to queue for an hour I wouldn't be impressed (no kids to consider though!)

After a fantastic last couple of hours we made our way slowly back to the station, excited for another full day of magic yet to come!


Last edited by smallpig; 07-06-2011 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:08 PM   #3
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Day two

Day two

Despite it's low cost the Ibis delivered a good night's sleep, and a decent shower in the funny pod like bathroom unit! We were amused by the all purpose hair/body/hand/soap liquid - bring your own toiletries!

We were up and ready by around 9.30 and decided to head to the Village for our breakfast. Having read so much about the Earl of Sandwich on here, and seen it offered some good price breakfast options we headed there first. It was a bit confusing figuring out how to order (we had the buzzer thing, but were the only people in the place!) - both had the breakfast BLT which was really good. We sat and watched people go by and the balloon going up (we agreed we definitely didn't want to do this - wimps!)



Into the Disneyland Park first, some more oohs and aaahs at main street. We grabbed a FP for BTM in an hour or so, and decided to have a wander around while waiting as the other queues were already growing - and it was just too hot to stand around!

First visited the dragon under the castle (oooh, nice and cool down here!)



We then went to visit the Cheshire Cat in Alice's maze - a first for me - was really impressed by how huge the maze was - this is a proper length attraction, not just a diversion! It was so hot that everyone was stopping by the little squirting fountains to grab any water they could!



Time for yet another drink stop (we kept filling up water bottles, thank goodness or would have spent all our money on drinks, but it was too hot for warm fountain water sometimes!) then over to BTM.

I LOVE this ride, but had not been back since the FPs were introduced and it makes so much difference, as I remember queuing for this for hours before. The FP just brings you right in to the boarding area - fantastic! Loved it and laughed all the way round.

We then decided that we were roasting, and it was nearly lunch, so thought we'd head over to the studios for an indoor break.

Queues in the studios were really long, especially with Crush closed and RnRC, ToT intermittently stopped throughout the day. We grabbed lunch at one of the trailers near ToT - I had a chicken salad which was pretty good, and DB had a spicy hot dog thing, which was apparently ok.

As we were finishing we noticed the Stars and Cars parade starting up, so wandered over to have a look, but weren't overly impressed, we watched a bit of the little show thing by Animagique before heading into Stitch Live.

We largely went to Stitch for a sit down out of the sun(!) but this was fantastic! I was totally taken in by the effects and all the kids loved it - thought this was brilliant, really innovative (and expect to see rubbish versions at UK theme parks soon!)

Happy from the Stitch experience we decided to try the Tram Tour before the motor stunt show. After queuing for about 20 minutes however the tram stopped, everyone was kicked off and the good old 'technical problems' surfaced. As it was nearly time for the stunt show we decided to give Tram Tour and miss and left the queue, just in time as all the stands were nearly full. DB was really impressed by how big the set was (I kept forgetting that while I had done the whole Floridian scale experience,he's never seen anything like this!).

I liked the show, although to be honest the 'storyline' was a bit tenuous and I would have been happy just to see the stunts! As others have said the Lightning McQueen bit isn't that great, as the cars aren't very fast, but the kids all seemed to be very excited to see Lightning (and me too, a bit!) Loved the stunt with the fire at the end of the show!

Another 'we're too hot!' stop for an iced coffee at the little cafe near Armageddon. Then decided to bite the bullet and join the 40min queue for Tower of Terror. It took about 30 minutes to get to the first lift area, then.... yep, technical problems again! But we were the first people behind the rope for the next batch so determined to hang on... and within about 15 mins we were on our way. I have to say I felt quite ill by this point (did I mention the heat) so was quite anxious to get it over with, but once on the ride I loved it!

The park was getting quieter by now, so we whizzed round some of the kiddie rides. Flying carpets was OK - again, the 'story' is a bit pointless! Really liked Slinky Dog - loads of fun! Parachute Drop had another massive queue and the boy doesn't really like heights so wan't keen.



Bye bye to the studios and we wandered back over to the main park again. I like going in as everyone is leaving 'that's right, off you go, more room for me!'

Wandered over to Discoveryland again - this was by far the boyfriend's fave as he loves sci-fi type thing, and the whole Jules Verne theme. Decided to go for Space Mountain - the queue was meant to be 30 mins but was more like 15, they seemed to be having people queue outside and then letting people in to walk right the way up to boarding. Maybe it's too stuffy inside in the heat?

Anyway... I loved this ride before, and still do, but since the last visit I've developed neck problems and this really didn't help! I just felt like my head was being shaken around violently, which was sad as I love the ride itself.. but I soon recovered and we popped round for another go on Buzz. Slightly better scores this time!



Fantasyland was still pretty packed so we hopped over to Adventureland for another go on Pirates - walked right through to the boarding area this time and got on an extremely heavy boat of all adults - which struggled a bit on the corners!!

Dinner tonight was in the Studios again, at Billy Bobs. I'm sad we didn't try Walts or Blue Lagoon in the park, but we were enjoying the quieter evening hours and didn't want to miss out -but I think next time we'd plan in nicer meals now we know what we want to do! We also didn't get to try Annette's as the queues were huge (and I was complaining about sore feet!) and wanted to try the Agrabah Cafe which was closed during our trip.

We both had the set meal, the boyfriend went for the chicken which was rock solid when it arrived - but the waitress was very good and replaced it straight away with the chilli, which was actually pretty good (except for the plastic cheese!). There was a singer on who was quite good, and it was nice to have a beer at the end of a long hot day!

Last edited by smallpig; 07-06-2011 at 03:23 PM. Reason: resizing pics
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Great two days so far, really looking forward to the next installment
Im also prone to injury at DLP!!! Handbag neck strain and sore feet and twisted ankles!! A mobility scooter starts looking like a great option by the end of day 2!! I need to toughen up methinks!
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kizzabel View Post
Great two days so far, really looking forward to the next installment
Im also prone to injury at DLP!!! Handbag neck strain and sore feet and twisted ankles!! A mobility scooter starts looking like a great option by the end of day 2!! I need to toughen up methinks!
Thanks - as you can see I am struggling with image sizes, will get them all normal sized eventually!

I don't think my feet have ever hurt so much (even doing 4 day hiking treks!) - clearly wore the wrong shoes!
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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I have the same probelm. My trainers are the only things i find comfy but they dont go with most of my jeans. My cheap Penneys (Primark) Uggs just dont cut the mustard and I dread to think what havoc flip flops would wreck on my feet.
I think Lola Delorean said her bear paw boots were very comfy and she got them in TK Maxx.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kizzabel View Post
I have the same probelm. My trainers are the only things i find comfy but they dont go with most of my jeans. My cheap Penneys (Primark) Uggs just dont cut the mustard and I dread to think what havoc flip flops would wreck on my feet.
I think Lola Delorean said her bear paw boots were very comfy and she got them in TK Maxx.
Next trip will probably in the chilly months so can go for comfy boots I wear for city sightseeing that can handle hours of walking...! Kept seeing kids being carried and being very envious!
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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great trip report - loving the "thats right, off you go, more room for me" - I love getting to DLP on a Sunday at 7pm ish for that reason .
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:08 AM   #9
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Fab start, I look forward to the rest
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:01 AM   #10
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Lovely first day
Love the fact your making your OH go on all the scary rides
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:17 PM   #11
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Day 3 - last day and home

Sorry for the very long wait for day 3!

Woke up bright and early and were at the park just after 10 - after leaving our bags at the storage place it was still nice and quiet so we made a quick dash to Big Thunder Mountain.... which wasn't working. And neither was the FP machine...

Plan thwarted, we headed back to check the wait time board and seeing that most things were still fairly low queues decided to grab some breakfast first. Had a coffee and yummy chocolate pastry in the Cable Car bakery - this is such a cute little cafe!

Then headed over to DB's favourite - Discoveryland - picked up a FP for Buzz and then headed over to Space Mountain. Only a 10 minute wait - yay. Have to say I was shocked by how many parents try and sneak their too small kids past the height check - do they want them to fall off!?

We were at the front of the train this time and it made for a very rocky ride! I think I much prefer the back, as at the front you are half way through the loops/drops before it picks up speed and I didn't enjoy that so much!



Don't know if you can make up the guy fixing the cannon when it stopped working later - scary!

Feeling very shaken again we cooled off under the misters by Star Tours before going to Buzz - much better with a FP! This kept stopping so plenty of time for shooting, though I got a bit bored and took photos instead!

Must confess from here the order of the day is a bit hazy.. but we did Phantom Manor again (also stopped in the underworld bit - scary!), went through the Aladdin walk through, explored the caves, eventually got a FP for BTM.

Lunch was Colonel Hathi's - very good value - and the shady terrace was a lovely place to sit, plus you got to see the characters heading out for their meet and greets!


Headed over to the studios where ToT wasn't running, neither was Armageddon. Decided to give Art of Disney Animation a go - was a good show, and break from the heat! With everything else either done or down we wandered back over to the main park as just wandering around is much more fun there!

Had another go on BTM, where we had our one and only run in with someone smoking in the queue. Was a bratty schoolkid and another guest gave her a telling off!

Managed to catch a bit of the parade and followed it up main street and out of the park Collected our luggage from the baggage store (really good service, would have lost loads of park time going back to Val d'Europe)

Caught the train back to Lille, we had an hour wait but with going through passport control etc it didn't feel very long. An easy hop back to London then sadly home again.

We had a brilliant time, talk about it every day and we're determined to go back this year! Glad we didn't just go on the last day though ,as so many rides weren't running or kept stopping - maybe it was the heat!
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #12
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great trip report - loving the "thats right, off you go, more room for me" - I love getting to DLP on a Sunday at 7pm ish for that reason .
If we went for a longer time I think I'd just wander around all day, people watch, and do all the rides at night!
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:22 PM   #13
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What a lovely trip report, really enjoyed reading that it's nice that you got the good weather but sometimes it can be a bit much! x
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