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Old 11-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
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40th Birthday DREAM trip to DLP April 23-26, 2012

OK, seven months after my trip and I'm just now getting around to writing a trip report for it. I meant to do this much earlier and hopefully I can remember as many details as possible.

In 2011, my darling mom asked me if I might like a trip to Europe for my 40th birthday in April 2012. I could pick the countries and itinerary. I was FLOORED. It took me all of 10 seconds to immediately blurt out FRANCE. I have always wanted to go to France, especially Paris and DLP. We decided to London as well. I also invited my BFF, who lived with my parents and me for 2 years after high school. So my mom is her 'second' mom.

After much deliberating, we finally decided on dates, countries, hotels and flights. We ended up going to London for April 15-19, Paris for April 19-23, and Disneyland Paris 23-26, coming home to the great Northwest USA on the 26th.

I won't discuss my London and Paris thoughts here, but I will say I would go back to either city in a nano-second. Loved both of them for different reasons. London exceeded my expectations and Paris, which I thought I would love instantly, took a day or two to grow on me, but was wonderful.

My mom decided to go all out and book us at the Disneyland Hotel. Background- I have wanted to go to DLP since I saw the opening ceremonies on ABC television here in the states on April 12, 1992. I remember practically crying as I thought it looked absolutely stunning and beautiful. My mom and I were huge Disneyland California fans while I was growing up- my dad would go along sometimes, but mom and I went many times when I was in high school and college just for fun. We lived about 5.5 hours from Disneyland from where I grew up in San Jose, California. After I moved to Portland, Oregon, we still managed to meet up in Disneyland once every couple years, and starting in 2003, we also made almost yearly trips to Florida to visit WDW. We are complete addicts and we love our Disney parks. My BFF is also a big Disneyland fan, and loves to travel.

From Paris, we stayed right near the American Embassy near the Place de Concorde & Champs Elysees, we hired a taxi to drive us to DLP. we didn't want to schlep our luggage on the trains, as we had a luggage nightmare occur on the Eurostar into Paris, and did not feel entirely comfortable the two times we rode the RER and the metro within Paris.

It takes about 40 minutes to get from the heart of Paris to the Disneyland Hotel. When you first drive on Disneyland property, you can spot the outlying hotels, like the Hotel Cheyenne, the Newport Bay and the New York. My excitement was mounting each time we passed something I recognized.

We made it to the DLH!

We go to check in the lobby- very first impression? WHAT IS THAT SMELL? I had read here on the DIS about the distinct smell that the DLH has- like a vanilla powder. I personally thought it was way too overpowering and it stunk. The lobby was also very hectic, not quite as grand as its American counterparts, but still lovely.

We check in and unfortunately we're not family of the day. Darn! I asked though , and the CM laughed that I knew about it. I do like the 'free' fastpasses you are given at check in here at the DLH. Those came in rather handy, although there IS a time block on them- one can't use them between 1pm and 4pm. Our room is not ready yet, (we checked in about 9:45/10AM), so we venture over to Disneyland Park.

I am literally verklempt at actually being here in Disneyland Paris. I don't even know how to think, how to process. The first eight days of our trip were simply perfect- would Disneyland live up to my expectations?
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
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I like how the entrance to DLP is so gorgeous- the fountains, being underneath the hotel, very nice indeed.

We enter the park and go underneath the tunnels...

The anticipation! I love the colors, the size... the weather, not so much. Late April and it's COLD and rainy...


I think at this point I stopped and gave my Momma a squeeze and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for making this happen! I couldn't BELIEVE IT!

I decide to take Mom and BF to the dungeon- they weren't sure what I was talking about, but I was eager to see the dragon! First of all, it's DARK down there! There is no 'ambient' lighting, or if there was, it was quite dim. I would think a lot of young children would be scared- I know mine would have been from about age 4/5 and younger. (DH is home with our kids, along with my Dad's house- bless them for letting this trip happen!)

definitely cool and definitely creepy! two thumbs up for the dragon!

Onto Fantasyland- I had read that often the Casey Jr train and the StorybookLand canal boats (les plays de la contees) were closed at DLP on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and since this was Monday, I figured we should try and get on those attractions first. I could not get over how HUGE Fantasyland is in this park. It's wonderful! Beautifully themed, and plenty of room.

les plays de la contees was darling, and rather different from the one in Disneyland CA, but unfortunately it started raining in the middle of our cruise. So it was sort of unpleasant. We then decided to bite the bullet and wait in line for Casey Jr. Due to frequent breakdowns and inefficient ride loading, this 10 minute queue took 45 minutes to get thru. Definitely NOT worth it. We were starving, so we made our way to Toad Hall for lunch:

All three of us just decided to get Fish n Chips, sodas or waters, and the desserts. I don't have a picture of our meal, but the food was tasty and filling. The atmosphere was nightmarish and hectic- while the parks weren't really crowded, this restaurant had limited seating space and lots of people who were NOT eating, were just in here getting out of the rain. It was frustrating and we just ate quietly, as we were sharing a long table with a large Italian family. I did love the portrait of Mr. Toad that kept morphing into either Mona Lisa toad or van Gogh toad.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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One other note about Toad Hall- we noticed that most people did not bus their own table. We felt so badly for the Cast Members having to clean up the HUGE messes people were leaving. Of course, not everyone did this, but many did.

Also noted around DLP- people really don't give a fig about the no smoking guidelines. People lit up everywhere- even in line. We also noticed one family letting their 3 or 4 year old son pee on the covered walkway between Frontierland and Adventureland. GROSS.

OK, back to touring. After we had lunch at Toad Hall, we went on Peter Pan with our fastpass, it's a small world (CUTE!!!), Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion.

Thoughts of those attractions compared to the American counterparts:
small world- just as good as the Disneyland small world. The exterior is gorgeous, beautiful lighting inside the ride and I loved the layout.
Peter Pan: essentially the same
Pirates: I LOVED this Pirates! I'm so bummed I have hardly any pics around Pirates or the Skull Rock because every time we were back there, it was either dark or pouring rain. This Pirates is as good as Disneyland CA because it contains every scene, and they make more sense in the order they're laid out in. It does NOT have Johnny Depp in this pirates tho- which was OK with me. It was fun seeing Pirates in its 'original' form.
Haunted Mansion: I knew this would be different and oh yes, it was! Creepy and definitely more 'dark'; I liked what I called 'zombie Frontierland' at the end.

The Haunted Mansion line is where someone chose to light up their cigarette though. Gross.
We did window shopping in Frontierland and I spied a Disneyland Paris DOONEY AND BOURKE line of purses. I about dropped over- I collect the Disney Dooneys and I had no idea DLP had a line of them. I knew then and there I would have to get one before I left the property.

We exit the park and head back to our hotel. We pick up our keys at the front desk and we have a communication gap about the ID card the CM wants to see from my mom. He wanted to see the paper ID card she was given earlier, but she thought her driver's license/passport would be OK. This was slightly frustrating as he just kept calling it 'express pass' or something similar. I finally figured out what he meant- this was our first encounter of non Disney employee magic. Not horrible, but yet definitely not fitting for such an expensive resort.

We had booked a family room, which is a larger than average room that sleeps 5. We had a ground floor room near the indoor pool.

Alas, I did not take proper pictures of the room. Suffice it to say, it was VERY good size. Definitely enough room for 3 adults, room for all of our stuff, a nice sitting area. Our view was just of some trees and garden area, nothing exciting.
I loved the tiles in the shower

However, in my opinion, these rooms need an update. They look like the Disneyland Hotel rooms in California from 1994. The beds were too firm and the linens were just blah. We had had such luxurious, comfy sheets and comforters in London and Paris that these were a let down. Don't get me wrong, it was cute, but I have stayed at most of the Deluxe resorts in Walt Disney World, Disneyland and the Aulani resort in Hawaii- but this hotel definitely needs an interior facelift compared with their counterparts.

and the internet service- it was HORRID. It was slow as molasses, spotty, and it was wired, not wireless. The only time we had good internet in DLP was when we ate dinner at Earl of Sandwich in DtD. We paid for the internet in the room, it was NOT free. (but the hotels we stayed at in London and Paris did include wireless internet in nightly fee). We finally had to contact maintenance to come and try and fix it and after much fiddling with controls, he said, 'there is a bug.' Um, yeah, we knew that. We had the fees for the internet comped and lived without it for the time we were there.

For dinner we went to Earl of Sandwich- delicious. And reasonably priced. I had the original, which is roast beef, cheese and horseradish sauce. We surfed the web for awhile during our dinner and then headed back into the park to stake out spots for the fireworks show.

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Old 12-30-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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Love it so far. I was there 2 weeks later for my 40th.
Shame about the weather.

Personally I would love to hear about the whole trip.

Off site 96, NPB 01, NPB 02, DLH 02, DLH 04, HNY 05, HNY 06, WDW AKL 07, HNY 08, SL Feb 09, SL Nov 09, SL Feb 10, HNY Feb 11, HNY May 12, NPB Feb 13, HNY Feb 14
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing

We've never stayed at the DLH, but have looked around and agree about the smell

Something you either love/hate I guess.

Also agree about the need for a DLH facelift. They're gradually working through the other hotels, so guess it'll happen at some point.

So what is the family of the day???
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