Lessons learned from our Adventure!!

Discussion in 'DIS Adventures by Disney Trips' started by k5jmh, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    While this is still fresh on my brain, I thought I would throw out some things we learned from our Recent Adventures by Disney Trip to London and Paris. I hope that this reference will help not only those traveling to London and Paris, but to other locations as well


    Understand the Power requirements of the locations you are going.
    • Check all of your devices and make sure they are capable of dual voltages!
    • Learn what plug adapters you will need. London and Paris use different power plugs than the ones used in the US and they are different from each other.
    • Get a dual voltage power strip that uses a universal power connector. If you get into a situation where you need to unplug a lamp to get power, you can plug in the lamp into the universal plug.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    If you have an Ipad and want to avoid costly internet charges at the hotel, find a SIM Card provider that does not require a credit card on file.
    • I used Vodaphone. They charged £5 for a Sim and 250mb of data. I was able to get an additional 750mb for £15. Very reasonable. I used about 500mb total while we were in London.

    Think about the bag you will carry around and protecting your wallet.
    • Think about using a messenger bag over a backpack. It is easier to keep a hand on a messenger bag. I carried a messenger style camera sling bag instead of my backpack. It is not as easy for someone to take items from a messenger bag.
    • Watch your pockets and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

    If you use the hotel internet, bring a small wifi router (not access point).
    • When you purchase the hotel wifi or wired internet, you can only use it on a couple of devices. I had my travel router with me. This helped in connecting my Ipad, Blackberry, Iphone, and laptop. The router allowed me to use the wired connection and share that with all of my devices.

    If you have free time, plan it out before you go on your trip.
    • We made reservations at a couple of restaurants several months out. These were small cafes and the space went quickly.

    Take time to plan out where you want to wander.
    • Know that the most popular locations, in Paris especially, are popular targets for pickpockets and scammers. People will also sell "le crap" at these spots. AVOID THEM. We saw a person buy something and then he was then pegged as a "sucker." And was hit by every illegal "le crap" vendor.

    XL = Sausage Skin in Paris.
    • I tried to purchase an XL shirt in Paris but was not happy to find that XL in Paris means body condemn in US sizes. They do not sell any thing above XXL, and that was even tight.
    More to come....
     
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  3. gonesaleing

    gonesaleing Mouseketeer

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    Keep them coming.

    We are thinking of taking our kids to London/Paris over Easter break in 2012 to celebrate my daughters high school graduation and our 20 year anniversary.
     
  4. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    As they pop in my head, I update the thread.

    Feel free to add your own!
     
  5. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    As Mike has said...

    Do some research in advance and have an idea of what you'd like to see and do.

    While the entire Adventure was excellent, two of my best experiences happened because someone made some advance plans.

    I'm not suggesting that you need to make reservations (but if you want to dine somewhere specific...they really help), but more about having an idea of places you would like to see and visit.

    London and Paris are huge cities and can be great fun to wander around, but I wanted to see some specific things.

    While I didn't have a schedule, I was able to tell the driver where I wanted to go. Having specific addresses help as well.

    I would suggest that while doing your research, keep a list or journal with names and street addresses. I can almost guarantee that your internet is going to work better (and cost less) here than there.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    Another wise DIS'er also showed us these little gems...

    http://www.moleskine.com/catalogue/city_notebook/

    [​IMG]

    This is what Christy and I used to take notes and compile research. We used these for our notes, City Maps, and Metro and Tube maps. We were also able to keep a travel log for the trip.
     
  7. BriarRosie

    BriarRosie <font color=blue>Creator of Tag Fairy Haiku:<br>Cl

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    That universal plug strip was probably the best thing. Christy bought one, and it really helped in France, where they don't believe in multiple plug outlets.

    If go back (which I hope I can someday), I will be getting one. And I probably should have planned out some things I wanted to do on my free time, but I didn't think I really had time to go off on my own. I paid the price for having some books and not really planning out things to do.

    On the plus side, I did have a plan pre-tour to see the British Museum, and that came with a plan in mind. It did work for me without any problems, and I'm glad I didn't miss out on that.
     
  8. Sarabi's Cubs

    Sarabi's Cubs DIS Veteran

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    I would add that if you get a new fancy camera for the trip, figure out before you go how the settings work for (1) turning off the flash for pictures in museums where it's not allowed and (2) taking nighttime pics. Then you won't have to harass your fellow travelers (hi, Mike!) for camera advice!

    Laurie
     
  9. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    Anytime!!! :thumbsup2

    The best learning you can do is by experimentation!
     
  10. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    I totally agree on the universal power strip! I bought this one, which is pretty much the same as Mike's, but a bit more compact.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UHYDYO

    It was so nice to only have to worry about one adapter per country, and to be able to plug in anything that was 220 compatible, and plug in multiple things at at time. Excellent advice!

    And while I agree to an extent with the planning ahead thing (really quite useful during the London portion of the trip!) I found the Adventure Guides were a wealth of knowledge and suggestions for my free afternoon in Paris. I really had no idea what I wanted to do, and they presented me with several suggestions, of which visiting the Sacre-Coeur Basilica sounded the most fascinating. They gave me excellent directions and a map for getting there, and I had a wonderful time. Sometimes the unplanned things are great, also. I just say, be open. You never know what will present itself.

    Sayhello
     
  11. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    I can add a couple of things. First, don't drive in Paris as they don't seem to be able to figure out whether to drive on the right or left side of the highway. ;)

    [​IMG]
    (from http://www.infolettre.fr//gabarit/newsletterview.php?news=9402 - via photoshop disasters).

    And if you go on a trip for any length of time, repair your roof first. We had hail damage from a few months ago which has not yet been repaired. We thought we had the leak covered with tarp. Because we didn't go on on this ABD adventure :sad2:, we were at home when TS Lee dumped buckets of rain on our house. We were fortunate to be able to put down buckets to catch the water instead of coming home to find our upstairs toilet sitting in our downstairs kitchen. It's an ill wind that blows no good.
     
  12. belle41379

    belle41379 Disney is my happy place.

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    I found that a lot of the typical tips for touring WDW worked in London and Paris:

    Plan ahead, but don't over plan.

    Take time to soak in your surroundings.

    Nap in the afternoon if you want to, and the time allows.

    Don't be afraid to try new things (foods, experiences, etc).

    Remember you are on vacation. Relax and have fun.


    The other thing I would say that hasn't been mentioned yet, is remember to be respectful of the cultures you are in whenever you go to another country. Knowing a few key phrases, understanding the general personality (such as things are much slower paced than we are use to...something I fell in LOVE with), etc can go a long way for a more enjoyable experience, and also leaves a better impression of American visitors in general. :thumbsup2

    On another note....I'm ready to go back tomorrow. Who's with me? :rolleyes1
     
  13. Chropistopy

    Chropistopy DIS Veteran

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    I know that I was concerned with overpacking...but then didn't bring enough clothes. My thought was that I would wear pants a couple of times. What I didn't think about is that walking around and getting clothing sweaty, dirty, etc is not conducive to rewearing items. I wish that I had brought more. On future trips, I will make sure I have enough clothing and just suck it up and pay the $ for the extra bag or overweight limit charges.
     
  14. Chropistopy

    Chropistopy DIS Veteran

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    I'll also echo knowing a little of the language. I knew the very basics...hello, thank you, do you speak english...but wish I would have knew more. It started to feel rude just automatically asking if they spoke english.
     
  15. mattincanberra

    mattincanberra Mouseketeer

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    I couldn't agree more - planning to do unplanned things would be my tip!

    Some of the coolest stuff for me was the unplanned and spontaneous things - a shopping trip with Pete that ended up with no shopping but i think hours spent at a cafe overlooking the Eiffel Tower, or our midnight trip to the Arc de Triomphe followed by drinks in the cafe on the Champs Elysees.
     
  16. JWren1234

    JWren1234 <font color=blue>Disney Adventurer<br><font color=

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    I had the same experience, I had hoped my high school/college French would come back to me but it didn't. On my next trip to Europe I plan to learn the language beforehand to make things easier.

    Jason
     
  17. belle41379

    belle41379 Disney is my happy place.

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    That night was definitely a trip highlight!:cloud9:

    I was shocked by how much came back to me, with just 2 years of French in high school. It ended up being a highlight for me - rediscovering the language. It was exciting being able to do some translating for fellow Adventurers.

    Tons of amazing memories.
     
  18. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you so much 'k5jmh' for starting this thread!

    After signing up for the upcoming Knights and Lights in October I hit a fork in the road on where to start in research and planning and this thread has already given me a good start on things I should either keep in mind or start on. Almost forgot about the universal power strip!

    Someone mentioned language and I'm already in the process of learning french and my husband already knows some. Anyone that wants to learn a lot in a small amount of time I highly recommend 'Fluenz' French! I've learned more in two weeks from that then my husband learned in 2 years from his high school French class(or so he tells me) and I'm not even half way through the first disc! It's a bit pricey but it's worth it! Just the first disc is helpful and you can buy per disc or as a set.

    I'm more worried about London with planning than Paris since just being in Paris is almost enough for me! I went to London on a Europe trip in high school and I was disappointed when I left because I only got to do one thing I wanted to do but then I didn't have the freedom then that I do now! So far the only things I want to do in London that I haven't or isn't planned on the adventure is The British Museum and The National Gallery since it has one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings!

    Thank you for all the great ideas in this thread though and if anyone has anymore please share every little bit helps! :thumbsup2
     
  19. jessrose18

    jessrose18 ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!

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    I am just about to leave on my london/paris trip and I have found Rick Steves guidebooks to be the best and tripadvisor to be amazing! On tripadvisor go to the forums for each city as well as read reviews for each attraction and look at the photos! Rick Steves guidebooks break down each attraction very nicely, time to tour, hand drawn maps, descriptions of must sees/ or rooms in palaces etc. And I agree about Paris, just walking around is an attraction, in London we have a busy itinerary of "sites". Planning is half the fun! Enjoy!

    And as for outlet converters, try Amazon by far cheaper than going to a store. I also found a universal hair dryer at walmart for 10 bucks (small one) and a universal hair straightner at marshals (mini) i realized a week before we left that mine weren't hair crisis diverted!

    Also as far as getting excited for dlrp...dlrp today is a great blog and they do a podcast as well! It's very entertaining! They are dis'ers as well.
     
  20. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    If you have a DVR or access to iTunes or Netflix....I would suggest catching some of the shows that deal with places you are going.

    My personal favorite is Samantha Brown and she has several shows on London and Paris. All of them have a permanent place on my iPad. This is true for Rome, Tuscany and Venice as well.

    I have also watched Giada deLaurentis, Anthony Bourdain, Rick Steves (who is like visual valium...he puts me to sleep), Globe Trekker, Barefoot Contessa etc.

    You never know where an idea might come from.

    This is how I found that bakery in Paris (Poillane) and some of the other stuff.

    There are some awesome blogs out there as well, which is how Christy found that amazing restaurant in Paris (in someone's house)...which was one of the great nights of my life.

    Keep in mind that guide books are already several months old by the time they are printed, distributed and sold at book stores. And while they may be great for things that don't change (The British Museum), they aren't so good at what's happening currently.

    Use all of the resources at your disposal.:thumbsup2
     
  21. MinnieGarden

    MinnieGarden <font color=royalblue>Sweetie, let's focus on vaca

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    London is going to be fabulous this year! If we could do the trip again this year, I'd do it primarily for the very unique events happening in London this year..... the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. Granted, you will be there in October so those things will be mostly over, but there will still be a lot of special things going on.

    Having done the trip last year, my advice is to do what you enjoy. Ok, I know that sounds silly..... my husband loves classical music, so we discovered there are several free organ concerts at St. Paul's in London (not on your adventure) and Notre Dame. I love shopping and food, so I researched those things. I can tell you all about fabulous scarves, copper pots, and the tiny restaurant that Kevin loves.

    Also, if you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on your iPad, consider downloading guide books. They tend to be a little more current because they are released a little quicker. :goodvibes
     

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