I've just come back from Disneyland Paris, the most openly commercial enterprise on the planet. Pizza planet. TM. Hell's Bells, what a place! In cold murky weather, the park was nonetheless completely rammo, and 100% devoted to making money for Walt and his descendents. In addition to forking out to stay there, and getting in, we have come back with one plastic sword, one pistol, two holsters and a belt, a rifle, a cuddly alien called Bob, a jigsaw, and of course Mickey Mouse. Queues for some of the rides peaked at two hours, and the food in the park was uniformly grotesque and massively overpriced. A fast-food meal for five that would have made Maccy D's look like haute cuisine set me back fifty quid, and in one of the sit-down restaurants billed as an "exclusive dining experience" we experienced possibly the worst service in the entire world.
That said, if you can get over the rampant capitalism, and somehow plan your day such that you get the big rides over with outside of peak times, ie in the dark just before the park closes, you can convince yourself that it's quite fun. For famille L, it was about spending time together, rather than the setting - though of course (and this was the entire point) three small children found the experience pretty wonderous, especially Pudding, aged five and a half, for whom Fantasyland was the greatest thing EVER. As every parent will tell you, there is no price that can be put on watching their offsprings' eyes shine, though Walt perhaps comes closer than most....
We stayed in a "Woodland Cabin" at Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch. For Woodland, read Porta. Still, it was far more reasonable than the other hotels, and we did our own living space, though any cats we might have brought should consider themselves fortunate. It did have an excellent swimming pool, which we made full use of. Note to any fathers thinking of making this trip: swimming shorts ARE allowed, and you do NOT have to wear Speedos. Note to self: Fuck.
|Pixar has been ruthlessly assimilated|
We spent all day in the parks, which is totally exhausting, and spent many hours queueing. We wised-up pretty quickly though, and days two and three were much more worthwhile in terms of ratio stood around doing nothing to actually going on rides. Yesterday for instance I was able to get out of my It's a Small World boat, walk around to the front again and get straight back in for another session of musical torture. Ditto the Mad Hatter's Teacups, which had I spent any time in a queue for, I may actually have killed a cast member. The best ride was easily the Pirates of the Caribbean, though had I had the nerve to go on the Indiana Jones rollercoaster, that might have been a contender. As it was, Big Thunder Mountain was quite enough for my sensibilities.
One thing I will say is that Disney has Christmas down to a tee. I was hoping for this, and it didn't disappoint. The place was awesomely decked-out, there are almost no superlatives adequate. Superb in every respect, you could not help but feel buoyed and highly jolly - until you ate the food perhaps. Got home yesterday evening via a momumental shop in a french supermarket, on the basis that I have not yet consumed enough calories this Christmas season. Our fridge looks lovely, and we have a fabulous stock of extremely unhealthy cheeses, cold meats, apple pies etc that we absolutely have to eat up before January when the diets start.
|We now have only two children|