So here's my memories of the last 3 days of our holiday.
I'd arranged to have our breakfast in the park (Good Morning Fantasyland they call it!) and the restaurant we ate in was done up to look like Gepetto's cottage; Lady and I spent the whole time trying to remember what the little black cat from Disney's Pinocchio was called. We both noted that had Duncan been there, he'd have been able to tell us!
The Park had opened to everyone by the time we'd finished breakfast, so we weren't in the mood to tackle the rush to get on a ride. As we wandered around the corner, we saw lots of the Disney characters out for their meet and greet sessions. The children had their photos taken with Snow White and her Prince. Next we meet Mary Poppins, who blew kisses on Thomas's 2 cut knees- he's fallen over when we were rushing over to breakfast. Anyone who knows us also knows we have a habit of being late...quite often. There were a few scrums (which we avoided), to meet the more popular characters.
We had decided to take a trip into Paris and were making our way to the station, when we passed Alice and the Mad Hatter, standing in prime spot, with a nice orderly queue of only 2 families. So the children waited their turn, and got to meet Alice. They were great, the Mad Hatter in particular interacted so well with them, and expressed deep regret at having missed Thomas's tea party the previous day! Thomas thought Alice was beautiful, and tells me she was his favourite person in Disneyland!
Gordon was determined to visit Paris at some time while we were there. Lady also was very keen to see the Eiffel Tower. The train station is right at the Park entrance, so we bought our tickets and boarded the Paris bound train. We weren't too sure where to alight, and I asked a woman sitting near us, who was part of a group of Yorkshire people, if I could borrow her tourist map. She was kind enough to let me keep it, so we were able to figure our route. We got out at Charles de Gaulle — Étoile. Lady was surprised to come up the metro steps to see the Arc de Triomphe right there. We walked towards the Eiffel Tower, stopping at a pharmacy for some anti-histamines (my face had broken out in a painful rash after using a new bottle of sun screen that morning) and more pleasantly, we stopped at a Boulongerie for a few wonderful cakes. We all enjoyed a picnic with a view of the tower, though to be honest, Thomas was more impressed with the steep stone ramps alongside the steps, which he kept sliding on.
After crossing the river, we joined the queue to buy our tickets to ascend the tower. And phew, that was quite a queue. The children did great, though Thomas was a bit too cold at times and I was carrying him now and again. He amused himself by clambering on the railings, and playing 'Fingerman' with Gordon (in which Gordon's index finger becomes, 'Fingerman' who tickles a small boy and plays various tricks, to the delight and entertain said boy.)
At last we got onto the tower and went straight to the 2nd floor, which felt high enough to me with my jelly legs. We ate some horrible croque monsieur at the cafe (avoid!) then joined another queue to continue our trip to the top of the tower. Well, going up in that lift was a scary experience. It felt like we were moving for such a long time. Eventually we got out, and felt very proud of ourselves, well me and Gordon did; the children felt it was no big deal to go so high! After taking a load of photos, we joined the 1st of 2 more queues to get back to ground level!
I was knackered after all that standing about, so we walked back across the river and took a table outside a cafe. Now, we've been in Paris once before and we were skint. We weren't able to afford to eat at one of these places, yet here were these 2 young children settling down to hot chocolate and lemonade like they were royalty! Gordon ordered a cake with his coffee, which we shared. We agreed it was probably the best tasting cake either of us had ever eaten.
It was getting on, so we went back to Disneyland, and braved going straight back to the park. It was just half an hour before closing time, but in that time we manged to see Honey I Shrunk the Audience (a great 3d show) and to go on the Star Tours simulator and the carousal! There was zero queueing, thankfully since we'd all had our fill of lining up for the day.
Dinner was at Planet Hollywood, bringing back memories of student days in London when going there was a big treat. We all had a lovely meal.
It was yet another beautiful day, and when walking to the parks, we noticed that the Panoramagique tethered hot-air balloon was taking on passengers, so we hopped on for a wonderful ride 100m into the air. Next, we'd decided to spend a bit of time at the Studios Park, and started off with the Tram Tour, which I'd known nothing about, and which was a very pleasant surprise! Over the next few hours we went to the CinéMagique show (absolutely don't miss this, it's excellent!) and the fantastic stunt show and the children were able to meet loads more characters, including Mrs Incredible (another of Duncan's favourites) and the main man, I mean mouse, Mickey himself! Amazingly, there was no-one else anywhere near him, so the children chatted and played with him for ages!
In the afternoon we went back to the Park, and over the course of the afternoon we manged to ride on Autopia (little cars, Thomas loved being in control of his car), watch the brilliant Tarzan show (with a very buff Tarzan, iykwim!) and ride on Big Thunder Mountain (Oh Duncan, you'd have loved it darling!), Space Mountain (making use of baby swap), the Mad Hatter's Cups and the Pirates, Buzz and Small World rides (again). Oh, I forgot to mention, the park was open until 10 o'clock. We had eaten at the Blue Lagoon, billed as Caribbean cuisine and with a nice sounding menu. This however was very poor quality and hugely overpriced for the 2nd rate canteen food we were served. It was a nice location though, and apart from the food, we had a nice time!
So at last, our last day arrives. We packed our bags and handed them into the hotel luggage store before heading off for a few more hours of fun. I cannot believe how much we have managed to see and do. We were all missing Duncan, but were happy to know that he was having a great time with my Dad. When I phoned, I only heard about how well he was getting on and how easy he was to look after!
There were a few items on the park maps which we still wanted to tick off, 1st being the Animagique show at the Studios Park. This was, like all the other live shows we'd seen, wonderful, really top quality stuff. Thomas keeps singing the little song 'Laa, laa, la la la la, animagique, c'est fantastique!' We also watched the Art of Animation show, which was not so good, especially the bit when the narrator competes with the sound from the multi-language head-phones and all you hear is babel. I hope it's not like this at the UN. The Armageddon experience wasn't all that special either.
Anyway, we all went on the Flying carpets ride too, again, with less than 5 minutes to wait in line. The Studios parade was on, and we had a great spot to watch it from, so although it's much less spectacular than the main Park parade, we interacted with the participants more and enjoyed it better.
We went back for one last time to the main Park, where we rode the Fairytale boat ride (zero queue) and Casey Junior (5 mins queue). Obviously we took photos of Casey Jr for Duncan. I was only sorry that I couldn't find any toys based on this ride in any of the shops. We strolled around Alice in Wonderland's Labyrinth; Thomas was disappointed now to see pretty Alice there. Then we took the Disneyland train to Frontierland, and had a great meal at the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue (which also has some of the cleanest toilets in the Park!) Next we went to the Pocahontas Village play area for a while before finishing up at the Pirate play ground before heading back to the hotel. Thomas shouted 'au revoir' to all the children as we went!
Our taxi came on time, the flight went smoothly, we picked up the car and got home just after 10. Duncan was asleep, so Lady wrote a postcard telling him we were all home (it had a picture of Big Thunder Mountain on it!) and left it on his pillow. Early the next morning, he cam into my room and found the Disney bag with all his presents. He had Buzz Lightyear laser blaster, a Zurg car, a toy Big Thunder Mountain train (hooray!) a Winnie the Pooh lolly and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
It was marvelous to see him again, he loved looking at all the photos, and as always when you go away, it was great to be home.