Sunday 22nd September 2002:
We wake up on Sunday at about 5.30 am! Pitch black outside but I am very excited indeed! We leave the house at 6.10 am. The drive to Dover is rather uneventful and not very busy on the road. We arrive at 7.30 and have some coffee from the flask we brought with us.
On the hover speed we order Chicken Tikka curry, rice and red wine for breakfast! Very tasty and only slightly odd to be drinking alcohol and eating curry at that time of the morning!
We arrive in Calais at 10.00am local time. The rest of the journey to Disneyland is on the motorway. We make one stop off for pee break and have some more coffee
We Arrive at the park at 1.30 pm, look at the map and have some more coffee in the car park. We then go to the reception area and check into our hotel – the Sequoia Lodge Hotel - and receive our welcome pack. We are advised to pick breakfast slots for each day of our stay, effectively a reservation for breakfast each day. We choose 8.30 for Monday and 7.30 on Tuesday. We later change the Tuesday one for a slightly later 8.00.
We go to our room, which is on the ground floor and miles away down a long stretch of never-ending corridor. The room is nice, large enough with two double beds, a separate bathroom and a small dressing area. We don’t have much of a view but nice all the same. I immediately swipe the Mickey Mouse shower gels and soap from the bathroom and the Sequoia Lodge writing paper and postcard. We head back to the car to get the luggage and then unpack in the room for a bit.
We decide to go and have a look around the Disney Village, as we can’t go into either of the parks until Monday and Tuesday. LOADS of shops and restaurants to choose from! We opt for a foot long hot dog and chips for lunch- very tasty! We have a look around Lake Disney, across to the hotels and take some piccies. There is a cinema in the Village, which shows films in English on Monday, we make a note of the films and plan to go back on Monday night. In the afternoon there was a downpour of rain and we have to take shelter in the Rainforest Cafe for ages! There is only so long you can stand and watch the beautiful aquarium set up in there!
Once the rain ease off we go back to hotel and have a look at menus in restaurants on-site. We decide to eat in the Hunter’s Grill restaurant in the hotel. I have the Riviera Menu (salad with croutons, large prawn, salmon, pineapple, deep fried jalapeno with cheese wild rice and tomato, fruit salad and sorbet with diet coke). Ian has the meat menu (salad with chicken gizzards, herb sausage, chicken thigh, pork, beef, corn on the cob, potatoes with cheese, pancakes with syrup and a diet coke). Both have coffee to finish - €26.00 each for set menu plus coffee was extra. Wasn’t a fabulous meal, but it served the purpose of feeding two tired people after a long day.
On the way back to the room we stop off at the concierge to get more information about the cinema in the village. Whilst at the concierge we discover you can buy coffee bundles for €5.00 - tea, coffee, sugar, milk, and biscuits. We also hire a kettle free of charge.
We go back to room and relax for a while – I watch Disneyland TV and get even more excited. We both have baths and have a coffee. It’s off to bed very early in preparation for early start on Monday!
Monday 23rd September 2002:
We wake up at about 7.30 in time to get dressed and down to our 8.30 breakfast reservation. Ian buys a €5.00 cooked breakfast – sausage, bacon, sautéed potatoes, scrambled eggs. This isn’t very well advertised and we seem to be the only people that know about the coked brekkie on offer! I have a yoghurt, bran flakes, and a croissant. Both have tea and orange juice. Tea made with hot milk – not very nice!
On the way back to the room we saw Minnie Mouse dressed in frontier style clothes signing autographs. We grab some stuff from the room and are waiting for the park bus by 9.30.
We arrive at the Park at 10.00 just in time for the gates to open. We go straight on Space Mountain as there is hardly any queue – I am bricking it as I am not sure what to expect. This is a VERY good ride – fast, smooth, long and dark! Thrilling and one of our favourites!
Next we go straight into Hunny I Shrunk the Audience. This is a great “audience participation” type experience with Eric Idle. VERY good with great effects.
Next we are off straight onto Star Tours. This is a bit out dated and not a wonderful ride, but well themed though with robots from the film dotted about – although all the pre-ride stuff is in French with not much translation.
Next comes Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – Backwards! – This is another VERY good ride- very fast and rickety and long. Going backwards really intensifies the experience as you have no idea what to expect – another favourite. The queue was non existent on this one, so fast pass wasn’t necessary.
We grab a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain and head into the short queue for the Phantom Manor. This wasn’t a very impressive haunted house ride, being slow and with no real thrills.
Ian tries his hand at the shooting gallery in Frontierland and I capture the moment on camera.
We have a quick lunch in a Mexican style take away restaurant – Ian has fajita meal, I have chilli and corn bread meal –VERY tasty and cheap!
We head back to Thunder Mountain – another VERY good ride, long, fast and very rickety.
We move into Fantasyland and try out the Pinocchio ride- Very slow and not very impressive, good for young children. We also try out Pirates of the Caribbean – Great animatronics but wasn’t as exciting ad I was expecting, a rather unimpressive slow water ride with 2 largish dips
By this point Ian’s head is a little worse for wear and we head to the Main Street infirmary to get him some headache tablets.
We have a look round Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Ian takes some clever pictures of me being zapped by the Queen and breathed on by the dragon in the stained glass windows! The dragon underneath the castle has some clever animatronics, very impressive. I also buys an Eeyore rucksack about this time!
At 4.00 out came the Wonderful World of Disney Parade! Ian stands on a fence in order to take loads of pictures on my instructions! I thoroughly enjoyed the parade, even though it was every man for themselves when it came to getting a good vantage point.
After the parade there is a mass exodus to go on the Mark Twain paddle steamer. This affords good scenic views around Big Thunder Mountain and across Fantasyland.
We get another go on Space Mountain at this point, as there still isn’t very much of a queue – Gotta love that ride! At about 6.00 we head back to our room and relax for a bit before dinner. We opt to go back into the Village and eat at the Rainforest Cafe – We Share a platter to start – toasted cheese, deep fried jalapenos, squid rings, chicken wings, fish nuggets. Ian has a rack of ribs and I have pasta with chicken in creamy sauce. Ian buys me a small beanie black panther from Rainforest Café as a memento of the trip! We christen him Bernard, or Bernie for short! We had intended to at this point to go and see Spiderman at the cinema, but when we got there we realised that it wasn’t playing anymore – d’oh!
Back at the room we both get baths again and have coffee in the bath. By 10 we are whacked and are off to bed!
Tuesday 24th September 2002:
We wake up early and have breakfast at 8.00 –we both have cooked breakfasts this time! Afterwards we head back to the room to pack. We take our stuff to the car and move it to the Disneyland Park car park, as we are leaving today. We make a quick stop at a filling station in one of the hotels take on fuel and to buy a map of France.
We arrive at Disney Studios Park at about 10 am, it isn’t very busy at all! We go straight on the Rock n Rollercoaster. This is my favourite ride – very fast, great launch, very smooth and great soundtrack provided by Aerosmith! We go around again, as there is still no queue, and buy the obligatory ride photo!
Next we head into the Armageddon experience – there is quite a wait for this as they need to fill an auditorium for it to begin. I found this very scary with some great fire and movement effects.
Next we go on the studio tram tour. I wasn’t expecting this at all! There are some great special effects on this one!
We saw Chip n Dale the chipmunks walking around so I took the opportunity to grab a photo with one of the very few characters we actually saw on our trip (we also saw Mickey Mouse on Tuesday morning in the hotel and Donald later on at the Studios but very few altogether). Ian took a few photos of me being cuddled by one of them!
We also took in a live studio tour of Zapping Zone, the TV station situated actually in the park. Quite interested but mainly in French so I didn’t understand most of it.
As there is still hardly any queue we go back on Rock n Rollercoaster AGAIN! before looking round the shops and heading off. We leave the park at about 1.00
As we have lots of time to kill, we go to the Disney Village and get my shopping done – I decide on some Eeyore slippers, a Whinnie the Pooh photo frame, a cut glass Whinnie the Pooh and some Disney pasta, which I had picked up yesterday in the park. We have lunch in a New York Sandwich place –Ian has curried chicken and chips, I have curried chicken sandwich. Not fantastic but fills a gap!
We leave the Village at about 1.45 and get on the road. We manage to get a bit lost on the motorway and neglect to get the proper ticket for tolls! We have to explain all this to a stoic French man on the ticket booth and write it off as experience. As our sailing isn’t until 10.00 pm we decide to take the small roads up to Calais and stop off on the way to buy wine.
Our first stop is in Eds supermarket. We buy a few very cheap bottles and some chocolate and move on. We try an Aldi supermarket but, to use Ian’s own words “we can do better than THAT!” Further on we stop in a Match supermarket and hit the jackpot – a huge alcohol section! We buy loads of wine and Ian completely depletes their supply of Hoegaaden! We also grab some snacks for the journey, some cheese & a fondue kit! Ian has a little trouble trying to get his credit card accepted, but we are on our way again.
We arrive at the ferry port at about 9.30. On the boat we have a breakfast baguette and a hot beef baguette – not much cop but kept us going! We arrive in Dover about 10.00 and make the drive back to London, arriving at about 11.30!
A wonderful trip with some great photos and souvenirs to remember it by!