Thursday, January 20, 2005


We left our home around 4 pm and headed towards France, our map gave us an estimate of 6 hours to Disney. Traffic wasn't bad at all, and we made a stop in Mannheim (at the Army post) for a quick dinner. After that we got back on the road and crossed the border into France. France is one of a few European countries that have tolls on their highways, and they aren't cheap. We ended up paying almost 30 Euros ($40) just on the way to Disney, and then the same amount on the way home. But I must say the roads were quite nice, and hardly any traffic on them. It was dark when we entered France so we didn't get to see any sights driving through, which made for a boring drive. We did see lots of "points of interest" signs for things that we would like to return and visit. For instance the Maginot Line, the city of Reims, which has a magnificent cathedral, and Verdun. We are really interested in visiting the battlefields at Verdun, and plan to try to do that this summer.

We finally rolled into the hotel (the Sequoia Lodge) about 10:45 pm, and checked in. The place was very busy for that time of night, and huge. Our room was really nice and comfortable, and we had a great view over Lake Disney into Disney Village. We finally got settled and to bed a little after midnight, and woke up the next morning ready to go.

We brought some snacks and had breakfast in our room, instead of heading down to the dining room. Then layered up for the cold, and started towards the park. Before we even got out of the hotel we saw Chip and Dale (the Disney chipmunks) so we stopped and let Jacob take a look. He was happy to see them, but didn't want to get too close so we went on our way. It was a nice walk along the lake, past another hotel and then into Disney Village. In the village are shops and restaurants (Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and many more), a very lively place. Just beyond that is the entrance to both Disney Studios and Disneyland Parc. We made our way in and really had no set plan. Just started walking around and checking it all out. I really thought it was just as nice as the one in Orlando, clean, friendly etc. Just a little smaller, but not so much that you noticed it too much. Still plenty to do!

Main Street

The castle is really pretty here, and in the warmer months you can go beneath it into the "Dragon's Lair". There are also rooms open inside in the upper levels, I believe they tell the story of Sleeping Beauty (it's her castle)through various displays. We didn't make it up to that attraction, there were quite a few things we just ran out of time, or decided to save for another trip!

In Adventureland

We decided to ride "Pirates of the Caribbean" next, Jacob kept asking to see the pirates. It was toasty warm while we waited in line, maybe 10 minutes. The ride was fun, and had a few places where your boat went down a small hill (the picture makes it look much steeper than it is). We usually don't buy these pictures from the rides, but had to when we saw Jacob's face. Just keep in mind, he loved the ride. And made us go on it 2 more times later in the weekend. Really - he was having fun!

After that ride we headed on over into "Fantasyland" where we rode the Peter Pan ride, Jacob is a big fan of that. He loves the movie so was very excited to see everyone, especially Captain Hook and the crocodile.

Kenny also took him on Dumbo, and we just looked around at all the pretty gardens and shops. It was about nap time for all of us, after the late night. So we walked back through the village, grabbed a quick lunch and went back to the room for a nap.

After the nap we went back into the park and went on a few more rides, like Phantom Manor. Then we watched a really cute show called Mickey's Winter Wonderland, which had all the characters singing winter songs and clowning around. Jacob really liked it, and it was a good way to end the day.
Winter Wonderland Show

We were ready for dinner and went back into the village to the Rainforest Cafe. It wasn't too busy as the park still was open for another hour or so, we were seated right away. We had a good dinner but it was super expensive, between being at Disney and the euro rate. Jacob's "kids meal" was so expensive we are still in shock, 14.50 euro (apx $18). It's always expensive at Disney, but with the euro/dollar rate so bad it's crazy. It was a good thing we brought lots of drinks and snacks with us, so we were able to get by with only going out for two dinners while there.

After dinner we went back to the room to relax for a bit, Kenny and I watched a movie and Jacob fell fast asleep.

to be continued....

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