So I went to Disneyland Paris last weekend*. Mainly because I'm a bit of a sucker for a bright, shiny theme park but also to help out my friend as she wouldn't have been able to manage quite as well on her own with her two nippers (eight and two years old). In today's blog, I shall be using some words in combination with other words to give you a text-based view of my thoughts and impressions. Vastly different from other days then...
1.) Cultural Schizophrenia
It's an unusual compromise between two different nations. On the one hand, the mighty Disney Corporation is looking to attract English speaking visitors to the park so there's a healthy dose of English thrown in there. On the other hand, they've got no desire to piss off the host nation and also want to attract plenty of visitors from across Europe so there's good swig of French chucked in (with a soupcon of German and Spanish from time to time). The resulting concoction? Rides and shows that are half in English and half in French thus not making any real sense to either nationality**. I can see exactly why they've done but I wouldn't say it's overly successful. You can get the gist, obviously, as nothing's overly complex but it does leave some things feeling a little perplexing. The rides themselves , though, are of the expected great standard - a particular favourite was the Buzz Lighyear ride where you get to shoot at things with a 50s-style laser gun as the ride goes round (the kids enjoyed it, too). And getting to do the Death Star run on the Star Wars ride is always a favourite - on this, the eldest and I were of one mind.
2.) Perks Of The Hotel Guest
We stayed in the Disney hotel outside the main entrance to the park. This was a stroke of genius. Being able to walk straight into the park pretty much from the room was a glorious thing. No hanging around for shuttle buses***, no wandering lost in the vast, featureless expanses of the car park. In, out, job done. On the plus side for the kids, the Disney characters come to breakfast and dinner and pat them on the head and wave at them and stuff like that. On the downside, a six foot tall duck that accosts you while you eat gives a two year old the night terrors.
3.) Fun But Exhausting
I guess the key thing for me has been the eye-opening glimpse into the world of the parent. Sure, I knew it was tough and a full time occupation for all you parenty types out there but knowing it and experiencing it firsthand are two very different things. Don't take this the wrong way, they're both great kids and are extremely well-behaved but you throw tiredness, long, busy days and lack of sleep into the mix and they're going to have their difficult moments. My (already pretty healthy) respect for you all has increased; however, my (already pretty low) desire to join your ranks has decreased. Kudos to you; it's not for me.
So, in conclusion then - a good time was had but I could do with a holiday now.
* "Oh, so that's where he went"
** Well, unless you're bilingual, of course. But not a great deal of under-10s are.
*** Busii? Probably not.