We went to the Disneyland in Paris and came back home yesterday exhausted and bankrupt. What a money pit! The kids of course had fun but the way Antu was enjoying in the hotel lobby and thinking that that was Disneyland, we could have easily fooled Ashu too and could have had a cheaper vacation!!! Hd and I had been to Disneyland some 9 years back and I remember how excited I was and how much I enjoyed the make-believe world! And when we planned to go during the spring break as a birthday gift for Ashu, she was ecstatic. A few of her friends have been there and she had a general idea about the place. For the past one month, we talked about nothing but Disneyland. At last the D day arrived last Wednesday and after a hearty breakfast and a packed lunch, we piled the kids in the car and took off. Eight hours and a million "Are we in Disneyland yet?" later, we arrived at the Dream Castle Hotel. The hotel lobby was like a theme park in itself with loads of coin operated rides and games and Antu screamed "Yay! Disneyland!" and dived head first into the ball pit! Like I said, we should have taken a hint and had our vacation just there!
The next morning all excited we drove off to the theme park. Ashu spotted the castle and was in high spirits. We parked our car in the huge parking lot and walked and walked and walked some more to the entrance only to find the entire world and its uncle standing in line to get in! Spring break and Disneyland! What was I even thinking?! We entered and took the sights in and all excitedly I was showing Ashu everything. Straight to Fantasyland of course and we began our marathon "standing-in-line" with the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ride. To say that Ashu was terrified would be an understatement! Such a jujube ride but she got so scared because it was dark and when the evil queen turned around, she was a witch! I think its time to toughen up the kid with some real Kollywood masala films! When we went and stood in line for the Peter Pan ride, the entire time we were waiting(which would be 45 minutes!) she kept saying "I dont want to go!" But of course she loved the ride and wanted to go again once we were done! I told her that theres no going AGAIN in Disneyland and that happens only in the hotel lobby! Antu of course was a total daredevil throughout. She wanted to go on the Carousel and even that had a 70 minute waiting time! Promised her that I ll take her on the carousel in the park near our house and ran away! We had some lousy lunch and stood in more lines and went on more rides and just before 4 pm, came back to the Main Street and plonked our behinds in the hard ground so as to save seats to watch the Disney Parade which begins at 5 pm. While the dad and daughter duo walked off to explore more, a sleeping Antu in her stroller and me with a heavy back saved seats for them while inhaling secondhand smoke! (Welcome to France!) I am sure this was Thirupathi Venkatachapalathy's plan of secret revenge on me when I got so annoyed standing in lines for hours in Thirupathi this one time long, long ago and swore I would never go there again! (Sorry Balaji!) Antu woke up in time for the parade and the sheer joy in the kids faces when they saw the parade was almost worth it. I said almost! Then we went on the most awesome ride ever - The Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. That was the only ride we went on again the next day too! After a dinner of fries and hot chocolate(Naanga Vegetarians kettelaa?) we left the place finally at 10 pm after twelve straight hours. We all slept even before our heads hit the bed.
The next day was almost rinse and repeat except that we spent half a day in the nearby Walt Disney Studios which was relatively less crowded and was loads of fun. Hd had also reserved a table for us in one of the restaurants where the Disney characters came to visit. So Ashu was in heaven and armed with an autograph book and a pen, hounded Mickey, Minnie, Woody, Pluto, Goofy, etc... for their signatures. We also met Sully and Buzz and Ashu had this fantastic idea that she can sign all their names by herself, why wait in line! Excellent point, I thought! We bought a fastpass for the Buzz Lightyear ride and went on it again taking turns since Antu was napping. There was a mile long line even to get the fastpass! We also managed to lose Antu for 10 seconds which felt like an eternity and madam was cooly walking off with another family! May be she was trying to tell me something! And the polar opposite Ashu who thought she got lost even though I was watching her and burst into tears! Sigh! What an odd pair of sisters! We "showed" the kids the Disney Store and quickly vamoosed out of it! Pagal kollai! The kids were also good as gold and did nt open their mouths. I did want to buy a costume for Ashu after seeing every other kid walking in a Princess costume or a Peter Pan costume but Ashu was very particular about what she wanted and would nt settle for anything less and lucky for me and unlucky for her, the stores there did nt stock it! Phew. Because if they did, we would have to sell our car to pay for the costume and walk back home!
The third day we drove to the city and showed the popular sights to Ashu from the car. We only stopped near the Eiffel tower to take a few pictures and then proceeded to Saravana Bhavan for lunch. Parking was a nightmare there and the customer service even more nightmarish! Hd literally had to restrain me from punching that sorry excuse of a waiter! At last we left around 5 pm and around 10 pm, decided to break the journey and stayed in a hotel on the highway and came home only the next day. We also experienced a hail storm which came out of nowhere and surprised us. Wonder whats with us and hail storms. Happened once before too. Anyway, we had a good break and the kids had super fun. Parent trap or not, we ll always have Disneyland! :)