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Posts Tagged ‘EuroDisney’

The Happiest Place in Europe

October 7, 2011 3 comments

For many people, visiting a Disney park is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I’m lucky enough to have the resources and opportunities to have been four times. The first time I was 5 years old. The last three trips have been as an adult.

I vividly remember many of the experiences from that first trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. I think the Disney Company goes to great lengths to make things memorable for kids because it might be the only time they ever visit. I remembered nearly every detail of The Haunted Mansion–I had nightmares about it for years. 😉 I also remembered the teacups and my first (and only) pair of Mickey Mouse ears—they were two plastic molded ears stapled to a felt beanie with my name written on it in glitter. I also got a stuffed Tigger and a Winnie the Pooh dining set. My mom still has the fork and spoon in her utensil drawer in Kentucky. My nephews and nieces are using them now. 🙂

I also remember Pirates and forts in St. Augustine, Florida and NASA Kennedy Space Center. I was so captivated by rockets and space travel as a child that while my friends wanted to be nurses, I wanted to be an astronaut.

I anticipate that Liam’s memories will be of the Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast and Pirates of the Caribbean rides, driving a car at Autotopia, his stuffed Bullseye toy,  and his Buzz Lightyear blaster gun. He’ll think of our adventure in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower. He’ll remember riding the Eurostar under the English Channel to London, playing in Kensington Gardens, and seeing The Lion King.

Given our resources, opportunities, and proximity to Disneyland California, I imagine this will not be Liam’s only trip to a Disney park during his childhood. It saddens me just a little because I think this first experience will be diluted. Will he remember his adventures at Disneyland Paris or will they blend and mesh with California and Orlando until he won’t remember what happened where? (I know—“First World Problem,” but I’m being nostalgic here.)

I’m sure our parents were just a little sad for us like that sometimes. Sad that we needed new fangled toys to hold our attention. Sad that we might be losing our ability to use our imaginations. I wonder what things Liam will pine for when his children have their own moon rockets? 🙂 I’m not really worried about Liam’s imagination though. Mine and that of modern visionaries my age have remained intact. I think, if anything, having amazing experiences only makes us dream bigger and reach higher.

So thank you Disney, for capturing our imagination, giving us a wonderful experience, and bringing back fond memories of Mickey ears and astronauts.

Traveling While Traveling

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey dere, ho dere. My lovely wife has added me to her blog as a “contributor,” which is a title I’ve never really had before in our marriage so I’m pretty excited. It’s like a promotion. I’ve gone from slacker to contributor! Mazel tov!
(Admin: You’ve been upgraded to Editor, dear.)

I was told in clear language that being a foreigner in Israel during Yom Kippur can get pretty boring, so I just scheduled our first vacation while in Israel. And we’re not even there yet. But it had to be done.

Tracy and I aren’t terribly experienced with European travel. We’ve been to the UK (not that UK), and when I was a teenager I spent some time in Spain, but that’s about it. So choosing a destination was the first step, and it started out pretty tough. I sought advice from the Interwebs, and from some folks at work who were particularly well traveled. One coworker, Bob Cooksey, was happy to tell me lots of stuff about every major European city and it all sounded pretty cool.

Then he brought out the trump card: Euro Disney in the suburbs of Paris. Since we will have the little guy with us, and he won’t even be five years old at the time of departure, I was afraid that all of the museums and parks and ancient ruins we might stumble upon would just be giant snoozefests to him. Euro Disney was a chance for him to latch onto something and look forward to it. Additionally, he has already connected with the idea of the Eiffel Tower and the fact that it is a Parisian landmark (although he believes it to be eminently climbable).

And so, Paris it is. Honestly if Liam weren’t with us for the trip, we probably would be going to Dublin or Vienna or Geneva or Budapest or Istanbul or Amsterdam (especially Amsterdam) or just about anyplace else. Not to say that Paris isn’t a fine city, but it just seemed so… cliché, pardon the vernacular. But for Liam’s sake, I will soak up the dusk light show on Le Tour Eiffel and sip espresso (decaf plz) at a sidewalk pastisserie, and wander the Champ de Mars. All for the kid, of course. Sometimes you have to make giant sacrifices as a parent.

The next thing in my head after deciding on Paris was, “how can we get back to London?” since that is a place we both fell in love with and Paris is just one chunder away from London anyways. I mean chunnel. The Eurostar chunnel train was another coup de grâce (pardon the vernacular) as far as Liam was concerned, because train. Oh and also because tunnel. Both being things that he likes to yell at the top of his lungs whenever he sights one from our car. I have to assume that if he is riding on a train, in a tunnel, for some number of hours, that he will tire of yelling it at the top of his lungs. It’s either that, or the locals will put us off the train in the middle of the tunnel to walk the rest of the way.

Finding things to do (for young and old) in London will be an absolute non-issue. At the very worst, we can communicate with the locals to the point of asking “where is the nearest McDonalds?” but we plan on being more interesting than that. I think Liam would love the London Eye, even though Tracy and I have already been on it. And I think he would dig watching the changing of the guard and such things. And for Tracy and me, just being there was just about enough. One of my fondest memories of our last trip to the UK was wandering over to a local laundromat and listening to the hilarious proprietor cracking wise at his patrons’ expense while our clothing got dry enough for us to pack for our trip to Brighton. And going to Sainsbury’s to buy our own ingredients to make treacle sponge pudding.

The timing of our arrival in London is unfortunate in one sense: no EPL games taking place in London during the time we plan on being there. Until the day we’re scheduled to leave, at which time Everton, the team I started following back in 2003, plays Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It wouldn’t be completely out of the question to attend the match, except that getting tickets to a Chelsea match of any kind is almost prohibitive. The UK equivalent of StubHub is quoting 190 GBP per ticket for the away section. So for three tickets that would be approaching a thousand dollars. Not including the medical bills that would arise from being a yank wearing the wrong kit in Chelsea. So I’ll save that money for an online soccer broadcast package if I need to watch Everton play so desperately, thanks.