Monday, June 21, 2010

Disneyland Paris

I remember my first time at Disneyworld. I was eight. For the remainder of my life I've remembered Disneyworld as the most magical place in the world. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who believes in the power of Disney, either. When Nicole, Shakira, and I planned out Paris, we made sure to plan on going to EuroDisney. We wanted to share that same Disney magic with the kids. And we kept it a secret. On our second day in Paris we got up early in the morning and got the kids ready to go. During the entire ride the kids didn't understand why Nicole, Shakira, and I were bouncing up and down in our seats. And when we pulled up to the EuroDisney sign and told them to look out the window, their excitement could have blown off the roof of the car. Which made us three adults even more enthused about the day. Walking into the park was something like a dream. I ran backwards on the little flat escelator things with the kids, spun around in circles with my arms stretched out, and engaged myself in all of the kid-like activities I could. All this before we even entered the park.

When we made it to the Disneyland Paris sign, I could hardly contain myself. I wanted to run right through the gates and give Mickey a big giant hug. Instead, I suffered through all the pictures and browsing the Goofy ears before we made it inside. Even though I royally sucked at the directions around Paris, I designated myself official map holder in the park. First stop: Frontierland. We went through the Wild West in Paris. I ran through an old western townhouse before taking off through Frontierland in search of a ride. While I ran around with the kids I came across a place called "Woody's Roundup". Since as far back as I can remember, my two favorite movies were The Lion Kind and Toy Story. I have a special relationship with Toy Story, though-when I was a kid I shared this movie with two of my very best friends, and we always sang "You've got a friend in me" together all of the time. To my delight, Woody's Roundup was a place with all costumed characters. I got to meet Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, and none other than my favorite cartoon character in history: Woody Himself. My niece Kayla bought a signature book and got all of their autographs, and secretly I was really jealous of her. I was ecstatic to have met and taken a photo with my hero Woody, regardless of my lack of an autograph book. We ran around after this in search of rides again and alas! the kids were too small for the only one we found, so we left and went next to Adventureland. It was like a jungle, and hosted rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, which the kids again were too little for. We were all starting to get a little irritated at the lack of rides available to ride and then it started to rain. So we sat down for some lunch. Disneyland in the U.S.A defintiely does themepark food better. We made our way to Fantasyland next.

Where, thank God, we finally found some rides. Our first order of business was to go on the merry-go-round. I had a pretend sword fight with my nephew Jazzy ontop of spinning horses. As we were going around I saw a sign for the Alice in Wonderland Maze. And immediately after we stopped spinning we ran into the maze. (Video to come). We ran around that maze for at least an hour. Its seriously trippy in there. When you first walk in, there is a small hedge maze with funny little creatures, including the White Rabbit, roaming about. You make your way through the hedge maze and into a pathway made of purple bubbly fountains that shoot water back and fourth from fountain to fountain. After this you come up to the Catepillar, faithfully smoking his hookah and blowing smoke rings into the air. Directly past the Caterpillar is the Chesire Cat. His gigantic face is an entire garden, made up of purple, white, and pink flowers. They also made him eyes, which spin around and around in an attempt to hypnotize all the small children inside. I wonder what for? Anyway, when you get past the Chesire Cat you go through another small hedge maze, where Cards stand on the alert for people who are about to enter into the Queen of Hearts' Castle. Which is awesome. Kayla, Jazzy, and I climbed to the top and shouted down at Nicole, Shakira, Anaiyah, and Isaiah below. We looked out at the whole park from up there-a magnificent view of the Queen's queendom, full of magic and surprises. The castle was so strange it was almost Dr. Seussy. Or Tim Burtony. It touched the sky in crazy spirals, with alternating puple and pink stairs winding their way to the top. It was fringed by a fence of pikes with hearts on their tips and surrounded on all sides by flowers in full bloom. It was truly an incredible place. From my vantage point on the top of that castle I saw the beginnings of a parade, and so with all haste we ran out of the maze and tried to find a good place to watch the procession go by.

This parade was the Welcome parade for Tiana, the newest addition to the princess family from the Frog Princess. I found that there were tears in my eyes during that parade. All of the princesses (Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Arielle, Mulan, and Tiana) all floated by, twirling in the arms of their loves and enchanting the eyes of all the little girls around. Wow! is the same in French as it is in English. I found that all the enchantment that was in the air had a particular effect on me. I've never been a girly-girl, I was actually kind of a tomboy for the majority of my childhood, but I found that among all those dreamy-eyed girls I could be one too for the first time. I had my first out of body experience. I projected my "self" into one princess after the next, until I'd twirled and danced to the French Disney love tunes of each of the Princesses. The only one that was boring was Arielle, cause she didn't have feet but only a flipper so I just sat there and waved my arms around. Whatever, I had a costume flipper for a moment. When the music stopped and the Princesses waved, their floats moving on, I turned and saw behing me my #1 favorite ride of all time and sqeauled like the little girl I'd been pretending I was for the past few minutes. Its A Small World. I saw the Earth sprouting up from the center of a fountain, where little puppets were perched their ethnic habitats. Shakria nor Nicole had ever been on it, and since it was the kids' first time in Disney I was thrilled to share their first Its A Small World Experience. For which there are no words. PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR THE VIDEO. This sign was our departing gift from all of the world. And after this, we rode another of my favorite rides, the Teacups. Mad Hatter Style. I was actually extremely disappointed in them, they haven't been WD-40'd in at least 4 years, so I literally struggled to spin the teacup around 1 time. Meanwhile, my little neice and two little nephews are yelling at me to spin faster.

We left Fantasyland after this and made our way to the Discoveryland, the final area of EuroDisney. And I discovered in Discoveryland that Enrique Iglaisias is a skinny, twerpy little guy whose voice reminds me of the voice of a friend I have at home. At least when he sings live. As we walked into Discoveryland, two chicks in red shirts invited us to go and see him because he was performing for a select audience. We walked into a little underground venue where sure enough, he was singing. Shakira and I stayed for a few songs, listening to the shouts of love-struck teenagers and watching Enrique look each of them in the eye, inviting them backstage with his looks. It was really kind of fun to see him perform. I was extremely impressed with the hair of his backup singer, it was this wild crazy afro she had poofed out to match the hair of the bassist, who if I had to guess I would say she is fucking. During one song, Enrique shut up and allowed a guitar solo from his lead guitarist, a puny little white guy with long blond hair that hid a pale, shy face. It was perhaps my favorite part of the performance. We left after he invited a girl onstage to kiss her cheek. When we got outside and met the kids I took everyone to the Buzz Lightyear ride, and together we blasted aliens out of space for two minutes with out Lightyear blasters. I'm a truly sad marksman. I managed to have the worst score out of all of us. And afterwards, while the kids rode on a space-shuttle version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant, I went into a theater where I sat with Isaiah and watched re-runs of the original MickeyMouse show. I have to say, those writers were really strange fellows. And I will forever contend that children's shows were written not for children, but adults. The very first episode I watched (they only last around 7 minutes) was the one where Mickey and Pluto swallow bugspray and trip for 5 minutes. Bugs turn into gigantic crazy creatures that, in various other-worldly ways, try to kill them. Pumpkins grew and walked around, tree limbs attacked them, and caterpillars turned into snakes the size of houses. It was nutty.

By this time our day at EuroDisney was coming to a close quickly, and for one last ride I brought Kayla and Jazzy to Space Mountain to see if they were tall enough. Unfortunately, only Kayla was, and so I shared her first upside-down roller coaster experience with her. Luckily, it was in the dark, else I think she wouldn't have gone on. I forgot how friggin' cool Space Mountain is. We walked past images of constellations and galaxies before boarding our "ship" which blasted off in a hydraulic explosion which propelled us up, down, and around planets, stars, and galaxies which hung suspended from the inside of the mountain. We went through what looked like a red space vortex before finally "landing" back on Earth. Kayla couldn't stop talking about how awesome Space Mountain was, which made me immensely proud to have been the sugguester of said ride. We met up with the rest of our group, hopped on the EuroDisney train, and rode back to the entrance. Where we spent another hour souvenir shopping. I spent too much money. Who cares? When is the next time I'll be in EuroDisney?

I was loathe to leave the park, but my legs were tired and my soul at peace. When we got into the car, I feel asleep and slumbered like a baby until we got back to the hotel. If only I were a kid again and my dad could have carried me inside....
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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