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Snow Joke in Disney - 11th-15th March

Nicky

Member
A holiday that was meant to be for Valentine’s Day but there were just too many ride refurb spites. As it is we miss POTC on this one by one day :(. We also managed to grab a deal with two days and nights free.

*starts the Disney 20th Anniversary album going on her iTunes*

Day 1 - Monday 11th March
Deciding that it was better to brave the worst of the rush hour and at least get into London, me and Benin set off for Victoria with me wearing my boots at the last minute instead of my trainers (which turned out to be a very good idea
but more on that later). After a quick breakfast stop at Café Rouge (as if we weren’t going to France already) we headed up to St Pancras. A trip isn’t complete with some snacks and Percy Pigs were acquired before we checked in for the Eurostar. The tickets had been expensive for the direct train so we went via Lille Europe aka the coldest station I have ever been in.

Saying goodbye to the internet on our phones we headed off to France with just a bit of snow on the ground in Kent.

Even though our train was running late we made our connection to the TGV aka the train which made the Virgin Pendalino services to Manchester look like a commuter train (hello 16 carriages). There was the annoying moment of coming in on the same platform as we departed on which we didn’t know until we had lugged our bags up to the main area (and also helped out a family with theirs).

To make this holiday as cheap as a holiday to Disney staying on-site can be, we had decided to take our bags to Hotel Sequoia ourselves. It also gave us a chance to dump off most of the stuff in my rucksack. Never quite realised how close the station was to Disney when we got there at 3pm local time.The only problem we had was that our key slot didn’t work and had to be let in by a cleaner who had the “knack” to making it work.

From here this is the point we started to take photos.



The view from outside our hotel room minus the trees that were in the way.



I obviously wasn’t that excited by the fact we were going to Disney. I am sure I would have been happier at Thorpe Park *sarcasm*. Also this photo shows the other person on our trip – my knitted white hat that has more TV credits than some
actors (Match of the Day, Football League Show, Sky Sports).

Having done Tower of Terror in Florida and the fact that the Studios was naff when I went during the 10th Anniversary year,
Studios was our first stop.



On the way to the Tower of Awesome we got distracted by a character along the way. You are never too old for characters even if you don’t hang around for that long. We became firm friends with Pluto over the days we were there.



Next up was Toy Story Playland tucked in the back corner. Neither of us had done RC Racer before so decided to single ride it.



The one thing that is different at Paris is that the single rider splits from the main queue quite late so you could be waiting for a while to get to the entrance if there was a long queue. It also suffers from a highly themed queueline which means it is difficult for them to shorten it when there is a limited queue. The problem with this was that Benin got to go on the front and it would take me a few more days to get to go on the front myself.

Finally we got to the reason we had come to the Studios first.



The Tower of Awesome which was made even better when we saw the length of the queue.



The ride systems at Florida and Paris are different and this has positives and negatives. The one obvious negative of Paris is that it is bilingual and you need the cast member to make the decision whether to switch the ride audio track to English. For the pre-show you are pretty much guaranteed to get it in French with English subtitles on the screen but saying this we did get it in English once or twice. We discovered that the cast members are more likely to give the English ride audio if they have been interacting with you while queueing, aka talk to the cast member and you are more likely to get it in English. We had loads of interaction with the cast members over the time we were there (I’ll do a separate post as I can’t remember what happened when). Safe to say, I love this ride and would quite easily spend all day on it.

Next up was RnR. Last time I had gone to Disney I had been a big chicken so need to grab this cred.



It was about this point that we realised we hadn’t eaten since before 9am English time let alone French time so we stopped for some snacks. I ordered the Double Mickeys as demonstrated by this badly taken photo by Benin.



Benin’s order was a lot more exciting. Something was lost in translation and he ended up with something else with his snack.



It did explain why our order had been so expensive.

Next up was Quatre Roves Rallye.



It was at this point I discovered how cold it was. Holding onto the bar with my bare hands was akin to putting my hands in the freezer for a few minutes. Also those cars are tiny and I was falling off the seat for most of it.

Crush’s coaster still had a huge queue so we decided to give it a miss until the next day when we could join the rush for it at rope drop. We went for one last ride in the Quatrieme Dimensione before hopping over to the main park.



We managed to catch Duffy outside of his shop.





Now I’ve always seen Duffy as a bit of a weird thing that was being forced on us but I now love the character (NB. This may have been due to the kiss I got from him).

We checked our additional leaflet with times for shows and characters and knew that we could rush over to get Mickey before he went away for the day.

The queuing system for this was great.



The floor was sloped so that everyone could see the projector screen which was showing Disney cartoons to keep the kids occupied. It was also really warm so some people were just camped out in here watching the screen.

It wasn’t long before we got to meet the Big Cheese himself. I got the professional photo of this in a celebration frame for about 18 euros but the photo below is the one the photographer took on Benin’s camera.



It was getting late now and all the characters had gone to bed so we decided to do a quick rush round the park to get things done while it was pretty empty.

First up was Space Mountain 2.



It was starting to be a bit drizzly and was going really grey and overcast. After SM we checked the information board and rushed over to Frontierland. I had never got on Phantom Manor before (me and scary rides do not really mix) so
since the queue was non-existant we jumped on that.



I preferred it to Haunted Mansion but that may be more to do with the fact that it doesn’t have any jumpy bits that make me swear loudly.

The dark had really set in by the time we got to Big Thunder Mountain.



And with a queue time like that it was just asking for two trips to the island. I forgot how much I loved this ride and how it is so much better just because it goes out to the middle of the lake. It was also a good thing we got it 1. in the dark 2. at all considering the rest of the week.

Tiredness was starting to set in so we decided to give Disney Dreams a miss that night as we still had another three opportunities to watch it. We didn’t fancy watching it and then joining the stampede to Disney Village for food
afterwards.

We didn’t stroll very far into Disney Village before we made our mind up where to eat. Annette’s. Now when you are in Disney it is hard to tell whether you are going to be able to get your point across in English or are going to have to use your limited French skills. We asked our waiter if he spoke English to which he replied, in fluent English, “It might be tricky”. Being at Disney made me realise how bad the English are at not speaking any other language. I met staff
who were fluent in three languages and I only know bits of French and that’s how far my language skills go.

It is when you are on holiday at a theme park that you remember how goony you are when you have a note pad to write down what you did for later reference when writing the trip report (*cough* or for a certain other reason *cough*).



We ended our meal with this heavenly dessert. The waiters had to walk past our table constantly with food and we kept seeing it go past.



Tiredness was setting in and the post-Dream stampede was happening so we called it a night and headed back to our hotel. We stopped at the concierge desk at Sequoia and made some last minute reservations for the week, starting with Silver Spur Steakhouse the next evening before Dreams. It was so nice to be able to make the reservations with such short notice even getting into Café Mickey. Little were we to know that plans would be going out of the window tomorrow.
 

Robbie

Active Member
Great stuff! Look forward to the next installment...

May I ask roughly how much the trip cost? I recently went there via coach, which was cheap but damned annoying. I see you started from the North West (as I would) so wondered how it compares?
 

Nicky

Member
I ended up going from Benin's house (South London) but it would just be the cost of an advance train ticket from Manchester which would be about £20 or so.

It cost us £610 in hotel/park tickets with additional £120 in eurostar tickets for the two of us.

I've done Disney before by car and coach from Manchester and it wasn't great. Just so long. I much prefer the Eurostar now. So easy to do.
 

Robbie

Active Member
Cheers. It was £540 for two of us by coach, for two days in the park and 3 nights at an off-site hotel. If I go again, I think it's worth the extra money to avoid the hassle.
 

Nicky

Member
Day 2 - 12th March

The only downside of trips like this is the idea of a lie in does get thrown out of the window. Hello half 7 lot for breakfast. We looked out of the window and it looked like it was raining. Oh well, we can deal with the rain I'm from the north.

First up was the extra magic hours where the main park opens for two hours before the official time for hotel guests. We found this really useful as you could get a lot of the long queues done i.e. most of Fantasyland. It wasn't until we got outside we realised that it was snowing not raining.



It will be fine, it's just a scattering of snow. It won't stick or anything. Little did we know that all Eurostar journeys had been cancelled because of heavy snowfall in Northern France and it wouldn't be long until we got our own fair share of the white stuff.

Not often you see Main Street USA as empty as this.<3 Extra Magic Hours







Disney was starting to look really pretty with the scattering of snow.



Our first visit was Space Mountain where we managed to get on the 1st train of the day. We had to walk through the queueline following the cast members to their positions.



What you can just about make out in this photo is the ice that was on the queueline rails that were outside. It was giving us some idea of how cold it actually was (since we had no internet our phones could not tell us what the temperature it was).



With our heads thoroughly bashed about thanks to Space Mountain we grabbed another queue magnet, Buzz Lightyear. Now I am not so good at things like this and Benin definitely beat me.



Compared with:



Having got all we could in Discoveryland we headed over to Fantasyland (Orbitron was closed even though it was meant to be open). It was good to do the kiddie things without feeling like you had to push the kids out of the way. Such as with the sword in the stone.



The rest of the hotel guests still hadn't woken up it seemed so we didn't have much competition to get on the rides.

We grabbed Peter Pan's Flight, the carousel and Pinnochio's adventures (which had opened instead of Dumbo). It was becoming to come clear that some rides have problems with extreme cold.

Like with Big Thunder Mountain, a queue time of this on Peter Pan is a rather rare event.



The hat was out was well.



It was at this point that we switched to Studios. We had missed Crush the day before and knew that it was a bit of a stampede in the morning to get on it before the queue became ridiculous. So we got to the Studios by half 9 and queued up outside. We got let in but then ended up queueing inside Studio 1 until they let us in just after 10 o'clock. We rushed over to find out that Crush was spiting everyone by not opening. It was the choice between standing around and hoping it opened or just moving on to something else. By the many shouts of ferme we decided that it would be best to just move on.

Character time. Now it was meant to be Mickey but instead his missus turned up.



We timed it perfectly as the characters weren't coming out for very long and taking frequent breaks. Also just as we finished we moved over to the next queue and it was time for our second visit to Pluto.



With the weather being so cold, Crush was still down and the whole of Toy Story Playland closed so Tower was bearing the brunt of the queues so we gave it a miss, have a quick photo op and grab the shows.



This is what is different about going to Disney compared to say a Merlin park. The shows don't feel like an extra tack on and there is always a level of quality to them.

First up was Cinemagique. A common way to get round the language barrier is they have two characters, one who will speak English and the other who will speak French. This means that the whole audience will be able to get the gist of the story. I had never done Cinemagique before and was really impressed. According to Benin, it had also been updated since he had last seen it with a few extra film clips.

Next we grabbed the show with the very annoying audio track - Animagique.



A quick text to one of our friends *coughNiccough* saying La La La La La La and we settled down for the show. It was impressive with the black light effects and the way the story played along with it. We came out from it to see rides were still struggling in the weather conditions.

Toy Story Playland had opened up at least but Parachutes was still shut. We decided to go for Slinky Dog.



This starts to give you some idea of how much snow had been falling.



Our plan had been to do RC Racer next but the snow had claimed another casualty. So instead we grabbed a photo opportunity with Rex.





Icicles were forming everywhere, even off the giant fairy lights.



Toy Story Playland is meant to be like Andy's Garden with all the toys scattered around. The level of detail was so impressive, even down to the giant Mattel branding on the back of toys.



Queues were everywhere and even things that never had a queue were gaining one such as Art of Animation.



It was becoming apparent that at some point we were going to have to join a queue so we went over to the Tower and grabbed another drop. At least it was warm inside and it kept us out of the snow. It also gave us what I consider the best ORP I have seen for ToT. The combination of the flecks of snow that can be seen and the people around us is great.



We were planning to send it back to our hotel with our shopping service but the cast member told us that it wasn't running. It was our first proper casualty of the snow as they couldn't guarantee that the van would be able to make it to the hotel and had decided it was better not to risk it.

The snow showed no sign of stopping so we went to only other indoor ride that was open, Rock and Roll. By the time we came out it was getting close to parade time. Now we though it came out from right where we were standing but realised that it was coming the other way. It wasn't really a big deal as 1. the parade isn't very long and 2. the route isn't very long.

We entertained ourselves with taking photos of the snow and grabbing a picture of me sat on the throne from Narnia.





Eventually the parade made it's way around the corner. We were still surprised that it was actually going. If this was the UK it would have been easily cancelled due to "poor weather conditions".



Though Jasmine had to dig out her winter thermals



We had positioned ourselves so that we could dash into Blockbuster Cafe afterwards to grab some food as it was after lunch time. It was also the closest we got to being in Pirates as one of the areas of the Cafe was POTC themed.



We also grabbed a Duffy Shortbread each which we could eat later (though for some reason they are now in my bedroom as we never got round to actually eating them).




With the weather not getting any better we knew that at some point we were going to have to queue for Crush and now was probably the best time as it would allow our lunch to settle. There was no guarantee that we could try the rush tomorrow and that it would open on time. Instead we braved it when it was 40 minutes which was still ewww.



Now I love this ride, I just wish that it didn't get such a long queue. Considering it is a Whirlwind clone from the now defunct Camelot, I was really impressed. I just wish Disney had built two of them next to each other as that seems like it could be the only way to deal with the length of queue it gets.

We knew it was now time to switch back over to the other park but not without one more go on Tower. We were glad we did as it led to one of the funniest moments of the trip but you will have to wait for the review of Tower post to find out why it was.

Checking our red leaflet we knew that Jack Sparrow would be out next door at a certain time. With his usual spot covered by construction hoardings he was tucked in the corner of Fantasyland and didn't even have a crush around him. If anything nobody even noticed him when he walked past us. Now this was a very swaying Jack Sparrow and there was always the worry that the photo would come out blurry. But first we were waiting our turn before a mother pushed her child in front of us so that he would go first. This was so annoying and symptomatic of our trip. You would see mainly British tourists trying to form queues or at least take it in turns whereas other visitors would just try and push their children to the front. This was even worse when you were just an adult and it felt awkward to try and state your case. I was pretty polite at first but over the days we were there that soon changed.





Even the ducks were starting to get confused by the weather.



It was starting to get emptier which meant access to photo opportunities was easy.



A visit to Disney is not complete without It's a Small World even if the audio is really really really annoying and gets stuck in your head ALL day.



It had just had a refurb period and it did look a hell of lot cleaner than I remember Florida's doing. After Small World we went and grabbed a snack and this time I got a drink flask which turned out to be a really good idea. We kept getting it topped up with hot chocolate which kept us going as the weather got worst.

As with the parade at Studios, the one at Disney was also running but with a few adjustments that we didn't realise until we saw it again. We ended up heading over really late and grabbed a space by the castle overlooking the back of the stage. Having had enough of kids we stood our ground where we were standing and didn't let kids push past us. Our view wasn't so bad even if the stage was in the way.



This photo gives some idea of how empty the park was. Normally those ropes should be crowded and it go about 5 or 6 people back.



By this point in the day, the boots that had put on at the last minute before I left London had decided that they had some holes and didn't want to be waterproof. Even wearing double socks my feet were sopping wet and ice cold. I thought I could just struggle through but my decision was made when I saw wellie boots on sale in one of the shops. I ended up paying 50 euros for the boots, two pairs of socks and a wooly pair of socks. It was expensive but it was the best purchase I made on the whole trip. I also wasn't the only one as a woman before me was doing the same thing and I saw a lot of the wellies throughout the trip on other people who had obviously been caught out.

While I was faffing around changing my shoes in the middle of the shop, Benin decided that he wanted a rather funky hat.



The cold was starting to set in where you just can't get warm so we decided to grab Star Tours while we were there. It was perfect to warm up with.

Now it was getting close to the dinner reservation time we had made at Silver Spur for before dreams. It was half an hour till our slot so we headed over to Frontierland. The problem was when we walked past the restaurant it had closed signs outside. It was still a bit of time till our reservation so decided to go on Phantom Manor and see if things changed after that.

We came back out and it still said closed but we could see staff inside so we popped in. They explained to us that due to the snow they couldn't open as they didn't have enough staff in. They volunteered to then ring other restaurants to see if they could fit us in. We wanted to stay on park so ended up at Plaza Gardens buffet. It was disappointing to not be able to eat at the steak house but at least they had sorted out somewhere else for us to go.

We are normally a bit wary about buffets abroad as you never know what the food is going to be like and Benin can be quite fussy (even I am to some extent). Both of us were impressed. The food was simple enough and it had the usual favourites such as chicken nuggets and chips.

Once we finished we popped back outside and hoped that Dreams would be showing. We grabbed some hot chocolate for our flask to try and keep us going. The weather was getting worse as can be demonstrated from the following photos. At least due to the weather we could get right up the front rope with only like 15 minutes to go.









I was impressed that Disney even ran the show in the weather. It wasn't even worth us getting our cameras out for the main show as the snow was coming down quite heavily and we didn't want to damage them. We decided it was best to just watch the show the first time rather than looking at it through a camera screen. I have to admit it was pretty magical seeing it the show in the snow though the one downside was that the snow kept changing direction and at some points we could barely open our eyes. I also collected loads of snow on me by the end of it as shown by this rather flattering picture of me.





Once it was over and vowing to see it all the other nights we were there, we headed back to our hotel room to both dry out and warm up. We ended up hanging up all our wet stuff in the bathroom.



There was an a4 sheet of paper on top of my suitcase when we got into the room. It explained that they hadn't cleaned our room because of the weather but we weren't bothered. Considering how heavy the snow was by the end of the day, the fact that the shopping service wasn't running, we had to change restaurants and our room hadn't been cleaned was nothing compared to the miracle that Disney had performed keeping their park open. We phoned home and checked on the weather forceast and hoped that we wouldn't get any more snow.

So that was it for day 2. We had to get an early night as we had been given the 7am slot for dinner which makes me shudder just remembering it.
 

Nicky

Member
Now for the Tower post.

I've done both the ones in Florida and Paris which have different ride systems. Now before I went to Paris I thought that the Florida one would be the best. However my opinion was changed on this trip. While there are the obvious language barriers with the one in Paris I prefer the fact that you are already in the elevator shaft. The forward motion in Florida does break some of the tension that has been built up. With the Paris one you have no idea when it is going to drop on your first go and this tension isn't broken at all throughout the ride.

After that quick review of it here are a few of the highlights from our many gos on it and the awesomeness that was: Clement, Jerome, Marco, Ceiron, Rafael and Thomas.

The very first time on it, Clement asked if it was my first time on it as I looked a tad nervous. Rather than trying to explain that it was my first time on this one but I had previously been on the one in Florida I had just nodded. He then proceeded to tease me and tell everyone in the queue near me, in French, that I hadn't been on it before. It was just good to see that they could tease the guests but knew where to draw the line.

The funniest had to be on Day 2 as I referenced earlier. There was a French man and his two children who were queueing up in front of us. By the time we had got to the maintenance elevator the boy had chickened out. The cast member, Thomas, pulled him to one side and explained to him that he could wait while his dad and sister go on it. It wasn't until we had finished and had come back down to the bottom of the elevator shaft that the funny moment happened. The doors opened slowly to find the little boy standing there wearing Thomas' bell hop hat on his head and was just waving at us. It made the whole lift break out into laughter and it was great to see how he had been involved in the ride even though he hadn't gone on it.

When your restraints are being checked they ask you to raise your hands. One of the other guests started turning her hands back and forth. Now this was in reference to a French childhood song from what we could gather called marionette. Jerome made her sing the song to everyone in the lift with the hand actions before he would let our lift go.

There was pretty much the same cast members over the whole time we were there and they started to recognise us and would make an effort to interact with us. Whether it was joking about what bag Benin was carrying or the fact that I must have obviously liked it as I was going round again and again after my first time. Two of the most distinctive were Thomas and Rafael. They seemed like a double act and always seemed to be together as seen here:



Both with added winter thermals. Rafael was obviously Spanish and at one point ran through the loading instructions in three different languages (English, French and Spanish) once he had noticed a Spanish family in the back corner which I thought was pretty impressive.

The other two from our list were Cieron and Marco. Now Cieron could find employment as a Matt Lucas look a like and Marco who had the creepiest laugh ever.

Overall we were both really impressed with all the cast members who worked on Tower of Terror who all had their little quirks whether it was pointing out the two holes in the lift cage or teasing different guests. What was good was they knew their limits and knew when they just needed to be nice to say a scared child to try and encourage them to come onto the ride.

One last photo of the Tower of Awesome team having a little morning pow-wow:

 

caffeine_demon

Well-Known Member
Nicky said:
First up was Cinemagique. A common way to get round the language barrier is they have two characters, one who will speak English and the other who will speak French. This means that the whole audience will be able to get the gist of the story. I had never done Cinemagique before and was really impressed. According to Benin, it had also been updated since he had last seen it with a few extra film clips.
I loved cinemagique - one of those often missed gems

Icicles were forming everywhere, even off the giant fairy lights.

ooh - phalic!
 

peep

Well-Known Member
Nice trip report so far. I 100% agree with you about ToT. Paris is so superior compared to the Florida one, from the staff down to the ride experience as a whole. There will always be silly arguments saying the opposite etc but that is my opinion and I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks it :D
 

Nicky

Member
Day 3 - Wednesday 13th March

We woke up to see that no more snow had fallen but it was bitterly cold. The shot of the Panorama balloon was a useful way to show cold it actually was.



The lake had even started to freeze over.



It wasn't looking good for rides actually being able to open in this temperature. Now the one problem with going on holiday as just a couple is that it can be really awkward to get photos of just the
two of you without having to rope in a passerby. This time a random French woman (who thought herself a photgrapher) just volunteered without me even asking.



Icicles everywhere looking like they would cause some serious damage if they fell down on someone.



Benin's hat did lead to some fun shots of his shadow as we wandered through Disney Village for Extra Magic Hours.



Disney Cast Members had definitely been to work over night. A lot of the snow had been cleared off the main paths and they were slowly working their way around the more off the beaten track ones throughout the day. You could see that they were constantly trying to get things open all day rather than just send staff home.



The snow might be nice and pretty but it was beginning to lead to problems for the rides we wanted to go on. The first casualty was Space Mountain. The track was frozen but people didn't understand that while most of the ride was undercover there is one small part with the launch that was causing all the problems. They were testing it and you could see it barely making the top of the launch.



This led to the cast members all being stood at the entrance and they were obviously getting rather bored. So they started a snow ball fight:





And it ended on with one of them on the floor.



Orbitron was the second casualty of the day even though the cast members were trying to clear snow off it all morning.



We also discovered that one of our friends who works for a generic theme park in Staffordshire was moonlighting at Disney Paris.



With Obitron and Space Mountain closed, all that was left in Discoveryland was Buzz. Leading to this:



When they eventually opened the queue we went round twice before deciding that we needed to move over to Fantasyland to make more of the time we had before the park properly opened.

We passed this on the way. If only we had the money for one of these :(



It wasn't exactly busy in Fantasyland either.



And Fantasyland was suffering the same fate as most of Discoveryland with only the completely indoors rides managing to open. So we grabbed Peter Pan's Flight while the queue was like this:





Then began a faff. Nothing was open and we couldn't be bothered to do things more than once. We popped up into the castle as I had never been up there. Got some pretty shots of the windows.



And of a snowy Fantasyland.



The way out didn't exactly look safe. Snow and spiral stairs do not mix so we headed back through the main entrance with everyone else.



We wandered back over to Discoveryland to see if Space Mountain had managed to warm up enough to open. We hung around for 20 minutes before giving up and going back to Fantasyland. Now my favourite princess is Belle and the one thing that I wanted to do was queue up for the princesses. We thought joining the queue ten minutes before the park opened (10am, bearing in mind that the princesses didn't open until 10.30am) would be fine. We were wrong. The queue was on its way back to the maze. We knew this would be the best time we had to do it so we just joined the queue. I'd hate to queue up with a child to see a character, it was boring enough as an adult.

We eventually got let into the building to go through the queueing system in there. The problem with this queue is that it grinds to a halt quite often. There are always two princesses there but you don't know who they are until you go into their area and you only get to see one. This is a bit of a problem when you aren't really interested in seeing any of the other princesses.

It was a nicely themed queue line that spiraled up to the centre. They had stained glass windows for all the princesses castles with light up objects such as the flower from Rapunzel or the rose from Beauty and the Beast.





An hour and 45 minutes later we finally got to see a princess. Now we had agreed that the chance of seeing Belle was low but as long as it was either her or Rapunzel then it wouldn't be /so/ bad. We lucked out and got Rapunzel, seemingly just before she changed for a break.



We have no idea who replaced her nor did we know who was on the other side until we got out into the photo buying area. Luckily it had been Cinderella and we weren't too interested in seeing her. We also found this spectacularly taken photo by the "professional" photographer of us and Rapunzel.



As much as I wanted to see Belle I wasn't going to join that queue again myself let alone make Benin do it again. You have no idea who you are going to get which is rather annoying. At least with Mickey you know who you are getting no matter how long you wait.

We checked our timetable and saw that Winnie would be out near Main Street. We headed over and could just about make out Winnie's ears over a scrum. Now because of the weather he couldn't go up in his usual space as all the steps were icy. This meant that he was on the ground with no queueing system, yet again. We joined the scrum and tried to wait our turn. This was one of the more organised ones as the accompanying cast member was British. She was making sure that people were taking turns and stopping people from pushing in. This led to a funny moment of a Spanish woman talking to her trying to get her kid to go next. The cast member's reply was "I don't speak Spanish." The woman said
more to which the reply was "I still don't speak Spanish." She noticed that there was us two and a group of girls from Liverpool who were getting a bit exasperated and she just shrugged her shoulders. She was trying her best.

Winnie had to go for his break but would be back in five minutes. We decided to hang around and we formed a queue of people waiting for him to come back. We made friends with the Scouse girls while we were waiting. Winnie came back out but instead of standing where the queue started he went right into the middle and the scrum began again. Now we had had enough. This led to us and the girls getting territorial and getting onto the front row of the crowd. We stood firm and didn't let anyone get past us. Now the girls got picked first and we volunteered to take a photo of them with Winnie. When they had finished they made sure we could dive in before any kids got their first. They also took the photo for us.

Our hard fought photo:



As we finished, the 20th anniversary celebration train got announced as being cancelled due to the weather. This gave us a suspicion that the characters meant to be on that parade would be out for meet and greets instead. We headed to the far end and found that we had hit the jackpot. Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Chip and Dale (plus random female chipmunk), Goofy and Pluto were all out. M&Ms area looked the most organised, having been placed in a corner.

M&M were on the ball and were picking people out themselves going on who had been waiting the longest. We got to the front row and ended up lucking out straight away, getting called forward.



By this point we were rather charactered out and decided it was time to try and grab another ride. We headed over to the information board (a godsend in this weather) to find out what was open. BTM and Indy were still closed but Space Mountain had obviously got going. We headed over and joined the queue. We had just made it into the station when it suffered "technical difficulties". They pulled all the trains off the track and back into the maintenance shed and it became obvious it wouldn't be openeing for a while. We stuck it out for a bit until we got the exit passes (i.e. the cards from the Fastpass machines with a written note on them).

We tried to do Star Tours next but that had a long queue so we decided to it was time for lunch and to go to Casey's. Just as we got there we saw the parade train was running this time so watched that go passed right outside the entrance to Casey's.



While we were waiting, I found a wellie buddy.







After lunch (having ended up sharing a table with two other people as there was no other space) we came back out and encountered the train again.



By this point we had done everything we could do really in the main park and decided to switch parks and try and see whether Studios was coping with the cold any better.

With Tower having this queue it was just asking for us to ride it.



Another Tower ride down we headed over to Toy Story. RC Racer was going but it was definitely struggling. We managed to get on it though before it died again.





By this point the cold combined with the really early morning for breakfast had got to us. We decided to head back to the hotel for a warm up and just some time to put our feet up after doing Art of Animation. It was good to see even though the attraction had been open for a while they were updating it with a segment on Wreck it Ralph. It was a bit confusing with having to wear headphones that was piping through an English language track over what the cast member was saying. It was even more when the video was in English and you were fighting with the French language track. A bit of a headache inducing moment.

We planned to head back over to the parks to catch Dreams, with plans to eat after lunch. As the Studios gets really empty after their parade has finished we decided to stop there first. We grabbed another Tower ride and two goes on Rock n Roller before heading back to the main park.





We still had our Space Mountain pass so used that before grabbing Buzz.



It was while waiting for Buzz that we realised the importance of 1. the handheld emergency stops and 2. stepping very carefully onto the moving walkway. we witnessed an older Spanish woman fall over smacking her head against the metal bar. It was lucky the cast member could speak Spanish as he got it all sorted out and the ride only stopped for a few minutes. She was fortunate not to draw any blood.

It was getting close to Dreams starting time so we headed over to the main area. It was a bit busier than the night before but you could see that a lot of people had got too cold and had headed back to the hotels.



We ended up with a more central spot and now was the time to try and take some good pictures. With shows like this, you get some very blurry pictures but some good ones just by sheer chance.



























The show was pretty much the same but we did notice some added water fountains that they hadn't wanted to switch on the night before as it would create sheet ice on the castle slope which would not be a good idea. It was then time to join the scrum out of the park and get some food at Disney Village.



EARL OF AMAZINGNESS. Screw Subway, this place was awesome and was perfect for walking back to our hotel room and putting out feet up to eat.

And that was the end of Day 3 with one more shot of the Panaroma balloon.

 

Nicky

Member
I was wondering whether anyone would notice that or just accept that I have obviously used a photo from later on in the trip to illustrate my point :p
 

Nicky

Member
Day 4 - 14th March

The early starts and late nights were starting to get to us. So the day before we had asked at our reception desk to change our breakfast slot so we had a more respectable start of 8.45am rather than the 7am the day before.

Due to our late start, we skipped out on EMH all together and just went straight over to the Studios. Expecting to have a long wait, we were surprised to see the gates were already open and they were letting people straight into the

park. It was starting to become clear that thanks to the slightly warmer temperature all the locals who had been dissuaded for the past few days had come to visit. This was going to lead to longer queues :(

The advertised opening time was 10am and we had already been through Tower once before then. We also got to witness the vast majority of the cast members for it turning up in one go to have a team pow wow.



Now that the weather was warmer we got a chance to grab some of the rides that hadn't even got going at any point in the day. First up was Parachute Drop. The queue was only 20 minutes but due to the fact that the seating arrangement is 3 across we joined the single rider line.



After a false start for me when the cast member miscounted we were on after waiting for one cycle. The first obstacle was the fact that everyone who was just a two on the benches had already pulled down their bar leading to the cast member having to go round and opening them all to get the single riders on.

I wasn't expecting much and I was pleasantly surprised as you got a bit of airtime and it was good to be able to see over all the backlot (especially the closed Tram Tour). The second obstacle was being able to actually get out. The seatbelts had a weird unfastening button that was in a completely unexpected place and Benin had to come and free me :(

Next up was RC Racer and I was finally able to get my front row :D Two people from the single rider ended up getting split up and then tried to get me to move to the second row and I refused. You can just see the excitement on my face when I finally got on.



Ended up sat there for five minutes while there was a bit of swopping around with the girls next to me as they couldn't fit in with the restraint down properly. Didn't help one of them was wearing a massive puffa jacket at first which wasn't a good idea at all.



Attack of the scarf



We headed over to Stitch Live but we were looking at a 30 minute wait for the next English show so had to decide what to do in the gap. We tried Armageddon but found the experience was 20 minutes so we would be really pushing it. In the end we just wandered over to Rock n Roller and grabbed a Fastpass for it (a sure sign the parks were busier as FP was barely used earlier in the week) before going to top up the hot chocolate flask and grabbed some more cakes to tide us over.

Two 20th anniversary desserts down we went back over to Stitch. Now I've done Monster's Inc Laughter Floor in Florida and loved that and found this good. It does depend on who they pick and it is obviously really kid centric though they try to involve the adults. The sight of Stitch gyrating his hips was a tad weird though.

By the time we came out, it was time for our FP for Rock N Roller which left me with a bit of a headache. The more I did the rough rides over the week the more my head started to hurt :(

Next up was Armageddon and I hadn't done this before. It had been open when I last visited the Studios (11 years ago) but I am very glad now that I hadn't gone it. It scared the hell out of me at 22 let alone when I would have been 11. It is definitely not "family fun" as it was suggested on the map. I was clinging to Benin and the fencing by the end of it. Give me Twister any day. I think its problem was that it happens all around you where with say Twister it only happens in front of you. The amount of kids that were crying when the lights came up that I wasn't the only one who hadn't been too keen on this. It definitely left its mark on me.



I needed cheering up so we gained a new friend for the rest of this trip who may be making a few more trips with us now. Will have to see if you can spot him later.

It was getting time for us to move on to the main park. We spotted the Flying Carpets finally working and not being sure whether Dumbo/Orbitron was working next door we thought it would be best to get at least one of these. Only Disney could get away with having three different versions of the same ride :p



We passed the Crush queue and it was in its makeshift extension. Ewwwwwww. No more Crush for us this holiday.



Off peak was over as there were more characters out roaming, even some that are pretty rare by Disney standards.



We switched to the other park and hoped that the queues weren't so bad.



You can already see from the photos that we were fighting against the crowds.



We caught the Parade train again.



With the weather brighter and the park obviously busier it meant that we might actually be able to grab the Casey Jr. cred. It tends to shut on off peak days let alone those that are covered in snow. We saw that it was open on the information board. Yay!!!

We went for a wander to see how the other rides were doing. At least the main coasters were open but they all had huge queues so we ended up just taking photos (and grabbing a FP for Big Thunder Mountain).



Busy!







^Starring our new friend

We finally ended up in Fantasyland. Benin spied Captain Hook on his way to Adventureland.



There were loads more roaming characters about. We ended up meeting Tweedledee.





It was finally time for Casey Jnr. A kiddie coaster with two trains which means the queue was barely anything even though it looked really long.



Stitch providing a useful leaning post in the queues.





By this point the hunger was setting in and lunch was needed. We ended up heading over to Hakuna Matata as Benin hadn't ever seen it actually open and the menu looked pretty interesting. The first challenge was avoiding the death trap of sliding snow off the thatch roof.



Benin went to find a seat while I joined the queue for food. It was miles longer than it needed to be thanks to the burdenous family who only decided it was too expensive for them when they got to the till *headdesk*

Benin headed over to the Timon Terrace and ended up taking photos to keep himself occupied.





Our FP time had come up for Big Thunder so ended up heading over there for that. It was nice being able to skip the long queue, especially when they had a whole station just for FP and disabled riders.

Indy had died a death by the time we got to it so we just had to take some photos and hope that it would reopen later in the day for us.





Oh the irony



With the queues getting up we headed back over to Discoveryland, grabbed a FP for Space Mountain before working out what we could do to fill the gap. Now Benin had never done Captain EO (I had grabbed it in Florida) and since we didn't have anything else to do I persuaded him that it was something he needed to do at least once.



Stitch had swopped to being carried by me. I got slightly less funnier looks than Benin had done when he was carrying him. We only saw one other person with the Stitch rucksack.



Even Stitch got his 3D glasses.



It really is weird and the 3D is rather rubbish. It definitely shows its age and the pre-show stuff is so much longer than the actual show.

When we came out, it was FP time for Space Mountain before realising it was parade time. We headed over to a space we had spotted when we watched the show on Tuesday. The one problem was the sun. We just hoped that it would move behind the castle by the time the parade started.





The little girl next to us had rather funky wellies.



It seemed like the parade had been altered on Tuesday and we got to see a few more dancers (especially the fairies and those that glide around) and a few different characters on the floats.



Urgh Tiana was there instead of Belle :(



These were non-existant in the snow.



Mickey had also made the jump to the top of his float.





Tink hitching a lift on the back of the float.



When we planned the place we would stand it had partially been chosen because we could easily escape when the parade had gone past and get to the rest of the park. We headed off towards Fantasyland and encountered Captain Jack walking back behind the scenes. There were lodas of pigeons about he decided to go running after them, chasing them around with his arms failing around.

Our aim was It's A Small World and you could definitely see the boats that had been filled while it was the parade time.



And so the hell begins...



Benin not too impressed.



Stack stack stack



We eventually joined the real world again. We passed the Princesses who had finished for the day.





Our next stop was the maze.



It didn't seem that big from the outside but it definitely has loads of twists and turns. It was more exciting when you could get past people and stop it feeling like you were just trudging around after people.





By this point we still hadn't had our fill of boat rides so checked out Storybook Canal.



This looked like the only chance I was going to have to see Belle but first we got the boat to ourselves.



A chilly Benin.



And this was the closest I got all holiday :(



The sun was beginning to set and we needed to get out of Fantasyland before it closed early because of Dreams. We decided to give Indy one last chance and we happy to see that it was open and had a really short queue.



With the cold and BTM still having a long queue we popped over to something that would warm us up. Phantom Manor time.







I still loved the thing however a recurring problem while we were there was that the Hitchiking Ghosts had hitchhiked off and all you were left doing was staring at the mirrors. It kinda ruined the end of it for you.

By the time we came out Benin was hungry and still cold. We wanted to stay for Dreams and we had a dinner reservation for Cafe Mickey's after so didn't want to eat too much. We tried to get crepes from Gibson Girl but we were spited by them locking the doors just as we got there. Disney still haven't learned that they need to have more food outlets open late into the evening.

In the end we ended up grabbing some fries from Casey's and topping up the hot chocolate flask. It was still 40 minutes till Dreams but it was beginning to get busy already. We wanted a straight on view this time so we knew we would have to stake out our space a lot earlier than the other nights. We chose our spot right up to one of the flower bed fences. It meant that people couldn't really block our view in a really bad way.



Now I had been in Disney for four days. I had been polite, I had let kids in front of me with characters, I had tried not to block people's views. This is the night I snapped. I watched as a Spanish woman came over with her family less than 15 minutes before it started. She proceeded to stand her child up on the fence rail, moving directly in front of me and blocking my view. I snapped and told her firmly with a lot of hand gestures so she knew what I was getting at. I turned to see that I had a few supporters behind me. She got all huffy at me and pointed me to the space that she had been stood in. Now I would have got even more pissed off if she hadn't had a great view from where she had been stood. My view had actually improved. WIN!!

I wasn't planning to take photos that night. I just wanted to enjoy the show so there aren't many photos for this night. However I made a few exceptions. The past two nights, all the projections had been straight onto the castle and its walls. The weather was a lot better today and the water projections came out. It looked so much better and you could tell this is what it was meant to be. It was good to see though that they could vary the show depending on the weather rather than just cancelling it.



It also led to a lot more space for the projections. It didn't feel as clustered.



Also Benin wanted a better picture of this:



This looked immensely better and was one of my favourite scenes.



All too soon it was over :( I'd go back just for Dreams.

I was quickly cheered up by remembering that we had a reservation for Cafe Mickey. We had booked it for 9pm so we could see Dreams first. We barely had any queue to get in and got in 15 minutes earlier than our reservation.



We hadn't even got to our table before we encountered our first character.





The characters have a set circuit that they go round with them being staggered. It means in theory that everyone gets to see every character.





You feel sorry for the waiters as they are trying to do their jobs while sorting out but we weren't too bothered. We were just glad to be sat down and having a rest. You did find yourself however looking for the characters and feeling like you couldn't leave your table in case you missed them.

Minnie came along:





Followed by Gepetto:





Considering you just order off the menu, you don't pay that much more than you would do at any of the other Disney Village eateries.

First up was garlic bread that was bigger than your head:



Then steak



Mickey and Pluto were also on the rounds but by this point we were exhausted. We knew we were having a character breakfast in the morning so decided to call it a night. We got our bill from the waiter and he had only charged us for two drinks rather than the five that we had (a godsend when they were 4 euros each) as a way to apologise for his slow service. We left him a tip and he was so happy. It wasn't his fault that he had been ran off his feet and I wouldn't want to have his job.

It was time to go and head back to the hotel. It was our last day tomorrow and we needed to pack everything into our suitcases.

I'll leave you one last photo of Tigger being all techno celebrating someone's birthday.

 
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