Disney 2018 #2 – Niece flabbergasted (and nice) in an awesome park

Disney Castle ParisPromise of Disney

I was told whenever you make a promise, you make good on it. So we promised our niece a while back that we would take her to Disneyland for the first time.
And as you might now, we almost never go there ;-). So there we were, with my inlaws and my niece driving for around 5-6 hours into France towards Paris once more.
As we mostly go with just the two of us, this also put a new perspective on it for us as well. We were going to experience the park through the eyes of a 7 year-old on her first visit.

The 1st time

It actually begins upon entering the security gates in front of the park. Already awestruck by the hotel, our niece went from one amazement into the other.
The fountains, colors, the flowers in the beautiful kept gardens and of course the majestic Disneyland Hotel, she was walking around with her eyes peeled and sounds of amazement.
And then, we went under the hotel towards the actual gate. It was like she exploded in amazement all over again. Walking a bit further, crossing under the train station, more amazement on the first central plaza of mainstreet.
And then the homerun was finally hit..

The Castle

“Woooooww…… It’s beautiful!” She didn’t shout, when I asked her about it. She almost whispered it. Clearly in awe of the castle in pretty pink on a blue sky blackdrop at the end of the main street.
Sure enough, she wanted to get there and see the dragon we talked to her about underneath the castle. But not before we took a picture on the back bordes of the castle and she spotted the first princess dresses.
I want one! Ahem sure.. but there’s so much more to see. Let’s explore and after today think about you would really want to take home, shall we?

Rest of the days

We spend the rest of the weekend riding some attractions like “It’s a small world”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” (twice), Start Tours (her favorite so far), climbing Davy Crockett’s Adventure Tree, playing in the Pirate’s Playground, walking through the Skull Cave and a lot of the Disney stores.
And offcourse, Ratatouille, which she adored! I’ve got to say, my niece is a real champ when it comes to listening, keeping a bit close to us and she was always cheerful. Such an easy kid, even in restaurants and just walking for a bit. Sure, you do have to entertain a bit, but I think the ambience helped as well ๐Ÿ˜‰
For instance, we went down to the Rainforest Cafรฉ and although there’s some waiting involved usually when ordering food, this restaurant has a jungle theme to it with animatronic animals both obvious and less obvious all around. So there’s always something going on which entertains the kids, which is nice.
But in a buffet restaurant, like Plaza Gardens on Main Street, she’s at home as well. And since she was such a good girl, we naturally had to reward that!

Sulley pillowThe gifts of Disney

So in the end, she got to pick some presents to take home with us. She picked a doll of Moana (from Vaiana) and a Sulley pillow. And of course she already had some mouse ears etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰
We got some new tea mugs for ourselves and my father in law actually bought a nice, not so obvious Disney, hoodie.

Next time

While being back, plans are already being made inside the mind of my girlfriend to return alter this year, I’m positive ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, I like it a lot too, but I would like to go on some of the rollercoasters next time, see if she likes that.
After all, she did enjoy Pirates & Star Tours a LOT and those are not the easiest attractions on a 7-year old. Well we all have subscriptions now, so we only need a hotel and to get there. Easy enough. I’ll leave you with the wonderful 25th anniversary fireworks show, which we naturally watched as well:

Almost a year passed

A year.

Wow.. it’s been almost a year since I actually wrote a blog. I just realized that when updating and fiddling around with the website. I didn’t start my year traditionally with resolutions or even recapping them, probably since my new year wasn’t all that traditional traditional to even begin with. Well sure, we played games with family at a table, watched fireworks and ate the traditional oliebollen (deep-fried raisin buns) en apple beignets. But we did actually do that at an attraction park while riding rollercoasters, watching shows and eating at a buffet diner in cowboy style on New Year’s eve. Certainly not the typical New Year’s eve.

Is it pause or paws?

So, what’s happened?

When realizing it had been this long ago, I immediately tried to recap what actually happened last year. Some of the things that occurred, not necessarily in chronological appearance:

  • We’ve lost Taris, but Dex adopted us
  • Saw my brother and sis-in-law going through the same thing ending up with adorable Mette
  • Supported them with loss in her family
  • Helped Maikel + Natasja to cut & clear trees after a storm
  • Went to some Star Wars movie with Egmond, added to our lightsaber counts.
  • Visited the Amsterdam Light tour in a canal boat with my niece and in laws
  • Picked up a bit of mixing/making music again
  • Rekindled painting with light, revived 500px contribution
  • Ate a bit of sushi, steaks and more higher end food+ discovered new places to do just that (i.e. La Terraza Del Gourmet, Walt’s, a sushi church?)
  • Visited a bunch of concerts (Stereophonics, Guns ‘n Roses, Anouk, Train, Lisa Lois
  • Visited Disneyparks multiple times
  • Bought new human powered bikes, so more exercise ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Spent way too much time bingewatching and Netflixing
  • Bought a new car
  • Visited a certain Paul’s too much (or according to Cynthia: never too much)
  • Saw Cynthia get a cat tattoo
  • Visited our favorite guys in Spain and they even visited us
  • Enjoying all kinds of stuff with friends and family
  • I got a new job
  • My mom (-in-law, but sure don’t feel like it) got cancer and got rid of it
  • Learned a couple of new skills
  • Did some laps of swiming
  • Reached level 40 (admittedly took a bit of grinding, you’ll understand if you know me a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  • I probably forgot a bunch of things.. Been a challenging year.

The future

While my job is to set the bigger picture for IT Workplace Services in the future 3-5 years, I like to plan less far ahead in personal life. And live more.
That should continue in this year, despite anything that should happen. So we already know we’re going to be having fun in the sun, giving our niece her first Disneypark experience(s), visit some more concerts (even Toto with my mom-in-law :-)), visit another Star Wars movie and enjoy every bit of sushi and steak we come across ๐Ÿ™‚ And renovate that damn bathroom, finally ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe even redo the garden, if possible. And take care of my personal well-being and maybe wait less longer to write a blog.

Still: the best of it all is sharing it all loved ones. Andย especially sharing all good and bad things to come with Cynthia.
Let’s grow old together, sharing and living.

Love you honey.

A view – a picture and a magic perspective

A view

This photograph was shot from our regular vacation address in Spain, courtesy of our Brit friends Shaun & Phill. Alright, Ellie too.
Sitting here in sub-freezing weather with snow and an agenda sometimes overflowing, I cannot help to reminisce last year and this view. I just sit there, staring at the sun going down. Calm, at ease, not a care in the world. Take a last splash for the day in the pool..
I wish it could be like that anytime soon, but alas, we have to wait quite a few months..

In the meanwhile

So, what to do in the meanwhile, besides work? Well, the package I received today helps with that ๐Ÿ™‚ In it wasย a letter, a map, a business card and 2 annual passports to Disney Land Paris!
I guess we’re going to be visiting even more frequently the coming year, starting our first one in 2 months now. I think it will help us to get our minds off of things.
And: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the park of course! Like we weren’t certain before ๐Ÿ˜‰

Economics

I think we ordered just in time, since the tickets are going back to the original rates now. We basically bought 2 passports for 280 euros, which includes parking and some other stuff. A regular day ticket to all parks is around 80 euros (+20 for parking a car), so if you plan to visit twice in a year, it’s cheaper (280 vs 360). Plus, you get discounts on all restaurants and boutiques (10%), Disney hotels (25%), Buffalo Bills Wild West Dinner Show (20%) and a day ticket for a friend (10%).

What’s new?

I’m really looking forward to all the new stuff and special celebrations this year, including:

  • Star Tours: The adventures Continue – Yay! New scenes and ride from Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain – They postponed the opening, so we’re missing it on the first visit. Good reason to plan ahead the 2nd one ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Disney Stars on Parade – Complete new parade, including fire-breathing maleficent dragon? I’m curious!
  • Disney Illuminations – A new nighttime spectacular with scenes from Frozen (meh), Pirates of the Caribbean and the new Beauty and the Beast. Replaces Disney Dreams.
  • Mickey presents Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris – New entertainment and beloved characters taking over the heart of the park
  • The Starlit Princess Waltz – A meeting of all Disney princesses for a waltz on the Royal Castle Stage. I wonder if Leia participates ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Experience Enhancement Project – Basically the sumย of all reinventions and re-imagineering finished for the 25th anniversary

I’ve read that for Star Tours there are now 13 segments of film + simulator movements, which can be combined to 96 different ride combinations. Re-rides guaranteed as long as you can last ๐Ÿ™‚

I think that, with all the finer and smaller details Disney usually gets spot on, this will indeed be a magical year and THE year to get a year passport once again!
If this doesn’t hurl us trough the year towards our beautiful Spanish destination again… maybe even visit on the way there or back.. hmm possibilities..

How’s that for a view?