12-17th October 2006, Day 1 - Lots of Pictures!

Started by madzilla, September 15, 2007, 04:17:00 PM

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It's nearly a year since my last trip to DLP, and since I have another trip coming up in December I thought it was about time I got round to posting my trip report. :P Our trip lasted 6 days (though two of those were spent travelling), and I've broken it up into each day because I've rambled on for so long. Some days might even need 2 or 3 parts - there are a lot of photos. (Not so many in this part, but many more to come!)

Anyway, on with the show!

Day 1 – Thursday 12nd October 2006

The party:
– Me, 22 (at the time), trip planner, obsessed with all things Pirates, longtime lover of DLRP (this was my 4th visit)
- Friend – 25, male, mad on all things cowboy/western and country music, first time to DLP

We'd booked on the spur of the moment back in July '06, and the trip seemed like ages away - couldn't believe how quickly October rolled around! My friend and I met for dinner a couple of days before leaving, completely stunned that the trip had come around already! I finished up my last day at work and headed home with a spring in my step to start packing. Stared at my empty suitcase for far too long while deciding what to take. Disney t-shirts and warm fleece, of course (it was October), travel documents, DLP guide, Mickey notebook, Pluto pen, Tigger PJs – yep, I was ready to go.

Just like in those adverts on TV I was "too exciiiited!" to go to bed and eventually thought I'd better get some sleep at about 5:50am, despite the fact my taxi was booked for about 7.15. D'oh. Woke up at 7.05 and was dressed before the taxi arrived, despite only having had just over an hour's sleep. I guess anticipation will do that to you. There's nothing like pre-Disney excitement, is there?  \:D/
Arrived at the harbour at stupid o'clock in the morning to meet my friend, who looked equally exhausted. We checked in our cases and wandered off to the harbour café, desperately needing tea.

Three cups later I felt a bit more human and soon we were boarding the boat. The journey to St Malo only took an hour, and unlike at the airport, our cases were waiting for us when we got to arrivals. Brilliant! We headed straight out to the taxi queue, and waited. And waited. And waited.

All the while we were waiting I was a little worried, because while I took French for something like 8 years at school, that was a long time ago and everything I'd learned seemed to have leaked out of my head since. I knew I'd have to ask to be taken to the train station, and while I was reasonably sure "la gare, s'il vous plait" would suffice, I was a little nervous in case I said something stupid or incorrect and we ended up somewhere bizarre.

However, my blushes were spared when a very kind German woman at the front of the queue overheard us chatting about the train station and offered to let us share her taxi when it came, as she was heading there too. She asked the driver if the cab would hold 5 and he said yes, so we packed in with her and her two sons, meaning not only did we not have to wait ages for another taxi (and risk missing our train), but it cost half as much. And she sorted all the French. :)

St Malo train station was easy to navigate and soon enough we were on the train to Rennes. I will say this – the French train system is really excellent, the trains are almost always on time, and very comfortable and modern. Soon enough we were at Rennes and had about an hour to kill until our next train, which would take us to Marne La Vallee, right into the heart of the magic.

This next leg of the journey would take about three hours, so we both slept for a bit (my sleepless night finally catching up with me), and I listened to some Disneyland music on my iPod (Main Street music, Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean, This Is Halloween, etc). The French language, so far, wasn't causing me as much grief as I had anticipated, and I managed to sort out our tickets and all that with no problem. I woke up about 5pm, with about half an hour to go before arriving, and started scanning the horizon for familiar landmarks. One of my favourite parts of the coach journey from Charles de Gaulle had always been the moment when you first spot the hotels, it's just wonderful.

It was a lovely afternoon, sunny and bright with a few clouds, but did get rather grey before we reached Marne La Vallee. Rain had been forecast for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I was expecting it any time. But it never came! Not a drop all six days (well, except indoors, but more on that later.  :wink: ).

The resort suddenly appeared out of nowhere! It had been trees ... bushes ... trees ... trees ... trees ... trees ... hedges ... trees ... and the suddenly there was the water tower of Walt Disney Studios and the top of Disney Village! I kicked my friend in the shin (not hard, mind) to wake him and pointed out the sights, and he squealed. The rest of the people on the train looked at us rather strangely.

Soon enough we were exiting Marne La Vallee train station. We'd had a great journey, no delays, a nice sleep on the comfortable train, and were massively excited about everything to come. We were finally here!!!

I'd forgotten how close the bus stops were to the train station, so we were on the Cheyenne bus in a matter of minutes. My friend was beside himself when he saw the hotel, as he's mad on Western/country things.

We checked in and found out we were in Wild Bill Hickok building.

We made our way round to the room, my friend very excited to see the Red Garter saloon and all the different Wild West style streets.

He said it was better than he'd ever imagined. As for me, I was just so delighted to be back at DLRP I wasn't really taking it all in yet.

Dumped the suitcases in the room...

(view from our window!)

...got changed and freshened up, and then it was straight out. It was about 6-6.30pm by this stage, so there was no point heading to the park (which shut at 7), but we were both ravenous so decided to head to Disney Village in search of dinner.

I was familiar with the Cheyenne from my previous stay there in 2002, but couldn't quite remember the way onto the path to Disney Village, alongside the Rio Grande - I got us quite lost round the Cheyenne 'campus' and we ended up under the water tower...

and nearly ended up at the Santa Fe before I found the path and the best way to get to it. (If anyone's curious, go to the play area, face away from the general store/saloon/Chuck Wagon, go round the wagon in the middle, and you'll come to the path.) All good fun though. :)

It was a lovely walk in, nice to stretch our legs after so long on the train – I'd never seen the parks in Autumn before, but it was gorgeous – particularly when we reached the Sequoia Lodge – all the trees outside were turning bright red and it was absolutely beautiful.

Soon enough we came to the New York and turned the corner to see the beautiful sight of Lake Disney, the hotels and Disney Village in front of us. We hung about in Rockefeller Plaza in front of the Hotel New York for a while, just taking it all in.

I was pointing out all the sights, but what made us both gape was the new Panoramagique hot-air balloon anchored on Lake Disney. It's huge! "We have to go in that," I said, and my friend agreed. We decided to wait until it was dark one night, as everything lit up would no doubt be a beautiful sight.

When we came round the corner into Disney Village my friend was delighted. I have to admit, it is a wonderful sight – Billy Bob's all lit up, the big, round lanterns, the shops, restaurants etc. We took a walk the length of the Village before we went to dinner, so he could see everything, and he was ecstatic to see a pink Cadillac parked at one end (my friend's other passion, besides all things western, is American cars). It was also fun to see a few Halloween decorations out here, too, and interesting to see King Ludwig's Castle all finished (it was being built the last time I was there). They were playing really lively music (Scissor Sisters!) and I had to restrain myself from dancing like a loon out of sheer joy.

We eventually decided to eat at the Rainforest Café, got a table straight away and I had my usual to eat (Rasta Pasta!). I shouldn't have had a starter, though (eyes bigger than my stomach once again), as I couldn't finish my HUGE main course and was absolutely stuffed by the end (we both were). After dinner we staggered off to hit the shops.

I knew we had days and days to shop, so I wasn't desperate to grab everything I liked just yet – but the one thing I was keen to get was a pair of mouse ears –this was my fifth time to Disney and I'd never got any! Besides, I'd brought a red spotty top to wear somewhere nice, so I thought I had to have Minnie ears to match.  :)  I also wanted to get them the first night, so I'd be able to wear them into the park the next day.

My friend spotted my dream mouse ears – ears with a plumed pirate hat attached! Perfect! So I had to have those.

Apart from those I brought some chocolate to munch on later, a couple of pins (a new Pirates of the Caribbean one and a DLP 2006 one) and some postcards (which I never did get round to sending, or indeed writing, oops). Saw a billion things I wanted, of course. There was a new 'Build Your Own Mr. Potato Head' stand in the Disney Store, which we had great fun at, even if we didn't actually buy the Mr Potato Heads we made. (I built 'Disney Tourist Mr Potato Head', who had a DLP guidebook in one hand, a lollipop in the other, mouse ears on his head and a big smile.)

My friend, meanwhile, bought a proper black cowboy hat at the Buffalo Trading Post. It was a wee bit expensive but it never left his head for the remainder of the trip (ditto my pirate mouse ears) so I'm thinking it was worth it. He said he wanted to wear it to line dancing when we got home, too.  

In Hollywood Pictures I saw some brilliant POTC t-shirts but they didn't have any in my size, so I decided to see if I could find any in Le Coffre du Capitaine the next day when we came off POTC.

We were knackered after that so headed back to the hotel, stepping into the Hotel New York for a quick nose on the way (and a nostalgia trip, in my case – I stayed there in 1995). Absolutely beautiful. We looked in the gift shop, which had some stunning Disney collectibles.

When we got back to the hotel we stopped off at the Red Garter Saloon for a few before bed – how many hotels have a saloon, I mean, really? Hahahaha. I had a Desperados, which is beer flavoured with tequila and lime – really refreshing, and you can't get them back home. And I was shocked to see that the same band was playing in there was had been when I'd been there in 2002! I found out they are in fact the house band and always play there, 5 nights a week! I was floored to see them again. They were absolutely brilliant, even playing a countrified version of 'When You Wish Upon A Star', and my friend became an immediate fanboy. They're called the Thrifts, and they're really talented. My friend got chatting to them later in the trip – apparently they've played the Nashville country circuit and everything. We really enjoyed listening to them.

After that it was back up to the room, had a quick shower, scribbled notes about the day's events before falling into bed and straight to sleep around half past midnight. It had been a very early start and we were exhausted! And the next day would be our first day in the park itself.

To be continued...


Wow Madzilla! What a brilliant first day report. It has me riveted, you are a natural story teller. Can't wait for the next installment. We are spending Christmas in DLRP this year. I am driving my son and husband mad already!!!
Emma xx


I really loved reading your trip report. It's excellent ! You had a very long journey, so from where did you start ?
Oh Boy ! \":mickey2:\"


great trip report, thanks
dlp nov 98, feb 99, sept 07, sept 2008
wdw 95,97,2000,2002,2005


Good report :wink: You've taken so many photos! :P


Great report :D Love the ears!

October 2001-Santa Fe
June 2002-New York
August 2006-Sequoia
October 2007-Sequoia
August 2010- Newport Bay Admiral Floor
August 2013- Newport Bay Admirals Floor
August 2014 - WDW! Art of Animation Resort
August 2017- Newport Bay Compass Club


Wow, great pictures and great report :)
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney