May 1, 2012





Flying High


We were up early again, had a nice and leisurely breakfast, I finished off the last of my Eclairs, then we prepared some sandwiches for the travel day and packed up the rest of our stuff. Then it was time to haul our stuff outside and load everything into the car before we went back one more time, checked everything for forgotten items and then checked out of our villa. In no time we arrived at the parking garage and found a nice spot on level 1. Next stop was the office in the garage to have the ticket validated so we would be able to only pay the passholder rate for parking. And then we were off to the parks. As soon as we got closer we could see that the holiday this day had a huge impact on the crowds. There were loads of people. But since it was our last day, we didn’t mind too much and just decided to go with the flow.

We got in line for bagcheck and it took quite some time to get through, then we headed for the turnstiles. Again we headed towards the ones on the far right as there are usually short lines. That day was no exception. But as soon as we had walked under the railway station we knew we were in for some really heavy crowds. The line for the railway station was down the stairs and people were streaming towards the hub. The only ride we hadn’t done so far and really wanted to do was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so we used the walkway to the side, then used the shortcut to the Wild West. We headed over to the fastpass distribution for Big Thunder and finally were able to get our tickets.

They were for around midday, so that was really well timed, as we could make it the last ride of the day. Fastpass in hand we again walked over to the Indiana Jones ride, but once we noticed the 30 minute wait, we knew that ride was not going to happen. Maybe we should try for Pirates of the Caribbean, but when we headed that way we passed Adventure Isle and decided to sneak through the caves and cross the rope bridges for a bit of fun.

First off we headed towards the swimming bridge and then towards the outlook. It is fun to cross bridges high and low and walk along those walkways that offer wonderful views of the park and fun surprises around the corners.  You even get to peek into the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse from a “back” window. Once we had explored the area we moved closer to the Centre of the Earth. It is a fun labyrinth of caves that takes you closer to the pirate ship which is in front of Skull Rock. And when we had finally found the exit we walked over to the Pirate Ship, got into the line and “entered” the ship.

We thought there would be more to explore, but all you could do, was walk around the center, walk up to the ship’s wheel and leave again. So, we were done with it within a few minutes, then headed over towards Skull Rock. We both seem to have a fascination with the waterfalls there, as we took quite a few photos of them. Pirates was a 20 minute wait, but that seemed to long for us, so we walked towards Fantasyland again. We just leisurely strolled through, being shocked by the wait times, some of the rides had and all the people who would get in line none the less. The little castle at Alice’s Curious Labyrinth was packed with people and there seemed to be a gazillion people in the maze.

To be honest we grew quite tired walking the park, but we still had to wait for our fastpass time to arrive. So after we had walked through Fantasyland we walked up to the castle from the entrance towards the Wishing Well. It is a totally different perspective of the castle and once we were in the castle we took another good look at the masses in Fantasyland. The band was playing and we stopped and watched for a while, then went to check out the Christmas shop inside the castle and since there was still time left we went to check out the shops one more time.

 Once down at the Main Square we were happy to see that our fastpass time had nearly arrived, so we used the side walkways to walk back to our one and only ride of the day.Before we went in line we got a bottle of Coke and sat inside the Fuente del Oro’s outside seating area. It was nice to sit and chill for a while until we made our way over to the fastpass return area and we were shocked. There was a line back to the fastpass distribution and it was VERY slow moving because of two reasons. All the line area for fastpass after the check-in area was absolutely packed and many people did not quite understand the fastpass system. They pick up a fastpass and get in line immediately and the poor Cast member at the entrance has to explain the way it works over and over again.

 It took us about 15 minutes until we at least reached the Cast member, who took our fastpasses. The line then started to move constantly, but it still took another 15 minutes until we made it down the ramp. They were filling two thirds of both loading areas with fastpass people and only one third with people out of the standby line. But after the ride we were done with dealing with the crowds and decided head out and have lunch in the Disney Village. Right when we were back on Town Square we noticed the teetered balloon and knew what we wanted to do during the rest of our time.

We took a few last photos of the Disneyland Hotel and headed over to the Disney Village. When we passed Annette’s the line was way out the door, and since we were not really hungry by then, we decided to take a ride on the balloon first. So we walked through the Disney Village, peeked into one or two of the stores again and finally made it to the little lake that is home to the balloon. We got our tickets, walked out onto the little platform and waited for about two minutes when we were allowed to enter the balloon. Everyone wanted to have a few of the castle, so we all flocked to one side, but the Cast Member in charge of the balloon made sure we all spread out to guarantee a smoth way up.

Once we were up we were allowed to move around and started to snap pictures of the parks and the hotels. Unfortunately the ride in the balloon is a very short one and while we were still happily snapping away, the balloon started to go down again. Before we knew it we were getting off again and found ourselves walking towards the Hotel New York. They always have a lot of Jim Shore and Disney Classic Collection figurines on display, so we went to check those out. After that we decided to check out the Sequoia Lodge as this is the one hotel that really peaks my interest. It was nice to walk through the hotel, check out the lobby and store and some of the outside areas. It somewhat resembles the Wilderness Lodge, and looks nice enough to try one day.

Once we were done exploring we still had two hours until we had to go to the airport, and since we thought the midday crowds would have subsided by now, we were heading for Annette’s again. Now imagine, how surprised we were when the line was still out the door. We debated trying Planet Hollywood, but then decided against it and just got into line. And waited. And waited some more. And the line would not move. After about ten minutes they started seating several parties and we made it to the entrance. The restaurant was FULL, really FULL and they did their best to seat people, but it would take its time. We decided to just wait since we had made it to the air conditioned inside of the restaurant. About 20 minutes later we were finally seated and handed a menu. Our server came by and when we tried to place our Diet Coke order we were told they were out of it. So we went for a bottle of Vittel still water. We both ordered a Caesar Salad, Romaine lettuce, Caesar sauce, parmesan shavings, croutons.

Tom ordered the Double Rockabilly Burger, a Double burger, fried onions, bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and French fries, while I ordered an old favourite the The Fab'ulous Blue Cheese Burger, a burger, potato tortilla, blue cheese, bacon, cream, with coleslaw and French fries. Both burgers were delicious and really hit the spot. They were very filling and there was no room left for dessert. Once we had paid the bill, we headed back to our car, paid for parking and said goodbye to Disneyland Paris for this vacation.

In no time we were on our way to the airport. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the airport and it was an uneventful ride, with no traffic jams. We arrived at the Hertz car return and found an attendant who checked the car, checked that we had sufficiently filled up the tank and we were good to go. We had been able to check in online, but since we don’t have a printer with us there was no way to print tickets and usually we have to print them ourselves at the Lufthansa kiosks at the airport and while Tom’s Lufthansa card works perfectly, mine usually needs several tries to work and this time it refused to work at all. I had packed all the paperwork and didn’t want to dig through the suitcase, so I headed over to the attendant, who usually is able to pull up a reservation using a passport. She wasn’t and sent us to a help desk. Once there a very nice Lufthansa employee checked us in and when we told him that we wanted to check in three bags he gave us the spiel that you are only allowed 1 per person and that we would have to pay for the third piece. I was a bit surprised and asked if there had been a change in Business Class allowance and he was very apologetic and told us that we should not have had to wait at his counter but could have gone to the Business Class counter in the first place. Okay, so now we know for next time we fly Business Class.

The rest of the check in process was smooth sailing. Our luggage got priority labels again and we were handed our tickets and off we went. We knew we would be able to go to the Business Class Lounge, but we had one last treat still to have. Coffee, but not just any coffee, a Starbuck’s Coffee. There is a small Starbuck’s in the terminal, no people were in line, so we got our favourite treat, a Caramel Frappuchino. We found a table right opposite the distribution point and Tom tried to connect to the internet, but it was weak to say the least. So we just sat there and enjoyed our drinks, then we walked over to the long moving walkway that went to our departure gate, went through security and were inside the secured area in no time.

We thought about skipping the Business Class Lounge, but since we had more than an hour until departure, so we went for it. You have to use an elevator to get to the ground floor, then check in at a special desk and we had reached the Lounge. We were stunned. There was a large buffet area, with fruit, chips and crackers, other nibbles and lots of different drinks to choose from. Tom got himself a beer and I had some Diet Coke and we had a plate full of chips and crackers. They offered free Wifi, so Tom logged on with his i-pad and I used our netbook. Now imagine my surprise and excitement when I log on and find an email telling me that there are general pubic discounts for our time frame. We only had the Contemporary resort stay without a discount and low and behold there was a 20% discount on Concierge level stays for our dates. I really was torn as there was no way to call in to change my reservation, so we quickly discussed the matter and agreed that I would make a new reservation and then just cancel the other one. A new reservation was made quickly and I went to the Disney site to cancel the other reservation and to my huge surprise I found out that you cannot cancel resort reservations online. I was worried they would cancel my reservation before we would get home, but there was nothing we could do.

And with all that excitement time had flown by and it was time to head back to our gate and get in line for the first of our two flights. It was a pretty short wait and we were allowed to get on board and take our seats. The plane took off on time and it did not take long until we were served the dinner trays. We ordered our drinks and started to dig in. We had some kind of Tomato salad with a slice of meat strudel on top as a starter. The main course was some nicely seasoned White fish, with some curried cauliflower and horse radish puree. The dessert was Sponge cake with a vanilla cream filling and a jelly glaze accompanied by some really yummy rum raisins. We had just finished our dinner when it was time to hand back the trays and get ready for our descend onto Frankfurt.

Once we had reached our gate we quickly were off and on our way to the departure gate for our connecting flight home. We had to go to a different terminal and it can be quite a walk from one terminal to the other so we went there right away. Once we had reached it we again gave the Business Lounge a miss as it was on the far end of the terminal. And after about 20 minutes it was time to get on the bus to our aircraft. Again, Tom and I were the only ones in Business Class. And this time we were in row 1, even more legroom. As soon as we were at cruising altitude we were served another dinner tray. There was a nice Mixed leave salad, a roll and some butter and three small pieces of Cheese on top of a cucumber salad.

For dessert we were served Semolina pudding with stewed apples on top. We were stuffed, but were even served some more truffles. The flight seemed even shorter than usual and we landed at our local airport. We were off the plane first and in the terminal building. Our suitcases were delivered after a short wait and off we went after having paid the parking fees. I dropped Tom off at our house and went straight back home to my flat. By then it was 11.30pm and I had to be up at 5.30 the next day, but one thing needed to be done before heading to bed. I called Disney to cancel the undiscounted reservation for the Contemporary Resort. Then it was finally time for bed and I was out like a light.