What a treat I had this week, a throwback to another time in my life and total joy.
Although my kids had been to Euro Disney several times when they were younger, during our summers in France, I was always busy when we were in Paris, and used the treat of a trip to Euro Disney as a plan to keep them occupied for a fun day when I had grown up things to do. And when they were kids, we went to Disneyland in California every year and of course I went with them and we all loved it. But I had never been to Euro Disney here, and have not been to any of the Disney parks in about 15 years since my kids grew up. And I was thrilled when recently my Goddaughter’s father invited me to join her and her brother and sister for a day at Euro Disney, which they had never been to before either. It sounded like a huge amount of fun to me, with children who were going to discover it for the first time at ages 3, 6 and 9, the perfect age for all that joyful magic, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Aladdin, you can’t beat that. So with delight, I accepted the invitation, put it on my calendar in big letters, and waited for the day to come. And it came this week.
We set off at 9:30am, happily in a van big enough for the kids and adults, were at Euro Disney, less than an hour outside Paris, shortly after 10, and the fun began. I will admit that, much to my delight, 2 VIP guides had been arranged, and they made everything that happened that day easier for all of us. It may be an elitist way to enjoy Disneyland, but let’s face it with 3 little kids, summer crowds, and long lines at every ride, some help was greatly appreciated to shorten the lines, get in through back entrances at times, and take us on some short cuts across the park, two parks in fact, since Disney now has a second park there dedicated to movies and the old movie studios (with some scary rides thrown in that one of the kids and several of the adults loved—-I not being one of them. I am happiest on rides best suited for 6 year olds, and you’ll never find me on a roller coaster or some scary ride that plummets you from a great height toward the ground. I even skipped the Dumbo ride in Fantasyland because I don’t like heights. The three and six year olds and I loved all the same rides!! And the nine year old outclassed me by a mile.)
The Euro Disney park is a magical fairyland like all the other Disney parks, it allows you to float back into childhood, enjoy simple pursuits, spend a wonderful day with the children you’re with, and go home feeling like a kid again. It is a safe haven from the real world for as long as you’re there, enjoying the rides, shaking hands with Mickey, marveling at the parade, eating cotton candy and whatever else you love eating and doing while at the park. It also provides a wonderful day with the child or children in your life, free of stress, for a day that you will remember fondly for a long, long time. It allowed me to realize that I was actually capable of running around all day without stopping for 12 hours, running from one attraction to the next with little kids. I haven’t done that in a while! I thought I was going to be exhausted and worn out, instead I was energized all day and tireless because I was having so much fun. I made other discoveries too, how wonderful my Godchild is, and her siblings. I see them regularly, for an hour or two, with their parents. But a 12 hour day at an amusement park puts everyone to the test. It gets hot, it gets cold, one gets tired, it’s a long day at best, and only the adults were looking a little worn out by the end of the day, the children I was with didn’t. No one got cranky, not a tear was shed, no one was demanding, complaining, unhappy about what ride we were going on, they were just thrilled to be there and loved it all. The three children were adorable to each other, always kind and loving and sharing the fun, no one got jealous, had a fit, please and thank you were included in every phrase. And the two not even quite three year old spent the first 4 hours walking everywhere under her own steam, without a stroller, without complaint. She just bounced along with a big smile on her face, holding my hand. It was also a reminder of what a pleasure children are when they are kind, have nice manners and are well behaved. Their parents are very loving with them, and have instilled the real premise of good manners in them, being kind and considerate to other people, and they sure were, and always are when I see them. They are very special children and I love them dearly.
It was truly a fantastic day. We flew to see Peter Pan, explored Sleeping Beauty’s castle, met Mickey backstage at an adorable attraction where you meet him in his ‘dressing room’, we squealed on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride when we went down the short water slide and much to my amazement, the littlest one wasn’t afraid in the dark. We shot laser guns in a Toy Story attraction (I had the worst score!!). We met Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Ariel. We had a delicious lunch in a very nice restaurant, and a great hamburger at Planet Hollywood for dinner, I ate WAY more cotton candy than the children, and the brave ones in the group went on every scary ride, in some cases twice. I can’t think of a more fun or happier day I’ve spent in a long time, it put me back to the day when my kids were that age, which were the happiest days of my life and hopefully theirs, and allowed me to spend an absolutely terrific day with three children I love dearly who turn out to be even more wonderful and lovable than even I knew. I was soooooo impressed by how adorable and easy they were, and we all had such a great time.
Before we left the park, at 10pm, 12 hours after we arrived, and even happier, we all agreed to make it a tradition every year. And after we saw the parade at the end of the day, and waved goodbye to Mickey and all his friends, my almost three year old Goddaughter summed it up perfectly for all of us in a single word, “Again.”