Before Harper starts school in September, I wanted to make sure we went abroad with her before we got stuck in the vortex of school holiday prices… and to spend a bit of quality time together! So last year, after hearing two mums chatting outside of ballet class about their Disney holiday plans, I thought this would be the perfect little trip to go on before the summer holidays started. My husband, however, did not.
Not to be deterred, I managed to convince my mum to come along for a break while the boys stayed at home. She didn’t take much convincing but she definitely needed another holiday once she got back. Going to Disneyland Paris with a crazy-excited 4-year-old who wanted to meet every princess turns out to be exhausting. Who knew!
When Disneyland Paris opened 25 years ago I went with my mum, nan and brother. I remember the place being absolutely magical in every way – well, apart from the fact we managed to lose my nan for a whole afternoon after she wandered off to the loo and we nearly missed our flight home. This time around I was going to try to not lose either my mum or Harper. I failed and managed to lose them both together but only for an hour when we had a mix up over which bench to meet at after I’d been to the loo.
I don’t think there are enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe how much of a good time Harper had. She got to cuddle princesses, go on magic carpet and tea cup rides, have ice cream as a major food group, go swimming and speak French. That’s basically her pre-school bucket list achieved so I’ve no idea how we’re going to fill the next six weeks. Harper actually thinks she’s a little bit French now. Neither myself or my husband speak it past a few phrases, so we’ve got no idea where her enthusiasm for it comes from. She went up to a LOT of people and in her best Del Boy accent said “Bonjour, ca va, sil vous plait, pomme”.
Harper is big time nutso over princesses at the moment and really wanted to meet Ariel and Snow White. After a two and a half hour queue to meet Snow White, we decided having lunch with them would be a better option for our collective sanity.
She got all dressed up in her best twirling dress and had princess face paint done in preparation for the big lunch and then fell fast asleep by the time the main course came out and missed most of the action. Doh! She did wake up for the chocolate dessert though, and got to meet Snow White again.
The highlight for us was Harper and her toy Minnie meeting Minnie Mouse. I did have to queue for nearly two hours while my mum and Harper went shopping but that over-zealous hug Harper gave Minnie was so sweet it was worth the queue. Also the shows and street parade were excellent and definitely worth the wait too.
We stayed in one of the Disney hotels so we were really close to the park. It was a little crazy, as there were so many people about all the time, and we had a little bit of Mickey overload by the end. As we were all packed and ready to head to the airport on our ‘last’ day, Mum locked us out of the room. So I traipsed down to reception and queued for a while only to be told that we were booked in for another night. Luckily Mum had read the booking details wrong and the flights and hotel were the following day. Thank goodness we got locked out of the room!
One bonus of having an extra day of holiday was we got to use the hotel pool. After spending a lot of time in the park, we hadn’t really touched the pool. Harper’s been swimming forever but isn’t the most confident swimmer so it was nice for her to splash around and grow in confidence. She made up a load of games which involved me standing still holding a hoop whilst she jumped through it and then threw a ball at my head. This went on repeat for a good hour. I was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! The things we do as mothers!
I have such fond memories of my holiday to Disney as a child so fingers crossed Harper will look back and have the same feelings. It doesn’t quite have the same wonder and awe going back as an adult but there’s something quite magical about seeing such excitement on your child’s face.
~ Laura xx ~