Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Disneyland Paris has been on our bucket list from about 10 minutes after we knew we were being sent to Italy.  We aren't Disney freaks, but fans...and I was SO excited to introduce Miles to Disney.  The weeks leading up to the trip we tried to help Miles become a bit familiar with some of the Disney characters, but he wouldn't sit through more than 10 minutes of any show...well, except his Earth, Wind & Fire concert DVD.  Seriously.  So unless EW&F were visiting Disneyland Paris I knew it would all be new to him.  And you know what?  It turned out just fine!  We made the trip with our friends Christy & Taylor.  Taylor works with Nathan and they are Disney FREAKS.  We told them of our plans to visit Disneyland Paris on our second night here and Christy said they were definitely in to join us.  We penciled in October and as it got closer we made our plans.  I know Miles is young, but if we went now, he would still get in for free and fly for we chose to go now.  

Christy, Miles, and I flew out Tuesday morning.   The boys had to work all day and we thought it would be best if we went, got checked in, settled, and ready so the boys could just show up and go to bed.

Miles and mommy getting ready to board the plane

Christy, Miles and I on the plane

Miles did pretty good on the plane...there was a wee bit of a tantrum at the end of the second leg of the flight when I had to put the iPad away.  But overall he did ok considering he had no nap and got woken up early.  

We arrived, got checked in to our hotel (which was AWESOME...the Residhome Prestige in Val d'Europe), made a quick grocery run (and found stroopwaffles!!!), and waited for the guys to arrive.  They got in WAY late...I had fallen asleep and poor Nathan gently knocked on the door for 10 minutes before he went downstairs and asked for another key.  

Wednesday morning we swung by the park to get our Annual Passports (only €20 more than a 2-day pass...and you get a discount on souvenirs and food) and then we caught the train into downtown Paris for a day of sightseeing.  
Miles LOVED being able to run free in Disneyland

My boys

Somebody's excited!!

Family of three at Disneyland Paris

It was cold and rainy, which at first bummed me out, but in the long run actually helped us out by thinning the crowds EVERYWHERE.

Our first stop was Notre Dame.  

It was JUST as cool in person as I thought it would be.  I still can't get over seeing all of these famous things in person.  We saw the inside and then decided to climb to the bell tower.  The stone staircase was narrow and spiral...and VERY worn.  It was 444 steps all the way to the top (including the last set to the bell tower).  But man alive, the views were worth it!
View from the top

Family of three on the top of Notredame

The narrow, windy staircase

Feet in the staircase at Notredame

Next up was lunch.  We passed a few places before we found one that had what we were looking for: onion soup, creme brulee, a cheese cart, and escargot.  It was an adorable little cafe on the banks of the Seine River.  Paris is so romantic, even simple places like that elicit romance.  

Me trying escargot for the first time.

Nathan loves escargot

I tried escargot for the first time, and I liked it.  Although (in the words of a friend), what's not to like when it is drowned in butter and garlic?!  

After we had ingested too many calories we hopped back on the subway to the Orsay Museum.  This museum is built in an old train station.  It has wonderful natural light...and a large collection of impressionist art.  I am a sucker for Van Gogh and I love to see them in person.  

After a quick stop in the Orsay we walked to the Louvre.  It wasn't a long walk, but in the rain it doesn't take long to get soaked...even with umbrellas.  We decided against going in the Louvre since we were limited on time, but we still took the obligatory shots.  :)

We walked the path from the Louvre to the obelisque, which runs through a beautiful park with fountains and lots of statues.  It would be a perfect place for a summer picnic...but it was full of puddles and by the end my shoes were SOAKED.  

After the obelisque we hopped on yet another subway, made a couple transfers and ended up at the Eiffel Tower.  Again...SO cool to be seeing it in person.  The golden hue that was cast by the lights made it seem just a little more romantic...if that's even possible.  

Waiting in line for the elevator to the tip top

When we were originally planning our day in Paris we had decided to forgo going up the tower because of the LONG wait times we'd read, FOUR HOUR wait times.  But when we showed up there were only a handful of people in line to buy tickets - probably because of the cold, rainy weather - so we jumped on the chance to see Paris from up high!  We rode the elevator up all the way to the top,which is exposed and NOT horizontal rain friendly...but you can't buy memories like that!  Standing atop the Eiffel Tower in the freezing horizontal rain with humid frizzy hair and soaked was AWESOME!

Family of three atop the Eiffel Tower...soaking wet

Feet on the Eiffel Tower

Love on the Eiffel Tower

After the tower we caught a cab to the Arc de Triomphe, where we snapped a quick pic and then caught the train back to the hotel.  

Miles was DONE with sightseeing

Thursday we hit Disneyland Paris at 8am for our Extra Magic Hours.  We took Miles on his first ride: Buzz Lightyear's Lazer Blast. 

He didn't seem too impressed...but when we went on Small World??  I don't think he blinked the WHOLE ride...and that's a LONG ride!  

Nathan isn't a big ride person, so I ended up taking Miles on most rides, and for the grown-up rides I went with Taylor because Christy can't do some of those either.  It worked out great.  
Daddy helping Miles with the Sword in the Stone

The BEST ride photo EVER. 

Our little Jack Sparrow

Our day ended up with meeting the Parisian Mickey Mouse.  Miles was a little scared at first...but then he gave him a high-five and a smile.   

Thursday night we ate dinner at Planet Hollywood.  I know, I know...we were in France and we ate at Plant Hollywood?!  It's tradition...and I know it's nerdy but it's us.  

Feet at Plant Hollywood in Paris

Planet Hollywood was named for me.  Well...kinda.

Disney Village

Friday we started out at Disneyland, we rode Small World again, Dumbo, and Taylor and I did Space Mountain one more time.

On Dumbo

Then we went next door to Walt Disney Studios Park (the other park at the Disney complex).  We rode more rides, saw more characters...and while I was on a roller coaster Nathan bought Miles a Lightning McQueen car.  It's cute to see how excited Nathan gets when Miles gets excited about cars and tractors.  

Feet at Walt Disney Studios Park

My boys watching the car stunt show

Mickey again

After the afternoon parade we went back to the hotel for a quick nap and then back to Disneyland for dinner at the Blue Lagoon...a restaurant set in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Our creme brulee was served en flambe...which was pretty cool. 

Poor guy was so tired he didn't even make it through dinner

After dinner we stayed for the nighttime show: Disney Dreams.  They used Sleeping Beauty's castle as a canvas and turned it into lots of different things, all set to Disney music alternating between French and English.  Miles slept through the whole thing...I was kind of sad he missed it.  :(

Saturday Nathan and I headed to Disney Village (like Downtown Disney) to get pictures of Miles in mouse ears and send some postcards.  

He looks SO thrilled...I think by this point he was Disney'd out.

Miles is Stitch.  Really...he IS Stitch.  An intergalactic menace.  But we love him anyway.

Then we met up with Christy and Taylor to head to the airport.  The train ride in was interesting.  We got to the central station and waited for 45 mins for our connection. 

Tired feet in the Paris subway
Finally some guy noticed we had been sitting for a while and came to us, asking if we were going to the airport.  We said yes and he told us the lines were closed for maintenance that day.  We were pushing it now and worried about making our flight.  We caught another train to the next station, hustled out of it (took us 15 was HUGE!!) and thought we'd catch a cab.  When we walked out the door we saw the line for was easily 100 people long.  Our flight was scheduled to leave in an hour.  Luckily the cab attendant saw we had a baby and let us go to the front of the line.  We caught the cab, told him to hurry, and made it to the airport in 15 minutes.  We got to the airport and again got to cut to the front because of the baby (I LOVE Europe!).  We made it to our gate with only minutes to space before boarding.  

Operation: Keep the Toddler Entertained on the Flight

We had a three hour layover in Milan...which was useful because Milan makes you go back through security for connecting flights, and we needed to eat.  

Miles found a friend in the airport

We had a great time on our adventure...even with the rain, and the blisters, and the thousands of stairs we had to climb and schlepp the stroller up and down.  Paris is a beautiful city and I hope Nathan and I can make it back there before we leave Italy.


Kristen Winter said...

looks like you had fun!

Gin said...

Looks like you had fun! I took my parents to Paris the weekend after you posted this! Ironically we were at Garmisch the weekend of the 12th and Paris the weekend of the 19th. What a small country and world that I'd stumble into your blog as I have.

Happy Herrons said...

FUN FUN FUN!!! SOSOS jeealous!! I am checking air fare right now! Are you hosting any scientific conventions in the next six months?