Bonjour Mickey Mouse!
A few months ago we sat down with pen and paper and made a list.
We had just been approved to stay an extra 6 months in Germany so Henry couldn’t finish the school year here. We had one year left and this would be our last summer in Europe.
So we made a list.
Seth and I picked two each and the kids each picked one.
This would be our Europe Bucket List that we would fill our calendar with. These were the places we wanted to travel to before we PCS’d. These are the places that we would regret not visiting.
Seth’s picks were Berlin and Vienna.
Henry chose Ireland - which we visited over Spring Break - and Norway for his 7th birthday next June.
My two bucket list items are a beach vacation in Portugal (we leave for that vacation on July 15) and Disneyland Paris.
We broke out the calendar and put all our vacations in the squares leading up to our PCS. Disneyland Paris landed on Memorial Day weekend.
I have a friend Kaci who is a bit of a Disneyland expert. Her family has annual passes and they go every chance they get, So she was my main source of information. Plus there are tons of Facebook groups swarming with people ready to throw in their 2 cents and make recommendations and force their opinions on you. I tread in those waters lightly and take the information in those groups for what it’s worth.
We booked a hotel at the Vienna Dream Castle on the Disney property. Then we booked our train tickets!
I like train travel in Europe and here’s why: it’s easy. It’s nostalgic feeling. Climbing aboard the train and sowing your bag. Making your way back to the cafe car and listing to the wheels over the rails. We get 4 seats around a table and we play cards and draw and snack. There’s never any traffic. No long security lines. You climb aboard and sit back and watch the countryside roar past you.
Then you arrive!
We had to take another train to the Disney park and then a shuttle and then we were there!
A nice hotel with minimal frills. Bunkbeds for the kids and a queen bed for us. Just kidding! A queen bed for the kids and I and a bunk bed for Seth. #becausekids
We picked the perfect time to take Maddie to Disneyland. She is fully immersed in the Disney culture and indoctrinated into the commercialization of Disney merchandise and entertainment. She has the princess dresses, the dolls, the books, the toys, the band-aids…
And when she saw Cinderella, the first of the princess parade that came to our dinner table at the Sleeping Beauty Castle dinner, she was in love! Star-struck doesn’t even cover it. She had died and gone to little girl princess heaven!! It was Cinderella and Maddie got to give her a hug! Then came Snow White and Ariel and Belle. And Maddie just couldn’t believe her eyes. It was worth every penny to witness the happiness that seeing her princesses in person brought her. Her eyes literally sparkled!
For Henry, his nirvana was the It’s A Small World ride. We went on it 4 times in 2 days! He couldn’t believe that he could travel around the world in this little boat. Each time he found something new about a represented culture. For me, I love the message of the song. Each time we sat in a small boat with 5 rows that had people who didn’t speak the same language as us. People from all around the world traveled to Disneyland Paris just like us. With the same goal: to experience the organic joy of childhood bliss. To watch dreams come true. To have quality time with family and friends. And while we all call someplace different home. And while we don’t speak the same language, we all experienced the same thing. Because it’s a small world after all!
For me, I loved Disneyland Paris because it made me feel like a kids again! Magical rides filled with characters and stories from my childhood. Ice cream cones and spinning tea cups! Mickey Mouse and piggy back rides. Late bed times and afternoon naps.
For that weekend we were all kids who flew to Never Never Land, fought pirates in the Caribbean, found our way through a Wonderland maze, rode a magic carpet and watched Mickey do magic!
It really is the happiest place on earth! But not because of the attractions and characters but because we were united under the umbrella of magic and stories. Stories that we all grew up on. Stories that are imprinted in our minds in such a way that we can’t remember a time when there wasn’t magic fairy dust or genies in bottles. Stories that bind us across cultures and generations to believe in magic, true love, and the power of a kiss.
And because I like to be extra sometimes, I made a video from our trip :)