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  • Trip Report 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and history

    The trip report will be continued over the rest of the week and next weekend. In three weeks, we covered 5 countries, just shy of 2000 miles, many cathedrals, churches, castles, roman ruins, old towns, 4 theme parks, 2 Expo areas, and several themed hotels that put Disney to shame. We are exhausted, but really enjoyed it.

    Week 1 - Travel from Bedford, England to Disneyland Paris via Channel Tunnel. Many days in DLP, but also a day in Paris including a Seine Cruise, Dinner on the Seine, a walk to the Arc de Triumph and then the Louvre. some chill time on resort. OVerall DLP is improving dramatically, but there is still a long way to go, and after visiting Europa Park and Phantasialand later in the week, there are a number of things the German parks do in a more "Disney" way than DLP. When I heard of the accident on Big Thunder Mountain, I was very saddened, but not entirely surprised. Perhaps this could be a wake up call to accellerate the refurbs. But overall, we had a great time at DLP (not so much due to this year's campaign and entertainment which are poor, but the cast and refurbs are majorly improved, including some of the meals).

    Week 2 - Medieval Metz on the French part of the Moselle, then a night in a Jr Suite in Holiday Inn Strasbourg (free). A day exploring the wonderful Alsatian City of Strasbourg including the trams, a cruise, the medieval and Baroque sites, as well as the European Commission and the Court of Human Rights. To me, Strasbourg was a real highlight of the trip, a real treasure.

    Next three nights were at the wonderful Europa Park Hotel Colloseo (Disney should visit to learn how to do family Deluxe right). More to write up, but we fell in love with Europa Park, an amazing park. My kids prefer it to DLP, and for me, it does challenge DLP in many ways.

    A day exploring Frieberg (including Trams), the world's largest cuckoo clocks, and the Black Forest. Overnight in the Crowne Plaza Heidelberg (free).

    After Exploring Heidelberg, it was off for 5 nights in a 16th centiry German Weinkelter on the Mosel (note the different spelling). It as during this time we chilled, explored the wineries, Roman/Medieval/Buroque Trier - another highlight (including supposedly seeing Jesus' robe) - including Karl Marx's birthplace, travelled the Rhein, popped into Luxembourg, visited the 10-15th century Burg Elz castle, and bbqed in the winery on our wedding anniversary.

    Then we moved on up to Cologne, with a night in the wonderful Chinese Themed Ling Bao at Phantasialand theme park (again, a much better hotel than any of the Disney hotels). we had a great day in the park too, more to come, but in short, full of fantastic surprises).

    Then we spent the night in Brussels, exploring the Expo sites the next morning and making our way to Gent for the evening.

    On the 30th April, we went to the UNESCO city of Brugges on a little canal cruise and enjoyed seeing a Michelangelo sculpture that was the only one he oversaw the installation outside of Italy. We then drove the car onto the Channel Tunnel Train and arrived home a in the early evening.

    A full write up and pics to come.
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!

  • #2
    Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

    Day 1 - April 10, 2011 - travel from the UK to DLP.

    Sadly, not everything was finished at home and I had some work to finish off before we could leave. So Although up at 4:45 am, we didn't leave until about 7:45, an hour later than we wanted.

    After a fairly uneventful journey to the Eurotunnel terminal, we were put on the next train, and we were underway.

    On the way down to villa, the weather was gorgeous in the upper 70's, so we decided to have the first picnic of the year. We tried something called Olive Cake, which was interesting. But there were better things on the menu.

    We arrived at the resort and the checkin was swift. After unpacking, we decided a drink was in order, so we had a Kwak and Pelforth while the kids enjoyed an apricot nectar. We played a game of giant chess, then a little shopping, dinner, bath and bed, for the next day was to be an early start at Dlp.

    Pictures - car rally, Eurotunnel, and Marriott Vacation Club at DLP Golf Course:

    Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 1 arrival at Ile De France | Facebook
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


    • #3
      Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

      Day 2, April 11, 2011, first day at DLP:
      Up early for EMH Extra Magic Hours - before opening we managed the paddy wagon (I love starting our visit in a Main Street vehicle), peter pan, dumbo, teacups (all looking great after their refurbs), buzz (not an amazing score, just in the 400,000's - still aiming for a 999,999 score) and space mountain (effects perfect except smoke and still rough).

      Went on star tours (30 min queue, lots of nubes who loved it - and we still love it too in all time top 5), Capt Eo (people were chanting Micheal's name with huge applause at end - I know it is rubbish, but I still love it).

      Caught the new dance train show, kids were bored, not good (though the cast put their hearts into it). Into adventureland for lunch. Dlp have been dumbing down their restaurants, but there is one we have not tried for a while where the menu recently changed. Hakuna matata was great - chicken and veal kebab with savory rice (with a lovely sauce served in a banana leaf) and the chicken tikka, while not really chicken tikka, was a lovely spicy fried chicken strips. A very welcome surprise.

      As we left, we heard the African tam tams playing. Rather than their normal show, they have been relegated to playing while the jungle book or lion king characters do meet and greets. As none of us were interested in the characters, but were enjoying the music, Mikey and I were asked to sit in. It was fab!

      A trip on PotC, just came out of a month long refurb. In great condition (the pirates were duelling again). However, the cat on the box, and the hairy legged pirate were missing, the swinging pirate was still. But great (first time we queued outside for it in years).
      Exploring adventure isle, the restored swing bridge in great shape (looking forward to the pirate ship getting the same treatment).

      Mama grabbed a free coffee on Main street and then we made our way to annette's for milk shakes and ice creams (gibson girl no longer do shakes or cones, but annette's does - scratches head).

      Maintenance is much improved, and cast great.

      We went shopping in the Carrefour at bailly romainvilliers picking up french foods and wine, belgian beer and other provisions for the villa. Then off to the owner welcome party for complimentary wine and canopies. Followed by cocktails - best mojito ever. Hot dogs continental style.

      Then a bath and bed.

      Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 2 Disneyland Paris | Facebook
      Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


      • #4
        Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

        Day 3, 12 April 2011, DLP's 19th Birthday (though nothing special going on), we opted for the Walt Disney Studios (now very much more than a full day park).

        Went to WDSP's as per the kid's choice (though a big part of me wanted to be in DLP - even though I like the Studios).

        In before opening, but the queue for Crush was posted at 90 mins before we even started.
        So we opted for a walk on to cars instead, followed by a brief visit to Toy Story Playland where Slinky dog was a 5 min wait (it was broken down last time). Cute, but to quote the kids (boring - the one at Legoland is better). We refused to queue the 50 minutes for the Parachutes, and as only 50% of the family can ride RC Racer, we skipped it. Most of the photo locations have now disappeared, quite a disappointment.

        We then decided to try the kids in Armageddon as they are now older. Lol, they still were not old enough. It was hilarious!

        So it was time to see our fav, cinemagique, where we had the pleasure of sitting behind Martin Short ;-) we still love this after at least 30 viewings.

        As we came out, we bumped into Samnintysix and his family and had a lovely catch up.
        Then we decided to have lunch with Remy from Ratatouille. Although I hate buffets as a rule, we have heard many good things, and decided to try it. We had a good time and the kids loved it. The amount of pushing and shoving at the buffet was ridiculous. But the food was good quality and quite good value by DLP standards, and the kids loved the encounter with Remy as a part of the living character programme. Remy interacted and danced, visiting us three times during our meal.

        The food choices were not bad, there were various salads, olives, greek mushrooms, stuffed vine leaves, cured meats, couscous and other things besides.

        For main courses there were mussels in garlic sauce, rice pilaf, rosemary potatoes, pasta, beef bourginoine, ratatouille (of course), salmon in white potatoes, green bean salad, corgette's au gratin, andouille sausages and other dishes too.

        The deserts included crepes, tartes, cakes (chocolate, cream, nougette), brownies, apple tarte, mousse, jelly, fruit salad, chocolate confections in many guises.

        Coffee and tea were included. It was really not bad for 69 euros inc our drink prices.

        Afterwards, we decided to enjoy the Art of Animation, where we enjoyed ourselves for over an hour in the hands on area. We created some great zoetropes to take home. When Sarah went to the ladies, she bumped into a Jazz band - awesome (when - went, I only bumped into ToT Bell Hop Goofy).

        Then we decided to Fly on Aladdin's carpet, before taking in a showing of Animagique, which the kids seem to enjoy more and more as they get older.

        We then decided to visit Stitch Live, and we are glad we did. Stitch asked Jessica to be a monster and we all cracked up when the picture came on screen, Jessica was over the moon, but she kept being a monster for the rest of the day.

        We rode the tram tour, and in catastrophe canyon, it hit home how scary the quakes in Japan must be. But overall, they enjoyed it. But man, TSPL has had a real negative effect.

        Last attraction of the day, we got in the Crush Coaster queue 2 mins before park closing, 25 mins we were on the ride and because it had warmed up, it seemed even more wild than usual! Cool.

        With the park closed, although we could have gone into DLP, we decided heading back to the villa for a snack, bath and bed was a better option, for Paris beckoned the next day.

        Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 3 DLP's 19th birthday | Facebook
        Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


        • #5
          Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 4 in Paris | Facebook
          Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


          • #6
            Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

            I have already commented on another forum, but again, great trip report!

            Hakuna Matata restaurant was already a good choice last year, because there they serve a really good vegetable rice and special fries.

            I'm glad to hear that Disney improved the food a bit. In recent years it wasn't that good. Judging from your pictures, DLP seems to be in a good condition and hopefully the park will look great again after the refurbishment.

            Since many people complain about the CMs at DLRP, may I ask what was your impression of the CMs during the visit?

            In January photos showed the very bad state of Star Tours. Did Disney fix the ride or does it still look terrible? It seems you enjoyed the attraction, so I think the ride was fine.

            Can't wait for the rest of your trip report!


            • #7
              Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

              Day 5, Thursday 13th April 2011 - Rest Day at the Marriott Village Ile de France

              After a few heavy days, and with the days to come, we decided to have a fairly easy day and simply stay at the resort.

              We had hoped to sleep in, but typically the kids were up shortly after 6. We watched cartoons and had some breakfast - croissants, yogurts, and coffee, mmmmm.

              At 10:00, we took the kids to the complementary kids club, which they adore. As we checked them in, we bumped into Jo the general manager, who asked us where we were the night before. We asked him why, to which he replied, he had expected us in the bar to enjoy the live music. Apparently Carlton Moody was playing, we were really bummed out we missed it. You see, he used to be the band leader of the Moody Brothers, the resident band of Buffalo Bill's and Billy Bob's in the first 12 years of DLP., and more to the point, the band Sarah and I used to go dancing to when we were courting and first married. Bummer.

              We then attended a great French class where Sarah, Mikey and I were the only participants. It started with some basic chalk and talk, but then ended up with a tour and discussion around the resort shop, business centre and Giverny gardens to develop our skills.

              We then picked the kids up at the club (for Mikey decided to go back to playing when the tour kicked off), and went to the villa for some hot camembert and baguettes with salad for lunch. The kids had played and did face paints.

              We then took the kids swimming and spent time in the jacuzzi. After a while, they asked if kids club was on. It was, and they got changed and went while I chilled in the jacuzzi watching the ducks in the pond and the golfers on the DLP golf course. Sarah and I then enjoyed a quiet afternoon together while the kids painted, made origami frogs and easter bunnies, and played some more. We all had a great time.

              After we picked them up, I made Mickey Mouse stars and moons pasta and salads with parma ham and emmental for dinner (and a lovely bottle of Beaujolais). We had chocolate mousse for desert, and then let the kids play in the playground for a while before their bath and bed. Sarah and I fell into bed soon after. A nice relaxing day.

              I know a lot of Disney fans will think us crazy for not going to the parks all the time, but to be honest, we have been so many times, it is more important not to kill my family with such a long trip away. Also, the kids actually always wanted to stay at the resort and not bother with the parks, well, until we got to the parks. Lol.


              Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 5 Chillaxing at Marriott | Facebook
              Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


              • #8
                Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                Originally posted by Dagobert View Post
                I have already commented on another forum, but again, great trip report!

                Hakuna Matata restaurant was already a good choice last year, because there they serve a really good vegetable rice and special fries.

                I'm glad to hear that Disney improved the food a bit. In recent years it wasn't that good. Judging from your pictures, DLP seems to be in a good condition and hopefully the park will look great again after the refurbishment.

                Since many people complain about the CMs at DLRP, may I ask what was your impression of the CMs during the visit?

                In January photos showed the very bad state of Star Tours. Did Disney fix the ride or does it still look terrible? It seems you enjoyed the attraction, so I think the ride was fine.

                Can't wait for the rest of your trip report!
                Well it wasn't perfect, but there are very visable improvements. As for the cast, were they DL or WDW quality in the friendliness stakes? No, but I don't expect that, when guests blurt out questions in their mother tongue expecting them to help immediately, despite 22 languages and dialects being spoken in a 3 hour travel radius, well that is not going to happen. But more were very curteous, every one was good (no visible laziness or rudeness from any cast members, a first for me since 92). Several played with the kids, and several were excited to see my clothes from other parks and engaged in conversation. On DLP's birthday, one cast member, seeing I was a fan, engaged in a long conversation about the parks and wished the park a happy birthday.

                The service in the restaurants was good, and when there were delays, the cast member would come and apologise, and bring sweets for the kids. There are cut backs (no toys for the kids, aperitif rules have changed even with the older APs etc.), but the cast always explained nicely, and in one case, comped us a free virgin cocktail each instead.

                As for Star Tours, while not like new, there was no visible damage to be seen and all the AA's were working. Remember, the clips on line were in 1 cabin. There are 6, so I cannot comment on all of them. But no problems in the one were were in.
                Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                • #9
                  Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                  Day 6, Friday 15 April - Disneyland Paris

                  Typical, the day we want to get up early and go to Extra Magic Hours, the kids oversleep and fart about. So much so, I said they were spoilled about Disney, making them complacent and contemptible and I would not bring them back. Thankfully they later redeemed themselves.

                  We were in the park for 9am for emh heading to Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast while Sarah went on Space Mountain. Sadly I got a broken gun, so I gave up and Jess won (which annoyed her brother). It was then my turn for space mountain which seemed to be running a little smoother. The park opened at 10 and for rope drop we headed through Adventureland to grab a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. With half an hour to spare, we headed over to Phantom Manor which really needs some tlc.

                  When we got off Big Thunder was 101 and they were evacuating the attraction. After receiving confirmation that we could return at any time once it was back up, we proceeded to Pirates of the Caribbean, then we grabbed a fast pass for peter pan and took a break with popcorn and a chocolate covered waffle in Fantasyland. There were huge crowds for Alice, Mad hatter, the white rabbit, Belle and Sleeping Beauty meet and greets. Avoiding the throngs, we hit up Its A Small World, which was in fairly good condition.

                  We rode peter pan which was being loaded well. We then went to watch the new "show" Following the leader. It was mainly in french and only really good if your were one of the 8 chosen. The human form of Smee and Hook were interesting looking.

                  Back to Frontierland for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, still the best version, great fun, though very few effects were working (which was disappointing).

                  We did a little window shopping, though very little worth buying in frontierland, same rubbish as everywhere else.

                  Into our fav DLP restaurant, the Silver Spur for a 2 o'clock lunch. Just like the old days in the States, you can reserve, but there is space for walk ups like us. After 5 minutes and a complimentary chocolate, we are seated.

                  They no longer offer the complimentary kir or OJ for Dream passes (which is odd since the Restaurant de Stars did a few days ago). But the waiter comped us some lovely virgin cocktails. The kids opted for salads with Jess going for the fish and chips and fruit salad. Mikey went for the hamburger and brownies and ice cream. I had a great prawn cocktail in a tortilla, followed by a rump steak with roquefort and potatoes and a chocolate caramel oreo cake. Sarah opted for the chicken Caesar salad, rump steak and a flaming creme brullee, we all got a kick out of watching the dish flame. Washed down with a bottle of Beaujolais and vittel water. It was a sublime 2 hour dining experience. The kids noticed the cost cutting though, no toys for them.

                  After lunch, we were stuffed and opted for another trip on Phantom Manor, followed by a cruise on the newly refurbished Molly Brown. Now Molly Brown is a story I used to love as a boy, with my grandmother telling me of her courageous spirit. This refurb is lovely, all the areas have been fully refurbed, and the indoor bench areas have some lovely touches, where the fire stove is actually warm, and the flags are totally accurate to the time period. The narration is excellent, hinting at the mythology in the greatest frontierland in Disney's universe.

                  After our relaxing cruise, we decided to explore Boot Hill and "wake the dead" hearing the tell tale heart in the crypt. Looking at the geysers was very sad however, for I fear they will never erupt again.

                  Time for a hot chocolate break, using the voucher for a free drink we got earlier when we bought the belgian waffle. Then we decided to sit in one of my favorite seats in the world, hidden on a dock in Frontierland.

                  We then decided on a ride around the park on the train, opting to skip the show on the hub. The mad house and propensity for French instead of the 50/50 mix DLP used to have as a policy (not a major problem for me, but for the kids, it is an issue), meant we opted to skip the subpar hub show. We also skipped the parade, now that they have taken the proper show stops out in favour of "interactive" segments. But sitting on the Eureka, in the Monterrey car, is pure Disney bliss for me.

                  Off the train and hot foot it to Storybookland before it closed at 8. Rode as the tigers on Casey Jr and then one of the last people on Storybookland Canal boats. Rapunzel has moved in, but it has not been a smooth transition. After Storybookland closed, we took some pictures at the new tea party area, followed by a ride on Snow White and a visit to the dragon. Pinocchio and the Castle gallery were under refurb. Well overdue, sad for newbies, but much needed.

                  Then we dashed for the last ride of the day, Big Thunder in the dark. We managed to have a fab ride at the back, where in the evening, that last dash under the Rivers of the Far West is incredible. As we disembarked, the park was closed and we had a leisurely stroll down Main Street and stopped for a sit in town square for a drink.

                  It was 10pm before we made it to the car, and I was very proud of the kids managing 13 hours and 16 attractions in the park! Into the villa, put them to bed, and we followed shortly behind them.

                  Pictures including the new offerings for the Magical Moments Festival, some much needed refurb areas, and the sublime Silver Spur:

                  Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 6 back into DLP | Facebook
                  Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                  • #10
                    Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                    great report dave. good news about the CM's and the state of the park. those 2 things can be put right so easily and it's all the park needs to be great again. can't wait for August now!


                    • #11
                      Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                      Day 7, Apr 16 Walt Disney Studios Paris

                      We were exhausted, so we let nature wake us from our tourist induced slumber. We watched cartoons from bed and then the girls decided to take a trip to the bakery on site for fresh croissants, pan au chocolat and pan au raisin for breakfast.

                      We made our way to the DLP car park which was heaving, and security bag control, even more so. We grabbed some Fast passes for Tower of Terror and Rock and Roller Coaster and then hopped in a monster line for Moteurs Action. We got awesome seats centre stage! The show was spot on, and although I thought the Lightening McQueen was a waste of time, I was very much in the minority as the crowd oooohhed and ahhhhhhed. But the show was great as always.
                      As we exited, our fast pass time was due on ToT. Although the kids wanted to do it, after their experience last time, and earlier in the week with Armageddon, we decided to take turns. I rode first with an exciteable irish group (hilarious). Sarah took the kids to see bell hop Goofy and Sully, but the crowds were crazy. Gone are the quiet days of the Studios - lol.

                      When we swapped, I took the kids to Studio 1 for some slushies and to listen to the band. It was there that Mikey announced that WDSP was his fav park, Jessie disagreed proclaiming DLP is better. It's all good. The band were fantastic playing a number of jazz greats. Sarah caught up with us and we had a great time together. To me, this is far more Disney magic than any rubberheads, but then again, I have wonderful memories of enjoying the live performers with my family at Disneyland as I was growing up.

                      Afterwards I scored a great spot for the Stars and Cars show (for those of you who may not be aware, Stars and Cars is more than a parade in Paris, it also has a stage show with all the characters and some dancers). While we watched, Mama went on Rock n Roller Coaster, coming back grumpy because she had no sound track. I felt guilty because on my run, I got Walk this Way and Love on a roller coaster (love in an elevator) soundtrack with full smoke and light show, it was awesome. She was not amused when she found out. Lol. In all seriousness though, it has been about 5 years since Sarah has had a working soundtrack. That warrants a letter.
                      The kids had fun posing on the Paraplus de Cherbourg and Narnia sets while I was riding.

                      We then decided it was time to eat, so we went to Annette's for our final DLP meal. Mikey had yet another burger served in his frisbee with ice cream to follow. Jessica had chicken nuggets and ice cream. I opted for the Rockabilly - a double bbq bacon cheese burger with fries and a double dash cherry coke, with a chocolate shake to follow. Sarah had a chilli burger and fries with a cherry coke and chocolate shake. It was very good. The one little disappointment was the lack of roller skating cast members.

                      We then did a little shopping in the Disney Village, snapping some pictures of the new Earl of Sandwich and World of Disney (seems very small) under construction. Got the kids some cute clothes - mickey jedi shirt and embroidered Stitch jacket for Mikey, a Jack Skellington shirt and Angel embroidered jacket for Jess and some surprise birthday presents for them both. Mama got a new coffee cup, and I snagged a cool LGM cereal bowl, also, despite not buying any pins, I did succumb to a TRON Vinylmation (I know, so wrong). Lol.

                      We then headed back to the villa for a swim, bath and bad. Tomorrow is an early start with a visit to Metz and Strasbourg. Then onto Europa Park on Monday night

                      Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 7 Last Day in WDSP | Facebook
                      Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                      • #12
                        Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                        Have a great time Sgt. Tibbs. Hopefully things will be even better by August.
                        Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                        • #13
                          Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                          Thanks for the comments so far folks. So, general thoughts on the first week at DLP. Hmmmmm, mixed, as always. We had a wonderful time, and still so many things I never tire of such as Cinemagique, PotC, and being with my family.

                          There were some wonderful surprises such as a the great jazz band in Studio 1 of WDSP, sitting in with the drummers in adventureland, great service at the Silver Spur, fun experience with Remy in Rendevous de Stars, and how much my kids adored the city of Paris. The refurbs and staff improvements are fantastic. And although I am not happy about the colour change of the Molly Brown, the restoration, accuracy of the flags and the new narration are all excellent.
                          Rock n Roller Coaster was mixed - I had a perfect ride, my wife once again had no soundtrack - for 5 years this has happened to her and now she refuses to ride again.

                          But I cannot give DLP full marks again. Besides the obvious issues of the pirate ship and the state of the It's a Small World fountain area (Europapark had people in waders cleaning their pools every day if rubbish ended up in them -all fountains worked and the shows were excellent - it really highlighted how DLP has still fallen from the Disney standards). And Big Thunder really was only a well themed coaster - virtually none of the effects worked and I was not fully surprised to hear about the accident when we got home. Phantom Manor needs a refurb. And dining was mixed, they dumbed the menues down again since our last trip - though the Hakuna Matata offerings were a great surprise.

                          We were sorry that Pinnocchio and the Nautilus were closed, but it they get the refurbs Dumbo, the Castle and PotC enjoy, then it is totally worth it.

                          Overall, we had a great time and are hopeful for the 20th after all these refurbs. But they need to sort out the entertainment. I cannot say I enjoyed any of the Magical Moments save the photo spots with the kids. And relegating the tamtams to a meet and greet side show is a real travesty. If we left DLP and came home straight away, we would have felt more positive in the end. But after seeing how other tourist sites, Europa Park and Phantasialand do things, it showed me that DLP is not necessarily the best in europe any more. It rates my kids' 4th fav place now.

                          For me, I still love it, but there are so many other cool places too. The rest of the trip report still has Disney links - amazing Disney confectioneries in Metz and Brussels, PotC and TRON music in Europa Park and more.

                          I will update as the work load will allow this week.
                          Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                          • #14
                            Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                            Day 8, April 17th on the road to Strasbourg via the Champagne district, Verdun, and Metz - 300 miles in total.

                            We were up and breakfasted, checking out at about 9:45 and set off on the next part of our adventure. We headed out on the toll road out to the East. As we travelled through the Champagne region, the sight was somewhat sad. Where vinyards used to crowd the sloping hills, there now seemed to be more oilseed rape than anything else. It impacted our hay fever, but more to the point, was this another symbol of our modern economy?

                            As we continued further East, we passed more and more WWI graveyards, a stark reminder of the fortunes of modernity, the lack of perspective our generations consider, and a reminder how the US has been very fortunate in not fighting wars on domestic soil in living memory. On with the journey, and our first major stop in Metz.

                            We got into town with the children proclaiming their hunger. Having seen only the expensive brasseries open or sandwich shops, we decided to try the family chain of Flunch. Here, you get your drinks and salad or dessert, and then you pay for it and your entrees. We ordered confit of duck, a fish of the day (soup), and what we thought was a pork stew (turned out to be pork kidneys - not to our taste ;-) with french beans, creme spinach au gratin, potatoes, garlic butter beans, rice pilaf, and cauliflower.

                            After lunch, we went to the amazing gothic cathedral, visiting the 1200 year old crypt, the holy relics, and the 800 year old gothic structure. It was so beautiful and very humbling as these places often are. We then strolled through the old town to the Temple and then took some wonderful pictures of the French part of the Moselle. And then a visit to the chocolatier was a must. They really are a work of art. And they tasted great too.

                            We then made our way back to the car park. There was an elderly French woman who could not find her car. I helped her find it as she babbled away, I understood some of it, but a challenge. I loved that I was able to help - she not only said thank you, but hugged and kissed me goodbye. Lol.

                            We then got underway again and got into the Holiday Inn at Strasbourg for about 7. We had a Junior Suite on the top floor, thanks to my Holiday Inn points, it was free. Two flat screen tvs, huge work area, king size bed and a double sofa bed, overlooking the European Space Agency training centre and in the distance, the Strasbourg Cathedral. The light rail trains that run look like monorail trains, it is very cool.

                            The kids were hungry, so we went down for dinner. They had steak and pasta with chocolate ice cream to follow. Sarah had a faux fillet bierenaise and potatoes au gratin, I had the faux filet au poivre with the potatoes au gratin. We tried a wonderful local Alsacian Riesling with it. And the staff were great. They got a kick out of the kids trying to order in French. Lol.
                            Then up to bed, and the kids flaked out.

                            The next day we took the tram into the Le petit france part of the city, then in the late afternoon, off to Europa Park's Hotel Colloseo. Good times.

                            Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 8 Champagne, Metz, Strasbourg | Facebook
                            Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


                            • #15
                              Re: 3 weeks touring Europe - including DLP, WDSP, Europa Park, Phantasialand, and his

                              Glad you guys are enjoying it. Here is Strasbourg.

                              Day 9, April 18th - the amazing Strasbourg and the sublime Hotel Colosseo at Europa Park in Germany

                              WOW! Today was amazing. We woke up in our jr suite, plenty of room for all of us. We quickly got dressed and admired the smart looking people going to the space training centre next to us. I checked us out and we headed to the tram line to go into Strasbourg. These trams were amazing, every 3 minutes and very futuristic. When we got into central Strasbourg, we figured some breakfast was in order, so we went to a wonderful patisarie and chocolateer.
                              I opted for a Struessel (light bread covered in sugar and cinnamon) with a coffee, Sarah had a raison brioche and coffee, jessice had milk chocolate covered corn flakes and an ice tea, and Mikey opted for a croissant and OJ. We all shared a fabulous giant chocolate Macaroon. Delicious.

                              After our breakfast, we then strolled up to the Gutenburg Square. This town has an amazing history of learning and diplomacy, with royals, and scholars such as Voltaire and Gutenburg (who supposedly came up with his idea for a press while here), as well as Dr Albert Scweitzer (one of my heroes) preaching here, and Mozart, Hayden and Wagner all either wrote or performed here. Also, the French national anthem was also composed in Strasbourg. And like the American Civil War, in WWII, there were brothers who fought each other.

                              We enjoyed visiting the amazing cathedral and the organ was incredible. The kids keep asking what the candles are for, so we explained. They then asked if we could light one for Jelly Bean, who we lost too young. They were willing to spend their own money. Bless. We did light a candle in remembrance, which brought a tear (and no, we didn't charge the kids). And then explored the rest of the amazing building including the wonderful astronomical clock.

                              As we left the 700 year old cathedral, we strolled down to the river and took a wonderful 75 minute cruise around the town (literally). We took in the wonderful half timber houses, went through canal locks, enjoyed the sites of 15th century petite france, the medieval covered bridges and the very modern and wonderful sights of the European Parliament, Congress, and Court of Human rights. It was great!

                              We then went to another bakers to grab some chicken and broccoli quiches, quiche lorraine, pretzels, and gingerbread. We had a picnic on the steps to the cathedral looking out at a mansion while listening to live music! It was great (the temps were about 23/24C, 76-78F). We then visited an amazing hand made sweet shop and before long, we were back on the tram, heading back to the car.

                              We left the University and then headed across the Rhine, into Germany, enroute to Europa Park, our destination for the next few days. When we arrived at the italian themed Hotel Colosseo, we were amazed. Given we were married at Cesar's Tahoe, and the fact it is our wedding anniversary this trip, it had to be done.

                              Part 2 to come with a Hotel Colloseo album

                              Euro Adventure Easter 2011 - Day 9 Strasbourg - amazing | Facebook
                              Let's put the Walt back in Disney!


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