Samantha David is a freelance journalist and writes for various publications including BBC Online, the Sunday Times, the FT, Living France, everything France, and France Magazine

Samantha David, writer

The Secret Cevennes - articles by Samantha David

 

Wonderland 

      Well, it may be crazy, but sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.  And this autumn, that has meant EuroDisney at half term.

      Naturally, we've been putting it off for ages.  I mean what sane adult wants to pay money in order to spend an entire day trailing round some amusement park bored and exhausted?  Rides?  Thrills and spills?  Hamburgers and hot dogs?  No!  Please, no.

      But finally we were railroaded into it.  The Junior Members had obviously been having a series of meetings on the subject because they sent us a joint letter.  They didn't want birthday parties, they didn't want presents either.  They were even willing to forgo Christmas if they could just have that longed-for, once-in-a-childhood treat, a trip to Disneyland.  They would do their homework, they would make their beds, they wouldn't even complain about dental check-ups.  Pliz, pliz, pliz...

      What can you do?  We got on the internet and started searching, and in fact it's not too bad.  If you book rail tickets in advance they're affordable, there are several B&Bs around EuroDisney which charge extremely reasonable rates (forget the onsite hotels, they're extortionate) and if you buy your tickets for the amusement park online and in advance, you get a nice little discount.  (Easily enough to pay for the B&B.)

      So off we went to Paris, thinking that if we could survive the financial damage, we could easily survive the boredom and tedium of standing in line all day.

      How wrong can you be?  It was a great day out.  Sure it was plastic and facile and American, but it was also charming, amusing and fun.  There's lots to do apart from the big scary rides, lots to look at, lots of laugh at; there are plenty of opportunities for sitting down, and not all the rides are scary.  There are loads of fun ones, too: the steam train round the edge of the park was a particular favourite, as was the parade of Disney characters down Main Street.

      At lunchtime we even managed to find a restaurant serving proper food and bottles of wine.  Yes, the menu and the decor were kitch-themed to within an inch of their lives, but the service was good and I've eaten plenty of worse lunches all over France.

      It's Halloween of course, and Disneyland doesn't stint on celebrating it.  I've never seen so many black cobwebs, orange spiders and witches' hats in my entire life.

      We came home shepherding happy and satisfied kids, smugly aware of having earned zillions of parental Brownie Points and having secretly enjoyed ourselves almost as much as the Junior Members.

      And as for that thing about no presents, no parties, no Christmas festivities... well the ours aren't any stupider than any other kids.  They know full well that their ever-loving parents will never actually cancel Christmas.

      We might even take them back to Disneyland. 

 

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