Friday, June 21, 2013

We were up before dawn and watched the sun rise. We couldn't return the boat until the office opened at 9:00 so we played cards and triple checked that we were leaving the boat as clean as we could and that we had all our things packed. A big crane truck drove in to move a boat from where it was sitting on big jacks in the parking lot and put it in the water. That was our entertainment while we waited to turn in the boat.

Returning the boat was almost too easy. No questions, no inspections, only someone checking the meter that shows how many hours the motor had run. Then some calculations for how much gas that must have used and a return of what remained of our gas and umbrella deposits.

Our cab arrived at 9:30 and we were off to Narbonne to catch the TGV high speed rain to Paris. The cab driver pointed out the big cathedral in Narbonne which you could see for quite a way before you got to the city. He dropped us off at the train station and we had 4 hours to kill before our train left so we explored the station and decided to go across the street to get something to eat for lunch. It was 11:45 but the first café wouldn't serve food until 12:30. We walked to the next corner café and while they said it was too early they said they would serve us omelets. Tyler asked if he could have Steak Hashé. The waitress checked and said her boss said 'No". Then he asked for a rib steak. The waitress checked and this time her boss said 'Yes'. Go figure!

After lunch we walked our luggage up the street to a very nice garden park in a traffic circle. We saw that were 3 or 4 block from the cathedral so made our way to it down some very narrow and winding streets. The cathedral, as well as the immaculate gardens in the center of the buildings, were awesome.

Super tall ceilings and lots of stained glass in the Narbonne Cathedral.
What's that boy up to?

It had a massive pipe organ.

And medieval walkways.

And a beautiful courtyard.

These two different layers of walls show two periods of destruction/construction.

We walked back to the station to wait for the train. The display boards showed our train was on schedule but didn't show which track any train would be on until about 1/2 hour before departure so we waited at the first track until then. Once it showed our track we made our way through the underpass walkways and waited a little longer. Finally we were on our first train in France. Thank God there is no strike today. The train made several stops but hit 290-300 kilometers per hours on some stretches. Along the way we got to see a little section of the Mediterranean Ocean and part of the Alps. We had a 4-seat section with the two rows facing each other. We had all four seats to ourselves for most of the ride, but people got on and off at each stop and we had company for part of the trip.

The Narbonne train station platform.

They graffiti rail cars in France too.

A glimpse of the Mediterranean.

A view of the Alps.

We got off at our stop at Disney Paris and easily found a line of bus stops with the names of each resort hotel; ours is the Sequoia Lodge. Check in was pretty easy. Disney reception workers know several languages and the one we got even started out with a Texas accent then switched to a Boston accent. We got a lot of pieces of paper and needed to carry different ones for different things, but it was not that complicated.

You had to make reservations for meals so we made ours before going to the room. We put our things in the room and called about laundry service. We were told it was no problem but we needed to give the reception desk a credit card number for security. Jeff went to give the number and was told there that they made a mistake and can't do laundry service on the weekend. We'll have to buy a couple of things and rough it.

Dinner was buffet style except that a waiter took your drink orders. It was pretty busy and the percentage of kids to adults was about 70% kids but it flowed pretty well. (Typical for Disney.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

We had breakfast reservations for 8:45 in the Magic Kingdom Park which opens early for resort guests at 8:00. We got up at 7:15 and got ready to catch the shuttle bus. We wandered the park until breakfast and found the park restaurant was the same buffet line concept as last night's dinner.

After breakfast Tyler asked to go on the Space Mountain 2 ride, his first roller coaster ever. While waiting in the lines to get on the ride we were presented with warnings several times that people with almost any kind of physical problems should not ride it. It did 360 degree loops and the entire ride was inside a pitch black building. The only lights were when they flashed colored lights on and off at various places to simulate you traveling across galaxies, etc. None of us wanted to ride another roller coaster after that one.

A Mickey Mouse image in the flowers in front of the Disney hotel.

The Sorceror's Apprentice statue in front of the hotel.

Walking down Main Street towards Cinderella's castle.

Typically awesome Disney topiary.

More topiary.

One of the entrances to a ride.

Joyce is dwarfed by this balloon.

Disney Paris has two parks, Magic Kingdom and MGM Studios; pretty similar to the ones in Florida. After a couple hours we walked to the MGM Park which was right next to the Magic Kingdom Park. We watched a few shows and movies about cartoon making, etc. It was very familiar, but weird, to see those familiar cartoon characters speaking French.

Early afternoon wind gusts brought in a cold front. We sat in an outdoor seating area that had a wall behind it that blocked the wind for a live car chase filming show. It was pretty cool to see them do those stunts. We ate lunch at one of the park's cafeterias.

Disney and Mickey greeting guests to the MGM Park.
Notice the Hollywood sign in the background.

The Buzz Lightyear ride.

The live action car chase show included a lot of flames in the finale.

After lunch it started drizzling so we headed back to the hotel where we spent a couple hours in the indoor swimming pool building. They had a slide and Jacuzzi by the pool and a steam sauna and a dry sauna in the locker rooms which were equipped with free lockers. Pretty nice.

We went to the main building to relax (wink, wink) in the lounge before dinner and tried to read the French newspapers. Disney publishes one page papers in several languages with world, local and sports news. Amazingly, what is world news in the English version is different than what is world news in the French version. Dinner was virtually identical to last night's dinner; same entrees, same salads, same side dishes, same desserts.