Unfortunately this blog is tiresomely slow at uploading pictures, so I'm gonna split my posts into sections for you lovely readers and it may take a few days, so bare with me!
As I said, Elin was amazing. Sometimes I think of Elin as her own little Universe. She is a collection of planets, and each planet represents a part of her. So, her dystonia is Jupiter, her sleeping pattern is Saturn, her seizures are Pluto, her mood is Earth etc etc. Once in a very blue moon, her planets align. When this happens, Elin is the very best she can be (or firing on all cylinders as we like to say). Well, from Saturday, Elin's planets aligned. We think it may have something to do with the re-switching on of the Hadron collider (ha). Although Jupiter did spin off by itself come Wednesday -and I realise I'm now in danger of exhausting the metaphor completely- largely whilst we were on our trip of a lifetime, Elin's little solar system spun in complete harmony and our Universe ran perfectly. How can we possibly have asked for more than that?
Anyway, here is the first section of my 'Disneyland Report'
Eurostar, Park and Rides.
The Eurostar was amazing, we loved it. To be fair we were travelling First Class (it's ok, we haven't turned into Kardashian wannabe's, the only spaces for disabled travellers are in First Class on Eurostar so we got reduced price tickets- BOOM!). There was somebody waiting for us with a ramp before we even got on the platform and the space inside the carriages was great. Not only this but we also got breakfast on the way and dinner on the way back. It was like being on an aeroplane! Check in was quick and easy too. Elin made a little friend called Amelie, a little girl fascinated by Elin who kept bringing toys to show her, so you can imagine she was happy. Amelie's Mum was lovely too and they were staying in our hotel so we kept bumping into them, much to Amelie/Elin's joint delight. I don't know if you know this about the Eurostar but it now runs directly to Disneyland. You literally get off at the station facing the Disney Park gates. Awesome.
I think entering the Disney Park is definitely a special 'wow' moment. I had a bit of a lump in my throat at the sight of Sleeping beauty's Castle for sure and we got there on our arrival day in time to see the amazingly colourful parade too which was a big bonus. We took Elin's blue badge to guests services straight away and were allocated a green card- which basically meant we got to the front of the queue for anything which Elin could take part in/go on, including meeting the Disney characters. This was invaluable and we can't speak highly enough of the Disney staff, who appeared to be actively looking constantly for people who may need help and not waiting for you to ask. They treated Elin amazingly. We were very lucky too, as the queue's were VERY long and I found myself wondering how many rides everyone else was actually getting on - but I suppose you just have to accept it as part of the experience. It terms of the rides themselves, there were lots of Wheelchair accessible ones. Much more than I anticipated actually, which was wonderful. We were able to enjoy so much as a family, which you don't always get in this country. For the more 'white knuckle' rides (my favourite: The rock and roller coaster) Caitlin got to go on most of them twice whilst one of us waited with Elin until we could swop, so nobody got to miss out. The glorious weather made this much more possible and I don't know how different our experience would have been in the pouring rain! But that's like anything I suppose) Elin's favourites were probably the 4D 'Ratatouille' ride, The Studio Tram Tour and 'It's A Small World' boats. We really were impressed with the attention to detail on all of this. Well done, Disney!
Buzz Lightyear's Lazer Quest and meeting Buzz!
Oh, hi Buzz!!!! (Sadly, the characters do not just walk around the Park anymore like they used to! I would hazard a guess that it's something to do with either them being mobbed by people wielding camera's in this digital age and wanting selfies, or, more cynically, something to do with child protection. Anyway this means if you want a pic or an autograph you have to queue and there is no chance of seeing your favourite characters just hanging about which I think is a real shame! Luckily for us once again our little green card saved the day and Princess Elin didn't have to queue for more than five minutes YAY!)
It's A Small World Boat Ride
The Special Effects Studio Tram Tour.
Arghhh! Flash Flood!!!!
Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride and 4D 'Ratatouille' Ride (which was AMAZING)
Watching Lightning Mc Queen's Stunt Show Spectacular....
The above are just a selection of the things Elin enjoyed in the parks, we couldn't always get a good photo when we were whizzing around on something! I was also having a think once I got home of what was good for Elin there, and I realised that you barely notice at first but there are speakers everywhere, filtering music out continually. This means that there was always something for Elin to listen to, which was lovely, but also it kind of made you feel happy all the time!! The main street in Disneyland was gorgeous, all bright colours and bandstands and spotlessly clean. It felt like being on a film set, which I guess was the point. When there wasn't music playing over the tanoys, there was live music for the 'Spring into Spring' theme they had just adopted at there for Easter. Superb !
Elin and her Frozen balloon on 'Main Street'
Eating out- Luckily for us a friend of ours had been to Disney the week before and with some tips from her and another friend as well as just working stuff out ourselves we realised that trying to get to a restaurant past 6:30 was impossible (unless you wanted to queue for an hour just to get a table, which we didn't) This was a slight failing by the park I felt, as it meant to get a quick dinner at a decent time we had to miss the parade each night- we had seen it, but would've liked to see it again. They actually also had a parade at lunch time so we ended up seeing that too which was beautiful, so it worked out, but I just felt sorry for all the kids and parents we saw once the parade had finished standing in lines down the street just to get a burger and chips (vegetables were not a prominent feature at Disney and there were NO supermarkets or Shops ANYWHERE. Obviously designed to make you spend every last penny in the park, but in America you do have a self-catering option. Here, you couldn't even buy a sandwich. I spoke to one Mum who couldn't even buy milk for her baby, and if we'd have run out of Elin's nappies I think Paul would've been back to the train station and making a journey to the next town, which seems faintly ridiculous in a park designed for families) . The other thing about eating was our hotel had a one hour queue for breakfast!! Once again we were saved by Elin and her chair, which meant we got fast-passes and walked straight in. THANK GOD! Imagine queueing for an hour before you got your morning coffee? I would have happily murdered somebody. On a final note- evening meals at the hotel itself were not an option- as we and other families we spoke to found to our cost on the first night when we were too knackered to go anywhere else. ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR EURO's for three of us to have a school-canteen style buffet! Whaaaaaaaattttt? We nearly choked on our rubbery chicken :-( Anyway, again I think it's just one of those things you have to accept, and the places we did end up eating in for dinner were nice and pretty reasonable, it's just you need to know what you're doing before you go :-) Elin was certainly a fan anyway.......
So that's where I'll leave it for now, blog fans! I have so much more to tell you and photo's to show (Fireworks for one- UNBELIEVABLE) but I'm about to develop repetitive strain and I'm sure that will do for now. Please tune in again soon for part three of our Disney Adventure....for now, have a good night :-)
To be continued.............