Hi! I'm Anita!
As you know, I've been out of the blogging biz for a year now, but so many of you have written asking how my trip to Europe was, I thought I'd include a little trip report blog here. (Thank you to my Disney/Doctor Who friend Bill W. for pushing me on this point.) I'll just cover the highlights and lowlights; otherwise I could go on for days.
London highlights: London is my favorite city in the world. I just love it there, and feel very comfortable and at home there. We stayed in Kensington on Cromwell Road near the Gloucester Road tube station at the Park International. Great location near everything, with restaurants, an Internet Cafe, a mini-mall, and two full service grocery stores. This is located right in the middle of a lovely residential area, adding to the "homey" feel. Lowlight: The air conditioning in our 4th floor room quit after the first day, just as a heat wave hit. It never was repaired! More highlights: Since this was my 5th or 6th (I've lost count now) trip to the UK, I was interested in seeing some things I hadn't seen before, or seeing some things again I didn't get to see much of the first times. The rest of the family had never been, so we did much of the usual tourist stuff. The things I most enjoyed were my first trip to Cardiff, Wales (any of you who are Doctor Who or Torchwood fans know why!) where we visited a few familiar filming locations, walked the Cardiff Bay Barrage, and had lunch at Mermaid Quay. Later that afternoon, we visited the Doctor Who Close Up Exhibition, where I was in heaven with all those props and costumes. We also made a day to visit Brighton, where I had last been on business in 2007 in the winter. A beach town on the English Channel in the winter isn't the best of all possibilities, so I really enjoyed being there in the summer sun when everything was open and running. Meanwhile, back in London, I finally got to see Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and then another highlight: Later that afternoon, I had a lovely lunch with reader and fellow Disney/Who fan Keith S., who had helped me with many little planning details of the trip. I owe him more than he knows, so here's a public thanks for everything, Keith!
Eurostar (Channel Tunnel train) highlights: From London's newly remodeled St. Pancras Station, it couldn't have been easier. Beautiful new station, with well marked waiting and boarding areas. Coming back from Paris' Gare du Nord was a tiny bit more difficult, but still fairly painless.
Paris Highlights: We stayed in the same hotel I stayed in with Flo in 2007, the Hotel Muguet, located near the Eiffel Tower in the Rue Cler area. The hotel and staff were even better and nicer than I remembered. Great location, also in a residential area, near two Metro stops, a grocery store, restaurants and a laundromat. We could see the top half of the Eiffel Tower from our window. We visited the Louvre (yikes, much longer lines than Soarin' or Toy Story Mania ever dreamed of!) but a kind security guard pointed us to another entrance with virtually no one in it. We were able to see the high points of the Louvre and move onto Notre Dame in the time it may have taken us just to get in had he not done that. Walking along the Seine between the Louvre and Notre Dame, we ran into one of Mini Answer's friends and his family! That was rather unexpected! Lowlights: Paris was very crowded and less friendly than London. The signs in the Metro can be confusing, but we never got lost. More highlights: We took a train to Versailles on Sunday. The gardens are exquisite. I had only ever seen them in the cold windy winter rain, so it was a treat to see everything in bloom.
Disneyland Paris Highlights: We stayed in the Magic Circus Hotel, where Flo and I had stayed previously. It's just off property, sort of like the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels. Shuttles run every 20 minutes or so. Lowlight: The shuttles are also used to carry Eurostar and RER passengers to and from their hotels, complete with luggage. Not pretty during crowded times! Another lowlight: Riding the RER back into Paris with luggage during morning rush hour. Also, like the Metro's signs, finding our way around the larger Parisian Gares was somewhat confusing due to lack of signage. It took us a lot of false starts to find the RER tracks when we left Paris for DLP, for instance.
DLP Park highlights: The new Crush's Coaster!! It always had long lines, but it was worth the 90 minute wait, and you won't often hear me say those words. Major Lowlight: The reason the lines are so long is because it can only load 8 passengers at once. The load zone needs to be redesigned to handle more guests, plain and simple. More lowlights: The food at DLP is awful and overpriced. The best meal I had was a sandwich at Starbucks in the Disney Village or maybe a burger at Annette's. Don't go there for the food, trust me on this. I had one sandwich in Frontierland that was so vile I threw it away. It's called the Pioneer Sandwich, and it consists of a bratwurst-like sausage, with a load of ketchup (!!) on the bottom, and a load of liquid cheese on the top. Avoid this piece of culinary nastiness like the plague! Run away as fast as you can! I like being a pioneer and exploring new things, but this was beyond the call of duty. Yech! Also, why is DLP food service so stingy with condiments? One tiny ketchup packet per guest is not going to go very far. On the other had, that sandwich had enough ketchup on it for 25 guests. Go figure! Anyway, back to the park. The crowds were fairly low, the weather was mostly nice. Disneyland Park is very pretty, but on this, my second visit to DLP, I found something lacking, though I can't quite put my finger on it. I was happy to see the Studios no longer looked like the Experimental Plywood City of Tomorrow, as it was on my first visit. And that brings us to the biggest highlight of my DLP experience, finally meeting my Italian friend Elena P. and her lovely family face to face! Elena, I wish we could have spent more time together!
So, that's pretty much it. We went back to London for one night before catching our plane back home (4.5 hours late, ugh...) from Heathrow. For me, the best part of any trip, as you may have noticed, is the people I meet and spend time with. Those are the bits I'll always remember, as well as seeing Mr. Answer's and Mini Answer's reactions to the things they saw and did on their very first trip to the UK and France. It's good to be back home, but I'm ready for another trip over.
What is the difference between "B" admission tickets and "C" admission tickets? I have two "B" and one "C."
I'm assuming you're talking about the original Walt Disney World ticket booklets from the 1970s. It may have varied slightly from 1971 until they were discontinued to allow for addition or subtraction of attractions, but in general here's what those tickets would get you back in the early days. I've included all tickets A through E, because I know several readers will ask me about them, am I right?
- Good for choice of one:
- Good for choice of one:
- Good for choice of one:
D Ticket - Good for choice of one:
Trains/Grand Circle Tour;
- Good for choice of one:
It's a Small
It's important to note that "Or Any Other "X" Attraction" is printed on the bottom of each lettered ticket to allow for additions, closures and changes in status for attractions, such as noted for Country Bears and Hall of Presidents above.
So there you have it, in my own inimitable long-winded style. It all seems rather quaint now doesn't it, in the age of barcodes, magnetic strips, the ATS and Biometric readers?
TRIVIA Question: What year were ticket booklets discontinued, and why?
Answer in next week's column!
My wife and I love taking the family to WDW but the two of us are going by ourselves this time. Is there a lounge(s) that plays music, ie. a piano bar, where we can unwind after a day at the park? Thanks for your help.
Most lounges at the World have piped-in music, but there is at least one that has live music, and it happens to be my favorite: Mizner's at the Grand Floridian. It's a nice dark lounge tucked away on the upper level of the main building, near Victoria and Albert's and Citricos. Each evening, a small orchestra plays for guests' entertainment. If you go, try the truffle popcorn. It's expensive but worth every delicious penny if you like the flavor of truffles (the rare fungus, not the chocolate variety).
Staying at Riverside soon, and coming by Magical Express. Where can we get alcohol to keep in our room?
And Robert writes:
Are there any liquor stores or any place to buy whole bottles of liquor on the premises? Thanks!
Hi Kellie and Robert!
For some reason, my answers this week seem to revolve around alcoholic beverages. Must be because I just came back from vacation? Anyway, on to your answer.
Beer, wine and a limited selection of spirits is available at the Disney resorts' gift shops. They aren't cheap, however. In addition, you can buy bottles of wine in some Epcot World Showcase pavilions; also not inexpensively. If you want a wider variety and a smaller price tag, you'll have to take a taxi to 535/South Apopka-Vineland Rd. and visit either Gooding's at the Crossroads for their huge wine selection, or go a little bit further north to the ABC Package Store (near the Winn Dixie). You can find directions and addresses for more local grocery stores here.
Basically, it will be a tradeoff between having a small selection at higher prices and not having to leave your resort (convenient and not time consuming) or pay for a taxi, take an hour or two off from park time, and get a better selection off-site at a lower price.
That's it for this edition!
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