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22 replies

slightlymad · 25/08/2004 08:42

Just wanted to tell you all that we have just returned from Disneyland Paris with my 3 kids. What a fantastic time we have had! They were SOOOOO helpful with us. On arrival at the park we drove to the disabled parking section, were given an access code for the barrier by the security guard - and were parked literally at the main gates! No hassle at all. Once inside the park we went to the "City Hall" which is just inside - and asked for the "Blue disabled pass" We were asked for evidence of disability (He was in his major buggy and we showed his blue parking badge) signed a form and were issued for a pass for the whole family (5 of us) This meant that we could all skip all the 90 minute queues and use the exits instead of the entrances - we literally walked straight onto the rides parking the major buggy right by the carriages of the rides!! The assistants at the rides were kind, helpful and friendly and we had the most fantastic time! DS LOVED the "Pirates of the Carribean" ride which had 80-90 minute queues - we rode it 3 times in an hour AND did other rides inbetween!! We got disabled access to all the shows - getting front row seats to watch Lion King and Tarzan!! We were also given access to the disabled "viewing area" for the parades - so we got front row places to watch them as well. I also found that the "characters" made special efforts to come over as the parade was passing and "meet" kids who were in the disabled area - and 3 characters who were just wandering around in the park (Chip, Dale and Timon!!!) made a special effort to leave the crowd of people and spend time with DS in his major buggy - making sure he got chance to have his photo taken with them.
I was really woried about the trip beforehand as I didn't know how DS was going to handle queues and crowds - but it was all really well managed.
I recommend it to anyone!

OP posts:
melsy · 25/08/2004 09:41

awwwwwww Im so chuffed you had a mgical experince there. Restores my faith in Disney. Wahhheeeeeey on your DS liking pirates too, drops and all !!!!

juniperDewdrop · 25/08/2004 09:49

That's really made my morning,I'm so pleased for you all

coppertop · 25/08/2004 10:15

So good to hear you had a great holiday. Get booking those tickets for next year!

Fio2 · 25/08/2004 10:16

glad you had a nice time :)

Dingle · 25/08/2004 23:56

It's so lovely to hear some good news. Reading your post has made me go all warm and tingly, a few tears in my eyes too... (could be the brandy!) After reading about problems it's great to hear that it's not all bad, all of the time.
Hopefully we will get a chance to go before the kiddies are too old!

RexandBen · 26/08/2004 11:59


Davros · 26/08/2004 17:00

Anyone got experience of Disneyland with a child with ASD? I imagine it would be dreadful with my DS, non-verbal, not good at sitting in restaurants etc, takes sudden dislike to things which you think he'll enjoy etc. Would be interested to know as we've only had one holiday in 7 years! Tried Center Parcs (forgot that) but could take it or leave it, better off at home!

dottee · 26/08/2004 17:28

Brilliant news - and just in time. We're going there on Monday! I would never have thought of packing our blue badge but will do now. And our proof of DLA etc.

I've just been packing all the documents etc. I'm miffed off at Going Places where we booked as rereading the Leger info., they should be notified of any disabilities at the time of booking which they acknowledge on invoice. But alas nothing was noted so I rang Leger today and they've made a note now. And there was me thinking booking through a travel agent would be easier.

Anyway, what you've said SM has got me really excited now. Yeeeaaaaaayyyyyyyy! .

I'll let you all know how we get on with dd who as you all know is prone to the odd spat!!!!

dottee · 26/08/2004 17:31

p.s. I've just packed the bottle opener and corkscrew. Essential or what?!!!

Where did you stay SM? We're going to the Santa Fe.

slightlymad · 27/08/2004 10:05


We stayed at a "Disneyland associated Hotel" (Pierre et Vacance holiday residence) It was fantastic - couldn't have been any closer! We overlooked the parks from out window!
You'll have a great time - get that badge and look out for all the exits! A few times we had to just ask where we should go for disabled access - but the staff were fantastically helpful.

DS behaiviour was worst on day 3 - the sensory integration stuff had really well and truly kicked in by then - BUT - it isn't hard to find quiet places in the park - where you can just "sit out" for a while and calm the situation!! We actually found the "caves" on adventure Island and under Sleeping Beauty's castle were great for that - as they are all quiet and dark!! No stimulation at all!!! (Just avoid the one with the dragon if it'a a calming effect you are after! LOL!) We also used all the "back" entrances to the "lands" as oposed to going through the main gateway to each "land".

If anyone wants anymore information - please feel free to get in touch with me.

OP posts:
Titania · 27/08/2004 10:29

i would love to take my clan it expensive?

onlyjoking9329 · 27/08/2004 20:18

we did disneyland paris in april, snowed most of the time, but our three loved it, we did get a disabled pass but only used it once cos ds1 want to go on something that his sisters didnt want to go on and it seemed unfair to make them wait, we queued for everything else, it was good practise as they don't mind waiting if they know what they are waiting for, the only thing bad about disney for us was that you dont always know what the seating is like for the rides when you are queuing outside which proved a bit tricky for us as we have three kids and two adults, none of our kids can ride alone so maybe worth checking before you queue. you must vist small world its fab

slightlymad · 27/08/2004 22:29

Have to agree on that one!!!
Small world was our favourite (and I have to admit it made me cry!!!!!) We rode it 4 times. (and got the 5 of us in one seat)

As for the seating - yes - you will need to check. We sat with DS in every ride (3 to a seat with him in the middle) but the two girls are ok to sit together - so that was ok.

OP posts:
dottee · 28/08/2004 20:55

Where did you eat SM? I have read about Blue Lagoon and about sitting on the terrace shouting 'Bon Voyage' when people are passing in the ride who shout back 'Bon appetit'.

We're OK for seats as dd is the only child coming with us this time.

slightlymad · 28/08/2004 21:06

We didn't use the restaurants!
We ate in the park once - DS is a Toy Story fan so we went to 'Pizza Planet' but everyone had packed lunches in there (They say it's not allowed but everyone did) So we took our own lunch and then made an evening meal back in the appartment!

Bet you are really excited now! Do you leave Monday or tomorrow??!!!
If I miss you - HAVE FUN!!

OP posts:
poppyseed · 28/08/2004 21:09

Good toi hear you had a great time. I have started a thread at the moment about the Davy Crockett Ranch as we go in October. Hope we have as good a time as you have!!

dottee · 28/08/2004 22:12

We're leaving Rotherham at 7.40am on Monday. We should get to the Santa Fe at around 10.30pm French time (we're going by coach and ferry).

With being at the Santa Fe we haven't got s/c facs but have bought a 2 day meal deal with Leger (which makes it sort of f/b for 2 days and then we sort ourselves out the 3rd day. I've packed lots of drinks and a kettle as I've read that there are no complimentary tea/coffee facilties at the SF.

God must be looking down on us as dd had a tum upset today but she's OK now. And with the arrival of your advice (which I did not know about despite doing a lot of research) I think we'll have a brill time!

slightlymad · 29/08/2004 19:28

Happy Holiday Dottee!!!

Hope you have a great time! I wanna go back! LOL!!

OP posts:
dottee · 05/09/2004 22:30

Disney a la dottee!

We're back! And I've just about regained my sleep! We were absolutely knackered when we arrived home late on Friday night.

Yes, we do want to go back but we're going to do it different next time. The coach journeys from Rotherham to DLP and back were gruelling. We'd have probably been alright if the character breakfast hadn't been booked for 8am on the Tuesday morning after settling at midnight following our journey the previous night. I think that screwed us up for the whole three days. Whoever arranged it must have been sadistic or just plain thick!

We managed to character breakfast and it was OK. There weren't that many characters walking around but the breakfast at Cafe Mickey was a hot and cold buffet. It was obvious, however, we were allocated an hour before the next sitting arrived. The staff were kind though and showed us to the kitchen lift on request so my dd and dm avoided the stairs.

The sun was blazing down on us as we ate and the good weather continued for the week. We were very lucky. On arriving at Disneyland Parc, I went to City Hall to get dd's disabled pass. I'd left her sitting on a bench in the square listening to the band. The CM did need to see dd in person but kindly agreed to come to the door so I could point her out.

AFter that formality we went onto Fantasyland via Cindrella's castle. We went on the merry go round (in the carriage which was more accessible) and then onto the Tea-cups (which were a damned sight more bigger than those at Lightwater Valley the previous week). Everything was going well until I guided dd towards 'It's a small world' (which I really wanted her to go on because I loved the one in Florida many years ago - bc!) She saw the water and screamed blue murder. No. 1 sit-down protest was in full force. The CM was very patient and let us try and sit it out but it wasn't to be. He guided us (one of us still kicking and screaming) to the exit. Having totally forgotten that I was holding a disabled pass, we joined the queue for Casey's train. Dd loved that and laughed all the way around. Getting her out was a different matter - sit-in no.2!! I finally managed to drag her out (everyone looking of course!) with the promise of more tea-cups. The CM asked if I'd got a pass - bless him. On our way to the TCs, dd went into a real paddy and ended up lying flat out on the floor - we became DLP"'s latest attraction. It was then I regained my confidence and afinity to the French. Other nationalities gawped but three separate French ladies stopped to ask if we were OK. One of them spoke good English and explained she was a physician. I replied that dd has CP and LDs and was having a tantrum - 'I see' she smiled and nodded her head. AFter she left, one family of northern European origin, passed and started laughing. I was close to assaulting them - but then I would have got into further trouble.

I finally managed to move dd by promising her the train and we ended up going round the park twice so she could calm down. It was time to eat and we'd pre-bought meal deal tickets with Leger. If you ever go with Leger or anyone else that does meal deals, don't bother! Now I fully agree with the term 'disgusting pap!' - see other thread about DLP in travel section. We headed for Fuente del Oro (on a MN recommendation but that was shut) so we ended up at Pizza Planet. We could only choose two things of the menu - pizza burger or hot chicken sandwich. Dd and I had pizza burger - disgusting! And dm had chicken sandwich which was rock hard and no good for her false teeth!

We'd eaten late and decided to make our way to the Princess Parade. Sit down no.3. Eventually we got to the disabled viewing area and it was worth it. There was half an hour to go and dd was quite happy to sit and watch the world go by so I managed to get a quick shopping trip down Main St.

The parade was lovely and dd was dancing around in her own space. The CM attending to the disabled area had a very hard job moving non disabled people from standing in front of us or standing in the area but he managed. I managed to spot Simon Weston and his family in the crowd opposite us.

We made our way over to see Lion King and made use of the disabled pass. Dd had yet another paddy but she had the space to do it in. I was able to leave her lying on the floor in the disabled waiting area and know she was safe (and everyone else was safe). Other disabled people and their families were fine with us. Lion King was great and I'm still humming the songs. Dd then decided she didn't want to leave the theatre. Yet another episode. We finished the day by riding on the train again and making our way back to the hotel. There was no way dd was going to eat in a restaurant so I ended up walking up to the Esso service station next to the Santa Fe where we were staying and buying in sandwiches - viennese baguettes (which were actually quite nice and filling). The garage also sold Kronenburg which was very welcome after a very hard day.

On the second day (Wednesday) we went into Paris. We booked the river cruise and the trip up the Montparnasse Tower, both at an additional cost. Dm has never been to France before so I wanted her to see everything she could. Dd was fine on the coach tour around Paris but as soon as we pulled onto the quayside, she muttered 'no boat'. She had another paddy when I was trying to get her onto the boat. The coach driver even brought a wheelchair along but it was too late as the boat had departed. The driver tried to get our money back but the river cruise people didn't want to know. It was 27 euros down the Swannee (or rather, the Seine). The driver gave me 20 euros because he was going to sell them on for next week's trip. It was better than nothing. So we ended up sitting, eating sausages and pizzas and chips whilst watching the boats pass by. The Eiffel tower was in the background so the location was good. Dd took the 59 floor lift in less than 30 seconds at Montparnasse with a pinch of salt. Whilst everyone else looked apprehensive, she giggled away! But all she wanted to do at the top was read her books (aloud) and have a drink. So mum and I took it in turns to look around. I was preoccupied in the barman from the 56me cafe. He was gorgeous!!!

We were all tired when we got back to the hotel so we had a siesta and then went down to the Disney village. We had a meal at Annettes (a participant of the meal-deal scheme) and that was a good move. Some of the waiters were on roller-skates and half way through the evening, they all started dancing to Grease. They allocated us a very convenient table where dd had space and was next to the window. Everything seemed to be running smoothly until mum spotted dd with a wasp between her fingers (dd uttering 'ah bee'). Luckily she didn't get stung. Afterwards we had a wander around the village and dd watched a show. Then the tantrum came because it was time for us to move on. Dd through her Buzz toy on the floor and started trying to sit down. A British man calmly walked over and picked up Buzz and slipped him in my bag. I was gobsmacked - he knew what to do! I saw him walk away - he returned to his wife and son (auty).

We woke to another glorious morning on the last day (Thursday). We decided to lie in a little. Eventually we headed down to the studios. They run a different system down there and each ride/attraction deals with disabled people differently (sort of at their own discreption). We saw the History of Animation but we had to go along with the crowd. Then dd went over to the Flying Carpets and bottled out at the last minute. The guys on there were wonderful. One even had a go at trying to coax dd up from her sit-in!

I decided it was time to see the car stunt show and we saw that some people had already formed a queue. I asked the CM whether they had any special concessions and she asked us to wait a few minutes. Then she escorted us right to the front of the queue and into a different area where there was a seat. When it was time to go into the grandstand, we were escorted and the crowd was held back until we'd got to the last barrier so we had plenty of time and room to get a decent seat. What fantastic VIP treatment!!! And the show is worth seeing.

We had to find a place for the parade and although there are designated areas for disabled people according to the plan, I couldn't see any. We decided to eat at the Backlot cafe (a meal/deal place) and we were able to get a decent view of the parade passing. The waitress in the cafe made a bee-line for me to helped me with my order and help carry the food out.

AFter eating we headed for the Animagique show. We were refused entry into one designated disabled area because dd isn't a wheelchair user but they did show us to a better seat which was reserved for 'other disabilities'. Dd loved that show but mum fell asleep! On exit, we saw Woody but we appeared to be the only patient people there. He was getting mobbed and I've never seen Woody leg it so quick. Dot-tip: if you see the characters, collar the CM that's with them and they'll make sure you get a look in. I spoke to the CM with Woody and fortunately a good bit of my schoolday French had returned. She explained in French that the characters have allocated slots and she showed me the timetable. So we waited for another 30 minutes and sure enough Woody reappeared. The CM looked for us and dd managed to get a mob cuddle from Woody, Jessy and the green soldier.

Dd was getting tetchy by this time and we decided to return to the hotel. We got back and just as I was chillin in my vest top and knickers with a glass of vin blanc in my hand, there was a knock at the door. A porter told me in French that the hot water had gone off in the block and we had the opportunity to move. He said he'd carry our bags over if we had them ready in 5 minutes. I argued 10 - and managed to get everything sorted. Dd didn't know what was going on but coped with the confusion quite well. Later, we decided to try the hotel restaurant which was nicknamed by members of our coach party 'the transport caff' - and it's just like one. Dd loved the bloke who sang to a taped backing in the bar and could have stayed there all night.

On Friday we set off back at 9am. Dd was happy on the coach travelling through France and accepted that she had to travel on the ferry to come home. On the outward journey she'd reached the main deck before realising she was on board a large boat and throwing a wobbler. I'd let her explore when she'd calmed down (she'd even been outside to the open deck) and I think this helped. She didn't want to get back on the coach when it was time to and could have spent the 5 days going to and from France. She was fine on the ferry coming home but wanted to see it almost dock.

Because we were 'less able' and slower to change coaches when it was time to at Dover, we got duff seats coming home but a lady did move so I could sit next to dd. Mum had to sit with a gentleman at the front of the coach. She still was able to hear dd pipe up when she got tetchy and bored, but after about half an hour of 'mummy, nearly home', dd settled. She didn't want to get off the coach at the motorway services but I made her. We eventually got to Sheffield where our feeder taxi was waiting to take us to our pick up point. It was a hair-raising journey at 60mph through a 30 mph part of Sheffield and I think I'm going to complain to Leger about the white knuckled ride - I didn't go on any at DLP so I don't see why I should be subjected to one in South Yorkshire! We got home at 11.15pm (00.15pm French time) and I was absolutely knackered.

I've worked out how we're going to do it next time. I'd like to take our car over (7 seater Peugeot) but stay overnight just outside Dover. Then I'd like to book a gite near to DLP (I've looked at them today on line and they're around £300 for the week high season). It would then give us a couple of days rest before we get the 3 days hopper pass into the parks.

I missed having my dp with me to help me lift dd. My mum is 77 and could not cope with physically handling dd in a crisis. I also found it hard to care for my mum as well. I was having to manage travel documents etc. and oversee our well-being. There are lifts on the ferries and we used one to return to the coach on the outbound journey. But we mistakenly went onto the wrong deck and became very disorientated. I must have had a panic attack because one of the other Leger coach drivers told me to calm down as our coach wouldn't leave with out us. It was an awful experience.

Dd went to her dad's yesterday and mum went home. I've slept a lot since. My muscles in my arms are aching and my back's sore. It's with attempting to lift dd by myself, which experts have told me not to do but what can you do in a crisis? She's back with me now and in a lovely mood. Maybe it was a little too much for her this time? But I do want to go back with my ds and I'm looking into it next year.

Sorry it's been a long one but I wanted to share with you all the ups and downs.

fio2 · 06/09/2004 06:36

hope you are feeling a bit more refreshed now dotte. Nice to see some people are understanding even if others arent

Hopefully the highs outweighed the lows for you and next time take your dp Smile

coppertop · 06/09/2004 22:14

I like the way you still managed to fit in a few beers and perving at barmen, dottee. It sounds as though you had some really good experiences (and I don't just mean the barmen ) despite dd's sit-ins. The VIP treatment sounds excellent.

slightlymad · 07/09/2004 11:13

Glad to hear you had a good time at Disney (despite the ups and downs)
Mine all want to go back again now!

OP posts:

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