21.12.2012 - 21.12.2012 12 °C
On a beautiful crisp morning of around 12 degrees we awoke to a breakfast of croissant, yoghurt, fruit and hot chocolate. We packed up the dishwasher and, trying to contain Allanah's excitement, we headed off for our first day at Disneyland. The Residhotel is right at the Val d'Europe train station and just one stop away from Disney so within 5 minutes we were at the Disney parks railway station, making our way towards the gates.
The Disney tickets were (I think) 129 Euros each for 2 days and 2 parks but given that with all the tens of thousands of people there we barely queued they were actually reasonable value. Somehow Disney has gotten lining up to an art form so that even when you're in line you don't feel like you are waiting long. We made it through the security gates just in time for the first parade of the day, featuring Santa, the toy story cast and some others.
Rather than hanging around for all of this we decided to head straight to the back of the park where we thought there might be fewer people and we could get some early rides in. The dominating feature in DiscoveryLand is the Space Mountain: Mission 2 roller coaster. We came to this point and the sign said there was just a 5 minute wait so Erin and Allanah thought it would be a good start. I had done a little homework on the Eurodisney rides and knew that Space Mountain was rated pretty highly by rollercoaster afficionados so was likely to be pretty scary. I was a little conflicted whether I should say anything or not. Allanah is scared of the little white roller coaster at Melbourne's Luna Park and had saucers for eyes when we went on the log-ride at Dreamworld so this would be a big thing for her. Should I tell her? It would be the right thing to do wouldn't it? Surely a good Dad would let his daughter know what she was getting herself into here.
Needless to say, I didn't say anything and we strolled pretty much straight on to the ride without stopping to give Allanah time to worry. She thought of backing out a few times as we walked along the long passageways Disney includes to make it seem like you are in the ride when you are really just lining up but in the end it was actually quite easy to get her on the ride. I promised I would sit with her and she could hold my hand all the way. We got on the ride and prepared to go and all was well until we hit the loading chute, which is a long tube like a telescope on the outside of the dome (the rollercoaster is all inside so Allanah couldn't see it from outside).
Allanah was squeezing my hand pretty hard and I could tell she was having second thoughts. Well they didn't last long because we were fired into the dome at tremendous speed straight into a barrel roll (corkscrew), in complete darkness broken intermittently by bright strobe lighting which made it impossible to see what was coming next. Allanah was screaming, then crying, then sobbing that she wanted to get off and I was feeling just a tad guilty. I have to admit itwas the scariest ride I have ever been on and was definitely a bit harsh as a first up for Allanah.
After what felt like about 3 minutes of barrel rolls, loop-the-loops, bends and rolls designed to keep you off balance we came to a sharp stop back at the loading deck and Allanah crawled out with me behind her. I wasn't sure what to expect but I thought we may have been restricted to bumper cars for the rest of the trip. She seemed calm enough if a little pale and she wasn't crying so it seemed we were ok.
Erin and Allanah went straight in to line up for Cartopia, a kids ride with cars on rails around a rather large course. I downloaded the Disneyland Park app (which shows wait times for each of he rides) from Google apps and set about planning where else we should go. We went through a couple of walk-through attractions like a pirates cave and then the Pirates of the Caribbean ride which was kid-friendly and then suggested we should have a go at the Indiana Jones rollercoaster where the wait was down to just 5 minutes. Allanah reluctantly agreed and we went over to line up. Again, we went straight through but as we got to the stairs which immediately precede the loading deck Allanah pulled out. I thought about trying to convince her to give it a go but just then a carriage did a 360 loop-the-loop right in front of us and I thought it was someting we probably needed to build back into. Erin and I went on it anyway while Allanah waited outside and watched (this one was outside).
This was a fun little ride in a 'mining cart' which went quickly but had some nice little turns and of course the one loop. Erin and I enjoyed it and went out to see what Allanah wanted to do. We ended up stopping for lunch and decided afterwards we would head from AdventureLand to Frontierland where there is a haunted house and other attractions. After lunch, which was reasonable value (for a theme park) at 14 euros for a pizza, salad, drink and dessert we walked around to Phantom Mansion where we had to walk past another roller-coaster. This time we had a chance to talk to Allanah about it, it was visibly less challenging than the Space Mountain one and we could tell her honestly that nothing else in the park would be as bad as that first one.
After a rather dull haunted house, we decided to line up for the Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster. This queue was 40 minutes which unfortunately would give Allanah lots of time to think about it but there was nothing particularly scary visible from the line and to her credit she stuck it out and got on the ride without incident. This one went a bit better and whilst there was little bit of screaming I could tell she wanted to enjoy it and she made a special effort to have a smile on her face as we went past the point where they take photos. This may have neen a turning point. Whilst we didn't get back to Space mountain we did get Allanah on to the Indiana Jones ride and even got a woo-hoo out of her instead of the usual screams.
The park closed at 7pm with a fireworks and movie projection onto the big castle in the middle of the park. We stayed for a bit of this but decided it would be better to get home for a good sleep so we could make the most of Day 2 now that Allanah had some confidence