The day before we left for Paris, I told Clare to pack a small suitcase filled with City Clothes and Adventure Clothes for her mystery Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The “Adventure Clothes” was both meant to throw her a little bit off track and also ensure that she brought comfortable shoes and clothes for our day in Disneyland. I also tried to play it down a bit and said we were just going on a short train ride to somewhere nearby, an attempt to make her think we were just going to the English countryside for the weekend. She also asked me a couple of times if she needed her passport, to which I said that she didn’t and only until the very last minute of us leaving the house did I take it from her bed side table.

The next day I took her to a cafe next to the Kings Cross national rail station and began Phase One of the Surprise which was to present her with this little booklet showing what was in store for the weekend. In true Clare form, she burst into tears of joy and called her parents to exclaim that the surprise was a trip to Disneyland! Once the news settled a bit and we finished flipping through the booklet that I printed, I took her to the St Pancras International Departures area for the second part of the surprise. Awaiting there were Nick, Rebecca, James and Paul (our Musical Theatre friends), all eagerly awaiting to join in the surprise and begin our weekend away in Paris!


It must be said, our experience in Disneyland wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was without THE BOOK! The Independent Guide to Disneyland Paris 2016 became our ultimate companion on how to make the most out of our day in Disneyland. Detailed information on what time to arrive, which rides to ride first, how to make the most out of the Fast Pass… want to smuggle in food? No problem! You name it, it was in the book! Our favourite part of the book were the very first instructions on the Walt Disney Studios Park: Definitive Touring Plan. It reads, “Step 1: Arrive at the Walt Disney Studios Park entrance by 9:20am. Enter the park at 9:30am when it pre-opens. Get a Park Map and a Times Guide as you enter Studio 1. Walk through Studio 1 briskly and do not waste time looking around – you can do that later.” (We followed those instructions word for word) ?
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The day was nonstop fun from the moment we arrived at 9:15 to the time the fireworks went off at 10:00pm – and I don’t think we had to queue for more than 15 minutes for any of the rides (thanks to the book of course). We rode all the rides we wanted to, watched a musical show in the big tent, saw the fireworks and even had time to ride the iconic, albeit annoying, “It’s a small world” boat ride! All in all, the perfect day out! We couldn’t be more pleased.

The Louvre

The next two days were spent exploring Paris: we visited Bastille Market on Sunday where we drank cheap red wine and ate crepes, we walked through the beautiful Island of St Louis and crossed over to the Notre Dame. At this point the heavens opened so we took refuge in a cafe across the river called Bistrot Marguerite, that offered a lovely welcome break but at a cost – a double espresso with service charge set me back five euros – but this was nothing compared to our dinner later on that day where Nick had a beef tartare starter for 50 euros! On our last day, Clare and I queued for 45 minutes on our last day to get into the Louvre so Clare could meet one of France’s leading ladies: the Mona Lisa. A wonderful end to a truly memorable weekend!

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