Traveling: The Lost Days of Disney and Zurich

Entrance to Disneyland Paris

The entrance to Disneyland Paris

Wow, did we plan poorly when we decided to go to Disneyland Paris. We should have gone to Disneyland, then to Paris. To travel to our next destination, Zurich, we needed to leave from Paris. We set up to where we had to travel to Disneyland, a forty-minute excursion from Paris, go to the parks, sleep, then ride the train back to the train station to go to Zurich. Not a wise move on our part.

Getting to Disneyland was easy though. The train, while slow-moving, was comfortable and not crowded. We had a little trouble finding the hotel, mainly because I decided to ask where the hotel was in French. Apparently, my accent was pretty good because the woman didn’t hesitate to answer me in French. Very fast French. Luckily, she was an expressive talker and I could discern some directions from her hand motions.

After we placed our backpacks in the hotel rooms, we headed out to the park. By the way, my backpack was getting lighter from the throwing away of socks and underwear. Cristina’s was getting heavier from the buying of souvenirs.

Now, why did we go to Disneyland instead of spending another day in Paris? Well, we both really like the Disney Parks. Cristina has been to both Disneyland and Disneyworld. I have only been to the one in Florida. We are both the sort of people who leave our disbelief at the turnstile. We buy into the Disney manufactured magic and we don’t care. Call us corporate sell outs, if you must, but we always have a good time at a Disney park.

Until this day.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland Paris

Cristina in front of Disneyland Paris

Now, don’t get me wrong. The park isn’t awful. It was just the wrong time for us. We picked a bad day. We were worn out. Our legs hurt from all the walking the day before. It was colder than usual. We were grumpy not happy (get it?).

The Haunted House

The strange Haunted House

The first thing I remember doing was riding the Haunted House. We, of course, got in line right after a bunch of English school children who were in a very hyper mood. Then we rode the ride. I don’t want to give spoilers away, but that was one strange ride. For no explainable reason, there is a time and place warp right in the middle of the ride. It’s as if someone typed the Haunted House ride into Babelfish and got the worst possible translation. I really wanted to ride it again to just to see if I could follow the plot better the second time.

Pirates of the Carribean

The best of Disneyland Paris: Pirates of the Carribean

We then got some lunch and headed to the Indiana Jones ride, the ride I had been looking forward to the most. I really wanted to ride this ride. It was closed. However, Pirates wasn’t thankfully. This version of Pirates was so good it was worth the price of admission.

Some of the other highlights of Park: C3PO speaking in French (which shouldn’t have been a surprise since he can speak over 6 billion languages and dialects), and It’s a Small World (really). The low point: Space Mountain 2.0.

Space Mountain 2.0

The Horror: Space Mountain 2.0

I used to play scout team quarterback in junior high school which meant I got hit quite a bit at practice. That wasn’t as rough as Space Mountain 2.0. The French version has the layout and speed of Rock n Roll coaster in Florida with the turbulence of Space Mountain in Disneyworld. The only thing I could tell Cristina when we got off was that I was sorry for hurting her. It might be for some people, but it wasn’t for us. I think I still have bruises from that ride.

At this point, we couldn’t stay awake. It was eight o’clock. We just went to the hotel, packed, and slept. I don’t think we even ate.

The next morning we had to get up early and take a train to the train station. We then had to find the place to activate our Eurorail pass. We never got the “ugly American” attitude a lot of people say they get in Europe and especially in France. One of the reasons why is that we made sure we learned certain words and phrases in French, German, and Italian. A simple hello and thanks in their language will help you in most situations especially since most Europeans can speak English. If you try to speak their language, just a little, they take it as a sign of respect for their culture. We went to the wrong place first but they helped us find where we had to go quick and easily.

On boarding the train, two gentlemen were in our seats. We complained, and they said it was their seats. They weren’t but that turned out to be a bit of good luck as now we had seats next to the window. Train rides are good for three things: journaling, napping, and seeing the countryside.

Eating in Zurich

Having a sandwich, an expensive one that didn’t deserve the price, in Zürich

When we arrived in Zürich we were probably at our most lost. I couldn’t make sense of their tram service nor did we have exact change to buy tickets at the automated system. We decided to walk. My directions were wrong. The hotel was further than it was on my map. The walk was miserable. We had to switch bags due to hers being heavier than mine. We walked some more. We then get to the hotel. We were only staying one night so we picked the cheapest hotel room with the company we were dealing with. It was still more than most of the other nights we stayed in Europe. We rested for a little while. We then went search for something to eat. We ended up in a sandwich shop. We spent about twenty American dollars each on our sandwiches. We went back to the hotel and watched TV for a little. We then slept with the noisy sounds of Zürich coming through our hotel window since we didn’t have AC.

The next morning we called for a taxi. Our taxi was a Lexus, and it was one of the cheaper looking taxis. The ride cost us around thirty dollars. It wasn’t that long of a car ride. In fact, we took much longer rides in Rome for half the cost.

Zurich Public Art

Zürich Public Art

These two days might not have been the best of the trip but that was mainly due to our mistakes. Had we planned Disneyland before Paris, we would have enjoyed it a lot more. If we had done more research on the tram system of Zürich and how expensive Zürich could be, we could have enjoyed that Swiss city more. But that’s what return trips are for. And besides, we were about to embark on a journey to what ended up being one of our favorite European cities: Florence.

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