Thursday July 13
Well… since yesterday was Monki’s birthday, it only follows that today was mine. The big 5-0. Half a century. Not a bad life so far.
There’s certainly something special about spending your birthday, any birthday, at Disneyland. If you let it be known it’s your birthday, everyone gives you well-wishes and makes you feel good. And for me, celebrating with my first child, it was pretty awesome.
Today we headed over to the sister park in Paris, Walt Disney Studios where, aside from one ride I really wanted to try out, we were all about pictures. We started with Mickey Mouse, then dropped in on your Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Man. We were going to go see Moana, since Monki really loves the videos from her movie, but things are a bit different with “face” characters as opposed to the costumed characters. The costumes will appear for hours at a time, taking short breaks every half hour or so to have some water and then they’ll be back for more photos and fun. The face characters though, the ones who aren’t wearing big heads with anyone underneath, well they only come out for specific times and places and such was the case with Moana. We had missed her morning appearance and Monki and I were waiting in line for the afternoon session when we were told the wait was going to be hours long. We decided it wasn’t worth it, especially since Monki didn’t seem to take to the face characters as much as she did to the big costumes.
Now, where was Rasa while Monki and I got in line? There was one coaster she had remembered she liked and wanted to give that one a go. It’s called Crush’s Coaster and it’s a blast. It’s also scary as hell and after she got off, she yelled at me for not reminding her it was scary. My bad. Of course, that ride gave her the shakes for the rest of the afternoon, so we kinda kept it low-key afterwards.
We did hit up the Flying Carpets over Agrabah, though, which was like Dumbo in that it was a round and round and up and down ride (like an 80s Ratt song). We had fun in line, chatting with the family behind us (a nice woman, who had four kids and, in front of two them, encouraged us to stop with one) and then when we got up to the front, again had a connection with the ride operator due to my Doctor Who T-shirt. In fact, thanks to the shirt and that it was my birthday, he gave us a line pass for the Cars ride, which is a mellower version of the Tea Cups.
The one ride I wanted to see was just being built when we were last here and that was Ratatouille. I knew very little about it, except it was a must see, so again, while Rasa waited with Monki, I went through the single-rider line.
It’s true. the ride is not to be missed. the technology is amazing, reminiscent of the Spider-man ride at Islands of Adventure at Universal in Florida but so much cooler. The outside is a little odd, in that even though we’re about 20 miles from central Paris, like California Adventure, the whole area was Parisian. When you exit the ride, though, you walk right past Bistro Chez Remy, one of the nice, sit-down restaurants, and I thought maybe we could go there for dinner, it being my birthday after all.
I met up with the girls and told Rasa the ride was amazing, so she decided she’d try it out. Monki had fallen asleep so while I wandered with her, Rasa went on the ride. While Rasa was gone, I went into Chez Remy to find out about getting a table for that evening. No chance. Okay, we’d move on. I went around, Monki woke up and we took some fun pictures and still, no Rasa. I looked and noticed the wait times were blank, which should not be. So I went up and discovered that the ride had broken down. But still, no Rasa.
Eventually, she came out and told me all about her adventures being led out from the ride, walking through the various scenes. She got a pass to try again once it was back up and running.
We figured to head back to Disneyland and see about getting birthday dinner reservations there. A quick stop into City Hall and we had reservations for Walt’s on Main Street at 9 that night, but then after really looking at the menu and the accompanying prices, we figured (even with our vouchers) it wasn’t worth it. Back to City Hall and I asked about Chez Remy for the next night.
And once again, the staff is to be commended for how nice and friendly they are. Seriously. One of the things I do miss about the States is the general friendliness of people. Wherever we went in the US, people would smile and nod, acknowledge your presence. In Europe, that doesn’t happen so much and customer service is merely a dream you once had. But not at Disney. Here they were not only ready and willing to help you, but seemed to enjoy doing it.
So we tried to get reservations for Friday night at Chez Remy and the woman found one table open at 5pm. I looked at the menu, thought about it and then said “yes, let’s book it.” When she went to book it, though, that one table had already been snatched up. “Let me make a quick phone call,” she said, and disappeared for a few minutes.
When she came back, she had a huge grin on her face. “I explained it was a nice family, with a baby, and it was your birthday, so we got you a table.” Perfect, a day late, but birthday dinner was secured.
After that, it was all about getting pictures with Minnie Mouse and then just enjoying the day until we headed back to the hotel… once again missing the fireworks.