Painfully Frozen Magic

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Now that Christiana has come and gone we are free to go and experience the magic land that is Disneyland Paris or Euro Disney, as it is known. I went there twice last year and loved it–except the Phantom Manor was closed one time and that was an overtly emotional experience.

This morning, as I looked out the window, it was snowing. I was informed that it snowed, usually, less than once a year in Paris. Now, in the four days I’ve been here, it’s snowed twice. I really hope that this cold streak will soon pass.

Anyway, we went down to the Champs-Elysées to purchase our tickets for our day in the parks only to discover that the ticket booth was closed–oh well. (Tant pis, in French, but don’t tell Jessica that because she will get vicious.) So, I walked to the Virgin Megastore, which in all of Paris, is really one of my favorite places–I just love it. I couldn’t find anything that I wanted, so we went to the HSBC bank to exchange money, but they refused to do it, so with irritated attitudes we left. (They exchanged our money last time, but again, tant pis.) Thinking back, that was an incredibly wasted trip to the Champs Elysées today.

It wasn’t all in vain, though. We went over to cross underneath of the Arc de Triomphe, but that was closed, so we had to hop around the lanes of traffic to get to the other side. On the ground I saw the Chanel ribbon in the photo above. I love Chanel, and would have picked it up and made something out of it, but it was covered in mud and had been trodden on. [Update from 2013: I have a Chanel ribbon now from a shopping trip to the Chanel shop on Rue Cambon!] I wish that Karl Lagerfeld would make more men’s clothing for Chanel because I would spend thousands of dollars there.

On the Avenue de la Grande Armée we eagerly trotted down the boulevard to our favorite bakery. It was incredibly out of the way, but they truly have the greatest pastries there in all of Paris–that I’ve been able to find, at least. I had two croissants and mom had some strawberry tart she always goes gaga over. It was just as good as I remembered and that made me smile.

Now it was time to go to Disneyland. I was already having some bad thoughts about it since it was sub-Arctic temperatures. I stopped at the handy Relay kiosk to pick up some new gossip magazines to read on the train ride to Disney. I learned all about Lindsay and Samantha’s torrid affair with a Playboy magazine. Then I discovered that Britney was drunk in Paris when she was here a few weeks ago to promote her fantastic new CD, Circus. (If you haven’t picked your copy up yet, what have you been doing?) Deeply drawn into the stories behind the covers of Public and Ooops I didn’t even noticed that we had arrived.

I knew that we were in trouble when my eyes began to water and I couldn’t breathe because of the damaging winds and freezing temperatures.

Somehow, we made it to the ticket booth where we both purchased season passes–now I can come back whenever I want! I will go back because I adore it there, but probably not in January–too cold. I stop functioning when it is too cold.

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We first went to the newest attraction at the Disney Studios–the Hollywood Tower of Terror. The version at Disney World in Orlando is one of my favorite rides in the entire park. The looks of this one, I feel, though, surpassed it. The queuing system was much better developed to make it feel as if it is going faster than it actually is. In Florida, it is just a long line so it feels as if it hardly moves. The Floridian one, though, is much more landscaped, which is nice.

Whenever I go the Tower of Terror, I always wonder if I had a previous life in old Hollywood. It all seems so familiar and bizarrely comfortable to me in strange ways.

The ride itself, is rather anticlimactic, the height of the ride is nowhere near the original, so, the drops seem less perilous, and more calculated, and there are dim lights everywhere, so you don’t really feel as if you are prisoner in a demented elevator shaft–the way that makes it fun. So, the ride wasn’t that great.

They have a new feature, though, that I was particularly impressed with. The elevator doors open, just before you are about to drop, to reveal a mirror with your face. It then dims, and your face is replaced with a blank, glowing, shape, the size of your head to make it look like you are ghost. It was an impressive technology that doesn’t sound interesting at all when I write this now, but trust me, it was cool.

I was cold when we left and annoyed, because instead of using the word “vedette” they use “star” and that drove me insane.

We then went to the Passport office to get our official season passes. We had to get our pictures taken–I looked adorable. After signing some documentation and being assured that the passes would work at the other park, we dashed over to the Magic Kingdom’s entrance seeking out nonexistent warmth.

Of course, when we arrived at the entrance, we were informed that our season passes wouldn’t work today. Incredibly irritated, we explained that these were just purchased and that, yes, they would be working whether they liked it or not. We got in.

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Everything was busy. We dashed from various restaurant to restaurant looking for something to eat because we were hungry. We wanted to eat in the Blue Lagoon which is a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. You actually eat inside of the ride! But, the menu was impossible. Even in English, I had no idea what they were trying to serve us, so we didn’t go. That was a blow to me. I had never seen a menu full of such foreign dishes.

Nothing in the park sounded good, so we decided to go to the Planet Hollywood across the way. It sounds like a stupid place to go in France, but it is always good food.

Before we left, I wanted to buy something, so I purchased some ridiculously overpriced Mickey Mouse underwear from the gift shop. I was going to get a sweatshirt, but I have thousands of them, literally.

The restaurant was probably ten degrees warmer than the deadly outside air. So, that was heavenly…

The food was really, really good though. I laughed when we walked in to hear all the English people flocking to each other in desperation to speak to each other. There were literally four French people there (And if there were more, they wouldn’t dare tell you they love it too, so they don’t talk loud so we can’t tell.) I had Fettucini Alfredo which was lovely. Mother had LA Lasagna which is rolled up lasagna thrown into a vat of frying oil and then plated beautifully–and damn!–it was good.

We got back onto the train and I read flyers that I picked up in the tourism department. It tried to force me to believe that I shouldn’t be caught dead shopping in a store like the Monoprix for an undershirt–it had to be by Dior or Gucci at least–which was odd, because there are a ton of people shopping at the Monoprix for undershirts today, it was still a good flyer though.

Then a “homeless” man came on the train and tried to get my money. These hobos must take me for a fool. They paid at least eight euros to get on the freaking train, then they beg for one euro. Their nonsensical logic makes no sense to me.

We got back and mother turned on CNN so that she could watch TV (only channel in English). The CNN sports section lasts for a good hour on cable, so that was fun. There is a rumor spinning that Christian Renaldo may leave his team. [Gasp!] He of course denies it, but I don’t know, David Beckham said he was happy in England and look at him now. If you know anything about me this last paragraph will have seemed utterly ridiculous.

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