and then as we got off the bus (which took us back to the train station, which was also the entrance to the disney resort, go figure), it was raining. a good, steady, slightly chilly downpour that soaked my TOMS in no time - along with the bean's spirits. bah!
while she picked through the giant selection of disney-exclusive mr. potatohead pieces - something they used to offer here at home, but disappeared when california adventure got its multi-million dollar overhaul - the hub bought us all something that would help us get the most out of the few hours we wanted to spend at the park.
despite those expressions on their faces, their sentiments were actually quite the opposite. while the teen was cool with rolling with the punches and sporting that silly-looking poncho, the bean was NOT happy. she complained to the hub loudly: "i look ugly. this poncho is not cute." oy vey.
inside the building that connected the front gates to the rest of the park was a super cute set-up built to look like the glamour days of hollywood. the facades gave way to several different eateries and souvenir shops. since we'd missed breakfast, we grabbed lunch here.
the teen and i decided that their weather probably led the disney execs to create this area indoor rather than outside, like at home. whatever. it was good to be out of the rain, ponchos or not.
finally venturing back out, the teen and i stared at the tower of terror ride for a minute before deciding that riding it would be a waste of our precious time, since it's identical to the one in anaheim.
the statue of walt and mickey, also just like the one at our disneyland.
we tried first to get in to the disney junior stage show (which would have been super cool to watch in french), and then into this presentation, but no luck. it was either too full or too long of a wait for the next showing.
instead, the hub took charge of the soggy, moody bean and sent me and the teen off to have a little fun. we'd perused the park map and made a short list of things we wanted to ride before hopping onto the train to paris, and the first stop was here:
since the bean loves "finding nemo" - and who doesn't? - we'd tried to get her to join us for this ride. alas, when she heard the word "coaster" she wasn't having any of it. and, as it turned out, she was dead on. the teen and i thought it would be a cute little ride, maybe with a little speed here and there, but it was way more fun than we'd expected. you sat in these turtle shells, which took you on a pretty fast little run in the pitch-black darkness, and the shells spun around randomly. so sometimes we were riding sideways, sometimes backwards, and a lot of the time we weren't actually sure which way we were facing. it was incredibly fun, but the bean would've hated every second.
next, we headed back towards the "toy story"-themed section.
this green army men/parachuting ride looked like it would've been fun, had it not been rained out.
instead, we made a beeline for the slinky dog coaster.
this one turned out to be quite a disappointment. while cute as all get out, it wasn't much more than a whirligig-type ride. it just went around in circles. boooooring. and we got soaked in the process.
our last ride before meeting back up with the hub and the bean was radiator springs. it was a lot like the mater tractor ride at california adventure.
just outside the main building at the entryway, we found these "monsters, inc." themed "scream monitors." we each took a turn yelling into the speaker, giggling like little kids as the meter lit up all the way to the top.
a bientôt, disneyland paris.
at the train station, we juggled our suitcases while the hub went off to buy tickets to take us to paris.
the bean looked like i felt about leaving the happiest place in france.
this train was nothing like the luxurious eurostar we'd ridden on the way in. it was dirty, smelly, and litter was everywhere.
not to mention, we had no idea as to where we needed to get off nor how to get to our hotel once we did. with a little friendly conversation, the hub managed to figure out which stop was ours:
and then as we emerged from the underground station, we were greeted by the famous notre dame cathedral. pretty good way to welcome us to paris, oui?
we spent a little time wandering through random streets in search of a taxi, finally stopping at a hotel to inquire as to how to accomplish our goal. that's when we learned that cabs are only allowed to pick up passengers at labeled taxi stops. it was a huge relief to finally climb inside one and direct the driver to our hotel:
the big attraction to this hotel was its location - i'm sure you can guess from the name of it. and it didn't disappoint. as we got closer, we got our first glimpse of the famous landmark at last.
our rooms were much more modern than our london hotel, and we were happy to be placed right next to each other.
not having ever seen a bidet before, the bean was full of questions until i finally told her it was a butt washer. and then she wanted to try it immediately. hey, why not?
what's that, you say? oh. you want to see the view! money shot, right hurrrrr.
i had to.
the bean made herself right at home.
the weather was much better here than at disneyland. we set off on foot to explore a little and find something to eat.
there were about a bazillion little cafes to choose from. we ended up here, just around the corner from the tower.
besides, how could i turn down a place that offers this:
on the way back to the hotel, we stopped briefly for a little touristy photo op.
i just couldn't get enough of that tower. i went to sleep with this vision frozen in my mind's eye.