blusteryday's DIBB Photo Blogs

Full trip report index here:

One thing Davy Crockett Ranch has in common with Center Parcs is The March of the Dads*

This time however, the march is not to collect your car (as you park outside your cabin) but to collect breakfast.

For some reason best known to Mickey DCR's breakfast is a takeaway affair (you need to have bought a package with breakfast included, otherwise you're self catering).

These bad boys are your keys to the DLP world - Magic Passes. They are our park passes, contactless card to retrieve Fastpasses, and contain any credits for meals, such a breakfast.

The cabins are arranged in loops - the story being that back in the days of the pioneers they'd sleep overnight in a circle for protection.

At the end of each loop is a cottage which supplies breakfast from 7am to 11am.

And what a breakfast it is!

5 X croissants (or Cornflakes)
5 X baguettes with butter
5 X juices (orange or apple)
5 X apple purée (nope, me neither)
5 X muesli bars
1 litre of milk
Butter, Nutella, coffee and tea...



After eating a small selection of breakfast items we get to the car park for 8.15am - I don't think we've hit any park (WDW or DLP) as early as this. Second row from the front.

The plan this morning is to hit Disney Studios and do the major attractions during EMH and then hop over to DLP for lunch which is booked for 1.30pm at Cafe Agrabah (my favourite park restaurant).

It's a pretty brisk check in procedure and we're in!

Although the studios were built on a shoestring, they do at least provide an element of theming and show as you arrive.

But why spend your EMH queueing for brekafast? Baffling! 😂😂

This morning was a couple of Disney firsts.

First up was Crush's Coaster, we decided to go single rider and we were on in 10 minutes. A brilliant little coaster which we must do again before we leave.

Then on to Ratatouille. The extension built for Ratatouille is beautiful (it was like being back in Compiegne!).

It's a brilliant ride both technically and from a theming perspective. Think 3D movie but on a trackless ride. So clever, and coming to Epcot France Pavilion soon!

Then after Rock n Rollercoaster and Tower of Tower (yes, we did all of these before 10.30am) it was on to the Backlot Tour (it's a yawn-fest but Izzie doesn't remember riding it ever and so to watch her face during the Catastrophe Canyon section was a treat!)

We leave Studios and head over to Disneyland. We have a reservation for lunch but a couple of hours to kill.

We snag Fastpasses for BTM for 4pm and onwards to the riverboat cruise. The picture is taken from the top deck, with Phantom Manor in the background.

In DLP Phantom Manor is located in Frontierland and has a different story to WDW. It's also closed as the ride has broken down!

You get a good view of Big Thunder Mountain as you sail by!

We then head over to the dungeon under the castle to visit Old Smiley the dragon. It's a brilliant animatronic and loud enough to make small children cry, which makes me happy 😂

A tradition in DLP is Guest Star Tuesday. Each Tuesday there is a little parade for a lesser-spotted character. This week it's the Three Caballeros...

"Time for lunch?" "Well, if we have to..."

It's a quick step across the plaza to Adventureland and Cafe Agrabah...

The theming again is amazing although no one can tell me this is Will Smith.

The food is best described is Mediterranean to North African. The lamb was amazing.

Baklava for dessert too. If we paid our of pocket for five of us, we wouldn't have seen much change from 160 Euros. Ouch. But this was on the half board deal, so all to the good.

After lunch we have a couple of hours to kill before our BTM Fastpasses. A quick walk around Discoveryland (no such thing as Tomorrowland here) and then back to the central plaza to watch the Jungle Jive Show.

It's a cool show. Mickey and Minnie speak in French and Goofy chats to us in English. Still have no idea what the heck the story was, but the costumes were very ornate

Big Thunder Mountain time and owing to a despatch rider error our party were separated. Or should I say that Harry had the front of his train all time himself.

This version of BTM is simply the best of all the Disney Parks and the only one that goes in a tunnel underwater to arrive on Big Thunder Mesa. A must-do again, we all agree.

That's put a smile on the girls face!

At DLP the 3pm parade is at 5.30pm. Don't ask. It's a beautiful day and we decide to hold out a spot on Main Street to watch it

But please, Disney Dads everywhere, what is the sodding point of standing in the front for the parade and still putting your screaming spawn on your shoulders. For the love of God man!!!

Oops, looks like Tiana has had a wardrobe malfunction (she wears blue knickers, if you want to know)

Oh yes!

Old Frosty Knickers herself.

A great parade. We decide to head back to Davy Crockett for tea - it's getting on for 6.15pm and we've been on the go for 10 hours!!!

The peace and tranquility of the resort, especially in the sun, is very welcomed.

The girls want to swim, and Stephane checks us in. He's a real character and has great rapport with the kids.

The pool is the largest on DLP property (except for Villages Nature, which strictly speaking isn't a Disney property). The water is a little cooler than I'd want, but I guess it keeps the visit times down!

Harry is content to sit by the fire outside and consume the free village WiFi.

I can't explain enough how cool Davy Crockett Ranch is...but I guess it's also helped with a dose of good weather which really helps.

Adjacent to the swimming pool is a new spot which we haven't seen before - we may try this out tomorrow afternoon before our late night in Disneyland tomorrow.

Well that's about it for tonight. Paula and I are going to grab a cocktail before bedtime and then lights out.

Thanks for reading. If you have any DLP related questions do ask! Night all!

Eat and Play Card

Full trip report index here:

After a fitful night's sleep courtesy of the world's most uncomfortable bed (it felt like a bale of straw wrapped in potatoes) it was time to say goodbye to Compiegne.

It's a beautiful little town and so close to Disney that I would recommend a stop if you can.

The journey took about 75 minutes and I can only describe the scream from the girls when they saw the first sign for Disney as blood-curdling.

Point of note: as you drive closer to Paris the quality of others' driving is in inverse proportion to the number of dents on their cars. Coincidence? I think not.

We check in to Davy Crockett Ranch and pick up our Magic Passes. We know our cabin won't be ready until 4pm so we hit Disneyland.

Walking from the car park. I'm not excited at all - can you tell?!

The queue for bag check. Yes it was hell, but it was Disney hell.

My crew

We classed today as a bonus day - if we get to the parks and get on some rides, all to the good. We're here until Saturday so there's no rush.

First up: IASW. Best we get it out of the way now and then we can enjoy the rest of the holiday 😂😂

Onboard "the most repetitive song that ever sailed". Save me!!

At the end, the ride has "good-bye" in many languages however this appears to say Fart, which made me laugh.

We then do Alice's Curious Labyrinth - the first time for team Blusteryday - and it was quite fun! Here is the view from the top - it's so beautiful here.

We snaffle some lunch and were starting to flag and so we decide to leave Disneyland for a quick browse around Disney Village.

Charlotte is born to shop (unlike the rest of us) and she was keen to see what she could spend her euros on.

It's only 5 minutes back to Davy Crockett Ranch and by the time we get back it's 4pm and time to pick up our keys...but the room isn't ready yet

In the same breath the CM comps us 5 free soft drinks (do I look like an ogre?!) and we sit back in the sun for another half an hour.

We have been given a prime spot, literally around the corner from reception and the swimming pool - thanks Mickey!!

Here's our home for the week. Two bedrooms - and we bagged half board so not much need for cooking.

Paula and I hop over The Trading Post and pick up a bottle of chilled Muscadet for €5 and enjoy the sun on our decking.

Here's the kids bedroom - they have their own loo and bathroom too. It's a real home from home.

The sun is shining. It's warm. And the forecast is for it to get warmer this week - we're finally home with Mickey.

Tonight we're off to the on-site restaurant for dinner - it's an all you can eat buffet which we treat as a challenge, not an offer. I'll post some pics up later if the Muscadet doesn't hit me too hard.

If you're looking for a great buffet, then look no further than Crockett's Tavern. A great buffet and the ribs! Are. To. Die. For!!!

Sorry, this was all that was left of dessert. Amazing meal, especially for mass catering. A great meal. Would I pay full price? Probably not - so snag a half board deal of you can.

Oh and the sangria is the best *HIC*

Goodnight all!

Thank you and goodnight!

Full trip report index here:

Today is transfer day...we leave Orpington for la belle France!

We had booked our Eurotunnel for 11.35am, and having found out that junctions 9-11 of the M20 were closed we decided to leave Orpington for 9am.

The journey down was pretty uneventful, with the Waze app happily diverting us away from the worst of the back ups.

We arrived at Eurotunnel check in abou 10.15am and were offered an 11.20am departure which we accepted.

A quick stop off at the Eurotunnel departure point for a Starbucks and we were on our way - allons-y!

An uneventful crossing and it was a quick pitstop at Aire du Zutkerque for a quick spot of lunch. Why do we not have these Aires in the UK? A quite area just off the motorway with toilets and a picnic area - every 20km. Brilliant.

Here's Charlotte showing off her french t-shirt!

We poodled on down to our next AirBnb in Compiegne, about 50 miles north east of Paris.

We chose to stop off partly as we know it takes about 3-4 hours to drive down to DLP, and partly to make more of a weekend of it.

We picked up our keys from a lockbox and pulled up outside our AirBnB. Charlotte announces she's found Where's Wally. No need to search for him anymore - we know where he lives! 😂😂

Our AirBnB is very nice. An apartment in a (somewhat crumbly old building) but it's been done up to a good standard.

We take the opportunity to have a walk around the town - it's so quiet here and very pretty. It reminds a little of towns back home like Romsey or Wimborne.

Having had dinner (which we picked up from Tesco's last night before we left Orpington) we've decided to go for a walk over to the Palais de Compiegne before we turn in for the night.

I'll post up some more pics later if I remember (as the beer here is very cheap and moreish!)

An amble around the town...everything is shut. Everything! On the one hand you wonder how life could go on, on the other it's a wonderful way to slow everything down, and pause.

Here is the Imperial Palace, which I thought contained the national car park museum. Turns out it's the National Car Museum and a Park. Bonsoir!

Full trip report index here:

For the uninitiated a 'grockle' is the semi-affectionate term us West country folk give to a holiday maker. You may also hear the term "innits" for the same folk (as in, "innit lovely... innit warm...innit expensive..." etc 😂😂

Anyway today was our turn to be grockles up in London. And this will almost exclusively be done on a budget:

- train fares on our Friends and Family Railcard (30% off)
- London Zoo on a 2 for 1 deal through the train website
- Open top bus tour courtesy of the mega-cheap Megabustour
- Pizza Express meal paid in part by Tesco Clubcard vouchers

...skintflints on tour!

Here we are waiting for the train from Chelsfield into London Bridge. There's a strange weather phenomenon called "the sun" shining in the sky.

First up, London Zoo.

I have to say, I was really, really impressed. The animals all look so we'll cared for, and the theming is very good too. We spent a good 4 hours here.

Price was I don't think it's worth the walk up price - so my tip is get a deal (such as the Rail Days Out 2 for 1)

Here's a selection of what we saw...

It was a cracker of a visit and our legs were aching by the end. Fortunately we had two hour open top bus tour booked.

I can't recommend Megabustours enough - they are at least the third of the cost of the Original Bus Tours and are non-stop. So you get on at Waterloo and two hours later you get off at Waterloo (just make sure you go to the loo before you go!)

The commentary is recorded and is very informative!

The afternoon was helped along with sunshine and a small glass of vino as we watched London sail by...

Number 10...Boris' Den

The tour was excellent and the bus was practically empty - we pretty much had the top deck all to ourselves!

We then took the train back to Chelsfield, filled up the car ready for the trip down to Paris tomorrow and then hit Pizza Express in Orpington.

Clearly the waiter thought Harry needed feeding up - the size of the fudge cake portion!

Totting it all up, all various deals saved us about £150 all told!

We're sitting back having packed the bags again ready to load up into the car tomorrow and the lunch is already made! A good day all round

The M20 *of course* has roadworks tomorrow so we'll be leaving for the Eurotunnel a little earlier just to be on the safe side.

Full trip report index here:

It's our last day at Center Parcs and it's the time honoured tradition of "The March of the Dads" - virtually all the men of the households get up early to fetch the car!

This explains my somewhat grumpy mugshot at 6.30 this morning!

Being up so early, you do get to meet some more of the neighbours...

After we packed and left the villa we returned to the Village Square for a much needed Starbucks

Then a mooch around the Jardin des Sports before the last set-play for Center Parcs...BOATING!

We met down at the boathouse and got togged up in our life preservers. Now Paula only needs to look at a Lilo and she feels seasick so I wondered how she would do.

This is a pic of our vessel. It's an electric boat (I thought electricity and water didn't mix, but hey-ho) and seats six.

Here are our shipmates.

Captain Izzy at the helm. (Why can I hear Celine Dion singing My Heart Will Go On...send for help!)

It was actually really relaxing. The electric engine was super quiet and quite nippy (as was the temperature out on the water).

Did I mention that Paula had bought 12 handmade chocolates? They were delicious!

Somehow Charlotte and Izzy swapped over. No children, ducks or other watercraft were injured in the making of this trip report.

Time to leave Elveden

Here is Izzy carrying Leo the Lion in Paula's scarf as we walked back to the car. She got some looks from other folk, including one lady who said "what a lovely dog!" 😂😂

Next up, the bright lights of Orpington!

It was a relatively jam-free journey down to our next AirBnB.

We were greeted in person by our "landlord" who showed us around our home for two nights. It's very nice indeed...

We were planning on going to the local for dinner but we agreed we are all too doggone tired.

Paula and I popped over to the local co-op and we grabbed some meals to cook back at the Airbnb.

The plan for tonight is to kick back and relax. Tomorrow we are going to London Zoo and have a bus tour booked.

Keeping our fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow (I'll settle for dry!)

Thanks for stopping by and reading - I hope you're enjoying the trip report as much as we're enjoying the trip

Full trip report index here:

I didn't sleep great last night - is it possible to sleep badly from being overtired?!

I was the first up as usual, and this was the sight that greeted me from our patio windows. Beautiful.

Izzy is the first of the urchins up as usual, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Almost as bush tailed as Leo, her newly acquired cuddly toy lion.

And here she is feeding the local begging community. Deer, squirrels and pigeons - it was like a cut-price version of the Lion King

After the hectic day we had yesterday, today's plan was deliberately more sedate. First up, a Blusteryday Clan favourite: crazy golf!

The course was pretty well themed (Ok it's no Winter Summerland) but it certainly tested us!

Paula won (of course!). Justice will be mine next time.

Guess who got the wooden spoon! 😂

After a swim in the rapids, the sun came out...AND IT ALMOST FELT WARM!

Seriously, it could almost have been August. Oh, wait

So Paula and I decided to leave the kids to the WiFi and we walked down to the lakeside beach. It's great that we can leave the kids for a little while and we can get a little space to ourselves.

The lake was busy with boats, wakeboarders, kayakers and those braving the zip wire. Yesterday's monsoon seemed like a lifetime ago!

We collected the kids and it was time for our last meal at the Forrester's Inn.

Paula had the veggie penne pasta - she said it was the best she had ever had (and the portion size was huge)

I had the Falafel burger, spiced just right.

This is Harry's chicken curry - again huge portion sizes!

It was a great meal all round and a fitting way to finish our last full day.

We won't be rushing off tomorrow as we have booked a boat trip round the lake tomorrow (weather permitting!)

Back to our cozy villa - it's served us really well this week.

As have these bad boys - packing cubes! Paula swears by them and it does seem like you can pack more.

And we do need to keep organised as it's not the end of the holiday tomorrow, it's the holiday-within-the-holiday as we travel down to Orpington (Hi, Minniefan!) for a weekend in London before week head off to Disneyland Paris next week!

G'night all!

Full Trip Report Index here:

A deceptively beautiful start to today. Izzy sits by our patio as squirrels and deer happily approach to be fed.

We have a badminton court booked late morning and so after a leisurely breakfast we stop off for a Starbucks

Then onto the badminton. Harry plays for his upper school, so he naturally thrashed all of us.

Some other courts seemed to be taking it *a bit too seriously* but each to their own. We just had fun taking turns.

After lunch it was time for the main event: the aqua park.

And the heavens opened!

It wasn't just raining on the way down to the aqua was biblical rain.

Here is the aqua park in all its glory.

Did I say Paula and I weren't taking part? Even so, it was exhausting watching on

(Izzy doesn't look too impressed!)

The kids had a blast! Charlotte said the water was quite warm.

I'm not surprised, it was blinkin' freezing standing on the side watching

On the walk back, we asked the kids whether they wanted to go out for dinner or hit the Subtropical Swimming Paradise again. The unanimous response is back to the swimming pool and rapids!

I think we're going to have three kids sleeping soundly tonight!

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The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 10 - The Early Bird Catches The Turtle
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 9 - We're Home With Mickey
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 8 - Allons-y!
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 7 - Budget Grockeling In London
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 6 - The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed In Norfolk
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 5 - Fun In The Sun(ish!)
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 4 - Totally Wiped Out
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 3 - Braiding, Braving & Burning
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 2 - Deer, Drops & Disengage
The Center Parcs and DLP Bonanza Day 1 - A Series Of Unfortunate Events
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Park Hours - Wednesday 21/08/2019

WDW & Other Florida Park Hours
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
~to~Extra Evening Hours
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios
Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach
Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens
Legoland Water Park
Legoland Water Park
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Extra Evening Hours Extra Late Hours for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of Florida Park Hours

Disneyland Resort Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Walt Disney StudiosCalifornia Adventure 8:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of West Coast Park Hours

Disneyland Paris Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Walt Disney StudiosDisney Studios 10:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of DLP Park Hours

US Dollar Rates
ASDA  $1.1911
CaxtonFX  $1.1878
Covent Garden FX  $1.1997
FAIRFX  $1.1900
John Lewis  $1.1971
M&S  $1.1674
Post Office  $1.1846
Sainsburys  $1.1880
TESCO  $1.1903
Travelex  $1.1809
Updated: 06:03 21/08/2019

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Euro Rates
ASDA  €1.0751
CaxtonFX  €1.0708
Covent Garden FX  €1.0801
FAIRFX  €1.0700
John Lewis  €1.0807
M&S  €1.0555
Post Office  €1.0691
Sainsburys  €1.0730
TESCO  €1.0750
Travelex  €1.0661
Updated: 06:03 21/08/2019