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Old 11 Nov 16, 10:16 PM  
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Gill H
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From Santa Fe to Santa's Sleigh (November 2016): Pre-trippie

Cast:
Gill H, Queen of Team Wimp, approaching a Big Birthday



Peter H, theming nut, also approaching it but not quite as fast!



Bonjour Dibbers! You may know us from our previous DLP trippies, our WDW trippies or our adventures in other parts of the world. If you are new to us, you might like to check out our previous DLP trippies and videos here:

Gill H & Peter H DLP trippies - Ensemble!

Our last trip was in March 2015, and you can find out how we celebrated our 20th anniversary, Peter’s birthday and DLP’s St David’s Welsh Festival, in the trippie “How Green Was Marne-la-Vallee”.

How Green Was Marne-la-Vallee



Following that trip, our intention was to come back to DLP in late 2016 for our tenth trip. We have visited every year since 2008, apart from the two years when we visited WDW instead. We figured November would give us enough time to save up, and would mean we got to enjoy DLP’s Christmas season. We absolutely love Christmas, we’ve done two WDW trips when the Christmas theming is on, and back in January 2013 we had a brief glimpse of the Christmas season at DLP just before it ended, and it just made us hungry for more. (See “The Hothersalls. An Unexpected Journey” for details.)

The Hothersalls. An Unexpected Journey



That trip was as last minute as you can get – we priced up on the Thursday night, booked on the Friday and jumped on the Eurostar that same afternoon. This one would be different – booked well in advance. So on New Year’s Day 2016, while others were sleeping off their hangovers, we were busy booking our November trip to our happy place. We told them it was a 50th birthday celebration (a few weeks early, but if DLP can celebrate their big birthdays for 18 months, I can celebrate mine for a month!)



Despite this, we stuck to a modest budget and got a good deal on the Santa Fe – a new hotel for us. And there was nothing left to do but brush up our renditions of ‘Chante, C’est Noel’ (I don’t care if they don’t play it any more, if I want to sing it while dancing down Main Street I shall jolly well do so!) and dream of a festive fling with the Mouse.



Now, fast forward to the summer. We enjoyed the usual visits to family in Wales and Preston, and Peter made a very special trip to a dance conference in Ghana, leading workshops and meeting dancers from all over the world. But we were beginning to feel that itch to book a holiday for 2017! The original plan had been to celebrate my 50th in November, and Peter’s 50th next spring. His birthday is in March, but that would be too early for the 25th anniversary celebrations at DLP. So perhaps we could go in April? Or maybe we should think again, and have a joint celebration somewhere else?



And so, in August, after much discussion and many questions on hitherto unexplored areas of the Dibb, we found ourselves contacting the helpful Deb at Travel On A Dream, and booking our first ever cruise. And not just any cruise. Seven nights round the Med on the Disney Magic, sailing from Barcelona, in September 2017.



While this wasn’t as expensive as a WDW trip, it did mean we needed to do some serious saving. We had enough for our deposit and a good start on the rest of the funds. But as the days went on we began to wonder whether we could really afford to do DLP in November and still pay for the cruise by May 2017.

And so, with a mixture of regret and relief, we phoned DLP and asked to postpone our trip until September 2017 – a few days before our cruise, in fact. The new plan is that we’ll get the Eurostar to DLP, spend a few days there, then get a train from Marne-la-Vallee to Barcelona (which looks a stunningly beautiful journey, and should be easier and cheaper than flying). We’ll stay overnight in Barcelona, then head off on our cruise, and fly home afterwards. This should be an amazing way to celebrate our joint 50th birthday (a little late maybe, but we will still both be the right age!) and combines going to a well-loved place with a brand new adventure.

There was one thing we couldn’t change, though. Since we had booked the cheap tickets with Eurostar when they first came out, they couldn’t be cancelled and the destination couldn’t be changed. A quick visit to the Eurostar booking office revealed that we could change a date if we wanted, but there would be a charge for each change made; we tried various options but decided we just couldn’t make the figures work. So we had two return tickets to Marne-la-Vallee for November 2016, just sitting there taunting us…

You know where this is going, right?

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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011, Nov 2018; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017, Ibis Sep 2019
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 07:41 PM.
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Old 11 Nov 16, 10:17 PM  
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Gill H
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Well, not initially. We knew we had to be strong and save up for our cruise.

But then in early October, we found ourselves confronted with a sudden and unexpected family bereavement. All our plans for the next few months changed as we dealt with the situation and adjusted our future visit dates around the best time to be with family members.

One bright spot in this very dark time was that, without boring you with the endless calculations, we found we would have a few more free days and a little more money than we had expected in November. And also we would be in real need of a few days’ holiday in our favourite place.

So it was that we called into the Eurostar office again, to work out the figures, and paid an extra £143 in total to change our return day from Sunday to Friday. No sooner had we got home that night than we were on the DLP website to nab ourselves the deal we had already seen – two nights at Santa Fe with free half board, for £360. It will still need to be a budget trip, even with the free dining, but we have enough for one small splurge, and the main thing is, we get to do the Christmas season at DLP after all! We’re really looking forward to the Frozen singalong show, Dreams of Christmas and the tree lighting, and we’re hoping it isn’t too cold to try a pineapple whip.



So the plan currently is:

Wednesday afternoon: arrive and check in, probably grab a sandwich at EoS and head to Studios for Mickey and the Magician show and as much of the park as we can fit in. Then over to Disneyland Park for Dreams – going by previous experience, Wednesday is a good night to do this as the park should be much quieter than later in the week. Then for dinner we’ll try La Grange at Billy Bob’s – a first for us, and covered by our half-board vouchers.

Thursday: EMH at Disneyland Park – a must for us, and our first chance to do Peter Pan’s Flight since it reopened after the refurb. Probably most of the day in Disneyland Park, although we may pop over to Studios if we didn’t get to do our favourites. In the evening we are thinking of doing Café Mickey (paying OOP). Yes, I know it’s not the best value for money, particularly since they went to a set menu. But the last time we had dinner here was in 2009, back when the CMs used to dance on the tables to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think’. We figure it will be our last chance to do Café Mickey before it closes next year, and while we aren’t expecting the food to be gourmet, we should find something we like, and are hoping for some good character interaction too.

Friday: probably EMH again because there’s nothing like dancing up an empty Main Street. And lunch using our vouchers in Plaza Gardens – a favourite place of ours which will make a fitting farewell to the parks before we head home on the Eurostar that evening.

And that’s it, folks. The story of how we booked, cancelled and then booked again. Let’s hope the trip is more straightforward than the booking was! Now then, all together … “Chante, c’est Noel, sing along, sing a song of Christmas!”




>>> Day 1

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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011, Nov 2018; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017, Ibis Sep 2019
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 05:52 PM.
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Old 11 Nov 16, 10:24 PM  
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nickyjw
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Have a lovely trip Gill and Peter... Looking forward to the trip report.
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Old 11 Nov 16, 11:23 PM  
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parisdisneyfan
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Looking forward to reading this, we are doing a budget unplanned trip just before Christmas as part of the kids (20 & 25) pressie! Waiting to see how much it has changed since we went in 2008!
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Old 17 Nov 16, 11:54 AM  
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Lisa_Lollipop
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Great news that you are still getting your Christmas DLP trip! So excited to read your report... the more I see of DLP the more excited I get for my first visit in January

Have a wonderful time!
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Old 18 Nov 16, 08:02 AM  
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Gill H
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Update: had a bit of a planning session last night (we don't normally plan much for DLP, but with all the Christmas activities going on, we need to have a rough plan this time).

Have decided to leave Studios till Friday, which means lunch at Restaurant des Stars instead of Plaza Gardens.
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011, Nov 2018; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017, Ibis Sep 2019
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14
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Old 18 Nov 16, 12:08 PM  
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Beaker7929
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Have a wonderful time! I can't wait to read all about it
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Old 18 Nov 16, 12:27 PM  
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Taffy1959
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Have a fantastic time
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Old 18 Dec 17, 06:26 PM  
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Cazzius
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Oooh a last minute trip, unexpected trip, how exciting
Looking forward to reading along!
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