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A MINNIE ADVENTURE; Fun for all ages on a girlie break..to Disneyland Paris.

Byline: STACEY QUINTON

AS MY sister and I climbed aboard the Eurostar train for Disneyland Paris we wondered if we might be getting just a tad too old for this kind of thing.

At 31 and 22 respectively, (me sadly the elder), shouldn't we be heading to the city instead for a sophisticated girlie break? Kids ...& A few hours later - after dumping our bags at Disney's Hotel New York - we knew the answer... an emphatic NO!

We had quickly become two kids in a theme park, all giggly and impatient, wanting to go on everything - like now!

For Laura and me, who grew up watching Sleeping Beauty and other Disney classics, it wasn't hard to be wowed by the iconic pink castle which immediately comes into view as you enter the park.

Drawn like a magnet to Main Street we found we'd arrived just in time for the Once Upon A Dream Parade.

Taking pole position right next to the castle we watched as massive floats paraded past holding every princess, leading man, lady or baddie from the films we'd grown up with.

and Parade over, and with the tunes still ringing in our ears, it was time to get our bearings and start queuing for the rides.

I've always known that theme parks and queuing go hand in hand. This time, however, we minimised them by making use of the free Fastpass service.

These tickets give a time to return to your chosen ride. It does mean that you have to keep your eye on the clock to make sure you don't miss your slot... but it's worth it.

As we flitted from area to area (the park is split into four themed zones, Fantasy, Discovery, Frontier and Adventure Lands) we each picked a few of our top choice rides.

From the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups to Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain or Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast there was something for all tastes, ages... and scare levels.

And having r everted back to utterly competitive children again, it was the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast we kept going back to, desperate to beat our previous score - my sister Laura is clearly a better shot than me! That first night, after a few drinks in the hotel's stylish bar, we forgot about being children - and slept like babies!

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast in the hotel's 50s-style diner we were re-fuelled and ready to go again.

This time, we made full use of being a Disney hotel guest and arrived at the park at 8am, a full 90minutes before its official opening time for the general public.

After (virtually) queue-free rides on the Carousel, Phantom Manor and It's A Small World we headed over to Walt Disney Studios - home to some of Disney's more hair-raising offerings. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was the most frightening of all. A plunge of 124ft (or 13 floors) in a darkened hotel lift which had almost all of its brave visitors staggering off looking a bit dazed by the whole experience.

Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was another favourite and Laura stumbled out of this one claiming not to need a facelift now as her skin had been pulled so taunt as we hurtled round. If you haven't screamed your voice away on these two head to the new Monsters Inc Scream Academy which measures how high pitched your shouts can register on Sully's scream monitor.

Laura, not known for being the quietest person at the best of times barely had to try to reach the top level.

That night we opted for dinner in the Disney Village, just a short walk from our hotel. Cafe Mickey looked heaving as we walked past, so we figured it must be good. And we weren't disappointed.

Despite being called a cafe the food on offer was restaurant quality, and as Laura tucked into her steak and me, my carbonara pasta, we were struck by the atmosphere inside the place. As we ate, kids (small and big) were thrilled with the constant flow of characters like Chip 'n' Dale who weaved through the tables signing autographs and posing for those treasured photographs.

By the time our meal was over we were starting to feel really tired, so much so that back at the hotel we even bypassed the bar and headed straight to bed for a good night's sleep before our third and final day. We had so much to fit in before leaving... Another 8am start at the park before the real crowds arrived and we managed to fit in Peter Pan's Flight, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Autopia race track and the Disney Showtime Spectacular before it was time to catch the high-speed Eurostar back to Ebbsfleet.

As we stepped off the train in Kent we were full of the joys of Disney, Minnie Mouse ears still firmly placed on our heads. But even after they reluctantly came off (there comes a point when those giant ears aren't appropriate!), the memories and a shared love of Disney will last a lifetime.

Especially if we head back to Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and I manage to cream Laura.

What's the deal

DISNEYLAND Paris (www.disneylandparis.com, 08448 008 111) have a twonight package from pounds 477 per adult, including two nights' accommodation with breakfast at the Hotel New York and three-day hopper tickets for the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park plus return Eurostar travel from Ebbsfleet, Kent.

WHAT YOU PAY

Bottle of coke EUR2.50

Coffee and pretzel EUR6

Minnie Mouse ears EUR10

Two alcoholic drinks in hotel bar EUR20

Pizza EUR13.95

All-you-can-eat buffet EUR18.90

Souvenir Cup with Drink EUR6.90

Souvenir Disney Straw EUR2.60

Packet of crisps EUR1.20

Filled Doughnut EUR2.30

CAPTION(S):

Stylish...Hotel New York's pool Favourites... Buzz Lightyear and Woody Kids at heart ...Stacey (left) & sister Laura All aboard...the runaway train on Thunder Mountain Meet the characters... Chip 'n' Dale
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 30, 2010
Words:999
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