Robert Duncan and co hit Disneyland Paris… probably wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the inspirational genius of Walt Disney. My hordes of eager followers probably know that already – I go on about this pet subject at every available opportunity.

So when we booked up a few days of this strangely un-American version of the American dream I was pathetically excited, and tried to persuade myself that the whole event was for Jamie and Sam. Luckily they were excited too.

We drove to Dover or somewhere near there, drove straight onto a train, and twenty minutes later drove off in la belle France. Three hours later we were in a massive hotel on the very edge of Wonderland. Ignoring the drizzle and, slightly miffed that the power of Disney couldn’t control this very basic situation, we headed off for the light show.

Wow! The Cinderella castle became a gigantic screen for a staggeringly good animated show, where all the projected characters we know and love ran on, climbed up, floated down and generally danced around to quad sound and a ‘new year over Big Ben’ scale firework display. Cathy wanted to know if they did this every night and I said no, it’s just that they’d heard we were coming.

Comfy night, scrum down for breakfast, and we were off on the second leg of our adventure. Space Mountain was closed. Oh dear me, I was so looking forward to that. Not. But Small World was open so we travelled gently through some terrific artwork before shooting everything in Buzz Lightyear’s ride. But you can read about all these thrills and spills on the Disney website if you can be bothered. So briefly… queues… hotdogs… small rides that you’ve forgotten by the time you walk back into the fresh air… and endless souvenir shops.

When I first went to one of the American Disney parks I spent loads on lovely little figures of Mickey, Minnie, Thumper and Snow White. The latter was for my Mum God bless her, and when she departed and left us all to it I reclaimed the little classic porcelain princess and I have her on my shelf in my studio today. But guess what? They don’t do those any more. After much searching I found a model of Mickey, and Jamie found a … Captain America outfit – something you wouldn’t immediately associate with Disney. But he loved it, loves it, and wore it throughout the entire trip. A lot of passers-by said how glad they were that Captain America was there, and that obviously things would now be alright. All worked well until we got to the Wild West Show, when this mini-super hero refused to take the costume off and we had to content ourselves with him wearing the compulsory cowboy hat over his Captain America mask. So there was the sort of Lone Ranger that would have scared the hell out of Silver, and probably
made him bolt, scattering silver bullets all over Tonto and Dodge City generally.

Anyway, enough of all that. The Wild West evening was considered to be the second best bit of the whole trip – with its wonderful horses and riders, a whole herd of very obedient cattle, stage coaches, lots of shooting, cowboy tucker served on metal plates, too much beer ‘n’ beans, and Mickey Mouse coming on to save the day. Whooping brilliant.

So, eager reader, what was the first best bit? No contest. About 3000 of us were let into a mighty grandstand and stunt cars (don’t read that the wrong way round) performed amazing high speed tricks for our delight, along with a motor bike bloke who’s going to end up in traction eventually, and shoot-outs, explosions and amazing chases. Do they really do that every day? Extraordinary…

One of the latest Disney treasures is Ratatouille – the adventures of a sweet little rat who happens to be a genius chef, and probably better than his fellow countryman Raymond Blanc. After the customary fifty minute wait it was all into a car thing and off on a 3D ride through an enormous kitchen, where we were rat size and having pans, onions and rolling pins hurled at us. We drove at high speed from one giant 3D screen to another in total disbelief. That was it. Disney Magic still alive and well.

A wonderful early evening parade, supper, sleep and on to the last morning. You could tell it was the last morning – the sun came out. The Runaway Train was closed so we queued for ages for a rather indifferent ride that went wrong literally when we’d made it to the platform. We comforted ourselves with the fact that we weren’t as badly off as the lot before us, who were stuck halfway up a worrying hill with no way of escape.

Lunch at the Ratatouille Restaurant, where everything was giant size – we sat on bottle tops, admired booths formed by edge-on plates, and took photos of six foot high forks, electric plugs and pepper mills.

Long journey home. Loads of pictures to turn into an album to bore relations with, and a bootful of souvenirs to scatter around the house.

Captain America watched videos all the way home, and didn’t go to sleep or save the world once…