Everything is related – The Paris Edition

Back in May we went on a trip to Paris and London. There are so many things that DC can relate to in London without me having to come up with them for him, that I wasn’t worried. Before London though, there would be a 4 day stop in Paris.

Relating the things that DC loves to anything else just helps to make it more enjoyable for him. DC loves to travel, but if we are not traveling to Disney World I will always try to come up with something to make the trip more interesting and exciting for him.

We were going to be staying in Disneyland Paris for the four days, one of those days would be spent in the city. I knew the day in the city would be very boring for him and I really could not come up with very much that he could relate to in Paris other than Madeline, so I went with that. I was later very surprised at the ‘relations’ he was able to come up with on his own.

So here we have the 5th installment in the “Everything is related” series – The Paris Edition:

Yes, this could possibly all be a ploy to make you look at my vacation pictures (be thankful, not all :), but every picture you see here is relatable to something for DC.

Again, we begin with Disney. There would be no problem here. We arrived at our hotel – New York, what could be better! DC’s very favorite city! This was a “two birds-one stone” kind of relation – Disney and New York City – together!

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There were of course; Princesses!

“Oh my God, it’s Cinderella!” – during this trip he came out with a few lines I had never heard him say before – “Oh my God”, being one of them.

What could be better than a princess? Four princesses, of course…..

….especially when they are willing to spin for you!

The Princess Room in Disneyland Paris is a little bit different from Disney World. In Disney World, you get in line to get into the room where you can meet 3 or 4 princesses one by one. In DLP, we had to make a reservation to see the princess. The reservation gets you in to see one princess (there are two inside, to keep the line moving). You are not told what princesses are in there and you do not know who you will see until it is your turn and you round the corner. The people managing the line are not allowed to tell you which princesses are inside and they change them every half hour. The line manager saw how excited DC was to see a princess and pulled me aside to ask me which one he wanted to see. I told her he would be happy with any princess, but she insisted. We had the choice of “Brave” and “Ariel”. Of course, I chose Ariel. I have spent too many hours standing in line at “Ariel’s Grotto” over the years to let an opportunity to see Ariel pass us by. I wish I got a picture of his face when he turned the corner and saw her!

After he had her dance with him and of course spin, he said: “Please say hello to Prince Eric for me” – another new line; correct grammar, correct pronoun.

Needless to say, Disneyland Paris was a big hit.

Now onto Paris.

DC really loves all of the Madeline books. I am sure he has them all. He especially loves the Madeline movie that encompasses many of the stories from the books into the one movie.  This was really all I had to go on. Knowing full well that sightseeing in Paris was not going to be very exciting for him, I really tried to push the Madeline angle before we arrived. We talked about the Eiffel Tower and the time that Madeline and Pepito became trapped at the top all by themselves.

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We went to the top. It took a while. It was so crowded. It was cold. There was a nice view. He was impressed, but only slightly.

Moving on……

Before we visited the tower, our first stop which happened to be right where the train in let us off was the Arc de Triomphe. Thinking that he would not be at all impressed with this because to him it was an arch, nothing more, I was surprised when he  recognized this arch – from Anastasia. I had forgotten all about that movie. I was kicking myself for not remembering it and looking into more Anastasia references before we left on our trip.

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Thinking I had reached the end of Paris ‘relatables’ for DC, we opted for a Seine River Cruise just to get in a few sights quickly without sending him completely over the edge of boredom. On our way down the river I realized that this was the same river that Madeline fell into and was rescued by a dog they later named “Genevieve” (yes, I have seen this movie more times than I’d care to admit).

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He was impressed for a minute or so.

Continuing down the river, the tour guide announced that we were coming up on Notre-Dame Cathedral. DC chimed in with:





“DC, I don’t know what you mean. Can you spell it for me?”

“Mom! Chris-mar-a-dull! Es-mer-eye-da!”

He was getting exasperated with me.


Another reference that I completely missed – Quasimodo and Esmeralda – The Hunchback of Notre-Dame! (I did have to write those pronunciations down right then and there so I didn’t forget).

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Our decision to take this tour instead of sightseeing on foot turned out to be a good one. It started to pour! This did not upset DC as much as one would think for some reason, but it would have been the END of the day in Paris had we been out walking around.

Boat = Saving the remainder of the day.
Paris London 053 It was still raining when we got off of the boat at the Louvre. I did remember that one part of the Madeline movie took place inside the Louvre. I mentioned it to DC as we headed in that direction. We had no plans to go inside but it was close to a few restaurants and the metro.

While running through in the rain, DC pointed out the Louvre Pyramid.

“From Madeline!” – I have seen that movie many times but I do not recall ever seeing the Louvre Pyramid at any time during the scenes at the Louvre. He recognized it – so I’ll take it!


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It was a long day and with the rain, the Pyramid was our last sight for the day. We stopped for dinner and headed back to Disneyland.

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I definitely dropped the ball relating Paris to DC’s world. I am happy and a little bit impressed that he was able to pick it up and run with it, this time around.


I see London, I see France…. (Part One – France)

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My intention was to write another installment in the “Everything is Related” Series from our most recent vacation, and I probably will eventually, but there were so many other things I wanted to say about our trip that I decided to put those off for now. There were tips I found and received before we left that came in handy and I wanted to pass them on along with some of my own observations (and maybe a little bit of whining and/or venting) for anyone else that may be heading out to Paris, Disney and/or London.

The flight: We fly often – I don’t like it. I don’t think I ever will. I am not afraid of flying I am just so very uncomfortable and I am one that can’t ever sleep on a plane – try as I might, I have never been able to sleep. We flew out of JFK and airport security was surprisingly easy. We were whisked into a Priority Line (I don’t know why) – we did not have to remove shoes, jackets or take anything out of our bags. DC did a great job and the TSA Agents were very nice and easy-going. I never even had to mention his autism.

Having said that –  I am always amazed at how many ways the airlines can come up with to make each flight sheer torture. We flew into Paris via Open Skies (Part of British Airways).  The seat was THE smallest seat I have ever seen and me with restless leg,  knew right away that this would not be good. The smallest seat in the world already had a blanket and pillow in the seat. What do you do with those if you are not going to use them right away? They went into the seatback pocket which only served to limit the amount of room in the smallest seat in the world that much more. Would it not make more sense to distribute them later? Not long into the flight the attendants distributed ipads. Now I have the blanket, pillow and an ipad to juggle in this tiny space. Within 10 minutes after the ipads were distributed they began taking dinner orders! Now we are juggling the blanket, pillow, ipad and a dinner tray. Would it not make more sense, if they were serving dinner so early in the flight to pass the ipads out AFTER dinner?

DC did well during the flight. He will not eat the airline food, so we did have snacks ready for him. I do not eat the airline food either, but always get a tray so DC can have my roll, butter and dessert. So refusing the tray for extra space was not an option.

There were times that I really thought they were going to come and take me away with all of the jumping around in the seat I was doing and there may or may not have been tears (mine) more than once trying to sit still, but I made it – vowing never to do this again.

Paris and Disneyland Paris: A week or so before we left I came across a blog, 10 Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting Disneyland Paris that had some very good information. We were booked at a Disney Hotel, so everything was right there. A few feet away was Disney Village (Disney Boardwalk). At the end of the “Village” were the entrances to Disneyland and Disney Studios. The Village and the Parks were set up much like Disneyland and California Adventure in California. I happen to like Disneyland much more than Disney World, FL. Walk-in, Walk out. I love that.

It looked to me as if they were still using the original disability access method. We have not used the special needs access since DC was very young and I have no experience with the updated method that has recently been put in place in the US. I did look into it later and for information sake and yes, it sounds close to the way I remember it: Info here. Fast passes are available as well but many of the kiosks were not open. Both Disneyland and Disney Studios open at 10:00 am. Staying on Disney property allows you access to Disneyland two hours earlier, at 8:00 am. The downside to this is that only 4 or 5 rides are open and entire sections are closed off. This only proved to aggravate DC as none of the most popular rides were open. He did get to go on “Small World” and “Alice’s Tea Cups” before the park opened.

He was excited to find Snow White’s Scary Adventure. He always loved that ride at Disney World but they did away with it a few years ago. There was also a Pinocchio ride. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that one. One of his other favorite’s is Peter Pan’s Flight. It was a little bit disappointing. Most of the time you are just in the dark. Much of the “scenery” that your ship flies over at Disney World is not there. It was a very bumpy ride, lots of stops and jerks that I really didn’t think were intentional. The words “plummet to our death” may or may not have been said when I had to go on for the second time.

Disney Studios was very much like the one in Florida and California. Unfortunately they did not have “The Great Movie Ride”, one of DC’s favorites. DC was happy to ride the Aerosmith Coaster, the Tower of Terror, The Back Lot Tour – some of his other favorites and the Indiana Jones roller coaster, which we had never seen before at any other park.

The one other tip I will give is to remember to bring things like Tylenol or whatever over-the counter medication that you think you may need. Being preoccupied with trying to sleep on the flight, I remembered the Tylenol PM, but neglected to bring anything else, just in case. They do not sell ANY OVER-THE-COUNTER medications on the property – nothing. If you need aspirin or anything of the sort, you have two options:

The desk will call a pharmacy that will deliver aspirin, Tylenol or whatever for 8 to 10 euros during the day and 42 euros at night.

The second option is to walk down to the main Disney Store in the Village – one of the clerks will then take you to a first aid station where they will distribute one dose of whatever medication you might need. The person needing this medication has to be present. Thankfully DC did not get sick as he did in Florida……

Tipping: Confusing, confusing. As American’s we are used to tipping, but leaving too large of a tip that could prove to be insulting apparently. We did know ahead of time that tipping is really not expected, but it’s very difficult not to tip if you’ve been programmed to do so all of your life. We did not know that service is included in the price of your meal. Good service warrants a couple of extra euros, but not the 15/20% that we are accustomed to.

If you’d like to leave Disney and go into Paris or vise-versa, there is a metro station located on the property in Disney Village, which is very convenient.

We did take the train into Paris one of the days we were there. It started to rain towards the end of the day so we decided to have dinner there before heading back to the train station. We came upon the Café De La Comédie. It was raining but there was actually a customer sitting outside. Inside there was just one couple. What DC will and will not eat is always an issue, but he found “Pizza” on the menu. Doug ordered what he wanted and DC ordered the Pizza. I only wanted to be sure this was a personal size and not anything larger, I made the mistake of asking how big the pizza was. The waiter then went into some sort of tirade in French that seemed to go on forever and then said “personal size”.  Ignoring his tirade, which was very difficult for me and not to mention the fact that I have a child with Autism sitting there wondering why this man is yelling at us,  I said “good, then he will have the pizza”. He then grabbed the menus looking disgusted after only taking Doug and DC’s order. I said “Can I order something too?” Now he was actually angry and shoved the menu back at me. I didn’t want to send him into another tantrum by looking at the menu for too long, so I just ordered a burger. It was a good burger I have to say.

When it came time to pay the bill, Doug left a cash tip on the table and paid with a credit card. He discovered later that the waiter added 12% to the charge after the fact. So still very confused about tipping. Maybe the 12% (over the 15% we already left – that he did not deserve at all) was really just the “American Up-charge” for horrible service.

Disney Village, Disneyland and Disney Studios were all very nice.  I would recommend visiting.  There was a language barrier but we really didn’t have any trouble. There were enough different types of restaurants in the Village to suit everyone’s tastes. There is a Starbuck’s in the Village, which may be the only place in France to get coffee, regular coffee with out foam.

Paris, the city – I could live without.

I did receive many great tips for London that I will share next time…..