• Gabi Gandolfini

The first time we dragged our husbands to Disneyland Paris

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

My first trip to Disneyland Paris happened completely by chance. Me and my now best friend Leah used to be friendly strangers working at the same place over a decade ago. One day in the break room all 10 or so of us were watching TV and a Disneyland Paris advert came on, to what I said loudly "I really want to go to Disney" and the friendly stranger across the room said "me too! Shall we?". That's it. We went to an internet cafe the next day (no smart phones in those days!) and booked it via LastMinute.com. Ah, to be young and care free! And we went a couple of months after! And we have been best friends since! Disney brings people together, there is no denying that.

Me and my best friend Leah love all things Disney, so years later we both get married and years later one winter (before I had kids!) we convince our husbands that an Eurostar trip to Disneyland Paris is what we need to beat the winter blues. I’m still not convinced they knew what they were agreeing to, taking by their reaction when they saw us skipping down Main Street towards the castle ... but anyway, the real surprise is that we even made it to Disney after all the drama.

Leah and I and our husbands taking a photo with Mickey

So it’s the 24th January 2011 and it’s early. Like, really early. Paul (that’s my husband) and I woke up, threw a few things in a bag - and by a few things I mean my Mickey ears and my Minnie jumper - grabbed passports and got in a cab, giving the cab driver Leah’s address before completely passing out at the back.  Leah and Aidan (that’s her husband) get in the cab and all of sudden I’m awake: I can already hear the Disney marching band waiting for us at the Eurostar platform... and we start to look forward to getting an Eurostar children’s pack so we can colour our way to Disney! The boys want coffee.

We arrive, skipping, and dispatch Paul and Aidan to buy coffee and all of a sudden they are awake: they can already hear the espresso machines working away... in the mean while Leah and I go to the ticket office to collect our tickets.

“Hi, I’d like to collect my tickets please”, I say as I’m in charge of the tickets (big mistake).

“Sure, so where are you going to?”

“DISNEEEEEEY!!!!!!!!!!” Leah and I shout in unison, waking up every living soul in the station.

“Ok, may I have the card you paid with, please?”

I panic. And I panic because I have done this before, in fact I do this every time I’m in charge of tickets – I bring all cards I own expect the one I paid with. I gave the lovely customer service assistant Victor (and I remember his name after all this years as he was amazing) all of my cards, including my student card, Boots card, Nectar card, Matalan card, frantically grabbing things out of my wallet and throwing them on the counter.

“I’m really sorry, but I can’t issue you the tickets without the card”.

That’s when I really panic and start to cry. Did I say cry? I meant sob.

“It’s ok, Gabi. We’ll go another time”, says Leah in an attempt to get me to stop hyperventilating. That’s when I had a breakthrough! I tried everything, expect begging! So I begged, and the lovely Victor said “give me a moment, I’ll see what I can do”.

Cutting it short, he spoke to his manager and gave us the tickets, but since he could not print ours as the system won’t let you without the card, he had to void our transaction, give us a new booking... it took a while and it must have been reeeealy hard for him to work with all the sobbing.

“So that’s it! We’re going to DISNEEEEEEY!!!”

“Excuse me ladies, but I think you’re probably missed the train now”. What?! Leah says. “But if we’re quick I’ll take you there!”he says as he grabs his super official walkie- talkie.

Me and Leah huggin cowboy Goofy

And that is when it gets fun. The three of us run out of the ticket office, turned left, grabbed two completely unaware men standing around drinking coffee: “THERE’S NO TIME FOR COFFEE”, passed through security in a speed I did not know possible, down the ramp trying to keep up with lovely (and very fast!) Victor and down the platform. He practically shoves us four in the train: “ENJOY DISNEY!”, he says.  And Leah and I go “DISNEEEEEEEEY!!!”. We find our seats, catch our breath, only to find our husbands staring at us like we’re completely crazy, having no idea of what’s just happened.

Needless to say, Leah and I had an amazing time at Disneyland Paris and the boys had a lot of coffee. All thanks to the lovely, quite fast, Eurostar guy called Victor who made our amazing trip possible. The only thing is that we didn’t have time to get was our children’s pack to colour our away to DISNEEEEEY!

And I have NEVER been in charged of tickets since.

Me and Leah looking grumpy
The boys made us pause the fun for coffee again...

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