Disneyland is everybody’s dream destination. I got to experience the magical world called Disneyland in Paris, France last week thanks to my maternal uncle and grandparents. This was just the chocolate topping on the multi-tiered cake that was to be my first ever trip abroad. I was all set to visit my uncle who works in Adidas at the headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and he had planned for us to see the Eiffel Tower as well.
Planning for my first foreign trip started more than a month ago. My mother was constantly packing and then unpacking and packing again. But I was more interested in what exactly would I be doing. I was very excited!
My mom got me a Lonely Planet book and the more I read, the more excited I became. So this is all about the most amazing holiday I had.
So here are some ideas I can give you if you are visiting Disneyland in Paris.
The Magic of Disneyland
Disneyland is so vast that it is not possible to do everything. Enjoy whatever you can do. I was a good boy and did not insist on going on every ride I saw. Some of them did look scary too!
But I sat in a few rides – Mad Hatters Tea Party (I sat in gigantic tea cups, and they all went rolling), The Slinky Dog ride was good fun too. But I had the most fun on a ride called ‘Behind The Scenes’ where they show you how Disney films are made. My papa makes special effects for movies and so it was exciting to see how it is done. We sat on a train and it experienced tsunami, earthquake, fire and also an explosion – obviously not real – but what people like my papa were ‘making’. This was the best ride. Dumbo The Flying Elephant and Disney Railroad are also excellent rides. Captain Nemo’s Submarine Walkthrough was nice – I got to see inside a submarine and rode in a boat also!
I wanted to meet some characters, and I met Donald Duck – he has been my favourite ever since I was tiny. Donald Duck also hugged me and we tickled each other. There is a queue to meet Disney characters, so you have to wait – sometimes for more than 30 minutes! Other characters I met were Minnie Mouse, Snow White and Goofy. It is good to take an autograph book along – so they can sign it for you.
The parade is a super idea because even if you have not seen any particular character, this is the best chance as all the Disney characters participate in the parade. From Baloo the Bear to Colonel Haathi to Cinderella – it was amazing to wave to them in their beautiful chariots.
I had not seen anything like the amazing fireworks and lights show before. They were just so colourful. But because the fireworks happen at 11 pm in the night, you may have to stay awake till late. So don’t tire yourself with just the rides. You will not like missing the fireworks.
This is what I found out about Disneyland when I reached there:
• 18 million people visited Disneyland in 2015
• Disneyland is built over an area of 205 acres!
• Disneyland is actually two theme parks and everything put together, there are about 62 things to see!
• Almost 15000 people work in Disneyland Paris.
• The fastest rollercoaster ride, the Rock ’n’ Rollercoaster runs at 100 kilometre per hour – this is almost as fast as a bullet train.
On Top of The World at Eiffel
The famous structure is to France what Taj Mahal is to India. It is natural I was so happy to be here. My heart was beating so fast and I so wanted to race to the top of the tower. Not so soon! Eiffel Tower has three levels. The first and second levels can be reached by stairs. But we weren’t ready to climb 700 steps. So we sat in the elevator – which was a transparent box from which we could see Paris spread out in front of us.
The first floor has some shops. But on the second floor, there was a looking glass through which we can see Paris. I had butterflies in my tummy as we went up to the top floor – it is called ‘sommet’. It was really windy and cold there and we had to wear raincoats because it had started to rain.
• The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Paris Exposition and was not supposed to be permanent.
• In 1909, Eiffel Tower was used as a giant radio antenna.
• Eiffel Tower is painted every seven years. And it was not always brown. It was also yellow in 1899.
• If you don’t take the elevator, you will have to climb 1665 steps to reach ‘the sommet’.
Das Sport at Adidas, Germany
I found it hard to believe Herzogenaurach in Germany, that has the main office of the brand whose football I play with, is just a small village. Pigeons were literally the size of hawks! And squirrels were much bigger and not afraid to eat from your hands. But still it is so clean that it would put a lot of hospitals in India to shame. My uncle works in Adidas, so I was lucky to be able to see amazing things in the equally amazing building. The office is spread over 350 acres and has a gym, climbing wall, basketball, football, and even a volleyball court. It was very nice to see the home of Adolf Dassler, who found Adidas 92 years ago with his brother Rudolf Dassler (Rudi). His home is now an office as well. The corridors in this office are called ‘laces’ because just as sneaker laces hold the shoe together, these corridors keep different parts of Adidas office connected to each other.
I went into the ‘mini museum’ in the building where I saw the shoes and clothes that my favourite player Messi wore. I also saw all the balls used in FIFA and Euro football matches. The office compound has a lake also and there are some geese that I made friends with.
What I liked most about Herzogenaurach was that it was so quiet. People did not honk on the roads and followed rules. In fact, I saw very less people driving to work. Most usually cycle to work – even wearing suits. I wish that would happen in our country too! I cannot wait to go back again.
• The Dassler brothers made their first shoe in a room where their mother washed clothes.
• Rudolf Dassler later started Puma, which was the early rival of Adidas. Puma is also based in Herzogenaurach.
• The Farmers’ Market in Herzogenaurach is very good – you see so many types of cheese there!
• It is such a small place that there is only one restaurant in Herzogenaurach – Chilli’s – which serves Mexican food.
Text and images by Angadveer Singh