Last month, two staff members took four of the young people from Hillcrest Poppy Lodge on a magical four day trip to Disneyland Paris.
Leaving at 5am for the Euro Tunnel at Folkestone, the group arrived in Calais for 11am and drove straight to their accommodation at the Disney Davey Crockett Ranch, a short journey from the main park.
Once checked in, staff took the boys to the Disney Village, full of themed restaurants and shops, allowing them to explore and capture the enchanting and exciting Disneyland atmosphere. They had dinner at the sports bar whilst watching European football on the big screen and then returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
On Friday morning the group had a fulfilling breakfast, giving them lots of energy for the day ahead. Walking up through Main Street in high spirits, the rest of the day included exploring the park, taking photos and suggesting rides as they went. The group managed to see the whole park from Adventureland and Frontierland to Fantasyland and Discoveryland, stopping for lunch along the way. They enjoyed many of the attractions, shops, features and rides such as Hyperspace Mountain, Alice in Wonderland’s Curious Labyrinth, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, ‘It’s a Small World’ and Big Thunder Mountain.
Hillcrest Poppy Lodge staff and the people we support treated themselves to a unique dining experience eating at The Rainforest Café in the Disney Village. The Café is covered floor to ceiling in decoration and has trees and foliage, moving animal models, rainforest sounds, safari park-keeper waiters and large aquariums. On occasion there is even a tropical storm simulated as the lights flicker, smoke and steam creep through the trees and rain and thunder sound off.
To finish the day, the group returned to the main park to watch the Disney Illumination presentation which involved a colourful, co-ordinated display of projections, lights, lasers, water fountains and fireworks on and around the Disney Castle, timed to the music from the films and brought a long, exciting day to a close.
Saturday started with an early wake up, as the group packed their bags for their return back to the UK. Following their breakfast, they headed to The Disney Studios Park, where they had a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour and an Armageddon special effects experience, and had a chance to jump on some more of the rides including the Hollywood Tower of Terror, Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller-coaster (which was a highlight for some of the boys).
The trip to Disneyland concluded with meeting some of the Disney characters, a storm trooper march, one last look around the shops and then the group set off for Calais at 5pm.
The last leg of the journey on UK soil from Folkestone to Hayling Island saw most of the group sleeping in the car. They finally arrived back to Poppy Lodge at around 2am on Sunday, all tired but feeling very content and grateful for the experience they’d had.