13/05/2017

Christmas at Disneyland Paris 2016 | Day 1

As mentioned in this post a couple of days ago, I have decided to finally share my 30th birthday Disneyland Paris trip. I realise that I'm six months late in sharing these somewhat unseasonal posts, but under the circumstances of what happened just before my trip (For those who aren't aware, my Mum sadly passed away two days before we flew to Paris), I think I can be forgiven.

Please note I take no responsibility for festive feelings at an unseasonable time of the year! :P


Our holiday was actually supposed to start the day before we flew to Paris. We'd booked a hotel for the night at Manchester airport with the intention of heading into Manchester early on the Monday, heading into the city for a bite to eat, then settling into our hotel room for the night early on to get a good nights sleep ready for our 6:30am flight to Paris. However, after the events of the previous weekend, this isn't how our holiday started for us. Monday was instead dedicated to the funeral directors, as we needed to get my Mum's funeral plans underway. As my family live up and down the country, hundreds of miles from Sheffield either way, we had to make sure the ball started rolling before our trip, so on my return I could continue planning for her funeral, which took place the week after we returned from Paris. So needless to say quite the sombre start to our holiday, but a necessary one none the less.

Once we'd set the date and plans had been put in place it was fairly late on in the afternoon, so Spencer and I then had to head to our local Sainsbury's mega store to get our Euros (Something that we'd not had chance to do with the loss of my Mum so close to the trip), then we headed home to grab our packed cases, called a taxi and headed to the train station to catch our train to Manchester airport.

Now, there were two things I didn't take into consideration at this point. First of all, my Mum was a Customer Service Manager at the Sheffield Train Station. She'd started out 16 years previous as a train hostess (Is that what they're called?!), and over the course of 16 years worked her way up. Never did I think being in my Mum's place of work would hit me so hard, but I was on the verge of a panic attack. I couldn't bear being in there knowing that she was never going to be in there ever again. Our train to Manchester was due soon though so I could get out of there ASAP...except I couldn't. Amongst all the funeral planning, I hadn't paid attention to the weather, or the fact that the country had flooded. Our direct train to Manchester had been cancelled. This is where our nightmare journey begins.

After seeing that our direct train to Manchester airport had been cancelled, we looked for an alternative route to get there and found that we could still arrive in Manchester with a connection in Leeds and only about 40 minutes of time added onto our journey. No problem. So we jumped on the train and made our way to Leeds, except in that time Mother Nature had other plans. During our journey to Leeds the rain continued, and the flooding got worse. By the time we made it to Leeds our connecting train to Manchester had been cancelled once again. By this point I’d had enough. I was exhausted from the weekend, I’d just lost my Mum, and all I wanted was sleep. I was quite willing to lose money on the whole holiday and go home. However, Spencer encouraged me to keep going, knowing I would regret not going away if I just gave up. So we asked a customer service advisor on the platform in Leeds what our options were, and eventually it had been arranged that we could catch a train to Hebden Bridge, then a replacement bus service would pick us up from there and take us the rest of the way to Manchester Station. We made a quick call to our hotel at the airport to let them know that due to the floods we would be checking in very late, and made our way to Hebden Bridge.

Our coach was ready and waiting for us in Hebden Bridge when we arrived, but we still had a bit of a wait on our hands whilst a few other trains came in to pick people up and drop them off at their destinations. By this point it must have been coming up to 11:00pm and I was a major grump (In fact I’m pretty certain Spencer would say that is the biggest understatement ever!). However, I have to take my hat off to our coach driver. What an absolute hero! I mean, it was crap for him as well. He’d been dragged out of bed to come and pick up a hell of a lot of less than impressed customers to drop them off at their required destinations. It was probably whole lot less fun for him than it was for us. He had the added annoyance of people having a go at him like, you know, he controlled the weather! Spencer and I and another couple were the last drop off at Manchester Piccadilly, and because he hadn’t been able to drop us off at the airport as was originally the plan, he arranged some cabs for us, made sure it was billed to the train station, and didn’t let us leave the coach until the taxis showed up. Legend. As we got off of the coach I slipped him £20 to say thank you. He went above and beyond for us that night and definitely deserved a few pints on us!

We eventually arrived at our hotel at about 1:30am, which gave us enough time to basically have a quick nap and a shower. The most expensive nap and shower I’ve ever had may I add! I was grateful for the hotel keeping the room available for us though, even if it just meant warming up for a while, getting clean and getting an hours sleep. I still wasn’t ready for my alarm going off at 3:00am though, even if it was to go to Disney!

So to summarise, what was supposed to be a one hour journey from Sheffield to Manchester, ended up being a seven hour mission that I’m not even sure Tom Cruise could have handled after everything we dealt with over the previous weekend. I sure as hell have no clue how I survived it!

If you made it this far in the post, then well done my friend! You are a trooper! I promise next weeks post will be less word heavy and with a few more pictures too, but you know, you've got to take the bad with the good!

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