A few months ago, I wrote a short post Travel Life part 1 about the accessibility of Holiday Inn’s rooms and the great service I always receive when I use the train. I said I would write a follow up post on other countries I have visited especially last year as I went on a cruise BUT, my most memorable was when I went to Disneyland Paris after I left high school in 2012. It wasn’t memorable for many good reason, and this is why.
I would like to point from the start that this was my first holiday without my parents and even though I was a bit apprehensive, I couldn’t wait for a girly break away. The week I was leaving for my holiday was stressful enough as I had my 6th year formal and stress was added when my parents were told a few days before my formal that my electric wheelchair wasn’t allowed on the plane (last year I read an article about a man with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) who also got told his chair wasn’t allowed on this plane, here is the link if you are interested ARTICLE). The only reason we found this out though was because my dad had to phone the airline to find out if the arrangements for having oxygen on the plane were all correct ( thanks Thomsons and Air France for being so switched on when arranging holidays for people with disabilities – not!!!!). So, this means that if my dad hadn’t phoned I would have turned up at the airport and would have been refused to board. Which would have completely ruined our holiday before it had even started. Therefore, we had three options to choose what to do:
- To not go on holiday at all, which wasn’t even an option because we had been looking forward to going for ages.
- To take my manual chair, which again wasn’t an option because when I am in my manual wheelchair I don’t have the freedom I usually have as I have to be pushed around.
- To find alternative travel arrangements at really short notice, and that’s what we did, although it meant my dad having to take a day off work and stress himself out arranging it all.
So instead of flying to Paris we got a train from Edinburgh to London and then a Eurostar to Paris. This took just over a day instead of 1 hour 50 minutes, although we did stay over in London overnight.
Anyway, once we arrived in Paris the stress was not over. To begin with none of us knew any French and we had to buy train tickets in Paris to get to Disneyland Paris. The reason for this is, because we had to book the traveling late there weren’t any direct Eurostar trains from London to Disneyland. So, with no idea where to buy tickets or no one being able to ask you can imagine it was a bit of a disaster. There were no visable staff members around, apart from a security guard who had no idea what we were asking for. Eventually though we got our tickets and made our way to get the train. Unfortunately, I didn’t start my blogging and vlogging back in 2012 or even at the start of last year haha, so I didn’t document every single thing that had happened or take pictures so apologies if I forget somethings.
I would like to point out at this time that I did have 2 helpers with me whilst on holiday. I didn’t employ my own helpers back then as my parents still helped me with everything, so two staff members from Rachel House which is a childrens hospice run by CHAS offered to come with me. Whilst one of my helpers was buying the train tickets and we were waiting some people were eyeing up our bags, I’m guessing pick pockets. Like everyone probably does though we put all the bags in between us but, because there were so many bags just for me I carried one on the back of my chair. They were more eyeing that one up I think because it’s obvious I wouldn’t really be able to fight them off, unless running over their toes. Although like I said to my friends and helpers “they won’t find it very interesting” as it was only my breathing machines.
Anyway, nothing much else exciting happened on the way to Disneyland Paris except traveling for ages. Well we were confused for a while how I was going to get into the train because as I said there were no visible staff members around and the ramp that was on the platform was padlocked. Let’s just say Google translation was our best friend and I finally got onto the train.
All in all, though the holiday was really good. There was drama, always is when you’re on a girl’s holiday but we all had a great time. The only problem regarding anything with my disability whilst being at Disneyland was surprise surprise…my hoist didn’t work. Yep I don’t think I really have much luck with hoists, if you’ve seen my previous blog post Improvisation Is Key you’ll know about my hoist troubles in Edinburgh at the end of last year. I’ve come to the conclusion that I think I’m going to need to buy my own hoist so that I know it definitely works. But like always we improvised with not being able to use the hoist in Paris and like I said we had a great holiday.
We got home safely though, even if we nearly got split up because on the way home a staff member at one of Paris’ train station shut the train doors before we all got on. One of my helpers had to jump on the train behind me or else I would of been traveling on my own, although it was only a 2-minute journey. I hadn’t realised though that they weren’t on the train behind me, I was speaking to them. At the time we were annoyed, however looking back now we laugh about it because my helper says their faces were just in total shock.
Anyway, I feel like I’ve been going on for ages, as usual. I’m going to go now, I hope you all have a great weekend and look out for my weekly YouTube video here which I will be posting on Sunday at 5pm.