The year was 1998, and it was our first (and I thought only ever) visit to Disneyland Paris. My wife and I had saved quite a bit of money to take our growing family to go see our relatives in California. Then, in a surprise move by British Airways, they opened up the Denver to London market by announcing $99 one way to London. Of course, we quickly called them, explained the opportunity, and waved "Farewell" to California but "Hello" to London and Paris.
A newly opened and freshly planted Parisian Storybookland.
It was the adventure of a lifetime for our 8, 12, 13, and 14 year old kids. It was for us as well as we love to travel but had always seen a trip to Europe as something that financially would never happen. Of course, God had different plans. It was going to be very tight financially to do this, but due to a windfall business situation, my Mom and Dad sent us a few thousand dollars as a gift! We were on our way to Europe on Delta, who had matched the fares of the competition.
The classic Discoveryland attraction.
Given we had our kids with us, we kept things very family friendly with a few rules as we planned: One museum a day and/or one church a day when we visited either, as many famous kid-friendly sights (Tower of London, etc.) as possible, and for dear old Dad in particular, a trip to Disneyland. Not that the family minded!
It all went off without too much of a hitch- that is until a huge storm made it very difficult to get across the English Channel to France. Eventually, we did about 3 am in the morning but at the cost of losing our lunch reservation at the cheapest restaurant at the Eiffel Tower by an hour. (Still a splurge, though! We did get to the top of the Tower later in the week, standing in line next to a family from Cuba. What a treat to meet so many people from different parts of the world.)
The three oldest kids got to ride Space Mountain with Dad.
The youngest was two inches too short,
so he settled for Autopia with Mom.
We all returned home happily exhausted. Mom and Dad determined to return to Europe without the kids one day, and we would do so in 2007 to celebrate our 25th anniversary. (Trip report here.) Nor did we realize we would do it again in 2013 and 2014 due to a business trip I needed to take. (Oops- I just realized I never did finish that series on our 2014 trip to Switzerland and the South of France. No Disneyland Paris at all then.) Together, that's meant three trips to Disneyland Paris in three different seasons and in three different decades. God never ceases to amaze me...
The kids are much older now with families of their own, but they still talk about this trip! As do we with very fond memories and a few laughs.
(Photographs copyright Mark Taft.)