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MEMBERS BLOG

The time our 'toy box characters' went to meet Mickey Mouse!

Last month 27 of us traveled by coach to Disneyland Paris for a five day trip where our members got the privilege of performing on the Disney stage.

What an amazing experience from beginning to end… we set off from Palm Bay on our little coach, driven by Sean from Regent Coaches and headed towards Dover Ferry terminal to take a slightly choppy ride over to France. This was when Alfie realised that his stomach did not appreciate the choppy waters very well. Once on French soil we then had a 3 hour drive to the park, Sean looked after us really well ensuring we had enough stops for stretching legs and going to the loo.

By early evening we arrived at Disneyland Paris where we met those that had decided to make their own way there and consequently ‘checked in’. It was really good to see that we had a whole lower floor block of rooms all together where we did not need to worry about disturbing any other members of the public. Once checked in most went off into the village to get a meal and go round the Disney shops before retiring to bed ready for an early start the next day.

The next morning we all met for an early breakfast so we could make use of the Magic Hours available to us as guests of the hotel. This meant we had 1 ½ hours access to rides before the park opened to the general public which allowed us to get on those rides that would normally have huge queues. We spent the day in the park, ride after ride, enjoying Disney’s cups of delicious hot chocolate to keep us warm and toasty. In the afternoon we were all enthralled to see the daily parade where many of our members got to meet and wave to their favourite characters on the impressively decorated floats. Different groups met for dinner before us all meeting in front of the castle to wow at ‘Disney Dreams’ the fantastic firework display.

The following day we all woke early to prepare make-up and hair for our performance, once we were ready we met our contact at the park gates where we were led ‘backstage’ where only ‘cast’ members usually get to access… again quite special for many to experience this. We were led to backstage of the theatre and given access to the stage to quickly ‘set placings’ for our performance before being led to the changing rooms to wait nervously for the performance time. This was where I had to leave the group, wishing them all luck I made my way to the auditorium ready to watch the performance with many excited family members.

Our 'Disney Performing Arts Cast - 'Toys Come Alive'

As usual the members of Act 1 made me beam with pride watching their excellently executed performance, the ‘toy box’ coming to life was a real gem of a show and allowed everyone to showcase their talents to the public. Many ‘happy’ tears were shed that morning by myself and I know some of the parents had lumps in their throats seeing their ‘babies’ up there on the stage. It was also impressive to see other dance schools recording our performance and discussing how good it was. Also surprising to bump into a teacher from King Ethelberts (some of our members knew her) who was there on a personal holiday, saw our name in the performance schedule and said she “just had to come and watch”!

After the performance most either spent time in the park or ventured over to the ‘studios’ where we experienced ‘tram tours’ together as a group along with ‘Armageddon’ and the fantastic stunt show. We also managed to see the new Disney Musical Show ‘The Forest of Enchantment’ which was out of this world! After a busy day in the park and studios, some retired early whilst some stayed out late to watch Disney Dreams again.

Our members had lots of fun on all the rides and attractions!

Our final day was spent between the park and studios where everyone went off into their own groups to enable them to access whatever rides they wished whilst some went off to meet characters and get autographs instead. At the end of the day we all met up for a group meal which was a lovely way to end what had been a fantastic week. Everyone was well behaved and a credit to Act 1 and the time spent together allowed much bonding to take place and ensure family members got to know us better.

Our Disney trips are always a fantastic thing to experience but due to all the ‘behind the scenes’ work that has to go into it, we try and do them every 3 years. The next one is planned for 2019 and planning will begin early next year… as we try and offer a payment plan to ensure everyone can access this trip, information will be coming out early 2018 so watch this space!!!!

Of course, we made time for a cheeky 'production team' snap whilst in the middle of the English Channel By that point we were so tired we decided it wouldn't be a good idea to show our faces! ;)

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