Gynette's Magical Disneyland Paris Challenge

It was the single most fantastic experience of my life so far. I achieved things I never thought possible...

WOW! What an experience.  Doing one of my favourite things – Walking for Walk the Walk, raising funds for this amazing charity whilst fulfilling one of my wildest dreams, meeting my hero Goofy!

I flew into the UK the afternoon before, slightly apprehensive as I was a lone walker and had never walked as part of a team. Worries were soon gone when I met up with others staying at the same hotel for dinner and introductions. We all had a great night chatting, laughing and telling each other which events we had done previously for WTW. Food and drinks were flowing nicely, water of course – we were still on Nina’s training plan. After a group breakfast, we all set off for St Pancras to meet the rest of the team and our ‘Ladies in Charge’ – Jo and Sam. All answered the register but I am still wondering why when I said “Yes Miss” Jo said – oh you’re Gynette! If that had been at the end of the trip I would fully understand! :)

All checked in and through security, excitement building, friendships being made until Mickey Mouse came over the tannoy and announced our train was ready to board. Off we went through the English countryside, into a tunnel and out we popped in French France. Wasn’t too long before we arrived at Disney – I was in awe, like a 6 year old, I was just too excited! “Oooh there’s Goofy on a Poster” “Oooh look at that balloon”…..

Onto the bus to our home for the next 4 days, Sequoia Lodge. Lovely hotel, off to our rooms I was sharing with the lovely Carol, we were all along one corridor which was great.


The first day was full on and tiring but great at the same time! After settling into our rooms we met in “our corner”, introduced ourselves to each other then off we went to register for our races and pick up our packs, including 3 great t-shirts but let’s just say French size isn’t UK size. We got our wristbands for the night time party in Disney Studios, then off into the magical world of Disney. I, personally have never been to Disney so I was beside myself – there is so much to take in but the Disney Castle just takes your breath away. We went to Captain Jacks for our first Team Dinner, choices were odd but surprisingly good.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride goes through the restaurant so we made a team decision to get on there as we left – my first experience of a ride and it was great, sorry for the screaming Jo! We split into smaller groups and off we went for a little explore. The ones wanting to go in for the Pasta Party that night met up again, bit of a delay going in but oh was it worth it. As the party was for participants only we decided we would go for a little look but wouldn’t be late because of our early starts for the races.

I was taken on Thunder Mountain, apparently, if I could survive the Pirates ride, this one was a walk in the park…oh boy, I soon learnt this phrase was said a lot to me. The ride was fab, I screamed the whole way through, then I got told to look at the fireworks – it was a little difficult to see them with my eyes so tightly shut. Crush’s Coaster was next, as we walked past some little dodgem type cars I heard lovely Roger say “oh that’s a good ride” ok let's join this queue. It happens Crush is a completely different ride to nice little cars, I was sat backwards in an upside down turtle shell with my fellow shell dwellers saying “I liked this ride but I don’t remember why it’s lovely it’s all Nemo”.  Oh yes it was lovely for 2 seconds before we flew backwards, up, down sideways at I daren’t imagine what speed. I can’t even travel backwards on a train! The fun continued, on our way out... there he was the man himself – GOOFY!! Oh my dreams had come true – I was meeting my hero! Anyone that has seen the video can explain just how excited I was. We never found the actual Pasta Party and as for our early night – it was more like an early morning as we sneaked back to our rooms at just gone midnight, thinking of the alarm in 4 hours time.


10K Race Day

4.30 am alarm isn’t the best experience but then you remember it’s Disney and down for an early breakfast. I don’t eat early but knew I needed something, banana and mini croissant then off we go for our first ‘Run Disney’ event. It was still dark as we left the hotel and a little chilly. We were all in the same starting corral, waiting to get going – as we moved forward off came the warm hoodies and out came our amazing Disney inspired Bras – the 10k was off. All around the Disney resort, keeping a look out for Jo with the camera, quick pose and off again – got warm quite quickly. We all finished and got our first medal of the weekend.

Everyone was excited as we met up again to make our way back to the hotel and a second breakfast which was much needed. When we were going up to the rooms GOOFY was in the hotel so into the queue I popped, soon joined by other crazy ladies and our honorary gent Roger.  GOOFY loved me and the fact I had him on my bra got me a very big cuddle and kiss! The rest of the day was ours so exploring was on the cards. As we walked into the park GOOFY was there again, this time he proposed, he loves me!! 

Another team dinner at the Steakhouse, strangely enough, my steak arrived with a GOOFY stick. Fireworks watched on the way back to the hotel and a much earlier night ready for Day 3.


Half Marathon Day

Another 4.30am alarm for the day most of us were worried about, we needed to keep the speed up for 13.1 miles and if we didn’t make it – no 3rd medal as we wouldn’t have completed the challenge. Inevitably as we all started walking we got split along the way with different speeds.  Amazing route, through Disney, out into a local village, around a park and back to Disney (their roads are so long). Passing several Disney characters... Minnie, Mickey, Dumbo, Disney Princesses galore, such an amazing effort by everyone but I think we still stood out the most in our bras, especially the now famous ‘Rojjeerr’! It was tough and I managed to pick up my first ever WTW blister – he was a biggie, named Billy, later I found Bob and Belinda too. It got hot and I felt faint at one point, I had to keep going because I knew Sam was coming up behind me and if I was in a ball on the floor – she would have to stop, I wanted my medal and I also wanted Sam to get hers, I was not going to pass out and lose us both that finish. So worth it though as we crossed that line and received our 2nd medal. It was great that the early finishers were wrapped in their foil blankets cheering us in. Time for the obligatory team photo – then through the marquee to collect our 3rd and final medal – we had all done it – Team WTW had all completed the ‘Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo’ challenge and now had some serious bling to be proud of!

More photos with the extra medal then a hobble back to the hotel for more food. Some of the team went back to bed, some of us made the most of the facilities, a swim and spa were just what we needed. A group of us went in to watch the Parade then met for dinner for the last time. The Restaurant was amazing, as much as you could eat and the dessert table was to die for it even had pick and mix! A couple of rides then out to watch the fireworks, fantastic. Great find Jo!

We had arranged drinks in the hotel bar but everyone was so tired there were just the 4 of us, great finish to a fantastic weekend.


Leaving Day :(

I thought this would be a more leisurely day and we may even get a lie in but oh no – we had to make the most of Disney Magic hours for hotel guests so breakfast was at 7 to get to the parks for 8am! A great last day in the parks then back to hotel to get bags and to the train. It was a lot quieter on the train back, we were all so tired, some slept, some enjoyed a very well deserved bottle of bubbles. Others chatted quietly. I think this is where the Goofy Bell of Doom was first mentioned (just in case my name popped up for another challenge).

St Pancras Station appeared far too soon and my weekend was over, hugs and goodbyes all around then trains to catch. Was quite sad – 4 amazing days spent together then everyone gone, I must admit I welled up sat on the platform waiting for my train. I got to my hotel at Gatwick about 10pm, grabbed a sandwich and up to my room for a well deserved rest. Didn’t even have the energy to wait for a bath so bubbles in with just enough water for my poor feet.

Should you do Disney?

OH YES YOU SHOULD! It was the single most fantastic experience of my life so far. I achieved things I never thought possible, if I can walk at those speeds anyone can. The whole thing exceeded what I was expecting and I still can’t stop talking about it and looking back at the photos. I will admit that when I looked at the cost of the trip (adding my flights to UK and extra hotels) I wasn’t sure. After being there – it is such fantastic value for money. So much is included. The only extra money we spent was on a Hot Chocolate each night on the way back to hotel, lunch on the last day and any souvenirs we wanted. It is such a well organised trip, two of the most supportive ladies I have had the pleasure of meeting, thank you so much Sam and Jo. You do WTW proud.

I already have serious Disney 2018 envy – will I be back – tempting so very very tempting. If you want magical memories, friends for life and seriously heavy bling this is the challenge for you. This is the challenge for everyone!

Happy Walking!

Gynette xx

Calling all big kids, come and play at Disneyland Paris in 2019... entries are open... join us now!


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