Kent Cubs Trip to Disneyland, Paris 2005
I remember the conversation about 18 months ago, Bunty Ridgway, ACC Cubs casually raised in a conversation the subject that we could take the Cubs to Disneyland, Paris. I think my first reaction was one of it was something to think about. After a while I was convinced that we would get enough people to make up a coachload, Bunty thought a couple of coaches! Well, on the 28th January 2005, 7 coachloads of Cubs and Leaders from Kent departed for the trip of a lifetime to Disneyland, Paris. 7 coaches yes you’ve guessed it all named after the seven dwarves! Well, what else would you call them?
The trip was organised is conjunction with Venture Abroad, who we can highly recommend to other Groups planning trips abroad. They smooth the process by arranging the transport, accommodation and tickets. Then the rest is up to you! With 302 Cubs and Leaders from Kent, there was quite a rest!!! Information to Leaders, parents, health forms to be completed, rooming lists, meal choices, home contact info and I am sure there was more; but we had to have everything covered. We were safe in the knowledge that throughout the weekend, our County Home Contact, Iain Soames was at the end of the phone armed with duplicate information just incase!
25 Packs representing 15 Districts took part in the experience. Unfortunately 4 Cubs dropped out at the last moment due to illness so the final passenger tally was 298. Two coaches departed from Ashford and five from Rochester a logistics task in itself.
Excited Cubs and Leaders boarded to settle down for the trip to Eurotunnel. We were lucky and boarded earlier crossings good job as shortly afterwards the tunnel was closed for hours because someone tried to take an unexploded WW2 bomb through!! Once on the motorway towards Paris, the video machines in the coaches went into overdrive. Quiz books were started and games played, and of course the on-board toilets were a bit of a novelty.
We were greeted at the Davy Crockett Ranch by Venture Abroad Representatives who showed everyone to their log cabins set in a wooded trail. They were very comfortable and Leaders were glad to make a cup of tea before they took their Cubs to explore in the dark! Some went straight to bed, others headed straight for the Disney shop (yes it was open late!), some explored the Ranch and others watched the Disney channel in the cabins.
Morning dawned and the snow was falling. Once breakfast had been eaten, the coaches came to collect us to take us to the Disneyland Parks. Cubs and Leaders were kitted out in specially commissioned red Kent Cub baseball caps and drawstring bags. You couldn’t miss them anywhere! Apparently that weekend there were over 1,000 Cubs and Brownies there but ours were the only ones who were easily spotted.
Packs were eager to get into the Parks to get to the rides and to see Mickey Mouse. Well what can I say about the day we kept meeting Cubs and Leaders throughout the day who were having a fantastic time. The rides were exciting, exhilarating and at times excruciating! Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain were very popular. Everyone had a fabulous day and gathered for the Princess Parade which saw the characters from the screen brought to life before our eyes.
All too soon, it was time for dinner in Planet Hollywood. Have you ever had dinner with 297 other people? We had the ground floor of the restaurant to ourselves and the staff coped marvellously. Burgers, nuggets and pasta meals were served in double quick time. Liam from 22nd Sword, Gillingham Cubs had the surprise of his life when everyone sang Happy Birthday and a Bon Anniversaire cake was presented to him. Bunty and I were also surprised with gifts of china dwarves.
Straight back into the Park for the Fantillusion Parade which was spectacular. Shining floats lit with thousands of bulbs went along Main Street and was a great end to the evening. Tired Cubs and Leaders made their way back to the coaches 12 hours in the Park had come to an end. Bed time beckoned!
The next day, and with the morning routines over, coaches loaded, we returned to the Parks and this time went into the Walt Disney Studios where we were able to experience the studio tram tour, stunt show action, roller coaster rides, shows and a trip into Armageddon. All too soon, 2pm came and everyone gathered at the coach park for a group photo call. We left the parks for the journey home, which this time saw some people fast asleep and others engrossed in the videos! A quick comfort break at the Eurotunnel terminal and back on the shuttle and the coaches arrived safely back, everyone intact at Ashford and Rochester. Everyone was given a souvenir camp mug to remember the trip.
Excited, exhausted Cubs and Leaders regaled their adventures to families and went home for a well earned sleep. The trip was everything that Scouting is about being with friends, having fun, new experiences and nights away. It brought back childhood memories for the Leaders and made memories for the Cubs.
Bunty and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the cards, letters and flowers. Thanks are also due to everyone who came along you made the trip what it was FUN! Who knows we may do it again sometime!
Deputy ACC Cubs