Recently, my daughter's weekend theatre school had the opportunity to perform at Eurodisney, or rather Disneyland® Resort Paris as we must now call it. This meant that we had to go into the heavily-guarded backstage areas, where princesses and 5-foot chipmunks mingle freely with chain-smoking French technicians. We were warned several times that absolutely no photos were to be taken, but they stopped short of making us swear to secrecy on the lives of our children, so I can report to you now, dear reader, that the magic really does continue behind the scenes. Any ordinary visitor to the park may wander through Discoveryland, Frontierland or Adventureland, but as our coach was driven into the mysterious backstage compound, a sign informed us that we were entering "Castmemberland". This, naturally, delighted me, though not quite as much as the bus stop labelled "Pirates". Imagine that! A bus stop for the exclusive use of pirates! I wish I could have taken a picture. A couple of young, French, female buccaneers did wander past on their way from the Caribbean, just to heighten the surrealism to dizzying levels.
We were led past various corrugated iron buildings and discarded rollercoaster cars to an unassuming wooden door in a scabby shed. This turned out to be a magic portal to Fantasyland! As we went through, the sounds of the park suddenly rose around us, and everything seemed to go from black-and-white to colour. This transformative experience was actually one of the highlights of the trip for me. That and watching my 7-year-old daughter performing Michael Jackson's Thriller dressed as a zombie bridesmaid.