Out Traveler Disney

Here is an article I did for Out Traveler magazine

Spring 2007 | Of Mice and Men
3.7.2007

By Alan Cumming | FROM THE SPRING 2007 ISSUE

Actor and out bon vivant Alan Cumming kicks off his quarterly travel journal with a joyride through Disneyland Resort Paris.

I recently took three of my boyfriends, five Nazis, and a 60-something to the Disneyland Resort Paris. No, really! And we had the time of our lives.


You see, I recently spent four months in London playing Max in the play Bent by Martin Sherman (he turned 68 on December 22, by the way, and I'm sure delighted that I have revealed his age to you, but, hey, I hope I'm going to be riding roller coasters with hot men young enough to be my grandchildren when I'm his age, don't you?).


The play is about two gay men (played by Kevin and me) who, after being on the run for two years, are caught by the Nazis (played by Charlie, Ricky, Matt, Larry, and Ben?who, incidentally, bashfully confessed to me on day 2 of rehearsals that I am the first boy he's ever kissed). On the train to Dachau, we meet a gay prisoner (Chris) who helps me survive, and in the second act I fall in love with him. If you know the play, you know how intense and powerful it is, and so as a cast we bonded in a very intimate way.


That's how 10 grown men (my real-life boyfriend, Grant, came along too) were able to let down their barriers and whoop, scream, coo, and have the time of their lives one foggy Sunday last October.


We hopped on the Eurostar from Waterloo station in London around 9:30 a.m., and less than three hours later we were entering the park. Incidentally, disgruntled employees at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., call their headquarters Mouschwitz or Duckau. I remembered that just as we were approaching the iron gates, having just disembarked from a train. But enough of all that?we're in the happiest place on earth!


We actually started at the Walt Disney Studios Park (next door to the Disneyland Paris Theme Park). Our first ride was the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. This involves going from zero to about 80 miles an hour in a nanosecond, so by the time the ride is over, it takes your teeth and the contents of your stomach several seconds to catch up. But the scariest thing about this ride is that Aerosmith is blasted through the speakers conveniently placed next to your captive ears. The boys were suddenly transformed into beaming 5-year-olds. Everyone was laughing and screaming so much that we immediately went on the ride again. (We had one of those guides who takes you to the front of the line, you see, so this was easily facilitated. His name was Gabor, and he was Hungarian, cute, studying geography in Paris, and angling for a career as a TV weatherman.)


We achieved so much more without the queuing. And, boy, were we achievers! We alternated between the scary rides (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Space Mountain Mission 2) and the fun, sweet ones (Peter Pan's Flight, the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups), and then branched out into some hybrids like Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, where you travel around on little space carts shooting lasers at brightly colored drawings on the walls. I thought for sure I was going to be onto a good thing here as I was sharing a ride with Charlie, an officer in the army for more than 10 years and therefore, one might imagine, handy with a laser. However, get this: Buzz always wins. Quel dommage.


We saw the parade, we ate fish and chips at Toad Hall restaurant, Ricky got chased by Captain Hook, we went on Space Mountain again, we laughed, we screamed, we hugged, and as night fell we raced round the near-empty park trying to cram as much into the remaining minutes as we could. We ended on the carousel, and as I looked around at the beaming smiles on everyone's faces I felt happy that what I'd wished for had come true: The Bent boyz had opened their hearts to Disney and had the time of their lives.


There's no room for cynicism at chez Mickey et Minnie. Going with a group is a great way to do Disney, and I defy the most jaded queen not to have a blast. And, because we were in France, the fast food's a bit better, you can get beer, the employees are hotter, and when we went back to our rooms at the Sequoia Lodge there was French soft-core porn on TV! What's not to like? We all slept thickly, dreaming of the next time we could all return.