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The Independent Travel
Book now Talking Mickey

The opening of the new Space Mountain attraction is the cue for the publication of Disneyland Paris: the Mainstream Unofficial Guide by Tania Alexander (Mainstream Publishing, pounds 6.99). If you think the title "unofficial" implies mischievous, you are wrong: the author's respect for the company becomes evident early on: "Disney is renowned for its superb organisation and management skills." Perhaps to support this assertion, Ms Alexander outlines the company employment policy: "Both sexes have to wear deodorant and are forbidden to be overweight." But once into its stride, the unofficial guide gives usefully frank advice about rides and restaurants. What it lacks is a decent map.

The Berlitz Guide to Euro Disney Resort (pounds 4.95) sports excellent full- colour maps and also suggests day-trips to Reims and the Champagne district as an antidote to the theme park.

France: a Travel Survival Kit (Lonely Planet, pounds 12.95) traces the Norman ancestry of Walt Disney to Isigny-sur-Mer; and the Rough Guide to France (Penguin, pounds 10.99) points out that the Disney site, Marne-la-Vallee, was also the location for Terry Gilliam's futuristic fantasy film Brazil.

While you're in Waco

There is more to this small city, midway between Dallas and Austin, than the ruins of the headquarters of the Branch Davidians. The best little soft-drinks museum this side of the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, for example.

The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute spells out the story of Dr Pepper and his popular beverage. Watch the reverential tendencies among fellow tourists, who whisper softly as they wander through the shrine of fizz, learning how the good doctor turned a quasi-medical concoction into a national institution. Luckily there is a mock soda shop. Do check the can, though.

At the time Dr Pepper dispensed, he probably had not heard of sodium benzoate and monosodium phosphate - two of today's ingredients. Cheers.

Bargain of the week

A week's camping for five people (any age) for pounds 99, if you can leave before 1 July, with Haven Europe (01705 466111) at any available site in France, Italy or Spain. The price includes the ferry crossing on Stena Sealink. But you need a car.

True or false

Anyone can get a student card

True: My first grown-up student card was provided by a travel agency trying to organise a trip through Central America. Having failed to find any bargain fares, the exasperated assistant said, "Well, you'd better have a student card"; and pounds 6 later, I had joined the London School of Economics at the grand old age of 32.

Earlier this year I discovered a rich new seam in Moscow, where you need only hand over pounds 8 to enjoy the benefits of studenthood. Once again I am back in the LSE, a college I have never attended but which I seem to be joining through osmosis.

Simon Calder

n Next week: a guide for real student travellers.

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