Wednesday, 2 November 2016

My Disneyland Paris Top 5 Rides

Having only previously visited Disneyland Paris once on a school trip over 10 years ago, when I went  back for a long weekend last month I wasn't really sure what to expect. Although I'd heard great things about the parks and the expansions they'd done, I was worried that my recent trips to Walt Disney World Florida would have ruined all other Disney Parks for me. And while Disneyland Paris doesn't quite live up to WDW (let's be real - nothing can live up to it), I was pleasantly surprised. I'll be doing a WDW/DLP comparison post in the near future, but for now I'd like to focus on the good, so without further adieu - here are my top 5 Disneyland Paris rides.

5. RC Racer
Extra points if you can spot me!

Located in Toy Story Playland over in the Disney Studios park, this fun ride is modeled after the remote control car from Toy Story. While the ride doesn't look like much from the outside, and despite the fact that it's situated in a more kid-friendly section of the park, this ride still packs a punch. Strapped into the car, you are propelled forwards and backwards on a U shaped track, picking up pace until you feel like the car is going to be launched right off the edge! The RC Racer actually goes a lot faster and a lot higher than I would have ever expected - I was definitely screaming at the top! My only bugbear about this ride is that it doesn't last long enough. We were lucky enough to only wait 5-10 minutes each time (albeit we were in the single riders lane), but I can imagine being pretty disappointed if I'd waited any more than 20 minutes for this.

4. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril

No ride photos so here's a pic of me outside the ride!
This is another ride that I was pleasantly surprised with, so much so that we ended up going straight back on it after we came off the first time, for some reason the wait time was always 5 minutes! I thought this would be a run of the mill Disney park ride similar to Big Thunder Mountain (no offence meant to BTM, still one of my faves), but it is way more thrilling. It has plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns, and even has one full loop, which I totally didn't realise until I was right there upside down in among some temple ruins. I really like that this ride is outdoors, it's a nice change as most of the bigger rides at Disney parks seem to be indoors.

3. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster 

The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is one of my favourite rides at WDW so I had no doubt that I'd enjoy this if it was similar to the original - which it very much is. You go hurtling round a track with countless twists and loops at lightening speed, all the time listening to Aerosmith - what's not to love?! Hands down, the best part of this ride is the anticipation at the beginning when Aerosmith start the countdown as you feel yourself about to shoot forward.

2. Space Mountain Mission 2

Oh my gosh, I don't even know where to start with this one. I love Space Mountain in WDW and thought this would be the same kind of thing, and while it sticks to the same themes, the French have really upped the ante with this one. You will be screaming for dear life. A word of warning - don't go on this ride any more than two times in a row or you will have a pounding headache for the rest of the day. As terrifying as this ride is, it's also a lot of fun, and it's a proper roller coaster which can sometimes be hard to find in the Disney Parks.

1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The Tower of Terror is one of my all time favourite Disney Park rides anyway, so it was always going to be high on this list, but there's a reason it has made its way to the top. I love all aspects of the Tower of Terror - the spookiness, the anticipation of the drop, the drop itself, the random sequences of drops each time you ride, and the banter. While in WDW you will have friendly banter will almost all cast members, this is something that's harder to come by in DLP. I don't know if it's a language barrier thing, or if people here are just shyer than in the states, but it's the main difference I noticed in the park. However, the bellhops at the Tower of Terror in DLP know what's up. They will sneak up and frighten the poo right out of you, they'll make jokes while going over the safety precautions, they'll make fun of you right to your face - but all in good fun. They really stay in character the whole time and it helps to make this the best DLP attraction in my honest opinion. 

These are all just my opinions, and there were some rides that were down for maintenance while we were there so there's still some I haven't tried! What are your favourites at Disneyland Paris?

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Finding Dory at the Lomond Shores Sea Life Centre

To celebrate the UK release of Finding Dory, my sister Justine and I decided to plan a day of fish fun at our local aquarium, the Lomond Shores Sea Life Centre, before going to see the movie. The Sea Life Centre was actually holding a special screening of the film on Saturday evening so we planned our day around it - what better location to watch Finding Dory than an aquarium? It was so fitting!

The Finding Dory festivities were in full swing at the Sea Life Centre with themed decorations and movie related fun facts throughout. There were even some giant backdrops that were perfect for photos and really got us in the spirit to get looking for Dory! We also realised after we took these photos that I'd dressed as Dory and Justine had dressed as Hank the octopus (or septapus if you've seen the movie!)

Our first stop in the hunt for Dory and Co, was the stingray tank where we watched Mr Ray and pals get fed and glide through the water. Everytime I saw one woosh past me I couldn't help but think of Mr Ray's anemone song. Let's name the zones, the zones, the zones. Let's name the zones of the open SEA! Although we had fun watching the stingrays, it soon became apparent that Dory was not there and so the search continued.

Next up we braved the shark tank in the hopes that we might find Dory at one of her "fish are friends - not food" meetings, but alas she was not! We stayed and watched Bruce and the others circle above us and kept a close eye out for any poor little fish skeletons - just in case!

In contrast to the scary sharks, we next came across the cutest little jellyfish! I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy. For some reason these little guys were swimming upside down but if anything, this just added to the cuteness!

Speaking of cute, we then went to the turtle feed. We didn't see Crush or Squirt (I think they're still somewhere on the EAC), but we did have the pleasure of seeing Cammy, the resident giant sea turtle at the Sea Life Centre. Cammy is 14 years old which is still pretty young for a giant sea turtle considering they live to be over 100 (Sandy Plankton knows nothing!), and we learned that she eats lettuce, broccoli and even kale - how very hipster! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any decent photos or footage of Cammy as she was too busy munching on some greens but she was beautiful and huge!

By this point we were beginning to lose hope of ever finding Dory, so I took it upon myself to get as close a look in the tanks as I possibly could - but all I found were puffer fish! We even went to the viewing deck to see if she'd somehow managed to make her way back to the sea but we found nothing but a gorgeous view.

Just as we were about to admit defeat, we stumbled upon a display of some rather familiar looking fish friends...Dory, Marlin and Nemo! We found them!

All the aquarium fun definitely got us in the mood for the movie, so we headed into the massive cinema screen located conveniently inside the Sea Life Centre, and were even gifted with some super cool Dory cups!

I won't do an in-depth review of Finding Dory as I don't want to give anything away, but I loved every minute of it. It had the humour and warmth that you'd expect from a Disney Pixar movie with the added cuteness of baby Dory (honestly she was freakin' adorable!), which along with the characters you already know and love as well as some new ones, makes for the perfect feel good movie. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll most definitely squee with delight, but don't just take my word for it, go see it yourselves! I know that I'll be seeing it at least once more while it's still in cinemas!

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Top 10 Magic Kingdom Snacks

One of the most exciting aspects of any Disney trip is the food. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this, but sometimes I'm just as excited to enjoy some delicious treats as I am to meet the characters and go on the rides! I've spend a lot of time narrowing down my top ten Magic Kingdom snacks and with so much on offer, believe me, it was hard. Somehow I managed it, but these are just my own opinions and are in no way definitive. You might be surprised at the lack of turkey legs and Dole whips on my lists but it's purely because I haven't actually tried either of those! (please don't strip me of my disneyholic title!!!) Without further adieu, I present to you my top ten snacks of the Magic Kingdom.

10. Starbuck's Frappe - Main Street Bakery

Okay, I know what you're thinking. How can something from an international chain shop make the top ten Magic Kingdom snack list? I get it. I was dubious about Disney adding a Starbucks to the park as well, but it works. Walt Disney World is EXHAUSTING. We all need a little caffeine boost throughout the day to help us survive and who could say no to these adorable Disney Starbucks cups? *insert all the heart eye emojis*. Seriously. These are too cute! There's no better Disney down time than sitting in front of the castle with a favourite frappe that you already know and love. See evidence below.

9. Popcorn - Popcorn Carts

Popcorn is arguably the most convenient park snack: it's portable, mess-free and comes in it's own container. I love popcorn as much as the next person, and Disney's popcorn is salty and delicious. The only reason it isn't higher on my list is that it only comes salted. Now I don't know if this is strictly a Disney thing or an American thing in general, but in most cinemas/other places that serve popcorn in the UK you get a choice of sweet or salted and although I enjoy the occasional salty kernel, in my heart of hearts I'm a sweet gal.

8. Rice Krispie Treat - Big Top Treats

Rice Krispie Treats are not something that are commonly eaten in the UK, with the exception of the Rice Krispie cereal bar things but those are weird and not nearly as nice. And most importantly - they're not Mickey Mouse shaped! I feel like it should be a rule of thumb for all Disney food to be Mickey shaped, it just adds another element of enjoyment to the snack. These are chewy, crispy and sugary sweet and can be customized with chocolate, sprinkles and goodness knows what else. They come cellophane wrapped or on a stick and are just as delicious either way. I like to enjoy mine with a hot chocolate on those super rare chilly moments that occur in Florida's crazy climate. They also make gigantic versions of these treats, so if someone could send me one for my birthday, that'd be great.

7. Frozen Raspberry Lemonade - Sunshine Tree Terrace
I was torn between this and the solid frozen lemonade that comes in cartons, but this just pipped it for me as the solid version can be pretty messy to eat! It's a sweet and fruity blend of raspberries and frozen lemonade that makes for the most refreshing drink/snack to enjoy in the scorching Florida sunshine. Bonus points if you enjoy it while sitting under a water misting fountain. It will really cool you down.

6. LeFou's Brew - Gaston's Tavern

This frosty concoction describes itself as frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with fruit foam. It just tastes like a sweet apple slush drink but it is delicious nonetheless. The winning factor for this drink however, is the novelty cup! This drink is available in a regular cup but really, what is the point? Look at those bad boys! You get the choice of Gaston's manly stein (my cup of choice) or a pretty Belle goblet that my sister Justine opted for.

5. Hot Fudge Sundae - Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies

Oh baby. I rarely go a day without thinking of this sundae. Smooth chocolate ice cream topped with the fluffiest whipped cream and served with lashings of hot fudge sauce - it's my ideal snack/dessert. I think Carly and I must have had at least four of these on our last trip. Our favourite thing to do was to lap up the hot fudgey goodness while sitting at a bench in Tomorrowland watching the Incredibles Super Dance Party. Hot fudge + catchy dance tunes = a darn good time. Also worth mentioning - I asked for extra hot fudge one night to stop a cat-fight breaking out over who was getting the bigger serving and the cast member poured me a huge cup of hot fudge sauce no questions asked.

4. Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar - Ice Cream Carts

Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar is an absolute classic. Creamy ice cream covered in crisp chocolate served on a handy stick. This snack might not be the fanciest or the most indulgent but it's perfect for an on-the-go sugar rush style pick up. Be warned however, in the hottest of weather you must eat as quickly as possible or you will end up with melted chocolate and ice cream all over your face and hands frantically searching for the nearest bathroom. That wouldn't be too embarrassing right? Asking for a friend.

3. Churros - Churro Carts
No Disney Park snack list would be complete without Churros in my opinion. Freshly made throughout the day, these sugary bites of dough are delicious and perfect for sharing, unless you're selfish and greedy like someone I know (okay, it's me). The churros are accompanied with a yummy chocolate sauce which is perfect for dipping. And if you run out of churros to dip you can always scoop out the rest of the sauce with your fingers, I won't judge!

2. Hot Dog - Casey's Corner

Hot dogs are one of my favourite foods and are a staple of my Disney vacation diet. I struggle to think of the Magic Kingdom without thinking of Casey's Corner, the all-American counter service hot dog joint located right at the end of Main Street. It's the perfect place to grab a snack and soak in all the sights and sounds around you while planning your next moves. A Casey's Corner hot dog is as good as a hot dog can be, but it's really the atmosphere and nostalgia that surrounds you when you get one that really does it for me.

1. Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Sandwich - Ice Cream Carts
Here we are at the top of the list, and my number one Magic Kingdom snack goes to Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Sandwich. Creamy cookie-speckled ice cream sandwiched between two soft chocolate biscuits, not only shaped like Mickey, but emblazoned with all the details of his happy face. Decidedly easier to eat than the ice cream bar, and with added tastiness, you really can't go wrong with this guy. I'm completely aware that this is available not just in the Magic Kingdom but throughout the Disney parks and resorts, but to me this snack completely sums up the feeling of the Magic Kingdom: Happy, Playful and Carefree.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Florida November 2015 Recap - Last Day at Magic Kingdom

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

As this was our last day of fun, we got up and out at a reasonable time and headed for the Magic Kingdom intending on soaking up every last magical ounce of pixie dust. We dressed in one last matchy matchy outfit made up of mickey mouse denim dungaree dresses! (thank you Primark!) Carly wore this really cool Tsum Tsum t-shirt that she got about a bazillion compliments on all day, I actually had the same one but I opted for the top below instead as it was a bit more breathable and I'm a sucker for stripes!

When we arrived at WDW we discovered that the monorail was out of order which meant we had to get to the Magic Kingdom by boat! I'd used the boat before but it was still a cool experience seeing the castle come into view from a slightly different angle and the mellowness of the journey set the tone for the rest of the day. Instead of rushing around trying to fit in as much as possible and exhausting ourselves, we ended up taking it easy and absorbing all the magic around us.

We took a bittersweet stroll down Main Street and grabbed ourselves some Casey's Corner hot dogs one last time. We were probably more than sick of hot dogs by this point (who am I kidding? I love those bad boys) but had to get one for the sake of tradition! 

As it's now 8 months since the trip (where did the time go?? Also yes I suck at this.) I can't quite remember every little thing we did or the order in which we did it, but I will try my best! I definitely remember that we spent a lot of time in shops that day, particularly the emporium on Main Street lusting over everything and picking up some last minute essentials.

We went to Mickey's PhilharMagic which I absolutely love, as does Carly. You don't really hear much about it but honestly it's one of my MK must-do's and it seems to be really underrated. If you've never experienced it, it's a 4D show/concert that features Donald Duck bashing his way through some of Disney's biggest musical numbers. It contains many favourite characters and songs as well as some wacky surprises! It's basically magical and if you've never seen it you're missing out!

As we hadn't done it on this trip, we took a wee spin on the carousel. As simple as the carousel is and besides the fact that you can find a one pretty much anywhere else in the world, there is nothing more joyful than bobbing along with Disney songs with Cinderella's castle right behind you. Plus it makes for great photos!

Next up we grabbed a snack (one mickey ice cream bar please and thank you) and watched the Festival of Fantasy parade. We'd seen little snippets of the parade throughout our trip but this was the first time we actually stood and watched it in its entirety and it was incredible. The costumes and props are just amazing. Words won't do it justice so here comes a thousand parade photos.

 That giant bagpipe tho

Actual fire no big deal

Another first for us that day was meeting the big man (or should I say tiny man?) himself - the one and only M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! And the weird/cool thing about this character meet is that through the power of Disney magic, Mickey was actually able to speak to us! Albeit in weird stunted phrases but still pretty cool. We told him we were leaving the next day and he responded with "Wow that sounds relaxing". Relaxing? MORE LIKE DEVASTATING MICKEY BUT OKAY.

I'm sure we squeezed in a couple of rides that day as well but unfortunately we didn't get on as many as usual as we messed up our fastpasses and were left with the ones at the bottom of the barrel. This was slightly annoying but in a way it gave us a chance to try new things and soak everything else up. After we said our final goodbyes to Mickey and the gang, as well as the park itself, we hopped a bus over to Disney Springs where we had a dinner reservation booked. We arrived pretty early however, which gave us ample time to browse the amazing amazing World of Disney shop. I picked up a couple of souvenirs in here but sadly I was running low on spending money by this point. If I won the lottery I would obviously head straight to WDW but I would also just clear out this entire shop. It's huge and has every Disney themed product you could ever imagine and so much more. 

photo credit:

On our way to dinner, we noticed that the sky was atmospheric and dark, reflecting our overall mood as we prepared ourselves for leaving the most magical place on earth. It made for some pretty photos though!

little Peter Pan over here

Our dinner reservation was for T-REX which is a Dinosaur theme restaurant very similar to the Rainforest Cafe (in fact I'm pretty sure they're owned by the same people). It was cool and the food was pretty good but it was crazy busy and crazy loud! One thing's for sure though, Americans really don't mess around when it comes to themed decor. Not only is it covered in all sorts of Jurassic creatures, there's also a 'meteor shower' every 30 minutes or so which was fun but again very loud!

After dinner we sadly had to head back to the hotel to finish packing our suitcases and get everything organised for going home the next day. *insert sad face here*. We would have obviously loved to have gone back to the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes one last time but unfortunately there was another Christmas Party on that night which meant that the park closed early to regular guests. We contemplated going to Hollywood Studios to see their night time show which we still hadn't seen but in the end we were tired and sad and had too much packing to do! 

All in all we had the best and most magical two weeks ever! I look forward to coming back and reading these recaps in the years to come so that I can relive some of the memories again and again. I feel like we crammed A LOT into those two weeks but there is still so much that I haven't seen or done yet! It always makes me think of the Lion King's Circle of Life lyrics "There's more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done", but for me it just means there is always an excuse to go back! Until next time Walt Disney World, until next time.

                  ¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!