Walt Disney World Day 2

This morning we got up bright and early so that we could get to Animal Kingdom. Due to not booking our fastpasses at the 60 day mark, we didn’t have a Flights of Passage fastpass, so we were attempting to rope drop it, and it was actually a success! Although the queue looked scary as we walked all the way down to Harambe Theater, we hardly stopped moving and actually did the ride in under an hour – plus as I’ve only ever done fastpass for it before, it meant I got to see the cool inside queue for the first time.

Once that was done, we could relax a little and got breakfast at Creature Comforts, then we took some photos at the Tree of Life before going to meet Russell and Dug. It was possibly the cutest meet I’ve ever had, and as it was my first time meeting Dug I was really excited, especially as they loved our Wilderness Explorer outfits. After that, we went over to Expedition Everest and rode it twice, once as single riders and the second time using our fastpasses, then we wandered around for a bit before settling on having lunch at Yak and Yeti (QS).

We ended up sitting at Yak and Yeti for quite a while, just enjoying some shade and time off our feet, and then from there we went over to Africa for Festival of the Lion King, then went back to Dinoland and practically walked onto Primeval Whirl, then met Donald in his Dinobash outfit, before going to meet Micky and Minnie, which we had fastpasses for.

After that, we happened across Pocahontas meeting near the Tree of Life while we were heading back to Africa, so we stopped to meet her, and then went on to our final fastpass of the day at Kilimanjaro Safaris – although our ride was somewhat delayed due to the animals blocking vehicles on the roads – but we did get to see the lions really clearly and hear them roar!

Once we were off the ride, we had a mad dash back to the hotel to meet Chelsea who had arrived while we were being held up by rhinos or whatever was delaying the safari! We headed into Magic Kingdom for some dinner, a quick spin on the Peoplemover and a look through some shops, and then got the monorail back to the resort ready for some rest and recovery!

Tomorrow we’ll be hitting the RunDisney Health and Fitness Expo as well as the parks, so stay tuned!

Walt Disney World Day 1

Well gang, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged a Disney trip, but would you believe in the last few months I’ve done two trips that I haven’t blogged? So unlike me, right?

Well, I’m now back in Walt Disney World for some magic and some running, and I’ll be back blogging the whole thing, starting with today..

So we’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, our DVC home, which meant that this morning was far more chilled out as we only had to hop on the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom, and did security at the resort so didn’t have to queue at the park. There had been an early morning magic event on so the park was already a little busy, but we went down to the castle for the welcome show, and then Sammy wanted some breakfast so she grabbed a Mickey waffle at Sleepy Hollow, took a trip to the Tangled toilets and then went for our first ride of the day: Pirates of the Caribbean.

On our way from there to Fantasyland, we met Mary Poppins and the ugly stepsisters, and then met Rapunzel and Tiana in Princess Fairytale Hall, and then headed for Haunted Mansion for our first fastpass of the day. By that time it was pretty much lunch time – Sarah and I hadn’t eaten breakfast either – and we ended up going to Pinocchio Village Haus so that we knew there would be vegetarian options for Sammy.

After lunch, we had to spend a little bit of time at guest services sorting out our annual pass magic bands, and then headed back to the castle to watch Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire and from there grabbed a parade spot. Once the parade was over, we grabbed a quick Starbucks, and then did our second fastpass of the day, Buzz, and also did a lap of the TTA Peoplemover.

The My Disney Experience app was telling us that Big Thunder Mountain had a 35 minute wait time, so we headed over there, but unfortunately so did everyone else in the park.. The cast member said the queue was at least 70 minutes when we got there, so that was a no, and instead Matthew and I got in the queue for Splash Mountain, but after a while we realised that the queue was going to be too long and we would miss our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fastpass, so instead we grabbed a Mickey waffle and headed over to Fantasyland.

I’ve never done Mine Train in the dark before and it was so good!! Because most people were camping out for Happily Ever After by this point, the queue for Big Thunder had dropped to only 20 minutes, so we practically ran back to Frontierland, and had the best time riding the back of the wildest ride in the wilderness. With a little bit of time before HEA, we got some food at Cosmic Ray’s, and then got our spot to watch the show – despite showing up just as it was starting, we got a decent view!

On our way out of the park we hit the shops and Main Street Confectionary, and then we decided to forgo the monorail in favour of the ferry back to Poly, and the Electrical Water Pageant was going so we got to see a lot of that while we were waiting which was really cool because I never stop to watch it when I’m leaving Magic Kingdom.

We’ve got day 1 feet right now, so we got back into quickly and are just spending the evening chilling in the room ready for Animal Kingdom tomorrow!

Preparing for A Disney Cruise

Today is a very big day, Pascal!

No, I’m not leaving for a Disney cruise today, but I will be this time next week, and I can’t wait to be back on the sea, sailing on the Disney Dream.

This will be my second Disney cruise, and having had the experience from my cruise last year, I feel somewhat more prepared than I did last time. I know what to expect now, I know what I wish I’d done differently on my last cruise, and I’m ready to have the best time at sea feeling fully ready for it! If you’ve never done a Disney cruise before and need a little guidance, or are just interested in seeing how I do it, here are a few of the things I’ve done to get ready for this sailing:

Deciding how to decorate the stateroom door

The stateroom doors on Disney cruise ships are metal, so anything magnetic sticks to them and people really take advantage of this by decorating their doors to the max! We didn’t decorate our door last time, so I really wanted to get involved this year, and ordered some personalised decorations for our group so that we have even just a little something! It also makes things so much easier when you can’t remember what number room you’re in and all the floors and doors look them same..

Researching ports

For our Mediterranean cruise last year, I didn’t do ANY research on our ports or excursions, and relied purely on the rest of my group to decide what to do. Sure, I still had a great time and I was pretty happy doing whatever, but this time I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of Castaway Cay in preparation!

Packing important things

As well as the usual holiday essentials, and the cruise booklet that you are sent in advance of your trip, there are a couple of things that I would highly recommend packing for a smoother cruise experience. Pack a lanyard or passholder for your room key if you don’t want to carry a bag all the time, I like to bring a travel cup (like the refillable ones you get at the parks, or a travel mug type) to fill up with drinks on deck so you don’t have to use a paper cup every time, and if you are going to decorate your door, don’t forget the decs!

Download the Disney Cruise app

Although it doesn’t do much before your cruise, once you’re onboard the ship and connected to the wifi, the Disney Cruise app becomes your guide to the boat, with daily schedules and timings, plus it has a cute messenger feature where you can chat to your group on the boat!

Plan your outfits

Even if you don’t meticulously plan your holiday wardrobe like I do, there are a couple of things you should prepare for. Every Disney cruise has a Pirate Night, where dressing up is highly recommended – seriously, everyone does it! – so you won’t want to miss out on that, and some sailings also have optional formal or semi-formal nights so plan accordingly. I’ve also planned a special outfit for the sailaway party as ours was cancelled on the last cruise so I want this one to be more special!

Have you ever done a Disney cruise before?

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Disneyland Paris AP Mouse Party Review

Its so crazy that one month ago today I was having the maddest day in Disneyland Paris! I’d flown out the night before so I could spend just one day in the parks, and so that I could go to my first ever annual pass holder event, which was to celebrate the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse himself.

I’ve seen to many of my friends go to these types of events before and I was feeling a mixture of excited, nervous and also just not knowing what to expect completely, and now I’ve done it, what did I think?

Character meets

I think its safe to say that the majority of Disney fans go to these events for the opportunity to meet rare characters, and this definitely showed. Some of the queues were INSANE. DLP had had the good sense to split each queue into two, so that you knew which of the two characters at each location you were going to meet, instead of queuing with the hope of one, and then there being a switch as you get to the front, but it wasn’t very clear in the run up to the event that each meet would be separate. Sure, there were a few meets where I didn’t expect both characters to be together, but when the meets were billed as ‘Nick and Judy’ or ‘Carl and Russell’, a lot of guests were expecting to be meeting with both characters, not one or the other, especially as the queues were so long for most.

The only characters I saw with a minimal wait queue were Clarabelle and Horace, but after I’d spent almost the first hour of the party waiting for Vanellope, I decided that I didn’t want to spend all my party time in lines.

Shows and parades

There were a couple of shows and ‘parades’ on throughout the evening. I use ” in regards to the parades because it was essentially just some dancers and characters dancing down Main Street before going up on the stage, and the song for said parade was REALLY irritating – not everyone shared this view, but several people I was with did and it was so repetitive.. The other stage shows that were on through the evening were honestly a bit take it or leave it. I caught part of one of them and wasn’t massively impressed, especially considering how good the Surprise Mickey show that takes place in the parks during the day is, I just think the bar was set too high for me by that show.

The show that everyone was there for was the one night resurrection of Dreams, the firework and castle projection show that was replaced a few years back, and I must admit that it was GOOD. I’d only seen Dreams maybe 2/3 times back when it was on, so I didn’t have too much of a memory of it, but I enjoyed every minute of it! There was also another castle projection show towards the end of the party which was entirely Mickey themed and that was also amazing.

Rides

A lot of the rides were open to guests during the party, including Big Thunder Mountain, Its a Small World and Star Tours, and from what I heard, none of them had more than a 5 minute wait – probably because so many people were queuing for characters. The only ride I actually managed to fit in was Star Tours, which was a walk on AND there were only 8 people in the whole ride which was so cool.

I think for future parties, I’ll forgo characters in favour of rides because I loved riding a practically empty ride and not having to queue at all for that privilege, plus I found the character meets a little stressful given the number of guests and not-so-great organisation.

Organisation

I went into the party with a fairly open mind and no exact plan for anything that I really wanted to do, so I was fairly chilled for the most part, but there were some places were I thought Disneyland Paris really let guests down, and I feel a little ashamed to say that its not something I would have ever thought about before, had I not been with a friend of mine who was in a wheelchair.

The party was not disability friendly. There was no separate line for wheelchair users, so anyone in a chair had to be pushed up and down through the queue barriers under the Disneyland Hotel before the party, and then be crushed by the mobs of people trying to get into the park and run down Main Street. The lines for characters were also not clearly communicated. In the queue for Vanellope, we were told by one cast member to wait outside the line while he organised an alternative queue space, but meanwhile another queue had been created, and despite us being the first there, other cast members then tried to get us to move the the back of the now-insanely-busy queue. I hate how ignorant I have previously been to these matters, but I hate more how Disneyland Paris do not cater to all abilities.

Aside from this, however, I didn’t think the organisation was too bad. After being let into the park, each guest was handed a programme for the night and a limited edition print as a little gift, and there were cast members lining Main Street USA cheering and high-5ing guests as they walked in, I guess as also a little bit of crowd control!

And as far as I’m aware, everything else went off without a hitch! I had a good night with good friends, and I think I’ve learnt a lot about how to handle these events in the future. I don’t know if I would go to every party they hold but I’d definitely go back for another!

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Why I Won’t Write About Saving for A House

Its now been almost 8 months since Matthew and I got the keys to our first home, and truthfully I thought I would have written a lot more about the process by now, but between everything else going on in my life and my minor falling out with blogging last year, I just haven’t got round to it.

I have, however, been thinking a lot about the sort of posts that I wanted to write about this, and while at first I thought a ‘Tips on Saving for Your First House’ post would be a great idea, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was getting with the concept of that post. Here me out.

Its no secret that our generation, ‘millennials’, are renting for longer, if not indefinitely, and the percentage of homeowners under 30 has dropped more than significantly in the last 10-20 years. I count myself as a minority for becoming a homeowner at the age of 23 and I’m very aware that while I could write about how Matthew and I saved up for our house, there are a whole tonne of circumstantial reasons why this wouldn’t be relevant to a lot of other people.

House prices differ MASSIVELY throughout the country

As a born and bred southerner, I have lived my whole life with a notion of what I thought was the price of a house was based on what house prices were like around where I lived. I started saving as young as I could because I knew that I wanted to buy my own place at some point in my life, and I knew that wasn’t going to be cheap.

But Matthew is a northern boy, and when we did start looking at houses seriously, we knew it would be up north. I was left dumbfounded when I discovered that we could buy a detached house for less than what a 1 or 2 bedroom flat would cost in Bournemouth. Suddenly, the deposit money I had been saving all these years was more than enough for a house, despite being nowhere need what it would need to be in my hometown. The fact is, most people aren’t prepared to move across the country just to own a home, and we were lucky (if that is even the word) to be relocating for Matthew’s job, because the chances of us being able to buy somewhere down south without significant help were slim.

Not everyone can make the ‘sacrifices’ we were able to

I never moved out of my parents’, and Matthew moved in with us 9 months before we bought our house. We both worked at the same place, so it was pretty easy for us to share my car. It would be pretty easy for me to write a post saying that to help save for a house you should move in with your parents, share/sell a car etc, but I know that those options aren’t always an option for everyone.

We all have different histories

I started working at 16, and I didn’t go to university after sixth form, so I had the luxury of no student loans. I always knew that I wanted to buy a place, so I started saving super early, even before Matthew was in the picture, AND Matthew and I were able to buy together, when not everyone can split a mortgage.

We also have totally different histories to previous generations. My parents were married by my age, not fighting for jobs in overcrowded industries like so many people are today AND the housing market was a totally different place to how it is today. We just can’t compare ourselves.

Home-buying incentives and schemes

Because we bought a new-build, we were eligible for the government Help To Buy loan for up to 20% of the value of our house which is interest free for the first 5 years. If you’re not buying a new-build, you can’t apply for this, and to be honest, without this we wouldn’t have been able to afford the house we fell in love with. There are also other options, like shared ownership and Help to Buy ISAs, but again, these aren’t always options for everyone.

Now none of this is to say that people under the age of 30 can’t save enough to buy houses, I mean we’re living proof that it is possible, but I’m just a little fed up of all these clickbait articles saying that its because we love avocados (which we don’t all love just FYI) or some other ridiculously false reason, when in fact its because we’re stuck at the bottom rung of the property ladder with baby boomers stomping on our hands and so many real factors are actually affecting our generation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so drop me a comment!

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My Advice for First Time Gym-Goers

I know we all joke about it, but its true – January will see more people heading into gyms than any other month of the year. Getting fitter, healthier or trying to lose weight is one of, if not the most popular New Year’s resolution, and although its something a lot of people poke fun at, I for one am here for it, each and every year, because I think its a fabulous resolution to have.

I also know that if you’re a first time gym member, or haven’t been to a gym for a long long time, it can be a kinda terrifying experience for you. Trust me, I’ve been there. And while I’m not a fitness professional, I have been a regular gym user for about the last 7 years, and so I’d like to share some advice for all of you who feel like you’re a little out of your comfort zone as you go into the gym this January (or any time, if you’re reading this in the future!).

Do a gym tour/introduction session

Most gyms will offer new members a tour of the facilities, which is a great way for you to get the lay of the land and ease yourself in slowly. It also gives you a chance to get to know the staff a little, and get the low-down on any rules of the gym, plus its a great chance for you to..

Ask the questions that you want answered

How do I use this piece of equipment? What exercises should I be doing to work on this area? Don’t be worried to ask gym staff as many questions as you need to because as well as it being part of their job to help you feel comfortable at the gym, they’d also rather you asked a question that you thought might be silly, than you not ask them and potentially hurt yourself, or even just not feel like you know what you’re doing.

Don’t assume other gym members dislike you

I see SO MANY people on Twitter at this time of year say things like ‘ugh everyone in the gym is so judgemental of us gym newbies’ and it really bothers me because most gym-goers aren’t focused on anything but their own workout. If anyone has said, or does say anything to you that makes you feel bad, I’m so sorry that you’ve had a bad experience but if nothing has been actually said to you then please don’t make the assumptions that people are that nasty because most of us aren’t like that, promise!

Start off slowly

It might go without saying, but don’t push yourself too hard straight off the bat. All good things take time and getting your workout routine right is no different!

Know the difference between ‘the burn’ and real pain

You’re going to want to feel ‘the burn’, and that means that what you’re doing is working, but that is something that should subside fairly swiftly after you finish that exercise. If you’re still in significant pain for some time after you stop whatever it is you were doing, that’s a sign that you may have done some actual damage, and if that’s the case then please don’t try to push through that.

Have fun with it

I personally love going to the gym, and that’s why I go, because if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t do it. The trick is finding something that you actually enjoy doing at the gym. If you hate what you’re doing, try something different, and keep trying until something sticks, but honestly you’ve got so many options to try so keep at it!

Remember, only you can make your fitness goals happen, so ignore everyone else who says otherwise and let’s do this!

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What I Got For Christmas 2018

I don’t know if its too late to write this post and for people to still be interested, but if you fancy a little nosey at my Christmas gifts, then this is the post for you!

Part of the reason that this post is coming a little late is because for the first time ever, I spent Christmas away from my family, so I only exchanged gifts with some people yesterday when I was in Bournemouth for New Years, so now I finally have a full collection of wonderful gifts, and here they are:

For starters, who doesn’t LOVE the Lush Christmas products? My year revolves around when I’ll be able to get my hands on some Snow Fairy again, and because Matthew knows this, he bought be the BIGGEST bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel I’ve ever seen (its bigger than my head), as well as the new Snow Fairy body spray so I can smell like a Lush store all year round. I also got a couple of other bits from both Matthew and my mum, including the Rudolph jelly face mask which I can’t wait to try out! And what’s that in the corner you ask?

That would be my ADORABLE new activewear from Chrissa Sparkles! I’ve had my eye on these sprinkles leggings for about a year now, and back in November they announced that they would be discontinued, so I begged Matthew to buy them for me before they left, and I’ve had the torture of knowing that they were in the house but I couldn’t have them until Christmas Day. I’m so ready to look like a cupcake threw up on me at the gym.

Of course there was a healthy helping of Disney goodies, including a Disneyland Paris spirit jersey from my parents, the beautiful Sorcerer Mickey Pandora charm from Matthew and the Mickey Mouse Museum book from my nan which is full of amazing Disney artwork from through the years.

The little Potter nerd in me LOVES these beautiful books of the Fantastic Beasts film screenplays, and this little rat is, in fact, a Scabbers lip balm – I mean who knew that existed, but I’m here for it!

Finally, something else that I can’t wait to play with is the Chasing Rainbows palette from Colourpop, because look how pretty it is!! Discovering Colourpop was basically just the greatest thing to happen to my makeup drawer and I already know that this will be as amazing as everything else I own from them.

All these gifts, plus some other little bits like DVDs and chocolate have made me one super happy chappy! What was your favourite Christmas present?

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