Why I’m Not Going to See Toy Story 4 in the Cinema

So apparently I want to branch out from already being a ‘bad’ blogger to also being a ‘bad’ Disney fan, but hear me out on this one.

I think we can all agree that this has been a mega year for new movies. From Avengers Endgame already smashing a tonne of box office records to the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX coming soon, film boffs will most likely be spending more time in the cinema in 2019 than ever before. And out of all these films, I think Disney has had the most fingers in the pie than any other production companies, with some huge films having already hit the big screen and many more still to come.

This is all very exciting for Disney fans; we’ve seen some of our favourite animated classics have a reimagining as live actions, and also some pretty huge sequels, one of which closest to the hearts of my generation being Toy Story 4. 90’s kids like myself have grown up with the adventures of Andy’s toys, many of us sobbing FAR too many tears over *that* scene in Toy Story 3, so we were all good and ready when a fourth film was announced to be hitting our screens.

I was ready to go and see it, don’t get me wrong, and I am excited for when I finally do see it, but I’m not going to the cinema for it, and here’s my reasoning..

While the experience of some films is heightened by seeing it on an enormous screen in a pitch black theatre with surround sound and no talking, I personally think that other films are somewhat ruined by it, and Toy Story 4 is one of those for me. Give me all the action and adventure on the big screen, give me stunning cinematics and world class special features, but when it comes to a feel-good family animation, to be quite honest I’d rather be curled up on my sofa at home with a blanket and pile of snacks, being able to laugh out loud when I want to without getting evils from the rest of the guests.

And as awful as it sounds, I truly do get bored watching some films in the cinema. If its not a super gripping storyline or visually incredible, I find myself sat in the dark wishing it would hurry up and be done with sooner so I can get out of there, which I probably wouldn’t be thinking if I was watching it at home – y’know, unless it was a rubbish film in the first place.

So there’s one hell of an unpopular opinion for you I’m sure, but its something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and honestly, I stand by it. Anyone else feel the same? Let me know in the comments!

Mission Breakout vs Tower of Terror

Ok guys so here’s a controversial one for you..

On my trip to Disneyland last month, I finally got to experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: BREAKOUT ride that has taken over from the Disney park classic ride, Tower of Terror. I have thoughts. LOTS of them.

To set the scene, I’ll tell you about my relationship with Tower of Terror. Obviously, we go way back, and in fact one of the few memories I have from going to Disney as a young child was being on Tower of Terror looking out over Hollywood Studios at night, everything lit up. I don’t remember hating the ride as a child, as many kids do, but as I was reintroduced to it as an adult, things got a little iffy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared of the ride and I will always ride it at least once a trip, but I describe it as a love/hate thing. The drops I love, but the build up to and mystery of the first drop drives me insane. I spend the whole queue time on edge, plus the initial part of the ride where you stop and watch the scenes, because the random sequences of the ride mean I never know when that first fall is going to happen and I do not like that. Once we’ve dropped once, happy days, I’m good from then on, but I always have that initial worry at the back of my mind when I think about the ride.

Fast forward to last month. Now I really love Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was actually really excited, and I was curious to see how the overlay would work on essentially the exact same ride, and more importantly, whether I would still hate it in the same way I hate Tower of Terror. Now if you watched my Instagram stories while I was in the parks, or read this blog post, you’ll already know the outcome: I LOVED IT. I got a slightly nervous feeling in the line waiting to get on, but my excitement took over and I was mainly just super keen to see it all. Even the wait for the first drop was bearable because I was so distracted by what was going on around me.

Now you might think that this was just first-time excitement, but every single time we rode Mission: BREAKOUT I loved it more. I went on it way more than I would ever ride Tower of Terror in one trip and I might even go as far as to say its one of my favourite rides in Disneyland AND I would happily see it rolled out to more Tower of Terrors across other Disney parks.

Why doesn’t it strike fear into me though? While I’ve never considered myself particularly spooked by the spiderwebs and bellhops of Tower of Terror, I guess subconsciously the theme of the ride does put a little bit of tension into me, and that translates into me clinging onto the handlebars on the chair until my knuckles go white, meanwhile the Awesome Mix soundtrack and flashing lights of Mission: BREAKOUT put me right at ease as I’m being thrown up and down so much I can’t actually tell what direction I’m moving in.

Who knows for sure, but I am very interested to see how I fare going back on Tower of Terror while I’m in WDW next week and whether I’ve been cured completely by the Guardians, or whether its the theme that really has me on the edge of my seat, metaphorically of course..

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Spring Dapper Day at Disneyland

You might judge us for this, but the primary reason for our trip to Disneyland in April for those specific dates was so that Sarah and I could go to our first ever Dapper Day.

If you don’t know what Dapper Day is, it kinda is what it says on the label, its a semi-official event that takes place in the Disney parks, or at least Disneyland, Walt Disney World and, more recently, Disneyland Paris, where the idea is that guests visiting the parks don their best clothes and spend a day looking utterly fabulous in the most magical and happiest places on Earth. They take place twice a year, in spring and fall, and the dates and other info can always be found on the Dapper Day website.

So anyway, we wanted a Disneyland trip, and we knew we wanted to do Dapper Day, so this trip was about a year or so in the planning so we knew the dates, and the Sunday of our trip, which was also our final full day, was Dapper Day, although the Dapper Day Expo (which we didn’t go to) was all weekend.

The hardest part, of course, was deciding what to wear. There’s no official rules on how you should dress, but a lot of people tend to lean towards 20th century style, and I decided to go a little bit traditional with wanting a 40s-50s style dress. After a lot of thought, I settled on Steamboat Willie as my outfit inspiration – mainly because I have a serious attachment to it, but also because I figured in Disney’s original park, I wanted to do an original character. I found the perfect dress pattern to use and whipped up this little velvet and cotton drill number with the biggest skirt EVER, paired it with some black and white brogues (because I don’t really do heels) and added a knotted headband, and voila!

To sum up the whole day in one word, it was magical. Considering it is just essentially a day spent in the parks, just with the added dress-up optional clause, it just felt so much more wonderful, whether that was because we were dressed up or because everyone else was, I don’t know. I was truly amazed at how big an event it really is; I mean, considering such a huge proportion of my Instagram feed are Disney people, of course I see lots of people talking about it, but there was always a chance that that’s just because I follow all of those people, but honestly the people in ‘regular’ clothes were the minority in the parks.

Really, we spent the whole day hanging out with friends, taking photos and just generally taking in the atmosphere, and of course checking out what everyone else was wearing! Walking around the parks was like a fashion show, and everyone is looking at everyone to see how they’re dressed – but in an excited way. Compliments are being thrown around like confetti and total strangers want to take photos with and of you and chat about your outfits and its just such a pure environment.

There’s also a bunch of cute photo opportunities, and even some unofficial meet-ups happen on the day, and its just an entirely great and unique experience, so I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s been considering making a trip for one, or who has a trip coinciding with a Dapper Day!

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8 Amazing Things That Happened on Our First Day in Disneyland

So I know that I usually live blog my Disney trips, but today I didn’t feel like it was right. We took a pretty chilled out approach to the day and I felt like despite it being an incredible day for us, it probably wouldn’t read as well for others, so instead I thought I’d try a slightly different format to tell you some of the AMAZING parts of our first day in the happiest place on earth.

1. We had a whole boat to ourselves on Pirates of the Caribbean

This is my traditional first ride of any trip, and as is fairly normal first thing in the morning, it was a walk-on. But then, to our great surprise, we got into the front row of the boat and realised that no one else had been put into our boat with us, so we got to do the whole ride without other people! I joked that this was a sign of amazing things to come, but little did I know how true this would be..

2. Mickey Celebration Cupcake

Sarah bought a cupcake for the ‘gram, which turned out to be this incredible chocolate chip cookie/cupcake kinda combo which was super yum and quite probably the best Disney cupcake I’ve ever eaten. 11/10 would eat again every day of my life.

3. ‘ Share Your Ears’ Cheeseburger

On the subject of food, we also split the 3-piece Mickey-shaped burger for lunch over at Smokejumpers Grill in DCA and it was so good! Definitely a great option to split between two people.

4. I got to see Pixar Pier for the first time

As it’s been almost 2 years since I was last at Disneyland, there were a lot of changes for me to experience, the main one being Pixar Pier. We only spent a brief amount of time on it today, but I loved everything I saw and I can’t wait to take more of it in over the next few days.

5. Mission Breakout!

I have also never been on the new(ish) Guardians of the Galaxy ride that took over from Tower of Terror in DCA, and so I got to experience that for the first time and I LOVED IT. I have a real love/hate but mainly hate relationship with ToT but Mission Breakout blew my socks off and I thought it was incredible – I can’t wait to do it a few more times this trip!

6. We saw the Disneyland cats

I had no idea this was a thing but apparently the pair of cats that seem to live in DCA are a common sight for guests – who know right? They were really cute though and clearly just wanted some piece and quiet away from screaming guests. Don’t blame them..

7. Tow Maters

I normally skip the smaller ‘kiddy’ rides but we decided to go on the Tow Mater tractor ride and it was actually such a blast!

8. I finally met Mickey as Steamboat Willie

My dream meet for such a long time now has been to meet Mickey as Steamboat Willie, and completely by fluke today it happened and I am still not over it. This meet takes place in Meet Mickey in his house in Toontown, but it’s totally down to chance as to whether he’s on set for Steamboat Willie, or if he’s doing others things that day, and I’ve only ever seen him in his traditional tails and red trousers, but this knocked me for six and I am SO HAPPY.

It’s just been a truly unbelievable first day of what I know will be the most magical trip!

My Top Tips for RunDisney Challenges

This week was the bib-only registration for this year’s RunDisney at Disneyland Paris, and after taking last year off, I’m super pleased to be back and participating in the 36K challenge!

This will be my 5th RunDisney challenge, having previous run Disneyland’s Rebel Challenge (2016) and Pixie Dust Challenge (2017), Walt Disney World’s Glass Slipper Challenge (2017) and Disneyland Paris’s 31K challenge (2017), so this is not an unusual thing for me, but having only ever done challenges that involve a 10K and half marathon, throwing in the extra 5K will be a little different!

All of these previous events have given me a lot of experience in how I face these weekend challenges, and while I must REALLY reinforce the fact that everyone is different when it comes to their training, approach, recovery etc, I just thought I’d share some wisdom that might be of use to anyone who might be facing their first challenge, or just want a little nosey at how I do things.

Training is SO key

I consider myself notoriously bad at training, and you’ll probably frequently see me tweeting about how little training I’ve done for various races, but my body is so used to doing these races and these distances that I can get away with winging it a little. If you are not a regular runner, or these will be your first events, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do some training, including running back to back days and take training advice from professionals and experienced runners only.

Do NOT expect to do it all

Running every day is DRAINING. The Paris races aren’t too bad as they start at 7am, but if you’re participating in a WDW event, you’ll have to be awake at 3am at the latest to get to your events, and this has a huge impact on your day. The most important thing I have learned is to take it completely easy in the day before the bigger races, eg after the 10K and before the half marathon (or before the marathon if you’re literally and running Dopey). Have a super chilled day in the parks, or spend some time relaxing at the pool, let your body recover and rest up and you’ll be much happier, trust me.

Take the shorter races easier

You might think that the shorter races are your time to shine and want to run them full pelt, but in reality you probably want to take the opposite approach. Going all-out on a 5/10K could put you in a much worse shape going into your longer races, and believe me you want to be feeling fresh and ready for them!

Walking breaks are your friend

Jeff Galloway, the official RunDisney training expert, absolutely SWEARS by run-walk-run, and whenever I’m doing a challenge weekend I always have this in mind. Taking walking breaks reduces the risk of injury, give you a chance to enjoy your time in the parks and help you breakdown the long distances if you’re finding things hard.

Don’t put pressure on yourself, and remember to have fun!

The races will put enough pressure on your body, don’t go piling on anymore! RunDisney events are incredible things and I have never done a race I didn’t enjoy, so just go out there to have a good time, and whatever you do will be amazing.

Who else joined me in registration this week?

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The RunDisney Castaway Cay Challenge

Yes hi, I am still talking about all the running that I did in January – I think its because I haven’t done any running since so I’m looking back on better times!

So many people thought that I was mad enough to run a FRICKIN’ MARATHON midway through my holiday in January, and most of these people were even more baffled to find out that only a few days after running the longest distance of my life AND while still on holiday, I ran a further 5K race, but here me out on the logic behind it.

You see, I wanted another medal.. Yep, that’s basically it.

Every January, following the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, the Disney Dream cruise ship sets sail from Port Canaveral for a 4 night cruise. Its the same route and same cruise that the Dream does from Port Canaveral all the time, but this one particular sailing is jam packed full of runners recovering from their weekend races, who have mostly all booked it for the RunDisney Castaway Cay Challenge.

The challenge is this: if you participate in any race during the WDW Marathon Weekend – so this could be as little as the 5K – you can sign up for the challenge, which means that on the morning that the Dream docks at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, you take part in a special RunDisney organised 5K on the island, and as well as receiving the standard Castaway Cay 5K, which any guest can earn on any cruise that stops at the island, challenge participants also receive this challenge medal to round off their collection.

As with all other WDW Marathon Weekend events, bib and t-shirt pickup was done at the RunDisney expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but t-shirt exchange and merchandise were only available on the ship itself. Merch itself seemed a little lacking to me, there was a pin, a hanging ornament and a tech t-shirt available in two different colours, and that was all – although you could also buy a normal Castaway Cay 5K t-shirt in the gift shop on the island itself.

The challenge 5K starts earlier than the usual race, and takes a slightly different course around the island, meaning that if anyone is mad enough to want to take place in both 5Ks that will happen that morning, there’s a bit of variety. We had to meet in the ship’s theatre at crazy o’clock in the morning, and there were some drinks and bananas available there. There was a brief introduction and then each corral was led off the ship and to the start line, which was quite a walk away from the boat and it was still pretty dark at the time, but the sun had started to rise before the race kicked off.

Mickey and Goofy led us through a pre-race warm-up, and each corral were set loose on the island. There was only A, B and C, about 700 people participating, so it felt tiny compared to the other races I had done the weekend before, but it felt a lot less pressured with fewer people about. We started and ended on the island’s disused runway, and along the way there a handful of characters including Stitch, Vacation Genie, Captain Hook and Max, which was a nice surprise as I wasn’t expecting any characters on the course.

Despite recovering from the marathon relatively well, I found the first 3k HARD work, but we took it nice and easy and many people were walking – it all felt very relaxed. By the last mile my legs had found their strength again and we ran most of the leg, nicknamed by the cast members as the Ring of Fire, probably because it felt like it went on FOREVER, and then all of a sudden we were at the finish line! The finish line was complete with the usual bottles of water, bananas and snacks – I swear I still can’t face bananas – but there was also a bar set up where guests could purchase champagne and cocktails etc.

Doing the 5K was a really great way to see the island a bit before the rest of the guests descended on it, and you can stay on the island from then onwards, but we were starving and in need of a Cabanas breakfast, so we went back to the ship to eat and shower before the day of fun ahead of us!

Another one off the RunDisney bucket list!

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My January Trip Disney Haul

I’m normally that person who leaves it FAR too long to unpack their suitcase after coming back from holiday, so I’m pretty shocked by myself that I am unpacked with the washing done within only a few days of arriving back. I mean sure, I partly did this so that I could do this haul post, but I usually just unpack the washing and my new buys and leave the rest for as long as I can get away with, so this is impressive for me.

This haul is a combination of buys from Walt Disney World, RunDisney merch and some purchases I made during our Disney Cruise on the Dream!

I felt like I didn’t go too overboard with shopping while in the parks, mainly due to the fact that the big expense of the trip was my Walt Disney World annual pass – Matthew and I are hoping to go back a couple of times this year and with our DVC discount it was much more cost effective to get APs than regular tickets! For this very reason I felt justified in buying a couple of magic bands, millennial pink and light turquoise, as well as choosing an orange AP magic band, just so I’ve got options, y’know.. It also meant that on our final day in the parks, which was the first day of Epcot’s Festival of Arts, we could pick up an annual pass holder magnet from Mouse Gear!

The other things I knew that I wanted was a DVC Alex and Ani bracelet, which Matthew bought for me, and the Its a Small World spirit jersey (because did you ever see anything so ME?!) and I also couldn’t resist buying the new Mickey celebration sipper cup!

The Small World spirit jersey was not the only spirit jersey purchase of the trip.. Well I had to round off my collection with the new RunDisney spirit jersey and the navy/rose gold Disney Cruise Line one, so I now have one of all the Disney spirit jerseys!

As well as the cruise spirit jersey, I also bought the Castaway Cay Challenge pin and this cute little cruise cupcake pin which was in a blind bag, and Matthew also bought me the DCL Alex and Ani!

I always try to be restrained at RunDisney expos, and in all fairness I do tend to be happy with the participant t-shirts that runners are given for taking part in the races, so I rarely buy any extra t-shirts at the expo, but as I’m going to shout about it for the rest of my life, I couldn’t not buy the ‘I did it’ t-shirt for the marathon, as well as the headband, and I also bought the mini medal replica pin!

The bottom two photos are the participant t-shirts for the 10K, marathon and Castaway Cay Challenge, and the ear hat was also given out at the end of the marathon which I was very happy about – I even got it embroidered! (or at least my friends did while I tried to recover from running..)

So mainly pins and spirit jerseys, but I’m pretty happy with all my buys, even if my credit card doesn’t exactly agree..

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