Lottie Does Europe: Another Disneyland Day!

Today has been all over the place, in most senses..

Once again we were up bright and early, this time grabbing breakfast at the hotel before making use of our early access to the Disneyland Park. I really wanted to do the carousel and explore the castle before it got really busy, so we did that and then headed over to the Studios Park in time for opening.

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As soon as we got in we went straight for the enormous queue for Crush’s Coaster, which was mainly enormous because the ride hadn’t opened yet, but it was still about an hour wait.. 100% worth it – I loved it! After that it was Tower of Terror time; I have a total love/hate relationship with this ride due to being terrified of when the first drop will happen, and after that I’m fine! We then had just about enough time to squeeze in a Studio Tram Tour before going back into the other park for our lunch reservations at Walt’s.

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Definitely a good choice! The food, yet again, was excellent, and we timed it fairly perfectly with the halloween parade starting just as we had finished, so we had a great spot. Few more rides hit, and feeling like we had done everything in the park, we hopped back over to the Studios to finish up over there, before taking a last wander through the shops in Disney Village, then back to the hotel to pick up the car.

See ya real soon Disneyland Paris!

After dropping the family at the airport, I started my journey towards Strasbourg, and currently am tucked up in a little motel just off the N4 for the night before I continue on in the morning!

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Lottie Does Europe: It’s My Birthday!

So if you didn’t already know from the millions of times I’ve mentioned it, today is my 21st birthday, and I am spending it in a magical place: Disneyland Paris!

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Today has been totally filled with magic, from finally getting to open the beautiful birthday present that I picked out in Tokyo back in July (a Samantha Thavasa purse), to breakfast with Mickey and all the extra magic that has happened today.

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We had reservations for breakfast at Cafe Mickey this morning, where the family surprised me with a birthday cake which was brought out by Dale and Mickey, who sang to me(!!!), before we headed into the parks for our extra magic hours. After skipping down Main Street, we hit a few of the rides that were open, although many weren’t that early on in the day. Top of my list after 10am was Indiana Jones, which was closed for refurb until today – bonus! After a few more rides we decided to head over to Walt Disney Studios Park, stopping at City Hall to make dining reservations: Bistrot Chez Remy for lunch, Blue Lagoon for dinner, and Walt’s for lunch tomorrow.

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We headed straight to lunch once we were in, and had an incredible meal in Chez Remy; I couldn’t believe how perfectly themed it was! As we were there, we decided to get in the queue for Ratatouille, as it had just reopened after some technical difficulties. There were, however, several more ‘technical difficulties’ (including a protein spill!) during our wait, but we held out and eventually after about an hour and half we were in!

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By that time, it was getting close to our dinner reservation, so we caught the last Moteurs, Camera, Action! show, before going back into the Disneyland park for Blue Lagoon dinner. For me, there is nothing better than a restaurant set within a ride! Again, we had amazing food, and thoroughly stuffed, we decided to hit the shops and Disney village, before going back to the hotel room for a little while. This decision was also made because when we had checked in the day before, the lovely CM at the front desk gave me and my sister one of their special vouchers for a free pin each, as a treat for my birthday.

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After 5 minutes peace and quiet, it was time to get back into the Disneyland Park to do a few of the more popular rides that had had longer queues earlier in the day: Phantom Manor, Star Tours etc, before scoring ourselves a perfect spot to watch Disney Dreams; all the way through this time, as yesterday our dinner booking meant we left early.

Its safe to say its been magical! Happy birthday me!

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Lottie Does Europe: I’m in Disneyland Paris!

Just a quickie for tonight boys and girls!

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Today I made the stupidly long drive from Mont St Michel to Paris, to collect my parents and sister from the airport, before heading down to this magical place!

We’re staying at Hotel New York, so after checking in we took the short stroll into the park, just in time to catch the parade, and also a few rides and an explore before Disney Dreams. I definitely think DLP has the most beautiful castle!

After Disney Dreams we grabbed dinner in the hotel (an all you can eat buffet was just what I needed!), a quick cocktail in the bar, and now off to bed because TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Goodnight!

°o°

Lottie Does Europe – Le Mont St Michel

Bonjour tout le monde! (Translation: my french sucks, but hey!)

I am here! And by here, I mean:

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Le Mont St Michel; you can all see the appeal of it, right?

Because, yes, it is this beautiful peninsula that got Disney creatives all inspired for the design of Corona, the island kingdom from Tangled!

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So last night I caught the ferry from Portsmouth, and arrived in Le Havre at about 9am this morning and dived straight into not just the adventure of getting here, but also driving on the wrong side of the road (silly British girl I am). Now bearing in mind, before today I have never driven for more than maybe 2 hours continuously, let alone on the other side of the road, I found myself fairly comfortable with the whole situation! My new satnav, the TomTom Start 25 got me through all the tricky navigating malarky, so all I had to really do was listen, and stay relatively calm (which I did!) and about 3 hours later I caught my first peak from the motorway.

I’m not gonna lie, I welled up a little. It was that sort of gasp moment when you set eyes on the castle in the Magic Kingdom for the first time. After a series of windy little country roads I came to the official car park for MSM – peninsula and all, you can’t drive straight to it – but there are free shuttle buses, or you can pay for a rustic horse-drawn carriage-shuttle. I’ll warn you now: free shuttle sounds great, but parking was €12.50. Personally, I’d been stuck in a ferry all night and car all morning, so I chose to walk in; the information centre says its a 50 minute walk but it definitely didn’t take me that long, and I got to stop along the path and take a million pictures of this beauty!

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MSM itself was actually both bigger and smaller than I imagined it to be; stay with me here..

While when you get to it, the abbey is towering and enormous, the village at the base isn’t all the much; lots of gift shops, a few restaurants and a sprinkling of small hotels, pretty much all crammed into one main street (which I loved!) and then various pathways and passages, the majority of which lead to the abbey.

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By this point, I hadn’t really eaten at all, so I made the rooky mistake of stopping to buy food at the first place I saw; of course it was going to be overpriced. That said, a ham and cheese baguette, vanilla macaron and can of Coke for €10 isn’t too outrageous, but I found places further up the street were selling the same things for a little less.

After exploring the street(s), I ducked into a smaller church building for a quiet moment, before heading up to the abbey itself. Whether you’re walking it yourself or having a guided tour, you have to pay entrance, which was only €9 and I chose to pay extra for an audioguide, which I would definitely recommend if you’re not going on a guided tour. The buildings are stunning, but there’s no information around the rooms as you might expect, so without an audioguide I wouldn’t have really known what I was looking at!

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It really is enormous, and that’s without access to all the areas! There was another ‘historic’ tour available, which offered tours of the dungeons, prisons etc, but personally it didn’t appeal to me all that much, so after I was finished in the abbey I wondered the gardens and hidden paths, and the top of the wall that surrounds the village. When the tide is out, school groups can walk out from the beach for ages before water gets above knee level, and there were quite a few of them about today!

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So I was actually done after a few hours, and made my way back along the path to the carpark before making my way to the hotel for the night; given that I slept fairly rubbish on the ferry, I want a fairly early night tonight – its not that I’m boring! Plus, I got Cinderella on DVD for an early birthday present so I’m gonna stick that on and watch the sunset over the abbey from my hotel window – its a great view!

Good night my lovelies!

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My European Roadtrip – What I’m Packing

Guys, I LEAVE FOR EUROPE TOMORROW!!!

Yeah, I’m just a tad excited, and when I’m excited for a holiday, I start packing stupidly early. I’m not even kidding, my clothes have been packed for a week already! So today I’m going to share with you what I’ll be bringing with me – not the entire contents of my suitcase or anything, but the main bits, and my ‘car kit’ etc!

Suitcase essentials

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Obviously, my case is primarily full of clothes, and I’ve been planning my outfits for ages (cos I can’t just wing it!), as well as undies and socks and tights etc. I’m also bringing my own towel and a full washbag, because I can’t rely on half the hotels I’ll be staying at to provide some of these bits.

Disneyland Paris

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I’m so excited for my birthday weekend in DLP, and therefore necessary Mickey ears have been packed, as well as my lovely new tote bag, and I’m looking forward to revealing my beautiful birthday dress, which I’ll be wearing in the parks on Saturday!

The Tech

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I can’t go anywhere without my camera, of course, and I’ll be bringing my laptop so I can regularly back up photos, as well as blogging my adventures. Of course my phone will be coming, and I’ve got a European data sim so that I can keep connected in low wifi areas, and obviously I’ll be bringing all the relevant chargers and travel adaptors!

Car Kit

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As its a road trip, I’ve got to make sure I’m stocked up with the necessary items for driving in Europe: breathalyzers, a safety triangle, headlamp diffusers and a high-vis jacket are legal requirements in most countries. I’ve also got a full European atlas – as well as my new satnav – a blanket, first aid kit, torch, and all my necessary paperwork: European breakdown cover documents and car registration. As you can see, I’ve organised it all in this handy car-boot organiser!

Food

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I’m not going to be stuffing the car full of food, but in order to save myself a bit of money (I am on a budget after all!), I’ll be bringing a selection of breakfast options – cereals, biscuit bars etc – to save the cost of breakfast each day, or lunch if my hotel provides breakfast, as well as a few snacks and possibly a couple of ‘instant’ meal options, should the facilities be available for me to heat my own meals. I’m also bringing some bottled water for long journeys, as well as those handy little squash bottles!

So tomorrow I’ll be packing all this into my little car, and we’ll hit the road! Do you have any road trip essentials?

xoxo

My Upcoming European Road Trip

As some of you may know, its not too long before I pack up my car and head out on an adventure in the great, wide somewhere. Well, strictly speaking its just Western Europe, but still.. Yes, I’m going on a road trip! And yes, I’m going alone, and I’m really quite excited about that.

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The premise behind planning the trip was really my 21st birthday. I’m not a huge fan of my own birthday, but being my 21st I knew I had to commemorate it somehow, and I started thinking about it shortly after my last birthday. Originally I had the wonderful idea of returning to Disney World, until it turned out to be not quite so wonderful; October is inconvenient – I’d have no one to go with. This had me totally disheartened, and I began to accept that an unforgettable birthday wouldn’t be on the cards.

Then one day I was writing my travel bucket list, and it suddenly occured to me how easy it would be to visit quite a lot of these incredible places in one go, and thus the road trip was born! I began planning and playing around with dates, as I already had two weeks booked off work, and then something else kinda amazing happened – my parents approached me with the idea of spending my birthday weekend in Disneyland Paris, and it all fell into place!

So where am I headed?

Well I’ll be hitting the road on the 30th, and catching a ferry across to France before driving down to Mont St Michel. After exploring the beautiful peninsula, I’ll be heading across to Paris to meet my parents and sister when they fly in, and we’ll be spending the weekend in Disneyland Paris!

Once they head home, I’ll be continuing across to the east of France, before spending a few days working my way down through the Alsace region, stopping at the picturesque towns of Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse. From France, I’m ducking into Switzerland for a day or two, spending time in Geneva and visiting Chateau de Chillon before making my way into Germany.

My must-see in Germany is Neuschwanstein, the castle Walt Disney based several of his iconic palaces on. After that, I’ll be driving up through Germany, stopping in Dusseldorf, and on into Amsterdam for my last few days before catching a ferry back to the UK on the 15th.

Yes, I’m a little light on the specifics, but that’s the beauty of this trip. I know where I want to go and what I want to see, but the timescale is totally flexible. I’m officially winging it!

Want to keep up with me?

Don’t worry, I’ll be posting my daily antics every evening, and no doubt blowing up my Instagram and Twitter with photos. I’m also planning to Periscope a bit on my trip, so if you scope, give me a follow!

xoxo