My Thoughts on Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

I have tried to keep this post spoiler free, but there may be a few minor leaks.

Ok so I am SO late to the party, but yesterday I finally saw the play that everyone’s been talking about for almost two years now: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.

When the play first opened, I was so sure that I’d never get the opportunity to see it that I did let myself read the book, but given that it was over a year ago, I had only a rough idea of what was going to happen and had forgotten a lot of the detail, so I went in with a fairly clear mind.

We did parts one and two in the same day, and living two hours drive from London, that meant that our whole day was taken up with the show, once you factor in travelling and getting around London and over 5 hours of being in the theatre over the two sittings.

Its safe to say that the show was incredibly impressive. The staging and the special effects were second to none, from curses flying through the air, beautiful patronus charms, terrifying dementors and objects (and people!) flying left right and centre. But aside from the special effects, even just the regular movement of cast and props on the stage was brilliantly thought out, to Hogwarts famous moving staircases to things disappearing with a swoosh of a cape, and I also loved the talking portraits.

The cast also did a fab job, although it took me a little while to get used to all of them – I thought some characters were a little over-acted, but once we got into the second part I’d either gotten used to it or it had been toned down a touch. Scorpius and Albus really were the stars of the show, and what I thought was great was how hilariously funny some bits of the story were, which was something that didn’t seem apparent in the book of the play; the whole audience was in stitches at times.

Personally, my only real negative is that I really felt like it could have easily been condensed into one play, and given how easily I think that could have been done, I think that its a little unfair to make people fork out for two tickets to be able to see the complete story. There were quite a few scenes that felt a little stretched out, some parts that probably weren’t strictly necessary at all and didn’t add much to the play as a whole, and I just thought that you could nip and tuck a few places without losing any of the main story at all, and get it down to a normal, if not slightly longer, single show, rather than 5+ hours that the two parts make altogether. Its my only gripe.

Did I cry though? If you know me even only slightly well, the gauge of how good something is in whether or not I cry. I think I expected to cry in quite a few places, but I didn’t, and that’s not because I wasn’t loving it, its because I was so busy being swept up in whatever emotion the play was making me feel. I did have a little sob though, right near the end, as the cast stood together on the stage and ‘watched’ something that the audience couldn’t see, but we could hear – I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but if you’ve seen the play I hope you know which bit I mean. The same part made me cry when I read the book of the play, but hearing it rather than reading it just hit all sorts of emotions and the tears came streaming down. It was the only part that I cried at, but it was probably the most important; it was so well done and I didn’t know how they would portray it on stage, but the way they did it was just right.

I’m so glad that I can finally say that I’ve seen it, and now I know that the book doesn’t do the story much justice at all, so if you have read the book and felt a little meh about it, trust me, watching it is SO much better. On stage it was, well, magic.

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris

On our last trip to Disneyland Paris, the family and I decided to try something we’ve never done before, and as we were staying at Hotel Cheyenne and the cowboy feel was everywhere, we thought we’d give Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show a try!

We went to the earlier show, so arrived at about 6.15 and were presented with our seat tickets and cowboy hats before going through to the bar area, where a live band were performing country music favourites – even Goofy made a special appearance! When the show was about to begin, guests were invited to make their way into the show arena. We were in the red section, so we were sat on the left side of the arena, and as we had category 2 tickets we were seated in the third row, but the view was great so I don’t imagine you get it much better by paying the extra for category 1. The seating is done in a row of benches, and we were lucky to get in first so we were right on the end of the row, but there wasn’t any room to get passed people so other people were having to climb down into the seating, which was a bit of a faff.

The benches were laid with all the crockery ready to go, and there were several baskets of tortilla chips spread along the row, but it was a little unclear what the protocol for food was going to be so we weren’t sure if we should be diving in or saving ourselves. The servers came along with jugs of drinks, and the options were water, coke or beer and these options were unlimited as part of the meal, but if you wanted anything else you could go to the bar and order drinks separately.

Once the show started, the food also started being served, and first up there was a course of chilli with cornbread, then once that had been cleared away there was chicken, ribs, sausages and potato wedges, and the portion sizes were huge so we definitely weren’t left wanting! If you had any room left at the end of all that, dessert was an apple crumble with ice-cream and there was coffee available too.

The show itself was bizarre and excellent at the same time! It was a combination of cowboy stunts such as trick-roping and cow-hearding (yes, there were real cows involved) and also skits and sketches, plus more live music, oh, and I did I mention that Mickey and the gang were there?! As well as the real cowboys and performers, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the chipmunks took part in the fun, they were dressed for the part too! The show also featured some native American scenes, so the whole frontier was represented.

The second half of the show was done as a sort of tournament; each colour section had cowboys and indians representing them as they took part in various contests, and the audience was encouraged to bang the benches, cutlery and plates while cheering on the contestants which was a lot of fun, and there were also a few opportunities for audience participation.

Overall, it was a fun evening, and I’m definitely glad we did it but I’m not sure if I’d rush to go back. The food was great and the show was entertaining but I imagine it would be the same every time and I think that the novelty would wear off quickly. On a side note, I also have no idea if there are any vegetarian options available as I didn’t see any alternatives dishes being served and about 80% of the food was meat, so worth bearing in mind if you are a veggie!

You do get to keep the hat though!

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Things I Love About Frozen: Live at the Hyperion

I’m having major Disneyland blues at the moment. Despite having three more Disney trips in the next three months, not knowing when I’m going back to my special place really sucks, so I’m living vicariously through my own memories from my trip back in May.

And while I love everything Disneyland has to offer, I was a little apprehensive about seeing the new Frozen show at the Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure park, not because I’m anti-Frozen, but due to the fact that I have such amazing memories of watching Aladdin there, and I was pretty upset when the replacement was announced. Of course I knew I had to see the show before I could make any judgements, and I kept an open mind from the offset.

I did enjoy the show; I personally don’t feel like Frozen has as much of a wow-factor as Aladdin did, but that’s primarily down to the story more than anything else! There were, however, a lot of things that I did LOVE about the show, and here are just a handful:

The casting

I’ve seen a few comments slating the casting of the show but I think they’re totally unnecessary. Basically, as this is a stage show adaption of the story, as opposed to featuring face characters, there is actually diversity in the cast – the show we saw featured a Kristoff of colour and honestly it was so refreshing. Mad props to Disney.

The trolls

Forget about Olaf, the trolls are my favourite non-human characters from the Frozen movie, and I got so excited when they actually appeared on stage!

The staging

Its so easy for stage show to go overboard when it comes to backdrops and props, but I thought this was done perfectly. The main feature was the large screen that set the scene, with other features wheeling on and off as needed, from doors to the stairs to Elsa’s ice castle.

The special effects

From costume transformations to flying snow carts, this show is full of theatrical magic!

Its still no Aladdin in my eyes, but its still a fantastic show and one that I’d fully recommend – especially if you need a good ol’ sit down!

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Favourite Photo’s from.. Festival of Fantasy Parade

This is really just a glowing tribute to my absolute favourite and, in my opinion, the best parade Disney World have ever created. I could honestly sit and watch it all day, every day, burning heat or pouring rain. I’m actually writing this while listening to the soundtrack on Youtube, just to keep the magic going.

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If you only spend one day in the Magic Kingdom, do not let yourself miss out on this truly beautiful display of Disney magic!

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Favourite Photos from.. Mickey and the Magical Map

I don’t really like taking photos during shows, mainly because when there’s a lot going on, things get a little blurry, but also because I love to just watch and absorb the magic.

Back in January, I finally got to see a show that I was so excited to see, and hoped like crazy that it lived up to my expectations, and given that I watched it 3-4 times in as many days, I think that shows that it did! That show was Mickey and the Magical Map at Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland..

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Tiana peeking through in that last photo makes it, plus Mickey looks so handsome in his Map Maker outfit!

Do you love this show as much as I do?

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Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Get your hawaiian shirt on and practice your luau skills, you’re gonna need them at this exciting dining experience at Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

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First things first, you MUST book in advance, these seats get snapped up fast, and the poorer seats have a rubbish view of the performance. You will have to guarantee your table with a credit card, and if you’re on a dining plan, it’s two table service credits each. That being said though, its an all-inclusive meal; all you can eat food, served family style, with additional kids options, and all drinks are included, hello margaritas!

Big saving tip: while you wait to be shown into the restaurant, there’s a bar where you can buy drinks, but if you can hold off til you get inside, all drinks are available included in your meal, so don’t be tempted!

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So you get set up with some appetizers while the place is filling up, and once you’ve chowed down on those, the show begins! In an attempt to be more kid friendly, the show has a slight story to it of a luau dance school, which was kinda unnecessary I thought; you’re there to see some dancing!

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During a short interval, your mains are served up: pulled pork, ribs, roast chicken.. Fill your plates, they’ll bring more if you’re still hungry!

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The show covers traditional dances from several Polynesian islands: Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand and of course hawaii, as well as a Samoan fire dancer! A nice, kid friendly touch was that the cast sang hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride for one of the dances, which Disney kids will know as the theme song from Lilo and Stitch; I thought that was pretty cool. There are also many opportunities for the audience to get up on stage and dance in the ‘birthday dance’ and ‘anniversary dance’; of course we sent up our happy couple..

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Overall, the show is a great way to sit back, relax, get some good food and enjoy some different entertainment, as well as having an opportunity to explore the Polynesian Resort in all its fabulous glory!

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Festival of the Lion King

In a secluded corner of Africa in the Animal Kingdom is the harambe Theater, which is home to The Festival of the Lion King.

The 30 minute show combines fabulous live singers, dancers and acrobats with large animatronic floats of your favourite characters from the film, and involves the whole family with audience participation and an open invitation to sing along!

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The theater is set up in the round (or square, in this case), with each of the four sides being allocated an animal sound to pipe up during the performance. The layout of the set also means that everyone has a great view of the spectacular Tumble Monkeys, fire dancing and, not to mention, Timon strutting his stuff around the floor; he’s such a diva..

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Unlike the smash Broadway and West End musical, the show doesn’t actually tell the story of the Lion King, it just celebrates the best songs including The Circle of Life, Be Prepared and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but with the showstopping cast, incredible costumes and amazing sets, you’re definitely missing out if you don’t check it out for yourself!

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