The Ultimate Six Park Comparison

I’m not gonna lie, the fact that I visited all six of the world’s Disney parks within a 13 month period is probably one of my greatest life achievements, and I’m fully aware of how lucky I am to be able to have visited them at all! That said, there is a question that comes with this achievement which I hate: ‘what’s your favourite park?’.

I hate picking favourites, end of, but this is one I will never ever be able to answer, because every park is different and there’s no way they can be judged on the same level, so instead I’m gonna break down the park pros and cons, and hopefully give a proper and fair analysis!

Disneyland, California

Disneyland California

  • Number of parks: 2
  • Park yays:
    • Compact area – its only about 100m between the two parks, with Downtown Disney right outside
    • Lots of nearby offsite hotels, and easily accessible on foot
    • Plenty of random character interaction opportunities
    • Large Downtown Disney area including branded stores like Sephora and Lego Store
    • While temperatures can vary, rain is very rare!
    • Current shows and parades include: Mickey and the Magical Map, Frozen the musical and Fantasy Faire, Soundsational Parade
    • Parades and nighttime shows in both parks
  • Park nays:
    • Not many direct transportation options from LAX
    • No dining plan
    • During off-peak times, some performances and parades get cut-back to weekends only
  • Why this park is special to me:
    • Disneyland was the first park I visited as an adult, so with the exception of vague early childhood images, all my first proper Disney memories were made in Disneyland. It also makes me so happy knowing that this was Walt’s park, and this is where he walked and where the whole Disney park legacy began.

Walt Disney World, Florida

Walt Disney World

  • Number of parks: 4 plus 2 water parks
  • Park yays:
    • The most advanced Disney parks, with features like Magic Bands, Fastpass+ and My Disney Experience
    • So many entertainment options – something for everyone!
    • Amazing transportation links, including Magical Express to airport
    • Dining plan is great value for money
    • Current shows and parades include: Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasmic, Festival of Fantasy
    • So many resort options!
  • Park nays:
    • Parks can get really packed during busy periods
    • So many strollers..
  • Why this park is special to me:
    • WDW is the ultimate Disney experience. If you stay onsite, you are completely encased in the magic, and reality and problems disappear!

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Tokyo Disneyland

  • Number of parks: 2
  • Park yays:
    • Local guests are so polite and considerate
    • Hardly any strollers or scooters
    • So many unique areas (basically the whole of DisneySea!)
    • Best merchandise of any Disney park!
    • Designated train station for transportation into Tokyo
    • Everything is clean and well kept
    • Current shows and parades include: Happiness is Here, Electrical Parade Dreamlights, Fantasmic
    • No Downtown area, but has Ikspiari, a large shopping centre with restaurants and Disney Store
    • Monorail link between the two parks
    • Lots of rare character meeting opportunities
  • Park nays:
    • Not many cast members speak English, and most shows are done in Japanese
    • Rather than Extra Magic Hours, guests staying in Disney hotels only get to enter the parks 15 minutes before other guests
  • Why this park is special to me:
    • Tokyo was my first Eastern Disney park, and I was just blown away with how much I loved it. DisneySea is just such a unique park, definitely one of  my favourite parks of all time, and I live for the merchandise!

Disneyland Paris, France

Disneyland Paris Spring 2016

  • Number of parks: 2
  • Park yays:
    • Designated train station for links to airport and Eurostar
    • Good range of hotel options, both on and offsite
    • Current shows and parades include: Mickey and the Magician, Frozen Singalong, Disney Magic on Parade
    • Lots of seasonal events eg. Swing into Spring and Halloween
  • Park nays:
    • Guests don’t stick to designated smoking areas
    • Walt Disney Studios park doesn’t have as much going on as Disneyland
  • Why this park is special to me:
    • DLP is my local park, I’m an annual pass holder, and I’ve made so many recent memories here, including my 21st birthday and my first Disney trip without my family back in April. I think the park has come such a long way in recent years and I can’t wait to celebrate the 25th anniversary next year!

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland

  • Number of parks: 1 (for now!)
  • Park yays:
    • Designated train station for easy access from the city
    • While still being fairly close to the city centre, the area feels very secluded
    • Most cast members speak English really well
    • Current shows and parades include: Paint the Night parade, Festival of the Lion King, Mickey and the Wondrous Book, Flights of Fantasy
    • Fun twists on classic rides
    • Depending on the time of year and day of the week, the park can be really empty!
  • Park nays:
    • No offsite hotels nearby
    • Local guests use umbrellas for shade, so it can be hard to watch parades
    • No Downtown Disney area
    • Fastpasses only available for a few rides
    • Merchandise was quite expensive compared to other Asian parks
  • Why this park is special to me:
    • Hong Kong was the last Disney park I visit on my six park adventure, and I fell in love with it. I love how similar the park is to Disneyland California; its so pretty and classic!

Shanghai Disneyland, China

Shanghai Disneyland castle

  • Number of parks: 1
  • Park yays:
    • So many incredible new rides
    • Located really close to Pudong Airport, and also has a designated station on the city’s underground tube system
    • Disneytown is ride next to the park, and you can use the second entrance at the end to re-enter the park by Tomorrowland
    • Current shows and parades include: Tarzan the musical, Mickey’s Storybook Express, Captain Jack Stunt Show Spectacular
    • Just the most beautiful castle!
  • Park nays:
    • Local guests aren’t very into queuing, and lots will push past
    • Quite a bit of rubbish around the parks
    • Queues for Fastpasses can be longer than queues for some rides at times!
    • Currently still very much in a trial stage, with some technical problems still occuring
  • Why this park is special for me:
    • Being able to visit a brand new park within a month of opening was so special for me, and the experience was totally magical.

Wow, I really struggled writing this; I hate finding negatives in things! I’ll probably come back to this a million times and change and add things when they spring to mind!

What do you love about the parks you’ve visited?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Tokyo Disney Throwback

Exactly one year ago to the day, I stepped foot in Tokyo Disneyland for the first time. You can read my trip diary here, but today I thought it would be fun to share some of my unseen photos!

Tokyo Disneyland Station

There’s a slight upset among some Disney fans because Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t have a classic Main Street USA when you enter the park, replaced instead with the World Bazaar. The World Bazaar is a lot like Main Street in a lot of ways, just covered with a kind of greenhouse roof, and decorated with lanterns and flags.

Tokyo Disneyland balloons

Tokyo Disneyland World Bazaar

It does make the walk down towards the castle feel a little longer, and take a little bit of the focus away from the beautiful Cinderella castle, but its so interesting to walk through something a little different from Main Street USA

Tokyo Disneyland

First thing in the morning, you’ll get to meet quite the collection of characters at the end of the World Bazaar. My favourites by far were Bernard and Bianca from The Rescuers – so tiny and adorable! I’ve never liked Gideon and Honest John that much, but they seemed to like my camera!

Tokyo Disneyland Partner Statue

I just love statues in Disney parks, don’t you?

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo DisneySea is a park like no other – quite possibly one of my favourite Disney parks of all time! It is totally unique and packed with amazing attractions and the most perfect tiny details, and I could walk around there all day without going on a single ride and still feel amazed by everything.

Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror

Unlike its Western cousins, the Tower of Terror in DisneySea isn’t sponsored by The Twilight Zone, and therefore has its own unique design and the story behind the ride is different – no spoilers, but its still as scary!

Tokyo DisneySea

There’s also a full-sized cruise ship docked in the park!

Tokyo DisneySea

If you’re a little mermaid fan, you HAVE to visit DisneySea just for Mermaid Lagoon. From the outside, you see the beautiful underwater city of Atlantica, just as it appears in the movie, but once you enter and journey under the sea (yes, you really go down!) you can play among the fishes til your heart’s content! Its a great place to avoid summer heat!

Tokyo DisneySea

You should also watch out for street rats in Arabian Coast – a practically perfect replica of Agrabah!

Tokyo DisneySea

Hmm.. I wonder where the imagineers got inspiration for this one..

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

And I’ll just leave you with this absolutely stunning sunset over the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel!

I’ve got all sorts of Tokyo Disney posts, from trip tips to dining reviews, be sure to check them out here °o°

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Baking Magic – Mickey Steamed Buns

With looking forward to my trips to Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneylands, it seems a little crazy that its almost been a year since I visited Tokyo!

Tokyo Disneyland was the most unique experience, and I would thoroughly recommend a trip if you get the chance – I’m dying to go back already! – and one of the many unique features of the parks was definitely the food. Forget corn dogs and fries, the cuisine is almost entirely suited to the Japanese culture, and we didn’t have a single bad meal there!

While you may not be in the Western parks, there are a couple of burger options for you, but before you go searching for a cheeseburger, even these have an adorable Japanese twist: steamed buns, and a touch of Disney magic! Today, I’m re-creating the most internet famous of these..


These buns are available at Tomorrowland Terrace in Tokyo Disneyland park, but other variations include a Donald equivalent in Toon Town, and a seashell bun in Calypso Kitchen in Tokyo DisneySea, and now I’m so excited that I can make my own!

Being totally clueless on where to even start, I stuck pretty close to the steamed bao bun recipe on BBC Good Food:

  • Mix 525g plain flour with 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl
  • Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of salt in 1 tbsp warm water, then add to the dry mix with 50 ml milk, 200 ml water, 1 tbsp sunflower (I used olive) oil and 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar and mix into a dough, using either your hands or a dough hook attachment on a food mixer < so much easier than your hands! Knead for 10-15 minutes
  • Put the dough into a lightly oiled dough and cover with a damp cloth, then leave for 2 hours to rise. It should double in size, but don’t worry too much if it doesn’t!
  • Tip it out onto a floured work surface and flatten it out, then sprinkle 1 tsp baking powder over it and knead for 5 minutes.

This is where I deviated a little from the method of the recipe.

  • Roll out the dough until its about 1cm thick. I found this easier by cutting the dough in half and doing one half at a time!

Mickey steamed buns

  • Using a big flower shaped cutter, preferably a five petal design, cut out shapes from the dough. Using your hands, stretch these out slightly, dab with a bit of oil and fold them over a chopstick so that three of the petals are on top (see that Mickey hand shape?) and repeat with all the dough.
  • Cover the buns with a clean tea towel or oiled cling film, then leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hr 30 mins.
  • The buns should double in size, but again, don’t worry about this too much – mine didn’t!

Mickey steamed buns

  • Before cooking, use black food colouring and a paintbrush or toothpick to add Mickey’s glove markings!
  • Cook the buns in a steamer for 8 minutes, then unfold, fill and close back up!

Mickey Steamed Buns

The buns are best served still warm, but still delicious once cooled! I personally recommend filling with pulled pork or teryaki chicken!

Love the look of these? Have a look at my favourite crazy Tokyo foods!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Friday Favourite Five – Crazy Tokyo Disney Food

Yes, I’m still reeling about my Tokyo Disney trip even though it was months ago..

Something I was really excited for when preparing for our visit was the food, photos of which I’d seen all over Pinterest and Instagram, and I couldn’t wait to try some of the delicacies in store for us during our stay. Truly, we couldn’t fault any of the food during our entire visit; it was pretty, delicious and reasonably priced – happy family!

A few, though, really stood out as memorable, and here’s my top five:

1. Mickey Burger

2. Little Green Men Mochi

SONY DSC

3. Clam Burger

DSC08532

4. Mickey Churros

SONY DSC

5. Queen of Hearts Roll Cake

SONY DSC

Don’t you just love it?! I do!

°o°

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

Tokyo Disney has three Disney hotels, as well as six ‘official’ hotels, five partner hotels and a load of Good Neighbour hotels, so finding somewhere to stay nearby is not a difficult thing to do, but the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel takes the cake if you ask me! Ok, this was the only place we stayed and we didn’t get any of the other hotels, but just look at it:

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

If the exterior doesn’t drop your jaw to the floor, then the lobby definitely will!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

During our stay, we actually stayed in two different rooms: a standard room for the first night, then we moved into a family room for the rest. Both rooms had the same decor, a gorgeous classic design, with elements of Beauty and the Beast throughout, so the only difference between the two was the size. The standard room had two double beds (although double is a generous term, these beds were so narrow my parents ended up sleeping separately!), but had a roll-out and a sofa bed as well, whereas the family room had three doubles and a roll-out, and also a sitting room area with a sofa and another tv, and both rooms had a sink area, a toilet, and a wet room with a shower and bath.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

As well as the beautiful lobby, the hotel also has several gift shops, restaurants and a swimming pool (which is pretty small, just to warn you!). It also has a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for your little princesses, and some really pretty gardens to stroll around.

The hotel is literally on the doorstep of Tokyo Disneyland, and less than 100 metres from the monorail station, so there’s no worry about transport to and between the parks, and guests staying at Disney hotels get early access to the parks – only 15 minutes but its worth it – as well as all the extra Disney magic that staying on site provides!

°o°

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall

This was by far my favourite restaurant in Tokyo Disney. I had seen pictures online, and I knew I wanted to eat here!

SONY DSC

QoH is right in the centre of Fantasyland, next to ‘Its a Small World’, and you can’t miss it! Its surrounded by statues of the Alice in Wonderland characters, as well as the iconic teapot vending machines, and perfectly pruned shrubbery.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Once you step inside, you’re transported into the Queen’s gardens; mazes, red roses, Playing Cards, even a Cheshire Cat! The restaurant is a ‘buffeteria’, a cross between serve yourself and being served (grab your own dessert, choose your main, be seated by a cast member). The scenery is phenomenal, everything from stained glass scenes to giant flowers!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

And as for the food.. Unbelievable! I had a seafood selection and a chocolate fudge cake, both totally faultless! All of the choices had something Alice in Wonderland themed about them, and some of the dessert selections had souvenir bowls or plates (my sister had the cake, I got the plate!).

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Sweet, right?! There was loads of seating, so we didn’t feel at all crowded, and entirely indoors which was perfect for the heat. It really was a totally unique dining experience, even the toilets were keeping with the theme! The Queen herself would be most impressed, and if you don’t eat here, then off with your heads!

°o°

Friday Favourite Five – Rides at Tokyo Disney

I can’t believe its been over a month since I was in Tokyo Disneyland already! This year is flying by, but I can’t complain because every day that goes by, I’m a day closer to my next Disney trip, so I can’t lose!

Today’s FFF are the rides I loved most during my time in Tokyo, so here they are!

1. Splash Mountain

SONY DSC

Yes, Splash Mountain is in every Disney park, I know, I know! BUT there was something about this one, I can’t really put my finger on what exactly, but it just seemed better than all the others! I love it, and I rode it more than all the other rides, k.

2. Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek!

SONY DSC

While its not as exciting as Buzz’s Astro Blasters, and there’s no scoring involved (which bothered my super competitive mum!), this was really fun, and the setting was perfect!

3. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull

SONY DSC

Another ‘non-unique’ ride, but again, this ride blew me away! We had a Fastpass so we got to skip the enormous queue (always makes rides better), but it would’ve been worth the wait!

4. Journey to the Center of the Earth

SONY DSC

The ride inside the volcano! Totally different from anything at any other Disney park, and the perfect combination of gentle ride and rollercoaster!

5. Caravan Carousel

SONY DSC

A double decker carousel of fun! Ride an elephant, a camel, or even Genie himself!

°o°