My Disney Cruise Bucket List

I feel like I’ve hardly talked about the fact that next month I’ll be going on my first ever Disney Cruise – crazy right?!

Because it is my first cruise, I genuinely have no idea what to expect, and I’ve not done a whole lot of research, which is very unlike me, so I’m essentially going in blind, but what is a trip without a bucket list?

  • Take a photo by the funnels – yes, I want that cliche Disney cruise photo, and any other classic photo that I can get
  • Visit the ship’s gym – call me strange, but I love visiting gyms at Disney hotels and resorts, so when I discovered that the Disney Magic has a fully equipped gym, I knew I’d be adding that to the list
  • See Tangled: The Musical – apparently there is a Tangled show on board the ship, so you bet your butt I’m gonna be there
  • Eat as much as I can without bursting – when all food is included in the price, you’ve gotta get your money’s worth, right?
  • Do all the waterslides on the boat – no, the waterslides aren’t just for kids.
  • Meet as many characters as I can – because is it really a Disney cruise if you don’t hang out with Mickey and the gang?
  • Explore every little nook and cranny of the ship – I want to see ALL of it
  • Take ALL the outfit photos – as per every other Disney trip, I have planned a whole bunch of outfits specifically for this trip, and you bet you’re gonna be seeing a tonne of them all over here and my social media
  • Party like a pirate – did you know that every Disney cruise has a pirate night? Well I do now, and I can’t wait!
  • Order room service, just ‘cos – all-inclusive perks..
  • Hang out with my best friends – as well as the excitement of my first ever Disney cruise, I’m going with some amazing people and I can’t wait to spend this time with them! Best trip ever!

If you’ve ever been on a Disney Cruise and have any tips or advice, please drop me a comment!

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Shiny Shoes and Street Food

On Friday, Matthew and I took a semi-spontaneous trip into London, having been in Luton in the morning for a job interview. We caught the train from Luton Airport Parkway into St Pancras, and after going to see Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross – rookie mistake during school summer holidays cos it was pretty crazy! – hopped on the tube to one of my favourite places in London: Covent Garden.

It was gone 2:30pm by the time we actually got there, so lunch was really first on the agenda, and we decided to forgo our usual go-to restaurants and instead we went to Wahaca – Matthew had been before and raved about it, and I was up for seeing if it was as good as he said it was. The Covent Garden branch is actually just a few roads outside of the main square, but the restaurant was easy to find and as soon as I stepped inside I was pretty excited by everything going on. The decor was fun, the whole place smelled amazing and the staff were super friendly from the offset which is always a huge plus for me.

The menu consists primarily of ‘street food’ options, which are smaller dishes designed for sharing around the table, and although there are some dishes which are supposed to be more like a main course, I wanted the proper experience. We ordered 6 dishes between the two of us:

  • Frijoles and tortilla chips – a creamy bean dip with crumbled cheese and a bucket of chips for dipping
  • Four cheese empanadas – two crispy, crunchy pastry parcels filled with the creamiest and stringiest cheeses
  • British steak tacos – three small tortilla tacos filled with chunks of steak and salsa
  • Buttermilk chicken baja tacos – two larger soft tortilla tacos filled with crispy fried chicken and salsa
  • Mexican style chorizo and potato quesadillas – two grilled tortilla ‘sandwiches’ filled with chorizo and crushed potato with cheese
  • Chicken club quesadillas – quesadillas filled with grilled chicken, lettuce and spicy salsa

All of the dishes are brought out as soon as they’re ready, so you can just dive into whatever comes first, and it was really fun to be able to pick and choose and share. My absolute favourite dish was the cheese empanadas, which I haven’t stopped thinking about since, but also the buttermilk chicken tacos and the chicken club quesadillas are both dishes that I would order again.

While we tried our best to finish, we didn’t quite clear our plates, partly because we wanted room for dessert. Again, we decided to share two options, ordering the churros and chocolate dip, and the salted caramel ice-cream, both of which were absolutely to die for! Fully fuelled for the rest of the day, we went back to Covent Garden and wandered around the shops, including the Moomin Shop where I met Moomin himself!

When we left Covent Garden, we headed for the Natural History Museum to fill a little bit of time, then walked down to another of our London must-dos, Ben’s Cookies, to pick up a selection box of our favourite cookies, then got the tube back to Victoria as that morning we had booked tickets to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.

It was Matthew’s first time seeing the show, having only heard Defying Gravity before, and while I had seen it once before, it has been probably about 8 years since I last saw the show. In fact, the first time I saw Wicked in London was when Idina Menzel was still playing Elphaba, and nothing will ever top that for me! That said, the show was amazing, and of course had me in tears on more than one occasion. Wicked was the first musical that I fell in love with, and Defying Gravity and For Good are two of my all time favourite songs from any musical, and back in the days where I was confident enough to sing on stage in front of an audience, I once performed I’m Not That Girl.

I don’t know if it was just the progression and development of the show over time, but I felt that watching it after so many years I found it funnier, but that could just be down to me being a little older and understanding more of the jokes. Honestly though, despite a love of all things musical theatre, Wicked will always have a special place in my heart and I was so happy to see it again after all this time.

While I might not have ruby slippers, my feet were pretty damn comfy in my gorgeous new rose gold trainers from Truffle on Asos. Would you believe I only paid £11 for them?! I took a risk wearing them for the first time ever for a day walking around London but I am blister free and there was not a single complaint all day! I don’t normally go for this sort of style of trainer – I’m a strictly Converses kinda gal – but I’m so glad I bought these, and let’s face it, they’re the ultimate blogger shoe – even Matthew keeps referring to them as my shiny blogger shoes haha! I think they’ve got back up to £14 on Asos now but I still think that’s a bargain for such comfy and pretty shoes!

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How to do Disneyland on a Budget

Pretty much the only thing that bothers me about Disneyland is that generally its a more expensive to visit than Walt Disney World, especially as it doesn’t have regular package offers like the annual free dining deal, and being on the west coast, flights tend to be pricier. Despite this, I would still 110% recommend any Disney fans visit Walt’s original park; while I don’t do favourites, this park holds a special place in my heart and I’ll never stop loving it.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a few different things you can do to cut down the cost of a trip to this magical place, and I thought I’d share them for anyone who’s thinking about a trip!

Consider non-direct flights

Depending on when you book, sometimes you can get direct flights to LAX for around £350-450, but other times they can be well over the £500 mark, but you can save a lot of money flying indirect. Also, a stopover can break up the 10-11 hour flight!

Buy your tickets at home

Yes, you can get your park tickets when you arrive, but Disneyland tickets from UK sellers like Attraction Tickets Direct generally work out a bit cheaper (plus you can use cashback websites to get something back!) and it means you’ve got your tickets ready to go and don’t have to waste valuable park time queuing at ticket booths!

Stay offsite

Unlike WDW, Disneyland has a tonne of offsite hotels that are all within walking distance of the park – some of them are literally just across the road! The price difference can be pretty amazing; I paid the same amount for a week offsite as a room for a night in the Disneyland Hotel. There’s also so many to choose from, from budget motels to well known chains, so you’re bound to find something you’re happy with.

Bring your own food

If you’re really looking to save the pennies, take a trip to a supermarket and stock up on snacks to take into the parks with you. That being said, on my last trip I spent less than £20 a day on food in the parks!

Consider transport options

If you’re going to be a larger group, and the drivers are over 25, it may be cheaper for you to rent a car to get from the airport to the parks, rather than using the Disneyland Express.

If you do have a car, don’t drive to the parks

Parking is $20 a day, but plenty of hotels have free/cheap shuttle buses that drop you off right by the park entrance.

If you’re ever looking to book a Disneyland trip and need any advice, feel free to ask, or check out all of my Disneyland posts here!

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Disneyland Day 3

Another day in the California sun! Today we were up and into California Adventure for opening at 9am, and after joining the crash of people getting fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers, stopped at Flo’s V8 Cafe for the sweetest breakfast of brioche French toast and a milkshake, then went back to get in line for Soarin’, which we only waited about 25 mins for.

Once we’d landed, our fastpass time had already come round, so we had another race around Ornament Valley, then went on a bit of a character hunt and met Nick Wilde before leaving the park to hit the RunDisney expo, via Sephora at Downtown Disney.

After all the classic expo moments – bib pickup, tshirt pickup, expo browsing – we went back to the hotel to dump my bits before going back into Disneyland, where we were greeted by Belle in the entrance area. We then headed towards Fantasyland, via Snow White’s wishing well and the teacups to take some photos, then grabbed some snacks and sat in front of the castle for a bit to eat and enjoy the sunshine.

Next up, we headed to Fantasy Faire, where we met Aladdin and then waited for Rapunzel, before picking a spot to watch Soundsational, but as the start seemed delayed, and because we wanted good seats for Mickey and the Magical Map, we abandoned the parade and instead hung out at Fantasyland Theater until they let us in, which was worth it for the seats we got. If you know me well, you’ll know this is my all time favourite Disney park show, and I’ve missed it so much so of course I cried through the whole thing. It was also Sarah’s first ever time seeing it and she did the same..

After recovering from the show, we had fastpasses for the Matterhorn, then went into Tomorrowland and did Star Tours then grabbed dinner at Red Rocket’s Pizza Port – hello pasta load – and then called it a night as I’ll be up at 4am tomorrow for the Tinkerbell 10K! Stay tuned folks!

Disneyland Day 2

You’d think after how tired we were last night, we’d have slept right through til 8am this morning. Nope..

We were up about 6:30-7am ish, and got into the Disneyland park just after 9am, and headed straight for Toontown, where we waited for it to open at 10am. You might think this is crazy, but the empty Toontown photos we took were 100% worth it! After our little photoshoot, we met Minnie in her house, then Mickey in his, before heading back out of the park and hopping over to California Adventure.

First on the agenda was food, having not had any breakfast and given it was passed 11am. We ate at Pacific Wharf Cafe, which involved amazing freshly baked sourdough bread, then wandered over to the Hyperion Theater for the 12:30 showing of Frozen.

The staging of the show was really impressive, and the cast was great, but while the performance overall was pretty good, I did miss Aladdin.. It was, however, nice to sit down in some air con for an hour! From there we headed to Paradise Pier and kicked ourselves back into gear with a ride on California Screamin’, then queued about 15 mins to get into the famous Cove Bar for those all-too-Instagrammable cocktails.

We actually only ordered one actual cocktail between the two of us, and a non-alcoholic lemonade mocktail (which we actually preferred due to the candy floss!), but we had an amazing table on the waterside looking out over the pier and Mickey’s fun wheel and it was perfect. Drinks finished, we went back to the pier for a few photos, then walked back to Buena Vista Street where we met Mickey and Donald, Sarah grabbed an ice cream and I picked up a cookie sandwich on our way back to Paradise Pier for our fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania.

After the ride, we hopped onto the Little Mermaid ride to kill 15 mins before heading to Cars Land for the other fastpass we’d picked up earlier in the day – Radiator Springs Racers. This ride blows me away every time with how amazing and impressive it is, and I’ve only ever done it as a single rider before so it was nice to actually get to sit with someone I know!

After Racers, we went to Animation Academy and both drew very questionable attempts at Olaf, then went back for another round of California Screamin’ before grabbing dinner at Lucky Fortune Cookery, which is a great place for when you’re not in the mood for burgers and pizza! Then to kill time before World of Color, as it was a little too cool for us to sit and wait for 40 mins without jackets, we went on Voyage of the Little Mermaid again, which was so quiet that the cast members were happy (and very entertained) to let us ride it three times in a row without actually getting off. We didn’t have the best view for World of Color, but it wasn’t that important for Sarah and I just wanted to see it at some point, and knew I wouldn’t any other evening with the early nights I’ll be needing for the races!

Show over, we cut through the Grand Californian as a shortcut back to the hotel, and are calling it a night as we’ll be back in the parks early tomorrow!

Disneyland Day 1

Well after a whole lotta California dreamin’, I am back in my happy place! Despite expecting jet lag to be a killer, we slept through til 6am which was pretty good, although we were up, showered, dressed and ready by 7:30am..

We started by grabbing breakfast in La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney while we waited for the parks to open, then headed straight into the Disneyland park, where we were greeted by a load of character appearances. We just did Mickey and Minnie, then headed down Main Street for those all important castle photos, a quick meet with Aurora and then my classic first ride: Pirates of the Caribbean, and no, Johnny Depp wasn’t there..
After Pirates, we did Haunted Mansion then Big Thunder, both of which were basically walk ons, then headed into Fantasyland where of course we stopped for teacup photos and photos with the Small World wall. As we walked towards Tomorrowland, however, we came across the Mad Hatter just standing by himself near the Matterhorn, so we went to keep him company for a bit, then as the line for Hyperspace was a bit lengthy, we opted for fastpasses and decided to hop over to California Adventure, stopping to watch the band perform in front of the castle with Beast and Belle.

As we got into DCA, we saw Oswald at the park entrance, then headed round to queue for Soarin’, which is a ride I’ve never actually done in Disneyland! After flying all over the world, we headed to Cars Land and got bread cones from the Cozy Cone Motel, then explored Hollywoodland for bit before going back to the Disneyland park for our Hyperspace Mountain fastpass.

Galaxy saved, we wandered back through Fantasyland, then caught a little bit of Fantasy Faire from just outside The Royal Theatre, then decided to do the castle walkthrough before going to Adventureland to do Jungle Cruise. We then walked back to Royal Princess Hall where we met Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White, and headed into Toontown for a little while, before grabbing a spot on Main Street USA for Soundsational.

After the parade, we did a quick browse of the shops on Main Street, then as it was getting a little colder, decided to head back to the hotel via Downtown Disney so we could grab our jackets and have a quick chill out and wifi hog before going back for the evening.

Refreshed and ready to take on the evening, we walked back to the parks and grabbed dinner at the Red Rose Taverne, then hit a few of the rides with shorter queues – the carousel, Big Thunder in the dark, Snow Whites Adventures and Its a Small World – then as we were starting to feel the tiredness set it, let our competitive nature wake us up with a go on Buzz’s Astro Blasters (Ps I won), before heading back to Main Street to sit and wait for the last Main Street Electrical Parade performance.

Lovely as it was to see the parade again, we were both really struggling to truly appreciate it while battling to keep our eyelids open. We’d intended to hold out and get empty Main Street photos but as soon as the parade had passed us we knew we couldn’t stay any longer, so plodded slowly back to the hotel for a well deserved night sleep. Catch you guys tomorrow!

Reasons to Go On Holiday with your Best Friends

Today I am jetting off on yet another adventure with Sarah from Belles Moments, and needless to say I couldn’t be more excited. Its our second holiday together this year, and I already know that its going to be amazing.

I never did the whole ‘girls holiday to *insert party holiday destination here*’ when I was 18/19, mainly due to it not being my scene, but also because at the time I didn’t really have that many friends that I would want to be stuck in a cramped hotel room with for a week or two, let alone spend all day every day with.

In recent years, however, I’ve met some of the best people in my life, and learnt what real, true friendship actually feels like, and now I love any excuse to get away with my friends, and I’ve got one more girls holiday booked for later in the year, and here are a bunch of reasons why you should do it too:

They pack just as much as you

I’m a serial over-packer. I have to make sure I have outfits for every day, plus a few spare bits and pieces, then there’s all the accessories, shoes, makeup etc to go with, and its so much better knowing they’ll have packed just as much.

They double as Instagram photographers

Those not-so-candid ‘candid’ photos that you hope will hit 100+ likes in the first day don’t take themselves you know..

You’ve probably accidentally coordinated outfits

On our first day in WDW back in February, about 20 people asked us where we bought our ‘matching’ skirts. We hadn’t bought matching skirts..

They understand your quirks

They know what photos you’re gonna have to take because it matches your Instagram theme, they know the struggle you went through choosing what makeup to pack, or which camera to take photos on that day, and they might make a joke or two but they get you.

You already have a selfie set-up

Forget taking 6 photos before you find one you don’t like, you guys already know each others best sides and are well experienced in the matter.

You don’t have to have fun all the time

Well, you will, but you also know how much sleep each of you need to be able to function, and sometimes how you’ll need those earlier nights or a lie in or two.

You’re just as weak as each other

There’s no judgement when you’ve blown all your spending money in the first shop you visit, or when you’ve eaten nothing but popcorn all day.

You’ll just have the best time

I mean, they’re your best friends for a reason!

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