Disneyland Paris AP Mouse Party Review

Its so crazy that one month ago today I was having the maddest day in Disneyland Paris! I’d flown out the night before so I could spend just one day in the parks, and so that I could go to my first ever annual pass holder event, which was to celebrate the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse himself.

I’ve seen to many of my friends go to these types of events before and I was feeling a mixture of excited, nervous and also just not knowing what to expect completely, and now I’ve done it, what did I think?

Character meets

I think its safe to say that the majority of Disney fans go to these events for the opportunity to meet rare characters, and this definitely showed. Some of the queues were INSANE. DLP had had the good sense to split each queue into two, so that you knew which of the two characters at each location you were going to meet, instead of queuing with the hope of one, and then there being a switch as you get to the front, but it wasn’t very clear in the run up to the event that each meet would be separate. Sure, there were a few meets where I didn’t expect both characters to be together, but when the meets were billed as ‘Nick and Judy’ or ‘Carl and Russell’, a lot of guests were expecting to be meeting with both characters, not one or the other, especially as the queues were so long for most.

The only characters I saw with a minimal wait queue were Clarabelle and Horace, but after I’d spent almost the first hour of the party waiting for Vanellope, I decided that I didn’t want to spend all my party time in lines.

Shows and parades

There were a couple of shows and ‘parades’ on throughout the evening. I use ” in regards to the parades because it was essentially just some dancers and characters dancing down Main Street before going up on the stage, and the song for said parade was REALLY irritating – not everyone shared this view, but several people I was with did and it was so repetitive.. The other stage shows that were on through the evening were honestly a bit take it or leave it. I caught part of one of them and wasn’t massively impressed, especially considering how good the Surprise Mickey show that takes place in the parks during the day is, I just think the bar was set too high for me by that show.

The show that everyone was there for was the one night resurrection of Dreams, the firework and castle projection show that was replaced a few years back, and I must admit that it was GOOD. I’d only seen Dreams maybe 2/3 times back when it was on, so I didn’t have too much of a memory of it, but I enjoyed every minute of it! There was also another castle projection show towards the end of the party which was entirely Mickey themed and that was also amazing.

Rides

A lot of the rides were open to guests during the party, including Big Thunder Mountain, Its a Small World and Star Tours, and from what I heard, none of them had more than a 5 minute wait – probably because so many people were queuing for characters. The only ride I actually managed to fit in was Star Tours, which was a walk on AND there were only 8 people in the whole ride which was so cool.

I think for future parties, I’ll forgo characters in favour of rides because I loved riding a practically empty ride and not having to queue at all for that privilege, plus I found the character meets a little stressful given the number of guests and not-so-great organisation.

Organisation

I went into the party with a fairly open mind and no exact plan for anything that I really wanted to do, so I was fairly chilled for the most part, but there were some places were I thought Disneyland Paris really let guests down, and I feel a little ashamed to say that its not something I would have ever thought about before, had I not been with a friend of mine who was in a wheelchair.

The party was not disability friendly. There was no separate line for wheelchair users, so anyone in a chair had to be pushed up and down through the queue barriers under the Disneyland Hotel before the party, and then be crushed by the mobs of people trying to get into the park and run down Main Street. The lines for characters were also not clearly communicated. In the queue for Vanellope, we were told by one cast member to wait outside the line while he organised an alternative queue space, but meanwhile another queue had been created, and despite us being the first there, other cast members then tried to get us to move the the back of the now-insanely-busy queue. I hate how ignorant I have previously been to these matters, but I hate more how Disneyland Paris do not cater to all abilities.

Aside from this, however, I didn’t think the organisation was too bad. After being let into the park, each guest was handed a programme for the night and a limited edition print as a little gift, and there were cast members lining Main Street USA cheering and high-5ing guests as they walked in, I guess as also a little bit of crowd control!

And as far as I’m aware, everything else went off without a hitch! I had a good night with good friends, and I think I’ve learnt a lot about how to handle these events in the future. I don’t know if I would go to every party they hold but I’d definitely go back for another!

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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

Honestly, November has FLOWN by. Its now officially less than a month until Christmas, and I’m feeling super unprepared, but one thing I have got under my belt now, courtesy of the wonderful CoconuTacha, is some incredible Disney inspired wrapping paper, so at least when I do get my Christmas shopping done, the paper is all wrapped up, if you pardon the pun..

Tacha is an incredibly talented UK based graphic designer, and I love the unique style of each of the park icons featured on this wrapping paper. In each set you get 3 A2 size sheets of wrapping paper, plus 4 gift tags, so you’re completely covered for all your wrapping needs.

The paper is a really high quality – way nicer than your regular supermarket roll! – with a glossy finish, and its so beautiful that this is the kind of paper that you’ll want to unwrap carefully so you can keep it again! Also a great secondary use would be as a photo backdrop for blog photos – I may just keep a sheet for myself for this very reason!

And if you’re on the hunt for a cute little stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or just something to treat yourself with, Tacha also has this limited edition ‘Magic Castle’ enamel pin available on her store. Its so pretty and so different from any other castle pins I’ve seen and the colours are stunning together, and for £5 its a steal!

Cute wrapping idea: attach a pin to the gift tag of your present!

There’s currently 10% off both the wrapping paper and pin until the end of today so if you like what you see, head on over to Etsy now, and even if you’ve got your wrapping paper sorted, you should definitely check out Tacha’s designs on both her Etsy store where you’ll find an amazing selection of stationery, planner stickers, art prints and more, and also on Redbubble where you can get her designs on everything from t-shirts to phone cases.

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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*The items featured in this blog post were sent to me, but all views are my own.

Why Disneyland Is So Special To Me

On this exact date last year I arrived home from the most amazing trip to Disneyland, and I’m feeling a little bit sad about that. If I could go anywhere right this second it would be there.

One of the questions I get asked the most when I tell people that I’ve visited every Disney park in the world is ‘what’s your favourite?’, and I always decline an answer as its impossible to single out just one park as being better than all the rest, but Disneyland is the park that has a special place in my heart; the sort of place that has me crying when I enter and when I have to leave.

I was fortunate enough as a child to spend a lot of time in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, even making more than one visit some years, right up until I was about 5 or 6 years old, and then the Disney trips stopped. My sister and I were old enough to appreciate what the rest of the world had to offer, and so that’s exactly what my family did, and I wouldn’t change that for a second, but it meant that I actually had very few Disney memories other than what I’d seen in pictures or could vaguely remember.

In 2008, we went to California for the first time, and part of this visit was to go to Disneyland. I was just coming up 14, and I remember both my sister and I being ridiculously excited when my parents told us. This was where my first ‘adult’ Disney memories were made. We went back again in 2010, and again I remember just feeling so excited and happy, and at home when I stepped through those gates. There was magic.

As I’ve grown older, and my love of Disney has quite clearly grown also, I’ve come to realise other reasons why Disneyland is so special to me. This was Walt’s park, although he would say that Disneyland is our land *stifles a sob*, and you can feel that nostalgia through the whole park. He walked down Main Street USA, he stood in front of that beautiful little pink castle, and you just know that this was exactly what he created, his vision.

There’s a different feel to Disneyland than there is to WDW. It feels calmer, more effortless. From the Disneyland park to California Adventure, there’s not a single fault in my eyes, and even though it was 10 years ago now that I saw it all for the first time, I feel like I’m seeing it with fresh eyes every time.

Disneyland, you are perfect.

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How I Upped My Disney Style

You don’t even have to know me particularly well to know that when it comes to planning Disney trips, one of my top priorities is outfits, which I guess is a little bizarre considering I don’t really think of myself as a fashion blogger as such, but honestly nothing gives me more of a buzz than putting together the perfect park look, and the comments that I get when I’m wearing it.

As with anything in life, my Disney style is something that has progressed and developed with time, and I was totally honoured by the number of people who mentioned me in a recent #disneybloggerschat as someone who’s style they really admired/loved, because ultimately its something that I love, and its so nice that other people appreciate it too.

Let’s go back 2-3 years *reminiscent harp sounds*

The funny thing is, I still look back on some of these photos and think ‘wow, this is a LOOK’, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve come so much further since then, and here are a few of the ways I’ve upped my Disney style.

Finding inspiration

I plan all my looks around the day, whether its the park I’ll be in, the characters I want to meet, the walls I want photos in front etc – I even take it as far as thinking about the poses and photos I’ll want. This might sound silly to lots of people but its a big part of what makes me happy and its driven me to want to improve my looks so much more.

It doesn’t have to be all Mickey ears

Sure, I’m the girl who in the past has been known to take 6 pairs of ears on a 2-3 day trip, but more recently I’ve been enjoying mixing up my headwear with some cute baseball caps, hair clips and bows, and even just different hairstyles. My head feels a little bare without, but it opens up so many more options!

Think outside the box

This Sorcerer Mickey Disneybound from November is probably one of my favourite looks of all time. The whole look was born out of a skirt design that I’d had in my head for maybe 2 years, which when I finally got round to making I fell in love with. This high-low chiffon midi drapes just like Mickey’s red robe and its got a dramatic element to it too, but its also super comfy, kept me nice and cool in the Florida heat and its just something a little different from my normal style.

There’s more to park style than just Disneybounding

I often get caught up in the idea of Disneybounding, but not every outfit has to be a Disneybound. I generally go about 60:40 Disneybound to non-Disneybound, but it all depends on how I’m feeling and what my plans are. For me personally, I’m not much of a t-shirt person, so that’s why I tend to lean towards bounding, but I do like to balance things out.

Don’t be afraid to make your look (or get someone to do it for you!)

For my Disneyland trio back in May, I took inspiraton from my childhood Minnie Mouse dress, and made myself the perfect Minnie skirt!

A few years back, everything that I wore in Disney would have been something that I’d bought, but now probably 1 in 3 of my outfits features something that I made myself, whether its the ears, the skirt, or a t-shirt I designed, and the main reason I started making things for myself was because I had ideas in my head that I couldn’t buy in reality, so I turned into my own fairy godmother.

Just being yourself

I can be in tulle skirts one day and denim shorts the next, I’ll probably always be in Converses regardless. That’s just who I am as a person. I have an incredibly varied personal style, and I never wear anything in the parks that I don’t feel completely comfortable in, which means you’ll see me in all sorts!

Growing in confidence

As cheesy as it sounds, one of the biggest boosts in my style is the boost in my confidence. Even two or three years ago I would not have been the girl who could stand in front of hundreds of passers by and go through a range of poses while having my photo taken. My style and my confidence have grown side by side, and while to many people I’m sure planning Disney outfits and photoshoots seems ridiculous, its 100% helped me grow as a person.

I can’t wait to share more looks over more trips!

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RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 1

Yes it’s only been a week but once again I’m coming to you from another trip as I’m in Disneyland Paris for the RunDisney weekend!

We had an early start to get the first flight out of Southampton to Paris, which was lucky as due to strike action CDG was crazy busy and we had to wait quite some time to get through passport control! Once we were through and eventually managed to find our hire car company, we were on the road to DLP, and headed straight Hotel Cheyenne where we waited for my sister to arrive before walking into Disney Village. First stop was lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, then we went to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up our race kit.

I had mixed feelings about the expo. I thought it flowed better this year in how it was set up, but it felt very very empty and I was really surprised at how few exhibitors they had. It just felt a little scarce, although much better for my bank balance! Dad and I picked up our challenge bibs and tshirts, and Mum and Hannah got their 10K ones, then we walked into Disney Village for a bit of window shopping before getting the bus back to the hotel so we could finally unload all our stuff into the room before heading back to the parks.

Somewhat controversially, we actually went into the Walt Disney Studios Park first of all, as it was closing early due to the 5K in the evening. Amazingly, we managed to do the Ratatouille ride with less than a half an hour wait, and also RC Racer and even Crush’s Coaster in a fraction of what I would consider the normal wait time to be. After Crush’s Coaster, the park was past its official closing time so we were guided towards the exit, so we headed over to the Disneyland Park.

Once in the park, my family stopped for ice cream while I walked around the castle hub taking photos of the 25th anniversary decs, then we went into Adventureland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, via a quick detour through Aladdin’s Enchanted Passage. I don’t think I’ve ever queued that long for Pirates, although it was probably only about 20-25mins, but after the refurb I didn’t want to miss out. We then walked the loop through Fantasyland and into Discoveryland for Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin.

Once we’d saved the universe, we took up spots for Illuminations. I had hoped that the audience would remain seated but unfortunately everyone started to stand so on our feet it was.. Honestly, I don’t think it blew me away, and I don’t think it was any better than it’s predecessor Dreams. It was an early park close of 8.30pm, so we headed towards Disney Village but as the 5K was still ongoing it was total carnage. We battled our way through the crowds to the wondrous place that is Earl of Sandwich, grabbed sandwiches and headed back to the hotel on foot.

In the morning we’ll be doing the 10K, stay tuned! 

My Disney Park Pet Peeves

Its no secret that I love a trip to Disney. Every trip, to any park gets me so excited to be back in the magic, but occasionally there some things that other guests do that grind on me a tad and today I’m gonna have a little vent.

Guest who give CMs complicated cameras

There’s nothing wrong with having a fancy camera, but if you’re going to give it to a cast member to take your photo, at least have it turned on and set up how you want it. One time I saw a girl give a CM her Instax mini, still in some weird complicated case, and the poor woman had to try and work out how to get into the thing, and then work out how to actually use it.

People who sit down in queues

My sister is the biggest culprit for this. Now I totally get sitting down if there’s been an announcement of some kind of delay, but if you’re in a line that’s moving steadily (albeit slowly), I don’t see any point – all that happens is that you have to stand up again every few minutes to move forward, or do an awkward butt-shuffle along the floor.

Smoking outside of designated areas

Yes, I’m looking at you Disneyland Paris.. Disney are nice enough to let you smoke in the parks, the least you could do is stick to the set areas, rather than doing it in every line or public area.

Ruining the magic

Just because you know that there’s someone beneath the fur, doesn’t mean you have to make sure everyone else knows. Hearing guests say things like ‘that’s a different Cinderella than the one we saw yesterday’ loud enough for every kid in the vicinity to hear is not cool.

Being rude to CMs

There’s nothing cool about rude to staff in any situation, and Disney is no exception. Cast members will always do whatever they can to help you, but they aren’t responsible for a long wait time, closed rides, or whatever it is that has annoyed you. I hate seeing guests who think that they can throw a tantrum over any little thing and get their own way, and hurling abuse at CMs is just disgusting.

Line jumping/saving

I have absolutely no issue with people needing to duck out of queues for a quick toilet trip, and I also don’t mind if you bring your kid into the line a little bit later because they’re not good at long waits, but nothing is worse than 5-6 people pushing through saying that they’re family are further down, when it was just one person saving a spot for the rest of the group.

Walking around in chains of 4+

There’s nothing wrong with being a big group, but if you’re all walking side by side and no one can get around you, just be a little bit considerate of those who might want to get passed.

Holding up your iPad

It crushes my soul a little bit when you’re trying to watch a show or fireworks, and you can’t see because everyone’s just holding up their phone and filming something that the majority of them won’t even watch back. This feeling is tenfold when there’s that one person who holds up an iPad..

Apologies if this has come across as a minor rant, but I’m sure we all have those little things that bug us! What are yours?

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Tomorrowland

With the recent rumours that Disney may be announcing the replacement of Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World with the Tron ride that’s taken Shanghai Disneyland by storm, of course the Disney community has been throwing round a whole bunch of opinions – some people are desperate for some newness, others are already mourning the potential loss of a ‘classic’ Tomorrowland ride. On this particular matter, I stand fairly central; I don’t particularly like change, but I did love the Tron ride at Shanghai, and I think it would be a fabulous addition to WDW. One thing I can be certain of, however, is that Tomorrowland needs SOMETHING.

Walt imagined Tomorrowland to be the ultimate step into technology, and at the time, it definitely was. Look at the Carousel of Progress. It absolutely epitomises Walt’s dreams of the future, but the final scene has now hit the 21st century – virtual reality gaming, voice controlled homes – that’s the life we’re all living now. That doesn’t take anything away from my love of the Carousel, but it does indicate that times are changing, and an update is needed.

At no point had I ever believed Tomorrowland to be dated, or at least that was until my trip to Shanghai Disneyland last year, and as soon as I laid eyes on Tomorrowland the first thought that ran through my head was ‘this is how it’s meant to be’. I appreciate that the park is newer, so of course it would have better technology and a cleaner look, but it had what I can only imagine was Walt’s desired feeling: that you had stepped into the future.

Of course, the focal point of Shanghai’s Tomorrowland is the Tron Lightcycle PowerRun ride, but even the classics like Buzz Lightyear featured better tech and just felt so much cooler. The Tron ride itself was in a league of its own; it’s not dissimilar to Test Track in Epcot, but the look and feel just comes across so much sleeker, and it’s one hell of a ride!

Tomorrowland Speedway, on the other hand, does not get me excited. It’s a ride I have quite happily skipped on my last few trips and I wouldn’t shed any tears over the loss. I saw a tweet that summed up exactly how I feel:
I don’t feel like Walt would be proud of Tomorrowland as it is right now. It’s classic, but classic always implies age; being dated. Sure, if they were gonna replace Space Mountain, or the beloved PeopleMover, I think I’d feel differently, but what’s futuristic about a little car that you can drive around a track? Now give me a lightcycle..

To be honest, I think my main concern about the change happening would be the construction affecting the rest of the park, but I don’t think I’d lose any sleep. Tomorrowland is too much like today.

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