Mission Breakout vs Tower of Terror

Ok guys so here’s a controversial one for you..

On my trip to Disneyland last month, I finally got to experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: BREAKOUT ride that has taken over from the Disney park classic ride, Tower of Terror. I have thoughts. LOTS of them.

To set the scene, I’ll tell you about my relationship with Tower of Terror. Obviously, we go way back, and in fact one of the few memories I have from going to Disney as a young child was being on Tower of Terror looking out over Hollywood Studios at night, everything lit up. I don’t remember hating the ride as a child, as many kids do, but as I was reintroduced to it as an adult, things got a little iffy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared of the ride and I will always ride it at least once a trip, but I describe it as a love/hate thing. The drops I love, but the build up to and mystery of the first drop drives me insane. I spend the whole queue time on edge, plus the initial part of the ride where you stop and watch the scenes, because the random sequences of the ride mean I never know when that first fall is going to happen and I do not like that. Once we’ve dropped once, happy days, I’m good from then on, but I always have that initial worry at the back of my mind when I think about the ride.

Fast forward to last month. Now I really love Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was actually really excited, and I was curious to see how the overlay would work on essentially the exact same ride, and more importantly, whether I would still hate it in the same way I hate Tower of Terror. Now if you watched my Instagram stories while I was in the parks, or read this blog post, you’ll already know the outcome: I LOVED IT. I got a slightly nervous feeling in the line waiting to get on, but my excitement took over and I was mainly just super keen to see it all. Even the wait for the first drop was bearable because I was so distracted by what was going on around me.

Now you might think that this was just first-time excitement, but every single time we rode Mission: BREAKOUT I loved it more. I went on it way more than I would ever ride Tower of Terror in one trip and I might even go as far as to say its one of my favourite rides in Disneyland AND I would happily see it rolled out to more Tower of Terrors across other Disney parks.

Why doesn’t it strike fear into me though? While I’ve never considered myself particularly spooked by the spiderwebs and bellhops of Tower of Terror, I guess subconsciously the theme of the ride does put a little bit of tension into me, and that translates into me clinging onto the handlebars on the chair until my knuckles go white, meanwhile the Awesome Mix soundtrack and flashing lights of Mission: BREAKOUT put me right at ease as I’m being thrown up and down so much I can’t actually tell what direction I’m moving in.

Who knows for sure, but I am very interested to see how I fare going back on Tower of Terror while I’m in WDW next week and whether I’ve been cured completely by the Guardians, or whether its the theme that really has me on the edge of my seat, metaphorically of course..

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Spring Dapper Day at Disneyland

You might judge us for this, but the primary reason for our trip to Disneyland in April for those specific dates was so that Sarah and I could go to our first ever Dapper Day.

If you don’t know what Dapper Day is, it kinda is what it says on the label, its a semi-official event that takes place in the Disney parks, or at least Disneyland, Walt Disney World and, more recently, Disneyland Paris, where the idea is that guests visiting the parks don their best clothes and spend a day looking utterly fabulous in the most magical and happiest places on Earth. They take place twice a year, in spring and fall, and the dates and other info can always be found on the Dapper Day website.

So anyway, we wanted a Disneyland trip, and we knew we wanted to do Dapper Day, so this trip was about a year or so in the planning so we knew the dates, and the Sunday of our trip, which was also our final full day, was Dapper Day, although the Dapper Day Expo (which we didn’t go to) was all weekend.

The hardest part, of course, was deciding what to wear. There’s no official rules on how you should dress, but a lot of people tend to lean towards 20th century style, and I decided to go a little bit traditional with wanting a 40s-50s style dress. After a lot of thought, I settled on Steamboat Willie as my outfit inspiration – mainly because I have a serious attachment to it, but also because I figured in Disney’s original park, I wanted to do an original character. I found the perfect dress pattern to use and whipped up this little velvet and cotton drill number with the biggest skirt EVER, paired it with some black and white brogues (because I don’t really do heels) and added a knotted headband, and voila!

To sum up the whole day in one word, it was magical. Considering it is just essentially a day spent in the parks, just with the added dress-up optional clause, it just felt so much more wonderful, whether that was because we were dressed up or because everyone else was, I don’t know. I was truly amazed at how big an event it really is; I mean, considering such a huge proportion of my Instagram feed are Disney people, of course I see lots of people talking about it, but there was always a chance that that’s just because I follow all of those people, but honestly the people in ‘regular’ clothes were the minority in the parks.

Really, we spent the whole day hanging out with friends, taking photos and just generally taking in the atmosphere, and of course checking out what everyone else was wearing! Walking around the parks was like a fashion show, and everyone is looking at everyone to see how they’re dressed – but in an excited way. Compliments are being thrown around like confetti and total strangers want to take photos with and of you and chat about your outfits and its just such a pure environment.

There’s also a bunch of cute photo opportunities, and even some unofficial meet-ups happen on the day, and its just an entirely great and unique experience, so I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s been considering making a trip for one, or who has a trip coinciding with a Dapper Day!

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8 Amazing Things That Happened on Our First Day in Disneyland

So I know that I usually live blog my Disney trips, but today I didn’t feel like it was right. We took a pretty chilled out approach to the day and I felt like despite it being an incredible day for us, it probably wouldn’t read as well for others, so instead I thought I’d try a slightly different format to tell you some of the AMAZING parts of our first day in the happiest place on earth.

1. We had a whole boat to ourselves on Pirates of the Caribbean

This is my traditional first ride of any trip, and as is fairly normal first thing in the morning, it was a walk-on. But then, to our great surprise, we got into the front row of the boat and realised that no one else had been put into our boat with us, so we got to do the whole ride without other people! I joked that this was a sign of amazing things to come, but little did I know how true this would be..

2. Mickey Celebration Cupcake

Sarah bought a cupcake for the ‘gram, which turned out to be this incredible chocolate chip cookie/cupcake kinda combo which was super yum and quite probably the best Disney cupcake I’ve ever eaten. 11/10 would eat again every day of my life.

3. ‘ Share Your Ears’ Cheeseburger

On the subject of food, we also split the 3-piece Mickey-shaped burger for lunch over at Smokejumpers Grill in DCA and it was so good! Definitely a great option to split between two people.

4. I got to see Pixar Pier for the first time

As it’s been almost 2 years since I was last at Disneyland, there were a lot of changes for me to experience, the main one being Pixar Pier. We only spent a brief amount of time on it today, but I loved everything I saw and I can’t wait to take more of it in over the next few days.

5. Mission Breakout!

I have also never been on the new(ish) Guardians of the Galaxy ride that took over from Tower of Terror in DCA, and so I got to experience that for the first time and I LOVED IT. I have a real love/hate but mainly hate relationship with ToT but Mission Breakout blew my socks off and I thought it was incredible – I can’t wait to do it a few more times this trip!

6. We saw the Disneyland cats

I had no idea this was a thing but apparently the pair of cats that seem to live in DCA are a common sight for guests – who know right? They were really cute though and clearly just wanted some piece and quiet away from screaming guests. Don’t blame them..

7. Tow Maters

I normally skip the smaller ‘kiddy’ rides but we decided to go on the Tow Mater tractor ride and it was actually such a blast!

8. I finally met Mickey as Steamboat Willie

My dream meet for such a long time now has been to meet Mickey as Steamboat Willie, and completely by fluke today it happened and I am still not over it. This meet takes place in Meet Mickey in his house in Toontown, but it’s totally down to chance as to whether he’s on set for Steamboat Willie, or if he’s doing others things that day, and I’ve only ever seen him in his traditional tails and red trousers, but this knocked me for six and I am SO HAPPY.

It’s just been a truly unbelievable first day of what I know will be the most magical trip!

My RunDisney Medal Collection

So I know I have been totally AWOL for the last two weeks, but moving house is insane y’all! I honestly thought I’d only be away from blogging for a few days to maybe a week but I have had NO TIME lately with sorting the house out.

But I’m back! And as today is registration day for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my existing RunDisney medal collection! I managed to get registered on Tuesday in the DVC early registration window, which I’m so happy about, and I wish everyone registering today the best of luck!

Walt Disney World races

2016 – If you’ve been following me for that long, you’ll know that I started doing RunDisney events in 2016, and every single race has been an amazing experience for me. My dad and I started off in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend , taking part in the 5K and the half marathon, which was actually our first half marathon. Back then, 5K medals were 2016 rubber ones (you get a proper metal one now), so Pluto here was our first RunDisney medal. The half marathon was one of the hardest races I have ever done because a few days before I developed a chest infection and I honestly felt like I was going to die before we’d even hit mile 4, but we did it and it was so worth it.

2017 – Running solo for the first time, I started off the year with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. By this point I had the bug for challenges, so I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and half marathon). The races were all Beauty and the Beast themed that year, which I was so happy about as I had already planned to run as Chip before the medal designs had been released, although the challenge medal was still glass slipper themed.

Disneyland races

2016 – The week after doing the marathon weekend in 2016, we left Florida and flew across to California to take part in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and this was where we completed our first race challenge, Rebel Challenge, which was completing the 10K on the Saturday and the half marathon the next morning on the Sunday. By this point my chest infection had cleared up, and I actually set my half marathon PB on this course.

2017 – In May I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I saw a lot of hate on social media over these races but I had a total blast. The Disneyland 10K course is my all time favourite RunDisney course (RIP California races) and I think my favourite medal was from the 10K, although they are all so stinkin’ cute!

Coast to Coast

Both in 2016 and 2017 I earned a Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon* in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, but in 2017 I got a bonus of the ‘pink’ Coast to Coast, which was for doing the Princess and Tinkerbell weekend in the same year. The medal was essentially the same as the normal Coast to Coast, just in a pinky colour palette instead! 2017 was also the 10 year anniversary of the Coast to Coast challenge, so the blue medal was extra special!

*to earn a Coast to Coast medal, a minimum distance of half marathon must be done in each park!

Disneyland Paris races

In 2016 I took part in both the inaugural 5K and half marathon in Disneyland Paris (there was no 10K in the first year), and then in 2017 I did the 10K and half marathon, earning the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge medal! Both years I also got an additional challenge medal, the Castle to Chateau Challenge, for completing races in the US as well as Paris – the medal was the same for both years, just with a different ribbon.

Virtual Running Shorts

I only did the virtual shorts in 2016, which was the first year RunDisney did virtual races, mainly because its quite expensive to do considering you don’t get an actual event, but I loved the medals I got because they were huge!

This year has been totally RunDisney-less for me, which has been really sad, but I’m also quite happy as I’ve had so many injuries to deal with! I’m also still a little heartbroken that the California races have been cancelled until further notice, but I’m just praying they’ll return soon and I’m so excited to get back into training for the marathon next year!

Have you ever done a RunDisney event?

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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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Goodbye RunDisney California

Yesterday it was announced that, for the foreseeable future, RunDisney will no longer be holding races in Disneyland, California, and the Avengers Half Marathon weekend next month will be the last races that grace the streets of Anaheim.

I’m slightly devastated, but not overall surprised, having noticed that no dates for next year’s races were being announced, and the only race that had been announced, the Star Wars weekend in January, had had its registration delayed.

There is, of course, a big difference in the scale of Disneyland races compared to Walt Disney World, which can only be expected given the park sizes and facilities available, but having participated in races both this year and last, it was very apparent this year that numbers of participants were dwindling. In fact, while I was there in May for the Tinkerbell weekend, they were still trying to sell bibs at the expo for the races in the following days!

Disney’s announcement stated that the reason for the cancellations was due to the construction work that is ongoing for the expansion, but personally I don’t think this is flimsy front for the fact that the races have been bleeding money. While the 5K and 10K courses are mainly within the confines of the park, the half marathon only does about 5 miles in the parks before the course leads out onto the streets of Anaheim, which means a lot of roads have to be closed, and unlike other Disney parks, the immediate area surrounding Disneyland is residential, so these road closures do affect a lot of people – there are rumours of quite a lot of complaints – and the permits cost Disney a lot of money, which with the dropping numbers of runners just can’t be afforded.

So yes, I thought this announcement was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Despite a lot of RunDisney veterans often slating the Disneyland races, personally they have been some of my favourites – the Disneyland 10K course is the best course out of all the RunDisney courses I’ve ever done. Disneyland is such a special place to me anyway, but racing through the parks is like nothing else. I completed my first weekend challenge (Rebel Challenge 2016) here, and ran my half marathon PB here.

The announcement also means there will be no more Coast to Coast challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and leaves only Castle to Chateau as an option for those runners who will complete a half marathon in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming years.

All I can say is that I really hope that Disney will restart the races when the construction ends, and I can run through my happy place again soon.

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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