Tea with Pooh

Another year of Disney trips has begun, yay!!

I feel like I’ve been looking forward to my trip next month forever, so now I can officially say that its this year is so exciting!

Hot Topic Pooh outfit

Hot Topic Pooh dress

I really wanted a pretty dress to wear on the day that we’ll be visiting the Grand Floridian for breakfast, and I found this beauty on Hot Topic. The pattern is so pretty and subtle, and its got a lace up back which is a nice little detail too! Instead of classic ears, I’ve paired the dress with my yellow bowler hat – technically they’re cat ears, but I think they’ll work as bear ears too!

I’m extra excited to explore the Grand Floridian; I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been inside it before and its such a dreamy place. I predict hundreds of photos will be taken, and I have no shame about that!

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Amigo Donald

Its another Disney outfit day, and today’s is a Disneybound with a slight difference!

My love of Donald Duck is well known among my friends, and I’ve done a Donald-bound before, but something I’ve never done, and always wanted to do, is meet Donald in his Mexican pavilion outfit at Epcot, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do this trip!

Mexican Donald Disneybound

The inspiration for this whole outfit actually came from the ears, which were made by the lovely Maggie from Elephant and Mouse, who I was lucky enough to meet back in January, and thus the outfit idea was born!

I found the skirt in the H&M sale months ago – its a little large, but it matches Donald’s poncho so well, so what’s a little alteration! I’ll be pairing it with a blue top and my favourite yellow and white Converses, and the amazing fluffy ears to complete the look!

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Team Minnie

Every outfit post means I’m another week closer to my next Disney trip, and that makes me so excited!

Team Minnie Disney Outfit

I love a character breakfast, so I’m really looking forward to trying one I’ve never done before: Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Its hosted by Minnie Mouse and her friends, and who doesn’t love Minnie?

This outfit is two-fold. Firstly, the blue skirt matches the theme of the restaurant, and secondly, it reminds me of a cheerleaders skirt, so makes the Team Minnie t-shirt from Primark even cuter! I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing these ears with this outfit or not yet, but as they feature Minnie they’re kinda perfect for it!

Beach Club is my favourite resort, and hanging out on the Boardwalk after breakfast will be a dream!

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Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Tulle

I leave for Walt Disney World in 10 weeks. 10 WEEKS!!

Its become part of my trip countdown tradition to share the outfits I have planned, but this year I decided to try something a little different in the set up of these posts because a) it saves me having to go outside and take countless outfit photos and b) I’m hoping to get lots of photos of these outfits on the trip, and they’ll look much better in situ in the parks than they would in my back garden.

So instead, I’m gonna rock the flatlays!

Bibbidi-Bobbidi Tulle Disney Outfit

Day one of our trip is going to be super magical. We’ll be twirling down Main Street first thing on our way to breakfast reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, so I’ll be leaving the glass slippers at home and opting for Converses instead, but I still want to be a princess nonetheless. Sarah’s planning a Rapunzel-bound which also involves a tulle skirt, so it was a perfect excuse for me to dig out mine again!

The t-shirt is from Redbubble (as you’re probably aware most of mine are!), and I made the ears to match – any excuse for new ears! I also always look forward to being able to wear my Alex and Ani bracelets again when I go on Disney trips – I think they’re so beautiful but I don’t like wearing them when I’m not in the parks.

I can just imagine the day being full of princess meeting, twirling and happiness, and I’m so excited!!

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Long Distance Disney

So out of this last month, there have been two key moments in Matthew and my relationship, both arguably as important as the other.

Last week, Matthew was finally given an official coming home date. I’d been waiting for that news since the moment he left, and while its not as soon as I’d like it to be (its actually quite a bit further away than we’d hoped), its a day that I can look forward to, and there’s a possibility that it may come a little sooner, so we’re just crossing all fingers and toes, and remembering that two more months is nothing to the five we’ve already made it through.

This date comes from the fact that he passed his first progress test, and has now moved on to the next stage of his training, which doesn’t rely on the weather as much as the first stage, so hopefully he’ll be able to fly through it. Pun intended.

Ok, next big bit of news..

We’ve booked to go to Walt Disney World! It was semi-planned, semi-spur of the moment, but I’m so happy we’ve done it and now we’ve got something else to look forward to next year. Matthew is a huge WDW fan, and has been desperate to go back, so as the end of the free dining plan offer loomed, it only really made sense logically..

We’ll be there from October 30th-November 13th, catching both Halloween and Christmas seasons, and staying at Coronado Springs! Matthew’s never stayed on Disney property before, and he’s already chosen his Magic Band colour and created a My Disney Experience wishlist longer than my arm.. Of course I’m super excited to get planning to make this the most magical trip for him, and we’re hopefully going to do Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party too!

Its not been an easy month, but whenever I find things hard, I just think about next year and all the great things that are to come, and how it will all be worth the wait.

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February Disney Trip Update!

I did a little squeal yesterday as the countdown to my trip to Walt Disney World with Sarah dropped into double digits, eeek!

I always struggle between the 180 day ADR booking and the 60 day Fastpass booking because there’s not much to do in terms of planning in that time, so I generally use this time to sort out my plans in terms of what park on what days, and also my outfits for the trip, which is one of my favourite things to do! There is, however, something quite exciting that has happened..

Thanks to a bit of surprise Disney magic, we’re going to be extending our trip by one day, and we will be spending our last night in..

Disney's Polynesian Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

I still can’t really believe that this is happening, and its going to be such a perfect end to our trip! It came totally out of the blue, and its just making my excitement for this trip go through the roof!

Not quite so exciting, but equally as important, I’ve finally booked my flights for the trip. I got a really great deal on a British Airways flight through American Airlines, booked in the nick of time as the prices have rocketed since! I’m also well on the way to having all my outfits for the trip planned, and I’ve finally decided on my running costumes for the races: I’ll be running the 10K as Nala from The Lion King – an often forgotten princess! – and the half marathon as Chip from Beauty and the Beast, and making all my own costumes this year! I’ve also submitted all my proof of times for corral assessment.

 

Now we’re into the double digits, its not long til we can sort out Fastpass+ bookings, then its just a case of paying off our booking (which is on Boxing Day, ha!) and we’ll be on our way!

EEEKKKK

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Best Rest Rides at Walt Disney World

Speaking as a person who has not only had to do WDW parks on major jet lag, but also after being up since 3am and running a half marathon (hello RunDisney life), I know that there are always those days where you need to chill out, but also don’t want to miss out on any valuable park time, so I’ve got you covered!

Tomorrowland TTA People Mover

Magic Kingdom

TTA People Mover

Has anyone ever actually had to queue for PeopleMover? I don’t think I’ve ever been on it and not been allowed to ride around and around for ages because there’s no one else waiting. Its the perfect way to still experience MK while keeping your feet up.

Walt Disney World Railroad

One of my favourite things to do sometimes is just get on the train and ride a loop or two around the park!

Epcot

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Hello 45 minute sit down! I will admit to drifting off while riding this one time..

Living with the Land

This educational little boat trip is one of my Epcot favourites; I love looking at all the plants and trying to spot hidden Mickeys, plus I normally follow it up with a trip to Sunshine Seasons for Mongolian beef and a red velvet whoopie pie!

Spaceship Earth

Its iconic Epcot, plus a nice relaxing trip through history and into the future!

Hollywood Studios

The Great Movie Ride

I don’t care if people think its a little cheesy, but its a nice gentle ride and I always like waiting to find out if I’m in a gangster or bandit car!

Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safaris

So I always try to make this a morning ride, but its the perfect way to ease into a day in the park, plus you never get the same experience twice!

What do you do on your down days in the parks?

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My Top 5 Most Underrated Places in Walt Disney World

It feels like forever since I’ve written a post about WDW, all the amazing other parks in the world have been busy getting in the way! But as it currently stands, my next Disney countdown is ticking towards my trip with Sarah in February, and I’m getting super excited to start properly planning again.

I know everyone has their special places in WDW, the places that they love over anywhere else, and we can’t possibly understand why not everyone shares our immense love for them, and here are mine:

1. The Boardwalk

Walt Disney World Boardwalk

It genuinely upsets me that there are a tonne of Disney World goers who have never discovered that little area of beauty that branches off of the World Showcase at Epcot. I love resorts, I love the peace and its just so damn pretty!

2. Japan

Epcot World Showcase Japan

Japan is definitely my favourite country on the World Showcase. The architecture is amazing and I love the huge shop of Japanese goodies; its so true to the country itself and it always gets me really excited.

3. Sleepy Hollow

Walt Disney World Sleepy Hollow

For starters, there are amazing waffles. For mains, the view of the castle is just stunning and its an awesome photo spot, plus its always been really quiet when I’ve eaten there. And for desserts, the waffles again..

4. Africa

WDW Animal Kingdom Africa

So often people overlook the incredible detail in Animal Kingdom, but I think this is truest in Africa. Disney Imagineers blow my mind.

5. Hollywood Boulevard

WDW Hollywood Studios

I know Hollywood Studios is considered a bit of a dunce park right now, what with all the development, but there’s just something beautiful about looking down the street and seeing the Chinese Theater at the end. It just feels like being transported to the era of classic movies and Hollywood glam!

Where are your favourite areas in WDW?

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February Dining Plans!

Yesterday marked 180 days til my trip to Walt Disney World with Sarah (Belle’s Moments), and that means we had the excitement/stress of booking our dining reservations!

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Personally I think I’m so lucky to be friends with Sarah as we’re so like-minded on all things Disney, so choosing where we wanted to eat was a piece of cake as we both had the same must-dos, so once we’d decided on days, it was as simple as waiting until the dates opened up, and being able to share the load made everything so much easier!

So here’s what we’ve got:

Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

I’ve always wanted to eat inside Cinderella Castle, and the best part about breakfast is that if you book it early enough, you can get into the park before opening – hello empty Main Street photos!

Lunch at Teppan Edo

Although I ate here back in January, I loved it, so when Sarah asked if I’d be interested in going again I couldn’t say no!

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

This I am so excited about! A dinner show with characters in country outfits, music, dancing and plenty of food – I can’t wait!

Yak & Yeti lunch

The food here looks so good and I’ve heard lots of amazing reviews!

Breakfast at Cape May Cafe

Not only is this restaurant in my favourite WDW resort, Beach Club, but its another fab looking character breakfast hosted by Minnie and her friends! It’ll be the perfect recovery meal from the Princess 10K in the morning!

Be Our Guest dinner

We got the infamous reservations! I cannot wait to have dinner in Beast’s castle, especially as I’ll be celebrating finishing the Princess Half Marathon and be adorned in medals!

Breakfast at Grand Floridian Cafe

I think the Grand Floridian resort is so beautiful, I’ve been dying to visit! I booked it for 9.20am in the hopes that we can watch the Magic Kingdom welcome show before jumping on the monorail and whizzing on round!

Dinner at Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room

We’re heading back to the UK for the night, in the hopes of getting to see the beautiful Milly, who’s currently out representing us Brits on the CRP, and I’ve never eaten here before so why not?

Be Our Guest lunch

As well as our dinner reservation, we also were sure that we wanted to eat lunch here as well; I’ve done Be Our Guest for lunch before and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in WDW so yay!

I’m so ready for our trip now! All we have to do is book our Fastpasses and that’s everything sorted, yay!

What are your favourite Walt Disney World restaurants?

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The My Disney Experience Mobile App*

It’s magic at your fingertips! Plan, capture, and share your Walt Disney World vacation using this official app from Disney!

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If you like visiting Disney as much as I do, this will definitely come in handy. Let’s take a closer look at My Disney Experience’s features:

Explore the resort with ease

The My Disney Experience Mobile App allows users to explore the Walt Disney World Resort using the interactive, GPS-enabled map. The map isn’t just a plain one that points users from point A to B; it’s fun to use as it’s filled with cute designs that shows guests where they can find certain attractions and restaurants.

In addition to its awesome directional features, the interactive map allows users to find Disney characters’ greeting locations and times. It also shows the time for fireworks and parades. How awesome is that?

Plan your vacation

The app allows users to buy theme park tickets with ease. Bought tickets are stored in the My Plans section where information can be shared with friends and family. An alert will go off when your trip to Disney is getting close.

Make your trip memorable

This is where the app truly shines. Users of My Disney Experience can preview, purchase, and share Disney PhotoPass photos and videos. To the uninitiated, PhotoPass is a tool that allows guests to view and purchase photos taken by Disney photographers online and at theme parks. Whenever visitors have their photos taken, they’re issued a PhotoPass, which has the web address and a 16-digit ID number printed on it.

Apart from PhotoPass, users will be able to shop for authentic Disney merchandise with quick links to the all-new Shop Disney Parks app.

Thanks to technology, Disney is able to reach out to more people. With this app, first-time guests of Walt Disney World will have a convenient and magical stay.  

Apart from making apps, Disney seems to be quite active in the creation of new games as well.  Aside from its Disney Channel that has integrated games, Disney also partnered up with Yepi and the Club Penguin page — sites where the latest Disney games are now hosted. In the past, Marvel, which is now owned by Disney, used to have games hosted on the Pocketfruity site but that came to a halt when Disney decided to adhere to its family-friendly policies and pull all games from gaming sites. All of Disney’s games are now suitable for players of all-ages both online and offline.

Give the app a go by downloading it either on iTunes or the Google Play Store!

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*This post contains guest content.

10 Reasons Magic Bands are Awesome

Technology is great sometimes. Its brought us Snapchat filters and 3D TVs, and if you’re a WDW goer, technology doesn’t get much better than your Magic Band.

Why Magic Bands are Awesome

‘Why are they so awesome?’, I hear you say. Well I’m glad you asked..

1. They’re your room key

If you’re staying on Disney property, say goodbye to the days of those plastic key cards that you could never put into the slot right the first time round.

2. They’re your credit card

Leave your wallet in the room, you can link your credit card to this colourful little accessory and not have to carry cash at all!

3. They’re re-sizeable

If your little ones find the band a little on the large side, you can remove the grey outer strip (like the red band in the photo!) to take away some of the bulk and make it more fitted to smaller wrists!

4. They’re customisable

As well as being able to choose the colour of your Magic Band, you can also purchase different style from the parks, or customise your own with stickers and cute little charms. Back in January, I turned Dad’s magic band into a monorail using My Fantasy Bands vinyl stick-ons

5. They’re collectable

If you stay in a Disney resort on every trip, you’ll get a new band every trip! Having a band in every colour is a dream of mine – not all the ones in the photo are mine!

6. They’re reusable

You can link bands from your previous trips to your new reservations! My lovely friend Sarah re-uses all of hers so she can match them to her outfits, ha!

7. They’re your Photopass

If you decide to buy a Photopass, or have a Memory Maker linked to your reservation, this can all be set up on your band for quick and easy photo zapping.

8. They’re your Fastpass

No more losing your little paper Fastpasses, its all saved to your band!

9. They’re waterproof

Yes! No having to worry about wearing them in the shower or the pool, so you can float around the lazy river worry free!

10. They make great souvenirs

Once your trip is over, the band is all yours to do with as you wish! I keep mine displayed in my bedroom!

When is your next Disney trip?

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Top Tips for Great Character Interactions

The more trips I make to the parks, the more confident and excited I am to meet characters. I’ve also found that the more confident I am, the better my interactions are getting, and that’s really spurring me on to meet more!

Loads of people recently have been asking for tips on great character interactions, so I thought I’d do a little post to share some of mine!

Don’t be shy!

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You’ll have the most fun with characters when you get into it; if you just stand there awkwardly and don’t say much, the characters can’t open up and it can be pretty disheartening for them too! Characters can tell when you’re not into it.

Bring something to play with!

Disneyland Paris bunnies

On my last trip to Disneyland Paris, I decided to take a selection of tsum tsums with me to show to the characters, and not only was it fun, it also meant I got some adorable photos!

Have something to talk about

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Don’t be afraid to introduce a topic of conversation. You might want to ask Rapunzel how she looks after all her hair, or chat to Peter Pan about the Lost Boys, but it gives the characters an opportunity to really be themselves and you’ll love some of the responses you get.

Ask for what you want

meeko

If you want to twirl with the princesses, ask them! Want to pose like a bunny with Peter Pan? I’ve done that too! They’re always so obliging!

Dress to impress

Disneyland Plaza Inn

If you’re going to meet your favourite character, why not wear a shirt with them on, or themed Mickey ears? It always brings the characters so much joy to see how much they mean to you, and it can be really special.

Show some love

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Get those hugs in! A hug from your favourite character is like no other hug, and I always come away smiling from ear to ear.

The truth of it is, as long as you have fun with it, then any interaction is going to be great!

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More Disney Plans!

I very much doubt that me announcing more Disney trips is much of a shock to my regular readers anymore, but I just love sharing my plans with everyone!

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Now I’ve already shared my big plans for this year, including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris, and with this year already packed with magic, I’m now starting to sort my 2017 adventures!

Brace yourselves.

I have already booked Walt Disney World for February with the lovely Sarah from Belle’s Moments, eek! We’re going to be staying at Port Orleans Riverside for 10 days to coincide with the Princess Half Marathon weekend, where I’m hoping to be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge – 10K Saturday and half marathon Sunday! I say hoping because race registration doesn’t actually open until next month, which is actually when I’ll be in China so fingers crossed I can get it sorted ok! So that’s one trip down..

Keeping on the race theme, in May I’m hoping to be able to go out to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half weekend, so that I can run the Pixie Dust challenge, and also qualify for my Pink Coast to Coast medal – fingers crossed that stays on into 2017! Right now nothing for this trip is planned; my parents might join me but it all depends on their plans for the year, but I’d love to go out for a week and maybe do Universal Studios out in LA too!

That’s it, right? NOPE

Hello September, hello Disney Cruise Line booking! Once again I’ve booked with Sarah for the 7 night Mediterranean trip, and what’s even more exciting than going with her is that another one of my absolute favourite people is booked on the same cruise with her family, so its going to be the most fun! I have done a cruise before, but not a Disney cruise and I think there’s gonna be a stark comparison between my previous cruise memories and this one! Sarah is a Disney cruise pro, so I’m hoping she’s going to show me the ropes, and I’m really interested in all of the stops we’ll be making on the way!

Three big trips, yay!

I also have my Disneyland Paris annual pass now, so I’m hoping to visit there a few more times this year and next, including the Halloween Soiree this year!

EEEEEKKK °o°

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Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

It’s been 3 months since Dad and I began our journey home from our incredible RunDisney trip, and I think its about time I told you what I thought of our stay at the resort!

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Location:

POFQ is right across the road from Epcot, which puts it pretty central to the whole WDW area. Because all of the RunDisney races start at Epcot, this turned out to be ideal for us, meaning we could afford another half an hour or so in bed!

As well as being able to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios fairly quickly, the bus trip to Magic Kingdom was fairly short too, and you’ve got the added bonus of being able to catch the water taxi straight from the resort to Disney Springs! Its also only a short walk to Port Orleans Riverside on the river path if you fancy a bit of an explore!

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Layout:

I really loved how seemingly compact this resort is. The reception, concierge, shops and restaurants are all located in one central building, with the bus stops just outside, which is probably no more than a 5 minute walk from any given point in the resort, and the pool and laundry services are right in the middle too!

Set out like the streets of New Orleans, the room buildings are laid out around squares of pristine grass and cobblestone roads, each of which has a cute name like Rue de Baga!

Having stayed at Caribbean Beach back in 2014, where everything seemed like quite a walk away, this was such a nice, close-knit place to be.

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Rooms:

I’ve generally found that rooms in moderate resorts tend to be set up fairly similarly, but its the little touches that magic each resort unique! The mardi gras theme of POFQ is continued in the rooms with purple and gold accents, and classic little Disney details.

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Dining:

The main food court, Sassagoula Floatworks has a range of counters serving different quick service offerings, as well as takeaway pizza, ice cream and famous beignets!

There’s also Scat Cat’s Club by the reception area, a bar with live music, and Mardi Grogs by the pool.

Activities:

The pool at POFQ is quite something; its got this huge alligator slide and all sorts of poolside water activities for the little ones, as well as a hot tub for the grown ups. There’s also evening movies on the grass squares between the room buildings, and an arcade near the pool.

You can also use the river path to Port Orleans Riverside resort as a running track.

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Overall Pros:

  • Nicely compact, so you don’t need to worry about having to drag tired little ones back to your room late at night
  • Great proximity to pretty much everywhere
  • All amenities are central and easy to get to
  • Walking distance from Port Orleans Riverside
  • The whole theme is so much fun, and the cast members love going the extra mile to keep the mardi gras spirit alive!
  • Great pool for kids
  • Water taxi to Disney Springs
  • An ideal location for RunDisney race participants

Overall Cons:

  • During quieter times, park buses share a route with Riverside, so you may have a slightly longer ride than expected – this is generally only during the day, after park close there are normally separate buses

I think that pro/con list reflects pretty well on how I feel about this resort – we really liked it! I definitely think its my favourite moderate resort (so far!) and would happily stay here again!

Have you stayed at French Quarter?

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Baking Magic – Butterfinger Cupcakes

I’m just gonna prefix this post by saying that this is definitely more of a lazy person’s guide to the butterfinger cupcake due to the fact that my kitchen currently has a giant hole in the ceiling, so I’ve had to make do with the ingredients and space that I had!

Disney park cupcakes are the best, right? Apart from the fact that they’re often too big to finish in one go, YES. Today I’m taking on a Disney World classic, the Butterfinger cupcake.

Now Butterfingers are an American candy bar, and although you can get them in some UK retailers, I’ve made these as totally butterfinger-free butterfinger cupcakes. I feel like I’m totally cheating today, but I’m gonna pretend that I’m just making this recipe accessible for novice bakers.. BUT LOOK AT THEM YUM

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Right, here we go!

1. Start off with a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, and to get a proper WDW experience, fill the cases a little more than you normally would! If you don’t have one, cream 125g butter and 125g caster sugar, add a dash of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, then mix in 20g cocoa powder and 105g self-raising flour and bake at 190C for 15-17 minutes. Ta-dah!

2. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and cut a hole into the centre of the cake, like a classic butterfly cake, and pop this to one side for the time being. It doesn’t matter if they get mixed up and you can’t remember which centre belongs to which cake.

3. (Cheat 1, coming your way). Well now you’ve got a hole in the middle of your cupcake that needs filling, so find either your favourite chocolate and peanut butter spread, or just a regular chocolate spread or frosting, and fill that hole all the way up. I recommend spread or frosting for this because its a little gooier than buttercream!

4. Those little cake centres, sit those back onto the cakes on top of the pool of chocolatey goodness to make a little peak.

5. Now grab some vanilla buttercream, or make some using a 2:1 icing sugar to butter ratio and a splash of vanilla extract. To replicate WDW buttercream, thicken it up with a bit more icing sugar – this will help it hold better when we load it onto the cake in a minute. Pop it into the fridge for a minute while we get a few more things ready.

6. Has anyone else noticed that basically every recipe I share involves crushing something at some point? Yep, we’re doing it again.. If you’re one of my American readers, grab yourself a butterfinger and crush it up nicely. UK friends, find yourself a peanut butter KitKat and a few cookies and stick them in a food processor to crumb them down nicely.

7. Grab your buttercream from the fridge, and using a knife or metal spatula, pile it onto your cupcake, then smooth it around the little peak you created earlier. Now grab your cupcake by its case and roll the buttercream mountain around in those crumbs until you get a nice covering.

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Is anyone else drooling?

Headed to the parks? You can get the original Butterfinger Cupcake from Starring Roles Cafe in Hollywood Studios!

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WDW Transportation Links

Walt Disney World spans a crazy 40 square miles, did you know that?

With that in mind, your holiday can double as a logistical operation as you maneuver getting from park to park and back again, especially if, like us, you don’t have a car to get about. Fortunately though, Disney have thought all of this through, creating a bunch of different ways to get about, and on our January trip, Dad and I did a lot of exploring via some of the lesser known transportation options, and today I’m going to share all these wonderful links with you!

Magic King

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can get to and from the Magic Kingdom by buses that run direct from your resort to the park entrance

Monorail

The monorail services the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts, and also runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center if you do drive to the park.

Boat

Boats to and from the Magic Kingdom run from the Ticket and Transportation Center and Disney’s Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian resorts, as well as Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground.

Epcot

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Bus

Buses run regularly from all Disney resorts

Monorail

If you’re at the Magic Kingdom or monorail loop resorts, you can get the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to a monorail that travels direct to Epcot’s park entrance

Boat

If you’re at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts or Swan and Dolphin hotels, you can travel by boat to Epcot’s International Gateway, where you can enter the park via the World Showcase

On foot

You can also walk to the International Gateway from any of the above resorts, and also from Hollywood Studios – a path runs between the two via The Boardwalk

Hollywood Studios

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Bus

Resort buses regularly travel to Hollywood Studios and back again.

Boat

You can travel to the park by boats from The Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts and Swan and Dolphin hotels. You can use these boats as a way of transferring to Epcot too!

On foot

You can walk to Hollywood Studios from Epcot via The Boardwalk – during peak seasons, this walk is quicker than any other transportation!

Animal King

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Bus

Because its so far out from the other parks, the only way to get to the Animal Kingdom via Disney transportation is resort bus, and sometimes these routes travel to Blizzard Beach too.

Disney Springs

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Bus

All Disney resorts have buses that run to and from Disney Springs. If you want to travel from the parks, I recommend getting a resort bus to Saratoga Springs which is right next door, then you can either walk from there or catch a bus

Boat

A fun way to get to Disney Springs if you’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs (including the Treehouse Villas) is by boats that run every 20 minutes or so to and from the Marketplace jetty. You can also get boats from The Landing to West Side.

Love these Disney inspired underground logos? They were made by the lovely Lizi and you can buy prints here!

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Friday Favourite Five – 2016 Character Meets

Super late FFF today because I’ve been so very poorly this week and I’ve been stuck at work all day, so to cheer myself up I’m reminiscing back on my January Disney trip and my favourite character meet and greets!

1. Rapunzel and Flynn

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Until I saw it with my own two eyes, I thought that meeting Flynn, let alone Flynn and Rapunzel together, would have to remain a wonderful dream. Now, I guess I gotta go find a new one! They were so lovely; Flynn told me he liked my hair and we talked about running and I got to hug my girl Punz and it was just magical.

2. Baymax

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Fist bumps, hugs and robot dancing with this one was so special, not even ashamed to say we went to see him more than once..

3. Meeko

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This meet was a total surprise but it was a wonderful one! We stumbled across him in Epcot and getting to hang out with my favourite raccoon after over 15 years was perfect.

4. Chewbacca

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Wookiee hugs really are the best!

5. Rafiki

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This was my first time meeting Rafiki (or at least that I can remember) and he was so much fun! Plus he loved my outfit and that’s always cute.

Who are your favourite characters to meet?

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Baking Magic – Marshmallow Pop Treats

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve spent so much time in the parks eating your favourite treats, only to come home and live without them? Yep, me too 😦

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BUT this series is about bringing some of your park favourites to life in your everyday kitchen, and today is a combination of two of my favourite things: marshmallows and caramel! Marshmallow pops are available in so many designs and flavours in a bunch of locations in the parks, and today I’m gonna share how easy they are to create!

Ingredients wise, you’ll need: regular sized marshmallows, classic toffee sweets, condensed milk, chocolate/candy melts and whatever kind of sprinkles and sweetie decorations you like.

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1. First up, you need to melt down your toffees. I seriously recommend you do this in a metal bowl over boiling water – it’ll take a while, but will save you a burnt disaster! It’ll basically become one huge toffee lump, which while delicious, would be a nightmare to work with, so I add condensed milk to smooth it down; about 3tbsp for every 20 toffee sweets.

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2. While your toffee is melting into a caramel goop, get sticking your marshmallows onto whatever you fancy: lollipop sticks, straws, etc.. Squeeze them nice and close together into a column of squishy goodness.

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3. Once you’re happy with the consistency of your caramel, using a rubber spatula, scoop and smooth it all over the marshmallows. You can try and dip them, but may find they get stuck.. Give each stick a twirl to cool it off a little – it’ll dry quite quickly – then place onto greaseproof paper or tin foil, and get them into the fridge for half an hour or so.

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4. While the pops cool down, you can start to prepare your decorations. If you want colourful pops, I recommend Wilton Candy Melts as they’re really easy to work with – just melt down and mix with a little bit of vegetable oil to give it a shine – and you can also get different flavours (peanut butter!!!). Now you can let your imagination go wild; recreating your favourite designs from the parks or imagineering your own spectacular creations – just be sure to have fun with it!

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5. Once you’re done decorating, get the pops back into the fridge to fully cool and set, and voila!

What’s your favourite Disney park treat?

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10 Things to Know Before Your First RunDisney Event

You’ve got a RunDisney event on your bucket list, or maybe you’ve signed up for your first one this year; you might want to read this..

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Don’t expect a PB

You can have every intention to go out and smash it on the day, but as soon as you see how beautiful the castle is all lit up, or that perfect sunrise shot you just have to take, not to mention all those great characters along the route, you’re gonna start caring less about your race time and more about having a good time! Now this doesn’t mean you won’t get one – I did! – but just don’t stress over it, ok?

Don’t stress over organisation

RunDisney events are impeccably organised, so do not stress yourself for a second about anything. Hakuna Matata.

Check costume rules

Yes yes yes to dressing up, but be sure to double check those guidelines, the last thing you want on race day is to be told that the outfit you carefully coordinated isn’t allowed.

Also please don’t be that person who waits until race day to wear their costume for the first time, rookie rookie mistake..

Pick up your participant t-shirts before forking out on merch

Instead of going straight for the official merchandise, go and grab your race packet – we thought our participant shirts were pretty awesome, so didn’t feel the need to buy all the other shirts on offer. Yay happy credit card!

Join the New Balance virtual queue

You’ve seen those shiny new releases and you just can’t wait to get yourself a pair, but silly as it sounds, sometimes you can’t just walk up to the booth and ask for a pair. New Balance set up a virtual queue, whereby you enter your details early in the day, then when it’s your turn, head on down to the desk and you’re golden!

If you’re doing a longer distance, there will be more than just parks

So the longer the distance, the more park you get to see, which is great, but it does also mean you’re gonna see a lot more of backstage and highways. In WDW for example, the 5k and 10ks generally only feature Epcot, while the half includes the Magic Kingdom, but there’s a whole lotta road between the two! Now the lovely RunDisney team try really hard to put on great entertainment on these stretches, but there just isn’t the same scenery going on!

There are early mornings involved

3am, just sayin’..

You are not alone

This works on many levels. 1) Chances are you will be running with at least 10,000 other runners, possibly up to 25,000. Believe it or not though, you probably won’t feel too crowded! 2) Most other runners are really nice and supportive, whether they’re just chatting to you as you go or counselling you as you hit the wall; complete strangers may just become your best friend for a few miles. 3) There are a few runners who can spoil it, those who can’t share their race nicely. They might shove past you because you’re not going ‘at their pace’, they might tut and groan; ignore them, you’re having a way better time than they are.

Don’t feel silly wearing your medals to the parks!

Everyone does it, and you’ll get all sorts of people congratulating you, asking questions, sharing stories etc, it’s a lot of fun. And if you run more than one race, multiple medals is 100% acceptable.

Races are totally walker friendly

Don’t be worried if you don’t think you can run the whole course non-stop, you’ll find the majority of people taking regular walking intervals – some as early as 100m into the race! Just be considerate and move to the side so others can pass you.

You’re gonna have an awesome time, I promise you, so just go for it! The goodies are worth every second!

Beaches and Cream

A gorgeous 50s style diner in Walt Disney World? Look no further than Beaches and Cream!

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Possibly the cutest little table service restaurant, Beaches and Cream is tucked away from the crowds at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, just a short walk from Epcot via the International Gateway, and across from the beautiful Boardwalk area.

Now when I say little, Beaches is probably the smallest table service place in WDW, so its definitely worth making those reservations as early as 180 days in advance, although if you’re just looking for one of their famous ice-cream sundaes, you can get one of them over the counter. The decor is the prettiest of pastels and 50s flair, complete with a neon jukebox, and the cast member uniform is the cutest too!

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As for the food offerings, its classic diner dishes: burgers, hotdogs, shakes and sundaes. Expecting American sized portions, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my burger wasn’t ginormous and came with a manageable amount of chips, and I could finish the plate without feeling stuffed beyond belief – very kid friendly!

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But its not burgers that Beaches is famous for, its those unbelievable ice-cream creations! There was no chance we were going to be able to manage the famous Kitchen Sink between the two of us, but we ordered a sundae each, and in hindsight, we could have shared one of those..

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This is a Fudge Mud Slide – ice-cream, brownies, hot fudge sauce with a heavy portion of whipped cream and a cherry on top! I probably only managed a third to half of it, but it was AMAZING, and given that this was our post-half marathon treat, I savoured every bite. (Oh great, now I’ve got a huge craving for this)

I definitely would eat here again, it was everything I had hoped it would be when I booked it! I’d also love to stay at the Beach Club Resort as well, its just all so beautiful!

Where’s your favourite place for a good ice-cream in Disney World?

What is there for Star Wars fans in the Disney parks?

We’ve all heard the news: Disney is going to be taking us to a galaxy far, far away with the announcement of two Star Wars lands, one in WDW and one in Disneyland. Now all we’ve got to do is wait another who knows how long for them to be completed. Ugh.

The problem is, with the recent release of Episode VII, Disney has just created a whole new generation of Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting the next installment, and of course these spectacular new areas of the parks, and, clever little people that they are, they have made sure that these fans are not disappointed! So what have they got going?

Star Tours

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Star Tours is a travel company offering destination holidays to everyone in the galaxy, but unfortunately due to some issues on Flight 1401, your trip turns into a bit of a mission, uh-oh! Its a 3D simulator, and the rides have been in the parks for a few years now, but those wonderful Imagineers have given them a little tweak!

Now including scenes from Jakku, and a message from Finn and BB-8, the ride actually has 50 different variations; there are slight differences in the opening scene, ending scene, and a few differences in the middle, and there’s no telling which one you’re going to get! In January, we had about 4 different experiences, I wonder how many times you’d have to ride before you saw them all!

You can ride Star Tours in Hollywood Studios in WDW or Tomorrowland in Disneyland.

Star Wars Launch Bay

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The Launch Bay is one of the newest Star Wars additions to the Disney parks. Inside you can see memorabilia from the movies, such as Rey’s speeder, collections of lightsabers and models of your favourite spacecraft, as well as being able to meet some of your favourite characters.. Was that a wookiee I heard?!

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As well as Chewbacca and Darth Vader, you might also run into a bounty hunter or have an encounter with a trading Jawa, and you never know, Kylo Ren might make an appearance!

The Launch Bays can be found in both Hollywood Studios and Tomorrowland in Disneyland

Jedi Training Academy

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If your little ones dream of joining the lightside, you can sign them up to take part in the Jedi Training Academy shows which happen throughout the day at both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Its adorable; first each little Jedi gets given a robe and a lightsaber and are walked out to the stage area in a big procession. Once on stage, they’re taught a fight routine which they’ll suddenly have to use against Darth Vader or The Seventh Sister, and the moral of the story is to stand up to your fears.

Each show has limited spaces, so sign up early in the day to avoid disappointment. Your child must be present when you sign them up, and its open to all between the ages of 4-12.

Path of the Jedi

Path of the Jedi is a short film essentially telling an abridged version of the initial six Star Wars films, and a series of non-spoiler clips from Episode VII, summing up the history of the Jedi, and what the future may hold!

Hyperspace Mountain – Disneyland

Disneyland’s Space Mountain has been influenced by the force with a little revamp, and a lot more adventure! Its the same ride as before, but the addition of lights and projections within the ride have transformed this in-the-dark rollercoaster into a rebel mission against the galactic empire, and watch out for those tie-fighters!

Don’t forget to grab a Fastpass early in the day to shorten your wait time!

Force-filled Food

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Disneyland is ahead of the game with their Star Wars inspired food, dedicating a whole restaurant, Galactic Grill, to it. The menu includes First Order burgers and Darth by Chocolate dessert, and you can even have your meal served in a Han Solo in Carbonite bucket!

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Hollywood Studios has a good range of Star Wars cupcakes, but that’s about it for the moment!

Merchandise

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As expected, Star Wars merchandise is everywhere throughout all the parks, everything from clothing and accessories to comic books and annuals, you can even buy a 4ft tall Stormtrooper! As well as being in most shops, there are dedicated stores such as Watto’s Grotto and Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios and Mickey’s Star Traders in Disneyland.

Are excited for the new Star Wars lands?

Teppan Edo

If you’re looking for Disney dining with a difference, look no further than Epcot’s World Showcase for a huge selection of international cuisine, and after my trip to Japan last summer, I couldn’t wait to eat here.

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Teppan Edo shares its location in the Japan pavilion with Tokyo Dining, which is a regular sit-down dining experience, but offers guests a much more unique experience as your meal is cooked right before your eyes on the table in front of you!

Each table sits eight people, so as a party of two, we were sat with another family – small groups be prepared for this – but we were so immersed in the experience that it was totally fine, even though the other family was a little dramatic at times..

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We ordered our drinks and starters first, which were brought out to the table really quickly while we waited for our chef to arrive. I had ordered assorted tempura which I shared with Dad, who had ordered sushi which was prepared by the chef when she arrived.

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For the main course, all of the dishes had the same udon noodle and vegetable base, and then you chose the meat – steak, shrimp, chicken, swordfish or a combination – or the vegetarian option, and then they also come with a bowl of rice and a selection of dipping sauces. Our chef prepared the noodles and vegetables on the hot plate in front of us, while simultaneously cooking each of the different meats to perfection AND performing tricks like making an onion volcano; it was completely amazing to watch, and it was delicious!

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Now a few things I will mention if you’re thinking about eating here:

  • Firstly, this is an experience that takes time – it was maybe half an hour to 45 minutes before our main course was served, not that you noticed the time, but if you’re starving hungry I can imagine the wait would be a little torturous!
  • They don’t offer any substitutions – one of the dramas of the family we were sat with was that one of the girls was super fussy and wanted regular steamed rice instead of the rice on the menu, and unfortunately that couldn’t be accommodated, so double check the menu before booking with fussy eaters.
  • As well as being sat with other people if you’re a small group, if you’re a group larger than 8, you will probably be split between two tables.

Now all that said, it was one of our favourite meals of the whole trip – 100% unique! If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it counts as a table service meal, and if not you’re looking at about $40pp excluding tax and gratuity. Oh, and don’t forget to make those reservations 180 days in advance to avoid disappointment!

What’s your favourite World Showcase pavilion?

Dressing for Walt Disney World in January

Die hard Disney-goers like myself rarely visit the parks without carefully coordinated outfits, complete down to the matching Mickey ears; its probably one of my favourite parts of trip planning. I like to believe that if I have one skill in life, its putting together a good Disney outfit, and lord knows I’ve got the wardrobe for it!

Now if you’re visiting WDW any time from March-November, you can rest assured that it will be warm, if not stonking hot, and while there may be rain, its Florida rain – big, heavy and warm raindrops that will dry within minutes of the sun reappearing – so you can still wear what we here in the UK consider to be summer clothes without having to worry too much, and therefore booking a trip for early January posed a slight conundrum for me.

Being Florida, it was always gonna be warmer than it was here in Bournemouth, I could count on that for sure, and after looking up average temperatures in Orlando, I quickly discovered that it would be about the same as a cooler summer day here in England, around 18-20°C, and that became my starting point.

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Long story short, you know those summer evenings when you might warm up an outfit by throwing on a cardigan or a pair of tights? Yep, that’s essentially it right there. I spent pretty much every day in tights and dresses or skirts and shirts, chucked a cardigan on top of whatever I was wearing, and maybe a jacket on cooler days.

We looked a little silly compared to some people; so many people were wrapped up in hats and scarves, but some (including the locals) its pretty cold compared to what they’re used to!

When is your favourite time to visit Walt Disney World? °o°

My Disney Trip Haul!

I’m home, I’m jet-lagged, and something I always hate about coming home from holidays is the dreaded unpacking of the suitcase, am I right?

What made it a little more bearable for me today though was knowing that my case was full of Disney goodies, and who doesn’t love a good haul post?!

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Now a fair amount of this is RunDisney stuff, so that’s where I’ll begin!

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To start off, our medals and race shirts were all included in the entry fee; for the 5k it was just a regular cotton t-shirt, and the 10k, 2 halfs and Rebel Challenge shirts were all long sleeved performance tops. The medals are all 100% awesome, and pretty chunky – weighing just under a kilo for all six!

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As well as our free shirts, we picked up a few extra goodies at the RunDisney expos. To surprise Dad, I had pre-ordered the limited edition WDW race weekend jackets for both of us, and we both ended up wearing them for the majority of the rest of our trip because they were so nice and warm! We also got a Coast to Coast shirt each, because you only get a medal for completing it, and also the Rebel Challenge ‘I did it!’ t-shirts, which also had a map of the courses we ran on the back, then I got a couple of headbands – two WDW half marathon ones and a Rebel Challenge.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was pretty desperate for a pair of the limited release New Balance trainers, so of course I was super psyched to get my hands on a pair of the Red Carpet Minnie Mouse ones, which also came with a pair of gold shoelaces and clip on bows.

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I was pretty restrained in only buying two mugs, (I had my eye on quite a few!) but Chip was top on my list, and I fell in love with the pastel Disneyland beauty. Obviously I bought the first Cogsworth I found because I had to bring him home with me, although I discovered mine is missing his pendulum yesterday when I unwrapped him, so fingers crossed the lovely Disney team with magic up a new one for me!

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I’m a huge collector of Vinylmations, and somehow came home with 9, oops! I did get two of them at Disney’s Character Warehouse, the outlet store, for only $3 each so that was a bonus.

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Isn’t my new BB-8 dress amazing?! Its by Her Universe, but was sold all over the parks and Disney Springs, and I’m obsessed. I actually wore it to Hollywood Studios one day, and bumped into some Stormtroopers, totally panicked and said ‘this isn’t the droid you’re looking for’..

And lastly, I was really lucky to finally meet the lovely Maggie from Elephant and Mouse, who was staying in the same resort as us and was kind enough to meet me with an order of ears so I didn’t have to pay international shipping! I got two different fluffy Donald Duck pairs, and a pretty purple galaxy pair. She makes incredible ears, so go and visit her Etsy shop here!

Oh, and not forgetting this cutie!

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We came home with a family set!

Are you heading to Disney anytime soon?

°o°

WDW Day 9 – and onto Disneyland!

Today we said goodbye to the Magic Kingdom *sobs*

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After a quick run, and fighting with our suitcases before checking out of French Quarter, we headed into the Magic Kingdom; overnight all the Christmas decorations had disappeared, so Main Street USA was looking a little bare. First up was Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by breakfast at Liberty Square Market, then Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and the TTA People Mover before our Haunted Mansion Fastpass time.

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With some time before our next Fastpass, we wandered back into Fantasyland and caught the railroad, doing a full loop of the kingdom, before getting on an entirely different train: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. High speed rides out of the way, we stopped off at Pinocchio Village Haus for lunch.

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A final ride on the carousel, and it was back to French Quarter to catch the Magical Express to the airport, and a 5 hour plane journey and a drive to Anaheim, and we’ve just checked into our hotel! We’re now 3 hours behind Florida time, so 8 hours behind UK, and off to bed for us!

WDW Day 8!

Today was our last full day in the parks, can someone tell me where that time has gone?!

The plan was to have a little bit of a lie-in, then get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Well, we missed the rope drop, but we did get to do Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder and Space Mountain all within the first hour of park time, so that was pretty impressive in any case! Fast rides out of the way, we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for breakfast: fresh fruit waffle sandwiches in the sunshine, right next to the castle as the first Dream Along with Mickey show was on – kinda perfect, am I right?

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After our late breakfast, we caught the monorail to Polynesian Village; the lobby was under construction on our last visit, so we were curious to see the changes for ourselves, and it made the perfect stop to hop across to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. First on the agenda was Star Wars Launch Bay to hang out with Chewie and Darth, and we even got to see a rogue Jawa hanging around! After another Great Movie Ride (gangster this time, in case you were wondering), we finally caved and bought ourselves a BB-8 sipper cup each as well as some popcorn to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage.

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After the show, we headed across to Star Tours, but as we were a little early for our Fastpass slot, we decided to watch the Jedi Training Academy show, which was pretty adorable. You might have caught my tweet about how it’s been updated to include some TFA stuff, but we asked a CM today and it turns out there are 50 different variations of the simulation, crazy!

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Next up some Muppet Vision 3D, followed by late lunch at Studio Catering Co, then One Mans Dream (all the feels!) before out Tower of Terror Fastpass. You may have heard me talk about my love/hate relationship with this ride before, and it’s pretty simple: I hate waiting for the first drop, after that I’m totally cool, and it works fine because I know that it doesn’t drop until you reach the top and look out over the park. Nope, not this time! The first drop was done totally in the dark; I felt betrayed, but at least it was over. After that we made our way to Fantasmic nice and early because of our Fastpasses, and to avoid the mad rush that happens so often. It was magical as per, when Mickey comes out on the boat as Steamboat Willie..

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After the show, we made our way to our favourite spot to watch Symphony of the Stars for our last time this trip. It was no less magical the second time; you can physically feel the bangs pass through you!

Tomorrow is our last day here (waa!), but I’m getting so excited to return to Disneyland!

WDW Day 7!

Well that’s Four Park Challenge off my bucket list!

We started this morning with Extra Magic Hours in Animal Kingdom, and first stop was obviously Expedition Everest – did you catch it on Periscope? Rollercoaster out of the way, we stopped off at Creature Comforts (the AK Starbucks) for hot drinks – yes it was that cold – and breakfast pastries, then onward to Kilimanjaro Safaris where we got to see two baby white rhinos playing, eek! We decided that for our challenge, we would get photos with Mickey at each of the parks, so we stopped off at Adventurers Outpost to see him and Minnie before catching a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge to park-hop.

From AKL we transferred onto a bus to Hollywood Studios, where we first stopped off to see Mickey, this time in his classic Sorcerers Apprentice costume. On a character meet roll, we also got a selfie with a green army man, and went to see Mike and Sully, but as we’re headed back to Studios tomorrow, we decided not to queue for any rides.

Now midday, we caught another bus onto Wilderness Lodge, for a quick look around but also so we could transfer to the Magic Kingdom by the boat that runs direct from the resort, handy right? Again, first things first, we went to see Mickey in Town Hall Theater, then grabbed lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Would you believe we’ve never done Astro Orbiter before? Well we have now! With that experience under our belts, we got a spot near the castle for Festival of Fantasy, which was just as magical as it always is, and finished up out MK time with an obligatory Its a Small World.

 To throw another form of transportation into the works, we obviously had to take the monorail across to our final park, Epcot, and actually it wasn’t Mickey we went to first, it was Baymax. Yes again, no we don’t care. Mickey was next, at the Epcot Character Spot, then we went across to Journey into the Imagination. We had a Fastpass, but there wasn’t much of a line to bypass! Not quite hungry yet, we stopped off to watch Circle of Life in The Land, before dinner at Sunshine Seasons, probably my favourite quick service in the whole of Walt Disney World. From there we went to Spaceship Earth for our Fastpass, but again there was no line so we didn’t even bother scanning them. With time before the fireworks, we figured a 40 minute wait at Test Track (which we discovered a love for the other day) would keep us warm and indoors, but we actually waited less than 10 before we got to the design stage, then another 10 before the ride itself. In fact, we ended up doing it twice! That took us right up to our last Fastpass for the day, for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, which was beautiful as always. It was pretty chilly, so as soon as the display was over, we joined the brisk hoard of people leaving the parks and jumped on our last bus: back to the resort!

How’s that for a busy day?

WDW Day 6!

I slept a solid almost 11 hours last night, and it was so good!

This morning our first port of call was a Disney Vacation Club viewing; we had been talked into going by a representative in Epcot a few days ago, and were mainly in it for the free food, Fastpasses and $50 Disney gift card! Don’t get me wrong though, it was interesting to look at!

From there, we headed outlet shopping at Orlando Premier Outlets, about a 10 minute taxi ride away, and snagged some mega bargains, including new Asics trainers and some Vinylmation from Disney’s Character Warehouse. After dropping our haul back at the resort, we caught the boat to Disney Springs for lunch and the Cool Down Party.

The Cool Down Party is basically a bunch of the stores and restaurants in Disney Springs doing discounts and special offers for anyone who ran this weekend, so long as you wear your medal! This meant we got 10% off lunch at T-REX, and I also got 15% off some goodies from Basin, yay!

Still with plenty of the afternoon ahead, we decided to catch a bus to the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, then the boat from there to Hollywood Studios, as we’ve never done that before, and we had no idea how quick a ride it was! Straight away we headed to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and passed the hour wait using our DVC Fastpasses, then we managed to catch the last showing of Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, getting to see some of the scenes we had missed the other day.

After that we did another Star Tours, and as luck would have it, the wait time for Toy Story Midway Mania was only 25 minutes, so obviously we were all over that, and in fact, we only waited maybe 5. With a little bit of time until the fireworks, we went back to the Star Wars Launch Bay to watch the film showing we had skipped before, then headed out to get a good view of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

Wow. I might go as far as saying it was the best firework display Disney has ever imagineered. Just phenomenal, the way they synced the fireworks to the music and how each rocket represented something.. I could go on but I won’t!

Instead I’m going to bed, goodnight!

PS. No photos from today, too busy seeing through my own two eyes!

WDW Day 5 and RunDisney Half Marathon!

Has anyone ever run a half marathon with a chest infection? No? Just me..?

Yep, today was the big day, and the cold I’ve been battling since arriving in Florida was rearing its big ugly head, manifesting in my chest making every single breath hurt. Throw in the stress of all this setting off the weird little heart palpitations I get from time to time after about 9 miles, and I was not exactly fighting fit..

But we did it. It was not a record time, and I couldn’t even muster a sprint finish, but it was still epic. Looking back on it, now 12+ hours later, it was even more epic, mainly because I can breath properly now but still! There was a tonne of great entertainment, the cheering crowds were incredible and some of the sights were phenomenal.

We started once again in the Epcot parking lot, and from there ran up to the Magic Kingdom, down Main Street USA and right into Tomorrowland, then into Fantasyland and through the gloriously lit castle, before heading through Frontierland and out backstage. We then took a fairly straight route back down towards Epcot, finishing up with a loop down to the World Showcase and back, and finally that magical finish line was in sight!

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To celebrate, lunch was at Beaches and Cream, and included an sundae the size of my face – not that I could finish it! From there we walked into Epcot via the International Gateway so we could catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom ticket centre, then decided to get the ferry boat to the park from there.

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Despite exhaustion, we still packed a fair amount into our afternoon: Philharmagic, character meets, a ride on the train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain etc, but the rain began to pour down so we didn’t fancy sticking around to get soggy on a Jungle Cruise, and having been up since 3am, we settled on an early return to the resort so we could get some washing done.

Hello bed..

WDW Day 4!

Today was a successful day!

After an early start yesterday, we had crashed out by about 8-8.30pm, putting us in good stead for my 5.50am alarm. No, this wasn’t another race alarm, this was so I could join the virtual queue for limited edition RunDisney New Balance shoes. Back to sleep for another hour or so, and we headed over to the expo for my allocated pick up time slot. Yes, I got the shoes, and Dad got a pair too!

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Our park for the day was Hollywood Studios, and when we arrived it was raining Florida-style – warm-ish but fairly heavy. We arrived in time for our Star Tours Fastpass, and were super excited to discover it’s been updated to include some TFA scenes now! Keeping on theme, we went to see Path of the Jedi, a new attraction essentially showing an abridged storyline of the Star Wars prequels, then a few non-spoiler clips from TFA, before running through the rain to catch a showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular. The rain meant it was a little cut down for safety reasons, but it was still great!

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After our second Fastpass, for Muppet Vision 3D, we grabbed lunch at Pizza Planet, one of my favourite QS restaurants, themed after the Toy Story classic. Beauty and the Beast and The Great Movie Ride next, then onto our final Fastpass, the ever popular Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a 95 minute wait! Even with a Fastpass we waited maybe 15-20 minutes, and unfortunately Dad did beat me by a few points but never mind.. From there we caught the last performance of Lights, Motors, Action, followed by Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and from there the force pulled us towards the Star Wars Launch Bay..

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It was awesome! We met Chewbacca and Darth Vader, and despite queue times saying about 50 and 40 minutes, we did the two in less than an hour and they were perfect! The launch bay has taken over the old Animation Academy, which I was sad to see go, but it has most definitely been put to good use! Now dark, we had a little walk around in the hopes that the Osborne Lights might still be lit (not wishful thinking, the lights were all still up, just not lit), and made our way back to the resort to prep for tomorrow!

WDW Day 3 and RunDisney 5K!

3.55 was the dreaded alarm for this morning. First race day was here!

Why so early? Well for starters, the races are all super early, today’s being 6am, and to ensure we had enough time to get to where we needed to be, we had to be on a bus to Epcot by 4.30, yikes!

It wasn’t so bad really; we were in bed about 9pm last night so we got a solid amount of sleep, and we were just so focused on the event that tiredness didn’t factor at all. The bus took us from the resort to the Epcot parking lot where all the race start and finish lines are. It was a huge area – had to be for 20,000 participants – and just like the expo, it was seamless; we could see exactly where we had to go, there were no queues for anything!

We were in Corral C, which meant we were set off about 10-15 minutes after the first group, but we were right at the front which was awesome! The count went down, the fireworks were set off and off we went! The course took us around the side of Epcot from the parking lot, underneath the Test Track course and into the park through Mexico, before running around the World Showcase, down the stretch to Future World, a quick detour by The Land and back out of the park by Spaceship Earth and to the finish line!

After the race, we went through the classic routine of collecting medals, water, Powerade and a cute little snack box of crisps, Oreos, a banana etc, then to the only queue: the wait for the bus back to the resort!

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Quick shower, change and snacks and we were back at Epcot just after park opening. We started off with Spaceship Earth, then went to meet Baymax(!!!) before doing the new Pixar short films show, and Living with the Land before starting on the World Showcase, this time in daylight! For lunch we had a reservation at Teppan Edo, which was awesome, and we to let that settle before going on Test Track, we stopped at China to watch the acrobat display. After TT, we did our last two Fastpasses for the day: Character Spot and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and totally exhausted from our early start, we headed back to the resort to recover!

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Did you catch us on Periscope?

WDW Day 2!

Good morning!

I say good morning because while it’s still the evening here, the time difference means it’s about 2am back home!

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Today was our Animal Kingdom day; we got up about 7ish, had a leisurely breakfast and got a fairly quiet bus to the park. Despite being earlier than opening time, we were let in to head down to the tree of life and wait for the remaining areas to open at 9am, before we joined the crowd making a beeline for Expedition Everest. Quite honestly, today was a really lucky day for wait times, and we hit all the big ticket attractions – Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, It’s Tough to be a Bug – with minimal waits, and pretty much walked into Flights of Wonder and Finding Nemo the Musical! In fact, despite having three Fastpasses booked, we only used one of them, for Dinosaur. We also went to hang out with Rafiki at Planet Watch for a little while.

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After feeling we were done for the day, and with the prospect of the races looming, we grabbed a cab to the ESPN complex for the RunDisney expo. Having no idea what to expect, I expected the worst: huge crowds, long waits, lots of pushing and shoving.. Nope. I honestly don’t think it could have been any easier. After picking up our bibs, then our race shirts and the commemorative jackets I had pre-ordered, all of which took maybe 15 minutes tops, we hit the main expo area. There were tonnes of great exhibitors with cool products, including the official RunDisney merchandise area, and the oh-so- popular New Balance, and we even got to meet Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and official ‘coach’ for RunDisney; it was cool, there was a selfie. Apart from a few little RunDisney bits, we didn’t really buy anything, although I’ve got my eye on a pair of the limited release New Balance shoes..

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From the expo we went back to French Quarter to drop our race stuff and hang out for a bit before we caught the boat to Disney Springs for a bit of light shopping and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express, before calling it a day and boating back to the resort to get ourselves together and properly rested for the race.

So tomorrow is the 5k, which is really a no-pressure run, and it kicks off at 6am – 11am for my UK supporters. I’ll try and Periscope a bit of it, all depends on our wifi signal, but in any case, wish us luck!

WDW Day 1!

Ok Mouseketeers, we’re just coming to the end of our first day in the most magical place on earth, and you all wanna know what we got up to, right?

Thanks to jet lag, we were up well before the alarm was due, which meant we could sneak a little lie in before grabbing a snacky breakfast and jumping on a bus to the Magic Kingdom. We had the great perk of being allowed into the park before other guests, not because of a breakfast reservation, but because we were going on the Keys to the Kingdom tour, which began at 8.30am. Now the park didn’t open til 9am today, so Main Street was looking pristine and beautiful, before we watched the hoards of other guests descend.

The tour was incredible – a solid 5 hours long including lunch, and we got to see and learn so much, but we weren’t allowed to take any photos, waa! I’m also not going to go into any details due to spoilers (although I may write something on it another time).

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It was about 1.30pm when we finished up, so we headed into Adventureland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favourite rides. I think it was actually the longest I’ve ever waited to go on PotC in any park before, around 30 minutes. That was followed by the glorious feeling of skipping past a 2 hour long queue for Big Thunder Mountain because we had a Fastpass, then we waited for the Festival of Fantasy parade in Liberty Square. Its my all time favourite parade, and before now I’ve only ever watched it from Main Street, and honestly, Liberty Square didn’t do it the justice it deserves!

After fighting through post-parade masses we moved through into Fantasyland, where I picked up Cogsworth and Chip from Village Gifts (yay!) before going on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. From there we did a Carousel of Progress before going back to Fantasyland for our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass, which you might have watched on Periscope!

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Starting to flag, and also feeling a little chilly, we walked through the now beautifully lit castle, and headed down through the shops of Main Street, before catching the early viewing of Main Street Electrical Parade from a great spot, thanks to a lovely cast member! A quick, and dare I say disappointing ride on Buzz Lightyear Spaceship Spin and we caught a monorail to Contemporary a Resort for our dinner reservation at California Grill.

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While initially booking so we could look out over the Magic Kingdom, we were actually seated at the opposite end of the restaurant, so we ended up seeing the Epcot fireworks, and also a bit of Fantasmic pyrotechnics, and the food was amazing!

Exhausted, full of food and content, we bussed it back to the resort. Catch you tomorrow!

My Disney Trip Itinerary!

You know who I love? Disney lovers.

My Disney friends just get me; instead of the classic ‘you’re going to Disney again!?’ that I get from my colleagues and non-Disney friends, whenever I’m getting ready for a trip, I know I’ve got a team of people that are just as excited for what I’m going to get up to as I am, and that always makes me so happy.

If you’re one of these people, you’re awesome.

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So given that I leave on Monday, I just thought I’d share our rough plan for our trip:

Monday 4th – arrive in Orlando, check into Port Orleans French Quarter. It’ll be quite late and we’ll be exhausted, so probably dinner and bed, maybe a quick trip to Disney Springs!

Tuesday 5th – Magic Kingdom day, starting with the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and ending with dinner at California Grill.

Wednesday 6th – Animal Kingdom, then over to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Run Disney Expo where we’ll be picking up all our race packs, eek!

Thursday 7th – RunDisney WDW 5K at 6am, followed by a day in Epcot with lunch at Teppan Edo

Friday 8th – Hollywood Studios, and an early night..

Saturday 9th – RunDisney WDW half marathon at 5.30am, yikes! We’ll be recovering with lunch at Beaches and Cream, then heading into the Magic Kingdom to celebrate our first week of races being over!

Sunday 10th – start the day with a recovery swim, then spend some time in Disney Springs for the Run Disney Cool Down Party. We’re gonna need some down time!

Monday 11th – after a day of rest, Monday we’ll be attempting the Four Park Challenge, wrapping up with a Fastpass for Illuminations at Epcot!

Tuesday 12th – a bit of Epcot in the morning, and over to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon, finishing with Fantasmic!

Wednesday 13th – we’ll be saying goodbye to WDW in the Magic Kingdom, before we head to the airport for our flight to LAX. We’ll be arriving pretty late again, and checking into the Paradise Pier hotel in Disneyland.

Thursday 14th – we’ve got to go to the RunDisney expo to pick up our race packs and park tickets before we go into Disneyland!

Friday 15th – breakfast on Main Street USA, then we might hop across to California Adventure.

Saturday 16th – RunDisney Star Wars 10k first thing, then more park time!

Sunday 17th – RunDisney Star Wars half marathon, and we’re done with all our running, YAY! The rest of the day will probably be spent in California Adventure, and I’m hoping we can meet up with my lovely friend Nancy in the park! To end our trip, we’ve got a dinner booking at Ariel’s Grotto and preferential seating for the World of Color show!

Monday 18th – as we’ve only got a 4 day park ticket, today will be for outlet shopping and hitting up Walmart before our flight home in the evening, then Tuesday we’ll be back on British soil..

  I’M SO EXCITED!!!

I’ll be live posting the whole trip, hopefully everyday, and don’t forget to keep up with me on Twitter (@lottiedoesblog) and Instagram (@lottiedoesdisney)! I’ll also be trying my hand at Periscope (@lottiedoesdisney), so give me a follow for our live streams!

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The ‘I Just Can’t Wait to go to Disney’ Tag

Its now 20 days til Dad and I leave for our Disney trip, so it was perfect timing when the lovely Lizi tagged me to do the ‘I Just Can’t Wait to go to Disney’ tag!

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1. How do you get extra excited for your Disney trips?

To be honest, counting down to my next Disney trip is always the most exciting thing, but what really make a countdown extra special is having so many supportive friends and followers who always seem just as excited for my upcoming trip as I am! I also love planning, so spending ages sorting out the details of my trip is actually so much fun for me!

2. How do you feel the few days before your trip?

Oh my gosh, I can’t even describe. There’s a lot of squealing and jumping around, and also a little bit of worrying about things I might have forgotten about, ha! Before my last WDW trip, I actually made myself physically sick with excitement, and the same thing happened when I arrived in Tokyo Disneyland, but I never let it hold me back for too long!

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3. What are the things you are most excited about?

Oh where to start! The magic always starts when you see the first road sign, then when you see the parks for the first time, then laying eyes on the castle and knowing that you’re back; that’s pretty much the best feeling! I also get so excited for parades and character meets, and for Disney park food!

4. When you see the park for the first time of your trip, how do you react?

Its a combination of butterflies and pure excitement, and there’s a lot of failing to fight back tears!

5. What do you like to do while travelling to Disney?

Depends on how I’m travelling. I drove to Disneyland Paris back in October, so I was busy concentrating on the road, but whenever I fly to Orlando or California, I pack out long flights with plenty of films, reading, writing and daydreaming!

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6. What do you pack when you go to Disney?

I have my special Disney backpack, which at all times contains my planning notebook, camera, autograph book, sunglasses, phone, purse etc, and usually a few changes of Mickey ears just to be on the safe side! My outfits are always carefully planned (and I’m not even the slightest bit ashamed to admit that), and sensible shoes are a must, along with all the relevant accessories. I also like to try and pack efficiently so I can maximise space for souvenirs to bring home!

7. Do you count down the days until your next Disney trip, and how?

Always, that’s what iPhone apps are for, right?! Since I upgraded to an iPhone 5S, my new app counts down to the second, which is super exciting!

If you’ve got a Disney trip coming up, I TAG YOU!

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January Disney Trip – What’s done, and what’s left!

Would you believe that yesterday marks exactly 8 weeks until Dad and I leave for Florida, kick-starting our awesome RunDisney tour of Walt Disney World and Disneyland California? Well I can’t! I’m beyond excited; its so close I can practically taste the Mickey waffles!

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Being in the last stages of preparing, there’s been lots to do these last few weeks, so this is where we are:

• Our WDW stay has been 100% paid off

• We’ve checked into our hotel online, and personalised our Magic Bands

• We did our ADRs at the 180 day mark, so they’ve been long sorted, but last week I had the nasty early morning alarm to book our Fastpasses!

• We’ve booked our spot on the Magical Express

• Our coaches both to and from the airport are sorted

• I’ve got two out of four running costumes ready

We do, however, still have a few things left to do:

• Pay the final balance of our California booking

• Get our American visas – kinda super important!

• Dining reservations for California, as they can’t be made until 60 days prior

• Sort out car hire in California

• Get packing!

We’ve only got 55 days to wait! Do you have any Disney trip preparation rituals?

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RunDisney 2016: A New Schedule

Let’s not even talk about this week.

Yes, we did start running again this week, but I’m not even sure you can call what we did ‘running’, so moving swiftly onwards..

When we first started training back in January/February, we stuck to the recommended training plan provided by Run Disney and Jeff Galloway, and we worked our way through most of that leading up to our Japan trip last month, but with our trip looming ever closer, now we’re back into things, we need to modify and increase our training to prepare us for the grand finale of our holiday: Rebel Challenge. On their own, a 10k and a half marathon wouldn’t faze us too much; we’ve run plenty of 10Ks, and our training so far puts us in good stead for a half marathon, which we’ll of course be completing the week before in WDW. Rebel Challenge, however, is both these distances one day after the other.. Yikes, right?

All our previous training has left a recovery day between runs, so now we need to learn to push through and run on consecutive days, and with this in mind, I’ve written us our new training schedule:

Its fairly similar to the Jeff Galloway plan, alternating shorter distances with longer distances, but I’ve added in what I like to call ‘Mini Rebels’. As the name suggests, they’re basically two consecutive runs, just smaller distances that the main event – 3 miles and 7 miles, 4 miles and 8 miles etc – and we’ll be doing one of these every month or so in addition to our regular training, and we’ll also be increasing the length of our midweek runs to at least 45 minutes.

This coming week marks 22 weeks until we leave for Florida, so we’ve got 22 weeks of training (including over Christmas..), 5 mini Rebels and a whole lot of powering through to do!

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