Image

The Nutcracker – Movie Review

There isn’t a great deal of Disney movies that I don’t want to rush out and watch straight away. This is one of them.

It’s a strange thing to make a movie out of I think, what I knew of the Nutcracker before watching this was just what I had seen growing up and basically all I knew was the dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and I am not a ballet fan.  Plus all the press with Keira Knightley doing her bit of ‘Disney Bashing’ sort of put me off watching it. And she does talk in an annoying voice for the whole film.

I was pleasantly surprised by this I have to say. Its festive from the start and I do love a festive movie, I just didn’t realise exactly HOW festive this would be.

It’s a great little story and reminds me a little of Alice in Wonderland. Clara who is the heroine of the movie ends up in The Realms after receiving a mysterious gift from her mother posthumously.  It does very much have the feel of Alice when she is in Wonderland. It looks very similar. And to be honest I was not a fan of those movies.

Clara needs to find a key to open the mysterious gift from her Mother and its her search for that key that brings her to the realm and reveals the secret world her mother was a part of.

Along the way she meets some interesting characters including the titular character ‘The Nutcracker’, the Sugarplum Fairy and some funny ‘soldiers’ played brilliantly by Jack Whitehall and Omid Djalili.

Clara needs to find the key and stop Mother Ginger taking over the Four Realms. Although there is more to her than meets the eye.

The set, the costumes and the general production of this are incredible. It looks AMAZING. And it’s so Christmassy. It’ll be a great one to watch Christmas Eve and a fab Christmas afternoon movie in years to come. BUT. It’s not amazing. It’s not the best film Disney have done. I really struggled watching Keira Knightley I found her Sugarplum Fairy to be incredibly irritating. Some of the acting in this isn’t the best which is a shame seeing as the cast does boast some incredible actors.

Kids will love it but I left feeling a little underwhelmed by this one. It was better than I was expecting and I did enjoy aspects of it but I won’t be rushing to see it again.

For more ‘non disney’ movie reviews check out my other blog..

Advertisements

Movie Review – Christopher Robin – Spoiler Free

When you’re giving the ‘live action’ treatment to something as beloved as Pooh there’s always a risk you’re going to ruin it a bit and it won’t be as magical as we all know it to be. The hype and excitement around it too could very well have set this up for a fall.

Out of all the Disney movies this year this one is by far the one I was looking forward to the most – this and Mary Poppins – the trailers I’d seen had me all emotional, I don’t know if it was nostalgia or just how magical it all looked.

I went to watch this prepared with tissues.

It was the busiest I’d seen the cinema since ‘The Greatest Showman’.

It’s a great story about the perils of growing up and forgetting how to be a kid and have fun.

It’s a similar idea to Hook – we follow a grown up Christopher Robin who is putting his work ahead of his family.  He has a weekend away planned at his childhood cottage and he ends up having to work and letting the family down.

We find Pooh wandering around 100 Acre Wood on a search for his friends all of whom have disappeared, he finally finds Christopher Robins door and decides he is the one who can help him find them.

Its interesting seeing Pooh in ‘real life’. And it’s done so so well. The special effects in this are wonderful and they capture the essence of Pooh and all his friends beautifully.

I absolutely loved the story and script of this movie. There are so many laugh out loud parts courtesy of Pooh and Eeyore. So many ‘Poohisms’ are included and are a wonderful nod to all the stories we know and love so well.  It’s absolutely everything you would expect from Pooh. You can tell the writers had a genuine love of the originals.

It’s a really emotional film, not in a sad way, but I did find myself welling up at regular intervals throughout this just because of some of the sweet things that Pooh says. I won’t ruin it but his response to Christopher discussing losing something was just too much! I’m so glad I took tissues.

It’s definitely one of the cutest Disney movies I’ve ever seen. If not THE cutest.

I really enjoyed seeing Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore adjusting to being in London. Eeyore has some great one liners. The mostly adult audience were belly laughing through a lot of it.

It’s a great story reminding us that it’s so important to stop sometimes and have fun. Not to take those closest to us for granted and that there is much more important things in life than work.

It hooks you from the start and takes you on a wonderful adventure from London to 100 Acre Wood and back again.  It’s clever, sweet and so wonderfully Pooh.

There’s a few new songs as well,  written by Richard Sherman who of course with his brother Robert wrote all those memorable songs from the original animations. You must stay for the post credit scene. A bit of a tear jerker for any die hard Disney fan as Richard Sherman performs a beautiful song called ‘Busy Doing Nothing’ on the beach with Pooh and his friends all joining in. (of course the Sherman brothers story is the subject of a wonderful musical as well, read my review here)

I cannot speak highly enough of this film. I’m still a little emotional when I’m thinking about it as pathetic as it sounds. It’s perfect Disney.

You must watch it. And then go again!

FOR MORE MOVIE AND DAY OUT REVIEWS CLICK HERE

Movie Review – AntMan and The Wasp

Another month another installment in the seemingly never ending Marvel Universe franchise!!

This one takes place after the events of Captain America Civil War and up until the culmination of the last Avengers movie and follows Paul Rudds Antman as he tries to juggle being his alter ego whilst also being on house arrest.

His bail conditions mean he isn’t allowed out of his house and he goes to great lengths to keep his daughter entertained – the opening scene of the movie I want to do in my house. He’s also used his time setting up a security business with Luis.

Meanwhile Hank and Hope are building a tunnel which allows them to access the quantum realm where Hanks wife (Hopes Mum) was lost many years ago. They are missing a vital component and someone who can shrink small enough to get there and retrieve her. I wonder who that may be?

Ant-Man is one of my favourite heroes of the Marvel Universe and Paul Rudd is so likable as him. It’s full of the humour we always expect from the movies and some of the action sequences are so great to watch. I love all the fight scenes where not only do the titular characters shrink and grow constantly but they also use other objects as weapons or barricades. The scene in the kitchen is particularly good. As is the car chase scene which has the added bonus of Luis having his first ‘shrinking’ experience.

They use some cool tried and tested SFX in this – Micheal Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer as youngsters using the same tech as they did with flashback scenes with Robert Downey Jnr in Iron Man.

There is a villian – The Ghost – who tries to scupper the creation of the tunnel and recovery of Janet and wants to use the technology to rid her of her powers instead. It’s as always predictable in that good trumps evil but the story of getting there is really compelling.

I watched this in 3D.  I always watch the Marvel movies in 3D. It adds so much to the visuals of the film and really puts you inside the movie. I don’t know what it is about Marvel Studios but they seem to do this like no-one else.

All in all its a fun, action packed movie. One of my favourites but then I love Paul Rudd and apart from Mike in Friends this is by far my favourite of all his roles.

After seeing the extra scene at the end I’m even more impatient for the next Avengers movie too can it be May already?

For my other non-Disney movie and day out reviews click here

Food Review – 1950s Prime Time Cafe

The first of my non character dining experiences at Disney and one of our favourites from our last trip.

This is in Hollywood Studios right next to Echo Lake.

Screenshot (9)

Hollywood Studios doesn’t actually have a great deal of choice when it comes to sit down places to eat. I find its mostly quick service. Hopefully with the opening of the new lands we’ll get some more eateries 🙂

We ate here on our last trip and it was Pauls favourite so it was one we booked as soon as we were able to.

This place is fab. It’s set up to look like a 1950’s kitchen and the idea is that you’re visiting the family for a meal. Your servers are cousins and you WILL get told off if you leave your greens or put your elbows on the table.

I’ve heard some great stories of experiences here with interaction from people like Uncle Fred but sadly we’ve not had any of those yet, but the food is sooooo good!! Closest we got was Paul getting into a drinking competition with a guy on another table after being told by the server he had to drink all the refills she bought him. 6 Rootbeers in and I think he felt a bit sick!

 

The TVS on your table play old 50’s classics on a loop which adds to the experience of it all, it really does feel like you’re going back in time.

Foodwise everything here is classic American comfort food.  And lots of it.

I went for the meatloaf, which is what I had last time and I loved it. It’s an american classic and it was so tasty. It comes with green beans, carrots and creamed potatoes. Never enough gravy for my liking though.

IMG_8353

Paul went for the stuffed pork chops. I’ve never seen him eat something so quickly. It comes with veg and was stuffed inside with a creamy cheese, apple and herb sauce.

 

Amelia went for a kids meal and she had Goofys Salmon, one of the few meals she actually finished entirely! It came with rice and seasonal veg and she absolutely loved it.

IMG_8354

I love the fact that everything here comes with veg, making it a more healthy option. Portions are big as well and I always feel full after eating here. It’s like the ultimate comfort food!

We obviously had dessert here. I went for the Cheesecake and Paul had Moms Brownie. Amelia went for the sundae but she ate it too quick!!

 

One other thing I always have here is a root beer float. I feel like I’m in Back to the Future when I eat here.

Amelia had a lot of the specialty kids drinks, sadly not usually included in the dining plan. All she remembered here was that she could have a drink that glowed. Mickeys Bee Bop drink it is, it’s only cherry sprite but it came in a souvenir cup with a glowing ice cube, both of which she still uses now we’re home.

IMG_6187

Dining Plan is accepted here and it will take up 1 of your table service credits.

Its moderately priced here with main meals between $17-$25 so its not too bad. We really love it here. It feels really homely, the food is always good (I even asked for the recipe for the meatloaf, I have made it, it didn’t taste as good) and it’s just a different dining experience and somewhere we will no doubt be visiting again!

Food Review – Cinderellas Royal Table

Cinderellas Royal Table is one of the hardest places to get a reservation for at WDW.

Knowing this it was one of the first places I booked when we got to our 180 day booking time and it was the place Amelia was most looking forward to eating in.

What little princess wouldn’t relish the chance to eat with the Princesses INSIDE the castle?

I think it’s location has a lot to do with the fact its so hard to get so we were really excited when we got one and it was somewhere I was very much looking forward to trying out.

For those that don’t know Cinderellas Royal Table is inside the castle in the middle of Magic Kingdom. When it was originally designed it was to be part of Walts quarters and was earmarked to be a conference room. Being told that made the whole place seem even more special.

Screenshot (8)

You check in at the podium by the entrance to the restaurant which is at the back of castle. There is ample ‘parking’ for pushchairs/wheelchairs.

Once you’ve checked in you’re taken into the lobby area and this is where you meet Cinderella. The whole place is actually beautiful, high ceilings, stained glass windows and it really IS a castle.

There is a photopass photographer here and Cinderella was wonderful. I’ve said before I do struggle with meeting the Princesses I always find it hard to talk to them. I prefer the characters who don’t talk, however Cinderella was brilliant. She was so good with Amelia and she loved it.

You’re then taken upstairs to the dining area. There is a lift for those less mobile among us!

The actual dining area is STUNNING! However it is a LOT smaller than I imagined which explains why it is such a hard place to get a reservation at. We were sat on a table in the middle of the room I would have loved to have a window seat and look out across the park but maybe next time.

InkedCRTINSIDE_LI

 

It was quite loud and seemed busy inside, there were no empty tables for long and they do feel quite close together. This isn’t by any means a relaxing meal I don’t think. But that may have been due to where our table was, I think in a window would have felt less busy.

When you sit down each ‘princess’ is given a wand and a ‘wishing star’ and for the boys? A sword, Paul was very happy with his as you can see in the photos below. They’re great keepsakes to have. There was some kind of announcement with what you do with your wishing star but it was loud as I said and we couldn’t really hear what was being said over the general hustle and bustle which was a shame.

Our servers were brilliant which you would expect from a signature restaurant. The princesses all come out to an announcement and a shortened version of their story and work their way around the tables. We met Jasmine, Snow White, Ariel and Aurora.

This is the first of my reviews that hasn’t been a buffet so this time I get to show some proper food pictures and no doubt make myself hungry in the process!

We had 3 courses here. I’ve had a look at the current menu and some of the stuff we had isn’t on it anymore so I think the menu can be seasonal.

For our starters or ‘Appetisers of the Court’, Paul went for the soup which he thinks was french onion and he said it was delicious. I had an asparagus salad which was actually raw asparagus which I wasn’t a fan of. I did like the rest of the salad though and the dressing was so nice.  Amelia had cheese and grapes.

For our entrees (mains as we call them here) both me and Paul went for the beef and Amelia had the chicken from the kids menu.

The beef came with seasonal veg and garlic mash and was so tender. It was lovely. It looks small but it was a perfect sized portion for us.

Amelias chicken however was not good. It was really dry and she really didn’t enjoy it. The server was great though and did offer her something else but she ended up having Pauls and he ate some of the chicken. I would say avoid the chicken if you can.

The best part of the meal was without a doubt the dessert – was there ever any doubt coming from a pudding family.

The desserts we had off the menu was ‘The Clock Strikes Twelve’ a chocolate mousse with choc ganache and it was sooooo good!! I loved how it came out with the chocolate clock face pointing to 12, this is the little Disney touches that I love. Amelia went for the build your own cupcake dessert from the kids menu, complete with mickey shaped sprinkles and a little carriage in cocoa.

We also ordered the Cinderella Slipper dessert. This isn’t on the regular menu. It costs an extra $15 and isn’t included in the dining plan. You have to book this no less than 48 hours before your reservation via email wdw.crt.special.events@disney.com. I would recommend doing this as soon as you have confirmed your reservation.

This was the highlight of the meal for Amelia and it was really tasty, I’m not normally a fan of American chocolate but the shoe was really nice, the mousse cake is the same as what you have with the other dessert we had.

This is not a cheap meal, it’s a premium restaurant and you obviously pay more for the location.  Had we not been on the plan this would have cost us over $200!! For 3 people!!

IMG_8337

This is included in the Disney Dining Plan and it takes up 2 of your table service credits.

Although I did really enjoy this and I’m glad I did it, its one off the bucket list, I’m not sure as I would have had we not been on the Dining Plan.

I wouldn’t say I’d rush to eat dinner here again, I’m curious to try the breakfast, getting an early reservation before park opening and a window seat looking over a deserted Magic Kingdom would be idyllic.

Its definitely a must if you have little princesses but for me once was enough 🙂

Disney Parks Tag – Something different for me!

I’m used to just giving travel tips and reviews so after seeing a post from one of my fellow #disneybloggers the other day I thought I’d give this a go, a bit of fun before my next restaurant review (which is Cinderellas Royal Table)

Lovely Beth did this on her blog the other day, you can check hers out here and check out the rest of her blog too, it’s very good.

We both saw this for the first time when one of our favourite Disney Vloggers Adam Hattan did it on his channel, you can see his here

So here we go, 10 questions about the Disney Parks and my experiences in them 🙂 Well the ones I’ve been to anyway, I’m yet to visit LA, Tokyo, Shanghai or Hong Kong so just Paris and Orlando for me at the moment.

1) WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU VISITED A DISNEY PARK?

The first park I visited was Disneyland Paris when it was called EuroDisney and that was the year it opened in 1992! I was 13 and in all honesty I don’t remember a lot about it.

I wasn’t actually into Disney then – I know it’s hard to believe – I don’t recall meeting any characters at all either, which is odd being as it’s the main thing I do now!

My Dad was a coach driver back then and he was doing a trip over so I got to go.

What I do remember is it was REALLY busy, I remember going on Star Tours (me and my Dad loved Star Wars) and buying a Star Tours baseball cap that I loved (and subsequently lost) and going on Phantom Manor (which for years I’d talk about but had NO idea where it was) and also Captain EO, the Michael Jackson ‘ride’ other than that it’s all a bit of a blur!

It’s a shame that I don’t have pictures at all but I was never that much of a camera person back then and lets not forget no such thing as a phone that took photos!

2) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISNEY PARK?

EPCOT!!

No hesitation there. I just love it.

On my first visit to WDW I wasn’t that much of a fan but I think the older I’ve got the more I appreciate how wonderful it is and its the place I always look forward to going back to the most.

I love that I can travel all over the world pretty much, trying different food and looking in all the different shops. I love all the little hidden places for photos, doing the Passports and meeting all the characters as you walk through the showcase.

 

Plus you can have so much fun trying on all the native hats as you go round…

 

I really like the different elements you can explore in Future World and how it constantly changes. The Sea pavilion is just amazing and all the interactive stuff when you exit the rides is great.

Club Cool is another place I like and the shopping in Epcot is the best on site in my opinion.

And who can forget Spaceship Earth, my favourite of the Disney Park ‘Icons’ and I never tire of looking at it.

epcot2

3) WHAT IS YOUR HAPPIEST SINGLE MOMENT IN A DISNEY PARK?

ALL my moments in the park are happy but one that really stands out for me is from my 2015 trip.

Dopey is my favourite character and up until my last 3 trips he was always about meeting in the parks. Now he’s rare and you can only see him with the other dwarves at the Halloween and Christmas parties. Which is gutting 😦

For one reason or another I wasn’t really feeling the magic on that trip and we were spending the day in Magic Kingdom. Literally JUST as I walked in, who should walk past me but Dopey! He was doing a random meet with Snow White, I just managed to get in the queue and I was the last one in it.

I was so happy to meet him I actually cried!

There’s me a grown woman, actually looking like a mental with my Snow White skirt and my big Dopey autograph book crying like a baby!

He had to wipe my tears away! The shame!

But from that moment on the magic was back!

 

4) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISNEY PARKS PURCHASE?

OOH thats a tough one!

Probably these guys!! I love them. Cogsworth is the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought in a Disney Park and he was so worth it! All I need now is a Mrs Potts to complete the collection. (Chip was in the Dishwasher!)

IMG_9113

5) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISNEY ATTRACTION?

I can’t actually narrow this down to 1! It’s impossible!

However for Disneyland Paris it’s easy. Crush’s Coaster is the best ride there without a doubt. It’s completely deceiving when you see it cos it doesn’t look fantastically fast but it is. As much as I love seeing kids enjoying themselves at Disney it never fails to make me chuckle when you see kids crying on it as it’s not the kids ride they expected it to be! It’s a must do on every DLRP trip.

WDW is much much harder! I have a few.

Without a doubt the most visually incredible and immersive ride experience currently at WDW is of course Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdoms Pandora. I literally cannot put into words how incredible this ride is. Every little detail is just incredible and you really do feel like you’re flying over Pandora. I’ve talked about it in my blogs about my trips but when you’re on a VR ride and you have to cover your eyes to avoid one of the things that scares you the most, even though you KNOW it’s not real, shows you how real it does look! If this is the technology of a few years ago I cannot wait to see what they do with the Star Wars stuff which will be so much more advanced!

AK_PANDORAFLOATMTNICON_20170913_404830842419

Space Mountain is ALWAYS the first ride I go on on a day at Magic Kingdom. It’s actually the first roller coaster I ever went on and I still love it now. I think it’s a nostalgia thing it reminds me of one of my favourite ever trips with my best mate in 2002. We always do it multiple times on our trips and it’s now one of Amelias favourites as well 🙂

The last one and another one I’ve lost count on the amount of times I do every trip is Expedition Everest. Another of Amelias favourites as well. It’s just a great ride with amazing views of the park and I swear it gets faster every time I go on it!

6) WHAT CHARACTER DO YOU HAVE TO MEET?

ALL OF THEM!! For me Disney is all about the characters so I have to meet all of them. If I had to make a choice though and could only meet one and seeing as Dopey isnt an option it’s gotta be DONALD DUCK! He’s just brilliant. I always come away smiling when I’ve seen him!

Having said that I do love meeting Winnie the Pooh, mostly cos he’s so cuddly and it’s like you’re having a cuddle with a real teddy 🙂

7) IF YOU COULD BUILD AN ATTRACTION BASED ON YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

These questions are so much harder than I thought! My favourite movie already has quite a lot in the parks. (It’s Beauty and the Beast if you were wondering) but I do have a few ideas of movies that are completely under represented and would be great to see.

Tangled is one. Yes we have the Tangled toilets but there’s so much you could do with that movie. some kind of kids coaster zooming on Rapunzels hair down the tower or a boat ride with the lanterns. Even a restaurant based on the Snuggly Duckling.

I would love to see some more attractions around the world showcase and a Mary Poppins ride in the UK pavilion would be amazing.

I’m hoping that there will be some sort of Coco ride put in the Mexico Pavilion although I can imagine them re imagining the current Three Caballeros one and taking you on a colourful journey to the land of the dead.

8) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISNEY PARKS RESTURANT?

This is the easiest one for me to answer. SKIPPER CANTEEN!! I absolutely loved this place and it was because of a Vlog I saw Adam Hattan do that I booked it. You can see that here.

It seems to be one of those places that first timers by pass. It’s so underrated.

It was the best meal of our entire trip. It’s themed like the Jungle Cruise and your servers are skippers and the food was just unbelievable and healthy too. I still dream about that meal and it’s top of my list of places to eat in when we go back again.

In Disneyland Paris the best place to eat is by far the Agrabah Cafe. I discovered it a few years ago when I went with my friend who is Vegan and all the reviews said that was the place with the most choice for that. It’s another one I dream about and I’ve been 3 times now. It’s so so good. The themeing is wonderful, it really is like you’re in a Moroccon market and the buffet is HUGE. It’s all Moroccon things like Moussaka and lots of salad but the Tabbouleh is why I keep going back. Highly recommend it. Honestly book a late lunch and don’t eat breakfast!

9) DESCRIBE A SITUATION WHEN A CAST MEMBER WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR YOU?

I’ve never come across a bad cast member at WDW. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting has been exceptional so it’s so hard to pick a moment.

However when we first took Amelia a few years ago she was really tired (we’d been out all day but she insisted she wanted to stay and watch fireworks) she was hungry as well and we had a few tears. We left her sat at a table while we went to get some food in Pinocchio’s resturant and when I came back there she was BIG smile on her face blue frozen slushy with a Mickey Straw in her hand. A lovely cast member called Ariel (wonder how I remember that name 3 years on) had seen she was upset and thought she would cheer her up 🙂

I love chatting to the cast members when I get the chance to, while you’re waiting for rides and stuff. I’m one of those annoying guests who like to quiz them all about their jobs! :p

10) PLAN YOUR DREAM DISNEY HOLIDAY. INCLUDE YOUR PERFECT RESORT, RESTAURANT, PARK AND SHOW.

It has to be WDW although I do REALLY want to stay in the Disneyland Hotel in Paris. (I’m 40 next year and hopefully if all goes to plan that’s a good enough excuse to splash out and stay there)

Resort wise at WDW, I’d love to stay in the Polynesian. It’s just gorgeous and I could get to Epcot on the monorail pretty quick from there 🙂

Restaurant I’d pick Skipper Canteen obviously but for somewhere I haven’t eaten that I want to maybe Coral Reef in Epcot.

The park is obviously going to be Epcot, it’s my favourite and I could quite happily spend every day of my holiday there.

Show. Fantasmic. It’s wonderful. It’s my favourite of the evening shows in the Disney parks and just combines everything that I love about the shows of Disney. Music, fireworks, awesome effects and of course CHARACTERS!! I cry every time I watch it!

So there you have it, my Disney Parks Tag, I hope you enjoyed a different sort of blog from me and gives you a little insight into my Disney favourites and why I love it so much.

I’d love to hear some of your answers 🙂

 

 

Last Day :( – Last visit to Epcot and lunch at Garden Grill

I’ve been dreading this day. I always find the first week of my holiday goes at a steady speed as soon as you get halfway the days just fly by 😦 There is still so much we want to see and do and I’m sad we don’t have time to do it this trip. There will be another one but that’s not the point!

We checked out and left our luggage with concierge so we had room for the ECV in the car and also got them to print out what we still had left on our Dining Plan. (Going to Epcot we knew we’d use snack credits…)

Epcot is my favourite park so it’s kind of fitting that this is where we spend our last day.

I was determined to do Journey into your Imagination. Paul hadn’t done it and I knew he’d find the song irritating so it had to be done. I do love this. Amelia liked the interactive bit when you come out but sadly we didn’t have a lot of time to take it all in.

We did a little bit of eating, knowing we had a late(ish) lunch booked and we found the chocolate stand that we’d looked for on the last visit. We loved everything. There was an amazing item which was hot inside but frozen with dry ice, when you smash it it’s all gooey inside. I have that on video. But the rest of it was amazing.  We are a pudding family!

IMG_8918

Food and wine is amazing! I know I’ve already said that but I loved it. It’s a shame we missed the live music stuff because of Irma but it’s a foodies dream. I think we’ll book for the same time of year for subsequent trips. When the dining plan is free it’s so worth booking at this time, you can really utilise it. Even if you’re paying for it, I think it’ll be worth more when this is on. (I’m going to do a new blog on the Dining now that I’ve used it)

We didn’t do many rides today because of time, Nemo was closed 😦 But we did go on Spaceship Earth again and Frozen cos we loved that.  And we tried on a lot of hats…

hats6

Lunch was at Garden Grill with Chip and Dale. I’d read some really good things about this so was looking forward to it. Problem was we weren’t that hungry 😦 I need to make sure I ONLY book breakfasts in Epcot in future..

Garden Grill is in the Lands Pavillion and it rotates, very slowly though so you won’t feel sick, so whilst you’re eating you can see parts of the ‘Living with the Land’ Exhibit which is cool. Chip and Dale are your hosts for this so you meet them, Mickey and Pluto. I thought they would all be in Farmer costumes but it was just Mickey.

 

Food here is served ‘family style’ which I’m still not a fan of but it was tasty and as much of it as possible is actually grown at Epcot which is pretty cool. The characters were great here we really enjoyed it.  I was just excited that the plates were set out in a hidden mickey when we sat down… simple things..

IMG_8941

We decided to head off after our food so we could use the last of our snack credits in the hotel shop and make our way to the airport. I’m actually not going to put the last pictures we took of the day up, I do NOT look happy in them. I really didn’t want to go home 😦

We had such a good time on this trip. Disney is great for a Honeymoon, I love it anyway but it makes it even more magical when you’re celebrating something.

I’ll be doing full blogs on all the character dines (and normal places) we ate on this trip, about the resorts we stayed in and of course the dining plan.  I have a tonne of video footage to edit together as well to give you some visuals on all of those things as well as hiring an ECV and what it’s like getting about in one – including how well they fit in the back of a car.

Writing these do keep the trip ‘alive’ a bit longer but they also make me want to book again. And for the first time in a while I don’t actually have a trip booked. But for now, that’s the end of this trip for us 😦 So off we head to get on the plane and head home to the dogs!

EPCOT_ECENTR1_20170915_404873476224

Day 13 – Animal Kingdom and being Married by Rafiki

We had a pretty short day in the parks today being as we go home tomorrow night and we needed to pack 😦  So this will no doubt be quite a short blog 😦

But we headed off to Animal Kingdom and it was so busy! I think the remnants of Irma had gone and flights had started coming back in so the crowds were picking up again.

Pandora this morning was insanely busy and even getting into it was near on impossible so we gave it a miss for now and decided to do all the other stuff first.

The rest of the park was pretty quiet compared to Pandora, it did seem like a lot of people were coming in to do that and not really visiting the rest of the park.

We got a return time for Kilimanjaro Safaris which we love and went off to use our fastpass for Everest. Our favourite ride here I think 🙂 Amelia always insists that she sits on her own!! I love this picture of us on Everest, she’s loving it me and Paul look as if we’re in class about to answer a question or something!!

AK_EXPEDITIONEVERESTRIDE_20170913_8096657981

As it was quiet we went on this 3 times in a row! Everest is such a fun ride and you get such a great view of the park when you’re going up the mountain, especially at night. If you look the other way I’ve seen you can see Epcot I think it is but I always forget to look!

We tried to get on Kali River Rapids but it was closed still after Irma so we didn’t get to do that. There was a massive tree down in Animal Kingdom due to the hurricane. Pretty much the only significant damage I had seen through the parks so far.

The safari was great, it’s one of the best things about Animal Kingdom, I love Hippos so that’s my favourite bit and seeing the Elephants at the water hole is always fun to see 🙂 We didn’t get the time sadly to do the night safari so that’s something for the next trip.

We had lunch today in the Harambe Market, we were in the parks early so it was an early lunch. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a large amount of choice for table service places to eat and a lot of the quick service looks a bit spicy and not really something we like to eat. So we struggle here. However Harambe Market was lovely. There are a few different windows serving the different dishes and we went for the Beef and Lamb Gyro flatbreads cos the looked the most plain thing there.

It was really really nice. I’d definitely eat there again.

I love the African part of Animal Kingdom the most. There’s a lovely atmosphere here and the street entertainers are great. Particularly the dancers who always get Amelia up with them, they did some kind of song and dance for me and Paul which is a wedding celebration. I got it all on camera so it will be up in a future vlog.

The best show at Animal Kingdom is by far Festival of The Lion King so we had to make sure we saw it before we had to go home.

I love this show. It’s ‘in the round’ so you can see wherever you sit (kind of a theme with the Disney shows all the theatres are like that). It’s not the story of the film but it has a lot of the songs in it and some of the characters. Again little miss has been picked on for this each time we’ve seen it and this time she was even more happy as she was the one who was chosen to interact with Timon today. (Again all on video). It’s a great show, the tumble monkeys are the highlight of it for me 🙂  You do not need to use one of your fastpasses for this unless you want to sit right at the front. It’s a big theatre you’ll get in 🙂

IMG_8771

Cautious of time we decided to head to Pandora to use the return time we had for Flight of Passage, we’ve talked about this ride the whole trip so we had to do it again. We also had a look at the Banshee rookery which seems to be the ‘big’ merchandise item for Pandora. They look pretty cool and the fact they move and make noise is fab but the harness on your shoulder doesn’t really stay straight and they are really expensive for what they are. I can honestly say I didn’t see many people with them. Amelia decided against getting one in the end, she’d saved enough money to get one, and got herself a little plush one instead that she loves and was much much cheaper!

AK_BRADLEYFALLS1_20170913_404833140722

I wasn’t overly impressed with the merchandise there if I’m honest but I’m not the biggest fan of the movies.

I did have another Night Blossom though and we got some lovely shots in Pandora with the Photopass.

I hate saying goodbye to Disney and just as I was feeling sad coming out of Animal Kingdom I spotted characters. We missed Meeko but we did meet Rafiki and this was quite possibly my most memorable character meet and one of the highlights of the whole honeymoon.

Rafiki saw our ears and insisted on making us stand in front of him while he conducted a whole wedding ceremony – I’m so upset I didn’t get this on video – it was so fun and something that we weren’t expecting. Amelia loved it being made to stand and hold some imaginary flowers. He was such a great character and it made us laugh!!

We had such a great day at Animal Kingdom and it was the perfect way to end the day.

Sadly now it’s packing time ready for our flight home tomorrow but we are spending as much time in Epcot as we can first and we do have a character lunch booked too 🙂

Day 11 – Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party and Skipper Canteen

One of the best things about being in Orlando at this time of year is all the Halloween festivities that are happening. Although Universal doesn’t start until the day we fly home (don’t remind me of that I’m not forgiven for booking too early to go). I first did MNSSHP 5 years ago on a trip with a friend and her family and I loved it one of my favourite things I’ve ever done at Disney. I loved meeting the rare characters and the fact you get free candy and can trick or treat around Magic Kingdom is just amazing!

We had quite a relaxing day, had a swim in the morning and then spent the rest of the day trying to buy some white facepaint for our fancy dress outfits, the make up we’d picked up at home we didn’t look at properly and the bit we thought was paint was actually a make up sponge….. We had NO luck at all, even though Disney decided Halloween should start at the end of August it seems the shops didn’t and nowhere could we get any 😦

We had decided to dress up this year, Paul and I as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams (mostly because I’d not long seen the musical and loved it) and Amelia, well she wanted to be a Zombie Bride… She’s such a girly, dainty, sugary child! After the face paint failure we decided to get her face painted in MK, it cost us $20 but they would touch it up for free if any of it came off.

We got in the park in time to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade and do a few rides before our dining reservation at Skipper Canteen. I was so excited about this place. I’d watched a few vlogs on it and it was highly recommended. I’d looked at the menu as well and it was different food than you normally expect from a theme park.

This place ended up being my top eatery of the trip!! Food was unbelievable, it was a bit more on the healthy side. But just look at it, everything looked so lovely!

I still dream about this meal now and honestly if anyone wants a good place to eat at Magic Kingdom this would be my recommendation. I will go into more detail about all the places we ate in in future blogs but for now I’m just going to say, the coconut pudding was just, well there are literally no words for how good this meal was!

With the Halloween party none of the events actually start until around 7pm, however you are allowed in the park from 4pm if you have a ticket for the event. We had the park hoppers as well so we could go in whenever we liked.

One of the big draws for these events is the rare character meets so knowing they were the most popular as soon as we finished eating we went on the search for Jack and Sally. There was already a pretty long line and I think we ended up waiting just over 90 minutes to see them. They were great, well worth the wait. Brilliant interactions and Amelia loved them.

We did as many of the trick or treat locations as we could but not many rides, that’s why its a good idea to get in at 4pm if you don’t plan on visiting for anything other than the party, it means you can do rides and then concentrate on all the Halloween stuff during the party.

We watched the Boo-To-You parade which is my favourite parade at Disney. The music is so good and seeing an actual headless horseman riding through Magic Kingdom is something you won’t forget.

As you can see from some of the pictures there are a LOT of awesome magic shots throughout the park for these events and we made the most of as many as we could.

It was a pretty quiet night and apart from Jack and Sally, Moana and Lotso from Toy Story the queues for characters weren’t too bad. Even Seven Dwarves which is normally a good few hour wait was only about 30 minutes.

We missed the Hocus Pocus show which was a shame and proved to me that I think if you can you should go to 2 nights of this. There isn’t enough time in one night to do everything and meet everyone.

The fireworks at this is brilliant, Hallo-Wishes is another of my favourite things at Disney. Halloween themed music and images projected on the castle, it’s a must do and we really loved it 🙂

It is a late night and Amelia was exhausted after it but she really loved it and especially loved the attention she was getting for her outfit, most people go as Disney characters or something less gruesome than she was so I think she was a bit of change for everyone!

Cost of MNSSHP varies depending on when in the season you go, obviously the earlier you go the less it is and Halloween night itself is the most expensive. We paid about $70 each for our tickets but UK ticket sellers like Attraction Tickets Direct have started doing these and had we bought them from there we would have only paid about £40 each so it’s worth keeping an eye out for those when the dates are announced.

Tomorrow we are off to Wild Florida to do an airboat ride, this is what Paul has been most excited about doing, I’m a bit dubious I’m not a fan of boats….

 

Day 8 – Brunch with Pooh and more Disney Springs

 

Today was a strange day to be in the parks, with Irma due to hit tomorrow all the parks have announced they will be closed for it. Today I was expecting it to be busy with people getting a bit of magic before everything shuts down. Magic Kingdom today, like Universal yesterday was eerily quiet.

We had a dining reservation at 10:30 we got in just before it, this was main street…

IMG_8536

Crystal Palace was one of the dinings I was most looking forward too, I’d heard good things and was excited to try the famous breakfast lasagne. Plus there’s nothing better than getting a hug from Pooh, he’s like a big teddy bear who cuddles you back 🙂

Again it was quiet in here so I think we got more of an interaction than normal with the characters just strolling about and playing with the kids rather than just stopping for pictures and to sign. I booked at a time so we could try breakfast and still be there when the lunch buffet came out but we were all a bit stuffed so we didn’t get to try that as well.

 

Food here was really good one of the better buffets, and if you are doing breakfast you must have the lasagne, it’s like some sort of heavenly trifle with waffles, pancakes, bananas and all manner of good sweet breakfast stuff.

Weather wise today we did get caught in a few showers meaning we spent a bit of time looking in shops and spending our snack credits. I haven’t had nearly enough ‘Disney’ themed snacks so far so I had a Mickey marshmallow bar which I was most pleased with 🙂

These snacks are great ways to use your snack credits on a dining plan, the toffee or dessert apples are great too but to me they always look far too good to eat!

Trying to stay away from the dodgy weather we did a lot of indoor stuff today, Philharmagic, and a lot of character meets. Including my favourite Donaldo and Pauls Ariel in her grotto 🙂

We went to see the boss man today as well in his theatre and this is the Mickey that talks to you. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this one. There’s always a kid in front of us who is seeing a talking Mickey for the first time and their faces are always priceless. It’s a must do for anyone on a first trip and one to fastpass as it does get really busy.

Another first for me today was meeting iCan the robot in Tomorrowland, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve spotted him whilst on the Peoplemover only to get off and find he’s gone so this was a special moment 🙂 He’s really cool so keep an eye out for him when you’re there.

IMG_8589

I finally got to have my ‘balloon’ photo today as well, it’s one of the magic shots you can get with the Disney photographers, make sure you ask them when they’re taking them if they have any magic ones. It’s fun to see what they are when you check your memory maker ones after. I love this it’s one of my favourites from the whole trip…

MK_MSFIRSTA_20170909_404791176118

Dinner today was in Rainforest Café, not somewhere I generally like to eat. It’s too loud for me and after doing T-Rex as well I wasn’t that enamoured with doing this one. But the weather was getting more and more dodgy and it was the closest restaurant to where we got off the boat from our hotel therefore we didn’t have to walk too far in the wind 🙂

Amelia loved it here, they got our name wrong when we were asked for it, we were the ‘Buff’ family. I’ll take that!

Food is pretty similar to T-Rex being that it is owned by the same company, we enjoyed it food was good, service was good and we had a few cocktails.

We had a very quick wander around the Springs, the weather was getting worse and more windy and going on a boat for someone who is a little bit scared of them is bad enough but doing it in bad weather and the dark is just not fun so we headed back before it got too blowy and spent the evening watching Disney movies which were kindly put on our TVs for free for the duration of the hurricane.

We’re not sure what tomorrow holds to be honest, no parks are open so we will be confined to the hotel. Disney were great at keeping us informed as to what was going on so for the time being the hotel facilities – minus the pool – are all there to use, including the arcade on free play for the kids and Disney movies in room to keep us occupied. I guess if anything it gives us a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep!!