Throwback Thursday – Disneyland Paris 2013!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my latest blog post – THROWBACK THURSDAY – which will be a new monthly feature and will detail information about some of my favourite past trips so that I can relive some of my best travel moments! I tend to post reviews on my Trip Advisor account whenever I travel, so I will also include links to relevant reviews and you can ask me questions about my past trips which I will try to answer as best I can!

So on to the first Throwback Feature and it’s definitely a gooden….

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DISNEYLAND PARIS 2013

For those of you that know me, I am a massive Disney fan (well, I suppose geek is a better term!) and I’d visited Disneyland Paris before when I was 13, but when I went last November with my ex-boyfriend I was so excited to be able to go and do everything properly, as an adult!

castle

We visited between 5th-9th November 2013 just in time to watch Mickey’s Magical Bonfire & Fireworks display and we also caught the first few days of the Christmas period which was beautiful.

fireworks

The giant Christmas tree had been put up and the decorations were appearing more each day. We were even lucky enough to see the Christmas Calvacade which was a new parade so that was very exciting! Just so you know, it’s kinda hard for me to go through this trip in detail as I’ve had a difficult break up with my ex this year so I’ll just focus on this happy time and share my experience with you all!

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THE JOURNEY:

We travelled by Eurostar from London St Pancras direct to the Disney station at Marnee La Vallee and caught an early train so we could make the most of our first day! We had never gone by Eurostar before and found the experience to be completely stress and hassle free and super convenient!

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The only change we made was at Lille station for a short connection that then took us straight in to Disney itself. The train journey was around 2 and a half hours, and with short check in times and no limit on baggage we much preferred the train line to the airport!! I would definitely choose the Eurostar over flying to Disney when I plan my future trips.

THE HOTEL:

You can read my official review of the Newport Bay hotel on my Trip Advisor account here.

We stayed for four nights five days in the three star Newport Bay Hotel which was located a short ten minute walk away from the Disney Village and the parks. We had requested a Lakeside room as we were staying for our anniversary, and the view we got certainly didn’t disappoint as it looked out across the impressive Lake Disney.

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We were located on the ground floor which we didnt mind too much but I think I would have chosen to stay a bit higher up if I could and will factor this in to my next visit. Breakfast each morning was plentiful but the Continental did get a bit boring after a few days and we missed a good old English fry up! I did love the hotel though, it’s the biggest of all the Disney hotels and it’s stature is certainly impressive.

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Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, captains bar, cape cod restaurant and the yacht club restaurant which offers a varied buffet dinner should you choose to eat there one evening which is what we did! I loved the nautical theme that ran throughout the Newport but my favourite elements by far were the meet and greet area and the merchandise shop located in the foyer, both of which were truly magical! The characters did meet and greets at all the Disney hotels and you could pop in and out of the reception areas of each hotel which we thought was brill – photos below were taken in ours, The Newport Bay (Pluto & Goofy)  and the stunning Hotel New York (Minnie) which I would love to stay in next time!

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THE PARKS:

We found November a great time to visit as the queues for rides were virtually non existent! We visited Monday-Friday which was definitely the best time to go as I’ve heard weekends can be stupidly busy with some queues over 100mins long! We didn’t experience waiting times anywhere near as long as this and were so pleased that we could go on all the rides and enjoy it without spending our days queuing. The Disneyland park has five different lands:

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Photo map of parks courtesy of dedicatedtodlp.com

Main Street USA – home to loads of merchandise shops and boutique stores lining the way up to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the prettiest part of the park! This is also where all the character parades take place throughout the day.

main st castle

Fantasyland– also where the castle is located but filled with kids rides, restaurants and character meet and greets. You can queue up in the Princess Pavillion and get a photo with your favourite Princess although you don’t know who you’ve got until you enter the booth which keeps a lovely element of suprise – some of the looks on the kids’ faces were priceless!

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Discoveryland– the sci-fi area, a favourite with the boys, home to the ever popular high thrill Space Mountain roller coaster, Wall E photo opportunity and Videopolis which previews great shows with Mickey and Co.

spacemountain videopolis

Frontierland– a cry from the Wild West with the trademark Big Thunder Mountain ride, cruise liner that sails round the land, the Haunted Mansion experience and cowboy saloons a plenty! The Aladdin Agrabah experience is also not to be missed.

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Adventureland– climb aboard the mighty ship and the virtual ride inspired by the famous Pirates of the Caribbean films and journey with Indiana jones on a white knuckle roller coaster ride. We also loved the swinging bridge that connected you to a different part of the land.

adventureland

Walt Disney Studios – the studios are located adjacent to the Disneyland Park with many rides and new attractions.  Crushes Coaster, Aerosmith Rock n Roller and The Tower of Terror are there for the  thrill seekers plus there’s plenty for kids too.

aerosmith

The animation studios offer a fascinating insight into how many of the famous Disney films were made, from the original Snow White & the Seven Dwarves to modern greats including The Aristocats, Fox & The Hound & Tangled. The studios are home to many daily shows including the famous animagique and cinemagique as well as Stitch Live.

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When we were there we watched the Stars & Cars parade which was fab and had some great floats including my all time favourite The Little Mermaid who I didn’t see on my first visit back in 2007 so I was super happy to catch a glimpse of Ariel!

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There is plenty to do in both parks but Disneyland itself is my favourite as it is truly magical! I would recommend spending at least 2 days in the park and 1 day in the studios to make sure you can get everything done and you can allow time for queues, meet and greets and parades etc.

DISNEY VILLAGE:

The Village is located near the front of the parks and is near to all of the Disney hotels, you actually walk through the village to get to them which is lovely! The Village is home to a large cinema showing the latest Disney related films, plenty of restaurants and bars (please see the next section EATING OUT for more info) as well as loads of lovely merchandise shops where you can buy anything from fridge magnets to cuddly toys.

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We loved the look of the PanoraMagique which was a large hot air balloon that takes you over the village and Lake Disney offering spectacular views of the resort. Unfortunately this attraction was closed during our visit but it’s definitely something I’m keen to try next time I go!

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EATING OUT:

There are loads of places to eat and drink throughout both parks and the brilliant Disney Village which we loved! We ate in Cafe Mickey, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe and Earl of Sandwich in the village, all of which were amazing, but the dining experience we had at Cafe Mickey was incredible!

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I’d been back in 2007 but there were more characters this time and it wasn’t as busy during lunch hour (may have been different during the evening) but we got to spend more time getting photos with the characters which was a bonus! Unfortunately, I stupidly managed to delete around 200 photos from our last couple of days at the park which I was completely gutted about. I had taken loads of pics with the characters from our Cafe Mickey lunch but they were all lost; I guess it just means that I’ll have to go back on another trip as soon as possible though!

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We also ate in the Hakuna Matata and the Bella Notte restaurants in the parks but didn’t stop anywhere in the Studios so I’d like to try somewhere there next time I go. Eating out can be pricey but after all it is Disneyland and if you don’t go all out you won’t make the most of everything this amazing place has to offer!

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Ooh just a tip, make up some baguettes at breakfast to save money on lunch and take a few empty water bottles with you as you can fill up for free at the various water fountains throughout the parks!

DISNEY DREAMS

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This magical light show, which runs every evening at 7pm, is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen and definitely deserves a paragraph to itself! It costs the park around £1,000,000 to put on this show every single night but, for thousands of Disney fans, it’s definitely worth that! Sleeping Beauty’s castle turns into a wonderful sight with laser beams, water fountains, music and the most beautiful lighting you’ll ever see.

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The show tells the tale of Peter Pan trying to chase his shadow and, with the help of Tinkerbell, he goes through lots of different magical worlds before he finally pins his shadow down. With music from Tangled, The Lion King, Beauty  & the Beast, Brave and many more this is a truly brilliant all singing all dancing phenomenal masterpiece which will leave even the most grown up of grown ups wanting to watch it all over again!

I don’t really know how to summarise my Disney trip as it was completely incredible and I just didn’t want to leave! We packed in as much as we could into the five days and truly got immersed into the wonderful Disney spirit; it’s hard not to soak up the amazing atmosphere that is present throughout every corner of Disney. I can’t wait for my next visit and am already planning to go next Halloween to see what that’s like as I’ve heard it’s brilliant – I’ll keep you updated on my plans for that one!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first ever Throwback Thursday feature and I can’t wait to share my next trip down memory lane with you all! Again if you have any Disney related questions that you need help with just get in touch.

Bye for now everyone!

Love Jess x

Majorca Holiday!

Hola Mis Amigos!

I am writing this blog post about my recent family holiday to the beautiful resort of Puerto Pollensa in sunny Majorca where I stayed for a week from 23rd-30th August. I had a brilliant week; the weather was amazing, the hotel was stunning, and for the first time in months I was able to completely relax and just not do anything apart from sunbathe on the beach and read endlessly for hours! Anyone that knows me will be aware of the fact that I am a total busy body when I’m abroad and, normally, I just want to fit in as much sight seeing as I can! However, as this was a family holiday, we all just wanted to fully relax and enjoy each other’s company, and I certainly wasn’t complaining!

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We arrived at the Hotel Bahia Pollensa during the course of lunch time on Saturday 23rd August and were able to check in straight away. We were allocated a 1bed apartment with a pool view (bonus!) and were really pleased with our accommodation. We stayed on a half board basis so our breakfast and evening meals were included and this suited us brilliantly! I have written a separate review on the hotel using my Trip Advisor account, so I will post the link to this shortly!

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After checking in we wanted to explore the area and so went for a stroll towards the beach, the centre of the resort. As we walked along the beach we found plenty of lovely little shops, bars and other hotels. Further up, around half a mile away, was the famous Pine Walk which is the liveliest part of the resort. This is where the nightlife really comes alive, with loads of cosmopolitan cocktail bars, traditional Spanish restaurants and pretty little shops. I really loved this part of the resort and wish we had more time to venture here more than we did but, as it was around a 40 minute walk from our hotel, our legs sometimes didnt want to carry us and we decided to stay a bit more locally instead for the majority of our stay.

 canal mumdad

Our days were generally spent either lazing by the pool with an ice cream and a good book, or spent at the beach watching the waves roll in between frequent games of ‘bat and ball’. The sea was beautiful; a turquoise greeny blue that seemed to go out for miles before it started to get deep. We saw lots of little sand fish in the shallow waters and much bigger fish as the sea got deeper. We strolled along the pier a few times to catch a glimpse of what the local fisherman were catching and were told there were much bigger fish to be seen; my dad even saw a barracuda eel whilst he was looking at a fisherman doing his thing!

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On the Thursday we took a boat trip to the pretty island of Formentor, which was around 25mins from the Marina at Puerto Pollensa and we were lucky enough to go on a glass bottom boat – something I have always wanted to go on!! The boat trip was lovely, we chose to sit on the top deck so we could feel the wind in our hair and the salty sea air on our faces. We reached Formentor promptly and enjoyed sunbathing on the beautiful beach which was full of little coves and the scenery around the area was simply stunning. We stopped at the beach bar for an ice cream and then caught the last boat back to Puerto Pollensa during the course of the late afternoon. This was the busiest of our days during the week but we wanted to explore the area outside of our resort and thought that a boat trip would be the best way of doing that!

boatself boat

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As we neared the end of our stay we spent our last two nights having drinks in one of the local beach bars before heading to the ever popular Palms Bar 5mins from our hotel which played host to some brilliant tribute nights during our stay. We particularly enjoyed the Abba night but Rod Stewart was great too!

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If you are looking for a relaxing family break then Puerto Pollensa is definitely for you – it is really beautiful and you can do as much or as little as you want throughout the course of your stay! If however you want mad nightlife and lots of day time activities then I would recomment staying in Alcudia, Palmanova or Magaluf which are obviously some of the bigger resorts on the island of Majorca.

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If anyone has any questions that they would like to ask me about my stay or about anything else then please get in touch!

Adios for now!

Love Jess x