disney cruise · travel

Tiana’s Place, Disney Wonder

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Whilst the Disney Wonder was at dry dock, she had a few upgrades, including a new restaurant. It is Tiana’s Place – based on the restaurant that Tiana dreams about and finally builds in The Princess and the frog.

I love Princess and the Frog! So I had been looking forward to dining here since we booked the cruise.

I loved it! definitely my favourite restaurant on the ship. It was great. Firstly it was different as they had characters in the restaurant and there was a live band! The food was new Orleans based and the servers were dressed in yellow, it really did feel like the film! I mean look at the main menu!

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During our week cruise, we ate here twice. The first night I was just looking around and checking out all the details. I sadly didn’t get a photo of the entrance, as the doors was shut during the day and then too many people of the evening!

Tiana with the band sang and they played jazz music, she also came round to the tables for a photo. We also saw Louie the alligator.

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The plates even had frogs on and were super cute! I managed to take a photo of my dessert, I chose banoffee pie – honestly the best one I’ve ever had.

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On the second night dining here, you “celebrate” Mardi Gras! Each person was given beads in the New Orleans colours. There was more singing and dancing, and guests were encouraged to join in. So our table of six adults all went up and danced down the centre!

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I chose the tuna ahi for a starter that night, and also had the classic beignets for dessert. I’m annoyed I didn’t get more food pictures, but hopefully you can get an idea of the restaurant by the ones I have included!

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I really enjoyed eating here, just for the whole experience. It felt like a proper show, not so much a character meal but with the live music and interaction, it was just very enjoyable.

I know there is a very similar new restaurant on the Disney Magic based on Tangled, and I would very much like to try that out too now!

Have you eaten at Tianas’s Place? Would you like to?

 

disney cruise · travel

Castaway Cay, The Bahamas

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On most Disney cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean, you will make a stop at Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay. The island is approximately three miles long and two miles wide, so its not very big! Disney have also left a lot of the island to be undeveloped.

The island is almost broken into two – Castaway Family beach and Serenity Bay – Serenity Bay is an adults only beach!!

There is food on the island for lunch (it’s a bbq which is included in the cruise price), a few shops, (exclusive merch!), character meets and lots of things to do. There is a tram provided for you to get around, or you can walk. We have now tried both options.

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I also found out recently that it won an award – 2017 Cruisers’ Choice top-rated cruise line private island destination.

On our most recent cruise, we had two stops at Castaway Cay due to a change of itinerary. So we explored a lot more of the island as we wasn’t so pressed for time. On the first stop, we hired the bikes.

The bike trail is also the 5k trail (You can sign up for free for the 5K and get a medal!). The price to hire (current of March 2018) was $12 for the hours hire. We cycled all round, found a few photo ops, and went to the Observation tower.

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It is a nice trail, it’s all flat, the pavements are wide and you can cycle at whatever speed you wish. We went all the way down to the other lookout at the end of Serenity Bay.

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After all my exercise and lunch, we treated ourselves to the cocktail of the day, which that day was a Bahamamama.

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On the second stop we hired a kayak. It was slightly windy so it was hard work, we was only out twenty minutes! But we did get a different view of the ship, and I attempted some photos on my partners phone. After we found a hammock, and just chilled. It was lovely, we could hear the music, the sun was shining, it was one of those moments you don’t forget.

Its a very pretty island with amazing blue seas( I can never get over the colour!) and photos needing to be taken around every corner! I hope I get to return again.

Have you been to Castaway Cay? What was your favourite part? Do you want to go?

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disney cruise · travel · walt disney world

Disney Cruise Number 2

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It’s been a while since I blogged, I was so ill for 6 weeks and then cracked two ribs – so I didn’t get out much, or have much energy! But I have bounced back, and managed to get well for my holiday.

I’ve recently returned from my second Disney Cruise, this time aboard the Disney Wonder. We chose the Eastern Caribbean itinerary but unfortunately due to weather, a change was made and we didn’t stop at St Maarten. I was quite upset about it, as I like exploring new places, and this route had the two Caribbean islands, so in the end it was Puerto Rico (as planned) and two stops at Castaway Cay.

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It was very rocky on the first night! Our table mates couldn’t even stay for dinner, I was offered tablets but declined to see how I was. So I think I can safely say now, I don’t suffer from sea sickness!

We had a stateroom on deck 7 with a verandah, we was at the aft of the ship, which I don’t think is as comfy as mid! But as you know to have those holidays, you need to save money where you can.

I liked that the ship was smaller as quicker to get to places, but I definitely preferred the grandiose of the Fantasy, I was totally blown away by the lobby of the Fantasy, so this one felt so small in comparison!

We saw all of the shows – they are such Broadway quality!The Frozen, A Musical spectacular was over an hour long! My favourite shows are the ones where they mix all the films and songs in and you get a bit of everything. One was called The Golden Mickeys which is a play on the Oscars, which was funny as the Oscars was actually on the night before! They are all performed perfectly and get you so emotional. We also watched JunNk, a British group of performers who sing, play instruments and have a wide rang of talents – they was great. Also a new show called acrobatrix, and it was their first time on the Disney Cruise Line.

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There was amazing cast members on board (as always), I feel like the ships CMs are the tip top ones. Lots of English too, and there wasn’t too many brits on-board as passengers so it was nice to talk to them, and they then recognise you and say hi a lot round the ship.

One thing I love to do is watch The Morning show. Another of my favourite things is the tour round the ship! LOVE this, if you like backstage tours at the parks, this is a must do.

You don’t go backstage on the ship, but you learn a lot of design information and knowledge. For instance, the Disney Wonder is the only ship in the fleet where the lobby is based round the statue – which is The Little Mermaid. So the restaurant is Tritons behind her, and the big light is red to symbolise her hair, the carpets are yellow and blue for the sea and seabed’s. I just love details like this!!

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We played trivia, watched Disney Innovations, played shuffleboard, went to a Mixology  class, went to the cinema, character meets, shopped, drank, ate, made new friends, etc – we did it all.

The ships really are amazing, I’m a total convert to Cruise life now and am desperate for more. Bucket list item is to go on all four ships and I’ve seen the information about the new upcoming ships and definitely want to try one of them!

Have you been on a Disney Cruise? Did you love it? Or do you want to?

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travel

Flashback Friday – Luxembourg

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A few weeks ago we went to Luxembourg for three nights. The flights were ridiculously cheap, it was £39 each! And for the first time ever, I did hand luggage only!

The first evening was the usual of walking around and just seeing near your hotel. I also had an awful cold and cough, so I had no energy and we didn’t explore too far.

The next day, we took a bus into the centre. We wondered around and saw a kind of look out point, so we walked over. This was good views of the Adolphe Bridge (see top picture).

Before going I had read about a hot chocolate shop that I wanted to visit, and it was in the area we was in! Its called Chocolate House by Nathalie Bonn, and it was amazing! In the shop was lots of chocolate’s, and cakes, and also a wall of chocolate spoons! The lady suggested having our hot chocolate in the shop. So you choose a spoon, took it upstairs, they offer you milk (they had everything – lacto free, soya etc.), you are then given the mug of hot milk, which you stir your chosen spoon into, with a little tub of cream and a marshmallow each. It was delicious!

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On my list of things to do was the Casemates du Bock – these are underground tunnel’s from years ago which was built under a castle. The castle is no longer there, but the passages couldn’t be destroyed as part of the city would have been lost! So they have been kept open for visitors as a UNESCO world heritage site. It was super cold down there!

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We wondered and walked all round the old part (which is also the centre), this was definitely the prettiest part. We ended up going to a supermarket on the way back to the hotel and having a chill night.

The next day, we went back to the centre and I wanted to go to the new observational lift. Pfaffenthal lift takes you down to ‘the grund’. We expected queue or something – but was quiet. So we did that, and there was nothing open on the bottom! You could walk back up the long and winding steep hill, but I refused! So used the lift back up.

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We saw the statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte, we went to Notre Damn, and had more food out.

Then it was the last day, we checked out of the hotel and went back into the centre, only to discover all the shops were shut! (it was a Sunday), so we stopped outside the Grand Ducal palace so I could take a few photos. They also do tours inside, but only in the summer. So we took a slow walk (about 20 minute’s or so) to the bus garage so we could get a bus to the airport (it cost 2 euros!).

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I’m going to be honest in this post… I wouldn’t recommend Luxembourg. The flight was lovely and short, 50 minutes! But the cab to the hotel was fifty two euros, just because we wasn’t in the centre of luxeumbourg city (which I hadn’t booked as wanted a cheap break). Everything was expensive, and we did most of the tourist stuff in 1 day. It was also strange that it was such a mash up of other countries, it didn’t feel like it had its own identity. There are much nicer cities in Europe with more to do.

 

Outings · travel

Day out in Brighton!

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We had a voucher for Christmas for something we didn’t want to do, so we exchanged it!

I chose a tour for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, with a cream tea included.

So my boyfriend and I drove down, and spent an hour or two in there. I have been to Brighton plenty of times throughout my childhood and as an a adult but have never been to there or inside!

You get given a headset, which you click once inside each room, and then gives you information. It reminded me of a mini Buckingham Palace.

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The exterior has indian influences and the interior has Chinese influences. The palace was used as a pleasure palace for royals. So was essentially a getaway from London and other palaces! Some of them loved it, others hated it as too gaudy for them. its quite a big palace, bigger than I was expecting.

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It is now all been preserved, and some pieces are on loan from the Queen!

One of my favourite’s was in a bedroom, the bathroom door was disguised in the wall!

The cream tea you could have when you liked/preferred. We had in the middle of the tour as the tea room is in the middle of the tour! But you can have at the beginning or the end etc. Was the usual tea – scone with clotted cream and jam with a pot of tea.

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After our tour, we headed to Brighton Pier, I hadn’t walked along this in years! The wind and the salty air was so refreshing. Its such a cheesy place, but feels like a proper English tradition.

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I love being by the sea, living in a town, its always so nice to get away for a little bit. The sea always calms and relaxes me. I could watch it for hours!

We had a nice August day too, so the sun was out and we was in tshirts. We did some window shopping and browsed some of the smaller lanes.

I always find it mind boggling too, how much water there is on earth!

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What about you guys, what have you been up to? Do you love the sea?

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travel

Flashback Friday – Route 101 Road Trip, West Coast USA

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So this was the trip that kick started it all. Once I was back from this trip, I was hooked on travelling and holidays. I mean, I always was before – but this ignited some kind of fire!

This was one of my favourite holiday’s ever. It’s actually been 4 years next month that we did this amazing adventure.

Road trips and cruises are the way forward – you see so much!

We drove over 1000 miles, across 3 states and stayed in 7 hotels over 15 nights. We even got matching Route 101 signs tattooed during the trip!

I honestly don’t even know how it came about, one minute it was being discussed and joked about, then I got serious and started looking and planning!

I’m not going to lie, it was costly. The flights was about £750 each as we flew in and out of different airports. The car hire was also a big amount, they charge a flat non refundable fee of $300 just to drop the car off at a different state. That was on top of the car hire amount!

The hotels we stayed in, with the exception of one wasn’t too expensive or luxurious.

We flew into Seattle, and flew out of LAX. I did want to do the whole route of 101, but struggled to find a flight out of San Diego, so our trip ended in LA. I also booked all the hotels before we left, so I knew we always had a destination to put in the sat nav and a warm bed for the night.

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We did and saw and experienced too much for this one blog post, so I’m just going to stick to the highlights.

We stayed in Seattle 3 nights before moving on. We went to Pike Place Market, and went into the original Starbucks, (I bought a mug!), we went on the Seattle monorail and up the space needle. We walked all round the city and explored. It wasn’t my favourite place, and I probably wouldn’t go back here.

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We headed to a hotel on the coast for one night, still in the Washington State. We drove through the town where Kurt Cobain was from. After we drove to Oregon, we stayed at a few hotels along this state.

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I also ended up buying a jacket from Wal Mart as it was so chilly, windy and rainy! The weather was awful in parts, and we was driving metres from the water at some points. It really was scary, we missed a tree being blown down across a road by minutes.

We drove to and stayed in a cute little town called Seaside, and had a lunch in Tsunami café! There was signs everywhere pointing to safe sites, and with the weather the way it was – it was a bit worrying!

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We drove through the Red Forest, which was amazing. They are tallest trees in the world! We parked up the car, and got out to take photos. We didn’t see anyone else the whole time. We also stopped and paid to do the SkyTrail – which is a gondola ride through part of the forest. Its meant to offer amazing views, but sadly the weather stopped our views at the top! We also was now in California!

We stayed in a family run hotel where they put up a notice where people are from each evening, and we sat with a cool older couple who was doing a road trip on a motorbike.

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We then stayed 3 nights in San Francisco – I drove across the Golden Gate bridge! I felt a little let down by San fran, I know we didn’t have much time, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

The biggest disappointment  was at the time, there was polictical issues happening and all national parks was shut, this included Alcatraz! Which we had tickets for. So we swapped to a boat ride under the bridge, and around the Alcatraz island.

But we did ride a cable car, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf – saw the Seals (got the tattoo), had an ice cream at the original Ghiradelli’s and went to The Walt Disney Family Museum! I loved this place , and we spent a few hours one afternoon there. Any Walt / Disney fan should go see it.

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After San Francisco, I had a request to stay at The Madonna inn – I had wanted to for years since I read Belinda Jones book – The California Club.

Take a look at the rooms – each one is individual and themed! We stayed in one of the famous rock fall shower rooms – Bridal Falls. Its a very pink hotel – the exterior, all the finishing touches, even the sugar for your coffee!

http://www.madonnainn.com/features.php

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After our stay here, we headed further south in California, where we had 3 nights in Anaheim. That’s right we managed to squeeze in two days at Disneyland! I was desperate to see the newly opened Carsland, which fitted in perfectly with our road trip! I was not let down by that! Sheer genius and amazing Imagineering at work there.

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But the day before that we had a spare day in California with no plans. So an impromptu whale watching boat trip was booked up. And OH MY GOD we saw a blue whale! It was incredible, I got all choked up. Dolphins swam along and played with the boat. It was an amazing 2 hours. (I was also in t-shirt and shorts by this time in our trip!). Also later that night we had dinner at Medieval Times where our blue team won – woo!).

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I mean, just wow, there’s probably loads I’ve missed out, but honestly such an amazing eye opening experience. Being on the open road, not knowing what each day would bring.

I would LOVE to do another road trip again, and definitely different states. I loved the planning and researching, and when it all came together so well, I felt so proud of myself.

Have you ever taken a road trip? Would you want to?

 

Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Cumbria, UK

 

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A few years ago, my boyfriend and I stayed in one of the most unique hotels ever! We stayed three nights.

It was a castle! A couple had bought, and then converted an actual castle. They then converted into a hotel, and also live there. It’s located in Cumbria, which for us is quite a drive, but I’m glad we went.

Each room is completely different, when we stayed – there was only 12. They have added some addition’s / changed a few more rooms since. We stayed in the Middlesmoor – which they describe as ‘ Elegantly decorated in blue & gold with a leaded bay window extending the entire width of the room. The bed is dated the same year as the castle was built. The bathroom is delicately decorated in blue & white with an original nineteenth century corner basin’.

What I truly loved about this place was the open door policy. On your room key, is also the front door key to the castle. So you can come and go as you please, and let yourself in. They also had a honesty bar (I had never heard of this until this stay!). They had a whole bar with a big selection of drinks, you go helpful yourself, then just write in the book left in there – your room number and what you had! That then gets added to your bill, no miniatures here!

There was rooms – Drawing Room, Great Hall, Dining Room, Music Room and Library all over the castle in which you could explore, and just chill out in. The family also had their own dog and cat which roamed the castle.

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The food was lovely, we pre-booked a dinner one night, which is held with the rest of the guests in the dining hall and the breakfast was so good! So many different option’s.

Whilst we was in that area of UK, we drove to the Lake District, had an afternoon there – had an afternoon tea, went out on a boat ride, bought some fudge (one of my favourite’s is clotted cream fudge!).

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We also visited The World of Beatrix Potter attraction. That was a little cute hour!

 

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But the main attraction for me, was the Castle. I really loved it, and even though we stayed over four years ago, I still talk about it! They also offer afternoon tea and weddings now!

Sadly I don’t have many photos!

Highly recommended, here is the website link to have a nosey! http://stayinacastle.com/