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 – Disney Wonder

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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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Outings

Festive Afternoon Tea, London

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Last week I went out with my parents to a festive/Christmas Afternoon Tea. We chose the one at Covent Garden Hotel. It wasn’t too ridiculously priced and they had availability.

The tea takes place in the bar area called Brasserie Max, which is to the right of the lobby. It’s quite a small hotel, but it’s decorated lovely. (As are all Firmdale Hotels – its a husband and wife partnership, and the wife is an interior designer and the décor in ALL the hotels is amazing!)

I took a picture of the menu, so you can see what was offered. A few changes to a standard tea with a few Christmassy twists. I also chose a different black tea – bourbon and vanilla, it was nice but very sweet! Almost too sweet, you couldn’t have too many cups of it.

It was nice, and just the right amount of filling. I wish I could have done a tour of lots of Christmas tea’s and then given them all a rating!

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Like I mentioned, I wish I had more spare time before Christmas to try out more festive afternoon teas, as most of the Firmdale Hotels had an offering, let alone the rest of London!

After the tea, we decided to soak up the London Christmassy atmosphere. It was super cold, so we bundled up and walked around. We was by Seven Dials, where they was giving out free tasters of  Baileys hot chocolate – it was so good! Definitely need to try this one at home.

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We walked all round Covent Garden, whilst I took pictures on my phone and just wondered around. There was some really good shop displays, and amazing decoration’s this year. We was also lucky with the weather, it was cold, but the sky was amazingly clear and blue.

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I also wanted to see one of the new Christmas tree trends this year – the upside down tree (Stranger Things anyone?!), so we walked to Claridge’s Hotel so I could see it and take more photos!

We grabbed a Starbucks on the way around London just to warm up. It was a nice day, and definitely perked up my Christmas enjoyment. (I’m normally a Grinch/scrooge).

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How about you, what have you done this year to get in the Christmas spirit? Any London recommendations for next year?

If I don’t post before, have a Happy cosy Christmas and a great New Year!

Outings

Prosecco Festival, London

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A few weekends ago, I attended the first UK prosecco festival. I got tickets to the London one (it had travelled all over the UK for weeks). The London event was held at the Kia Oval – the cricket ground at Oval.

There was two different time sessions you could attend. One was 12.00-4.30pm, the other was 5.30 -11.00pm. I chose the afternoon session as just with getting home late on the tube and staying safe.

The ticket purchased before, got you entrance fee, your keepsake glass and booklet.

The keepsake glass was a branded prosecco festival glass, you keep this the whole time and get it filled. I like this idea, as seems less wastage and you have a souvenir.

The little book of fizz is the booklet, which had a small description of each prosecco available to try.

We had a quick bag search before entry. Then we was given our wristband, glass, which had our ‘Little book of fizz’ in and a complimentary token for a glass of prosecco.

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See now, this is where it got expensive! You had to buy tokens (the bars had a no cash policy). Each glass of prosecco would cost £5 a glass. We chose to do the deal, for 6 tokens, the glass of prosecco would be £4.50. There was also the option to buy bottles (not sure how many tokens they was!)

I did think the room was going to be a bit bigger! There was four bars, each with different proseccos and a specialty drink. There was a stage with a band. Chairs and tables. Room for dancing. We consulted our little book of fizz, and chose by the description that we liked the most.

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There was rose, Italian, Spanish, bellinis etc. They also had a table with a speciality syrup to add your prosecco. I can say, I learnt the hard way – do not put coconut syrup in your prosecco!! My friend tried bubblegum and that kind of worked!

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The band and music was good, and towards the end, the music was great. Dirty dancing, and old classics. Everyone was dancing. (It was about 90% female).

We was also led to belive there was an Italian street food festival. They lied! It was one stall serving food, we waited an hour for some chips! When people are drinking for four and half hours, they need food! One stall was absolutely ridiculous. A lot of people was complaining. We know it was the first festival, but they know how many tickets was sold!

I did like the festival, and glad I went. But it did turn out an expensive day! The food situation needs to be changed for definite next year. We had dinner on the way home, as some chips is not enough to soak up alcohol. It was very popular, and I heard all the tickets sold out, so it is back next year. But a few kinks need to be ironed out first.

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Disney World

Walt Disney World – Saratoga Springs Resort

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I thought I would write about Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. We stayed here previously in the year for the first time, and we have recently booked for next year.

According to Disney website, they describe the resort as “Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is an equestrian-themed, Victorian-style Resort hotel”.

We chose this resort as there was five adults and a baby travelling. We saved more money by booking a two bedroom villa then two separate standard rooms.

Out of the Disney villa resorts, Saratoga Springs consistently came up the cheapest, and none of us had stayed at this resort, so it was chosen (another one off the list!).

In our villa, we had two double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, the front room (which also was my bedroom as I slept on the pull out sofabed) and a patio. (We was on the ground floor). The rooms also come with washer/dryer, one of the baths is a whirlpool. There was plenty of room for all of us, and technically it could sleep up to eight people! I liked the Maximus pillows!

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We had a room in The Grandstand section, this had benefits/disadvantages. This is the first stop for buses, so we often got a seat, but then had to amuse a one year old and add extra travel time to the journey whilst it went all the way around the resort! It was very time consuming, as it’s such a large resort!

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You check in at The Carriage House, this is also where quick service (Artist’s Palette) and a sit down restaurant is (The Turf Club Bar & Grill). I only had a few breakfast’s here… Mickey Waffles! And a not so great lunch. We didn’t go to the sit down restaurant, so I can’t comment on that. (There’s just too much other choice).

We visited Disney springs a lot, as there is a lovely boat ride to the Springs. There is walkways, I myself didn’t walk it, but my family did and said it was quite a walk. We think it’s because we was on the far end of the resort.

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There was lots of photo ops around the resort, but I just didn’t get the chance to get to them! Maybe next year, when I have a bit of spare time. This particular one is right outside the main doors to the reception, so I got this one!

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I think there was five pools. This was the one nearest to our room block. There was also a big main pool by The Carriage House. I didn’t go, but my family did! All very family friendly.

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I would really recommended if there are groups/families travelling together. We made use of the kitchen mostly in the mornings, as we bought cereal/bread and used the coffee machine. Which if we was in a rush (I had four backstage tours – so saved time in the morning!), or if you wasn’t on the dining plan, could definitely save money for food.

It’s definitely not my favourite resort, (The Polynesian has my heart) but it did grow on me. I am looking forward to next year already!

 

 

 

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.