walt disney world

Pandora – The World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom


 

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Pandora – The World of Avatar is based on the massively huge hit film Avatar. When the new land was announced, the feelings were mixed and oh boy did it take years to build!

I watched the film (not at the cinema), and wasn’t a massive fan. I just didn’t get the hype. How was it the biggest film ever?!

But as a hardcore Walt Disney World fan, nothing was going to stop me from visiting this new part of Animal Kingdom! Pandora has been open nearly a year now, but I only just to experience for the first time in March this year. I waited impatiently for ten months watching what felt like everyone on Facebook and Instagram seeing and marvelling at it all . I did however avoid reviews of Flight of Passage, as I wanted to experience that first hand.

After my cruise, I booked my partner and I a one day ticket to Animal Kingdom. And even more luckily I got us fastpasses for Flight of Passage! Our fastpass wasn’t until the evening, but I wasn’t waiting until then to see it! So we had breakfast at the resort, and didn’t stress – I had seen photos of the morning rush for Pandora and I did not want to be involved in that!

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Once in the park, we did have a fatspass for Everest, it then started raining so we ran to Finding Nemo: The Musical and then we did make our way to Pandora, and there was no queue to get in to the land. So we took our time, strolled round and took it all in.

The first thing that struck me was the background noises, it was like a jungle! There’s lots of photo opportunities, and not ones that need people and posing, but just the landscapes and the plants and the floating mountains! The imaginers have clearly put a lot of time and effort into this.

We decided to try lunch at Satu’li Canteen, this was the first time we tried Mobile ordering (the CM suggested we did as the queue was huge!). We both tried a bowl, I had the chicken and my partner had the beef. I like the fact you then choose the base and the sauce, so there is a lot of options! I also chose the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse as I had seen photos and it looked so interesting. The lunch was nice, and I would recommend it.

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Then directly outside is Pongu Pongu – Pandora’s lounge/bar. These drinks looked so instgrambbale! I chose the Mo’ara Margarita and my boyfriend had the Rum Blossom, he also got the Pongu Lumpia (which is Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Roll) – I didn’t even try that as it didn’t look nice! Now I love a cocktail, and margaritas are my favourite. But it was just so sweet, and I couldn’t finish it. The same with the rum blossom.

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We then decided to queue for the Na’vi river Journey, as you can get fastpasses for both attractions in Pandora.  The queue had died down, and we queued for about an hour. This attraction lasted less than five minutes, it was so short – we was in shock! It was clever, cute and everything but just too short for the amount of time waiting.

We then came back later in the day for our Flight of Passage. I don’t want to say too much, as I know lots of people still haven’t rode it. This attraction is genuinely amazing, and very clever. The technology they have used is quite something and gives a glimpse into the future star wars rides. We wanted to ride it again straightway but the queue was 135 minutes at 7pm!

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It was certainly different of a night, so you do need to visit the land twice. My photos on the iPhone didn’t come out great, but I’m sure the proper photographers with the cameras get better ones! It’s all lit up and the strange plants are glowing – as is the floor!

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Overall, its a completely immersive experience and you don’t feel like you are in Walt Disney World anymore. So take time out of your next Animal Kingdom day and venture into Pandora. (I know obviously you would do this anyway!!) Have you visited Pandora yet? What were your thought’s? If not yet – Is it on your list?!

 

Outings

Winnie the Pooh Exhibit, V & A Museum

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A few weekends ago I visited the Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic exhibit at the V & A Museum, London. The museum website described it as “This multi-sensory and playful exhibition explores the magical world of Winnie-the-Pooh – one of the most adored fictional characters of all time”. It ran from 9 December 2017 to 8 April 2018, so sadly if reading this you have now missed it!

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I had seen the exhibit advertised last year on the website, and knew straightaway I wanted to visit.  I had my Winnie the pooh phase when I was at High School and my favourite was Tigger.

I went on a weekend, so unfortunately it was too busy and full of kids for my liking! But it was a charming exhibit, and I learnt quite a bit.

The exhibit started off with a glass case full of old and unique memorabilia. The next part was all about the history of the authors past and family. This part was set up within a bedroom, and then a house. All white walls with decorations and the exhibits framed with lights on them so you could see the drawings clearly. There was even a bed set up with books to read to the kids.

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And the original drawing/sketch of 100 Acre Wood!

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There was a small door for kids to walk through which then led to the setting being outside. More original sketches and drawings nicely displayed, with just the right amount of information next to it. There was a also a short film type with a reading, so you watched the words overhead.

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Everyone loved the photo opportunity on the bridge playing pooh sticks. There was a coat rack with rain macs and umbrellas to borrow and wear, but as they were kids sizes – I couldn’t do it! This was the main noisy section, with a table full of paper and pencils for the kids.

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Around the corner, was more drawings broken into different sections along the wall, movement, character expressions etc.

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At the end was another glass case with first edition books of Winnie the Pooh.

I did enjoy the exhibit, and it really was such a good price for a cute little hour out! Any fans of Winnie the Pooh, young and old must have enjoyed it too.

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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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