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.

 

Outings

Another Day Out in London!

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A few weeks ago, I had a Friday off so my friend and I decided to have a day in London (again!). I had been looking around and found a place called Coppa Club, it’s in Tower Bridge. In the summer, they have these pretty cabanas outside, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for availability. We got one!

So I also looked around to see what else we could do.

The HMS Belfast (the big navy ship moored on the River Thames) was nearby and we both hadn’t visited before, so we also booked tickets for that.

We met at London Bridge station and had a nice walk to the Belfast where we stopped for some pretty Instagram photo opportunities (see above).

We “boarded” the HMS Belfast and took the headset they gave us. I had forgot how much of a workout looking round old boats/ships was! Up and down tiny stairs, various decks and the ship was huge.

I did like it, and you can see how cramped and small working conditions could be, but we both could have done without the creepy looking wax figures!

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We also went right to the top, and did some silly photos by the Union Jack flag. Also, by chance I think we chose the nicest day in September! Look how blue the sky was.

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We then walked to Coppa Club, so glad we went!

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We loved the outside cabana straight away. We was even seated early. We ordered a cocktail each, and decided on the same one. Wild Strawberry Spritz – Prosecco & Cartron wild strawberry liqueur, it was yum!

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We also decided on the small plates to share for lunch, so we got 3 dishes with chips. I didn’t get any photos of the food! But it was all really tasty.

The cabana was a 2 hour booking slot, so we made the most of it. We then had a pudding each, and a glass of prosecco. I chose Sticky toffee pudding and it had some really good honeycomb on top.

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It was just so nice there! The vibe was chilled, the sun was out, music was playing, the views – we could see the Shard one way and Tower Bridge the other! Then the cabana emptied – so we had the whole one to ourselves for a while! I think we could have stayed there all afternoon!

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It was a really nice day out, and the weather being so lovely just topped it all off! I really recommend the Coppa Club – I heard last winter they had igloos outside – and they got booked pretty sharpish. I can imagine why!

 

Disney World · walt disney world

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Review

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I have always wanted to go to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), it was on my Disney bucket list, and two years ago I was in Walt Disney World on the right dates!

October 31st – actual Halloween was our final night of the holiday, so I asked the rest of my holiday party (my boyfriend and his family), if they wanted to come to and it was booked! I was so excited, Halloween in the Magic Kingdom, and what a way to end the holiday.

We hadn’t planned to dress up, but USA is huge on Halloween and we got sucked in! We went to Wal Mart and Target and ended up buying costumes. I found a cheap kids one, and loved it. Then my partners sister did my excellent make up. I was a mime! I had so many compliments that night.

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I had read what we needed to, and lots of information. But sadly that went all wrong! We didn’t get in the Magic Kingdom until 7pm – rookie mistake! We also missed where a cast member was giving out the trick and treat bags! So when we went to the first stop – luckily they had 4 spare on the cart!

I would suggest getting the special party map, as that will show you the trick and treat stations, and what extra character’s there are. In case you don’t get a map, look out for these.

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I really wanted to meet Jack and sally, but the queue was over 2 hours – which was half the party so we skipped that! We did go to Tomorrowland dance party, and danced with Monsters and Boo from Monsters Inc.

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I loved that all the classic characters were dressed up, I caught Donald and Daisy as they was leaving a meet and greet. Look at Donald in a pumpkin! He caught me looking and waved.

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I was shocked that they shut pirates of the Caribbean and turned the entrance into a trick or treat station. I thought pirates was  a perfect Halloween ride! I also sadly didn’t get a chance to eat any of the special treats – the food and snacks in the shops/restaurants!

We watched Hallowishes, which I really enjoyed, and we also watched the second showing of the Boo to You parade – again I had researched, and this one was quieter. So we got a seat on Main Street and sat on the pavement. I had been wanting to see the Headless Horseman for years! I did get some photos – they are not great, as everyone had their flashes on! But I saw him!

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I loved the parade, the uniqueness of the characters – Madam Leota, the gravediggers, pirates and Captain Jack Sparrow, various villain’s, Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope, Oogie Boogie and more.

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I also loved they had changed the lighting on Main Street, it was all very effective, and they played music throughout the park, like Thriller and monster mash.

I did enjoy the party, I really did – but to me for a special ticketed event, it was way too packed. Seven Dwarves Mine Train was over an hour, everywhere was super crowded, and I know it was Halloween, but I thought a select number of people was allowed in, not that many thousands!

I also was expecting a LOT more sweets/candy – but I realised after, the photos I have seen are people, who just go round and round to each station, and must have more than one bag. I did see people whose prams/strollers were loaded with bags, and they just pointed at each station to get them filled up.

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So yes I would go again, – I would be in the park by 4pm and having an early dinner so I was already there before the rush (which was my original plan!), and I would go earlier in the year, so it would be quieter (and cheaper!).

What about you – have you ever been to MNSSHP?