Honest guide to Disneyland Paris

February was a perfect month. I turned 21, got a 2:1 in my university coursework and I got to spend 4 amazing days in Disneyland Paris. Before leaving I read through hundreds of blog posts about Disney from booking to hotels, food to souvenirs and each one was more helpful than the one before so I thought I would add my own take on the happiest place on earth into the mix. Here is my honest guide to Disneyland Paris…

Dates – Before booking my trip I headed down to Thomson (now known as TUI I believe) and picked up a guide to Disneyland. Inside there was a helpful chart with a week by week guide to how busy the park would be throughout the year. Luckily for me one of the least busy weeks coincided with my reading week at uni so it was like it was meant to be! As you can imagine Disneyland is never going to be empty but I don’t think the crowds were too horrendous, on average we only had to queue for 30 mins and always had a decent view for the fireworks/parades. I would definitely recommend February as a good time to go just make sure you wrap up nice and warm!

Travel – I opted to take the Eurostar simply because it was slightly cheaper than flying and just felt like less of a hassle. We sped through passport control in St Pancras and before we knew it we were through the tunnel and into France. Overall it took about 2.45 hours and as soon as you step out the station you are a 5 minute walk away from the entrance to Disney. There was an option where you could pay to check in on the train so you could head straight to the parks but I didn’t pay for this as I didn’t mind going to the hotel and settling in a bit first before heading off to the castle! On our way home we were told to only leave 40 mins before our train left but THIS IS A LIE! The queue for customs was so long and we only just made our train so I would recommend heading to the station with at least an hour to spare

Hotel – We stayed in one of the new renovated rooms at the Disney Cheyenne hotel and, for the price we payed, I think it was lovely. Our room had an ensuite, with a shower and a bath, and 2 large double beds. It had air conditioning, heating and a large tv that played endless repeats of Thats So Raven so I really couldn’t complain. The hotel had a gift shop, a Starbucks, a bar and a buffet restaurant which we didn’t actually end up trying but it looked perfectly nice. It was a 10/15 minute walk from the parks or a 3 minute bus ride. I can imagine in peak season the buses would get very crowded and you may have to end up waiting around for one but seeing as the park was at its emptiest we never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for one. I really like the Cheyenne hotels wild west/toy story theme and would 100% stay there again!

Food – I was most worried about the food and how much it was going to cost me to simply not starve but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Our hotel offered a buffet breakfast for a rather large cost so instead we chose to just go to Starbucks in the morning and grab a cup of tea and a croissant which turned out to be much more cost effective (and yummier I can imagine). Seeing as we didn’t have a weight limit on the Eurostar we stocked our bags up with lots of snacky foods like breakfast bars and biscuits to keep us going throughout the day. For lunches and diners we tended to opt for the quick service restaurants in which you could get a main (like a burger or hot dog), a side, a desert and a drink for around €15, if you chose off the set menu, which I thought was pretty reasonable and they were decent sized servings. Although food was the thing we spent the most on it wasn’t as extortionate as I had feared and there was definitely a great variety. I would highly recommend the chicken fajitas at the quick service restaurant opposite Big Thunder Mountain! Disney do offer meal plans but seeing as I didn’t use on I don’t feel like I know enough to comment on them but I will say that I didn’t leave wishing that I had got one.

Rides – As previously mentioned we got quite lucky with wait times and also took good advantage of the fast pass system that Disney offers. The biggest problem we faced however was rides closing down. We got to the front of the queue of Pirates of the Caribbean to have it shut down and I couldn’t ride Space Mountain until the last day as it always seemed to be closed. It was frustrating but in the end we did get to ride everything we wanted! The last time I went to Disney I was around 10 and lots of the rides hadn’t changed at all since then but in a way I think that just adds to the sentimental value of Disney for me. My top ride recommendations would be Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast, Big Thunder Mountain, Ratatouille and It’s a Small World simply for how bizarre it is. The only ride I would question would be Crush’s Coaster, it was fun but over very quickly considering we queued the longest for it out of any of the rides.

Souvenirs – Everywhere you turn you will see a gift shop and if you like Stitch then you are definitely in for a treat because he seemed to be everywhere! Even though there were lots of different shops I felt they all seemed to sell the same thing and Disney had clearly singled out a few films to focus their merch on. The most noticeable difference for me since the last time I went was just how much Star Wars stuff there was, it was everywhere! Just like the food I wasn’t as shocked by the prices of most things as I thought I would be but €5 for a pencil….come on now Disney. I ended up picking some pins and t-shirts to take home and am very impressed with the quality of them so although this sounds like I am ripping into the souvenirs I am not, I do think there are some great things you might just have to push past the racks of overpriced stationary to find them.

IMG_1862.JPGTop tips – Here are a few tips that I wish I had known before going on my trip to Disneyland Paris….

  1. Invest in the Photopass! Even though it was quite pricey (at around £40 I think) we will be forever laughing at some of the photos we got from the rides and are definitely great memories to treasure!
  2. Don’t feel like you can’t take some time to chill! You have spent a lot of money and want to get the full bang for your buck I know but we found that going back to the hotel for a couple of hours in the afternoon for a rest made our whole experience more enjoyable.
  3. Get a lanyard with a plastic card wallet on. I ended up buying one from the park for about €10 but it made it so much easier having our park tickets, hotel key, fast passes etc all in one place. Plus it was a great way to show off all those new pins!
  4. If there is a ride you really want to go on but the queues are too long, wait till when the parade is on then I guarantee the lines will be a lot shorter.
  5. Use a blank white photo frame to get signatures from characters then when you’re home you can add in one of your favourite photos and have all of the memories of the people you met shown off around it.
  6. Bring layers for the evening. If you’re planning on staying till the fireworks then keep an extra layer in your bag, especially if you’re going in the winter months, because you won’t enjoy the fireworks if you feel like a human ice cream.
  7. Secure a good spot for the parade early because there is nothing more annoying than having a 6ft 4 dad with a kid on his shoulders in front of you when you’re just trying to wave to Pluto from his float.
  8. If you’re meeting characters take videos as well as photos, you can get good stills from them and it’s also a great way to look back on the moment.
  9. The minnie mouse ears that Disney sells are made for kids heads so, I found them to be at least, very tight and very uncomfortable. Look into some pairs on Etsy before your trip, I got my Winnie the Pooh ones here and I love them. Plus it is a great way to connect with your favourite character if you’re wearing ears that represent them.
  10. Enjoy every moment of it because it honestly will be one of the most magical trip you go on no matter what age you are!

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Top 5 countries I’ve visited

Hello Lovelies, I have been lucky enough to travel to around 15 countries throughout my life and picking my top 5 has been hard because every place is beautiful and amazing in it’s own way. I’ve looked through photos, diaries and my good old brain and decided that these are the places I have left with the best memories of! Just to put it out there these have all been family holidays so I haven’t been backpacking and truly exploring these places but I do feel like I got a great experience of each of them.

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Tenerife – This one has a big personal connection for me as Tenerife is where my Grandad lives but that aside from that I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a lovely holiday at a cheap price. A 4 night stay in a 4* hotel cost £330 each for my boyfriend and I (flights included!) Not only does it pretty much have garaunteed sunshine, the food is unbelievable with lots of freshly caught fish and gorgeous tapas dishes! There is a million and one things to do from shopping to kayaking with dolphins, mini golf to go karting, you will never have a boring day that’s for sure. The landscape is unique, covered in black rock beaches and beautiful blue sea, not to mention the volcanoe! I know I’m going on a lot here but I love Tenerife and would seriously recommend it to anyone looking for a quick getaway!

 

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Italy – Where to start with Italy? Well firstly the food is unbelievable, pizza and pasta yes please! There are endless amounts of historic sights take in from the Colosseum to the Pompeii. If you’re after gorgeous landscapes head to lake Garda or the Amalfi Coast. If you want more rustic Italian living then you need to check out Tuscany! What I’m trying to get across is Italy has a little bit of everything and a lot of pizza (what more could anyone want!)

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Costa Rica – This one is a little bit (actually quite a lot) further afield but no less amazing! The main thing to be said about Costa Rica is you will never meet more positive/friendly people in your life. There is also a huge variety of wildlife, such as sloths and howler monkeys, that you will see just casually hanging from trees as you drive around! The weather is a little bit more temperamental but that’s all part of the rainforest experience and you will seriously come to love the rain during the humid days. I had some amazing life experiences in Costa Rica, like white water rafting and zip wiring over a volcano, but there is so much more I want to return to and explore.

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Canada – I’ve wanted to go to Canada since I was about 5 and was lucky enough to go last summer. The main thing to be said is that it is absolutely beautiful! Wherever you go it will be stunning but I found the drive between Jasper and Banff to be the most breathtaking. Just like in Costa Rica, everyone is so unbelievably lovely and friendly and I think it has a great balance between nature and city life! If you want a big bustling town then Vancouver or Toronto were very lively but then just a few hours out you will find giant forests and gorgeous waterfalls to go hiking in and around. A winter ski season out there is definilty something I want to try! 

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America – This one is a tricky one because how do you fit America into a paragraph. It’s impossible so I’m going to go for my highlights. Up there has to be New York (which you can read my whole blog post on here). Orlando is also up there for the theme parks (in particular Disney!) For a variety of things to do I think California is brilliant because you can go from hiking in Kings Canyon to sunbathing on a Santa Barbara beach. My favourite city in California had to be San Francisco though, it is just down right cool!

There we have it. These are my top 5 places I have visited and I would love to know your top ones! Or if you’ve been to any of these places I mentioned what did you think?

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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NYC in 4 days

In March I was lucky enough to go to New York for 4 days with my university! It was an amazing time but I have never done so much walking and sightseeing in my life. I will do my best to summarise everything I got up to in those 4 days and give you my suggestions of my favourite things to do in the Big Apple!

We arrived late on the Wednesday afternoon (after a 3 hour wait in passport control) so we literally just checked in to the Westside YMCA, got a McDonalds and went to bed! For that reason I am starting this from Thursday

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After a free breakfast from Johns Diner we headed over to the High Line Walk. It’s a path that follows an old railway line and goes through the Lower West side of Manhattan ending up at the Whitney Museum. I think if you went in the summer it would be beautiful with all the plants but unfortunately when I was there it was all a bit dried up! After this we went for lunch at the Chelsea Market which you have to go to, the choice of food and the atmosphere was incredible. We explored Greenwich Village and, one of the highlights of the trip, visited DO the Cookie Dough shop which is a must go for sweet toothers like me! Once we were all on a bit of a sugar high we walked up 5th Avenue, going past iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron as well as popping into some shops. To finish off this day we watched the sunset and all the city lights switch on at the top of the Rockefeller building (known as Top of the Rock) which I couldn’t recommend enough, you should definitely book it here if you’ve got a trip planned!

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When I say it rained from the moment I woke up to the moment I got back into bed I am not joking, it was pretty grim. BUT we still tried to make the most of the day. We spent the morning exploring MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) which has loads of beautiful classics such as Starry Night by Van Gogh as well as new, quirky modern pieces. Afterwards we chose to brave the downpour and head to Time Square, which was actually pretty amazing in the rain as all the lights reflected off the puddles. We wanted to visit the Cooper Hewitt museum but had loads of issues with the subway and the buses so we decided to do another NYC must-do and get a classic yellow cab there. The Cooper Hewitt museum had a really cool room in which you could draw patterns that would be projected onto the walls like wallpaper but unfortunately we went at a time when they were refurbishing a lot of exhibitions so there wasn’t really much else to see. Now when I say we got soaked on the walk home across Central Park I mean my coat went about 50 shades darker and you could literally ring out my backpack. Due to this we decided to have a night in the hostel and ordered a Pizza that was about the size of manhole cover but unbelievably delicious.

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Thankfully the rain decided to stop but the temperature did drop to near freezing (NYC seems to have every kind of weather possible in the space of a few days!). We wrapped up warm and jumped on the subway over to Brooklyn. Once there we basically turned back on ourselves and walked back into Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, which had some incredible views of the new World Trade Centre (just to add this in here I had previously visited the 9/11 memorial on my last trip to NYC and I would 100000% recommend for you to go and see it we just couldn’t fit it in on this trip). From there we explored China Town, Little Italy and Soho, which has some unbelievable shops, till we ended up at the famous Katz Deli. Now if you want proper authentic feeling American dining this is the place to go, the sandwiches were pretty much the size of my head and tasted absolutely unbelievable. It’s also where loads of famous scenes are filmed like the one in Harry met Sally where Sally, lets just say, gets very very excited. To finish of the day we headed down to Wall Street and got the ferry across to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Although this ferry doesn’t take you directly to the lady herself it’s free and you do get a very good view of her.

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This was our last day in NYC and we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine! We only really had the morning before we had to head off to catch the long flight back to London so we decided to spend it in Central Park. We climbed the rocks, watched some baseball, visited Strawberry Fields and soaked up the sun eating a giant pretzel. The highlight of the day, and the park, though was taking a row boat out across the lake. The views were beautiful and it was just downright fun! Seeing as passport control was such a faff on the day we arrived we had to head to the airport quite early in order to ensure we made our flight okay so all we really did after that was kill time in JMF sitting in McDonalds!

And that was the end of that! We managed to fit so much into every day and I really feel like we got the real NYC experience! Have you been to NYC before? What were your favourite places to go?

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Tenerife holiday outfits 

For the past 5 days I have been lucky enough to be chasing the sun in Tenerife. Although I am far from a fashionista I’ve always had a love for clothes and particularly summer trends. I thought I’d share some of my holiday outfits I wore, maybe for inspiration or maybe just so you can all get a good laugh at my tan lines! (Btw you can tell as the week goes on because I turn a darker shade of red by the day)

Pool day 


This is my go to outfit for a day by the pool, the swimming costume from New Look is incredibly flattering and it’s dark colour helps attract the sun for a good tan. The maxi skirt is from BooHoo and is perfect to slip on when jumping from the pool to the bar. The shoes (which you will be seeing a lot of) are from Marks and Spencer’s

Sightseeing day 


On days where I’m out and about exploring a town, doing some shopping or enjoying some good old sightseeing I like to be comfy but not feeling slouchy. I adore this top from BooHoo and when paired with these New Look shorts I think it makes it look like I’ve made an effort but really it’s a very simple outfit. This bag, also from New Look (bet you can guess my favourite shop now), is the perfect size to fit all holiday essentials but not be too bulky. Personally I find these shoes really comfortable and they keep my feet cool but if you’re going for a long day of walking then they can be substituted out for some converse etc

Beach day 


I have a love/hate relationship with the beach. I adore the sound of the sea but I always seem to get unbelievably burnt whenever I step foot on the sand. For that exact reason I always like to have an option to cover up when I’m at the beach and this maxi skirt and top co-ord from BooHoo is ideal. It’s floaty and light but can protect me from the sun when I start to become a human tomato

Travel day 


When traveling the most important thing is comfort. I always find, particularly on planes, I get really hot so I always try to wear an outfit that will keep me cool. I chose this skirt from New Look and then just placed some cycling shorts underneath so I could cosy up on the plane and not have to worry about flashing anyone! My top is also from New Look and most likely I will pair this with a jacket for any cooler areas that I end up in

Evening


Going out in the evenings was a good chance to dress up a little bit. My sunglasses, that have appeared throughout, are from Accessorize and I would definitely recommend as they are cheap enough that it isn’t the end of the world if you lose them but they’re good enough quality to actually protect you from the sun. By this point I’m sure you can guess that the playsuit is from New Look, it’s flattering, pretty and comfortable and could work in a club or at a nice restaurant

So that’s it, I’m sorry for the long post but even if you just scrolled down to see the pictures (which lets be honest we have all done at some point) I hope you enjoyed it. I am thinking of doing a post about recommendations of what to do in Tenerife if that’s something you would be interested in but until then…

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Holiday without your parents?

Growing up means that a lot of things in your life change. You have to put yourself to bed and cook yourself dinner and, at some point, you may have to go on holiday without your parents. From my experiences, holidays with your family are easy as all you have to do is turn up on time and magically your parents have set everything else to fall into place, so when they’re no longer vacationing with you there are a few more things you need to think about.

  1. CHECK IN ONLINE – On some airlines, more specifically the budget ones, you have to check in and print your boarding passes off at home before you’ve even thought about leaving for the airport. When you book your tickets it is a good idea to check the boarding pass policies of the airline you are flying with and check in when they tell you to so you’re not left stuck in the airport
  2. KEEP ALL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN ONE PLACE – As well as those boarding passes you’ve just printed, it is a good idea to print out any confirmation emails or information on the accommodation you will be staying in abroad as well as any activities you may have booked. Once you’ve done that put all of that in one safe, secure folder to keep on you at all times during your travel. (LITTLE TIP take a photo of all of the information as well so if worse comes to worse and you lose the folder at least you will still have all the information)
  3. EXCHANGE YOUR CURRENCY BEFORE YOU GO – Even though it is possible to change your money up at the airport, and in the country you are visiting, they normally have the worse exchange rates. Therefore it is better to look online for the best exchange rates (the post office, your bank, travel agencies) and get it done before you go. (LITTLE TIP when you change your money up some places offer a buy back guarantee which means if you come back with some spare euros, for example, they will exchange them for pounds at the same exchange rate you bought them for)
  4. MEDICINE – Remember those times you’ve got a headache on holiday and you’re parents have been there with some paracetamol? Well now it is your turn to be your own medicine cabinet. I’m not saying you need to bring a whole pharmacy but pack some pain relief tablets, some plasters, some aftersun and some antihistamine to put on any bug bites (as well as enough of any other medicine that you may have to take)
  5.  SUITCASE WEIGHT LIMITS – Whilst you are checking if you need to check in early (see what I did there) you should also check what weight limit you have on your luggage so you don’t arrive and end up having to wear 5 of your dresses onto the plane because your suitcase was too heavy. (LITTLE TIP if you don’t feel like paying the extra £40 to have a suitcase checked in remember you can bring smaller suitcases on as hand luggage which, most of the time, don’t have weight limits they just have to be a certain size or less)
  6.  AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION AT BOTH ENDS – Not only is it important to have a plan to get to the airport on your home side, be that by bus, train or the taxi service that is your parents) you should also have a plan as to how you’re going to get from the airport you land in to your accommodation. Some hotels offer shuttle services whereas others can be reached by public transport. If you want to get a taxi make sure you budget that into your holiday plans.
  7. INFORM YOUR BANK ABOUT YOUR TRIP – Now that your money is all changed up you shouldn’t really need to use your card abroad but nevertheless it is a good idea to tell your bank when and where you are going so if you do use your card abroad they won’t cancel it due to fear its been stolen.
  8. ADAPTORS – There is nothing worse than finally arriving on holiday and realising you can’t charge your camera you were going to use to take all those insta-worthy photos because the plug sockets are different. Before you go away google what type of socket they have in the country you are going to and make sure you have a suitable adaptor. These can be bought at the airport but normally for a rather high price. (LITTLE TIP if you’re planning on traveling around countries then invest in a universal adaptor that has lots of different socket options)
  9. PACK A TOWEL – This is one I never really think of then get really annoyed when I forget. If you’re planning on heading to the beach on holiday or going hiking to some waterfalls you will need a towel to dry off. Some accommodation may offer them but most are only to be used on site so bring your own to avoid any soggy taxi rides home.
  10. BRING YOUR PASSPORT – This one is rather self explanatory but also probably the most important of them all. Before you leave the house ( and the hotel at the other end) triple check that your passport is in your bag so no matter what you will be getting on that plane.

Now that you’re all prepared and feeling like a proper adult there’s just enough time to give your parents a kiss goodbye then you are ready to head off on your next (grown up) adventure.

Where are you guys off to this summer? Do you prefer family holidays or trips away without your parents?

Go and grab another cuppa (or maybe an iced tea) on me, Em x

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