All Things Disney
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Disneyland Paris At Christmas - Ten Things I Missed in 2020

26 November 2020

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Yesterday Disneyland Paris announced they are to remain closed until February. When I read Disney's announcement of the closure it brought tears to my eyes as this time of year is usually when we head to Paris for a Disney break and it's sad that this year we can't. Disneyland Paris at Christmas time has become a little bit of a tradition and I then got more upset thinking of all the things I will miss because we are unable to go. 

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Watching Big and Little J's face when we tell them we are going to Disney that night
John and I are very good at keeping secrets and we manage to make it right up till before the journey to the airport before we tell the boys we are going. We usually get an early evening flight so we always have the suitcases packed and in the car, pick them up from school for a quick change of clothes and head to the airport. Their faces are priceless even though we usually go every year they never know when so are always surprised. 

Arriving At The Hotel
Again we usually keep the hotel a secret until we are almost there. We have stayed in all the hotels over the years except for Cheyenne and I love watching them guess which one we are staying in based on little clues we give them. I love walking through the hotel doors knowing we all wake up in Disney the next day.

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Walking down Main Street from the Christmas tree to the Castle. 
The Tree and Castle take my breath away every year. Seeing the tree as you enter the Disneyland Park never gets old, it's my favourite. I love walking down Main Street with the castle in the distance, Christmas decorations all around and the Christmas songs playing. It's just the best feeling ever. 

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Planning Our Days
Christmas time at Disneyland Paris is fairly quiet compared to other times of the year so we usually head there for 3 full days and that is more than enough time to do everything we want to. I don't usually plan the days beforehand however we usually spend a day in each park and then do half a day in each park on the last day. I love watching little J as he gets out the park maps and starts planning where we are heading to first and what rides to go on. 

Our Little Thrillseeker
Although he is only seven little J has been riding some of the bigger rides in theme parks for a few years now as he is very tall for his age so is over the minimum height required. Every year he chooses a new ride and is more than happy to push himself out of his comfort zone. Although a family ride his first thrill coaster at Disneyland Paris was Big Thunder Mountain, then he moved on to Crushes Coaster and last year it was RC. I think this year he would have chose Indiana Jones Coaster or Tower of Terror. Maybe if we get to go next year he will choose both. 

big thunder mountain at night time


Big Thunder Mountain In The Dark
This has been one of our favourite things to do at Disneyland Paris for as long as I can remember. There comes a time in the late evening where Frontierland goes completely quiet. Big Thunder has almost no queue so we keep going round and round riding again and again and it's just one of those small things that we do and it makes us happy.

frozen show at Disneyland Paris


Meeting the Characters in their Christmas clothes
Like all the other seasons the Characters dress in their best for the Christmas season and we love meeting Christmas Winnie, Christmas Stitch and a personal favourite Christmas Jack Skellington. Again the queues are always pretty quiet so we never have a problem meeting them and I find they spend lots of time with the boys than they do at other times in the year. 

disneyland paris christmas parade


Choosing A Christmas Decoration
Our Christmas tree is filled with Disneyland Paris decorations that we have bought over the years. Some have the year on, others don't. It will be really sad not adding a Disneyland Paris Christmas decoration to the tree this year. 

Watching The Tree Lighting Ceremony
Every evening Mickey and Friends gather at the bottom of the huge Christmas tree and put on a show for everyone which ends in the whole of Main Street going dark whilst we then watch the tree light up as Christmas carols play in the background

Spending Time Together
Although we have spent more time together as a family than usual this year it is always nice to spend quality time together especially on holiday away from screens and distractions. It's nice to chat, laugh and watch the boys enjoy the magic of Disney together.

disneyland paris christmas parade


Disneyland Paris is so magical especially at Christmas time and there are so many more things that I will miss but I know it's for the best and I really do hope that everyone stays safe and well. 

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Michelle
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Visiting Disneyland Paris During Halloween Season

7 October 2020

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Happy Halloween Sign at Disneyland Paris
Halloween season is lots of fun and even more special if you are heading to Disneyland Paris. We really enjoyed visiting during Halloween and there are lots of tricks and treats to enjoy at the hotels and the parks to keep you busy. Unfortunately it doesn't look like we will make it to Disneyland Paris this year but if you are then I've gathered some information to make the most of your visit. 

Pumpkin at Disneyland Paris

a couple by a Pumpkin at Disneyland Paris

Pumpkin at Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Park

I'm Walking Right Down The Middle Of Main Street, USA
From the moment you head in to the park you will be greeted with Jack ‘o lanterns as they line the streets while ghoulish ghosts can pop up anywhere to give you a spooky surprise.

Main Street is one of our favourite places to take photographs as it is always decorated perfectly for the Halloween season. There will be lots of Mickey pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls ready to be snapped. 

The decorations and music at Disneyland Paris really add to your whole experience and they do it so well.

Maleficent at Disneyland Paris
Spot A Villain
Halloween brings out the villains and you will definitely spot a few of your favourites. Halloween season is the only time you can spot some of the villains so you won't want to miss them.

Maleficent will be lurking around Sleeping Beauty's Castle so make sure you check out Fantasyland.

If you fancy seeing Captain Hook head to Adventureland and look out for the Jolly Roger.

Rumour has it that Ursula will be making an appearance this year too. We have never met Ursula so this will be on our 'to do' list if we get the chance to visit.

pumpkins at Disneyland Paris

Jack Skellington at Disneyland Paris
Spooky Selfies
Spotting your favourite character in their Halloween costume is such a good feeling. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy will be escorted around the parks throughout the Halloween season ready to snap a selfie with you.

Little boy with Mickey at Disneyland Paris

Mickey and Friends Take To The Stage
Mickey and friends will also we heading to the Fantasyland theatre for some selfies. (I think this will be the Meet Mickey Theatre but will confirm)

Hollywood Studios

Who's Lurking At Hollywood Studios?
From 1 October, Jafar, Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook and other mischievous characters are invading Studio Theater for your goosebump-inducing pleasure. A screamingly good time awaits those courageous enough to spend time in the presence of these rebellious rapscallions.

tower of terror at  Disneyland Paris


The Tower Of Terror
Welcome to the dusty remnants of the once-glamourous Hollywood Tower Hotel. Going up? Hop inside the service elevator and discover the surprises that lie on the upper floors - we’re sure you’ll fall quickly for this old Hotel’s quirky charms. Oh, and make sure you strap in, you never know what can happen in a rickety old lift.

*Due to Covid19 there will be only opportunities to take selfies with the characters at a distance for the safety of staff and guests. The precise times and locations of characters can not be guaranteed.

As well as all the spooky shenanigans you can enjoy all your favourite rides. 

Disney's Halloween Festival is back for 2020 from 26th September till the 1st November. Opening times and ride closures are updated on the Disneyland Paris website under plan your visit so make sure you check that out before your visit so you can plan your days. 

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit.


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Michelle
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Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel

16 June 2020

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outside Disneyland Marvel Hotel
As a family we have always loved Disney and have visited the parks at least once a year for over 10 years. Over this time we have seen more and more Marvel creeping into the parks and until last year it didn't really interest us until we decided to watch all the Marvel movies in chronological order. We finished with Avengers End Game at the cinema and that night we booked a trip to Disneyland Paris for the Season of The Super Heroes. This week we should have been enjoying a trip to Disneyland Paris celebrating the opening of Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel. Unfortunately due to the closure of the park we haven't been able to visit and also the opening of the new hotel has been postponed. 

We have stayed in Hotel New York a few times and were a little gutted when they said it would be closing for refurbishment and turning into a Marvel hotel, however after seeing images online we can't wait to go.



What Can We Expect?

Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel is located just a 10 minute walk from the entrances to the Disneyland Parks. You can head out of the back entrance of the hotel and within a minute or two you are in Disney Village. Disney Village is home to lots of restaurants including Cafe Mickey,  The Rainforest Cafe, Earl of Sandwich and McDonalds. You will also find lots of Walt Disney Shops and a LEGO Shop. If you would rather take the free shuttle to the Disneyland Parks you can head out the front entrance and catch the shuttle which takes 8 minutes approx.

Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel is the first of its kind at Disneyland Paris offering guests a unique experience. The hotel is the only hotel were you can meet Marvel Super Heroes and admire over 300 pieces of Marvel artwork by more than 50 international artists.

boys looking at Hotel Marvel in Disneyland Paris
There are a wide selection of rooms available at The Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel ranging from Superior rooms to Empire State Club Rooms and Suites. Choosing a room will depend on how many guests you are travelling with, your budget and also whether you wish to have breakfast at the hotel included. If you are staying room only, breakfast is only available to those staying in the Empire State Club Rooms and Suites.

We have stayed at Disneyland Paris having breakfast at the hotel and also just room only. Personally having breakfast at the hotel always seems the better option for us. It's the perfect way to start the day, plenty of choice on offer for all guests even little fussy eaters and it means when you head to the parks you can just get on with your day.

Staying in the Empire State Club Rooms and Suites does have other benefits such as fast passes.

hulk statue in Disneyland Paris

Dining at The Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel will be a must with two restaurants to choose from.

The Manhattan Restaurant will offer you a fine dining experience with locally sourced homemade dishes and The Downtown Restaurant will offer a range of Chinese, Italian and American favourites. Both restaurants will accept reservations and I can only assume these will be very popular especially if character dining experiences are announced.

iron man statue in Disneyland Paris

What else can we expect from The Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel?

Super Hero Station - you will be able to meet and greet Marvel Super Heroes at the hotel. This will be very popular especially for those who do not visit during the Season of the Super Heroes.

Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre - including a Sauna and Steam Room, 24 hour Metro Health Club and an Outdoor Fitness Park.

There will also be a Marvel Design Studio - your little heroes can unleash their inner creative genius and learn how to be a Marvel comic-book artist. With a bright interior space influenced by the Marvel Animators Ballpen - where the artists draw, ink and colour the comic books - we're sure they'll feel inspired.

Unfortunately I do not know when The Disney Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel will open it's doors but I definitely know it will be worth the wait.

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

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Michelle

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Christmas Gift Guide | For The Adults

29 November 2019

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Disclosure - We were gifted the items for inclusion in our gift guide. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Christmas Presents Under A Tree
I find buying for adults really hard. I tend to look online for inspiration and this year I have found some really nice gift ideas so I thought I would share them with you.
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Disney On Ice Returns in 2020 With Magical Ice Festival

8 November 2019

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A few weeks ago we headed to Manchester to watch Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. We have seen Disney On Ice quite a few times over the years and we love it every time as it gets better and better. The highlight this year for us was Toy Story 4 and and the arrival of Forky on the ice. The kids went crazy and little J proudly held up his Forky plush to show support for one of his favourite characters. I am so pleased to see that Disney On Ice is making a return in the new year with a new show Disney On Ice Magical Ice Festival.
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Trick or Treat Halloween Gift Guide

16 October 2019

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Disclosure - This post features gifted items that were sent for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Trick or Treat Gift Guide
Every year we always buy big and little J a treat for Halloween. It's one of our favourite times of year. We have been on the lookout out for some treat inspiration and if you are too then here is our Halloween Trick or Treat Gift Guide.

Springin Spiders Game
 Little J has been watching Ryan's Toy Review for as long as I can remember. Ryan has released a lots of toys from his Ryan's World range and Springin' Spiders Game is the perfect Halloween treat.

There is nothing better than a quick and easy game and Springin' Spiders is so simple. Just flick your spider and get the most spiders onto the web before time runs out to win.

1,2,Boo Book
1, 2, Boo! Is a spooky counting board book suitable for all ages. When a brother and sister go trick-or-treating, they compete to see who can find the most bizarre and brilliant things. They try to count all the hair-raising creatures and need your help.

skeleton costume
Little J has his Halloween costume sorted already this year wearing the Wilko Halloween Scary Skeleton Onsie. The costume has a scary skeleton design on a black background, it's perfect for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.

first day at skeleton school book
Do you dare take part in the First Day at Skeleton School? There are monsters and witches, not to mention ghouls. They howl in assembly, fly broomsticks in the library and learn how to float through walls.

Disney Traditions Violet Vampire Minnie and Mickey
Disney Traditions Colourful Count Mickey is playing a scary Halloween host, dressed as the King Vampire and Disney Traditions Violet Vampire Minnie, is about to scare up some Halloween fun, trick-or-treating as a sweet-toothed vampire.

Disney Traditions are handcrafted in Jim Shore's unique folk-art style. Each figurine features quilt patterns, rosemaling designs, and a playful mix of colours.

The graveyard book
The Graveyard Book tells the story of a baby who escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family. Who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead.

But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

Witch wars book
When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim's shed to tell her she is a witch, Tiga doesn't believe her.  Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.

Crazy Rumours Lip balm
Two lip balms that are perfect for Autumn and Halloween. Pumpkin Spice is everything nice and so much more! Cozy up to pumpkin with a touch cinnamon spice too. Candy Corn is a Halloween classic for the true candy connoisseur, sugared caramel and sweet cream.

Crazy Rumors are wonderfully colourful and flavourful vegan lip balms from the USA with big personality. Established over 15 years ago, the exceptional 100% natural lip care is still handmade in small batches for the purest and freshest balms. The mouth-watering flavours are sourced from fruits, vegetables and spices - no synthetic lab created flavours, nature creates it all.

I went trick or treating book
When a brother and sister go trick-or-treating, they compete to see who can scare the creepiest creatures. As they try to remember each hair-raising encounter, everything escalates - until they get the biggest fright of all.

I Went Trick or Treating is perfect for little monsters at Halloween! This brilliantly funny book is based on the much-loved memory game 'I went to the shop...' - but with a super-spooky twist.


What treats will you be buying or enjoying this Halloween?

Michelle
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Walt Disney World | Hollywood Studios Ride Guide and Spoilers

25 September 2019

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Hollywood Studios entrance
Hollywood Studios was very popular with big and little J on our last trip to Walt Disney World and I think we spent more time there overall than any other park. The new addition of Toy Story Land makes Hollywood Studios very popular so have a read of our ride guide and spoilers to make the most of your day.
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Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic

5 July 2019

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Disclosure - This is a preview post for Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic. I will be receiving tickets to see the show this year and will post a review shortly after.

Disney On Ice teaser poster
It may be obvious from our blog and socials that we are huge fans of Disney. We have been very lucky to see Disney on Ice in Manchester quite a few times now and I am so exited that it is returning this year with Disney On Ice - 100 Years of Magic.

Disney On Ice teaser poster
Disney On Ice teaser poster
Featuring a cast of over 50 unforgettable Disney characters, Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic will be skating in to an arena near you from September 2019.

Disney On Ice teaser poster
Disney On Ice teaser poster
Disney On Ice teaser poster
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy will be there as well as many of the Disney Princesses including Jasmine, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana.

Disney On Ice teaser poster
Relive the magic of Disney’s Frozen with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious snowman Olaf as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all.

Sing-along to over 30 unforgettable songs including favourites like “Let It Go”, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, and “Hakuna Matata”.

Disney On Ice teaser poster
Disney On Ice teaser poster
Be thrilled by exciting moments from Disney’s The Lion King, Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Dory, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and more, leaving your whole family captivated with memories that will last them a lifetime.

This skating spectacular is truly a century of Disney Magic, and it was all started by a Mouse!

The show dates are

Intu Braehead, Glasgow 20st-29th September 2019

Utilita Arena, Newcastle 2nd-6th October 2019

Manchester Arena, Manchester 9th-13th October 2019

Arena Birmingham, Birmingham 16th-20th October 2019

Westpoint Exeter, Exeter 23rd-27th October 2019

TECA, Aberdeen 31st-3rd November 2019

Flydsa Arena, Sheffield 6th-10th November 2019

The SSE Arena, Wembley 13th-17th November 2019

The O2, London 26th December-5th January 2020

You can find out more about the show and also book tickets by visiting Disney On Ice

Michelle
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Animal Kingdom Ride Guide and Spoilers | Walt Disney World

5 June 2019

22 comments
Animal Kingdom entrance
Animal Kingdom only has a few rides as it is mainly animals and attractions. If you are planning to visit Animal Kingdom and experience the rides then take a look at our ride guide and spoilers.

Pandora - The World of Avatar

Pandora The World Of Avatar
Na'vi River Journey

Type of Ride - Slow moving boat ride along the river. Each boat seats approx 20 people fitting 4 comfortably per row.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Still fairly new so the queue times are extremely long. The effects used on the ride are stunning and the detail both in and around the ride are beautiful. You feel like you are actually in Pandora
Min Height - No
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

On the Flight of Passage RideAvatar Flight of Passage

Type of Ride - Fly on the back of a Banshee through  Pandora. Each ride seats 1.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - This is a 3D/4D experience. 3D glasses are required. You mount the ride like a bike and then are securely fastened around your back and your legs. If you suffer from motion sickness then I would not advise riding. Flight of Passage has long queue times so a fast pass is recommended. I have seen the queue go beyond 200 minutes however I will say it's worth the wait. The effects used on the ride are some of the best we have ever experienced. At times you can actually feel the Banshee breathing and even smell the environment you are in too.
Min Height - 44"/112cm
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Africa
A Hippo drinking fro a streamKilimanjaro Safaris

Type of Ride - Safari Ride through the African Savanna. Each Jeep sits approx 20 with 4 sitting comfortably per row.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Your safari jeep is driven by a tour guide who will tell you all about the animals along the way and also stops for photo opportunities. The safari is approx 22 minutes long. It is amazing to see so many different animals in a short space of time. If you are wanting to take pictures or video then try to be either at the beginning or the end of the queue in your row. This way you will be able to see clearly out of one one of the sides of the jeep. Its not quite as easy to see past people in the middle of the jeep.
Min Height - No
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Asia

Kali River Rapids

Type of Ride - A wet ride through the jungle rivers on a raft. Each raft can seat 10 people.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - There are lockers free of charge for 2 hours, adjacent to the entrance. Everyone on the ride gets a little wet however depending on where you sit you may get soaked. The raft spins so it is impossible to tell. Gets busy on hot days
Min Height - No
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

EverestExpedition Everest - Legend Of The Forbidden Mountain

Type of Ride - A rollercoaster ride through the Himalayan mountains in search of the Yeti. Each row seats 2 comfortably.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - When the train reaches the end of the track midway through the ride take a look to your right and you will see hundreds of bobbles. I'm not sure why but people seem to throw their bobbles there. Parts of the rides involves the train going backwards.  As you go up the lift section take a look to your left for an amazing view of Orlando, you can see for miles and I am always surprised at how flat the land is.
Min Height - 44"/112cm
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - Yes

Tricera Top SpinDinoland U.S

Primeval Whirl

Type of Ride - Spinning rollercoaster with lots of dramatic drops and curves. Each capsule seats 4 comfortably.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Reminds me of the old cat and mouse ride were you reach the end of the track and it will dramatically turn the corner making you think you will fall off the edge of the track. Doesn't move too quickly though so still suitable for young riders.
Min Height - 48"/122cm
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Two boys on Tricera Top spinTriceraTop Spin

Type of Ride - Soar above Dinoland U.S.A in this slow moving dinosaur ride. Each dinosaur seats 4 comfortably.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - You can control your dinosaur making him go up or down by using the lever in the front.  From this ride you can see the fairground down below, here you can play games to try and win prizes. We didn't win much this time, winning one small dino teddy.
Min Height - No
Fast Pass + - No
Ride Photo - No

Dinosaur

Type of Ride - Take a prehistoric tour to save a dinosaur from extinction.
Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Dinosaur is a very dark and bumpy ride which can be extremely loud in places as you meet lots of dinosaurs along the way. Although the minimum height for this ride is low it may be too scary for some younger riders.
Min Height - 40"/102cm
Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - Yes

Take a look at our Walt Disney World Posts for more information on visiting the most magical place on Earth

Michelle
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