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Mardi Gras At Alton Towers

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The second of the six events this year at Alton Towers Resort is happening right now until June 19th and it is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday happens the day before Ash Wednesday or 47 days before Easter. It’s a carnival celebration which highlights and celebrates the last day of eating rich fatty food and therefore giving up a certain type of food for lent.

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers
Alton Towers have transformed Towers Street into a carnival celebration with lots of themed stages reflecting different areas of the park. The main stage on the front lawn has entertainment throughout the day and you can watch from one of the many picnic benches. For those that would like to sample foods of the world 'food street' is also just under the walkway alongside the towers. You can enjoy a range of foods including our favourite King donut.


Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers



Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers


Whilst walking around the park be prepared to see stilt walkers, dancers, musicians and lots of other family themed entertainment.

The Mardi Gras celebrations are included in your ticket so you can enjoy everything Mardi Gras has to offer at no extra cost.

You will also find some Mardi Gras souvenirs in Tower Street shop including hats, beads and T-shirts.

Alton Towers can be so busy, rushing from ride to ride so it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the entertainment provided.

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers


As I said earlier this is the second of six events happening at Alton Towers Resort this year. Next is in September when Alton Towers will be transformed for Oktoberfest. Prepare for spooks, chills and family fun in October when Alton Towers is transformed for Scarefest. Another personal favourite of ours is the fireworks display that happens in November and then a nice way to finish off the year is celebrating Christmas time at Alton Towers.

As well as Mardi Gras there are lots of new things to enjoy at Alton Towers Resort including David Walliams World featuring the Gangsta Granny Ride and the four Retro Squad Rides. 

Michelle
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Light The Night - The Snowman and The Snowdog Brick Model Trail

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Disclosure - We were invited to complete the The Snowman and The Snowdog Brick Model Trail for the purpose of this post. We have been compensated for our time. 

Light The Night - The Snowman and The Snowdog Brick Model Trail has arrived in Blackburn. The trail includes 16 illuminated brick models which are located in and around Blackburn's town centre and is the perfect day out for fans of the beloved animated classic The Snowman. 

the snowman brick model


What To Expect At The Light The Night - The Snowman and Snowdog Brick Trail, The Mall, Blackburn BB1 5AF
If you want to take part in The Snowman and The Snowdog Brick Trail then all you need to do is head to The Mall Ask Me Point to pick up a trail map and quiz. From here you can then follow the trail to find all 16 models. If you would prefer to be more interactive, you can download the free experience Blackburn app to join in with the QR code trail. Both trails will give you the chance to win a prize too. 

map for the snowman and the snowdog trail


If you would like an sneak peak of where you can expect to see the illuminated brick models here are some confirmed locations 

Morrisons Instore Opticians
Mortimers Estate Agents
Rhode Island Coffee, The Mall
6G/The Wifi Centre
Grays Outfitters
Blue Inc
The Works
Althams
Jack & Jones
Edmondsons
Ainsworth Jewellers
Hobkirks Sewing Machines
Blackburn Central Library
M&S
Next
Blackburn Market

the snowman brick model


The trail includes 4 larger models including a 1.8m tall Snowman which used 53,851 bricks!

the snowman brick model

Christmas tree brick model

Christmas tree brick model


This is the third brick model trail we have done over the past few years. First we did a Paw Patrol trail and then We did Brickosaurs brick trail and in our opinion they keep getting bigger and better. The Snowman and The Snowdog brick trail perfect for this time of year and will really get you in the Christmas mood and is free to do.

father christmas brick model


The Light The Night - The Snowman and The Snowdog trail will illuminate from the 27th November to the 5th January. We loved the trail and would definitely recommend.

If you do the trail we would love to se your photos. Make sure you tag us on socials @playdaysrunways and use the #brickburn

I am always so grateful for any support I receive on my blog and social channels. If you did find 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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Disneyland Paris At Christmas - Ten Things I Missed in 2020

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This time last year Disneyland Paris announced they were to remain closed over the Christmas period. When I read Disney's announcement of the closure it brought tears to my eyes as this time of year is usually when we are preparing to head to Paris for a Disney break and it's sad that last year we couldn't go. 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 were 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 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 eight 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 last year he would have chose Indiana Jones Coaster or Tower of Terror. 

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 over the past two years we have spent more time together as a family than usual 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 missed last year but I know it's was best to stay safe. This year we are hoping to visit at Christmas time for the first time in two years and I cannot 

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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Halloween Events At Merlin Attractions

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Halloween is almost here and there are so many events happening close to us. However as we are Merlin Pass Holders we usually try and visit as many of the Merlin attractions as possible to experience their spooky events. Here's what in store for 2021

boy at Legoland Windosr


Where?
 Legoland, Windsor
What?
Brick or Treat
When?
14th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Lord Vampyre is throwing the ultimate Halloween party and would like to invite all little monsters and their families to the Legoland Windsor Resort for his favourite time of the year, Halloween! Lord Vampyre promises to make this years Brick or Treat event the most spook-tacular event of the year.

With many fun Halloween activities for you to dig your fangs into, including my very own Haunted House Monster Party Ride and NEW for 2021 Harbour Show, Lord Vampyre’s Creepy Crypt Trail, Monster Rocker’s fang-tastic Pumpkin Trail, costume competitions and so much more – plus all of our rides including the brand new land Legoland Mythica - World of Mythical Creatures, live shows and attractions, it’s a frightfully fun day out for all the family.

Photo credit and for more information visit Legoland Windsor Resort


a group of people looking frightened


Where?
Thorpe Park
What?
Fright Nights 
When?
8th - 10th then then 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Prepare yourself as Fright Nights at Thorpe Park returns for another year. Fright Nights are not for the faint hearted as you will be scared senseless at the UK’s premier Halloween event. Ride Europe’s most thrilling coasters in the dead of night before taking on live action scare experiences. 

The Fright Nights event is recommended for guests age 13+ and certain Merlin passes are excluded so a ticket would be required and can be purchased at a discounted rate. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Thorpe Park


a ride at Chessington


Where?
Chessington World Of Adventures
What?
Howl 'O' Ween
When?
16th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £34
What Can We Expect?
The mischievous Wild Witches of Adventure Point have conjured up a devilish spell this Howl’o’ween and brought back to life spooktacular characters across the Resort. With lots of tricks and plenty of treats, watch your step as you explore the lands, because you’ll likely encounter all kinds of delightfully ghastly creatures around every corner. Maybe you will bump in to the vile villagers, plunderous pirates, ferocious pharaohs or barbaric bandits. 

Make sure you check out the Legends of The wild witches show, the curse catchers and the forgotten forest. All included in your admission. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Chessington World Of Adventures 

Scarefest sign


Where?
Alton Towers
What?
Scarefest
When?
8th - 10th October then the 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Open until 9pm each day guests can face head-spinning, hair-raising rides and attractions in darkness including Wicker Man and the Alton Towers Dungeon! If that’s not scary enough, 4 multi-award winning, terrifying mazes are set to return. In addition, older families will be able to enjoy the brand-new Trick o’ Treat Town, an interactive walkthrough a special town where every day is Halloween and as well as treats, there are tricks aplenty.

Returning for 2021 is the free attraction ‘Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls’, where the gardens come to life in a whole new spooktacular.

Younger families can enjoy live shows including the CBeebies Monster Ball and the Freaky Fun Zone characters and shows.  There really is something for all the family to enjoy.

Scare mazes and Trick O'Treat town are an additional cost.

Photo credit and for more information visit Alton Towers

If you are a Merlin Pass Holder then you can also visit Legoland Discovery Centre in both Manchester and Birmingham and Sealife centre across the country to enjoy their Halloween events. Please check the individuals centres for up to date information. 


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

Are you planning to attend a Halloween event at any of the Merlin attractions this year? Leave us a comment below and let us know. 

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Michelle
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Celebrating Oktoberfest At Alton Towers

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Alton Towers have 5 events this year starting with Mardi Gras that took place in the Summer. At the moment Alton Towers has been transformed into the German festival Oktoberfest. The festival will take place till 3rd October so there is still time to visit this weekend. 

Oktoberfest sign


What to expect at Alton Towers Oktoberfest
For those not familiar with the festival, Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest, annual festival in Munich, Germany, is held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Alton Towers bring the fun of the festival to the resort offering delicious food, live entertainment and of course, beer.

Oktoberfest at Alton Towers


oktoberfest sign for Alton Towers

When you enter Alton Towers you will be greeted with German music, blue and white decorations and the smell of delicious food in the background.

brownie and cream


If you head to the front lawn you will see a huge Oktoberfest entrance leading to a variety of food stalls including churros, brownies and marshmallows.

man and woman having a stein of lager


You will see the Wunder Bar to the left of the stage which has a range of German beers on offer. You can choose to purchase a pint at the bar or head to the souvenir stall first and purchase a stein glass. Then you can head back to the Wunder Bar where they will fill up your stein which averages about 2 and a half pints. 

Tables at Oktoberfest at Alton Towers


There are plenty of picnic benches on the front lawn where you can sit and enjoy your beer and snacks or you can sit upstairs in the Wunder Bar however seating is very limited to just a few tables. 

Live entertainment stage at Oktoberfest Alton Towers


The live entertainment stage which has been a permanent fixture over the past few months has a variety of  entertainment including german dancing which was a crowd favourite. 

Oktoberfest stage at Alton Towers


If you are familiar with the resort you can head to the Bierkellar which is situated in the courtyard in Mutiny Bay. Undercover seating options are available here with live entertainment throughout the day. 

As well as enjoying the German fun you can also enjoy all your favourite rides up to 7pm

Oktoberfest is included in your ticket price so is no extra cost to you. 

Head to the resort before the 3rd October for your chance to join in all the fun. 

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

Have you visited Oktoberfest at Alton Towers? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

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Michelle
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The Best Pumpkin Picking In The UK

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A few years ago we went Pumpkin Picking for the first time and it was so much fun. We went to Kenyon Hall Farm in Warrington and it was really good. We wanted to choose somewhere close by, so I asked some of my friends and Kenyon Hall Farm was the most popular. Being popular means you usually have to book your tickets early and we have already secured ours for this year. If you are looking to pick a pumpkin this year, I have asked some friends from all over the UK to tell me their favourite places to Pumpkin Pick so check out their recommendations below.

boy in pumpkin patch


North

A popular choice amongst us is Kenyon Hall Farm

Emma from A Farmers Wife and Mummy visited too. We loved it so much last year I think we will be visiting again this year too.

pumpkin patch
Midlands
Laura from Little Ladies Big World visits Adventure Farm in Staffordshire

Emma at Mrs Shilts visits Essington Farm in Wolverhampton

boy in pumpkin patch
SOUTH
Sian from quite frankly she said recommends The Pop Up Farm in Hertfordshire. 

Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises visits Bailey ridge in Dorset

Katy from Katy Kicker recommends Cammas Hall in Essex/Hertfordshire

Laura from Dear Bear and Beany - Millets Farm in Oxfordshire

Emily from Emily and Indiana enjoyed Pick Your Own Pumpkin in Sevington, Ashford

Jenny from The Gingerbread House - Farrington's Farm Shop, Somerset

girl in pumpkin patch
EAST

Lauren from Dilan and Me gives us a round up of the best in Norfolk

boy in pumpkin patch

Are you planning on going Pumpkin Picking this year? If you have any other recommendations I'd love to hear them.

I am always so grateful for any support I receive on my blog and social channels. If you did find this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought. 

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Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

Michelle
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Visiting Disneyland Paris During Halloween Season

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This post has been updated for 2021 including all the attractions for the 2021 Halloween Festival. 

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. If you are planning a trip this Halloween season then I've gathered some information to make the most of your visit. 

Happy Halloween Sign at Disneyland Paris

Disney's Halloween festival is back in 2021 and begins on the 1st October right up until 7th November. 

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 pumpkins and Halloween decorations as they line the streets with tricks and treats ready to 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.

Disneyland Paris



Pumpkin at Disneyland Paris
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.

Make sure you have your phones ready for a villain selfie. 

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 ready to have a selfie with you.

Little boy with Mickey at Disneyland Paris



Hollywood Studios

Who's Lurking At Hollywood Studios?
From 1 October, evil villains and other mischievous characters are invading Studio Theatre 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.

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

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. 

disneyland paris



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

Have you visited Disneyland Paris during Halloween season? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

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Michelle
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