10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

I figured it would be fun to do something that applies to all Disney Parks rather that just Paris and so here is a small list of things that I always take with me on a Disney holiday, regardless of where in the world I’m going!

1. My Camera!

Although my iPhone has a pretty great camera, I always take my digital camera with me to capture memories in the parks. Its great to have the extra storage and, lets be honest, better quality photos and the camera really doesn’t take up much space in my bag. Plus it means I can use my phone for other things like checking apps and contacting friends whilst still getting the best photos. If you have a DSLR camera then definitely take this with you! It is something I have wanted for a long time and there are so many fantastic places to take photos in the Disney parks, you will definitely not regret it!

2. Minnie Ears

To be honest I should qualify this by including all hair accessories, because I also tend to take a lot of hair bows and flower crows to the parks with me. But Minnie ears are a must. They are cute, easy to wear and fix any bad hair day. There are so many different styles now that it has become a bit of a collectable item, which gives me an opportunity to buy lots of new pairs on my trips!

3. Disney PJs

I love buying new Disney themed PJs for my holiday. Primark tend to have the best range, but I’ve also picked them up from places like George at Asda and Topshop in the past. There’s nothing quite as relaxing after a long day in the parks as jumping into a new pair of pjs and a comfy bed!

4. A Notebook

This should go in a list of things I carry everywhere with me, because you will never find me without some kind of notebook on my person. But I think this is especially important for on a Disney holiday. I like to plan out what I want to do on a Disney holiday before I go (see my last post all about planning!) and so I always take that plan with me so I can change it and tick things off depending on what I do each day. I also like to make a note of everything I do so I can look back at it and remember all the fun things we experienced on our holiday. Also if you’re meeting characters on your holiday, it’s always a good idea to carry some paper just in case you meet someone and want an autograph. I don’t tend to get character autographs as much any more, but every so often I will meet someone new in the parks and want to add to my collection. Having a notebook is a life saver in these situations.

5. Snacks

Disney have a lot of food locations around their parks, so I guess this isn’t a necessity, but I always like to have some snacks from home or a local supermarket with me, as the costs can really add up if you are buying meals and snacks from Disney every day of your holiday. I’ve also found it is useful to take snacks to eat whilst you are waiting to get on a ride or watch the parade, that way you don’t have to worry about losing your spot in order to get food. I take things like biscuits and cereal bars. It is also a really good idea to take snacks with you if you have any dietary requirements, that way you know that you always have food with you that you can eat, should you get hungry, Whilst Disney do try to accommodate any dietary requirements, there is no guarantee that you will find something you want to eat in a nearby location if you’re in a rush.

6. Park Tickets

This may sound like a silly one, particularly in places like Paris and California where you still use your paper tickets to enter the parks. But it is always a good idea to double check you have your tickets before you leave. If I am using electronic tickets which can be scanned from a smart phone, then I tend to print a copy off as well, just in case anything goes wrong with my phone on the day. But this point is more relevant for guests visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, where you can now use your magic band as your park ticket. Even though it is really convenient to have your park ticket, room key and everything else on your magic band, I would always recommend keeping your ticket in your purse as well. If anything goes wrong with your finger scan at the main entrance gates the Cast Member may ask to see your ticket to prove that you are the ticket owner. Plus if you lose your Magic Band or have any issues, you then have your ticket to hand and avoid a ton of stress!

7. Disney tees

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing cute outfits around the Disney Parks. I tend to plan some outfits before I go and have tried Disney Bounding before, which I love as well. But some days, you just want to throw on a t-shirt and some shorts/jeans and hit the parks. This is when some classic Disney merch comes in very handy. Plus, if you can’t wear Disney tops in the parks, when can you wear them?! I tend to buy most of my tops from Primark now, but I have previously found Disney tops in H&M, Topshop, the Disney Store (of course!) and even Walmart!

8. Sunglasses

Even heading to Paris in winter, you will always find a pair of sunglasses in my bag. There is nothing worse than squinting in all your photos when the sun is out or not being able to see the parade because the sun is in your eyes. Plus they don’t take up much space at all so they are easy to pack.

9. Some kind of rain gear

This one is cheating a little bit, because it does actually vary depending on which park I’m at. But I will always take a poncho or raincoat or umbrella with me to the park so I can stay out and play if it rains. The parks tend to be a lot quieter after a heavy rainstorm, so if you want to skip the queues then it pays to be prepared for the weather! Also, I have taken my wellington boots to Paris with me before when I knew it was going to be very wet weather, and I was very thankful for this decision!

10. A Disney Plush

This is a totally unnecessary item to take with me but I always take a teddy with me on my holiday. I have to say there is no particular reason for this, but it has become kind of a tradition now. I normally take Pascal or a small Mickey plush rather than taking a full size plush, I never have room in my suitcase for that!

Turns out there are a lot of things I take on my holidays with me, and I’m pretty sure I could list at least another 10 things that always come along too, but here are the first 10 that spring to mind. Let me know if you guys take any of these things to the parks with you? Or if there is anything else you think I should take with me on my Disney holiday?

Let me know, and have a magical day!

How I planned my Disney Holiday – Some helpful tips and websites

How I planned my Disney Holiday – Some helpful tips and websites

Planning a Disney holiday can be a little daunting at first, there are so many different travel operators and websites to look at, not to mention vlogs, blogs, books and brochures! It’s no surprise that some people get lost in all the madness. I’ve tried to compile a little list in this post of my tips when booking a Disney holiday and the websites I found useful whilst booking – hopefully I’m not simply adding to the excess of info out there and this will actually prove to be useful for someone.

NOTE: These tips are for booking a Disneyland Paris trip, this is very different from booking any of the other Disney Parks. If you would like me to create a post with my tips for booking trips to any other parks then just let me know! 🙂

1. Figure out the basics

Before you even start pricing up your holiday, you want to decide when you are going to visit Disney and how long you wish to stay for. Obviously the longer your trip the more expensive it will be. If you book to visit in school holidays it is also likely to be more expensive and also busier, but the parks are likely to be open later and have more going on than if you visit in off peak times. If you have the opportunity to visit off peak then I would definitely recommend doing so, but if you are visiting during holidays, don’t panic as Disney are generally very good at handling the crowds.

2. Look at the official website

Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Travel Company both sell holiday packages to Disneyland Paris. This is a really convenient and simple way of booking your holiday so if you don’t have much time or are very unsure about who to book through, then this may be the solution for you. The downside of this is that there is generally a bit of a premium to pay for the ease of booking through Disney themselves. But, even if you would rather shop around, it’s still a good idea to take a look on the Disney websites first as this will give you a good idea of the costs involved in your holiday and set a benchmark total cost to compare with other prices you may find.

In addition, it is always worth checking the Disney websites because they often have special offers on which make your stay a little bit cheaper. So I normally book my vacation through a couple of different sites (which I will mention below) but Disney had an offer for 30% off and a free dining package if you booked through them and my stay was made a lot cheaper because of this.

3. Shop around!

Ok so you have your price from the Disney websites, now you can look around and try to reduce that a little. I would recommend looking at reputable travel agencies or, if you are like me and love Disney holiday planning, take a look at organising your holiday without the help of an agent.

Hotel-wise, it may be worth getting a quote from Disney for the hotel only or hotel and tickets, but remember there are some great hotels just off Disney property which are very reasonably priced! I will always recommend the Kyriad Hotel to my friends, as it is a nice hotel which is just a short bus journey from the parks and has very regular free shuttles to take you. If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious then take a look at the Dream Castle Hotel, which is seriously gorgeous, this is on the same road as the Kyriad and uses the same free transportation system. In addition there is the Magic Circus Hotel and Explorers Hotel, both on the same route and possibly worth checking out.

Less relevant now for UK travellers but its always good to be aware that Disneyland Paris do have various annual passes available for their parks. If you are planning on visiting multiple times in the year or are attending special events such as Halloween or Christmas events, then it may be worth looking into these to see if they will be good value for money, as they also offer food and merchandise discounts which come in very handy! Unfortunately Disneyland Paris have recently increased the price of their annual passes to bring them in line with the other parks around the world, which means you may have to visit a few more times each year to really make them worth the cost.

4. Getting there and back

So hopefully you now have an idea of where you plan on staying and what tickets you will be buying, but you want to make sure you have the best deal on your travel to and from Disneyland Paris. There are plenty of sites where you can compare flight prices (I tend to use travelsupermarket.com) and this is a great opportunity to look at other modes of transport like the eurostar or maybe even driving. However you decide to travel, make sure you look around at different times of day, as you will find there is a huge difference in price depending on when you want to travel. Very early or very late flights and trains tend to be much cheaper than those in the middle of the day, but if you’re really not a morning person then perhaps booking a 7AM flight is a bad idea. Remember that your travel arrangements may also cut into your park time whilst you’re in Paris, a 3PM flight on your last day will mean you probably won’t get much time in the parks that morning. And a flight which arrives at 6PM on the first day probably won’t allow you to hit the parks at all that day, as you have to take into account customs, travel time from the airport and check in at your hotel. So just make sure you factor in the time it will take to arrive at your destination, and be prepared for any delays which may occur.

If you are travelling by Eurostar you can actually get a train right to the front gates of Disneyland Paris making your journey nice and simple. If you are flying in to Charles De Gaulle, you have a couple of options to get to the parks. Your first option is to take a shuttle bus, this is very convenient and, if you book your holiday through Disneyland Paris, can be booked alongside your flights. You can book a direct shuttle through magicalshuttle.co.uk who have transport running very regularly to and from the airport. The other option available is to take a train to Disneyland. There is a train station inside the airport terminal so it is no more difficult to access than the shuttle, and at a 12 minute journey, it is far quicker than the bus. Just make sure you remember to get off at the right stop!

5. Plan your days

By this point you have hopefully managed to find a great deal on your holiday and booked something very exciting, the only thing left to do is countdown to the big day and plan what you want to do when you get there. I’d recommend taking a look at the Disneyland Paris website to see what attractions and food locations there are. If you want to book a character dining experience, it may be worth doing so prior to your arrival at Disneyland, although you can book once you arrive if they still have reservations available. Another important thing to consider is whether anyone in your party has any allergies or food requirements. If so its a good idea to look up some possible dining locations before you head out to the parks, as you may not have internet once you arrive in Paris, and nobody wants to be running around trying to find somewhere that will cater for their requirements when they are hungry! So make a list of locations in both of the parks before you go, and if you’re very limited or unsure about what you can have, maybe pack some snacks from home as well.

I understand that not everyone out there will want to plan every aspect of their holiday, but I think it’s a good idea to know roughly what you intend to do each day. For example, if you have three days in Disney, maybe plan to do Disneyland Park the first day, Walt Disney Studios Park the second day, then Disney Village and Disneyland Park on your final day. Having a rough idea of where you want to go will ensure you don’t miss doing anything you really wanted to do. Another way to plan your holiday without planning every last detail is to make a list of everything you absolutely must do in your holiday. You can then review this throughout your stay and tick things off as you complete them. Hopefully this will stop you from getting to your last day and racing round trying to do everything that you didn’t think of doing over the rest of the holiday!

 

So there are my (not so) brief tips on how to plan your Disneyland Paris holiday. Hopefully this has helped a couple of you and of course, if you have any questions or would like any further advice, I am always happy to help. Just drop me a comment or a message and I will get back to you 🙂 and of course enjoy your Disney holiday!

Have a magical day!

I Finally Have Something to Blog About!

I Finally Have Something to Blog About!

At the time of writing this I have 100 days until my summer holiday to Disneyland Paris! To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement right now! I’ve booked the holiday with my sister for a mini celebration after her A Level exams and we will be staying at the Hotel Cheyenne on Disney property for 3 nights with 4 days in the parks.

This trip will be a little different for me as I have been to Disneyland many times before, but have never stayed in a Disney Hotel in Paris. I am also on the half board Disney Meal Plan whilst we are there which again is a first for me. But by all means, the most exciting part of this trip is that we will be visiting during the 25th anniversary celebrations, which have just started in the Parks. I was a bit impatient and watched the parade the other day but plan on waiting until I get there before I watch any other the other event entertainment. Whist I’ve heard mixed reviews so far, I’m going to go into it with an open mind and low expectations. And I will of course let you all know what I think when I visit.

So yes, I plan on creating a lot more blog posts over the coming months and perhaps even some videos, let me know if you guys would be interested in that. As always subscribe to my blog for updates and new posts (I promise there will be regular new posts) and I will also be revamping my insta account which has been dormant for some months so be sure to check that out as well!

I will be back very soon with another Disneyland Paris post, but until then, have a magical day!!

A Few Thoughts on MagicBands

A Few Thoughts on MagicBands

MagicBands have been available in Walt Disney World for a few years now and they have recently announced the MagicBand 2 which will be available in the parks this year. So with all the new MagicBand hype, I thought it would be a great idea to review the MagicBand and some of the features that go along with it!

The Physical MagicBand

OK so I will be the first to hold my hands up and admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the bands when they were first announced. I thought they looked bulky and would be uncomfortable to wear in the Florida heat and, to some extent, that is true. If you compare the old school MagicBands to some of the newer ones you can see that Disney have changed their design to make them thinner and more lightweight. Fortunately this makes them a lot easier to wear and now that you can purchase different designs as well I think they look pretty cool as part of my Disney outfit. My favourite is my Haunted Mansion band.

Key to The World and Park Pass

This one is actually one of my favourite things about the MagicBand and the MyDisneyExperience system. I have always taken a lanyard to Walt Disney World when I travel because I hate having to dig around in my bag to find my key card or ticket when moving around Walt Disney World. And then there are certain rides where I don’t feel comfortable wearing my lanyard, Rock N Roller Coaster for example, so I have to take it off and store it in my bag and then forget to put it back on. With the MagicBand it removes all that hassle and genuinely makes it easier to travel around Walt Disney World. Another bonus is that I tend to keep a spare MagicBand in my bag so that, if I leave my band at the resort, I still have my key and ticket because they are all linked to the same account.

Touch To Pay

This feature works in exactly the same way as it did with the Key to The World card before MagicBands were introduced so I won’t go into much detail but it’s a great way to navigate the park’s restaurants and stores without worrying about your wallet. As before it stops you having to dig around in your bag to find your purse. The only thing I don’t like about this feature is that it makes it way too easy to buy items that you may have otherwise put down if you knew you had to find your purse to pay for them!

Fastpass Plus

So this is where most of my issues with the MagicBand system arise. Don’t get me wrong, there are some features of Fastpass + that I love. I like the fact that you can pick up three Fastpasses at once, I like the fact that you can choose your times and I like the fact that you no longer have to run around the parks to collect your Fastpasses. I think on the whole it’s a good system, but there are some elements of the old Fastpass system that I miss.

The first one is very cheesy but I miss having physical Fastpasses! I used to love collecting Fastpass cards and keeping the ones I didn’t manage to use. It’s also a shame that you can no longer give your Fastpasses to someone else, we had so many magical experiences in the parks where a family had decided not to ride and so donated their Fastpasses to us.

Secondly I don’t like how you have to choose your three Fastpasses for one particular park. I like park hopping and it’s made it a little harder to do that with the new Fastpass system. You now have to decide which park you want Fastpasses for and either go without or just wait and see what is left available when you get to the other park. Now I know you wouldn’t be able to book Fastpasses in advance on the old system either so maybe I shouldn’t be so judgey about that.

Finally, and my main issue with Fastpass + is that you can book the Fastpasses so early. Now don’t get me wrong, I love planning my Disney vacation and I generally do create an itinerary of what I want to do each day. But with the previous Fastpass system I was always able to change my plans and switch which park I wanted to visit. Since Fastpasses are available so early, and so many of the popular ones are booked up so quickly, it’s difficult to have flexibility in your Disney planning. If you get a Fastpass for  a big ride you then feel obliged to visit that park on that particular day otherwise you risk missing the ride altogether. Either that or you don’t bother going to the parks and miss your Fastpasses which then go unused and someone else misses out on riding that attraction when they could have just taken your spot. I hate having to have so much structure to my vacation. I have noticed that this is only really an issue when the parks are busy and, having visited during quieter seasons, I’ve noticed that the Fastpass booking system hasn’t been too much of an issue as Fastpasses weren’t needed for a lot of rides.

Photopass and Memory Maker

The last thing I’m going to talk about here is linking your Photopass to your MagicBand and using the Memory Maker to download photos. I have to say I love this feature because once again there is no need to go rooting around for cards each time you want a photo. I remember how time consuming it was to collect all your Photopass cards at the end of your vacation and view all the photos on the website but with Memory Maker it is all made so much more simple, and often there are ticket options which include Memory Maker free of charge! Being able to link photos to multiple MagicBands is also really useful when you go out as a group so I’m definitely a big fan of this feature.

I think overall MagicBands are working in the parks, there are some slight issues with them, in particular with the Fastpass + system, but on the whole they are a fantastic gadget to have when visiting the Walt Disney World resort, particularly when teamed with the MyDisneyExperience app. If you are planning on visiting a Disney Resort you will be able to customise your MagicBand before you arrive, but even if you’re staying off property, having MagicBands can be really useful. They make getting into the parks and onto the rides hassle free and are a great souvenir for your trip. Although they aren’t cheap (retailing between $12.99 and $32.99) they are definitely a good investment if you’re planning on spending several days at the parks or planning on coming back in the future.

But what do you think of MagicBands? Let me know below what you like/dislike about them!

Dapper Day!

Dapper Day!

In 2016 I was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World in Florida a couple of times. And on my final trip to the sates in November, I was able to attend my first ever Dapper Day in Epcot. I’m going to tell you now I had an absolute blast! But keep reading to find out a bit more about my experience and some tips and tricks for if you’re planning on attending Dapper Day.

So for anyone who doesn’t know, Dapper Day is an event hosted twice each year in Disney Parks around the world. I believe they currently have both spring and fall events in Florida, California and Paris. The events are not Disney organised but are a big part of Disney Culture and have been professionally run for a number of years now. Dapper Day is a day where people dress up in fancy outfits, just like the first ever guests who entered Disneyland park, and celebrate vintage clothing and style. You can participate in the event as much or as little as you like and there are generally expos, group photos and various other things to do throughout the dapper day weekend. There are no set outfit requirements so you can dress as fancy or as subtle as you like. I bought a 50s inspired dress and accessories along with my friend and we had a fantastic time. But equally there were other guests wearing more modern dresses and more casual attire so the choice is yours!

I have to say I absolutely loved my Dapper Day experience, it was so much fun dressing up to go to the parks! We took loads of pretty photos and met some lovely people with fantastic outfits. Everyone who participated in Dapper Day was so friendly and complimentary of other peoples outfits which made the whole atmosphere really nice. It was great to spot those who were Disney bounding and meet some of the people I knew from social media too. The actual day is set in one particular park at Walt Disney World, this year it was Epcot (next year I think its Epcot and Magic Kingdom) but we drifted over to Hollywood Studios later on and still managed to find other Dapper people over there so didn’t feel out of place. There were people of all ages getting involved including families and groups so there are really no limits on who can join in, just have fun with it!

The best piece of advice I can give for Dapper Day is to get there early. Generally the events are at the weekend so the parks are busier anyway, but with all the dapper people trying to get to the same location, expect queues and fairly long wait times at bag check and the main entrance to the park. If you can take Disney transport it saves having to find a parking space so that’s a good idea too! Another piece of advice would be to follow the official Dapper Day social media so that you can stay updated on what’s going on. Definitely look out for announcements about the group photo and go along to that because that was a lot of fun! And if you’re planning your vacation in advance, check Dapper Day before you book anything because they often get fab discounts on rooms at Disney resorts too!

Beyond that my advice would be to have fun and take lots of photos! We certainly spent a long time getting ready for this event and wanted lots of photos to remember it. We also got loads of photos with other people at the event, so if you are chatting to someone or meet someone with an awesome Dapperbound, ask for a photo with them to remember your experience! Also don’t feel like you have to stick with the Dapper Day group the whole day, we certainly didn’t and still had a ball. But be prepared for people asking why you’re so dressed up because that will definitely happen!

So there you have it. Go out and enjoy all you dapper people! I will leave links to the official Dapper Day website below so you can find out more info, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask me! And let me know how your Dapper Day experience was, and what you’re planning for your next one!

 

Website: http://dapperday.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dapperday/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DapperDay

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/down_to_disney/