Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Disneyland Paris' Halloween Party

For this halloween trip it fell that on the Saturday whilst we were they, Disneyland Paris were holding one of their annual halloween parties. My sister and I had never heard of these parties and we were excited that it was being held whilst we were there. This year they had two parties, one on Saturday 26th October and one on actual halloween the 31st. It took us a while to decide whether we could afford to pay for tickets to the event, and also whether it was actually going to be money well spent. The tickets costs £60 per person. We did a bit of research and there had been a lot of good feedback about some of their parties, however there had been some negative feedback regarding the length of queues for the character meet and greets.

My sister is an absolute gem and is always surprising me and whilst at work she sent me a ticket to the party. This is funny as in hindsight I had been planning on doing the same, but waiting until pay day. We were both so excited and instantly changed our initial plans for the weekend. I did a blog post all about how this time we decided to stay outside of Disneyland Paris, this meant that we had to be a lot more organised with our time. At this point, we had already bought our three day park tickets. With the halloween ticket any guest can get into the park from 5pm and have access to the rides. On this evening, the park closed earlier than usual. Over the Autumn months we hadn't realised that the park closes much later than usual. When we went in February the park closed at 8pm, whereas this time it closed at 10pm. We were surprised at this as we thought 10pm was late for children to stay up in order to be able to watch the fireworks. On the day of the party the park closed at 8pm and the fireworks took place earlier than normal. We decided to leave the park around 6pm and got back to our hotel to get changed, we got back to the park for 8pm for when the party officially started. We were astonished to find out that the party goes on until 2am!

We had managed to get our hands on the programme for the evening before the actual night of the event. We are planners just for the plain fact that we want to be able to make the most out of time at the parks. We had looked to see the meet and greets which we were available, and we were really happy as they have party exclusives that they don't have at any other times of the year. The party also features other favourite characters who wear special halloween attire and they all just look so fancy. They released the times and locations of each meet and greet so we had a rough idea as to where we needed to be at what time.

It is no secret that we are both massive lovers of the parades as they just make the whole experience 10x more special. On these two evenings they put on a special exclusive parade which they only perform at the night time parties. They did two performances of the parades in the evenings which we both absolutely loved. They had all the classic villains but also some special guests.

My sister's favourite character is Daisy and she looked super cute in all her attire so we headed there first. We then decided that we would get into the queue for Marie and in retrospect this was the worst decision. She isn't normally a character which you can meet in the standard meet and greets. We queued for about 45 minutes and quickly realised that the queue was not moving at any kind of normal pace. It was one of those situations where we had dedicated ourselves to the cause and in the end the queue was for over an hour and a half. If you like villains such as jack skeleton, oogie boogie, or the evil queen, I would for sure recommend heading there as soon as the party starts. We met two girls the day after the party and they said that the queue for oogie boogie was 5 hours!

We headed to frontierland which is where they had this fantastic fiesta style party going on. It had djs, goofy dancing and performers everywhere. We were stood waiting for the mickey and minnie meet and greet and having a fabulous time as the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. Everyone in the queue and all of the meet and greet staff were dancing and singing along to the music, it definitely made the 45 minutes of queuing fly by. We were sad that by the time we got to the chip n dale queue it was already closed. Each character had specific time slots, chip n dale's was between 11-00.30. We got there by midnight and the queue was already closed for any more guests to queue which was slightly disappointing.

Another great aspect of the party is that every guest member is able to get on every single ride in the park. This is fabulous as lots of the guests buy just the party ticket and you get all the benefits of the normal park tickets but all of these exclusives as well. For £60 it is good value money and I think this is the reason why it is such a popular event.

All in all, if you asked me if I would go again the answer would be yes. In all honesty I don't think I would book to go back to the halloween party again next year unless we planned to go again for halloween. However, if they had these parties at other times of the year, for example at Christmas I would for sure be up for attending a special party as we did both thoroughly enjoyed it.


Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Can you do Disneyland Paris on a budget?

If you have read my latest post all about our trip to Disneyland Paris at Halloween you will know that this was very much a last minute trip. It was approximately two weeks before we had a crazy idea to just "have a look" at prices. Back in February as it was our first trip so we decided to book it through Disney directly to make it a little bit easier. This time when we looked at booking it through Disney the prices to stay at any Disney hotel were extortionate. I'm sure it was due to it being last minute, so we have definitely learnt to book it in advance. When we go at Christmas we are staying in the Hotel Cheyenne and have booked it as a package through magicbreaks. It is definitely about looking around at the best prices and deals which are out there.

My sister and I have read lots of blog posts and watched vlogs about staying outside of Disney and how you can save so much money. We started to look around at booking everything individual and we soon discovered it was working out much cheaper. Lots of people had recommended staying at the Ibis hotel at Marne de Valle. We decided to stay there and for two nights it was £180, which for £90 each we thought was a decent price. Honestly, this hotel was in the best location and we were super lucky that we had fallen upon this. We got on the RER at Chessy (the stop for Disney), and it is just one stop which is a 3 minute journey to get to Val d'Europe which is where the hotel is located. You go up the train station stairs and the hotel is literally directly in front of you. The RERs are every 9 minutes in the morning and about every 15 minutes at night. My sister and I were convinced that we were able to get on the train and to the Ibis hotel, quicker than the 20 minutes walk it takes to get through the Disney village and to the Disney hotel which we stayed in last time which was Hotel Santa Fe. The tickets for the short train journey cost 1.90 Euros each way. We actually bought a book of ten tickets for 15.80 Euros which saved a little bit more money. We have both said that for future trips we would definitely stay here again. It was also easy to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to Val d'Europe. The tickets were 19 Euros each and the journey was about 15 minutes. This saved a lot of time compared to getting on the DisneyExpress bus which goes around the houses and takes well over an hour to get to the Disney hotels. 

Once the hotel was sorted it was time to sort the flights and this was the biggest test of all. They were all so expensive. As we were only going for two nights we wanted to ensure that we had booked good flights so we could make the most of the time we actually had there. We for sure could have saved £100 or so on flights if we wanted to fly out at 1pm and come back at 11am. However, we would have lost so much actual time in the parks. We decided to fly with EasyJet there and back, the flight out was at 7am and on the way home at 8pm. The flights were expensive at around £200 each, but like I have said it ensured we had time to do everything we wanted to do with only having such a short time span. We thought it was 100% worth paying the extra money. 

We researched the best and cheapest way to buy the tickets for the Disneyland parks. On the Disneyland Paris website for two three day/ two park tickets it costs £371. We looked on Attraction Tickets Direct which is who we have booked some of tickets for Florida next year through and made a small saving as it totalled £354. This was very easy to book. 

In total we paid £490 each. I know some of you will be reading this and saying to yourselves that this on not on a budget, and in some respect I completely agree. On this trip it was the flights which made the total cost increase. However, we did only book it two weeks before and as already stated the flights are always expensive if you want an early morning flight out and a late one home. Both flights there and back were completely full to the brim, there wasn't one free seat. For future though I would recommend booking the flights as far in advance as possible to save as much money as you can. I think it is difficult to actually do Disneyland Paris on a very tight budget as the ticket prices are always going to be the same amount. I think our hotel was a very reasonable price and as a whole Paris is not a cheap place to stay. In the end we were both happy with the amount we paid. The deal offered by Disney including hotel, flights and park tickets was coming out at a minimum of £800 each.

An important aspect to think about is the price of food. Back in February when we went we booked a full board meal plan. I would recommend looking at the price comparisons between staying in Disney with a food package and the difference compared with staying outside of the Disney complex. The quick service diners are the cheapest food option that they offer, but I would definitely not describe it as 'cheap'. If you opt to buy a dining plans I would definitely recommend using the restaurants over counter service as you can pre book all your reservations meaning you can utilise your time so much better.  As we experienced the quick service counters can have huge queues, we queued for one and a half hours in Videotropolis. You may be thinking why did we queue for so long, and the answer is it was one of those things where we were in the queue and we had dedicated ourselves to it and we thought if we left we would only end up in another huge queue some where else. It was frustrating however in the end the food was nice and we managed to get on with our day. A burger meal in there with a drink was 20 Euros. I would say over the three days on dinner and tea in the parks we spent at least 50 Euros a day each. Therefore, like I have said already you have to think about the different in price between getting a dining plan and paying yourself.

When we go at Christmas we have booked a package just like the first time we went. It is about going and doing it in different ways and working out what is the best way to make it work for yourselves. I know for myself that going for your first time it can be very overwhelming, and I have a post with some other tips I wish I have known about before our first trip. My one top piece of advice is to definitely shop around look around the internet for different deals, and like we did this time the different options which are available.



Thursday, 31 October 2019

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

Since going to Disneyland Paris for the first time in my life back in February, I have been dying to go back. In May we booked a trip to go at Christmas as we thought it would just be so magical. However, we then saw the theming for Halloween and my sister and I decided we just had to be there. It just fell that we both had annual leave the same week, and after a short conversation of should we / shouldn't we? we quickly decided we needed to be there and started the process of scrolling the internet for the best deals. As it was last minute we thought we might be able to get a fabulous deal. We were definitely too optimistic and to stay in any Disneyland hotel like we did last time it was coming out way above our budget. With a bit of research we decided to stay in Paris and travel in ourselves. I have an upcoming post on how we did it on a budget.

Once we went through the gates at Disneyland Paris we were overwhelmed with the spectacular theming throughout the park. They really do go to town which is great as it makes the experience even more magical. They change their programme for October and have special parades, performances and meet and greets.

No matter what time of year you visit they do two different parades each day. In the morning they always do two of the same parades which have the theme as to whatever season you are going. Then every night at 5.30pm they do the disney on stars parade which is just the most fabulous spectacular, and every single person watching has a continuous smile on their face. This time it was obviously a halloween themed parade in the morning  featuring all of the disney villains. It was led by mickey and minnie dressed up in the absolute most divine and cutest costumes you have ever seen. This parade had lots of characters who you would not normally see on a daily basis and it was great to have more variety and not to just have the 'bigger' characters. It featured cruella de vil, queen of hearts and jack skeleton. It is also huey, dewey and louie who are just the cutest next to donald and daisy.

There was also lots of exclusive meets and greets. I love that the programme of meet and greets change throughout the seasons and the characters change up. Throughout halloween the meet and greets include characters such as stitch, queen of hearts, cheshire cat, max and daisy duck. As always they had all the princesses in the princess pavilion which you can meet, but the queue is normally very long. I discussed in my first post all about using an app called lineberty and how you can get exclusive meet and greets with characters such as woody, buzz and minnie so head over to that post for more details.

They decided to have some halloween exclusive food and snacks which we thoroughly enjoyed. I have written an in depth a post about where you can eat in disney and my recommendations. This time we didn't have a meal plan and had a very different experience to last time. There is no denying that the food everywhere is expensive. However, using the counter services makes things cheaper. We queued in videotopolis for over an hour and a half just for burger and chips as we thought the prices were reasonable, but it was just soooo busy. If you do book any kind of disney meal plan I would very much recommend taking advantage and booking in advance restaurants for all your meals. The counter service although much cheaper than all the restaurants, we found on all three days we had to queue no matter where we chose and it added a lot of time and effort on to the day.

Overall, we had an absolutely incredible time and we both said we would recommend to everyone and anyone to visit at halloween. The whole feel was just so special and we had a fantastic time. Going for a second time means you have so much more knowledge on just the simple things which we spent our first trip trying to get our heads around. We used the fast passes to our full advantage, used the Disneyland app to watch for the queue times, find the parades information and we planned our days out so much more to ensure we got everything done. When I came back from my first trip I wrote a post listing all of my top tips for first time visitors, as I would have found it so useful to have read something similar before my initial trip. We also treated ourselves with tickets to the halloween party which is an exclusive event which happens twice during the week of halloween. It costs £60 per ticket but the park closes to all non-party visitors earlier than normal at around 7pm. The park is then only open to party members for the entire night until 2am. The party has exclusive meet and greets and one-off parades, you can also go on all the rides and enjoy special food and snacks. We thoroughly enjoyed the party but it was a very long day and also very busy meaning the queues for all the meet and greets were huge. Although, if you are a huge disney lover I would recommend going and treating yourself as it was lots of fun.



Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Santa Ponsa Majorca

I was lucky enough to be able to escape the normality of life and head off to Majorca for a family holiday for two whole weeks. We are very lucky that we have a close family friend who owns an apartment on a private golf complex. It is amazing to be able to step out of the back garden and be at the pool. It is so peaceful and tranquil and it was the break that we all needed.

We have stayed here before so we know the surroundings very well. The apartments are situated on a golf complex between Santa Ponsa and Port Adriano. Santa Ponsa is the biggest town near to where we stay. In a taxi it takes less than 10 minutes to get right into the heart of the town. Santa Ponsa itself is a lovely bustly place which brings tourists on mass each year in the summer months. It has lots of shops offering a variety of goods, it is great to take an afternoon just to walk around the many streets and go in and out of the shops to see what they all have on offer. There is also the beautiful beach which is clean and enjoyed by everyone. Surrounding the beach there are lots of bars and restaurants which you can stroll to, to have a little break and refuel. There are a variety of hotels and apartments both budget and high end depending on what you are wanting.

Most nights we went into Santa Ponsa for our evening meal and some drinks. If you want to just go for drinks there are some lovely bars situated on the beach front, or if you are wanting to have a little more of a messy night you can definitely indulge into that! We have pretty much eaten in 90% of the restaurants within the area over the years and I am going to go through some of my favourites. The area has a great variety of cuisines which is fabulous if you are a foodie like me. If you are wanting some american type foods like burgers there are two restaurant recommendations - O'Brady's and Fat Sam's which we have been too many times. There is a lovely restaurant on the edging of the beach which is always very popular it is called Empathia. This sells a variety of foods including more traditional spanish foods such as paella, we all had lovely food on this visit and my pizza was delicious. Jackie's is a little restaurant on the main strip near the beach which we always ensure we go to, and on this trip we went twice. They do incredible pasta dishes and my rigatoni bolognese was delightful. To add some variety to our palate we ate at both chinese and indian restaurants. Bombay is a little indian restaurant which is always busy which is obviously a great sign, they do a lovely set meal and the food was delicious. On the same street is a chinese restaurant called China Ming which the entire family love, it does great food at very reasonable prices, it is not fine dining but it is all round somewhere we all leave with full tummies.

If you are staying in Santa Ponsa you can easily get to Port Adriano and is definitely worth a visit. It is a secluded port where many boats come in and out of on a daily basis. The port is surrounded by a variety of restaurants and bars which are all high end, however in the day you can definitely have a nice chilled lunch overlooking the port. We love going to down to the port and it is lovely just to stroll around it.

I have already done blog posts on visiting both Palma and Soller, they are must see places if you have the time and money to get to them. Santa Ponsa is in a very central location which is great meaning you can easily get out and about. There are lots of local buses to get you around. If you are going with children or just want a great day out you can get to Western Water Park easily it is a great day out and we have visited many times, unless you go like we did this year on the only day of the year where there was a storm and flooding! All round, Santa Ponsa is a lovely place to visit and it caters to everyone.



Wednesday, 9 October 2019


Palma is a beautiful city and one which I have been fortunate enough to visit numerous times. It is a city which is full of vibrancy and style. As there is a big port in Palma the city is often full of tourists who are on worldwide cruises and they stop here. We visited in August and the city was definitely bustling with both tourists and locals. It has lots of picturesque buildings and churches. It is home to their stunning cathedral which is one of the main tourist attractions. It is very clean and well maintained and you can tell that they take pride in their city and its surrounding.  

As always there are lots of little coffee and cake shops which you could stop off at to refuel. There is a main street called Paseo de Borne which houses lots of fabulous shops. Some of these are higher end and if you want to treat yourself then you will definitely be able to.

We spent the day strolling and exploring the city and ventured into the Old Town which consists of narrow cobbled streets, pretty quaint squares and courtyards, and little bakeries to stop at. When the sun is shining it is a perfect time to go for a stroll into the quieter parts of the city. Like I mentioned before if you are a little bit of a shopper like me, you can definitely take advantage here. I love high street shopping and the Zara here is huge and three stories high. I always take a few hours looking around the shops every time I visit, as alongside the well known stores it is lovely to see the individual shops. There are so many great shops selling lovely gifts and clothing. Me and my sister love to look in these stores and pick up some unique pieces such as jewellery. There is also Palma's city beach which is easily accessible from the centre and is beautiful at all times of the year.

We keep saying as a family it would be lovely to take a weekend away and to stay in Palma itself. I think me and my friends would also love it. I know a few people who have been to Palma for weekends away and they have all thoroughly recommended it. If I was to take a weekend away I would do it in the summer months in the nicer weather. I say this is as in some cities there are lots and lots of tourist attractions to see and do. This city is not somewhere to visit if you want to be able to constantly have things to do and have to rush around in order to get everything done. It moves at a much slower pace and whilst there are things to see and do it is more about taking a relaxed approach.



Wednesday, 2 October 2019


I have been lucky enough to visit Soller a few times now. I was trying to work it out and I think this was my fourth time visiting. It is a lovely little quaint town located on the northwest coast of Majorca. It is quite interesting as to get to Soller there is a train that runs from Palma on a daily basis. If you miss the last train you are basically stuck! 

We got on the train early in the morning from Palma and the journey took about one hour to get to Soller. This journey is a very popular tourist attraction and our train was full to the brim. The trains run approximately every hour and the last one back is around 7pm. One piece of advice would be to sit on the right hand side of the train as it is more of a picturesque journey. The train is a pleasant but slightly rickety journey which is expected as you are literally spiralling up in to the mountains. Once the train has pulled into Soller you enter the main square of the town. There are some lovely shops, the church and lots of cafes. This area is always bustling with both tourists and locals.

If you want to get down to the port you can either walk or you can get the tram which run every 20 or so minutes from the train station right into the port. When you buy your train ticket in Palma you can get a combination ticket for 32 Euros return and you get the tram included. If not you can buy the tram tickets once you get on for 7 Euros. As expected these are also very busy with tourists but it is a short and pleasant tram ride. Once in the port it is beautiful. It is surrounded by lots of little cafes and souvenir shops. There is a great range of restaurants some along the front looking over the port, and a few set back into the little streets. We got off the tram and were in desperate need of a pick me up so stopped at the closest coffee shop we could find. I have to say it was a great choice it was called Can Tambora and had such a wide range of cakes and treats.

We spent about 6 hours in Soller strolling around and taking in the views. It is a lovely day out and I think it is a must if you are visiting within the vicinity. One of my work colleagues visited Palma last year and took a day visit to Soller. She loved it that much that this year she actually stayed in Soller for three days. She said she would definitely recommend staying there if you have the chance and they also have a beautiful beach. Everyone is so welcoming and it has such a lovely relaxed feeling to it. We sat having a drink looking over the gorgeous port for well over an hour.


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Listening to your own advice

Sometimes in life on top of the challenges which we are constantly trying to tackle and work on, other obstacles get thrown into the mix. I feel amongst my friends I dish out advice often. It can be hard to give advice on situations which you have never faced yourself. However, you are still able to give advice and I base this upon what I think I would do if I was in their shoes. The advice you give out I often don't think I will ever need to deal with myself, but then life happens and a spanner is thrown into works. This has happened to me recently. It can be crazy to think about how easy it is to dish out advice which you think is correct left, right and centre but when it's yourself everything changes. I have constantly been thinking about what I would say to others. This is so important in any decision making. Giving advice can at times be brutal, but I always want to give an honest and open opinion as that is what I would want to receive in return.

When my friends have asked for advice I like time to think about what I want to say. There are situations when advice is needed in an instance and that can be hard. I like time to process and think. I have often been in situations where I have gone back in a day or two and put in a different spin on my take. Recently I have learnt that sometimes I can beat around the bush on what I really feel in order to protect the feelings of my friends, I'm often the person who puts in an alternative opinion to try and help them see things from both points of view. I am not however a person who holds back, but I like to think I am protecting their feelings as sometimes they need a gentle approach. I listen to everyone in the discussions input as this may trigger your opinion to slightly change when you hear it from someone else's perspective.

What I have learnt is listening to your own advice can be much harder than you may think. It becomes frustrating as often you know what's right, but you are thinking of the alternatives on repeat. My friends have often said to take a few days to think about things and let it stew. I am not great at this and like to get things sorted as soon as possible, but in this scenario it worked for the better. I allowed myself to think of all the different options knowing that it's up to me to put a time limit on my decision. If you are certain of what you want I would always say go ahead and nip it in the bud. If you need time, give yourself time. These situations always seem to happen when you are at your busiest, already trying to juggle life and work and then this gets thrown in as well. I think it is often important to prioritise it when you can in order to make a decision which has been well thought through.

Depending on what you have decided it will now be the time where you actually need the most advice from those around you, whether you have made the choice to go against what they have said or not. As the person receiving the advice though you have to sometimes understand that it can be difficult for the other person to see it from your point of view. I would always hope that this would only happen because they love and care for you. I have been in situations when someone has asked me for advice which I think has been open and well-rounded. The person has then done the complete opposite. That can be hard for you to get your head around, and can be difficult to offer support but that's what friendships are about - being there in their hardest times. On top of this it can be a time where you learn who your real friends are. Who actually sends a text to ask if you're okay and who doesn't bother.

I have found in many different situations that consciously you know what to do. I often think about the bigger picture, think about in a month's time or even a year where do you see yourself. This may be that you're thinking about getting a new job, but you've been too scared to take the plunge. It could be something completely different to do with friendships or relationships. I am often a here and now person which can be great. I would say I try to be as optimistic as I can be, but I struggle at times. I do believe in having a gut feeling about something and it is a lot of the time right. Contemplating backwards and forwards can you leave yourself feeling crazy. Depending on what is going on, taking a risk can sometimes be worth taking. It is important to think about all the possible outcomes, and if it ends badly whether you are willing to take the risk and be able to deal with the consequences. Most importantly, you know some decisions are only going to end in hurt and the likelihood for a happy ending is very unlikely. Something which makes you happy for a short period of time is better to end now, rather than prolonging and ending in a much more complicated and hurtful way.

Listening to yourself and following what you know you should really be doing is the best advice which I will ever give to anyone. You have to be selfish and think about yourself and what is best for you. Taking a few days or even weeks to make a decision is fine. We often feel as though everything has to be done there and then, if it is something important to you ensure you are not going to regret your decision. You are in control of your decisions and outcomes. In months or even years you often look back and reflect on decisions you have made. In my job we are encouraged to do a lot of reflection, in order to look at the positive, negatives, barriers and improvements which can be made. This has made me an open thinker, but also an over thinker. I allow little things to build up and bug me and others probably think I am just over thinking which I know I am. I do however think I am good at listening to my own thoughts. We need to learn to all be kinder to ourselves, and this is something which I try to continuously work on and often encourage others to do as well. I am also a firm believer in what is meant to happen, will happen.


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