I promised a friend a few weeks ago that I would write a blog post about my recent trip to Disney. I don't normally write blogs for reviews, they're more of a way for me to share my work from various shoots, latest promotions or raising awareness. But what the heck? Let's share more than just that!
I have been looking at various blogs round the web and have come to the conclusion that, if there are readers out there that want to read about what people carry in their pockets (seriously… it's true! And to be fair, it's a pretty awesome website. Check out everydaycarry.com, a blog dedicated to just that! Girls, if you're struggling for Christmas ideas, have a look!) then you never know, I might find out that I'm more interesting than I initially thought! Time will tell.
Anyway, back to the point. Disney.
I must admit, I did anticipate to have this post done a few weeks ago, but you all know how it goes. There just isn't enough hours in the day to get anything done!
It was my first time to Disney. I initially thought it was going to be like going to Alton Towers; a long drive through winding roads, a huge walk from the car park, queues longer than the Black Friday sales, expensive food and annoying children running around my feet getting in the way.
I was right. It was exactly that.
However, the whole experience was, just as the advert suggests, 'magical'. I'm not being sarcastic there either (my wife is sitting next to me looking at me like I just slapped one our kids - so I better get to the point before I'm offered a divorce) it really was magical. Disney has got it spot on. Everything was just spot on. Yes the queues were long, yes the food was expensive but when you walk down Main Street you feel like a child again, looking at all the wonderful surroundings, the old shop(pes) selling everything from souvenirs to Danish pastries with coffee in quaint little bistros, classic cars and buses tootling along carrying staff dressed to the nines in early 20th century clothing… it's just ace!
The weather, I will admit we got lucky, was scorching! Most days it was 28degrees. It made for some wonderful photos, which you can see scattered through the post. It's odd, I'm not talking about the photos but feel the need to point out that there are some! Sorry, I'm waffling.
We stayed in the Hotel Cheyenne, a Wild West themed hotel placed about as far from Disney as possible. The walk was stated by the literature on the website as being about a 10 minute walk. Double this if you have smaller children who aren't in strollers or buggies. We found that it was about 15-20 minutes with our little ones. All the way it was stop start, "Can you carry me, I'm hot!" or "Are we nearly there yet" were just a few of the things my wife was sick of hearing me say. The room itself was really nice, like a themed Premier Inn room, a cowboy boot for a lamp being the main focus instead of Lenny Henry. It was ok, served it's purpose, a bed and shower. What more do you need?
On the way into the park you're first greeted with the view of the hot air balloon, which I'm pleased to say I went on. Rachael (my wife) wouldn't go, she doesn't really have the stomach for that kind of thing so I took the kids on myself. In the distance just sitting on the horizon (looking towards the Disney Studio's) you can see the Eiffel Tower and Paris, which is pretty cool. Once you're passed that you will have to have your bag scanned, be prepared to hand over your selfie stick if you have one as they are now banned in the park. Which I think is completely reasonable, who wants some jerk sticking one of them out whilst on a ride endangering the others around them just for a photo.
Once you're in, you're walking through the Disney Village. Bars, restaurants, shops and, of course, Café Micky. Café Micky is where you will go if you have breakfast or dinner with the characters. We had breakfast with them, I felt like I was 5 again. I met, I mean the kids met Micky, Goofy, the Chipmunks (Chip and Dale), and Tigger. All whilst eating my bacon and sausage! It was a surreal experience at first, the characters don't speak however they communicate very well! They engage with the kids and parents in such a way it does feel like that you're the only people in the room, and when some other families misbehaved child shouts out "GOOFY" at the top of their lungs, it's fun to watch Goofy turn round and blow a raspberry in mime.
The food around the place was expensive, but it's to be expected. Our first night we went to Planet Hollywood. Rubbish. Over priced for what you get, the experience is dull, rushed and cold. We didn't go back. But we did go to the Rainforest Café. That. Was. EPIC. The Rainforest Café can only be described as an experience you won't forget. Once you walk in, you're confronted with TWO massive fish tanks either side of doors, filled with fish. You'd be forgiven if you missed all the animals hanging from the walls and ceiling (models of course) because of all the shrubbery, trees and running water that covered ever square inch of the interior. There was even a life size Elephant that 'trumpeted' every now and again, shaking his head and trunk. Whilst I was eating a proper nice steak, it suddenly went dark, the lights started flashing and a huge rumble sounded throughout the restaurant, making you feel you were in a thunderstorm. The kids loved it!
The best thing about Disney (for me anyway) was seeing the kids faces when they saw the magic that only Disney could produce. The evening parade was brilliant, all the guests line the streets, a path is made for the floats and the characters and then the speakers start playing all the songs we all grew up with, Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen, you name it, it was played. All the Disney characters came dancing through the streets, some roller blading, some somersaulting - it really was breath-taking!
The whole experience left me in awe. I really want to go back. I could talk about this holiday all day long, but I'd love to hear about your Disney experience, what did you like the best? What didn't you like? What would you recommend to other readers?
One final top tip. Check out the Earl of Sandwich. O.M.G.