Experiencing my first Disney Cruise Line, Visiting Edinburgh, and Returning to Disneyland Paris

Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 1
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 1
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 1
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 1
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 1
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 2
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 3
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 4
Disney Cruise Line Magic at Sea 5
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Disney Magic at Sea

The Disney Magic came to England this year, to offer staycations to UK guests. Begining its voyage from Southampton, it finished its journey in London Tilbury. It bought a bit of magic a bit closer to home this Summer. I was very lucky to experience two embarkations in two different locations.

Being scared of cruise ships, I had amazing encouragement from friends. I had the most wonderful time experiencing the joy of the Disney Cruise Line which, was truly special.

Hearing how incredible the offerings are normally, the Disney Magic did not disappoint. From Champagne tasting and dining in Palo, there were lots of activities to enjoy, even during a stripped-back version. It was a nice escape from the world for a few days at sea.

Edinburgh

This year we also managed to visit Edinburgh. It was exciting being back on a plane. I hadn’t been to Scotland since I was 18. It was even more beautiful than I remember. This time I got to look around Edinburgh Castle too, as the Tattoo was on the last time I went.

We visited the Royal Botanic Gardens and climbed Arthur’s Seat which, was a challenge indeed. Lots of Iron Bru was had too. It was a lovely city break.

Disneyland Paris

Finally, I was very lucky and I had a couple of trips to Disneyland Paris. One was in the Summer, and the other was for the Halloween Soirée. It was nice to be able to visit home again after so long. It’s great seeing the Castle refurbishment coming together too.

The entertainment has been stripped back but, it was still enjoyable. With unique selfie spot meets, meeting the Frozen and Marvel characters felt extra special. It was great to see Rhythms of The Pridelands again.

I have had some wonderful opportunities this year. I have felt incredibly lucky to be blogging over at London Theatre Direct. You can find my reviews here. Here’s hoping for more magical adventures in 2022.

Summer Of Disney Plus Event in London

Summer of Disney Plus Event

This summer there are lots of things to watch on Disney Plus. Travel from the Italian Riviera to the fantasy world of Kumandra with Luca and Raya and The Last Dragon. There’s lots to keep you entertained, with Miss Minutes in Loki and the fantastic Jazz music in Pixar’s Soul. Last week  I was invited by Disney Plus to attend their Summer Of Disney Plus event at Pargola’s in Paddington. It was such a fun evening with lots of photo opportunities and activities. There was also an amazing choir group singing live songs, and a pianist performing the score from Disney Pixar’s Soul.

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My Rollercoaster and Big Thrill Ride Goals for 2021

My Rollercoaster and Big Thrill Ride Goals for 2021

Being scared of bigger thrill rides for most of my life, I decided it was time to set some goals on conquering more fears at theme parks. I have decided to write a post of my rollercoaster and big thrill ride goals and hopefully when it is safe to do so be able to

In the summer with international travel restrictions, I found myself looking for more things to do within the UK. This lead to me purchasing a Merlin Pass and with safety guidelines, I was able to visit a few local theme parks in the UK.

Nemesis Alton Towers

Over the season I managed trips to Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Chessington, and Legoland. This pass became a great investment for me. As these theme parks have much bigger thrill rides and Rollercoasters, I wanted to get over my fear to get the full experience.

With encouragement from great friends, I was able to overcome this, and I now find that I do love a thrill ride. Hoping to still go on a few visits this year, once lockdown hopefully ends and the season starts up again. There are a few Rollercoasters and big thrill rides that I’d like to tick off.

My Rollercoaster Journey

Vampire Chessington

Vampire at Chessington was my first ever restraint coaster, and I loved it. I wanted to challenge myself a bit more, so I kept myself going on them. Starting with the new Dragon coaster at Legoland, and a few others at Thorpe Park too.

It was time for me and my friends trip to Alton Towers for Scarefest. Here they have much bigger Rollercoasters, and I was ready for my first free-fall drop and launch.

My Goals

Before visiting each theme park, I made a list on my phone of all the rides I wanted to tick off. They were:

  • Vampire
  • Dragon
  • Rita
  • Wicker Man
  • TH13RTEEN
  • Nemesis Inferno

I’m so glad I managed to these off my list. I have made a new one for this year too, and continuing into 2022.

  • Space Mountain
  • Tower of Terror
  • Swarm
  • Stealth
  • Nemesis
  • Galactica
  • Oblivion

Disneyland Paris

I would love to finally go on Space Mountain. As soon as we are allowed to safely travel back to Disneyland Paris, it will be my first ride of the trip. Followed by Tower of Terror as I always miss this one out. I do however, love the theming of this ride and loved going to the Tower of Terror party a few years ago. It is about time I finally went on it.

Tower of Terror

Thorpe Park

There are a couple of rides that I’d like to tick off at Thorpe Park. Now that I have done Nemesis Inferno as my first looping coaster, I would love to go on Swarm next. I think it would be a great smooth coaster to try.

My Rollercoaster and Big Thrill Ride Goals

Also at Thorpe Park is the famous Stealth. A tall 205 ft 80 mph launch coaster. Maybe not one I’m wanting to rush to go on. However, after having done Rita at Alton Towers, it will be a great one to achieve.

Alton Towers

After my trip to Alton Towers for Scarefest, I was left eager to go back. With having been on Rita, TH13RTEEN and Wickerman, I was disappointed I didn’t complete the others. Galactica, Nemesis and Oblivion are next on my list when I return in the next season.

My Rollercoaster and Big Thrill Ride Goals

I am getting much better with my fear as I go on each ride and, it has been great expanding my horizon. By the time I get to go to Disneyland California, I will be able to go on everything.

First Time Visit to Alton Tower’s Resort for Scarefest

Alton Towers Scarefest

Back in the Summer, I decided to invest in a Merlin Annual Pass to visit more of the UK theme parks. It has been one of the best purchases I’ve made. Having recently been back to Chessington, Thorpe Park, and Legoland, last weekend was my first visit to Alton Towers Resort. I was very impressed with their offerings.

Since buying the pass this year, I’ve gotten over my fear of Rollercoasters. I started on Vampire at Chessington, which then made me eager to visit Alton Towers and get on some of the bigger rides. I have always wanted to experience Scarefest during the Halloween season and have heard that the Mazes were an excellent experience. I thought they would be too scary for me, but they did not disappoint. 

Staying in the Enchanted Village

We decided to stay in the Enchanted Village, which is one of the Resort’s many Hotels. Being in the middle of nowhere was beautiful in the Autumn season. The grounds surrounding the lodges were stunning. It was like staying in a little Fairy Cottage. The room had a double bed and a separate room with bunk beds. The bathroom was lovely as well and came with everything you needed. They also provided a kettle with a goodie bag to make drinks, which was a nice touch. In the Enchanted Village, you could also stay in a Stargazing Pod or a Treehouse which, included Hot Tubs too.

Alton Towers Scarefest

Upon arrival at your hotel, you will be temperature checked in your car. You will receive a wrist band for them to check that you have had your temperature taken throughout your stay. The breakfast included was great too, and the restaurant was just by the reception. There is room service for the rooms as well, which was great after a long first day in the park. The walk to the park is about 25 minutes. I would think about what case to bring as the lockers in the park aren’t very big in size. The rooms become available from 3pm too. The nearest gate from the Enchanted Village to the park is the Galactica entrance. It was a shame that the Monorail wasn’t running, but the walk to the park wasn’t too bad. Once you’re in the resort, the Skyliner transportation is a wonderful way to travel with its fabulous views.

Scarefest

Halloween is my favourite time of year. I’m so glad we visited Alton Towers for the first time whilst Scarefest was on. It was so much fun! We did all of the Mazes too. A list of the Mazes on offer this year are:

Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard

Darkest Depths

The Attic Terror of The Towers

Altonville Mine Tours

Alton Towers Scarefest

I think my favourite Maze was The Attic. The theming was fantastic as you went around the towers. It was such a great experience, especially at dusk. The Ghost effects and the lighting on the Castle were brilliant as well. I also really liked the Darkest Depths which, reminded me of Pirates of The Caribbean! I found the Toxic Junkyard one to be the most intense as the Clowns had Chainsaws. But it was still a great Maze to experience.

The actors are not allowed to touch you this year due to COVID-19 safety measures. However, this experience was still fantastic and so well themed. I’m so pleased I managed them too! It was very spooky. The safety measures in place were excellent.

Alton Dungeon’s

Having visited London’s Dungeon’s a couple of times, we decided to book Alton’s version. It’s a great addition to the park, where it felt a bit short, it was still a great spooky experience. It was still interactive with the restrictions in place too. The actors were superb and still make it an enjoyable time.

Rollercoaster Restaurant

One of the most popular Restaurants at Alton Towers is The Rollercoaster Restaurant. It is so unique as you watch your food get delivered on a track to your table. It is located in Forbbiden Valley and you do not need a reservation for lunchtime. However, there may be a bit of a queue. It is worth the wait. Once inside, you will be given a tablet to order your food, and once it arrives, it’ll come down on the track. Your dish may even do a loop de loop! The variety of food and drink they had available was excellent with lots of options to choose from. They even had themed cocktails to the rides! The bright neon lights were amazing and it was a nice atmosphere.

Alton Towers Scarefest Alton Towers Scarefest

Alton Towers Rides

Having recently overcome a few Rollercoaster fears, it was time to try Rita, Th13een, and Wicker Man. For Scarefest, they offer an opportunity to ride them in the dark. We decided to save Wicker Man for last. It was very cool to see it lit up at night time. Next time I visit Alton Towers, I hope to be able to go on Galactica and Nemesis. I’m so pleased I’m overcoming so many fears at theme parks. The whole Alton Towers experience was amazing and it was such a fun weekend. I would highly recommend the Enchanted Village for the winter as it felt very cosy. I hope to stay in Splash Landings one trip too.

Alton Towers Scarefest

Alton Towers Resort really took me by surprise. I was so impressed with everything and it is so beautiful. I cannot wait to go back one day soon and really think it is worth investing in an Annual Pass. I think Scarefest will be a yearly visit from now on.

 

Stranger Things Secret Cinema Experience – Welcome to The 80’s

Stranger Things Secret Cinema Experience

Do you copy?? The 80’s arrived back in town for an exclusive Secret Cinema experience in London. There have been a few productions in the past of much-beloved films. Most recently Secret Cinema has adapted to TV, with the Netflix hit Stranger Things. Based on the third season on 4th July, a school reunion was taking place. With a visit to the funfair and Starcourt Mall, you were in Hawkins for the evening.

Having recently gotten into the series last summer, it has quickly become one of my favourites. I’ve fallen in love with the characters and the aesthetic, as I’m a huge fan of the ’80s. We decided to book the Secret Cinema experience and found our best 80’s look to wear. We got to choose from a range of styles when we signed up. I chose to dress as a Punk Rocker (I basically own this style of clothing already!) and wore my Bruce Springsteen Born in The USA top. This was the theme for the evening of course. I put on my fishnet tights, a leather jacket and skater skirt and was set to go. Oh and I bought hair crimpers – can this be a thing again, please?!

Stranger Things Secret Cinema Experience
Choosing an early timeslot helped us make the most of the evening. There was so much to see! The arrival time was 17:45 and we got given the secret location in our email. You also received a login to a portal, which, was set up as a student database with emails that included clues and tips. It also had a fun yearbook page where you could upload your own photo too. Here is where you got given your character name for the evening as well. Mine was Margarate Joyce and I was part of the drama club.

In the queue for the cinema, you are instantly transported to the Starcourt Mall. Here they had vintage cars out front and a wondering Billy. They checked our ID and bags and as we entered. There were lockers where we had to put our phones away for the night too.

It was really nice not having a phone on you for the evening. We really had been transported to the ’80s. Having no phones on us showed how much fun we were having without them.

As you entered, you found your representative, ours was Punk Rockers. You could choose from the movers and groovers to hip-hoppers, and they told us a story that we had to follow. You didn’t have to stick to just one storyline though. We ended up following a couple of different ones. After talking to our representative, we got told to find the Fortune Teller at the Funfair (Magenta Nevada). She was to give us the next clue, which, included a famous character from the series Will Byers. We also had to listen out for Born in The USA, which was amazing.

Stranger Things Secret Cinema Experience

The music choices they were playing throughout the night were so nostalgic. Don’t Stop Believing, Footloose, Dancing in The Dark was some of the 80’s hits I heard. Everyone got in the mood and even the staff were singing along whilst they were serving us ice cream in Ahoy. Yes, that’s right! If you know the show, this place where Steve Harrington and Robyn work at the Mall. It was amazing and the ice cream itself tasted delicious. I had a Butterscotch flavoured one whilst singing along to Journey.

Steve was also working here throughout the night. At one point they both took us into the back storage room and acted out their famous scene. Robyn even “threw up” on my friend Sophie. They were so in character it was brilliant chatting to them! This was one of the secret rooms during the experience and we soon learnt that there was a few of these set up. 

They had a bar set up inside too, which was a lot of fun. We danced to Kids in America as part of the storyline before our encounter with Billy. The drinks weren’t badly priced either so, it was nice to chill in there for a while. The first thing I remember as we walked through the funfair was seeing Mike and Lucas sitting on the bench. I instantly felt like I was in the series as I saw Joyce run and hug Will as he joined them. We decided to say hello and I’m so glad we did. They asked us if we were having a great Fourth of July and enjoying the celebrations. The characters mannerisms were out of this world. They really made the experience.

We started to wonder if all the characters made an appearance and they absolutely did. From Max to Dustin, Nancy and Jonathan. Even Hopper was there too, oh and not forgetting Eleven. She appeared as we were working out one of the clues using the retro phone booth and she moved a Coke can with her powers. I was in such awe as she was wondering around. Throughout the evening, the characters changed into their parts later in the series. We noticed Steve had a black eye and Eleven had her long hair. Hopper even changed into his date nightshirt. The attention to detail really made this whole thing theatrical.

Let’s not forget the infamous Demogorgan’s of the series. They were there too and very scary indeed. I had an inkling they would be but I wasn’t sure how they’d pull it off. You may have heard of Erika who is Lucas’s sister in the series. She took us through the back of the Coach shop in the Mall and we had to climb through one of the vents. In here we had Alexi and another Russian guy locked in a room. A Demogorgan was trying to get us! They also ran through the Mall with flickering lights nearer the end of the night.

There was so much to see that we even missed Hopper’s house and Billy’s party. I think these had harder clues and were part of the VIP package which, I would definitely consider this if it came around again. They also had the arcade set up with Pacman and other vintage games. It was really cool to get to play them again!

Some of the other food and drink available were Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese and the classic Coke Float which I tried. There was a variety of food stalls set up around the funfair and they were all set in Dollars. Everything was in such fine detail.

Near the end of the night, we had to wait for Billy to appear in the Mall. He took us into the bar and proceeded to take us into the Upside Down. This bit had me on edge and was the most intense part of the night but, it was amazing. There are alternative endings so I’d be curious to see what others there were too. 

Stranger Things Secret Cinema Experience

STRANGER THINGS PERFORMANCE

In the Upside Down, we all filed into this 360 theatre experience. The show was 30 minutes long and my jaw was dropped to the ground for most of it. I think this live performance of Stranger Things should be in the West End, it was incredible. They had doubles of the actors running around the top so everyone could see what was happening. The effects from Elle were stunning and it was really emotional to watch them re-enact the series. Everyone also got involved here shouting for Will and helping Elle. We really were in the Upside Down. Oh, there were a few surprise Demogorgan’s in here too for good measure!

The Stranger Things Secret Cinema experience was one of the best evenings I’ve ever had. It will stay with me forever as I look back through my reporters’ notebook scribbled with notes from the evening. Finding out clues and using old-style 80’s computers, which I remember using back in the ’90s. Talking to some of my favourite characters and dancing to classic 80’s hits. It really was such a fun event and I do hope it comes back to London one day soon.