My Disney Haul!

So as you know, I was lucky enough to visit Disneyland Paris twice this year so I thought I would share with you my Disney haul. I also bought some of these goodies when I visited Orlando a couple of years ago but I’m pretty sure most of this stuff is available at any Disney park.

Collectables

alice-in-wonderland-snowglobe

Disney have so many adorable snow globes! In all honesty I liked them all, but I owed it to my younger self to purchase the Alice in Wonderland one simply because this was one of my all-time favourite films as a child (still is!). I’m not really someone who tends to collect a lot of ornaments but I can imagine there are a few people out there with an impressive collection of Disney snow globes, they’re all so beautiful.

grape-soda-pin-from-disney-up

Disney Pins are also quite collectable, the parks even have Cast Members who offer pin trading although I don’t know a lot about it since this is the first pin I’ve bought. I really wanted something Up related because I adore that movie. Unfortunately there is a severe lack of Up merchandise available. I really wanted something with the house and balloons on but all I could find was this grape soda pin, like the one Ellie gave to Carl in the film.

Pocket money purchases

disney-keyrings

Not everything at Disney has to cost an arm and a leg, there are plenty of smaller purchases to be had, for example these keyrings. The one on the left was bought at World of Disney in Downtown Disney, Orlando and celebrates the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World. The one on the right was bought at Disneyland Paris because I really wanted something with the castle on it. Which leads me to…

disney-magnets

I think I have an obsession with the Disney castle because as well as the keyring, I also bought a castle fridge magnet. And although I’m not someone who collects “collectable stuff” as such, I do tend to buy a fridge magnet of some sort whenever I go on holiday, so the one on the right was bought at Walt Disney World Florida (founded 1971).

The Mickey merch

steamboat-willie-mickey-mouse-souvenirs

No one can leave “The Happiest Place On Earth” without some kind of Mickey merchandise, so here are a couple of beauties we picked up at the World of Disney store in Orlando – black and white vintage style Mickeys! The bobble-head sculpture is based on the cartoon that Mickey made his debut, Steamboat Willie. And the other is just a rather cute cuddly toy. Which leads me to…

Another cuddly toy!

lotso-bear-from-toy-story-3

This is Lotso from Toy Story 3, he was bought in the Buzz Lightyear gift shop at Disneyland Paris. He wasn’t a favourite character or anything (I totally love Ken in TS3!) but he’s ever so cuddly and he smells of strawberries!!

The meaningful souvenir

minnie-mickey-proposal

Ok so it might sound cheesy or it might sound incredibly cute but we bought this ornament in Downtown Disney Orlando (I think it was The Art of Disney Store) because my (now) husband proposed to me in Florida. He didn’t do it at the theme parks or anything but it seemed an appropriate memento to have.

The must-have

minnie-mouse-ears

Last but not least, no Disney park shopping trip is complete without Minnie Mouse ears! They’ve had several wears already and I look forward to the next!

Top 5 tips for any Disney theme park!

So it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post here but fear not, I haven’t gone off the radar. It appears that my brain can only be obsessed with one thing at a time and because this time last week I was gallivanting around Disneyland, my latest obsession is all things Disney!

I took a day trip on the Eurostar over to Paris with 14 of my work mates and we spent the day running around in our Minnie Mouse ears like excited school children. Well I say day, by the time we got there and had to factor in getting the last train home we only had a mere 5 hours park time*. Not long enough. Hence why, just a few days later, I’m all booked up to go again! I justified this to my husband by telling him that I’d had the trailer and now I want the movie.

As someone who ‘grew up’ on Disney films**, I never actually visited any Disney theme parks as a child. Perhaps I wasn’t that bothered? I can’t remember. Or perhaps my parents couldn’t really afford it? I don’t know. Not that it matters, because at Walt Disney World everyone becomes a child in their own special way. So it wasn’t until the grand old age of 28 that I actually went on holiday with friends to Orlando and experienced some of that Disney magic first hand. As well as never going there as a child, I have never been there with a child, so this post is dedicated to all those Peter Pan adults who never grew up…

1. Dress appropriately

To me this means wearing something Disney, be it a t-shirt with Mickey’s face on it, or Minnie Mouse ears. It also means comfortable shoes. I’m here to have fun! I see too many people wear odd things to theme parks (yeah I’m talking to you – lady with the bridesmaid hair and Nina Ricci dress!).

white-rabbit-magic-kingdom

2. Meet some of the characters

Go on, you know you want to! It’s practically the law to meet Mickey and Minnie at these parks, regardless of how old you are, but who else do you fancy hugging? You haven’t got to get an autograph like all the little kiddies do but it’s fun to have your photo taken with the characters (until Goofy bloody stands on your foot! True story).

3. Watch a parade

Every day, several times a day, there will be a parade. The parades are definitely something that should be ticked off of every Disney wishlist. Just check your park schedule to find out the times and try to bagsy yourself a spot with the castle as your backdrop!

Celebrate parade in Orlando
Celebrate parade in Orlando
Halloween parade in Paris
Halloween parade in Paris
Electrical parade in Orlando
Electrical parade in Orlando

4. Take advantage of Disney’s Fast Pass system

Just look for the Fast Pass Distribution sign near the entrance of a ride, insert your park admission ticket and then receive a fast pass ticket telling you when to come back to the ride. You are limited to how many fast pass tickets you can hold during any one time and the number of tickets on offer are limited, but it’s free and well worth doing to mimimise time spent queueing.

5. Stay to watch the fireworks

Disney do fireworks like no one else, so if you’re able to stay in the park until it closes then do so. My photos don’t do it justice really, but I promise you will not be disappointed!

Epcot, Orlando
Epcot, Orlando
Magic Kingdom, Orlando
Magic Kingdom, Orlando

*Fortunately one of the girls had sorted us a good deal so it’s not like we wasted any money.
** I say grew up, but does someone who considers candyfloss to be an appropriate meal at Disney World ever really grow up?

A girl’s guide to… Las Vegas on a budget

Las Vegas isn’t perhaps the most purse-friendly of destinations but there is more to it than the movies will lead you to believe – it’s not all about getting drunk, getting hitched and gambling. If you don’t want to pour all your hard-earned pennies into the slots then there is plenty Las Vegas has to offer, and best of all, some of it is for FREE!

From fountains to flamingos, here is a selection of activities to entice any budget-conscious traveller-

bellagio-fountains-las-vegas

1. Fountains of Bellagio

Perhaps the most romantic of Vegas’s attractions is the Fountains of Bellagio. Every day from 3pm (12pm on weekends and holidays) viewers are mesmerized by this extraordinary show of carefully choreographed water and light playing against a backdrop of music ranging from upbeat tunes such as ‘Viva Las Vegas’ to classical numbers like ‘Time to say goodbye’. Shows run every half hour until 7pm and then from 7pm until midnight, every 15 minutes, so if you don’t get such a good view the first time round its not long to wait until the next performance.

2. CBS Television City, MGM Grand Hotel

If you feel tired from traipsing the strip all day then Television City at the MGM Grand is a great way to rest your legs while playing a part in tv history. Participants are led into a studio to watch a pilot episode of a new tv series. Each viewer is given a dial to register how they feel during the show and then at the end is asked to fill in a questionnaire on screen. The feedback you give remains anonymous so you can be as honest as you like. The research results are passed on to studio executives, so if you are lucky enough to have previewed ‘the next big thing’ you can tell all your friends you had a small part in a big hit!

flamingo-habitat-las-vegas

3. Wildlife Habitat, Flamingo Hotel

The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel is a beautiful place to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the strip. As well as a flock of Chilean flamingos, the lush garden is home to swans, ducks, koi and turtles. The buffet restaurant overlooks the garden so stop here for a meal. There is also a gift shop just inside the hotel which is the perfect place to buy gifts for those with a penchant for all things pink!

4. Circus acts, Circus Circus Hotel

At the north end of the strip sits the colourful big top known as Circus Circus, and what circus would be complete without its acts? Every day from 11am on the carnival midway visitors can see regular performances from world class circus acts including trapeze artists, jugglers and acrobats. On the occasion that we stopped for an act we were treated to a performance by a graceful aerial acrobat suspended from the ceiling with little more than a piece of ribbon.

4. Sirens of T.I, Treasure Island

Vegas is famous for its shows and the swashbuckling Siren show at Treasure Island draws quite a crowd. The sultry Sirens sing and dance while sword fighting with a group of pirates aboard their ships. The sexy cast, impressive stunts and amazing pyrotechnics make this show a sizzler. Check the T.I. website for times and be sure to get there early for a good view as it gets very busy.

fremont-street-las-vegas

6.   Fremont Street Experience

Take the Deuce bus from The Strip and head downtown to the world-famous Fremont Street for a vintage Vegas experience. See the illustrious neon signs – Vegas Vic and Vegas Vicky – as you wander between the legendary casinos, such as Golden Nugget. You will be entertained under the bright lights by the free street performances, but the main attraction at Fremont Street is the free hourly sound and light show overhead. The whole experience is one not to be missed!

A girl's guide to Las Vegas on a budget

The holy mecca of gift shops

A holiday is the perfect way of letting your hair down, but sometimes when we’re enjoying ourselves in new, exciting surroundings we almost temporarily become someone else. A girly holiday in the sun can bring out the cheeky, chatty flirt in an otherwise shy and introverted girl, an energetic theme park based holiday can bring out the adventurous and lively side to someone normally at their happiest on a comfy sofa in front of the tv. And a tacky gift shop can bring out the wallet and insanity of an otherwise sensible spender! Yeah I’m referring to those impulse buys that seemed like a good idea at the time but when you get them home you realise they are just a hideous waste of money. Or just hideous full stop.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a memento of your travels and I’m a fan of kitsch but are you really going to play that didgeridoo/wear that sombrero when you get home or will it just sit gathering dust before being tossed into the nearest charity bag?

Having said that, who am I to be lecturing? I am that girl with a didgeridoo (albeit a small one) shoved in a drawer under the bed! Instead, let me tell you about the holy mecca of gift shops…

bonanza-gift-shop-las-vegas

The world’s largest gift shop!

Located on the Las Vegas strip, by the Stratosphere Hotel, is Bonanza. It is fabulously tacky selling everything from Las Vegas themed paraphernalia to ‘Polly the insulting parrot’ – but hey, it’s Vegas! If it wasn’t tacky you’d be disappointed!

I did purchase a couple of items there but refrained at buying a Trailer Trash doll… although a car dashboard hula girl would’ve been some cool kitsch!

In celebration of the tourist tat that we would only buy when intoxicated on holiday madness and the scent of sun lotion, I will be sharing with you some super tacky souvenirs and if anyone would like to feature their fabulous trinkets on this blog then send me a photo on email at quirkylittleplanet@gmail.com and tell me all about it!