Disneyland, Paris

Where you can REALLY feel like a princess.

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Disneyland Paris, Paris. January 2016.

While I have made it very apparent through many of my posts across this blog that I am an unapologetic nerd when it comes to all things sci-fi (mostly as a Whovian), I hereby admit to being a complete Disney-phile in the same regard.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to all but two Disney parks in my 25 years (just missing Hong Kong and Shanghai parks!) – in my family, we use the term “growing up Disney”.

For most of my childhood, my mom worked for Disney which meant we always had the highly coveted silver pass and free guest passes that pretty much allowed us into any park for free whenever we wanted, plus great discounts on everything from food to gifts and souvenirs.

We lived Disney.

From our huge collection of Disney films to my Eeyore collection, the only downside was not being able to enter any Radio Disney contests – a small price to pay for so many perks!

But coming back to the Disney passes, we would get out of school early on Friday (or other odd days as well), climb in the car only for dad to ask how we’d feel if mom met us down at the park for some dinner and a few rides.

Every few years, we’d get to fly out and run around all the Florida parks for a week or two.

I am not writing any of this to brag – I’m really not! – but to explain the absolute amazing feeling you get as a Disney fan walking through Disneyland, Paris.

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Quick shot of Paris Parks. January 2016.

First off, getting to the park from the city is really easy – one of the trains ends right by the entrance – and you can (read: should) buy these tickets at least the day before.

There are two parks: Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Paris and both are small and easy enough to get through in a day – two if you have little ones or go in peak seasons.

I don’t need to go into too much detail (if you have been to one park, you’ll understand pretty much all the attractions), but the real highlights were in the aesthetics.

Paris has the most beautiful park. The castle is huge and includes a stained glass, storybook tour of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and a mechanical dragon in the caverns below. The rest of the park has you wandering the world from the American Wild West to the vivid color and futuristic structures of Discoveryland. Even in the Studios park, each land has a huge amount of space which feels like pieces of your favorite Disney films come to life – Ratatouille took my breath away!

Then, for you princess inclined little ones (really only princesses except for the odd Robin Hood or Star Wars characters), there are the costumes. The dresses sold in Disneyland Paris are stunning. While you can buy cheaper outfits in the parks and downtown Disney, the costumes sold in the park have no character buttons and are beautifully built – think proper materials and pleating, even petticoats.

I wanted one!

If you do choose to get your little one(s) a dress, I recommend thinking about longevity as well as how cute your tiniest tot will look prancing around like their favorite princess. They do cost a pretty penny so you’ll really want to get some use out of them.

If you do buy one for the day, you’ll find the best selection behind the castle and kitty-corner to the salon which can finish off your princess(es)’ look.

Anyway, I could go on and on about these parks, as I could for most Disney parks, but if you are in Paris and a fan, this is the most beautiful park you’ll probably see with many hidden gems worth the day trip out of the city.

Next time around, I’ll wrap up Paris but until then, fangirl out and travel well.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

 

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Disneyland, Paris

Hello, Sweetie

Cardiff revisited: a nerdy day trip

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Did someone call for the Doctor? Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff, Wales. January 2016.

As I wrap up my nerd-tastic week following Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, I feel it is only fitting to revisit another geek-centric trip I recently conducted: a quick day trip to the Doctor Who mecca: Cardiff, Wales.

If you haven’t been, this is in no way an exaggeration.

The amount of questions which started with “As you may or may not know, Doctor Who fans regularly make pilgrimages to Cardiff…” And if you are a Doctor Who fan, this is a trip you will truly want to make.

A few years ago, during Matt’s time as the eleventh Doctor, I was able to go to BBC’s walk through show and exhibition- The BBC’s Doctor Who Experience – which was great fun for fans of all ages.

But for our older fans (well, fine, the young one’s too), the tour has stepped up its game. As the twelfth Doctor has taken over our screens, Capaldi has taken over Doctor Who Experience, making it a darker and much more sarcastic ride through all your favorite monsters.

I won’t write much more than this here as I don’t want any spoilers slipping out, just get here and trust me.

TXAV9005As a fan of fashion and cosplay, I am also a huge fan of the museum half of the tour which is currently flooded with Clara Oswald costumes. This is the half where you can take as many pictures as you want and get great cosplay ideas – trust me the pictures and first hand viewing helps – for a variety of characters.

And again, for us older fans (and this time I mean it!), find and watch Torchwood then give yourself some time to wander the varied locations across Cardiff Bay, especially Ianto’s memorial wall. This is one stop we hit every visit as the memorial changes constantly – as a fan, it really is quite the experience.

If you are interested in the other Doctor Who experiences – the unofficial kind like filming locations – there are a million and one lists of Who universe  locals to search out, however, you will need a car to get to many. For some ideas check out my other Doctor Who posts where I detail other locations.

But until next time, keep your nerd flag high.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Hello, Sweetie

2 weeks, 7 planes.

Making things as easy as possible: pack a carry on!

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Framing Independence. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. January 2016.

These last few weeks have been crazy moving from Los Angeles to London, Cardiff, Paris and back before shooting back and forth from Philadelphia.

While the long flight to and from London was straight, Philadelphia was layover after layover. I don’t mind layovers but when they’re no longer than an hour between, even in small airports, you don’t want to risk loosing your luggage, especially on a business trip.

So my biggest bit of advice: pack a backpack and a carry on and make that work.

While it is a bit annoying to carry both bags with you, rather than a single backpack, loosing luggage for short trips (or even slightly longer ones) are completely out of the question.

I’ve already written about packing for weeks at a time with as little as possible, but I never thought I’d manage it packing for business and the cold. For me, I managed a pair of jeans, trousers, leggings, three sweaters, a few shirts, a pair of work shoes and a purse all in a suitcase smaller than the requisite dimensions.

It’s all about HOW you pack it all.

I rolled everything, stored a good chunk of rolled sweaters in the purse, and undies in the shoes that fit easily in my backpack. As long as you can eventually get an iron, you’ll be fine.

So, pack well, travel smart, and until next week:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

2 weeks, 7 planes.

Wrapping up London….

The play I almost missed but am so glad I didn’t…

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One last night. London, England. January 2016.

Anyone who has been keeping up with me knows that my schedule has been more than hectic. Tonight, I am writing from Philadelphia but wrapping up all my time in London with a final look at one of London’s overlooked treasures…. especially for anyone who loves a good story, a good play, and a good mystery.

For anyone who isn’t aware, London’s Saint Martin’s Theatre, located between the Covent Garden and Leicester Square stations, holds the record breaking run for the longest running production of Agetha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

In fact, this is the only place you can watch this play and discover the ending to the mystery.

The play is a fun labyrinthe of twists and turns set against the backdrop of a newly opend boarding house and a sudden murder spree. My favorite part is the fact that after 60+ years of near constant showings, audiences still agree to not share the ending.

This theatre holds the rights to put on the production which means that you can only access it within the theatre. Apparently, the contract states that until the theatre stops it’s production, they hold all the rights, meaning no print or film version may be made.

Still, this is a play that – at least in my circles – was little known. For those who did know about it, most hadn’t been able to go and see it. But you should!

Saint Martins is a small, easily accessed theatre. The tickets can be a bit pricey for those on student budgets – this is London after all – but you can usually get last minute tickets, especially for weeknights.

I really do recommend this show as it’s something only London can offer you and is a true historical staple in the world of London theatre. It also helps that this thriller is immensely entertaining.

But this wraps up my London life, at least for the present, but it’s onward and upward from here – or at least that’s the hope!

Don’t forget to check out my lifestyle blog every Thursday – a month in and I’m sticking to it – but until then:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Wrapping up London….