righting a wrong.

Like so many others I still can’t get over what a massive pile of poo “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was, even a whole year later. It has torn a hole in me. So, to start off National Novel writing month, I’m going to attempt to make it better in my mind by writing down my thoughts on what would make Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a better story.

But first, I have to right some of my own wrongs! I was- and still am- very very ill when writing this and it turns out I got some things wrong :S It doesn’t really change my opinions on it, my brain was just getting really muddled and I’m very grateful that a friend corrected me before more people read this, so thank you and here’s the corrected version 🙂

  1. Get Scorpius out of Slytherin. He doesn’t belong in there. He belongs in either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. He’s an amazing character full stop. He doesn’t show the traits to be a Slytherin- ambition and wiles. His Father Draco Malfoy showed it from his first encounter with Harry- he tries to make friends with the most famous wizard of their generation- a smart move if it would’ve worked. Besides, I think most Slytherins (apart from Albus it seems) wouldn’t really want to go on that crazy adventure. In fact, the only thing keeping Scorpius going on this adventure with Albus is his loyalty to his friend. Hufflepuff trait- tick! He also has a father who was very smart and could’ve passed on that gene- Scorpius certainly didn’t show that he wasn’t smart. Possible Ravenclaw trait- tick!
  2. Following on from point 1, at least one of the main characters should be in either Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. It would be a good homage to these houses to have an important character in at least one of them. We as fans already know a ton about Slytherin and not putting either Albus or Scorpius into Gryffindor kind of made sense even if Albus shows way more Gryffindor traits than Slytherin. And we already know from “19 years later” that he wouldn’t have chosen Slytherin. He was very opposed to the idea of being there. I think it would’ve made way more sense if he chose either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw because he didn’t like the idea of the other two houses but then again, he doesn’t have many traits to go into Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw… so we’re left with him in Slytherin again. Anyway, I really think it’s time to  let us have a main character in a minority house for once! Let us know the ins and outs of the house common rooms, let us have an idea of what else makes the other houses tick apart from being smart and loyal.
  3. Don’t call it “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Just “The Cursed Child” will do. We’ve said goodbye to H.P. It was painful. Don’t make us do it again. Make us fall in love with new characters, don’t distract us with old ones.
  4. Don’t ignore very obvious and set in stone law. It clearly states that Voldemort could not possibly love and was only interested in him and himself alone. He was clearly not interested in creating any heirs and wouldn’t have been satisfied if anyone but himself could be the ruler of the world. Don’t make the main villain in one story go against the core of his very being for your story just because you weren’t imaginative enough to come up with a new one.
  5. Bringing back time turners. I think the one think the original Harry Potter didn’t really need was time travel but JK Rowling did it suuuper well and Prisoner of Azkaban was amazing so oh well. But Cursed Child showed what can happen if you mess around with time. ALL the Time turners were destroyed, lets not make an excuse to go time traveling. However, I do agree with the play. Wizards would totally make time turners again. But I don’t think they would’ve done it in the same way as Cursed Child. For simple fixes a few hours into the past, the device is a fairly innocent one. And if they did make new ones, the screening process for giving them out would be a lot more rigorous and they would have some very heavy and complex protective charms in place to protect them. (Not the type that could be solved by two eleven year olds). Each one would also be in constant supervision to make sure you’re not going back too far, it would be easy for wizards to put enchantments on objects to detect misuse of said object.
  6. The Trolly lady is. Just. A. Trolly. Lady. You know what else could’ve made those two crazy kids stay on the train far more effectively than a crazy robot lady? Enchantments. Harry Potter is not set in a sci-fi universe. It’s magical, there’s witches and wizards. The quidditch pitch has enchantments around it to stop the Snitch from escaping. Hogwarts has enchantments around it to stop muggles from coming in. The triwizard cup had enchantments around it to stop people below a certain age from going near it. I’m pretty sure the Teachers at Hogwarts could’ve figured out how to place enchantments around the train to stop the students from jumping off it.
  7. Lastly, don’t make Hermione the Minister for Magic. There, I said it. It’s not that I don’t think she would be able to do it. I think she’d be perfectly capable and would  have people begging her to take up the position much like Dumbledore. Why wouldn’t they? She’s smart, she’s talented and she understands the wizarding law better than most. But I really don’t think it’s in her character to take on the position. For one thing, she knew that Dumbledore wouldn’t take it on and that must’ve had some impact on her, she really respected Dumbledore and I believe she would’ve thought about why he didn’t take on the role as well. Secondly, I think she would want to spend her time researching and learning more. That’s what Hermione’s passion is after all. Before she started school, she learned all the textbooks off by heart. Learning is very important for her and she knows that if she has an important job like ruling the wizarding community of Britain then she wouldn’t have much time for learning any more.

*huff huff* I think I covered it. I think that’s it. Did I miss anything out? How would you change it? Do you think of these characters differently? I would love to hear your views on what would make The Cursed Child a way better book!

 

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The ULTIMATE GUIDE to Disneyland Paris

Including reviews of EVERYTHING we did, advice and recommended day plans.

 

Overall thoughts:

My husband and I went to Disneyland for the first time in August Half term 2017 for two days and had an incredible time! I’ve seen loads of recent one star reviews on Tripadvisor that are simply baffling. The only reason anyone could possibly hate this magical place is if they don’t plan their trip properly and leave their brains at the turnstiles as they enter the park. So by reading my guide to DLP I really hope you come back from your trip as happy as we were.

The experience we were after is probably different to yours, so although I will go into so. Much. Detail. Go and do research on your own of things you would really like to do. The main differences will probably be that we weren’t too bothered about actually meeting characters and we weren’t all that excited about the Star Wars area in discoveryland. We wanted to have a nice explore, go on some rides and feel some Disney magic that you wouldn’t get in other theme parks.

Advice for getting the best experience:

Firstly, do your research. You’re paying about £100 a ticket, why on earth would you go if you don’t know anything about it? But to be honest, if you’re reading this guide then you are researching, so I don’t need to explain that too much.

One of the main things we learned is to not get too bogged down with your plans. Don’t be afraid to wander from land to land as you find the best waiting times. Most importantly, don’t stick with your original plans if that would mean queueing for too long or joining a queue for a ride that’s broken down (we did see people do this which is just crazy!). Just go with the flow, set yourselves limits and be sensible.

Also, arrive EARLY!! Get there an hour early. If you don’t, you will miss out on getting into the park when it actually opens and therefore miss out on getting the best waiting times for the most popular rides. Yes, you will need to queue to get into the park no matter when you enter. The best thing to do is get the train because it pretty much lands you slap bang in the middle of the two parks. Or get a Taxi or stay near the parks. Just please, please, don’t. Drive. Judging by the bad reviews on Tripadvisor, most of the worst experiences start with “we drove in and got to the entrance at 10am”.

We went for 2 days, for us this was enough. More than that and we would’ve been Dinsey’d-out. What was really worth it was going to Paris for a day in-between. We actually went to Paris the day after our second day in Disneyland as well. This is so nice as you get to see some amazing sights and you have a good break from all the ruckus. To do this, we got a week train ticket which was about 30 euros each (well worth it) and a hotel halfway between Paris and Disneyland. Doing this was perfection!!

I’m not going to put the full guide here because it’s like 15 pages long… So instead I’ll put a set of links here to the other parts of the guide and you can decide which parts to read if you don’t want to read them all 🙂

Answers to questions we had before visiting the park

Day plans based on our thoughts and what we did.

Reviews of the places we ate at

Shortcuts and bad weather walkways (this post isn’t mine, it was just very useful to us so I’m linking it here. Thanks to Laura for writing this! You made our trip much easier!)

Rides and attractions- ratings and thoughts 

 

Rides and attractions at DLP- what to expect

Rides and attractions- ratings and thoughts (contains minor spoilers, I will warn you when a review has a spoiler, don’t worry!)

* = It was awful, don’t do it!

** = You might as well do it

*** = Worth seeing but not worth long queue times

**** = Should be a high priority on your list

***** = A must see attraction.

Something you should know: I am a big wimp when it comes to rides, I don’t like sharp turns or going upside-down so if I like a ride, it doesn’t do any of that 🙂 I will also say if a ride does anything that I found remotely scary in another way.

Pirates of the Caribbean: ***** AAAAAAH I cannot express how perfect this ride was!! Okay so it’s not the most thrilling ride in the world… it does have small moments but it’s no roller coaster. The best bit is obviously the theme. You need about a million eyes to catch everything, even the smell is reminiscent of being out at sea. If you’re familiar with the films you really cannot miss this.

Big thunder mountain: ***** If it wasn’t for Pirates, this would be my favourite ride in the park. It’s thrilling without being scary, the theme is great and the views it gives you of the park are incredible. Also, it’s much longer than loads of other roller coasters I’ve been on (but to be honest, this is true of every ride at DLP apart from the kids rides).

Hollywood Tower of Terror: ***** So I was really nervous to go on this ride but honestly, it’s delightful! Obviously if you don’t like drop rides, don’t go because that’s literally all it does. However, the ride technically isn’t a drop ride as it actually pulls you down faster than gravity which sounds scary but isn’t. This effect lifts you from your seat giving you a completely different ride experience from drop rides and although the drops were high they didn’t feel long because of this. The story is really good and the feeling it gives you is very pleasant. It left me giggling with delight all the way through and wanting to go back on… which we did!

Ratatouille: My husband’s rating: ***** My rating: **** The only reason I rated this lower than my husband is because Ratatouille is his favourite disney movie (drawing with Tangled- he has good taste!) and I didn’t like the actual ride as much as him. This ride is all about perspective as you’re shrunk down to the size of a rat and have an experience similar to what happened to Remy throughout the movie. I found some bits a teeny tiny bit scary but felt very safe the whole time, the ride is really smooth due to it being trackless and the visuals are absolutely stunning. It’s also good to have so much “interaction” with the characters as you’re kind-of being taken through the ride by them. My husband hugely enjoyed this ride and said he would give it 6 or seven stars if he could!

Seeing Maleficent: **** So if you didn’t know, something that it exclusive to DLP is that you can go under the castle and see Maleficent in her dragon form. It’s really cool to see and very unique.

Swiss Family Robinson tree house: **** This is a great little bonus if you’ve seen the film. (We watched the film especially so we would get the references and I would recommend this). It’s also open for a long time and incredibly beautiful in the dark.

Crush’s coaster: **** Duuuude, how could you not love a ride that has Crush in it? This ride has a great queue line, beautiful introduction, and a thrilling middle and end. I found that it was just at my limit as it was quite dark for the scarier parts which I didn’t really appreciate. But it really feels like you’re going down the e.a.c. and was very smooth and pretty overall.

Buzz Lightyear’s laser blast: ***.5 (couldn’t decide between 3 and 4 stars) A great ride for big kids, really nice interaction throughout the ride. The scenes it takes you through are very well done. The reason why it’s got 3 stars is because neither of us found it as interesting and cool as some of the other rides. Also the ride kept on stopping whilst we were on it which I know is usually unavoidable in a theme park and probably won’t happen to you but it did down-grade the experience somewhat.

Peter Pan: *** Peter pan’s ride was the biggest -and pretty much only- disappointment we had. The theme is lovely and very well executed, but we didn’t think it deserved all the hype it gets from other guests. The ride itself felt bumpy, jerky and uncomfortable. Considering that you’re meant to be flying in a ship, it didn’t make any sense to us why Disney wouldn’t update it to be a smoother ride for a more immersive experience. The other downside was the length, compared to the other rides it was pretty short and for a 40+ minute waiting time (it broke down whilst we were waiting in the queue) it just didn’t feel very worth it in the end.

Aladdin’s passage: *** If you did have to wait for this, it wouldn’t be worth it but you pretty much never have to wait which is nice. I actually really loved this, it’s a short walk-through with moving displays depicting different scenes from Aladdin’s story. It was just really nice to have a break from being in the hot sun and looking at interesting displays of one of our favourite Disney movies.

Studio Tram tour: *** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. A good word for the tram tour would be “dated”. It looked like it hadn’t changed since it was first made. Something about that had an odd sort of charm to it though. Also really interesting if you like the ins and outs of how some bits of movies are put together and like to see props from movies.Elisabeth’s warning for wimps going on the Studio Tram tour:

I might’ve been fine on Tower of Terror, I definitely wasn’t fine on this! The tram tour rocks you back and forth at one point and is quite disconcerting of you don’t like surprises. It feels like you’re going to get tipped off the road and I cried the whole time and was very shaken up!

Pirate beach and galleon: *** This was a nice thing to do for a bit of fun but it wasn’t overwhelming. It was just cool to be actually in a story instead of looking at it.

Sleeping Beauty’s castle interior: *** I feel like me and my husband would’ve enjoyed this a lot more had we seen Sleeping beauty recently. It takes you through the story with pretty pictures of certain scenes and was nice but not overly interesting.

Alice’s curious labyrinth: *** This was a fun and whimsical walk through/maze. I say walkthrough/maze… you can’t reeaally get lost in it. Everything looks fresh and pretty and the castle at the end is also quite interesting.

Phantom Manor: *** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. If you’re afraid of getting serious spooks on this ride, don’t be. Nothing jumps out at you and the ride doesn’t do anything crazy. It’s just a tour of scenes from a kind-of story with general halloweeny things like cobwebs, ghosts and skellingtons. The effects and visuals are very well done though and I enjoyed it as I love spooky things.

Thunder Mesa: *** Just a very pleasant, slow boat ride. It does have little things that you can’t see if you don’t go on which gives the experience some added value. The boat itself also looks lovely!

Hyperspace mountain: *** Unfortunately for me, this space mountain is the only one in any disney park that goes upside down so I didn’t ride. My husband did however, he said that it would’ve been quite good had it been in any other park but as it was in Disneyland, it failed in comparison to the other rides in terms of theming. If you’re only going on it for Star wars, don’t. You don’t see many Star Wars characters or things, it’s just ships shooting and some stars here and there. Also not the most comfortable of rides.

Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster: *** This ride goes upside down so I didn’t ride but my husband did. Again, he said that in any other park it would’ve been good but because it didn’t have a strong theme it’s just not as good as the other rides. This was your typical launch coaster experience, in the dark with aerosmith music playing. Also not the most comfortable of rides.

Le pays des contes de fées: *** This was delightful, the only reason it’s got 3 stars was that it’s not extremely interesting. It’s just very serene and you get to see some things that you wouldn’t see on Casey Junior. It’s was nice to see some scenes from lesser known Disney movies and very refreshing to not see any Frozen things for once! Also, there are some scenes that are just from fairy tales that weren’t made into films which was lovely and surprising.

Carouselle: ** I went on this at night which was just magical. The music on this ride is fantastic, playing traditional carouselle covers of disney princess songs. It made me feel very warm inside! But it’s a maximum of 3 minutes long which is sad as when you get on you feel like you’re more or less getting straight off again… so, if it’s got a short queue, do it but if it’s a long wait, just watch it from the railings and listen to the lovely music.

Mad hatters tea cups: ** This is also beautiful at night, all the lanterns are lit and the mirrored ceiling gives it a really nice look. Sadly, this ride is about the same length of the carouselle or shorter so again isn’t worth long waits.

Les Mysteres: ** We didn’t have any clue what this was about so we weren’t very interested. However, if you know the background I think you’d have much more appreciation for it. It was just nice for us to get out of the heat and look at good displays.

 

You may have noticed that nothing we went on has a one star review. I find this extremely impressive even for Disney. We thought that everything had a good place and was entertaining and worth it in some way. To be honest, I think this is one of the only parks that I’ve thought that literally everything was worth doing to props to you Disney!

food at DLP- what we experienced

All the food we ate was great. We might’ve been lucky but I don’t think so as we went to four different places and they were all of a good price, quality and the staff were either just doing their jobs or going above the line of duty which usually is strange for french waiters as their culture dictates giving you space above doting on your every need. They were also very patient with you ordering your food and helpful if you don’t speak any french. The atmosphere and servers were way way better than most fast food restaurants you get in England. (Also, we did get all the unhealthy options as we were treating ourselves but there are quite good healthier options as well such as side salads and fruit cups)

Agrabah *** (Adventureland) -The theme is amazing and the food is incredible. Yes, it’s expensive but I would say it’s worth it and so would my husband. The food has great variety and is of a high quality, if you’ve got VERY fussy eaters there is little choice as it’s mainly “oriental” food. Also great because of the all you can eat aspect. I wouldn’t go back again but that’s only because if I was lucky enough to visit DLP again, I would want to pay the same and experience a different theme. A bonus here is if you’re VERY lucky a character from the film may come and visit the restaurant. However, be aware that this is rare and if you’re in a different part of the restaurant you might not even realise they’re there. They didn’t come in when we were there. The service was also friendly and patient here and I got another ears compliment!

Cowboy cookout barbecue ** (Frontier L.) -If you get a chance, go down during lunch when the band is playing because we didn’t and we thought the atmosphere would’ve been lot’s better if we did! The food was the best “cheap food” option I’ve ever had at a theme park. We had the Chicken with wedges, a brownie and orange juice with an extra beignet on the side. The wedges were the best wedges we both have ever had- in and out of a park. The chicken was also really well cooked and seasoned. We didn’t eat the brownie straight away but that turned out to be a good thing as it had gotten nice and gooey in the heat, haha! The Beignet was massive and tasted alright but I didn’t think it was worth the price. Orange juice is very nice as well. I want to give a special shout out to the lady that served us here, she was smiley, happy, patient and just absolutely delightful and helpful. She even complimented the mickey ears I was wearing. Her service didn’t seem fake at all, she didn’t stop smiling after she served us and she wasn’t over the top.

Restaurant des coulisse * (Front Lot- studios) -Try and get the seat overlooking the “street”. We were queue jumped and were quite annoyed at missing that opportunity!! The food is very similar to that of McDonalds. We both got a Chicken burger with fries, a brookie and orange juice. Again, the Chicken burger and fries were extremely similar to McDonald’s but the brookie was really enjoyable and unique. Again, the orange juice was the same as the other fast food places and very nice.

Colonel Hathi’s Pizza outpost * (Adventureland) – We only went here because we wanted something different than a burger and wanted to go somewhere with a theme we liked. The music here is delightful and from the film (just without words) and the theme is very nice with jungle vines and other displays throughout. We got the three cheese pizza with garlic bread, mini ice cream and orange juice. The Pizza was comparable with very good shop-bought pizza. The garlic bread was just your average-joe garlic bread and the mini ice cream was very enjoyable but again, isn’t unique to disneyland. The orange juice was the same as the other places. The only thing I thought was a nice disney touch to this meal was that the Pizza was in a star shape, haha! If you can, try to get a seat on the terrace for a very nice atmosphere. Bonus: some of the green chairs have cushioned bottoms and are really comfortable!

Overall, the restaurants were of a higher standard than I expected, especially when put against the other parks we’ve eaten at. The only downfall were the snack items. I was already coming in with a not so great outlook on Disneyland Paris snacks as they didn’t seem as fun, unique and numerous as the other Disney parks around the world. However, it was a bigger disappointment than I’d expected. I had two simple snacks that I wanted to try that I thought they’d have: blue popcorn especially for the 25th anniversary and something Mickey shaped. The blue popcorn I saw on a youtube video so I was quite sad when I didn’t see it at any of the popcorn stands. And you’d think that any Disneyland would have something Mickey shaped that wasn’t sold out or completely naff but no. The only mickey shaped thing we saw were chocolate coated apples with marshmallows on top which I thought wasn’t worth it seeing as I could easily re-create this at home.

As I say though, the restaurants are really quite nice. But the food overall was a little disappointing considering you’re a 20 minute train ride to one of the biggest foodie cities of all time.

recommended plan for the best 2 days at DLP

This is our day plan of Disneyland Paris edited to what we did in the parks and what we thought of each thing. Some of it is in a different order than what we actually did due to rides having technical issues or long queuing times. You should note that every time it says “meet character” here, we didn’t actually meet them, we just stared awkwardly and took pictures of them between seeing other guests. I go into these experiences more in my questions and answers post.

* = Worth seeing if you’ve got spare time

** = Very good, worth seeing

*** = Must see

Day 1:

9:00am Queue to get tickets- make sure you exchange anything you have for actual tickets which is what we had to do as we only had a pre-paid voucher. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to ask to avoid any disappointment when queuing to get in.

10:00am Enter Walt disney studios park- we were lucky in that the whole park and all the rides opened at 9:30. This also happened at Disneyland but anything that hadn’t been opened for early magic hours  was shut until 10. However, it is still worth it to wait at the short cut 1 entrance to Frontierland for half an hour to get to Big Thunder mountain (day 2).

 

Head over to Toon studio

                                                     Popular ride: Crush’s coaster *** Go straight there, don’t look back, don’t get distracted! Some people run… don’t do that. If you don’t go here first you’ll end up waiting for over an hour at all times of the day without fail.

Fast passes needed: Ratatouille the adventure *** (we did single rider, really worth it if you can’t get a fastpass)

Mickey and the Magician*** (lasts 20mins)

 

Head over to Backlot

Fast Pass needed: Rock ’N’ Roller coaster * (this is my husband’s rating as I hate rides that go upside down.)

Meet Spiderman*

 

Go to Production courtyard

Fast Passes: Twilight zone Hollywood tower of terror *** (to be honest, you don’t usually need a fastpass for this because the wait time doesn’t usually go above 30 mins)

Meet Captain Jack (or friends) ** (we didn’t actually go and see him at all but I know I would’ve enjoyed to at least see him from a distance)

Studio Tram Tour * (see rides reviews for a warning about this ride.)

3pm consider leaving Walt Disney studios park

 

Enter Disneyland!

Do anything that either has good waiting times or is something you really want to see. (Just in case you miss it on day 2.) We went on and saw: Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s ride, The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, the Pirate area in adventureland, the castle and underneath and just had a general explore.

An hour before the parade head over to where you want to stand for it. The best position is on the corner just before the finish (near Fantasyland).

5:30pm Parade *** We LOVED the parade!!! Really worth going twice, the second day we got a front row view!

Explore round the park.

 

Suggestion- A night ride on the Carousel **– quite short but very magical! Only really worth it if 20 mins or under waiting time.

10pm Head down in front of the castle for the lights show

Suggestion- sit on a bench and when the show starts stand on the bench! We didn’t do this but apparently it’s allowed (stated by a guest online). We were lucky, on this day everyone stayed sat down so we all got a good view.

11pm (Park close, this happens at different times depending on when you go in the year) Light show *** DO THIS TWICE! It’s soooo beautiful and you may get better seats or a different view the second day.

If you leave with the crowds, you may get a chance to wave at Mickey who might be standing on the balcony of the Hotel. If you stay where you are until most of the guests leave you can get really good pictures of the castle at night but may miss Mickey. We did both!

 

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Day 2

9:00 am get tickets and queue at entrance

10:00 am enter Disneyland!

Head over to Frontierland and get to Big thunder mountain as fast as possible, get on or get fast passes. We did this and waited about 10 minutes! You WILL NOT get on if you go ANY later than the park opening… Unless you want to wait for over an hour!!! (See shortcut number 1 in shortcuts section)

 

Frontierland

Fast Passes needed: Big thunder mountain ***

Forest of enchantment musical adventure (20mins) ** (we did this in the afternoon- check the times)

Phantom Manor **

Thunder Mesa River Boat **

Meet Woody * on the way to the train station

If you can get the train from here to Fantasyland, it’s lovely and there’s a cool surprise at the end!

 

Fantasyland

Sleeping beauty’s castle *** and see maleficent *** (For good pictures of you and the castle with no one else in shot go to the left of the castle, there’s a photo op point that’s usually empty)

Alice’s curious labyrinth **

Le pays des contes de fées **

Carousel **  (at night is best)

Popular rides: Peter pan ride *

Mad hatters tea cups * (In the evening it might be five minutes wait. If so, then it’s worth it!)

Meet Queen of Hearts *

Discoveryland

Fastpass needed: Buzzlightyear **

Les Mysteres under sea tour *

Fast Passes Needed: Hyperspace mountain * (This is my husband’s rating as I hate rides that go upside down.)

 

Adventureland

Popular rides:  Pirates of the Caribbean ***

Swiss family treehouse (worth visiting again when it’s dark, sooo pretty!)***

Pirate beach and pirate galleon! **

Aladdin’s passage **

Meet Peter Pan (and/or friends) *

Meet Aladdin (or friends)*

 

An hour before the parade head over to where you want to stand for it. The best position is on the corner just before the finish. (near Fantasyland)

5:30pm Parade *** (your time may be different)

After the Parade, we headed back to the Studio park to do two of our favourite rides: Tower of Terror and Ratatouille. We entered back into Disneyland at around 7:30 and explored Main street.

 

Suggestion- climb the castle in the evening light. -We didn’t do this but apparently you get a lovely view of the park. We thought the Swiss family Robinson tree house was better for a pretty sight in the dark.

10pm Head in front of the castle for light show

Suggestion- sit on a bench and when the show starts stand on the bench! -We didn’t do this but apparently it’s allowed. (stated by a guest online)

11pm- Light show ***

Answers to questions we had before visiting Disneyland Paris

Can you get on lots of rides in one day?

Definitely. On both days we got on a minimum of 7 rides so when you read the “we only got to go on 2 rides the whole day” comments they’re just not playing it right. The 7 rides also doesn’t include us going to shows, climbing the tree house, exploring the maze etc. Also we went at possibly one of the busiest times of the year. We never settle for waiting times over 60 minutes and that was definitely possible here.

Is it easy to see characters if you don’t want to wait in line for them?

Yes! There are characters in shows, the parade and sometimes walking through the park to get to a break area. Disneyland Paris makes it really possible to get photos of characters if you don’t mind not interacting with them. There is a small chance that you’ll get interaction at the parade but usually only if you’re at the front. As I have said, we didn’t really want to wait to greet characters but I got a high-five off Aladdin as he was walking back to his station, several blown kisses from fur characters on the parade and a couple of waves and smiles/eye contact from face characters on the parade as well.

 

Are French Cast Members as rude as everyone seems to think they are?

No! No no no no no nooooo. I was really confused at all the horrible comments the French cast members get from guests online. I thought “surely they wouldn’t be rude at a park” and I was right. The cast members were all delightful, organised and helpful. What everyone seems to misunderstand is French service in general. Disney is often confused with the American “can I be your best friend” type of service which you just won’t get in France. Frankly, I’m glad of it. I can’t stand American service but that’s another matter. French service is not “I just want to ignore you and do my job” it’s all about giving you space and respecting your bubble. But if you require more from them, they are always there to help and assist where possible. The main difference between the in-your-face American service and the quiet, respectful French service is that the French cast members were all very genuine. I go into this more in the food section.

Are the shows worth it?

Yessss absolutely!! I thought I wouldn’t want to see any shows at Disneyland but boy was I wrong! We went to see Mickey and the Magician, Mickey’s introduction of the 25th anniversary and The Forest of Enchantment. All were fantastic (especially Mickey and the magician) and a great way to see characters as well. It’s also a nice way to get some rest whilst doing/seeing something. The only thing is that if you want to see the shows, you should arrive about 20mins-30mins before but it’s so worth it!

How long does it take to get from land to land?

I was desperate to find this out and nobody had the answer so here it is: It takes a maximum of 10 minutes to get from land to land (within Disneyland). If you’re walking between two lands that are next to each other you’re talking 3-5 minutes. Please note that we didn’t have kids so weren’t burdened with slow walkers or pushchairs. It’s really easy and very advisable to jump from land to land to avoid being stuck with bad waiting times. To go from Disneyland to the studio Park takes a bit more time but if you’re doing it once or twice a day it’s no problem.

 

Here are some more obscure pieces of advice. This isn’t based on questions I had but more based on what we saw and learned whilst at the park:

At least try to speak or understand a little French or understand their culture.

It must be really hard to work in a place where you’re constantly talking in your secondary language. Therefore to give the cast members a bit of a break why not try at least saying hello, goodbye, and thank you in French? It’s easy to do and a nice gesture. You could even find out the number of your party going on rides to tell them in French how many you’ve got. Also, the shows and the rides have enough English in them for you to understand what’s going on so I think basic French like the things I’ve suggested is fine. It also must get tiring for them to get complaints about them doing things that they see as normal. For example, French waiters won’t be as cheesy or chatty as you might expect because that’s just not normal for them.

Have some snacks to munch on.

So you may have heard that you’re not allowed to picnic in the park which is true. However, you can take snacks into the parks. We went to a popular and amazing French supermarket called “Auchan” and bought these which I would really recommend:

La pailed’or- Strawberry jam wafer

Tuc cracks- sour cream and onion crackers

Twinuts- baked peanuts with different flavours

Vico Dixi riche en tomate- tomato flavoured crispy puffs

Madeleine- small cakes

At Auchan they always have cheaper “auchan” branded versions of these. It’s a really good opportunity to get different snacks you wouldn’t usually have at home.

Unless it’s rare and only available from DLP, don’t buy souvenirs.

So you’re thinking of going to Disneyland. Chances are then that you’d buy disney related things sometimes. Why would you buy them at Disneyland where everything is overpriced? The only item I got was a keychain in the shape of Mickey’s head with a “25” in the middle. I bought this as it’s an exclusive item only out for the 25th anniversary. All the other things in the shops you can buy on the online disney stores or at the disney stores near you. Remember, you may regret spur of the moment purchases that you wouldn’t do if you were anywhere else. If you stay in that mindset and always remind yourself “I could buy this somewhere else” then you’ll be fine.

Know that you are not the most important guest and Disneyland will treat every guest equally

This point may seem a bit ranty but I get so annoyed at people who seem to think they can just get away with anything. Keep this in your head throughout your stay: Disneyland doesn’t have any interest in making your day specifically the happiest day ever. Disneyland is interested in making everyone’s day the happiest day ever. Therefore, they must treat every guest the same. Lot’s of guests seem to think that they are the only ones who have paid a lot to be there and therefore deserve to do and see whatever they want whenever they want. Not. True. See, Disney is a HUGE corporation and if anything is fishy or out of line they could get extremely bad press. So you want in on a ride that is suffering technical difficulties? Not going to happen. You want to see your favourite princess even though it’s the end of her guest interaction time? No. Disney goes by strict rules and they are NOT going to cave in to customers who have the “I’m the center of the universe” syndrome.

Example of this kind of behaviour: 15 minutes before the parade we saw a man on the other side wanting to cross and he was stopped. Obviously for safety reasons, you are not allowed to cross a parade space. But he wasn’t having it and attempted to drive his pushchair onto the road right in front of the cast member and so the cast member put her foot in front of his wheel. He wasn’t happy at all about this and kept pointing at her and then at her foot and getting really in her face. Soon, a manager came and firmly stated to him that he wasn’t ever going to be allowed to cross so he’d better find another way around. (I don’t know what he actually said as I couldn’t hear any of it, he probably put it nicer than that). I was so so pleased!! So many times the underdog keeps the rules and calls the manager for support who then just caves in. Not this time! Her manager completely backed her up. I think this is a sign of a really good company who has no time for rule-breakers.

Don’t worry about not having loads of Disney knowledge, you’ll have a blast no matter how big of a fan you are.

So I was kind of worried about this as I’m not very familiar with some of the original princess movies like snow white or Sleeping beauty. And especially since I hadn’t really seen anything with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald or Daisy in it. But it didn’t matter at all! In fact, even though I didn’t really know the character, Mickey mouse is one of my favourites now that we’ve been to Disneyland.

However, we did watch some movies to prepare for it so if you want my recommendations (along with the ones we didn’t watch) here they are:

First of all, watch your favourite movie!!

Peter Pan

Swiss Family Robinson

Sleeping Beauty

Alice in wonderland

Pirates of the Caribbean

Ratatouille

Aladdin

Buy special ears from etsy

I bought these gorgeous ears from etsy:

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They got me so many compliments and made me feel so special when everyone else is wearing the same old ears!

I got the last pair of these but here’s the shop I bought them from: Sweet Creations 

If there are any more questions you have, please don’t hesitate to ask down in the comments and have an amazing time at Disneyland!!

 

Easy ideas for a Harry Potter party

A few years ago, I had the idea of throwing my Mum a Harry Potter bonanza! I say bonanza and not party because we didn’t have a lot of people round but it was a very magical day and she enjoyed it immensely! Some of the ideas I’ve seen online didn’t suit what I wanted for her day and I thought some of you might be in a similar situation so I thought I’d write about some of the ideas I had that went down a treat!

These ideas can be done using really simple methods or they can be done by going the extra mile, they can suit the situation you’re in. They can also be converted into things for a large group or for a small group. Let’s get started!

(I have had to crop and blur the photos where faces, names and other things are for the privacy of my family and friends)

  1. The layout of the day    This was really important for me, I didn’t want to just throw a party when her friends arrived, I wanted the whole day to be an experience. This can be done very simply, it just requires some preparation. I wrote a Hogwarts acceptance letter for her (which you can actually print out instead) h.p. party 1and I did another letter for her explaining what the day was about. hp party 2I also bought a mini Hogwarts trunk from etsy that was filled with lot’s of mini things like spell books, Hedwig and a potions set! (I also added Haggord’s keys)h.p. party 4To top it all off, I dressed up like Hagrid to wake her up and surprise her! (But I called myself “Haggord”.)I also made a timetable to loosely base the day off. h.p party 3It’s good to let who your throwing a party for know what they’re in for and it’s a nice little help for you as well. This also went really well with the school theme! Just don’t be too strict with the timetable, if a few things don’t start or finish at the time you want them to then it’s okay.
  2. Themed food    There are LOADS of Harry Potter related foods out there, but these are the ones I found easiest and tastiest. As this was for my Mum and I was living with my parents at the time, I had to prepare all the food the night before, so having easy food was very important. In the morning, I made her a poached egg very much like the one Ron had (or didn’t) before his first Quidditch match in the Half Blood Prince.
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    “Drapple” is an inside joke in the fandom so it’s a fun but healthy addition to the food! 

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    Cockroach clusters- melt some chocolate and mix it together with popcorn

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    Weasley’s Dragon Roasted Nuts- recipe here: http://inliterature.net/food-in-literature/2013/09/harry-potter-weasleys-dragon-roasted-nuts.html

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    Just plain old Chicken and ham sandwiches, Professor Mc Gonagall gives these to Harry and Ron in “The Chamber of Secrets” (the book) as they weren’t allowed into the great hall for the feast. This is a great one for testing the die hard fans knowledge!

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    I’ve got a friend who makes very nice pumpkin pasties but I simply didn’t have the time nor the talent so I just got Cornish one’s and called them “(not so) pumpkin pasties”!

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    Another one for if you want an excuse to add some more “normal” food. The weasley’s family owl Erol crashes into a bowl of crisps at lunch time in the Chamber of Secrets

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    My Mum likes to imagine that cauldron cakes are just a more magical way of saying pancakes, so I just filled up a plastic cauldron of American style pancakes. You can find lot’s of Halloween decorations to put food in at your local supermarket. Fortunately, we already have lot’s of these kind of things!

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    Of course I couldn’t miss out Hagrid’s legendary rock cakes (also just from the books). Hagrid is constantly making these for when Harry, Ron and Hermione come over, little does he know that they’re rock hard and the kids can’t eat them! Luckily, mine turned out edible! Here’s a good recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rock_cakes_03094

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    The little lightning scar sign reads “Harry’s Favourite” as every fan of the Harry Potter Books will know that he loves this sweet treat! Luckily, you can buy nice ones that aren’t overly expensive and it went down really well. 

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    For a drink, I made lot’s of orange juice, put it in a glass jug and told everyone that it was Pumpkin juice! Everyone likes to pretend sometimes and let’s face it, if you’re throwing a Harry Potter party everyone there will be kids or big kids! And of course, I couldn’t leave out jelly beans and sherbet lemons!

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    Then I put up this cute little sign over the oven and made Butterbeer for everyone. Here’s our favourite recipe: https://secretmenus.com/starbucks/secret-menu/butterbeer-latte-hot/ Warning: it’s SUPER sickly, so you might want to thin it out a bit if you don’t want everyone bouncing off the walls!

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    After dinner (which was the left over food we didn’t eat from lunch) we had this amazing cake made by a close friend of my Mum’s! (it was personalised with her name)

  3. Decorations     Obviously for any themed party decorations are a really important part. I had a lot of fun with these! Obviously there are some things that I’ve shown you already, all these things can easily be made on a computer but I drew all of my decorations to give it an extra personal feel, here goes!
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    So I introduced this after my Mum had breakfast. it’s just brick wallpaper pinned to the walls. It looks a little silly but it’s a great touch for the day! If you’re throwing a party, why not cover your door with this wallpaper instead?

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    Through the brick wall was this little sign I drew! (the Caution ghost crossing was just conveniently still up from Halloween) 

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    Next, I made my Mum go down the stairs sitting down as if it were a train. Because of this, I made this sign of the adorable trolley lady!

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    I actually made these shields ages ago, but again, I’m sure you can print off your own from images online and stick them onto cardboard. I also had the sorting hat and our stool, my Mum was in Hufflepuff!

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    In the same hall, I made these “Floating” candles. Roll up some thick white paper, stuff orange and yellow tissue paper down the top and tie them with fishing wire. Because our ceiling is white, I stuck them up with white tac. 

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    Even though my Mum’s in Hufflepuff, I decorated our living room to look like the Gryffindor common room as it’s shown and described more in the films and books. On the back of the door is the Notice board. I found this Proclamation poster at comic con.

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    I made these additional notices with a quill and ink. “Quidditch Tryouts start Saturday Come to the quidditch pitch at 10am sharp! No first years!”

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    “Second Hand spellbooks for sale… A history of magic- See Ryan Henry (13 Sickles)”… Fantastic beasts and where to find them for 5 sickles -see Podric Piles… The standard book of spells- Make me an offer! -Angus Motlart

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    “Reminder No magic is to be used in the corridors! -Argus Filch.”

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    I got some red candles and red potpourri to dot around the room. I also had a quill and ink so I displayed it here.

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    A gryffindor sign I got from etsy (it had a background of white cloth which I cut off) and a broomstick.

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    Crookshanks which I got from the Harry Potter studio tour and an Owl which me and my Mum call “Erol” I also got more red pillows for our living room.

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    To magic up our electric fire place, I drew this lively fire to stick on the front.

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    A Harry Potter card set which we already had and a chocolate frog box from the Harry Potter studio tour

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    I put this grumpy Moaning myrtle Ghost on the under side of our toilet lid!

  4. Activities     It’s no party without things to do. We watched Harry Potter ( I forget which one) during lunch time but that’s not all we did! For a lot of these, I had to ask for other people’s help but if you are doing it all on your own, with enough time I think you could do it.
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    In the morning before going through to platform 9 3/4 we went to Gryngotts so she could buy the rest of her supplies. This was my brothers room. I laid out these coins I made on his carpet and as he’s got a reputation in our family to be a little grumpy in the morning, I told my Mum to beware the dragon! She loved it!

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    After Gryngotts, I told her that I’d gone to Madame Malkin’s to get her robes and gave her a robe that a good friend from church made. Next, it was Ollivanders which was in my room. I laid out a dark sheet over my bed and put three wands on it. Then I pointed a lamp at the wands and turned it on so that’s all you could see. When my Mum waved the wrong wands I played some breaking glass sounds I downloaded onto my i-pod which I kept behind my back. When she got the right one, I played the music that plays when Harry finds his wand in the Philosipher’s stone. My Mum absolutely loved this!! 

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    After we went on the Hogwarts express and got sorted, we played gobstones! This is just like normal marbles (I drew a circle on the ground with flower) but when you get someone’s marble out of the circle you dip your hand in water and flick the water in your opponent’s face! This goes down a treat! 

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    After that, we played Quidditch in which someone hides a snitch and the “seeker” has to go and find it. I had planned a game where my Mum had to shoot balls through hoops in the garden but it was raining. After Lunch we had Potions! 

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    I gave my Mum a potions book and some ingredients and she made some potions in a cauldron I bought from a cute shop called Magically in Stratford Upon Avon. 

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    Then, it was onto Herbology. My Mum’s friend did this as she know a lot about plants. It was a lesson based on re-potting mandrakes! I called our teachers similar but silly names to the professors at Hogwarts, this was Professor Sapling!

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    We each had a pot and a little potato on a leaf (this was the mandrake)

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    We then put our potatoes in a pot with a some kind of seed or nut.

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    Then we covered them in “Magic soil”

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    On the top we put some leaves and berries and a peg with a name we chose for our mandrake. Every plant did have some kind of meaning but I’ve forgotten it but I think even without knowing what the plants are for, this is a really fun activity! 

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    Then our professor gave us little pots filled with nuts and seeds for us to eat. Our professor told us it was a potion made by mandrakes to stop us being petrified! 

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    Next up was divination class with my brother (a.k.a. Professor Treloony) who prepaired the lesson by doing some research into reading tea leaves. (My Family don’t drink actual tea, so he got us herbal tea instead which works just as well)

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    If we saw a shape on Professor Treloony’s list in our cup, he’d tell us what our fortune was!

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    After classes were done, we were ready to sign up to Dumbledore’s army with a real quill and ink!

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    After we had cake, we had a small show of Dr. Filibusters wet start no heat fireworks! 

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    At the end of a day at Hogwarts, we were all qualified witches and wizards, so we did some magic with sparklers!

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    Here are our Mandrakes after four weeks of being in their pots! 

    So there you have it. A great day and fun for everyone. I hope you found this list helpful, if you have any more suggestions or experiences from Harry Potter parties you’ve been to then please leave them in the comments, I’d love to read them!!