18/10/2017

Disney is my happy place!

I've not written anything for ages as it took me a while to get over the Disney trip! (See my previous post here all about it).  To be honest I've not really felt motivated to write but something I have realised since coming back is that Disneyland is most definitely my happy place.

My poor health is apparent all the time and I can't get away from permanently feeling rubbish. Alongside that usually comes feeling sad and the whole missing out on life thing, however I have noticed that despite having lots of not so nice stuff going on, generally I've been much happier. If I need to daydream and take myself somewhere away from it all in my mind, I think of Disney.

It's funny how one place can have such an impact and I really do feel like it's the happiest place in the world.

Disney magic really does exist!


Before we went I saw people talking about it in the same way and having experienced it, I now totally understand. I can't recommend it enough.  I also can't get enough of Disney movies, merch, vlogs etc etc.  You name it, if it's Disney I'm on to it!

I constantly want to be back there, to escape from reality and to be caught up in the bubble. Until then, I will continue to watch, purchase and dream of everything Disney!

Oh and isn't my new Donald plush cute! He's my favourite but sshhhh don't tell Mickey :-)



Ali 
xx

08/09/2017

Disneyland Paris August 2017. M.E and mobility scooter!

Well where do I start?!  We had our holiday to Disneyland Paris booked for 10 months before it was finally time to go.  I had experienced various wobbles about going and my initial instinct had been that there was no way with my illness and how I am that I would cope. However, after lots of information, advice and support from some fantastic people, I felt as prepared as I could be and off we went.


It was the first time I would be travelling with my mobility scooter so I was a little bit anxious about how it would go.  We flew with Jet2 and they require you to provide some information regarding the scooter beforehand.  Just basics like size and weight of it and they need details of the battery.  Mine is dry cell but if it's lithium it can be more complicated.  I had been suffering with anxiety about flying prior to travelling and again after advice and support, I put the techniques into place. My favourite one being if any thoughts pop into your head, tell them where to go!! My hubby's cousin also gave me some homeopathic remedies which seemed to help.  I actually watched the plane take off for the first time in forever (accidental Disney quote there!) and didn't have to squeeze anyone's hand either.  Unheard of with me!!!

The flight was only an hour so once we were up it was time to come down again.  All was good until there was some conflicting advice from the crew and the airport staff about whether I should stay on the plane to wait for my scooter (which is what I had told them I needed and I was ensured would happen) or get off and go into the terminal on the bus and they would put the scooter on the bus with me. That didn't happen and we ended up being sent on the bus but stuck in the terminal with no-one who understood what I was saying and no sign of the scooter. I got really upset and into a panic but eventually they brought the scooter and we could go. It had taken so long that ours was the only luggage still on the belt!!

We had booked transfers with Ezyshuttle who had been recommended and they were great. A nice "James Bond car" (according to my daughter) was waiting for us and the driver was lovely.  Really recommend them. It takes about 35 minutes to get to Disneyland, passing some pretty French houses on the way.

We were staying at the Sequoia Lodge hotel which has a Bambi theme.  We arrived and I don't think I (we!) could have been any more excited!!


We had booked the Golden Forest club level which has a private room for check in.  We were given all the information, park tickets and some pixie dust (random acts of kindness, my favourite!) in the form of some 25th anniversary badges. With Golden Forest you also get a lounge where a full buffet breakfast is served and the same lounge is used for snacks at a set time in the afternoon as well as unlimited free drinks up until 10pm. That means you can take bottles of water or cans of pop to your room and put in the fridge for the next day.  It's worth doing Golden Forest purely for that as it saves a fortune. You also get a fastpass per person per day, which can be used on certain rides.  Good for the others as I don't do big rides so they had to queue without me! Fastpasses meant they could get on quickly though and if you don't use them a certain day, the hotel will change them to use the following day.

We had an accessible room which was two interconnecting rooms. One with two double beds and the other a single bed and a bunk. There is a wet room as well as a bathroom with a shower over the bath. We had a lakeside view room and being on 7th floor, the view was fantastic!


It takes around 10/15 minutes walk to get from the hotel to the park depending on how fast you go. I often had my scooter on full speed but would have liked to go faster!! It's a lovely walk around the lake.


The Sequoia Lodge hotel is set in Woodland and birdsong music is played outside, which makes it feel really relaxed.  Also the reception level is actually on the 2nd floor but you can walk out of the main entrance doors at the front and follow the path round to the left which takes you to the lake. This means you can avoid having to use the other smaller lift from level 2 to ground and it doesn't take long at all.


One of the things you can get if you have a disability is a Green Pass which enables you to access both rides and meet & greets without the need to wait in the normal queue. It allows up to 4 people with you (other than at Illuminations the light and fireworks show, where you can have 2 people). There are various boxes on the pass and it depends on your disability as to which one gets ticked. Mine was being unable to stand or walk for long. We mainly used the exit of rides where a Cast Member would be and would help you on.

For meets with characters they have a certain amount of spaces and when they are gone they are gone, so you need to arrive early enough to either wait a short while or return at the time given. You go to City Hall in the main park to get the pass and can also use the Donald Duck desk in the studios I think. My Blue Badge (European Parking badge) was sufficient evidence but I know there are different things that will be accepted so it's worth having a look on the website for the information.  Link to website.

I couldn't have managed without the green pass.  Those of you who know me, or who understand what M.E is like, know how exhausted/disorientated I get and how fast, so not having to queue was so helpful. I was shattered enough as it was!!

We had a reservation the first night at the Hunters Grill buffet restaurant in the hotel (which was fab) so decided to wait until the next day to go into the parks properly.  There are a couple of security points as you go into the park/studios and you walk through the Disney Village which has various shops and food places.


It's so exciting as you get to the park entrance and once you go through the ticket machine you are there!  Apparently there is a disabled entrance to the very left but we didn't know about this although the queue moved fast so it wasn't a problem. You see Main Street in front of you and the castle right at the end. There is music playing and it's just magical.


The one thing we (well me and little Miss!) wanted to do on the first morning was meet Minnie.  We had worn our blue dresses with stars (obviously not hubby haha but my mum in law had joined in too!) for Disney's 25th anniversary theme to match the character's outfits. We found the Cast Member and there were only 2 families in front of us so we were told to wait and it was no time at all. Minnie was lovely and really liked what we were wearing!  So glad we met her, she's a babe.


We also had a Photopass which we had added to our booking before we went as it is a bit cheaper doing that than buying it there.  There are Photopass photographers at certain meets, on a selection of rides and a few in the park which we never saw unfortunately.  Once your photos have been taken they get added to your photos via the app each day and then once home you can print or whatever else you want to do with them.

After that it was time to explore and head to the castle which is just beautiful.  There is also a dragon under it which a lot of people don't seem to know about.


We did some rides and found the system with the Green Pass worked well.  I had a big list of tips and suggestions, including quieter places where I could sit and chill.  I had picked up these from various blogs, YouTube videos and from Disneyland Paris pages online.  My favourite one is Daniel Potter's Disneyland Paris advice on Facebook, which is a really lovely group and has so much fab information. I had bought some group badges from them before going and we actually got them in person from Daniel who was there with his lovely family at the same time! Funnily enough I recognised a few others from the group who were also there so we had a chat which was nice.

We had a meal booked at the Auberge de Cendrillon which is lunch with the Princesses at the Cinderella restaurant.  At the back of it is Cinderella's carriage which is gorgeous.


You are guaranteed four princesses and often two of the mice but sometimes Mickey or Minnie make an appearance. We had Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel and Cinderella with her mice Suzy and Perla.


We had a half board meal plan - the meal plans really confused me at first but once you get your head around it it's quite easy to understand. Basically we got one voucher per person per night which covers you for a 3 course set menu including a soft drink, which is usually a higher value than the voucher. Sequoia Lodge is a Plus level hotel therefore you can eat at any of the restaurants under Plus plan for no extra money. If you wanted to eat at one of the Premium places then you pay a top up which is what we had to do at the Auberge.  It is expensive but absolutely worth it for the interaction you get with the characters!  The food was lovely too.


It was really nice having a proper break during the day and we did the same the following day at the Ratatouille themed restaurant Bistro Chez Remy. We loved it here and the food was again brilliant.



I really recommend a sit down lunch somewhere as it really does help you recharge a bit.  There are lots of counter service/fast food places as well as proper restaurants so it depends what you want but if we go again we will definitely get another food plan.  Half board was enough for us though and I think full board would have been too much as I would have felt like we were spending too much time sitting and eating! I also couldn't have handled another restaurant as by afternoon I was flagging and ready for a nap but some people love having two sit down meals each day.  It all depends what suits you.




The character meet & greets were brilliant and we didn't have time for them all sadly, but we managed to meet loads still including the main man Mickey, Village Belle, Alice, Chip n Dale, Mary Poppins & her 2 penguins, Merida, Aladdin, Jasmine and The Genie.




I really wanted to meet Moana as I was Disneybounding as her and little Miss was bouding as Pua!  Anyone unfamiliar with bounding, it is where you dress inspired by the character and in the same colours as them but it's not fancy dress. Adults aren't allowed into the parks in fancy dress either.

We were lucky in that we were in the queue for the Studios opening and when we got to where Moana does her meet, we were given a time for about 20 minutes later to come back. She was so nice and loved our outfits!  I didn't realise until we got home that she had written "To Moana" in my autograph book and "To Pua" in my daughter's book!!



After that we explored the Studios but it was 33 degree heat and pretty unbearable so we did as many indoor things as we could.  We eventually gave up and headed back to the hotel for a rest!


The shows are amazing at Disney and the Mickey and the Magician show felt like we were watching something on the West End. We also saw the Forest of Enchantment show on the last day before we had to leave and it was brilliant. That has now finished and it won't be returning which is a shame.


All the details around Disney are gorgeous.  I could just sit and look at everything for hours. You always see new stuff and it just takes my breath away how pretty it all is.


The parade happens every day at 5.30pm and we went to the Disabled area at the entrance to the It's a Small World ride. My little girl dressed as the Queen of Hearts and had some good interaction from characters. Alice bowed to her when she saw her!!  We loved all the floats and the dancing.  Such talent!





Illuminations is the lights and firework show and as we were there in the Summer, it didn't start until 11pm. We had all had a rest for a few hours in the afternoon so went back to the parks late evening and did some rides before getting a spot in the disabled area.  It was packed a long time before it started and such a long wait but was well worth it. I found it quite emotional and at one point I cried. I had my girlie sat on the scooter with me and thought she said "I'm crying", so I told her I was too but she said "no, I'm tired!!!"  Bless her, it was pretty late!  Mickey was waving at everyone as we left the park too which was nice.




I could say so much more about it all but I am aware I have already written a LOT so I think I will end it here and perhaps do another post with more photos in soon.

I am still in the Disney bubble despite still recovering and I am definitely not feeling as sad as I usually am when the M.E is bad!! It's keeping me smiling that's for sure.


If anyone has any questions then please do not hesitate to ask as I've probably missed loads out.  If you are thinking of going but are apprehensive then I totally understand.  I coped a lot better than I expected and I want to go back already!  There is no reason why you can't go to Disney if you have M.E or any other (chronic) illness.  There are good systems in place and all the Cast Members (we found) are lovely and really helpful. I charged my scooter overnight each day and it did me proud!!


I loved it there so much and would happily move in to the castle and stay amongst the magic.  They say Disney is the happiest place in the world and I have to agree.






Ali
xx



26/08/2017

Twenty questions! How many did my girl get right??

Further to my other Question and Answer post I did with my little Miss recently - here - she had been asking me to do another so I thought up 20 random questions and here's how it went...

Q1) Who is the Prime Minister?

Labour


Q2) In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is Charlie's surname?

Bucket


Q3) Which band has Perrie, Jesse, Jade and Leigh Anne in?

Little Mix


Q4) What is the name of the tortoise on Blue Peter?

Shelley


Q5) How many sides does a hexagon have?

6


Q6) Feline relates to which animal?

Bee


Q7) What are young frogs called?

Toads


Q8) How many planets are there in the Solar System including Earth?

7


Q9) Where is the Statue of Liberty?

New York 


Q10) What colour are emeralds?

Green


Q11) Which leaves can you use to soothe stinging nettles?

Dock leaves


Q12) Crawl and butterfly are techniques in which sport?

Swimming


Q13) In badminton what is the name of the thing that gets hit by the rackets?

Simalama


Q14) What sport is also the name for ping pong?

Table tennis


Q15) What is the largest country in the world?

Russia


Q16) What is the capital city of France?

Paris


Q17) How many Olympic rings are there?

5


Q18) How do you say thank you in French?

Merci


Q19) In a century how many years are there?

100


Q20) Which country is home to the kangaroo?

Australia



I think she did pretty well and she got more right than some of the adults we asked the same questions to!!  She kicked herself at the ones she got right as she knew the answers as soon as I said them.  Amused me though!

She wants me to do a Disney quiz next so after our trip to Disneyland I'll have to think some questions up! :-)


Ali 
xx

23/07/2017

Asking my daughter questions! How well does she know me?

I've seen those things on Facebook before where you ask your children questions about you and see what they say... so I've been thinking of stuff to ask my little Miss and here's how it went!!

1. How do you know I love you?

Because I love you too much and we are always together and even though you are poorly, no matter what happens we'd always love each other. You always are kissing me and hugging me and you always call me beautiful, helpful and amazing. You always say "I love you" to infinity and beyond and say "do you know how much I love you?".


2. What is something I always say to you?

I love you and you're a silly sausage!!


3. What makes me happy?

Me, sparkles, glitter, daddy.


4. What makes me sad?

When you're sunbathing outside and it rains!


5. How do I make you laugh?

Tickling me.


6. What is my favourite thing to do?

Spend time with me and dad when you get chance.


7. What do I do when you're not here?

Rest.


8. What am I really good at?

Doing crafts.


9. What am I not good at?

Football.


10. What is my favourite food?

Pickled cucumbers!


11. How would you describe me to your friends?

Older. Way older!
Really beautiful.


12. What do you do that makes me laugh?

Anything can make you laugh with me. Tickle you. When I sneak up and tickle your feet.


13. What's the nicest thing I ever did for you?

Surprise me with getting a Tiny Treasure doll for my birthday that I'd wanted. You kept saying what if you don't get one and I thought I wasn't!


14. If we could do anything together what would it be?

Spending the whole day invisible and spending time doing pranks and tricks.


15. What is my favourite thing to watch?

Love Island!
(* Oh the shame.)

16. If I could go anywhere on holiday where would it be?

To a really sunny place where you can relax.


17. What is my favourite drink?

Sangria!


18. What would my dream job be?

Making glittery stuff!


19. Who is my favourite singer?

Christina Aga something!


20. If I had £100 what would I buy?

Anything you can see that's glittery. Presents for friends and family.

********

I found her answers really interesting and some of them made me laugh lots.  I had no idea I said silly sausage either but she cried at a film yesterday and I said it then haha!

Sangria IS something I like but I dont drink it often :-D  Pickled cucumber is not what I'd choose as my favourite food but I do like them so that made me giggle.

She keeps asking me to do another "quiz" for her so I've got something else in mind which I'll do shortly!

Hope you enjoyed reading,

Ali xx



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