This weekend, Mr E and I were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the brand new Marvel Summer of Super Heroes at Disneyland Paris (you might remember reading about me forgetting my passport when I was invited to the special exhibition in Paris to showcase the plans for the new Marvel event. What a wally. Anyway, this time I panicked incessantly and checked my passport every five minutes and yes, got to Paris in one piece in time to experience this brilliant new summer of Marvel-based attractions available to everyone visiting the park this summer. Read on to find out more about it!
It’s not often that you get invited by Disney to go to a special exhibition in Paris, so I was really excited this week to head to St Pancras to be whisked to the beautiful City of Lights. Unfortunately, being the travel professional that I am, I turned up without my passport. My heart sank and I was absolutely convinced that I would have to miss this wonderful opportunity. Happily, my amazing family came rushing to the rescue and managed to deliver my passport to me at Euston, allowing me to hop on the next Eurostar and arrive just in time for lunch (always my favourite bit). Anyhoo, after all that drama, it was time to immerse myself into the wonderful world of Marvel Superheroes and find out all about the plans for Marvel Summer of Superheroes at a special exhibition, live from the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Disney’s fabulous Halloween party in London. As you can imagine, there aren’t many parties better than a Disney one and sure enough, there were spooky drinks (served by even spookier characters), pumpkins and witches amidst lots of swirling dry ice and, of course, Mickey and Minnie in all their Halloween finery! I know you all love to hear a bit of Disney news too, so I thought I’d update you on a few new pieces of news for 2018 and beyond: from brand new Disney Cruise Line cruises in 2019 to the exciting Marvel announcement for Disneyland Paris made yesterday at Comic Con in London. Read more
And so, after my big 2016 roundup, let’s move swiftly on to 2017, shall we? What does this year have in store? Lots of happy times and adventures I hope. As you know, I’m a huge Disney fan: I adore everything from the theme parks to the beautiful cruise ships. It’s such an exciting year for Disney magic, with so many new Disney travel adventures to choose from. I thought you might like a sneaky peek at a few of the things I’m really looking forward to in 2017. So if you’re planning adventures for next year now, I hope this helps give you a few ideas too:
What. A. Year. I’ve got plenty more to say about the joy and sadness that was 2016 in my first piece of 2017 (for us, as well as everyone else, it seems, it was a year of huge highs and massive lows), and my plans for 2017. But for now, I want to stay with the joy and take a look back at the highlights of a year of travel and adventure. Here’s my 2016 roundup.
Recently, I was lucky enough to take a special, if rather cold and rainy, trip to Disneyland Paris for a sneaky peek behind the scenes of the brand new show, ‘Disney’s Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical Adventure’. You’ll probably remember that this summer, the boys and I were at the park to watch the Frozen Summer Sing-along, and this brand new show will take over at the Chaparral Theatre until 8th May, when Frozen Summer Fun will return.
This weekend we were really lucky to be invited to Disneyland Paris for the opening of the brand new Frozen themed Summer celebration, Frozen Summer Fun and to see one of the very first performances of the new Frozen sing-along show in Frontierland. From today until 13th September, guests at Disneyland can experience lots of new Frozen-themed fun, with characters from Frozen appearing all over the place!
This summer, Disneyland Paris is going to be sprinkled with snow! From 1st June to 13th September 2015, guests can experience the magic of the hit film Frozen, joining Anna, Elsa and Olaf in live, interactive Frozen sing-alongs, and catching a glimpse of the sisters as they ride around the park in a twinkling carriage.
There’s nowhere guaranteed to make me feel more Christmassy than a Disney park. Disney do Christmas so well, with twinkly lights, garlands and a 24m high Christmas tree (decorated with over 1000 decorations and 500 light bulbs) and, my favourite touch, snow fall on Main Street, USA (which always makes me cry). As an added bonus, this year, Disneyland Paris will be celebrating with the cast of their blockbuster movie, Frozen.
Ratatouille is one of our favourite films. For some reason it’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition – we adore Rémy, and feisty Colette is so fab – I always get a bit teary when she falls in love with Linguini (I know – I cry at everything)…
So I’ve already told you about our marvellous trip to Disneyland Paris. I think one of the best things about it was spending a whole weekend just with one of my children (the other was rather happy to have some alone time with his Xbox AND without his little brother, don’t worry). The Death Wish Dude and I had an absolutely blast and really enjoyed each others’ company. And let’s face it, when they’re 14, the opportunities for ‘quality time’ are few and far between. We whizzed on rollercoasters, whooshed on rockets, oohed and ahhed at amazing sound and light shows and got all competitive zapping in Buzz’s Laser Blast, but more importantly we laughed. And laughed.
Here’s a gorgeous video that the lovely chaps at Disney made for us. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried buckets!
It’s been an odd weekend. First of all we watched ourselves on the telly (it’s a very weird experience, I can tell you). We took part in a Channel 5 programme being made about Disneyland Paris’ 20th birthday celebrations when were out there a couple of weeks ago – it aired yesterday. I actually managed to take a picture of the Death Wish Dude being interviewed – here he is in all his widescreen glory! Anyhoo, after all that excitement, it was straight on to the birthday cake challenge. As you might already know, it is the tradition at English Towers for the birthday boy to pick his very own choice of birthday cake. Usually they choose something hideously difficult to make (just to annoy me), but this time, the Birthday Death Wish Dude wanted nothing more than a big fat chocolate cake.
Easy peasy. The only difference is that I had a little experiment and tried making the ganache with coconut milk instead of double cream. It came out deliciously light and whipped beautifully. Highly recommended.
To make the Death Wish Dude’s Ultimate Coconut Ganache Chocolate Layer Cake, you’ll need:
175g butter (I use salted)
175g golden caster sugar
150g self raising flour
20g good quality cocoa powder
100g good quality dark chocolate
For the ganache:
400g tin coconut milk (I used the full fat stuff)
500g (yes, yes, I know… ) good quality dark chocolate
1 packet Maltesers
So firstly, melt the chocolate (you can do it all at the same time or in the two batches. It’s quite easy to pour the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl when it’s sat on the scale) in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bowl (yeah you know the drill).
Beat the butter in the food processor until light, then add the sugar and whizz again until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs (I beat them, then add them a dribble at a time – helps with the odd bits of dropped shell too), then stir in the sifted flour and cocoa. Finally, stir in the 100g melted chocolate.
Bake in two medium lined tins for about 20 minutes until just springy in the centre. Allow to cool.
For the ganache:
Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan – don’t allow it to boil, it only needs to be warm enough to melt the chocolate. Then just turn off the heat, plop all the chocolate in and stir occasionally until it’s all melted.
Transfer to a bowl and chill down completely in the fridge.
Carefully slice each cake into two. Pick a nice flat one as your top layer and remember which one it is!
Take the ganache out of the fridge and whip until light and fluffy (or you can just spread it).
Layer the cake slices with a thick spreading of ganache then finish with a nice layer of ganache all over the cake. If the thought of 500g of chocolate gives you a heart attack, you can halve the quantities and just layer the two cakes together.
Finish with Maltesers (beer can candles optional).
And here he is with his birthday cake of choice. Happy birthday, Charlie! xx
Well, the celebrations continue at Disneyland Paris (even though I’ve now left – fancy partying without me!) for the park’s 20th birthday. Yesterday, all sorts of famous faces (I spy Kym Marsh, super duper uber model Erin O’Conor and Lisa Maxwell) took part in a really lovely British celebrity tea party on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups ride in Fantasyland (one of my faves), complete with cute dainty sandwiches, cakes and chocolate dipped strawberries. Mickey and Minnie Mouse also joined the party, bringing an amazing 20th Anniversary tiered cake, magically created (in Scotland!) especially for the tea party:
The celebs also got to watch the new Disney Dreams show and the amazing the new parade that we saw last week too. Here they all are telling us all about it:
If you want more information about the 20th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland Paris, read all about my visit here.
The Death Wish Dude and I arrived at St Pancras (in sizzling sunshine – don’t you just love London when the sun’s out?) to board the Eurostar. We’d been invited to join the great and good of the world’s media to celebrate Disneyland Paris’ 20th anniversary and to get a sneaky preview at some of the new parades and shows especially created to mark this incredible birthday.
Disneyland Paris opened on 12th April 1992, adding Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002. It’s within easy walking distance of its very own Eurostar station and there are seven hotels located near the site too. It’s a real ‘one stop shop’ as far as entertainment goes, and we love it.
The Eurostar journey is another favourite of mine. I love being able to walk about, chat, eat and relax while being whizzed towards France. It’s such a relaxed journey. The Dude hadn’t experienced it as a foot passenger before and thoroughly enjoyed being fussed over by the Eurostar staff!
On arrival, we dumped our bags at the hotel (The Hotel New York, one of my favourites) and rushed straight to the park. I decided to give the Dude the same introduction to rollercoasters as I’d received myself back at Walt Disney World, the amazing Rock’n’Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith – one of the fastest rides of all the Disney parks and, so I’m told, with acceleration akin to that of a Formula One car. The dude was hooked and we headed straight back to the front for another go. This ended up setting the scene for most of our weekend – a veritable orgy of thrill rides, maximum velocity and loop the loops, with a lot of Disney magic thrown in!
I wanted to head over to the the Toy Story Playland at the Walt Disney Studios Park as it was just being opened the last time I was there. We weren’t disappointed. The Toy Story themed area is packed full of amazing rides – we loved the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, and the AMAZING RC Racer (don’t go on this one if you like the feeling of being dangled in mid air before rocketing backwards and forwards at very high speed – we loved it!). Carrying on the maximum velocity theme, we headed back over to the Disneyland Park (we weren’t very good at planning our route – too darn excited) for Discoveryland’s Space Mountain and Star Tours. Both with puke-making potential, but loved equally by the Dude.
We headed back to our lovely hotel for a dip in the pool (the outside bit was completely deserted and we swam and sunbathed – blissful) before heading back out to the park to enjoy a private dinner in the (now closed) Walt Disney Studios, catching up with a few of our favourite characters too. After a quick scream on the Tower of Terror with our favourite Disney Dave, we had several whizzes around Crush’s Coaster – another amazing indoor/outdoor thrill ride before retiring, somewhat giddily, for the night.
After a late start (another thing I love – breakfast served until 11am!) and mountains of pancakes and maple syrup later (you can’t visit a Disney resort without eating a pancake mountain or two), we headed straight for the Disneyland Park for a duel on one of my favourite Disney attractions, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (for some reason it really tickles me that his French name is ‘Buzz L’Eclair’). I decided to share some of my favourite rides with the Dude: the wonderfully themed and bone-shakingly brilliant ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril’ coaster, and the beautiful, gentle and atmospheric classic, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
Disney Magic on Parade!
Next it was time for the first showing of the brand new ‘Disney Magic on Parade’, a riot of colourful characters on amazing floats (I’m still singing the fab new music!) celebrating Disneyland Paris’ 20th birthday. I love Disney parades (I always have a little cry) and was ridiculously pleased to see that the Death Wish Dude was entranced as well. Look out for the Toy Story float (one of my favourites) and the lovely Rapunzel too. Watch out for the fabulous bumblebees floating around Winnie the Pooh.
On Saturday evening we were invited to the 20th anniversary celebration gala dinner. The venue was like nothing I’d ever seen before. We were led along a path lit by glowing orbs into a massive marquee (the word ‘marquee’ doesn’t really do it, but it’s the best I can do), lit by chandeliers and sparkling with glitter and glass:
I’m going to have to do a separate piece about the food because it was SO fantastic I can’t possibly elaborate enough here! We had our faces painted by amazingly talented artists, and were all given glow sticks while clouds of smoke billowed out into the venue from hidden smoke machines. The atmosphere was just incredible – here’s one for the family album:
After the gala dinner, we were led to the park (by a man in a suit with a giant balloon strapped to his back) past amazing street performers on stilts and in spectacular inflated and illuminated costumes, to the park, which was lit with a million lights and looked spectacular.
As we entered, all the cast members were lined up, waving huge glowing light sticks and calling out ‘bienvenues!’ and ‘bon anniversaire!’. It was absolutely magical and strangely emotional too. We listened to speeches by the CEO of Disneyland Paris and Zinedine Zidane before walking down Main Street USA with huge confetti cannons going off all around us, blasting little golden ’20’ letters into the sky which was awash with colour and sparkles.
Next up was the new sound and light spectacular that will be performed at Disneyland Paris from now on in the evenings (always check the schedule for timings). This show was SO amazing that we sat next to Jonathan Ross and didn’t look at him once. Yup, THAT amazing.
I can’t even begin to describe the show, but with the aid of clever lighting, the castle was transformed into jungle scenes, Notre Dame and even a huge waterfall. Images were somehow played on walls of water, and massive flame throwers whooshed into the sky. Just. Incredible.
After the amazing show, we were interviewed by Channel 5 (everything was so surreal this weekend, even THAT seemed normal). Here’s the Dude who was, apparently, a ‘natural’:
After a final day in the parks, whizzing around on Space Mountain, getting competitive on Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast and screaming our lungs out on the Tower of Terror, we headed, knackered, to the Eurostar station. What a thoroughly amazing weekend – I have to say it’s probably my favourite ever Disney visit, and that takes some beating.
A MASSIVE thank you to the very lovely and incredibly hard-working Disney team and a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to Disneyland Paris too. For all the rest of the photos from this trip, go to my Facebook page: facebook.com/englishmumdotcom
During the 20th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland Park, prices for a two-night, three-day package including return travel with Eurostar in April 2012 start from £856 for a family of two adults and two children (aged 4-6 years). Price includes return travel with Eurostar, two nights’ accommodation at the Hotel Santa Fe and three day hopper tickets with unlimited access to the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park and is based on two adults sharing.
For longer stays, Disneyland Paris is offering guests up to 40% off Disney Hotels and park tickets as well as kids under 7 visiting for free. For more info call 08448 008 111 or visit www.disneylandparis.com.
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