Disney

Everything related to the place where magic lives

I’ve got some exciting news to share about my next holiday – and it’s a big one! In 2017, I’ve already been to Disneyland Paris twice, making the most of my annual pass, and now it’s time to venture slightly further afield. Still keeping with the Disney theme, I’m going on a Disney Cruise around the Mediterranean, departing from Barcelona, Spain, and with cruise stops in Italy and France. I could not be more excited, and this is why.

Back in 2008, I went on my first Disney Cruise with my family. It was a three-night trip around the Bahamas to try it out and see if we liked it. Looking back, it was just as much about finding out about cruising as it was making sure none of us were seasick! Needless to say, we loved it, and we booked a longer seven-night cruise around the Caribbean for two years later in 2010.

We properly got into the swing of cruising with Disney on this trip, but I haven’t been back on a ship since. That’s seven whole years without Disney Cruise Line. But that is about to change.

Of course I will be bringing you daily vlogs from the trip, from our arrival and exploring Barcelona to the best bits of the Disney Magic, the ship we will be travelling on.

So why do I love Disney Cruise Line so much?

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I’m back! One busy schedule has meant that I’ve been out of the blogging game, but it’s now business as usual.

Not only am I back to Faraway Lisa Mae, but I’m back from my short holiday to Disneyland as well. Of course that means new photos, new stories, and – of course – new vlogs that are already trickling onto my YouTube channel.

So what did we get up to in this trip? Whave have I learned on my second proper trip, and what can I share with you?

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Now that my first set of Disneyland vlogs are over, it’s surely time to start asking about where the next ones will be coming from. It may not be another Florida trip, but I am very excited about what is coming next.

Yes, I’m off to Disneyland Paris once again. Got to make the most of that annual pass, which I bought in April! Having the park tickets already does make the trip a lot cheaper, which is great. My sister Alice is also very excited about the trip. In fact, she’s going to New York City a week before, so July is going to be a great month for her!

During our trip, we’re hoping to get all the rides done, see all the shows and meet lots of characters. I’ve been eagerly following Twitter updates to find out about the new things that Disneyland Paris have coming up for summer. After hearing great things, I can’t wait to see Forest of Enchantment. I’ve heard there’s going to be a new ‘Winnie the Pooh or friends’ meet-up in Fantasyland which I am very excited for. If you’ve followed my vlogs for a while, you’ll know that both Alice and I are big fans of the Hundred Acre Wood gang. Such great hugs!

I can’t wait to show my sister all of my favourite bits from my last trip. From Crush’s Coaster and Tower of Terror to Mickey and the Magician and the 25th anniversary castle show, I know it’s going to be an amazing trip.

We’re heading off in mid to late July, so do keep an eye out for our updates and the vlogs which will be coming very soon afterwards. Now it’s time to get excited!

How did this come around so quickly? It’s already my last day in Disneyland Paris! One of the best things about these theme parks is that they’re so close to home, so we got to stay in the pars until mid afternoon, and I was still home in London by early evening. It’s so much easier than travelling from Florida!

We got to do lots of our favourite things over again today. Highlights included a creepy/hilarious meet with Jafar, the castle show with all the characters, and some classic rides – including Dumbo. I always feel like I could skip this ride, but it’s always so lovely and peaceful.

We also went on the train station and had a very sedate journey around the park, which was just what we needed to end a long week. Sabrina and I left the park early in search of delicious food in the Disney Village, and we definitely found it with Vapiano. I’ll be back for more pizza, pasta and bruschetta next time I’m in Disneyland Paris. To top if off, I had the most expensive ice cream ever from the cinema, but it was so worth it. The perfect end to the trip.

Top tip: storing our bags in the train station worked out really well. It meant that we didn’t have to go back to our hotel in the afternoon, and we could go straight to pick them up before jumping on the train.

Overall, I had a fantastic time on my first proper holiday to Disneyland Paris. Most of all, I couldn’t believe that I can get a taste of Disney so close to home. It has definitely picked up since I visited for the day in 2011. The 25th anniversary shows and parades were a definite highlight. I really hope that I can visit again while all their celebrations are in full swing.

Thank you so much for watching my Disneyland Paris vlogs. I hope you enjoyed them all.

Sneak peek: Check my YouTube channel to see my next Disney trip announcement! 

Lots of people have a lot of strong opinions on Sea World. We would visit this theme park every few years when I was growing up, during our fairly regular visits to Orlando in Florida. For years, we would go to see the penguins, try out the log flume, and watch the sea lion show, which was always my favourite. Sea lions pretending to be pirates was too good for 8-year-old me.

Since the documentary Blackfish was released back in 2013, opinions of this nature-themed park have changed. I personally heard a lot about the criticisms of this documentary before I decided to watch it. This was a good thing for me because it meant that I took a lot of it with a pinch of salt. I have no doubt that a lot of what was mentioned was exaggerated, and a lot of the witnesses didn’t seem particularly reliable.

The fact remains, though, that there is a lot of poor treatment going on at Sea World. I couldn’t believe that animal trainers, including with the killer whales, didn’t need years of training or a degree in marine conservation to work with dangerous animals. They were normal people, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

There is no denying that huge killer whales are not meant to swim round and round in a small tank for days on end. The floppy dorsal fins was the thing that really convinced me that these animals are not happy and healthy.

However, this is not the thing that has made me unequivocally say I will never go back to Sea World.

On my last visit to Sea World, probably in around 2008, we were going through an exhibit about animals that live in cold temperatures. They had a polar bear behind one of the panes of glass. Now, if you think the tanks for the killer whales were small, you wouldn’t believe these conditions.

Polar bears can travel for around 19 miles per day for days on end, much like the killer whales that tend to travel up to 100 miles in 24 hours. This polar bear could travel about five metres if he wanted to. There was no fresh air, with a white ceiling penning him in. But he was barely moving at all. His tiny plunge pool remained empty while he sat on the edge and rocked backwards and forwards. The tiny space had clearly made him lose his mind. I couldn’t believe that some visitors were amazed at the polar bear, while I wanted to break down in tears. Couldn’t they see he was suffering?

Is there any worse torture in the world that that? Can you imagine a human being made to live out their final days like that? I don’t care how he had come to be in captivity, if he had been badly injured or born there, he definitely could have been released or – at the very least – had a much much larger enclosure with stimulation.

There has been the odd time when I have been tempted to go to Sea World to ride their world-class rollercoasters, but ultimately I don’t want to support an organisation like that. Luckily for people visiting Orlando, there are plenty of rides that are just as good – if not better – than Sea World’s offerings within the city. I would prefer another ride on the Hulk at Islands of Adventure any day!

I know that my reaction is quite absolute, as I don’t like zoos in general either. I do know that they say they do great conservation work, so hopefully there is some good in the company. Plus, I’m sure they have some fantastic staff members that really do care for the animals they look after.

 

What do you think of Sea World? Do you think that my reaction is extreme? Will you be happy to visit in future? I’d love to hear your thoughts!