Travel

Far flung destinations

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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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! 

The morning dawned on our first full day in Disneyland Paris, bringing with it a new pair of vlogs! We had a bit of a slow start, but that did leave lots of time for the buffet breakfast in our hotel. I was pleasantly surprised, as this ‘continental breakfast’ included pastries, cereals, and a full hot food selection. It was the perfect fuel ahead of a busy day in the parks.

Take a look at what we got up to in the morning:

A highlight was definitely getting to meet two of my favourite characters; Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. It was almost worth the trip for those hugs alone!

We got to explore the Studios park this morning and I enjoyed getting to know the area. The Pixar area is so well themed, but I think I like the Ratatouille area even more. It’s beautifully themed and is home to the cutest ride ever. Who doesn’t want to sit on the back of a rat and go for a tour around Paris?

In the afternoon, we watched the parade again and this was my favourite viewing of the whole trip. All the characters were waving right at me – and I somehow managed to make Donald swoon. Adorable.

Later, we went to get some fancy cocktails in the Disneyland Hotel. These were very pricey, but quite strong, as you can probably tell from all the giggling that went on in the evening. I definitely recommend a trip to the Fantasia Cafe as the atmosphere is so calming after a busy day of rushing around with the crowds.

I hope you enjoyed the Day 2 videos. If you want to see the next videos first, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here.

Have you been to a Disney Park? Which character would you most like to meet? 

 

I live in London, but it’s often easy to get caught up in the everyday of commuting and visiting favourite places. Before long, you’ll realise that you haven’t been anywhere new in weeks. This is particularly awful in the capital city, where there is so much to see and do. From cobbled side streets to imposing world-wide icons, London has it all. I think it would be impossible to see it all, but I want to make sure that I get to see and enjoy as much of my city as possible.

My parents and sister decided to come down to visit for a few days, which was the perfect excuse to get out and explore more. We walked over 45,000 steps over the three days, so it’s fair to say that we got to see a lot of the city.

Here are some of my highlights.

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With a Disney trip, there must come a vlog series.

I am very excited to share the first installment from my trip to Disneyland Paris in April 2017. I’m now an annual pass holder, so you can expect more visits coming over the next twelve months as well.

Now it’s time to watch the vlog, and don’t forget to read on for the behind-the-scenes as well.

The day started with a fair amount of stress as I had to get to St Pancras International train station for 6am, which is more difficult than it sounds when the tube doesn’t start running until 5.30am. I made it with plenty of time, though, and we had a lot of room to spread out in the carriage. International travel via train was even more simple than I anticipated. There was airport-style security at the station, but then we started hurtling through the countryside, stopping a few times in UK stations, then in Calais, and then we changed in Lille. We had an hour to kill here, and then it was onto a slower train to Disneyland Paris itself. The station here is about 50 metres from the security checkpoints to get into the parks, and just across the road from all the bus stops. That meant we could walk straight out of the station and onto our hotel bus. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. I can’t recommend the Eurostar enough.

After the others had freshened up and we had left our bags at the hotel, we headed to the parks. It all got a bit much for me as we walked into Disneyland for the first time. With the music and atmosphere, it felt just like Disney World in Florida. It seemed so weird to be stood there. More than anything, it made me realise how much I miss Magic Kingdom.

Everything was equally overwhelming, but we got to do a few rides and eat a Casey’s Corner hot dog while watching the new Princess Show.

All in all, it was a fantastic first morning and afternoon in Disneyland Paris.

Update: Part 2 is here as well! Take a look: