Exploring Walt Disney Studios

Following on from our last post -on day two we plan to take a look around the Studios, which is the part I have enjoyed most in the past.

When entering the Studios I can remember walking down an indoor street that was filled with shops pretending to be in Hollywood. This really does set the scene for our imaginations though, as I definitely associate Disney films with fantasy, glitz, and glamour.

Heading out of the main entrance you come across the perfect picture opportunity with Walt and Mickey – smile for the camera. From here this time we plan to take a right and head straight to Monsters Inc. for more picture ops and if the timing is right a trip into the Animagique Theater. Before, entering Toon Studio.

Toon Studio

This is an area for the younger children on our little adventure, as they can take a ride on a magic carpet, discover the ocean on Crush’s Coaster, and explore Radiator Springs with Lightning McQueen and the gang.

Heading further into the Toon Studios I look forward to taking a trip on the Rataouille ride which will be fun for all as you discover what it is like to be in the film. From here we enter the land of Toy Story (one of our favourite animations). I can remember this area well because my son absolutely loved the Slinky Dog ride, although he probably won’t be that interested this time around, perhaps more interested in the next stop…

Production Courtyard

Home of The Hollywood Tower Hotel for those who like a little terror and the Studio Tram Tour, which seems to always of been a firm favourite.

It is here I like exploring the set designs and the materials used to make them, as I have a love for the Theatre and act in my spare time. From this point, we will stop for a bit to eat at the Cafe, before heading to Backlot.

Backlot

As well as some of the rides such as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster there’s also the Moteurs Action! This I do remember well because I thought it was fantastic, I just hope it wasn’t one of those times when you watch something as a child and think it’s amazing and as an adult, it’s actually pretty crap.

Before, leaving the Studios we will also take a stop at The Disney Animation Gallery where the younger children can meet some of the characters and also learn a thing or two about animation creation.

Then it’s off to the shops for some souvenirs before heading back to the hotel for a good nights sleep before the journey home.

We’re off to Disneyland

So, I have been to Disneyland before but for some reason, I can hardly remember anything. This time I am determined to remember the trip so I am going to plan ahead.

DL

After getting inspiration from Fishbowl Life I decided the family have to go back to Disneyland, Paris that is, and we are going by coach! I know we are crazy and there are 10 of us going, but plenty of adults to take care of the little ones. On the other hand, there are a variety of age groups so we need to make sure all children are catered for.

Frontierland

As this is closest to the entrance our journey will probably start here – although I do like and can remember Main St so would spend a bit of time there. The Phantom Manor looks good so we will take a wander in there and be spooked!

There’s also Big Thunder Mountain that I’m sure my boy would like to go on and a photo op, which we love. Next to this area is the Indiana Jones ride – and we are travelling with some Indie lovers – this ride is on our list as we make our way to Adventureland.

Adventureland

The place for pirate lovers a couple of good rides and a tree house. This area also looks like it has plenty of places to eat so we will be stopping at Captain Jacks for some refreshments before heading to…

Fantasyland

By the looks of things, the small children will want to take Fantasyland, and this is where Peter Pan’s Flight is and I can remember loving this ride – even as a teenager! I’m imagining we will visit this area around lunchtime after we have had some food, this way we can ensure the little ones are occupied for most of the day – I know this is an odd thing to say when in Disneyland but it can be a lot of walking and waiting.

Discoveryland

This seems to have something for everyone, our main plan here is to take those who love Star Wars to Hyperspace Mountian, whilst the younger children try out Autopia. Then all of the family can try the Buzz Lightyear Laser Tag.

Somewhere within all of this we also need to catch a parade and meet some of the characters, obviously Mickey.

In the evening we are considering visiting Mickey’s Cafe for dinner but we are not too sure yet – we are finding that all of these restaurants need to be booked well in advance and as we are going at Easter the park will be busy.

We are there for two days and on day 2 we plan to visit Walt Disney Studios – I remember personally preferring this area to Disneyland Park. But, I will share this in a different post.

If you have been or have any tips for meal plans please let us know 🙂

 

Why Visit Monaco? Even on a budget

I have had the opportunity to travel to Monaco on two occasions and each time I have seen something different and fall in love all over again. Upon hearing this you may be lead to believe I actually have a lot of money, but I actually just research and prepare well before travelling.

One of my pet peeves is the assumption that you have to be financially well off to even enter the region. Of course, this is true if you plan on spending an entire week living in luxury or you’re purchasing a property. But just visiting for a day or two does not have to break the bank.

Getting to Monaco

Firstly, travelling to Monaco is relatively affordable, flying to Nice from LPL or MAN you can catch a flight for as little as £70, depending on when you plan to fly.  Like anywhere once you land there are the transfers to consider, which can be pricey if you want a helicopter or private car but there are thrifty ways to travel.

If you are a light traveller you may choose to take the train, this can take up to an hour but is significantly cheaper than a private transfer. There is also an airport bus – the Airport Express 110, with prices to Monaco starting from 22EUROS. Alternatively, try the regular bus service, bus 100 will take you to Monaco for €1.50.

As we don’t get away as much as we’d like we went all out and got a private transfer, not quite a helicopter, but it was sufficient. When we got to Monaco we were dropped off outside our hotel and were shocked by the cleanliness and service we received for what was a relatively cheap place in comparison to many other hotels in the region. Which brings us on to the next point, the accommodation.

Where to Stay

If you want to stay in Monaco then you will expect to pay a little more than other areas, such as Nice or Cap d’Antibes, or if you want to be further afield, Fayence in the Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur region. The good news is that Monaco is accessible from all of these locations, you may have to travel for a couple of hours but if you are planning a weeks stay then two days out in Monaco can definitely be achieved.

When looking for budget accommodation stay clear of St Jean Cap Ferrat, Villefranche and St Tropez (although the last one is quite far out anyway).

During our visit’s we have stayed in Monaco and Fayence. Monaco when visiting for a weekend and further afield when staying for a whole week.  The cost of our accommodation for two nights in Monaco was £300 and for one week in Fayence £450. It really depends on what you plan to do there and how much you are willing to pay. I know, £150 a night seems steep but for this part of the world it is pretty good, there were other options that start from around £50 per night for a double room, these can be found on comparison sites such as Trivago. Again, the prices really do depend on the time of year.

When choosing your accommodation it may not only be the price that influences your final decision but the location of the rental too. Which brings us to the next point – where will you be visiting?

What to See

There’s the obvious Monte Carlo as a starting point – the pinnacle of wealth and the area you will find luxury cars, think Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. The Hotel Metropole is located in this area too, near which is the Metropole shopping centre with some very boutique and glamorous shops. Upon entering the shopping area you are welcomed by a large chandelier and everything oozes wealth.

The harbour at Monte Carlo is lovely to see, especially during award season and the Grand Prix. We were lucky enough to visit just after the Grand Prix and saw the road markings and some of the yachts were still there. To see the superyachts it may be worth a visit to Cannes during the film festival, this is due to the dock in Monaco.

Monaco2

As well as wealth and shopping there’s also much more to see including the Oceanographic Museum. The building itself is remarkable, placed on the edge of a cliff its location is perfect for its content. In the museum, you can take a look at more than 6,000 specimens in reconstructed habitats.

A visit to the Prince’s Palace is a fine experience open from March to October in 2018 you can visit for €11.50 per adult and €5 per child (aged 6-16). Although, the Princes Palace is the residence of the ruling Prince certain areas are open to the public. You can explore the State Apartments, with high painted ceiling’s and large chandeliers the rooms are remarkable. The original fortress was built in 1215 by the Genoese and the history of the palace is apparent when walking around.

These are the only places I have had the chance to visit at the moment but I would love to go back and take a walk around the many gardens, mainly; Princess Antoinette Park, Zoological Gardens and The Exotic Gardens and the Observation Cave.

This is definitely one of my favourite places and I look forward to returning one day soon.

A Works Trip to the South of France

So, a while ago I had a job marketing for a company that sold and rented luxury properties on the Cote d’Azur. It was a lovely job that had amazing benefits – like staying in a fabulous villa. I wrote this blog for the job but it was never used and I thought I’d share it with you here.

Having never visited the South of France before but knowing so much about the glamorous area and its many fabulous properties, I was eager to experience the coast for myself.

Flying into the Cote d’Azur at nightfall is a fantastic experience, as you’re fooled by the near miss of the plane as it just drifts across the Sea and lands in Nice. Once out of the airport, and the maze of a multi-storey car park you are free to view the open road and the picturesque alpine landscape. Although having worked for a Cote d’Azur luxury property group meant that my eyes were drawn more to the architecture, especially one such property that has stuck in my mind – the pyramids.

Travelling along the French Riviera I was on route to a Luxury Retreat nestled conveniently in the hills between Provence and the Cote d’Azur. Upon entrance to the private estate, I found myself surprised at the grand gates and friendly welcome I received. Driving to the Villa through the large domain, with golf cart leading the way I eventually reached the impressive property.

la-bergerie2

The extravagant yet homely villa (that’s much larger than my home)met me with expansive windows offering a preview of the interiors, I was eager to experience the rest of this fabulous house.

Upon entrance, I discovered a glamorous setting with a large chandelier and open plan interior design with cascading staircases. In front of me stood large windows that displayed to all of its visitors the exterior grand swimming pool and outside living areas. 

The upside to arriving at this fine property at night was that I could instantly experience the incredible bedrooms that provide exceptional comfort. I awoke the next morning feeling fresh and rejuvenated ready to start the day with the prepared breakfast that awaited me if by magic in the untouched kitchen slash dining area. After a scrummy breakfast of whatever I wished I felt ready to explore the rest of the coast.

Starting with a little of Provence; Fayence is a pretty village in the French-Alpes-Cote d’Azur area of France that presented a splendid market with fresh food, drink and beautiful garments, quilts and pottery.

The brightly painted properties and cobbled streets – not providing the best environment of which to walk – allowed for a picturesque cultural village to be experienced.

Leaving Provence and heading closer to the coast we soon reached Cannes. Greeted by the amazing maritime and Palais de Festivals it was apparent we were in the land of the rich and famous.

La Croisette showed us the finest in designer apparel and the restaurants served tasty and lovely looking food! Compared to Provence Cannes is an extravagant open area which boasts its success.

Moving further up the coast we visited the Old town of Antibes; a discrete yet magical area with hidden gems around every brightly painted cobbled corner. One such gem to me was the mouthwateringly amazing chocolatiers, which presented the finest chocolate. Including a chocolate wall and chocolate scented cave, I was in heaven!

Travelling back to the villa I got the chance to view both areas of the South of France from coast to hillside I was interested to see what was hidden behind every turn. The greeting we received back at the villa was fantastic with butler ready and waiting the nights dining had begun, a fine three-course meal prepared by the in-house chef and a selection of wines to accompany was a welcome treat.

I’m now planning my next trip to the French Riveria when I shall visit Villefranche, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, and Monaco.