Maleficent Adventures

Travelling Around the World

Category: Events

FanDaze: What we know so far…

Announced on 1st October, Disneyland Paris will be holding its first ever original fan event. Taking place next year during the first weekend of June, Disney are pulling out all the stops to get fans from around the world to visit the parks.

They have already announced a star-studded line up including:

  1. Parades and shows
    Their website already hints at a Duck Tales parade and a stage show featuring Goofy’s son Max.

  1. One of a kind and rare Disney character appearances
    If the characters present at the announcement are anything to go by, we should expect characters from Zootopia, Inside Out and Big Hero 6. I would love to see Baymax in the park as he currently is only in Disneyland Shanghai and Epcot at Walt Disney World.
    At the event there will be over 50 characters including classics such as Roger Rabbit, Bolt and Clarabelle.

  1. Exclusive evening event
    The FanDaze inaugural event will kick off with a party at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Photo Credit: Electroland Facebook

  1. Limited edition souvenirs
    The event will bring a whole host of exclusive, one of a kind souvenirs from pins to t-shirt and kitchenware. As an avid collector, I’m very excited for the opportunity to get access to some unique pins.
    I loved the exclusive merchandise at the Harry Potter fan event, hopefully Disney will match this opportunity.
  2. Disneylicious Treats
    Disney never misses the opportunity to release unique themed food and drink for any occasion (see Halloween, Christmas and birthdays), we can’t wait to track and try new treats around the park.

We are excited about this announcement, as lifelong Disney fans and of the Disney parks. They even encourage guests to come dressed as your favourite character I might go Maleficent and Lucy is looking for an excuse to pull out her wedding dress to come as Princess Tiana.

We look forward to keeping you updated and seeing you all there!

Disneyland Paris’ First Food Festival

We are excited to hear about Disneyland Paris hosting its first food festival inside the parks. Announced on Disneyland Paris’ Facebook page on 26th August:

“From 8th to 24th September, Walt Disney Studios Park will host Le Rendez-vous Gourmand de Disneyland Paris, our new celebration of the finest food and wine from all around France! ??
More details to come soon. (Please drink responsibly).”

The event will be held in the Studio parks outside Ratatouille on the Place de Rémy. It will be a free event to attend so all you need to enter the park will be a normal ticket.

It is said to highlight specialities in food and drink across the six regions of France:
Alsace, Bretagne, Bourgogne/Région Lyonnaise, Bordeaux, Savoie and the Sud de la France

Across the pond, EPCOT at Walt Disney World resort, hosts a range of food and drink festivals throughout the year. They draw in big crowds and it is great to see these kinds of events coming to Disneyland Paris.

We would love to see a more expansive and longer event come to Paris, showcasing tastes across Europe. Bringing more gourmet food to the park would build the gastronomic experience, which the resort is currently lacking.

Disneyland Paris are currently expanding the food showcased at the parks. “A Taste of Oktoberfest” is coming to Disney Village from 15th to 24th September to celebrate Bavaria, Germany.

We wish Disneyland Paris would have made this announcement sooner, last minute trips to Disneyland Paris can be expensive especially for overseas travellers.

Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend 5K

Just a month to go before the 2nd Disneyland Paris RunDisney event. Last year we took part in the Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend. Holly, by running the Ratatouille 5K and Lucy, taking part in the half marathon.

Here we both reflect on our journeys.

Holly’s 5k reflections:

I’ve never done a running event before; I’ve always liked the look Disney races mainly because they have such great medals!

DisneyRun Medals

Lucy signed me up for the 5K as a “gift” for my birthday, probably to ensure I didn’t back out. I won’t lie, the training was tough as I had never done any kind of running before, but I persevered and managed to make a plan and mostly stick to it despite a few setbacks. I used the Nike+ running app to track my runs and couch to 5K app to motivate me and guide me through the kinds of distances or duration I should be running along the way.

Running Apps

I did have one minor setback whilst I was training, where I had a disagreement with a pavement! Safe to say the tarmac won, and I lost a lot of skin off my knee and hands. However, I had signed up, paid my accommodation and still wanted to give it my all. I managed to pick myself up and after a few weeks rest, I restarted my training.

The weekend seemed to come around quick and soon it was time to pack, double and triple check we had everything we needed for the race and head to Paris!

Once we arrived on the Friday afternoon, myself and my Mum headed to collect our race packs because it was the last opportunity to do so before the race. There was a buzz of people around Disney Event Arena, a few stands had set up at the exhibition, but there was nowhere near as many as you see advertised for the American races. I hope this will improve as the race gets more popular in subsequent years.

RunDisney Race Number and Medal

The Race

I was nervous at the starting line; however, the atmosphere and people were amazing. I loved seeing the costumes some of the runners were wearing. My favourite was a guy dressed as Chef Linguini from Ratatouille, complete with a Disneyland plate and croissant taped to his hand.

The race started and finished back in Disney Village, near to the stage and I managed to complete it in 50minutes. Whilst I am aware it is not the fastest anyone has ever run a 5k, I had a great time running through the parks, and glad I put in the time and effort to be able to keep running the whole way through (including going back to wait for my Mum).

RunDisney Route through Disneyland Paris

Running through both Disneyland and the Studio Park was magical and everything I hoped it would be. Setting off early morning meant it was still dark and as we went down Main Street USA all the lights were still on – my favourite kind of Main St view.

Scattered throughout the park were a host of characters out to meet the runners, from Woody to Darth Vader. I was keen to finish the course and keep moving so I didn’t stop but next time I won’t pass up the photo opportunities, but I’m not sure I would get a photo with everyone as some people were.

I look forward to doing another 5K or maybe 10K in the future at either Disneyland Paris or one of the US Disney Parks. Although not sure how I will cope with the heat in the States! Unfortunately, now Lucy has read this and is planning my next birthday present (Mwahahaha).

Together as a group we raised money for MND and Prostate Cancer UK which are charities close to our hearts. After a hearty effort from all – and really very generous donations from our friends and family which definitely kept us going during training, we managed to raise over almost £6,000, through our just giving page:
https://www.justgiving.com/teams/disneyhalfmarathon

We’d like to thank everyone for their support, as it made such a big difference.

Read about Lucy’s half marathon memories or see our top 9 tips on preparing for a RunDisney race

Top 9 tips for preparing for a RunDisney race

Just a month to go before the 2nd Disneyland Paris RunDisney event. Last year we took part in the Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend. Holly, by running the Ratatouille 5K and Lucy, taking part in the half marathon.

We have put together our top 9 tips for preparing for a RunDisney race:

  1. Make sure you are fit enough before you attempt the race
    • A simple training regime over a couple of months is plenty of time to make sure you can cross the finish line – still in one piece.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to train
    • Training can be fun, but life gets in the way, it can get stressful keeping up with a tight time budgeted training plan. Make a realistic plan to aim to get your mileage up a couple of weeks before your race.
  3. Find a buddy of the same ability to train with
    • There is no greater feeling than progressing in running, but it’s even better when you have someone to share it with. Lucy: My husband is a much faster runner than I am and it would take me months to get up to the same fitness level as him, so find someone who can share in your triumphs… instead of one upping you all the time and making your small victories seem just that, small. If you can’t find anyone then remind yourself that everyone is different, and you can only compare your training to the runs you did the week before.
  4. Invest in a good set of trainers
    • We can both agree that appropriate footwear will get you 50% of the way, because trainers that rub are distracting and painful.
  5. Take your time to cultivate a motivational playlist
    • You’ll find as you train that not every song you thought was appropriate is conducive to maintaining pace, or even a good mental state. Positive songs with a fast beat are perfect, our (eclectic mix of) favourites include:
      • “A star is born” – Hercules
      • “ET” – Katy Perry
      • “Fester Skank” – Lethal Bizzle
      • “What’s this?” – Nightmare Before Christmas
      • “Dancin [A Catchy Rhythm]” – Disney Parade
      • “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
      • “Perfect Day” – Hoku
      • “VIP” – Manic Drive
  1. Try to eat right
    • Increased time exercising increases hunger levels, but with a little more research eating better would have been beneficial to our training programs. Lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables are obviously going to better prepare you, but you can’t be perfect all the time!
  2. Pack everything you think you need twice
    • The best piece of advice we were given is to pack your favourite pair of socks, and a backup; pack the top you want to wear, and a spare. You never know how you are going to feel on race day and giving yourself options on the morning will help reduce stress levels before the race.
  3. Make sure you wear in your gear
    • If you are going to buy new shoes, socks or leggings make sure you have done a couple of training runs in them. Never wear anything brand new on race day, it could cause chaffing were you never expected and throw you off completely!
  4. Fundraise
    • Motivation through winter months, or even in summer when it starts to get warmer can be hard to keep going. We raised money for two charities that were really important to us, and this really helped group training morale. Not only do you get the wonderful feeling of completing a life goal in the most magical place in the world but also you helped others doing it, amazing!

Good luck to everyone who takes part in a RunDisney event in the future.

Read about our RunDisney races:
Lucy’s half marathon memories
Holly’s 5k reflections

Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend Half Marathon

Just a month to go before the 2nd Disneyland Paris RunDisney event. Last year we took part in the Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon Weekend. Holly, by running the Ratatouille 5K and Lucy, taking part in the half marathon.

Here we both reflect on our journeys.

Lucy’s half marathon memories:

As soon as I heard there was going to be a RunDisney race at Disneyland Paris, I immediately persuaded my husband and best friend that we were doing it. It was just a matter of cost, but once we priced it up it was just about within budget. The race, accommodations, three days of park tickets (two parks + park hopper) and our flights came in around £400. But, four adults to a room isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so choose your companions wisely!

I had run a few 5ks and one 10k two years prior, so I knew if I put my mind to it I could go the distance. I have never been a fast runner, so I focussed on finishing regardless of what time I achieved and this took the pressure off. My training programme went pretty smoothly and whilst it was hard, I enjoyed my new-found fitness level and the positive affect it had on my daily mood.

Race day was nerve wracking, everyone else in my team had been reporting a much faster pace than me, so I knew after the first couple of miles I was going to be on my own. The start line was a bit of a shambles to be honest, we were in corral C (which I would not advise to anyone). We got there at 6:00am, and did not cross the start line till 8:00am. Starving and cold is not the best way to start your first half marathon. Hopefully, over the next couple of years DLP will get these bugs out of their system, I understand these things cannot be completely planned for on the first try.

The first three miles took part in the parks, and it was awesome – everything you would have dreamed it to be. However, as soon as mile three was up, that was it, out the backdoor and into the wilderness. I’m not going to lie, it was hard. The route is convoluted and when you pass people that are miles ahead of you, it can get a bit depressing. I remember at 8km the last member of my party saying their goodbye and leaving me for dust. I had with me my playlist, gel packs and drive to cross the finish line.

I managed to keep up my 12-minute mile pace (told you I was slow), and along the way the marching bands and African drum groups kept me going. Like Holly said, there were a lot of people in costume and that was fairly entertaining.

The hardest part was the finish, I got to the lake by Hotel New York and thought “this must be it!”, I saw Holly with our Mum and my friend cheering me on, promising it was not much further. This is a lie. My advice to you is this: when you get to the lake, prepare for ANOTHER MILE AND A HALF. It’s cruel, but once it’s over…. It’s over.

You put your medal around your neck and you spend the day strutting around the parks like the Queen you are (if you can get your legs to work that is). I would definitely do this again, but maybe in a few years’ time when they have it running like clockwork.

Together as a group we raised money for MND and Prostate Cancer UK which are charities close to our hearts. After a hearty effort from all – and really very generous donations from our friends and family which definitely kept us going during training, we managed to raise over almost £6,000, through our just giving page:
https://www.justgiving.com/teams/disneyhalfmarathon

We’d like to thank everyone for their support, as it made such a big difference.

Read about Holly’s 5k reflections or see our tips on preparing RunDisney race

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017

Every year Orlando Florida hosts a 3 day event, dedicated to celebrating the world of Harry Potter. This January, Holly and her friend Tom decided to time their trip to Orlando to coincide with this and Holly has written a round-up of her favourite things from the event:

In its fourth year running, A Celebration of  Harry Potter brings fans not just from around US but the world. I can guarantee you’ll get sucked into the incredible atmosphere and magic which surrounds this event.

I booked a vacation package through Universal (hotel only) which meant I got added extras as part of the Harry Potter celebration, which included:

  1. A stay at the Hard Rock Hotel for 5 nights
  2. Early access into the park
  3. Free Express Pass for the rides
  4. Access to an exclusive Q&A with film stars
  5. Three Broomsticks breakfast
  6. Exclusive evening event at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  7. Commemorative Merchandise Item
  8. Commemorative Pin and Lanyard

Commemorative Lanyard

Commemorative Pin

Commemorative Merchandise Item

I found when I was researching my trip the price for a vacation package was similar to just booking accommodation, and with the added benefits (listed above) I couldn’t resist. The exclusive lanyard which allowed me to fast track queues for the expo also allowed access to a special area for the demonstrations which were less crowded.

One thing to note: If you are travelling from the UK and planning to get an Orlando package deal, e.g. with Virgin Holidays, you aren’t able to get this special vacation package as it’s only available when booking direct with Universal.

I booked the basic vacation package (£800PP), there was also a premium vacation package which costed more, but included unique experiences such as an exclusive autograph and photo session with the film talent.

Arriving

Shortly after arriving we headed over to the Group Sales counter in Islands of Adventure to pick up our passes. Then we were ready to start enjoying all the festivities.

The parks was not that busy on the Friday, possibly because most people were coming after work and there wasn’t much on. It wasn’t until 7pm during the Opening Night Event when it started to get busy. Here we got our first glimpse of the Harry Potter  stars which were present for the entire weekend: Warick Davis (Flitwick and Griphook), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy).

Here is a round up of things you can expect to experience during the course of the weekend:

 The Expo

Set across two sound stages, we saw a range of companies showcasing Harry Potter merchandise.

Lego showcased their new Harry Potter characters on their Lego Dimensions games.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London broke the news that they were opening up a new forbidden forest section. #FollowTheSpiders showcased at the expo and this opened on March 31st this year. We even managed to get a sneak preview of Aragog and get an insight into how the prop and design team made this monstrous creature.

The Exhibition
Touring around the world to fans across the globe, the collection of Harry Potter props was showcased at this event. This included Hermoine’s wax figure (used in the second film), as well as Quidditch supplies, Quaffles and more.

Check out this mosaic this was created by using photos from the event using the hashtag #HPCelebration.

Hundreds of artists were used to help bring the books to life, and much of this work was on display during the course of the week. I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the amazing live pastel sketches around the park.

Inside the expo, artists were working on a Fantastic Beasts montage

Outside on the pavements:

Exclusive Q&A with Film Talent

One of my favourite moments out of the entire weekend was the exclusive Q&A with the actors. It was early on Saturday and located in the Toon Lagoon amphitheatre. We got an intimate catch up with the stars. Funnily enough, myself and my friend Tom were sat behind the VIP section, and when Matthew Lewis came on he was heckled by his friends from the crowd in front. Jason Isaacs also shared that if Lucius had a Patronus it would have been Donald Trump’s hair.

Props showcase with acclaimed prop maker Pierre Bohanna

This was a talk about the props and prosthetics created and used for the films hosted by Warwick Davis. Pierre is also part of the team behind the #FollowTheSpiders Forbidden Forest.

Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima

Probably one of the lesser known companies used by Warner Bros in the making of the films, but this design company is behind all the graphic design in the films; including the new Fantastic Beasts franchise. They also designed all of the merchandise for this year’s Harry Potter celebration.

Currently they now have a permanent ‘pop-up shop’ in SoHo London which you can visit, details of which can be found here.

Examples of graphic design work from the Harry Potter films

For some Top Tips if you are planning a visit to A Celebration of Harry Potter see my article in the link above

I had a really good time at the event and the Q&A with the stars as well as the expo were definitely my highlights. I wouldn’t say it merits going every single year but I’ll definitely be heading back in a few years-time.

 

Top Tips For A Celebration of Harry Potter

Following on from my article on A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017, I’ve put together some top tips for if you are heading to the event:

  1. Pick up guide
    Similar to a park map for the festivities there is an itinerary of what is going on and where – be sure to make note of all the locations of things you want to see as they could be another park.
  2. Go visit the Expo on the Friday or as soon as the park opens
    I wish someone had told us this as there were lots of queues to look at the exhibits, but we did get a lot of rides done so it depends what you are more interested in. If we had planned ahead we could have done more of what was offered, including: get sorted by the Sorting hat and visit the 3D virtual reality exhibit. This gave you got a chance to explore Newt’s suitcase from Fantastic Beasts, which I’d heard was a pretty incredible experience.
  3. Book a vacation package
    Check out all the options and what works well for your given budget, but having the lanyards to cut down the queues and getting in to the exclusive night time event was definitely a bonus. After the opening on Friday night, guests with the lanyards were able to enter back into the Wizarding lands after the park was closed. They served desserts, drinks (including butterbeer) and all the attractions were open. This meant we were able to ride the Hogwarts express as many times as we wanted and other ride the attractions with little to no wait time.
  4. Check out your emailed itinerary once you have booked your package
    It may seem obvious but if you are given extras such as, breakfast in  The Three Broomsticks or Exclusive Q&A, for a certain window of time. This won’t be listed on the main itinerary as it is invite only. I found when I asked a member of staff that none of them could help me with timings either!
  5. Head to talks/demonstrations early for good viewing
    This is a no-brainer but unless you have vacation package which gives you priority viewing areas, it is best to get in there ahead of time as it fills up fast.
  6. Organise costumes
    People go all out for the event, my favourites were a couple dressed as Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape, which were hand-made. There were also several Lunas including a few with roaring Lion heads.

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