My Social Distancing Plans

Social Distancing

Within the past couple of weeks the world has changed quite a lot. It seems crazy that just two weeks ago I was able to visit the theatre with my friend Hirst and my Mum and now everything’s closed – including the office I work in! I am taking the social distancing measures seriously but haven’t got cabin fever yet because I’ve actually been quite busy for the past week or so. Therefore I’ve decided to share my social distancing plans and what I’ll be up to during this isolation.

Working From Home

Social Distancing Work

I am extremely fortunate to have a job that 1) accepted that we will all need to adapt to home-working and 2) have a manager who is determined that none of us will be left without work and go on sick or no pay. It took a bit of time and we haven’t ironed out every bump yet but our entire team is now working from home and it’s going okay. I’m in a work group chat with the other admin and we finally managed to have a successful video chat so although it’ll be weird not to see them properly I shouldn’t have time to miss them.

One of the benefits of working from home is that for the foreseeable future we don’t have to answer phones, we’re taking any queries as emails and answering the phones was my least favourite part of my job so I’m ecstatic about that. The only downside is that I’ve been added to a volunteer list to potentially help out in the community as we’re not going to get be getting tons of work coming our way – a nice idea in theory but I’m not sure I get paid enough to put myself at risk. But we’ll see. Either way, I’m glad I still have a job during these times as I know many people weren’t as fortunate and one that will keep me relatively busy.

Movie Nights with my Girls

Netflix

Somebody on Twitter very helpfully tweeted about how Netflix Party might be a saviour during the next few weeks so me and my best friends Becca, Hirst and Jess decided to put the system to the test. We normally spend forever picking a film but to be fair we settled on ‘Twilight’ very quickly on our first Netflix Party night and then over the course of a week we completed the entire series. The system wasn’t flawless, one night I’d estimate it took us about 40 – 45 minutes to all successfully get into the party and then during Breaking Dawn Part Two it kept saying people had left even though they hadn’t? But although the system isn’t perfect it’s nice to still be able to watch a film with my favourite people.

Twilight

Now that we’ve finished the Twilight saga we’re going to need something else to watch but I’m sure we’ll find something – if anyone has any suggestions then please feel free to leave them! The trouble we have is that our tastes are all quite different, I’m surprised we settled on the Twilight films so quickly.

Playing Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing

I’d been moaning about wanting a Nintendo Switch for a while but couldn’t really afford it until eventually I decided to settle for a Nintendo Switch Lite which I actually kind of prefer – I don’t have a TV in my room so wouldn’t really get the most out of a proper Switch and I think my Switch Lite is cute. I’ve bought two games, a Mario Game and Animal Crossing. And so far, the only game I’ve played is Animal Crossing.

The only Animal Crossing game I’ve played is ‘Wild World’ on my Nintendo DS which I’ve had since I was in primary school but I loved it and never really grew out of it. The games have obviously come on a long way since then and I love it. Being able to pick where I wanted my house to be in ‘New Horizons’ was such a treat. I always wanted a house near the beach in ‘Wild World’ but even if you selected ‘beach’ you were bloody miles away from it so I plopped my house is ‘New Horizons’ right next to the beach (as you can see from my screensheet). I can never go back to ‘Wild World’ after this, I’m enjoying ‘New Horizons’ too much. I definitely made the right decision to buy it on release day, I think it’ll keep me entertained throughout this disaster.

Disney+

Disney+

The second Disney+ was launched in the UK I signed up, I’d been absolutely counting down the days until it’s release. I bloody love Disney and since my trip to Florida I’ve wanted to re-watch a lot of the films. I have a few DVD’s but as mentioned I don’t own a TV and unfortunately my laptop won’t let me play DVD’s so they were no use and I didn’t mind buying digital copies but they were quite expensive for just one movie. But finally, they’re all in one place and I only have to pay like £5 a month to watch them. Absolute bargain.

I haven’t even had time to properly dive into it but I’m sure I’ll set aside a day to binge all of my old favourite Disney movies and shows – so far all I’ve watched is ‘The Little Mermaid’ and several episodes of ‘The Simpsons’. I’m honestly so excited!

Playing The Sims

The Sims 3

I’ve recently re-found my love for the Sims (although truthfully I have abandoned it recently to play Animal Crossing) which couldn’t have come at a better time to be honest. I’m a sucker for the Sims 3 (I never really got on with Sims 4) and recently downloaded a couple more of my expansion packs and honestly I’m at a stage where I could play all day and probably not get bored. I bloody love the Sims. So I’ll definitely be occupying some of my time with that.

Games with my Friends

On Thursday night me and the girls took part in a Virtual Pub Quiz and although it was absolutely chaotic it was a lot of fun. Then we did a YouTube Disney quiz, answered some riddles and then a Twilight quiz. So we’ve decided that some evenings we’ll also play games somehow so that we’re not always just watching movies. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Reading

Just before everything went pear-shaped I ordered three new books in case we had to fully isolate and since then I’ve finished two of them and am halfway through the third. I have a couple more that have been floating round my ‘to be read’ shelf for a while so I should probably get started on them but if possible I’m also gonna order a few more. My reading goal for this year was 30 books and this lockdown will be a great excuse to get through as many as possible. If anyone has any book recommendations please leave them in the comments and I might give them a go!

Writing

We’ll see if I actually do this because unfortunately although I was doing okay with this at the start of the year it seems to have gone down the pan. But I want to get back into writing and now seems like a perfect opportunity to do so. So I will try harder! It might also give me an opportunity to write some more blog posts although I’m not sure what about considering I won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything but I might think of something. We’ll soon see!

For now those are the only plans I have and to be honest I’ve been quite busy for the week or so… So hopefully I’ll get through these difficult times. Let me know your social distancing plans and how you’re finding it. Stay safe everyone!

Orlando Haul

Fireworks

Honestly, I feel like I didn’t buy enough in Orlando but due to the length of time I was there I had limited room in my suitcase. So when it came to pack my stuff up and go home I was actually lucky it all fit to be honest. I did buy a fair amount so I’m going to show you. Here goes nothing!

Disney Cup

Disney Cup

My first night was a bit of a disaster so the lovely lady who checked me in gave me a free dinner voucher. Unfortunately I was too tired to use it on my first night so I used it a few days later – the meal voucher came with a free meal, a snack and a cup that entitled you to free refills throughout your stay at the resort. This was my cup! I don’t know how it works but they’re scanned and when you put it under the machine it registers your cup and how long you have left for refills. Most of the refills were for hot drinks or fizzy drinks but I found some pomegranate juice that was actually super tasty so I drank that for the rest of my trip. And I got to bring the cup home which is cool!

Toy Story Necklace

Toy Story Necklace

The Toy Story films are probably my favourite Disney films so when I spotted this necklace in the massive Disney store at Disney Springs I had to buy it. This was on day five of my trip and I had quite a bit of money so although I couldn’t see a price on the box I decided to chance it. I can’t remember how much it cost but it wasn’t as much as I was expecting. It’s super cute and I love it!

Castle Magnet

Castle Magnet

This is for my friend Jess – even though she was the only one of my friends to tell me her favourite characters in advance for my trip she was the most difficult to buy for. I settled on this as she collects buildings from the different places she’s visited so I usually get her something like that – therefore if she doesn’t want to use it as a magnet she can add it to her little village. Hopefully she likes it!

Moana Pin

Moana Pin

Another gift for Jess – she’d told me her favourite character was Moana and I actually really struggled to find much Moana related gifts for her. In the end I found this pin and decided I thought it was cute so now Jess owns it!

Mickey Doughnut Magnet

Mickey Doughnut Magnet

Just before my trip to Florida I went to my friend Emma’s house and commented on her lack of fridge magnets and promised I’d bring her one back from Florida. I can’t remember all the characters she said she liked but she mentioned that her favourite was Hercules which basically left me with nothing to go off (I don’t think there was any Hercules merchandise at all). I settled on this one for her as I think it’s cute!

Hollywood Studios Magnet

Hollywood Studios Magnet

I wanted a cute fridge magnet but couldn’t really find a cute one for the whole of Disneyworld if you know what I mean? This was originally bought for my brother Ian – he’s autistic and his ‘thing’ growing up was Toy Story. He loved Woody and had tons of merchandise for it. Unfortunately we lost all of his merchandise (Mum suspects my step-dad threw it away which is a dick move) but although he still likes it he prefers Scooby-Doo now. I was going to give the magnet to Ian but decided that actually I like it and Ian probably wouldn’t give a shit anyway so now it’s on my fridge.

Walt Disneyworld Magnet

Disney Magnet

I actually thought the majority of magnets were kinda ugly and that included this one but I wanted something that showed I’d been to the Florida park so I ended up bringing this one home for me. Well, I’m not actually sure if it’s for me or my Mom but it’s on our fridge – presumably if I ever move house the magnet will come with me ‘cos my Mom doesn’t care about Disney.

Mickey Mouse Key Ring

Mickey Mouse Keyring

I’ve got way too many key rings at the moment – the trouble I have is that I bought them on trips so I don’t want to take any of them off because they have a nice memory attached to them. My Step-Mum has this in a fridge magnet format from their trip to Disneyworld years ago and I wanted a key ring version to show that I’d been. And I love it so no regrets I guess. Except I’m finding it harder to shove my house key into its little pouch with all the bloody key rings I’ve got now.

1st Visit Badge

1st Visit Badge

I mentioned this in my ‘Travel Fails’ blog post but my first night was an absolute disaster and I sobbed to the woman on reception that it was my first visit and it had been a disaster so far and she gave me this badge. I wore it most days of my trip. It was nice actually because most staff would wish me a happy first visit (I even got some free food in Hollywood Studios) and even other guests would wish me a happy first visit too. So if it’s your first time at Disneyworld definitely ask for one of these badges!

Beauty and the Beast Key Ring

Beauty and the Beast Keyring

This is for my friend Hirst – every time I’ve been somewhere Disney related I always buy her something Beauty and the Beast related even though I’m not actually 100% sure if it’s her favourite Disney film anymore. I’m pretty sure Belle was her favourite princess, I have no idea if it’s changed or not but for the foreseeable future she’ll probably keep getting Beauty and the Beast merchandise!

Disney Postcards

Disney Postcards

Although I’m extremely behind on it I keep scrapbooks of my adventures and I find it’s helpful to have a postcard or two to add. This pack includes ten postcards, here’s what they have if you can see them:

Postcards 2

They’re really cute and I’m looking forward to putting them in my scrapbook!

Toy Story Notebook

Toy Story Notebook

I think this is so cute, it’s a notebook made to look like the Toy Story VHS. I love buying new notebooks. I’m not sure whether I’ll actually use this one because it’s so cute that I worry nothing I write in it will actually be worthy. But I knew I had to have it so maybe I will write something in it one day.

Coco Notebook

Coco Notebook

I bought this for my friend Becca because she watched the Coco movie last year and has probably seen it 100 times since then because she instantly loved it. When I gave this to her she instantly went “I can never write anything in this, it’s too nice!” So I think it was well received. I do think it’s cute actually, she’s lucky I gave it to her instead of keeping it for myself haha!

Disney Snow Globe

Snowglobe

Whenever I go abroad I bring back a snow globe to mark where I’ve been. The literal only one I’m missing is Amsterdam so I’m hoping my Mom will get me one when she goes in April. I hadn’t really spotted any snow globes in the parks so I bought one from Universal which I will show you all later in this post but then I spotted this one in the gift store of my hotel. It’s bigger than all my other snow globes, even my Japan one, but since I’d wanted to visit for so long it’s nice to have the snow globe as like… An achievement if that makes sense? I genuinely thought I’d never be able to afford to go and I’m so happy that I did. Now I have this on my ‘travel shelf’ to prove that I did.

Chocolate Frog

Chocolate Frog

In Japan me, Becca and Jess each bought one of these and even brought one back to the UK for Hirst – mostly so we could see who’s card we got but also the Chocolate Frogs themselves had been worth the money as they’re quite heavy, even I couldn’t finish the whole thing in one sitting. I didn’t open it until I got back to the UK and saw that I’d got Gilderoy Lockhart’s card:

Chocolate Frog Card

Not my favourite character but at least I didn’t get another Dumbledore! If ever I went back to Universal Studios I think I’d buy another one, I love getting the cards.

Universal Studios Shot Glass

Universal Shot Glass

As you can see the shot glass says ‘Jessica’ at the top so it was a gift for my friend Hirst. Most of my gifts from abroad for Hirst are a shot glass and Becca & Jess usually get her one too so she has quite a good collection of them now.

Hermione Key Ring

Hermione Key Ring

To be honest I really struggled to know what to buy for my friends in Universal Studios but I knew I should probably get them something. I spotted this and it instantly reminded me of Becca as she loves Harry Potter and she had told me that in primary school she used to play Harry Potter with a couple of friends and she was always Hermione. So I brought it home for her.

Cauldron Key Ring

Cauldron Key Ring

I’m in danger now but I think I gave this one to Hirst. Hirst isn’t actually the biggest Harry Potter on the planet, she didn’t watch the films until she was in her late teens and I don’t think she’s read the books but she sort of likes it now and enjoyed ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ when I took her to see it last August. So she ended up with a cauldron key ring!

Chocolate Frog Key Ring

Chocolate Frog Key Ring

Pretty sure I gave this one to Jess. I had wanted to get us each something from our houses as we all have a different one – I’m Hufflepuff, Jess is Gryffindor, Becca is Slytherin and Hirst is Ravenclaw. But everything was so expensive and the house related stuff wasn’t actually that cute so I settled on getting them different key rings instead.

Tinkerbell Pin

Tinkerbell Pin

This was for my friend Sorcha, I’d gotten her an Ariel key ring in Hong Kong as I’d thought that was her favourite character but it turned out although she loved Ariel her actual favourite character was Tinkerbell (she didn’t tell me that when I gave her the key ring, she was grateful, it just came up in conversation before I went away lmao). I made it my mission to get her something Tinkerbell related this time and came across this pin which I thought was cute so I decided to get it for her.

Bead Necklaces

Bead Necklaces

At Universal Studios there’d been a parade where the people on the floats tossed these bead necklaces out into the crowd. The girl next to me caught tons and saw I was getting a bit frustrated that I hadn’t managed to catch any yet so she kindly gave me two of hers and then as the parade went on I managed to build it up to nine necklaces. I wore them for the rest of the visit and I thought it was a cute idea. Some people literally must’ve managed to collect almost a hundred of them which I thought was a bit crazy considering they’re probably worth about 10p each but if it made them happy then crack on I guess!

Minnie Mouse Plushie

Minnie Mouse Plushie

I told myself not to buy anymore plushies because although I love all the ones I have they’re in a bin bag because I have nowhere to store them (I’m not throwing them out although I’m sure my Mother would love that, I’m just keeping hold of them) but when I saw this Minnie Mouse I couldn’t resist. She’s holding a candyfloss and her dress is covered in different things from the parks like rides or iconic buildings from each park. Minnie Mouse had been one of my favourite character meets as she was so lovely so I just couldn’t help myself! She’s on my bed for now but unfortunately I imagine she’ll be destined for the bin bag until I move out and hopefully get some space to showcase my cute plushies.

Tinkerbell Decoration

Tinkerbell Decoration

I spotted this in a Christmas shop and knew it would be perfect for Sorcha so I got it for her. She was delighted with it and I’m really happy I grabbed it for her; I do think it’s so cute.

Buzz Lightyear Decoration

Buzz Lightyear Decoration

And this is the one I bought for myself. I’ve been buying more Disney decorations over the past couple of years (much to my Mum’s disappointment as she’s not really a Disney fan but she can’t stop me spending my own money lmao) but when I got this home I’ve decided not to save it for Christmas and now he’s on the knob for one of my drawers. I don’t think he’ll go on the tree this year because I bought some other decorations for myself too…

Toy Story Decorations

Toy Story Decorations

These ones! They were the first things I spent money on in the parks. My original plan had been to give the Woody one to my brother for his tree and we’d have the Buzz one on ours but like with the magnet I think he’s going to be left short again because I want them both on our tree. So they’re going to take pride and place on ours instead.

Seuss Snow Globe

Seuss Snow Globe

This is the snow globe I mentioned earlier and to be fair I do really like it. I went to Seuss land first at Universal Studios and ended up loving the Cat in the Hat ride more than I thought I would. I had more fun in Universal than I thought I would actually, there were more rides that I could handle than I’d originally thought and it was lots of fun. I’d definitely go back one day.

Hello Kitty Notebooks

Hello Kitty Notebooks

My love for cute notebooks got the better of me again but I couldn’t resist these when I saw them! I mean, look at them! I’d nearly chickened out of the ET ride at the last minute but didn’t and was so proud of myself for going on it, plus it was lots of fun so I decided I wanted the ET version but I thought the Jaws version was so cute too. I just had to get both. Again, not sure if I’ll write anything in them because they’re just too cute!

And there we have it, my Florida haul! Let me know your favourite thing you bought from Orlando.

Five Favourite Memories from Orlando

Hollywood Studios

I just got back from an absolutely incredible holiday to Orlando, Florida where I spent most of my time at Disneyworld. As a kid I didn’t get to go to any of the Disney parks as my Mom and brothers aren’t really Disney fans and to be honest I don’t particularly remember being desperate to go until I was in my late teens when I suddenly decided I wanted to visit every park. Florida seemed absolutely impossible but luckily due to a tax return and a decent deal found on Tui I managed to finally afford my dream holiday.

I wanted to talk about my favourite memories from that trip so here goes nothing! These are in no particular order.

Fantasmic

Fantasmic

I booked myself a fastpass for this without really knowing what it was – it wasn’t until I arrived really that I understood each Disney park had a night show and this was the one for Hollywood Studios. I was tired after a relatively sleepless night the night before (a long story which you can read about in my Orlando travel fails blog post) but I knew I had to hold on until 8PM to see this.

Even before I’d seen the other evening shows I knew Fantasmic was my favourite. I love Mickey Mouse and I love anything that sort of tells a story so I was really enjoying it. Unfortunately for me it got part-way through and then they had to end it early. I think it was because of a medical emergency but it was never actually stated why.

I’m not sure how much of it I missed but I don’t think it was a lot – it was still a shame because that was my only night to catch the show. It’s definitely an excuse to return one day though because I need to see Fantasmic all the way through – it was absolutely perfect!

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom

Fireworks

Although I didn’t particularly want to I ended up having my first visit to Magic Kingdom on a Saturday which was unfortunate as the park was heaving by lunchtime – so much so that I couldn’t find anywhere to get food that wasn’t rammed. I’d told myself to stay for the fireworks because I never knew if something was going to happen like it had with Fantasmic but in the end I left after my final fastpass of the day, had dinner in my hotel and had an early night. And you know what, I’m not even sorry.

I returned on Tuesday and was in a much better mood. Although the park was still busy it was nowhere near as bad as it had been on the Saturday, I managed to get some lunch and I was excited about seeing the fireworks.

Unfortunately when I’d visited the Paris park we’d had to leave before the fireworks, there hadn’t been any at the Hong Kong park but I had enjoyed them at the Tokyo park. That hadn’t prepared me for the Florida ones – the projections on the castle of all the different characters was incredible, the song, the fireworks, Tinkerbell flying over the crowd… It was absolutely incredible. I kept putting my phone away and telling myself to live in the moment but then something would happen and I’d be like ‘I NEED TO VIDEO THIS’.

Fireworks 2

I’m not ashamed to say I cried because honestly they were so beautiful. If I’m ever lucky enough to return to Disneyworld I want to watch them all over again but I don’t think it will top that first time. I got an amazing spot right in the middle of the castle, close enough and everyone in front of me wasn’t too tall. Couldn’t beat my first experience of the Happily Ever After fireworks.

Meeting Buzz Lightyear

Me + Buzz 2

At the other parks (as in not Florida) I found it really hard to meet any of the characters – in Paris we only managed to meet Mickey Mouse, we didn’t meet anyone in Tokyo and although I met a few in Hong Kong there were still some I didn’t get to meet. Buzz Lightyear has been my favourite character for about a year now but his queue got closed in Hong Kong which I was gutted about ‘cos I was wearing a Buzz Lightyear themed dress and I’d wanted to meet him.

With less than a week to go before my trip my friend Emma gave me my Christmas present which was Buzz Lightyear themed Mickey ears. She’d popped up before Christmas to ask me my favourite Disney film and character, and I’d obviously replied to say Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear. By the time she gave me the gift I’d completely forgotten she’d asked me and I was thrilled with them.

So of course I wore them to Hollywood Studios and as I entered Toy Story Land I saw you could meet Buzz Lightyear and the queue wasn’t cut! Wahoo! I joined the back and even tweeted about how excited I was. The queue didn’t take that long and soon I was at the front.

Me + Buzz

I always find the character meets a little bit awkward because I’m never sure what to say or do but it’s so much easier with the characters that can’t talk because at least there’s no awkward conversation. After exchanging hello’s etc. he pointed at my Mickey ears and I said something like “Yeah, that’s because you’re my favourite!” and he put his hand on his heart like he was flattered.

After we took the photos I expected the meet to finish as it had for everyone else but Buzz told me to take off my bags and then told me to press his buttons – I didn’t really know what he was asking me to do but luckily the photographer told me so I did and he went into Spanish mode and danced with me which was hilarious. Bless him for going that little bit further because I said he was my favourite character!

Finding Nemo – The Musical

Finding Nemo The Musical

If I were naming my favourite Disney movies ‘Finding Nemo’ wouldn’t be anywhere near the top ten, and ‘Finding Dory’ would be even lower. I don’t actively dislike them but there are definitely better movies. Either way, I wanted to see this show at Animal Kingdom because I’m not really a big thrill rides kind of girl and I was more excited about visiting Disney to see the shows. A colleague at work who had visited a couple of years previously told me she’d enjoyed it and so I was excited to see it – so much so that I made sure I got a fastpass for it!

It was actually one of the best shows I saw throughout my trip, really inventive and did make me cry a little bit (it was the last full day of my trip, I was exhausted and even in the film it is nice when Marlin and Nemo get reunited let’s be real!). If I went back I’d definitely want to see it again, it was so much fun and I loved it!

Crystal Palace Buffet

Crystal Palace

This is the dining reservation that I mentioned earlier that I had to modify because I wanted to see the fireworks. I found out about Crystal Palace through watching Disney vlogs to hype myself up – Jade Billington and her husband had breakfast there and got to meet the Winnie-the-Pooh characters, and it looked like fun. I liked the idea of a buffet and I love the Winnie-the-Pooh characters but I was worried about feeling self-conscious. Still, I may only get to go once so I booked myself a reservation.

The only perk about going so late was that it was a bit quieter but I was quite tired after a full on day park – still it was nice to just sit and eat for a bit. The only downside is that I asked my waiter for an orange juice and he must’ve misunderstood because he brought me a fizzy orange drink. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate fizzy drinks but me being British and awkward just accepted it and then asked for a water later on so I actually had something to drink.

There wasn’t a ton of choice at the buffet but they had vegetables! You know it’s bad when I actually got excited about it and filled a whole half of my plate with them. And there was unlimited bread which everyone knows is a good thing. I just wish I hadn’t been so tired (and chaffy!) to enjoy it more, I think I’d kill to sit and eat that buffet again.

Then the Winnie-the-Pooh characters came which was awesome but unfortunately the cast members don’t jump in to take photos of you so if you’re going solo you’ll need to bear that in mind. I was very lucky because a family from Denmark saw my awkward encounter with Eeyore in which I didn’t get a photo and immediately jumped in, the mother essentially becoming my own personal photographer. The only person I didn’t get a proper photo with was Piglet because I think he got a bit confused but I got some other cute photos and it was nice having the characters approach you instead of having to wait ages in line to meet them.

Me + Tigger

It was a little bit expensive but I’d say worth every penny. I only booked two dining reservations for my trip, one here and one at Chinese in Epcot and I’d return to both to be honest. Crystal Palace for the experience, the Chinese because that honey sesame chicken with rice was probably the best meal I had whilst away.

I have tons and tons of happy memories from my trip but those were definitely the top five. Let me know your favourite memories from any of the Disney parks and keep your fingers crossed that I can go back one day!