Monday, 10 June 2019

Disney Dream Girls 264 Phantom Manor

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 264 for Sunday 9th June 2019.  If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us in iTunesLibsyn, on Stitcher Radio or via any good podcast catching app.
After we discuss the news, the entire show is dedicated to talking about the refurbishment of Phantom Manor and Michelle's opinion on the refreshed attraction. Additionally, we include extracts from the full on-ride binaural audio recording Michelle did whilst riding the attraction.

Below, we share a range of images from the ride to further illustrate some of the points raised on the show. 

Exterior
Pre-Stretching Room
New Portrait and Lit Wallpaper
Stretching Room
One of Four New Stretching Room Portraits
Portrait Gallery
Portrait of Melanie Ravenswood
Seance Room
The Phantom
Photo Credit DLP Website
Grim Grinning Ghost Busts
Photo Credit DLP Website
That's all we have for this week, if you want more Disney Dream Girls audio - why not become a supporter via our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls  

On our Patreon page already this month, patrons at Supporter and Pixie Dust level had access to a full binaural ride through of the Phantom Manor plus pre and post ride chat. Why not take a look and consider if you could support us.
 
 

You can contact us via Email: info@disneydreamgirls.com 
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and Instagram @disdreamgirls and join in our chat on Facebook DisneyDreamGirlsPodcast.  

 
Michelle and Jayne x   

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Disney Dream Girls 263 for Sunday 2nd June 2019

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 263 for Sunday 2nd June 2019.  If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us in iTunesLibsyn, on Stitcher Radio or via any good podcast catching app.

This week's show starts with a review of one or two items of Disney news and then we move on to the first part of Michelle's Disneyland Paris Trip Report. 

Hotel
Michelle stayed at the Disney's Sequoia Lodge. The hotel was a ten minute walk away from the Disney Village, was set in beautiful landscaped gardens and was very comfortable. Mousekeeping was very attentive and we celebrated French Mothers Day whilst there!
Characters
Character meets in the parks are a lot of fun and you will get the chance to meet a whole host of them: sometimes in different outfits to other Disney parks. Phantom Mickey is proving to be a big fan favourite!
Attractions
There are a lot of attractions at Disneyland Paris that are unique and therefore we highly recommend you seek these out first! Our favourite is Crush's Coaster however, Space Mountain is unlike any other!
Fastpasses are obtained from machines throughout the park and give you a return time (with a window of 30 minutes). Do not arrive early for these but most cast members will accomodate you if you are slightly late for one.

Food
During Michelle's trip she did not eat at any table service restaurants. However, she did visit a few of the quick service places - sometimes just to photograph the menu but also to eat. It is very typical themepark fare and prices. There is Tex Mex and Italian offerings if you do not fancy burgers and prices range from around 12 Euros to 16 Euros for a meal. 
 
Thai Chicken Salad from Earl of Sandwich
If you want value for money - we suggest eating out of the park or bringing your own food.  However, there are a few little gems such as Toad Hall, who have a great serving of steak chip for under 4 Euros.


It is also pleasing to see some 'Mickey' shaped foods coming into the parks and themed foods such as the cassette tape chocolate biscuit celebrating Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Entertainment
Mickey and The Magician
DLP put on a great parade and a spectacular finale to the evening - Illuminations. Over in the studios, you will find Mickey and the Magician - this is fantastic! I can not find a single fault with these offerings. In fact, as Walt Disney World does not have a parade in the Magic Kingdom, is some respects makes Disneyland Park a winner! In addition, there are some fantastic cast members who make it their one goal in life to give you the best day ever.
Illuminations
Opinion
Has Disneyland Paris won a place in my heart - well... nearly! There have been obvious improvements in the two years since my last trip (reduction of smokers smoking throughout the parks is one). They are investing in the infrastructure with lots of rides being refurbished and we saw lots of general in-park maintenance happening. I still feel there are improvements to be made regarding food but it is getting there and if you are considering a trip I am sure you will love it!
We will have more - lots more - from DLP over the next few weeks and with Jayne planning a trip in the summer you will not want to miss a single show!

That's all we have for this week, if you want more Disney Dream Girls audio - why not become a supporter via our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls For example, we have released three extra shows in May alone for our Patreon supporters and you can hear them for just $5 per month plus all past shows too!
 
 
You can contact us via Email: info@disneydreamgirls.com 
Follow our posts on Twitter @DisDreamGirls
and Instagram @disdreamgirls and join in our chat on Facebook DisneyDreamGirlsPodcast.  

Michelle and Jayne x  

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Disney Dream Girls 262 for 26th May 2019

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 262 for Sunday 26th May 2019.  If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us in iTunesLibsyn, on Stitcher Radio or via any good podcast catching app.

Coming up on this week's show, Michelle is joined by Kat and Lewis from Dis Down Under to feedback how they did on the challenges we set them as well as share some trip highlights from their recent three and a half week Disney trip. 
Photo Credit Dis Down Under on Food Tour at the Magic Kingdom

Disneyland Resort Challenges

Train - we can definately mark this as achieved as they did the Grand Circle Tour, where they found out lots of backstage train details and rode in the Lilly Belle carriage. 
Photo Credit Disneyland Website
Beignets - check, check and double check! Boy did they meet this challenge! Whilst they didn't manage to eat at Ralph Brennan's, they did try the beignets from Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet in New Orleans! 
Photo Credit Disneyland Website
Photo Credit Cafe du Monde Website
Cocktails from the Lamplight Lounge or Carthay Circle - to be on the safe side they tried both locations and enjoyed a few delicious adult beverages. 
Photo Credit Dis Down Under
Jessie's Critter Carousel - ridden and video already shared on the podcast page.

Try Jack Jack's cookie num num or the lemon soft serve on Pixar Pier - achieved and described in detail!

Walt Disney World Challenges

Report back about the room at Pop Century - both Kat and Lewis loved the resort and enjoyed the many advantages that this value resort offered. As to the killer bed - they reported no injuries because the second bed was kept as a table.

Be a mermaid - Disney introduced this experience for both children and adults alike. For around $50 Kat felt this was a fun experience and really enjoyed it. 

Dumbo's Magic Feather Brownie - alas they daring duo did not find this delight... so it will be up to Michelle to try it out in July!

Report back about Cinderella's Royal Table. On the show, Kat and Lewis discuss their thoughts. Whilst they enjoyed it - it is a one and done for them.
Cinderella Royal Table - Photo Credit WDW Website
Highway in the Sky Dine Around - yes they did this and will be going into detail about it on their podcast in the coming weeks. 

Try the offerings at Taste Track - two big hits here! The pineapple wheat beer and the violet blueberry vanilla croissant doughnut were enjoyed by them.
Photo Credit - Dis Down Under
Final challenge - attend Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party. They really enjoyed this and were able to enjoy the beverages and food offerings. 

As to the challenges on the cruise element of their trip, time ran away with us and we will have to catch up with them at another time. 

That's all we have for this week, if you want more Disney Dream Girls audio - why not become a supporter via our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls For example, we have released three extra shows in May alone for our Patreon supporters and you can hear them for just $5 per month plus all past shows too!
 
 
You can contact us via Email: info@disneydreamgirls.com 
Follow our posts on Twitter @DisDreamGirls
and Instagram @disdreamgirls and join in our chat on Facebook DisneyDreamGirlsPodcast.  

Michelle and Jayne x 

Friday, 24 May 2019

Travelling to Orlando with kids

Janine Pipe is back with another blog and this time she uses her experiences on travelling to Orlando with a child to advise, inform and general help everyone out!
For myself, the planning side of a Florida holiday is almost as exciting as the trip itself. The build of anticipation rises every time I make a dining reservation or book a Fast Pass: even buying sun-cream is a lot more exciting when you know you’ll be using it in Orlando! As with everything though, planning a trip overseas with a small child in tow, isn’t quite as easy and straightforward. Now I know that everyone parents differently. For some families, they won’t need to change much: they will still eat at California Grill because little Bobby will just doze happily in his stroller and they will still do full park days whilst little Suzie naps peacefully in her buggy. But whether you are a parent who fits around your child or who’s child fits around you, there are still some important things to think about before and during your Florida visit.

First, plan, plan, PLAN!!! Let’s presume we are talking about a pre-schooler or younger school aged child here especially. Think about their likes and dislikes. Consider their stamina. Which attractions will they enjoy, appreciate, be terrified of … for example – Tink is petrified of most insects but especially spiders so It’s Tough To Be a Bug! was immediately struck off the list.
It's Tough to be a Bug! Photo Credit WDW Website
Location – I am a huge advocate for staying on-site but the cost can be restrictive for some people. If you can not afford to stay in Disney or Universal itself, try to stay as close to the parks as possible. This will save you time in travelling and will make breaks from the parks a lot easier. Try to ensure your hotel has a fridge and maybe even a microwave. At 2 years old Tink was still incredibly fussy and prone to not eating in restaurants so we ended up buying the odd kiddie meal in Target and heating it up in the room for her. 
Character Meets - Fun For Kids (Minions at Universal Resort)
Flight – don’t be frightened of taking a baby/small child on a long-haul flight. Just be prepared that boredom will likely settle in once the initial excitement has worn off, so have plenty of tricks up your sleeve to keep them entertained. A small bag of treats that you bring out every couple of hours might help. Have their favourite toy and/or a pillow to snuggle up with and don’t under-estimate the power of an iPad/tablet. Walk around the plane with them and swap seats within your family. The little changes will keep things fresh for them. You might want to pack some snacks in your flight bag in case they don’t like the plane food too. And don’t stress, even if your child is fussy and has ‘a moment’, this is a family destination. If people expect everyone to be silent on a flight, don’t go to Florida!
Stroller – whilst I am not an advocate for numerous amounts of buggies in the parks and am glad that they have banned the enormous wagons, I do recommend a stroller for under 5’s. Even if your child hasn’t used a pushchair in the UK for ages, their little legs will be glad of the rest. The parks are HUGE and add in the heat, time difference and massive amount of stimulation, then a stroller will be a blessing in disguise. You can also store the ridiculous amount of paraphernalia that kids require in it too. 
Character Meets at Walt Disney World
Park bag – that huge amount of stuff changes dependent on the age and demands of your child, but a lot of parents end up carting around everything but the kitchen sink when they have kids. A change of clothes is a good idea for even under 8’s as they might get wet, sticky, covered in ice-cream. Wet wipes and tissues are essential as are snacks and drinks. Even if you are on a Dining Plan, I would advise having something like some raisins or trail mix to hand as you never know when Junior might suddenly announce they are starving and it’ll likely be when you’re in line for something and no where near a vendor. Drinks can add up and it is very important to stay hydrated. You can bring water in with you, fill up from the fountains or ask for iced-water for free from any Quick Service location. Another must have for you bag is sun cream – please keep your child and yourself topped up as that Florida sunshine is intense and no one likes sun-burn.
Take a break – this is something that I personally feel is a good idea for everyone not just children. Our first trip with Tink was when she was only 2 years old and she still needed a day time nap. Never being one to doze off in her stroller, especially when surrounded by Mickey, we took her back to the hotel after lunch each day. This not only recharged her batteries nicely, but allowed us to have a rest and relax too. Whether it was catching up on laundry (another fab idea with a kiddo in tow) or just chilling out for a bit before heading back to the hustle and bustle of the parks, it was a great way to escape the midday madness of crowds and heat.
Rider swap – you might think that if you have a baby or younger child with you, then the thrill rides are out of the question. However, fear not as the rider switch/child swap allows each parent to ride in turn whilst the other one waits in a special area/room with the child who cannot ride. This works well too if you have an older child as they can ride with each parent whilst the other waits. However, this is another one where you should consider to how your child might react even just in the line. Tink hated the queue for The Forbidden Journey as walking through Hogwarts was quite dark. She also found the line for Transformers quite intimidating. Sometimes it might just be best for one parent to head off to their favourite ride whilst the other endures yet another turn on It’s a Small World.
Budget – kids are like magpies, they like shiny new things and every shop in WDW and Universal is full of wonders for the small people. So to TRY to stop a melt down after every attraction by letting them know what they can or can’t have that day. A daily treat can work, as can limiting the amount they can spend. If they are a bit older, having their own money helps too. As Tink was 8 last trip, she saved her pocket money for over a year and ended up with around $25 each day to spend on anything she wanted. It doesn’t have to be that much – if they know they have a $5 maximum then it really does help with expectations. 
Most of all with children, try to go with the flow a bit more so that you can all have fun. There will be tears and they will test your patience. But overall you will create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Take photos and videos, keep a diary of what you get up to. It will be a holiday to remember and you will soon be saving up for the next one!!!

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Disney Dream Girls Show 261 for 19th May 2019

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 261 for Sunday 19th May 2019.  If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us in iTunesLibsyn, on Stitcher Radio or via any good podcast catching app.

Coming up on this week's show, we reveal which park you like the most, argue about Dole Whips, discuss the road signs that aren't actually road signs, describe a new cheesey but spicy funnel cake and then move on to answer all your questions about Disneyland Paris. 
Disneyland Paris
We welcome our lovely DLP fan - Liz Read aka Fairy Godmother - to this weeks show. Liz is a font of all knowledge when it comes to Paris.  
Once we have covered the Disney theme park news, we start by reviewing some of the Paris refurbishments that are occuring this year and were all very sad to find out that the train will probably not be running until at least August 2019. Sadly, this is not due to engineering work but it seems like it is financially driven.
Then we answered questions from Steve Ernie Enright, Vikki Marie and Claire Beattie. They were mainly focussed around attractions we would like to see there or remove from there, how to manage the Fastpass system and which lounges/quick service locations we recommend.
Best lounge in DLP is at The Sequoia Lodge
We still have a long list of DLP questions to answer and we will include them on an upcoming show. 

That's all we have for this week, if you want more Disney Dream Girls audio - why not become a supporter via our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls For example, we have released three extra shows in May alone for our Patreon supporters and you can hear them for just $5 per month plus all past shows too!
 
 
You can contact us via Email: info@disneydreamgirls.com 
Follow our posts on Twitter @DisDreamGirls
and Instagram @disdreamgirls and join in our chat on Facebook DisneyDreamGirlsPodcast.  

Michelle and Jayne x 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Disney Dream Girls 260 for 12th May 2019

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 260 for Sunday 12th May 2019.  If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us in iTunesLibsyn, on Stitcher Radio or via any good podcast catching app.

On this week's podcast,we talk about some news items that caught our attention. Then, we answer an array of listener questions regarding trip booking: what is considered to be the best discount and a few other questions based around our favourite attractions.  

Apologies for the short show notes this week... its been a busy one! We will be back to normal next week.

That's all we have for this week, if you want more Disney Dream Girls chat - why not become a supporter via our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls By giving a small amount each month, you can receive additional, exclusive, audio content.

You can contact us via Email: info@disneydreamgirls.com 
Follow our posts on Twitter @DisDreamGirls
and Instagram @disdreamgirls and join in our chat on Facebook DisneyDreamGirlsPodcast.  


Michelle and Jayne x

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Princess Storybook dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall by Janine Pipe


We would like to welcome Janine Pipe  to our Disney Dream Girls team! We are thrilled to announce that she will be writing various pieces for us about her Disney life and past trips.

Princess Storybook dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is something of a hidden gem. We decided to visit on our first morning of our last trip in August 2018. We tend to wake up super early and only last for a few hours at whichever park we go to, so it made perfect sense to make the most of an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast before a short but sweet visit to EPCOT. 
Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase part of EPCOT. It was Extra Magic Hours at 8am and we managed to walk into an almost empty park through the Advanced Dining Reservation line. We made sure to take some photos with no one around! Even though we were about to have enough food to feed an army, my husband Steve got excited at the fact we had so many snack credits to use (we were on the Disney Dining Plan) and couldn’t resist an iced coffee from Joffery’s. 
 
It was almost surreal wandering through Future World with literally no crowds. World Showcase looked beautiful with no one there and Cast Members pottering around ready to start their day.
We checked in with the Cast Member outside of the restaurant and were told to wait for our party to be called. We were 15 minutes early but were called in a very short time.  
When we stepped into the beautifully themed entrance to the restaurant, we were invited to wait to see Belle. As this was a Photo Pass opportunity, we queued up as Felicity was wearing her personalised Belle t-shirt. This was a lovely interaction and then we were quickly shown to our table. We had a good position, sort of central and not too far from the buffet. 
It really does make you think that you are inside an old fashioned banqueting hall of an old castle. It is not quite as ornate as Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, but it is still nicely themed and the candles on the walls and dark wooden beams make it nicely atmospheric, even in broad daylight. There are several rooms and areas and the tables were not too close together so we didn’t feel like we were listening in to our neighbour’s conversations.
Our server was called Silje and she was amazing!!! Nothing was too much trouble for her and we were sure to send her a Cast Compliment on Twitter after we finished. She brought us coffee and juice and explained we could go and help ourselves to the cold buffet, and that hot food would be brought to the table.

The cold buffet is a Norwegian Smorgasbord and mainly comprised of cold meats and cheeses, along with various pastries and fruit. The cinnamon whirls were really nice as were the Lingonberry muffins. The hot plate which is eaten family-style, has scrambled eggs, potato casserole, sausages and bacon. Felicity was disappointed as she really wanted Mickey waffles on her first morning and Silje was kind enough to put a special order in just for her!!!    
There was plenty of food to go around and we all really enjoyed it. I am vegetarian and I really liked the potato casserole which was nice and cheesy. We didn’t make the most of the all-you-can-eat option with it only being our first morning; we hadn’t yet expanded our bellies to cope with American sized portions.
However, food aside, the main reason that we were Storybook Dining was to meet princesses! Having already ticked Belle off of the list, we were treated to meet and greets at the table by – Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel and Snow White. Although these interactions were short but sweet, they allowed time for an autograph, a hug (me included with Ariel as she is my favourite) and plenty of photos. Note that there are not any Photo Pass photographers inside the restaurant, the only official photo-opportunity is when you first meet with Belle.

For us, character meals are worth their weight in gold. Although we ended up seeing most of the princesses again this trip (we had a lot of character meals), being able to meet them without using a Fast Pass or queueing in the insane Florida heat, is a nice, civilised and air-conditioned way to meet Felicity’s heroes.

There was also a princess processional where the children get to take part in a nice little parade around the dining room. As Felicity was in her personalised glittery Belle t-shirt and swirly tu-tu, she couldn’t resist!

Akershus was for us very worthwhile. As we were on the Disney Dining Plan, it cost us one credit which was much better than the two credits we used for dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

An unexpected surprise occurred straight after we finished breakfast and left the restaurant too … a 10 minute stand-by on Frozen Ever After!!! This was a real first morning spot of Magic. 

I would 100% recommend the breakfast buffet at Akershus. We will certainly go back on our next visit.

To hear our weekly podcast, which takes an unofficical view of the Disney theme parks, search in all good podcast catching places for The Disney Dream Girls.