Beasts of London, Museum of London

On the weekend we were kindly invited to the Beasts of London exhibition which is at the Museum of London, in Barbican.

The exhibition explores all the animals which have contributed to the long history of the Capital starting with the Romans and through to the present day.

The way Beasts of London set up is so different to any other exhibition that we have visited. You walk through different rooms from history such as the Victorian era, where trips to the Circus to see elephants and other exotic animals were common, to riding a beautiful carousel learning about how important horses have been to the likes of the Royal Family!

The visit was so immersive thanks to the animations that surround you in every room. They completely grabbed Ita’s attention.

Each room plays the specific story every 7 minutes so you can step out if needed and rejoin at your own pace. (So handy with children!)

I think Dominic’s favourite room was the apothecary where as Ita loved the carousel! Mine was without doubt the Victorian room with the elephants!

This tour took us about an hour and a half and we totally lost track of time. We actually thought we had only been in the exhibition for about 40 minutes!

Afterwards we decided to spend some time in the rest of the museum, completely unaware of how fun this particular one is! We really enjoyed our visit! A must do this summer for sure!

https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/exhibitions/beastsoflondon

Sorrento, Italy

Forgive my lateness to this post! So many people had messaged me via Instagram with so many questions that I wanted to plan this blog post to ensure I was providing the info requested.

A few weeks ago we travelled to Sorrento in Italy for a weeks break. We had booked via TUI because we found what we thought was a brilliant deal of flights, transfers and at an all inclusive resort. We had actually booked this holiday back in August 2018 so had plenty of time to pay it off gradually!

We stayed at a 4 star hotel called the Parco Del Sol which was set in the rocky mountains on a steep hill.

Holiday package TUI –

We are of course southerners so flew from one of our local airports – Gatwick. Usually we would spend the night in a hotel with direct access to the airport but on this occasion we felt we did not have to given our flight was scheduled for midday take off.

But it didn’t. Take off that is.. not until well after 9pm! Yep that’s right, we were delayed by quite a number of hours and bored stiff in Gatwick. I have to say, TUI were absolutely useless. Not only did we receive no explanation of any delay, but when we finally got to the gates at around 9pm, the staff were rude, ignorant, unsympathetic and unhelpful. This delay meant we lost our first evening in Sorrento as we did not get to the hotel until 3am. I have to say, Ita was as good as gold but she is only just 3 years old so that could have gone the complete opposite way!!

The reps at the hotel the following morning were no better than the staff we encountered at Gatwick. There was no apology or even acknowledgement or what had happened. We rarely saw them during our stay.

The hotel (Parco Del Sol) –

We had booked this hotel knowing that it was smaller than what we were used to but we had convinced ourselves that it would likely feel more authentic of Sorrento by doing so.

The hotel itself is undergoing major renovations and the newer rooms do look much nicer than the old ones. The pool, although basic, was still so much fun for Ita. I think the only issue with the hotel was how repetitive the food was – pasta and pizza every single meal – but then again, maybe that’s normal since we were in Italy!!

The one thing I will say is always bare in mind that a 4star in one country is not the same as in another. Chose a hotel and then research it loads via different websites and social media before finally booking it.

Excursions –

We visited the ruins of Pompeii, made our own way around Sorrento and hired a private boat to visit the Island of Capri whilst we were on holiday.

Pompeii

We booked this the TUI reps as when we had previously visited Rome, we remembered how busy the queues were at the Coliseum.

The traffic in Sorrento is notoriously manic so although we left our hotel at 8 am we didn’t arrive at Pompeii until after 10!

On the day we chose it was a blistering 32degrees and there is no shade at all. However we couldn’t not go! I’m so glad that we did as it’s such an incredible place.

Sorrento –

We took an evening stroll into central Sorrento where we had dinner and went lemoncello tasting.

It was heaving! It’s far more busy that I could explain and I’m a Londoner born and bred!

Island of Capri –

There are a few ways to head to Capri from Sorrento but we decided that hiring a private boat would be the best option for us. I didn’t fancy hanging around in the heat on a ferry and I was unsure how Ita would handle the waves!

We had unfortunately picked a day where the waves were rather choppy so the smaller boat seemed to struggle. I think generally though the water would be ok in July, it was just sods law!

Once we got to Capri we took the lift to the top of the island where the gorgeous boutiques are. It really did remind me of Monaco. We stopped off for lunch and cocktails at Hotel La Palma which is a beautiful hotel.

Capri is stunning and well worth a visit to.

The boat company was called You Know Boat (which I have tagged on Instagram).

We have also been asked whether we think Sorrento is child friendly. This I’m unsure of. The locals were lovely and so friendly especially to Ita. However it was manic and overcrowded which is hard with a small child. For example you simply couldn’t have used a buggy/stroller here.

During this trip I have put some stories up of little travel hacks – I have made a Highlight for this info!

Gelli Spa from Zimpli Kids

A few weeks ago, Zimpli Kids sent Ita a box full of goodies to play with! Now, we have loved this brand since we were first gifted items to review last year but I want to point out that we liked this brand so much that since then we have bought many of their products. We have even purchased some as birthday presents for Ita’s little friends.

Today, Ita decided that she wanted to use the Gelli Spa! This box comes with;

1 x inflatable foot spa

5 x bags of pink gelli (you use one per go)

1 x bottle of minty oil

1 x mini pedicure set

1 x bag of massaging marbles

I read Ita the instructions and she managed to set it up with very minor supervision! I helped mostly with the water to mix the gelli powder since it turns to gelli sooner if you use warm water. Ita added the powder and oil herself, talking me through it as she did! I was pretty impressed!

Once the gelli is poured in and mixed it takes only 5-10 minutes to set. Then you’re ready to relax and enjoy!

As you can see, Ita really got into it! She herself said it made her feel like “mummy”! I’m not quite sure what she meant there but I’m sure it’s a good thing!

Afterwards, since we did not want to waste the gelli, we headed outside for some messy play!

I really do rate Zimpli Kids for many reasons but I love that their products are safe to use. They have multiple safety certificates and is so kind to young skin.

http://www.zimplikids.com/safety.html

Haven Holiday Park, Hopton

Now where do we start? Firstly, boo to us for being so snobby about a holiday to a caravan park! We had all the wrong ideas of what to expect and we now happily admit that!

We booked this little break well over a year ago and paid a small monthly payment of around £35. Our break was meant to be from Monday to Friday but due to work (and sickness!) we didn’t make it to Hopton until Wednesday.

We booked the Prestige New Model compromising of a spacious 12 foot interior. This particular caravan had an outdoor seating area which appealed to us as it meant that Ita could play somewhat outside with supervision.

On our first day we headed straight to the main building where we found that there were many activities ready to take part in. Ita decided that she wanted to paint (another) ceramic unicorn (I swear to God we have a room full of these!!).

This was an extra cost of £18 but there are cheaper options available. I believe prices start from around £7 but do go up to about £50!

The swimming facilities at Hopton are brilliant! We spent 2 hours on both days in the pool and Ita must have gone on that water slide at least 50 times!

Swimming is included in your booking so this was handy. Remember to pack your own floats and arm bands because they are quite pricey.

The evening entertainment at Hopton was something that Ita really enjoyed. Song Bugs UK put on a really fun and interactive show. I was quite annoyed however that it appeared the same children were being picked over and over again as winners or to take part in the show. Ita really tried her hardest to show enthusiasm and ability but was really over looked by them!

The Haven team also put on a show which Ita loved – she was so desperate to meet them after too!!

One thing we found great was that you could order food like Papa Johns directly to your table from your phone! This was such a plus because it meant Ita could take part in the entertainment whilst we closely supervised her!

On the Friday morning it was time for breakfast “with characters”. Now, this would be fine however the term implies we would be meeting ALL of them and not just one.

Ita waited so patiently whilst Greedy the Gorilla went from table to table meeting families – I was so proud of her to be honest!

Then out turn came and I could see the excitement in Ita’s eyes.. She jumped up and gave him a huge hug and thanked him for the show. However, 2 families stood by our table lingering just so they could meet Greedy without waiting! The parents allowed their children to try and grab the mascots attention which frankly I found disgusting. Ita wanted a photo with Greedy so we stood up and they still did not move! I had to ask the chaperone to ask them to move away! (Honestly what is wrong with some people?!)

In fact you can see I’ve had to cut out the child in this photo!! I completely understand why a child finds it hard to wait patiently however I have no understanding whatsoever as to why their parents did not pull them back and tell them to wait. I do think the chaperone should have noticed herself and told them off frankly!

After breakfast we headed to the arcades which is actually quite small – I’m not complaining! This means we spent less money on the rides and Ita mainly stuck to the 2p machines!

She got lucky and won her favourite Toy Story character, Jessie!

We have previously been to the Caister on Sea park but it isn’t a patch on Hopton!

Top tips;

If you can, book well in advance and secure the best caravan. It’s so worth it and the monthly direct debits are minimal.

Kew Little Pigs, Amersham

What a lovely day we have had at Kew Little Pigs in Amersham!

The farm is home to the only micro pig breeders in the UK, so focus is on exhibiting the micro pigs and educating people on their intelligence, understanding their needs and owners responsibilities. Mia was completely sold! She really wants one (sorry sis!).

I have to admit, I couldn’t quite believe how smart they were! We even witnessed one plan their escape… and succeed!!

You have to book this in advance via the website https://kewlittlepigs.com and book a time slot. This is because before every experience, there is a brief health and safety presentation.

There is about 8 pig pens but only one contains the babies and this was the only pen that Ita was allowed in to. This was quite disappointing but also completely understandable considering just how strong pigs are. The only little issue we had here was that only a very limited amount of people were allowed in this specific pen at a time and of course this was the one that everyone wanted to go into! It’s a shame adults do not put the needs of small children first and I even had to ask one couple to step out so Ita and Mia could enter. (They has been in the baby pen monopolising the baby pigs for 20 minutes by this time!). The staff were very young and I think they felt like they couldn’t be more authoritative. (They were incredibly nice however!).

All in all, although I wouldn’t recommend a big travel to visit here, if you live within an hours drive this is definitely somewhere to visit!

We were very kindly gifted our trip here today however there are some deals currently on Wowcher!

Flip Out – Brent Cross

A few weeks ago now, we were invited along to Flip Out for their Mini Flippers session.

This is specifically for under 5s who have full run of the trampolines and foam pits!

We invited my sister and niece along and both Ita and Annalise were exhausted after their visit. They both loved how big the space was and that there were so many trampolines so they could chase each other! The best thing about this place is that children simply can not be active! It’s constant GO!

The 3 minute safety movie at the beginning of the session is just long enough to explain the Do’s and Dont’s without boring the children. They really seemed to take it in too!

We will definitely be back here so that daddy can come with us next time!

Bounce and play for 2 hours for only £7.95. Additional child £4.95. PLUS 1 x adult flips for free.

(You must also buy the Flip Out grip socks at £2.50 a pair).

Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea – The Shard

We had been looking forward to this since we made the reservation months ago, but frustratingly it didn’t quite meet our expectations.

Mary Poppins is about childhood magic and imagination, right? I feel like this was what was missing with the experience. It felt very.. bland?

The food wasn’t themed at all and having looked back at photos from the launch, you can see they’ve just not bothered to continue with it. I think this was the most disappointing part considering the price has remained the same (rather expensive). For example when the tea was launched there was a chocolate hat just like Mary’s. Now it’s a “blob”, absolutely positively not the shape of any hat, which is still referred to as Mary’s hat.

The menu which was printed on a mirror was unreadable as it had been scratched considerably. This is something that realistically you would expect to be repaired.

The best part of our visit was that the scones were delivered via Mary Poppins special bag but that was over in a matter of seconds. (They were also under-baked!).

The candy floss machine / prop was tucked away in a corner too which seemed a shame. This is the type of prop that really could have set the scene and been quite memorable for good reasons.

Most of the staff were friendly however and they even bought Ita a plain ham sandwich which she really appreciated. We did have an issue with the waitress leaning over Ita when pouring the steaming tea but this is a practice issue that is likely to be the restaurants fault. It’s basic training.

Overall I probably wouldn’t recommend it.

Our favourite themed teas remain Beauty & the Beast at the Kensington (which has now ended) and the Peter Rabbit Tea at Le Meridian in Piccadilly.

Cupcake set from WordUnited

Ita was very kindly sent this cupcake stacking set from Word United.

It is a 16 piece set which includes frosting, cake and liner to complete 5 cupcakes and also a cake stand display.

What I loved the most about this set was the fact that it was made from 100% recycled goods.

This means it is good for earth and good for your child! There are no external coatings or paints so it is safe and durable. It even came packaged in recycled boxing!

It is described for children aged 2 and upwards. If Ita had this at a younger age then we would have used it for learning colours and counting. At the moment she loves it for role playing, as you can see!

https://wordunited.com/

Ventura Wildlife Park, Ware, Hertfordshire

On Fathers Day we were kindly gifted tickets to visit Ventura Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire.

As Dominic absolutely loves zoos and wildlife parks, visiting one on Fathers Day has become something of a little tradition!

The park itself is situated by the Van Hague Garden Centre (which is absolutely amazing come Christmas time).

We arrived just a little before 11am and met the very lovely Emma at the Welcome Centre. She explained the different areas of the park such as Madagascar, Heart of Africa and the Australian Outback and provided us with a map. Emma was so friendly and even offered to mind Ita’s balloon. She really is the perfect person to have front of house as she made us feel so welcome.

To enter into the park you have to walk through the Welcome Centre and the small gift shop. Once we were inside I had overheard someone complaining that there were no cafes but actually there are snacks and hot drinks in the Tiki Traders Gift Shop. 

One of the main animals we were eager to see was the Fossa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore.

Ita really enjoyed Explorers Lodge. This is where the animal encounters took place. Glen was absolutely fantastic at providing information to us and importantly, explaining it in a child friendly way. Ita keeps telling me that the spikey hedgehog ( that’s the tenric) is related to an elephant! His approach was fun but informative. He took his time with each of the children to ensure that they were able to see the animals up close and touch the insects… if they were brave enough! At one point Ita went into a little babble to Glen that she had an African land snail and rather than speak over her, he patiently listened. I thought this was not only so kind but it really showed an understanding of how to keep a child engaged. Everyone has a voice. Children are there to get as much out of the experiences as the adults.

Also in the Explorers Lodge were related games and colouring pencils etc. This was so handy because it was a relatively rainy day and it was clear that they had considered ways to keep children entertained.

 

What we particularly enjoyed about Ventura was just how hands on you can be. It is far more interactive than any other Wildlife Park or Zoo that we have visited, and the staff are far more personal. There are free daily encounters, talks and interactive feeds that visitors are encouraged to be a part of. I believe this is specifically because it is a smaller park than others. Dominic felt that because the park was smaller, you felt more time looking at the animals and learning about them. In zoos you often feel pushed along.

So whilst it is a small place, you cant fault how much you get out of it.

Ventura currently care for 45 types of animals, including exotic invertebrates, reptiles, zebra, emu, wallaby, red kangaroo, and lorikeets. Not all of these animals are used for encounters and many are used for captive breeding programmes to ensure survival of their species.

Money from the park has helped with conservation projects. (The Ventura Wildlife Conservation Fund is an independent charitable fund but it is supported by Ventura Wildlife).

 

Toilets are situated within the Van Hage garden centre and this is worth knowing so you can plan in advance!

We had a brilliant visit and the animals look well cared for. The park itself is clean and nicely put together. Ashley, Emma and Glen were all so friendly, warm and knowledgeable. We would really recommend a visit!

My only grumble…we were gutted that we didn’t get to meet Sidley the skunk! What a meet and greet that would have been!! Definitely next time!

Disneyland Paris May 2019

This time last week we were still in Disneyland Paris, most likely waiting to go on It’s a Small World ride (again!).

We are completely on a downer having had the best few days away in such a magical place. However, it is only 186 days until our next visit over the festive season so I shouldn’t complain!

A few weeks ago, I posted some info that I have picked up over the last few years of going to Disneyland. (Apologies about the format!) I hope they were handy. I have found myself picking up useful tips over the years and I think its nice to share what you know so people can make their trip has magical as possible.

I have had so many questions about Disneyland Paris so I’m hoping to answer them all here. As such, I will be focusing on providing detailed info on the bulk of the queries I received rather than do a day by day of our trip.

Many of the questions recently have been about our hotel, character meets and dining so I will do my best to provide info on these topics.

I will start with our hotel! This trip we decided to stay at the Disneyland Hotel which is right by the main theme park. In fact, you have to walk under it to enter the park. We booked it via magic breaks and whilst it is obviously the most expensive hotel in Disneyland, we thought there would be too many pros to argue the price.

First impressions as we entered the hotel with our luggage was good. There are scanners to ensure that you are not bringing anything dangerous into the hotel (and subsequently, parks). We queued up at reception to check in and we were really surprised that we were able to get our room so early. Afterall, it was only 9.30am! We were given our park tickets, room keys and some general information and we headed to our room. Our room was on the second floor, right at the end of the corridor.

When we entered the room I was disappointed about how small it was. There was a double bed and in the corner was a sofa, presumably for Ita. The thing is, where it was positioned there was no chance of pulling the sofa out and making it into a bed. It didn’t bother Ita, frankly she was more than happy to be sleeping in the big bed with us! And rather than pick at faults we thought WERE IN DISNEYLAND!

As the days went on, we found staying at the Disneyland Hotel quite frustrating. Anyone has access to the hotel so the lobby is often busy and your rooms are not cut off from other people either. There is very little privacy. We went to the pool one afternoon and it will full of people from other hotels. The lifeguard didn’t seem fussed about grown men jumping in the pool nor did he seem fazed by people taking photos and recording on their phones. This was a big surprise for me since it’s a basic safeguarding issue. 

Another reason we chose to stay here was the fact that character meets are promised daily. Well we never saw one at all! When I asked concierge, they shrugged their shoulders and said ‘’sometimes yes, sometimes no’’. Over all it’s a bit ‘meh’ and so were looking forward to staying at Newport Bay next time.

After we checked in we headed to Gallerie Mickey (the hotels giftshop) on the same floor as our room, with the intention of booking Ita the Princess for a Day experience. We were fortunate to book a noon appointment for the next day. Before traveling to Disneyland I had been told (by the hotel in fact) that you could only book the experience directly with the gift shop and on the day you wanted the experience. However, it transpires that whilst you have to book directly at the gift shop, you can actually book up to 3 days in advance. This is really handy and well worth knowing for planning purposes! Ita wanted to do this little experience the last time we went but as she was only 2 years, she was too young. The minimum age is 3 years and that is specifically because of the face paint/makeup. (The same minimum age requirement exists in the park for face painting too). The experience ranges from about 55euros all the way up to a couple of thousands of pounds! The basic package includes hair and makeup as well as a certificate and a photoshoot to finish it off. The most expensive package is the same, but you meet a Disney princess and spend the day with her in the parks. It is no shock to people that we like to treat Ita, but we were only ever going to get the basic package. She is a real-life princess anyway!

Just some advice, on our last trip we made a point of checking out the outfits that were included in the packages and could not believe how cheap they looked. The princess dresses in Disneyland Paris cost a standard 60euros, but in all honestly you wouldn’t want to pay more than perhaps £15 for them. Therefore I really recommend bringing your own. Not only is it cheaper but you can find pretty dresses in the likes of Tesco and Asda. Ita loves the tulle ones from the Disney Store so we bring those along.

To make it a bit more special, we had a Cinderella dress made especially for Ita (the shop is tagged on my Instagram). This was part of her birthday celebrations and as she so badly wanted to do this experience the last time, I felt like it was deserved.

Ita really enjoyed this and we are likely to book this experience again when we next visit! My only qualm was how quick the experience lasted. From start to finish I think it was about 20 minutes. In all fairness, I am not sure what I expected and perhaps I was being unreasonable because Ita absolutely loved it. You also get a free print and these are not cheap in Disneyland! In hindsight, considering it’s a lovely experience with magical extras, it was well worth the money and actually relatively cheap in Disney terms.

On our first day we headed to the main theme park and headed straight for Fantasy Land. This seems to be our standard plan! It’s a Small World is always so quiet in the mornings. We find that Ita can go on all of the rides in Fantasy Land and it is the area you walk into having pass through the castle. We tend to spend most of our time here.

So let me explain Magic Hours. If you are staying at a Disney hotel, you can access the parks slightly earlier each day. There are early morning meet and greets as well as the Princess Pavillion (where you can meet Aurora, Snow White, Belle or Ariel). 

Listed below are the rides and attractions open during the magic hours. It is very clear that the extra time is used by people to visit the princesses since queues typically are over an hour long. However, you’re at Disneyland, why would you not meet characters especially the princesses? Therefore, I really recommend using the extra time to leg it down to the Princess Pavillion. You read that right… you will literally see people sprinting there!!

Fantasy Land;

Princess Pavillion

Les Voyages de Pinocchio

Le Carousel de Lancelot

Peter Pans Flight

Mad Hatters Tea Cups

Frontier Land;

Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing

Big Thunder Mountain

 

Discovery Land;

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

Hyperspace Mountain

Orbitron 

Character Dining 

On our first day we also had a character lunch booked at Auberge D’Cendrillion (translated to Cinderella’s restaurant!). We have eaten here twice before, once at dinner and once at lunch. This is also known as the princess restaurant. Here you will meet Aurora, Snow White, Belle, Tiana, Ariel, Rapunzel and of course, Cinderella and her mice. To be clear, you will always meet Cinderella but the restaurant only guarantees 3 other princesses per sitting and you will not know in advance who they are. We have never met Ariel here but since Ita met her at her party and then again at the Princess Pavillion, she wasn’t bothered! Now, it is pricey but considering how difficult it is to meet the princesses in the park, it is worth paying for. The food is not great, and the menu hasn’t changed over the years that we have visited, but the princesses are attentive and the feedback from Ita is that this is her favourite thing to do at Disneyland. (She’s only just turned 3, god help me!). Before this visit, a few people had complained that they did not get to meet many princesses here. I wonder if they knew of the 3 princess rule. However, my advice here is based on a simple reminder that you are not in Britain! Complaining under your breath and then smiling and nodding your head will not help you!! Be European! Make is known you are displeased!! We did, and Snow White and Aurora came dancing out within 5 minutes. Another tip here is be aware of how cramped ADC is. If you need space make this known when you are booking. We have sat at different areas each time we have visited and should we eat here again, I will ask to be in the middle where there is a walk way. Now you’re probably wondering why someone who is only 5feet tall would need space… well its so there aren’t any stragglers in my photos! GET IN THE BIN! You are ruining my shots!

On the second day we booked a character breakfast at Plaza Gardens which is just at the end of Main Street USA in the main park. We very deliberately booked the earliest sitting at 8.15amand made sure we were one of the first there. Why? Seems so daft since you have booked, right? Wrong. Plaza Gardens is gorgeous but like many of the restaurants in Disneyland, it is cramped. I knew exactly where we wanted to sit specifically to make sure that getting to the food was convenient and that no other customers would be in our photos! Seems so vain doesn’t it? Really contrived! But you are paying for the characters when you book these places to eat and in paying for the characters you are obviously going to take photos. So why would I want random strangers scoffing their scrambled eggs in the background? Again, GET IN THE BIN!

Although this next bit is not specific to character dining, I really wanted to share some bug bears with you in the hope you wont waste time like we did. We decided one day to have lunch at Bella Notte which is the Italian restaurant close to It’s a Small World. Stupidly we went in at around 12 and the queue was out the door which should have put us off, but it didn’t and Dominic went to queue up. 50 minutes later he returned to our table with food. 50 MINUTES! It was horrendous. It was so overpriced, and we couldn’t enjoy the food because the volume of sound was immense. We both left hungry, with banging headaches and annoyed that we had wasted so much money there.

I would really recommend planning your lunch time in particular. It makes sense that the busiest time will be between 12-2.30ish. Normally, we head back to the Village for time out and have lunch there and we will definitely keep doing this. It is not worth eating in the parks unless you have a character lunch planned. In the Village there are many restaurants including Mc Donalds and 5 Guys for fast food options. I would go as far as suggesting planning where you will eat daily, including when. This really helps with keeping the day ticking along.

Meet and Greets

Ok so after posting photos of our trip, I got the most questions about meet and greets. I can’t stress enough how planned you need to be with these. You don’t want to spend hours queuing but equally it’s a big part of going to Disneyland. Otherwise you would just go to any old theme park. 

One guide that is useful is that most groups spend only about a minute with the characters. Two minutes at most. So if there are 50 people in front, try and gauge how many belong to the same group and its easier than you think to determine how long you will be waiting.

So here is what you need to know. Firstly decide on who you definitely want to meet. Ita had said she really wants to meet Jasmine. Truly, she didn’t stop going on about meeting Jasmine! The meet with Aladdin (and friends) is listed as being between 10-16.15 daily. When actually the meet for Aladdin and Jasmine is between 11.15 – 12 and then again at 1.15 – about 2.30. We tried to queue for this on our first day but the line was long and we had our princess lunch booked. Really, it’s the (and friends) who are around for longer periods. We got very lucky to accidently be in the right place at the right time to meet Genie so there were only about 10 people ahead and it was the same for Jafar. These characters you will find in the Agrabah area and you should be able to meet them quite easily without queuing for more than 20 mins. Therefore on our 3rd day we made a conscious effort to be at the front of the queue to meet Jasmine and Aladdin and it made Ita’s day.

You will note that some meet and greets start from 10am and others from 11am or 12am. My tip would be to pick one from 10am (obviously be there earlier to queue) and then hop over to an 11.15ammeet. For example, queue to meet Minnie, Donald or Daisy (they appear from 10am) and then plan to head straight to another queue for the likes of Winnie the Pooh or Baloo who appear from 11.15 am.  It seems excessive but this way you will spend half a day meeting characters. In terms of meeting Mickey, there is a special Meet Mickey Mouse place at the back of Fantasy Land. The queues are not that bad and you can fit this into doing rides in that area too.

Here is an example of how I would plan the meet and greets!

If you are staying at a Disney hotel, head to the Princess Pavillion since this is opened the earliest and arguably has the longest waiting time.

Head straight to a 10 am meet and greet on Main Street (Minnie, Donald or Daisy).

Head back to Frontier Land to meet Woody from 11am.

Walk through Agrabah which is very close by to meet with Genie and Jafar (fingers crossed!).

Then head to Fantasy Land to meet with Alice and the Madhatter from noon.

Then go to Meet Mickey as that is also based at Fantasy Land.

In one morning, potentially you would have met 6 or 7 characters and you can spend the rest of the day on rides! Characters usually stop meet and greets mid-afternoon in both parks.

There are also unscheduled meets and these have no queue at all. This has happened to us once last year, when Rapunzel appeared by the pink tower close to Bella Notte.

That leads me on to the Photopass. Well the Disneyland website is a tad misleading here. It suggests that there is a professional photographer at all your meet and greets which isn’t the case. We only met professional photographers at the Princess Pavillion and at Meet Mickey. Obviously there are some photographs taken on rides but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than buying them. They’re never flattering. The Photopass is about £70 or thereabout and it gives you access to all of the digital photos taken. Prints are expensive in Disneyland and if I recall correctly they start at about £15 for one? Although it is cheaper to by the Photopass before you go, I would suggest waiting to see how many photos you get whilst you’re there. On this occasion we bought the pass afterwards since the photographer took so many beautiful photos during the Princess for a Day experience. On previous occasions we haven’t bothered.

I hope this has been useful!

If you have any other questions I am happy to tr and help – just pop me a message on Instagram!