Maleficent Adventures

Travelling Around the World

Month: October 2017

Tips On Pumpkin Carving

Anyone can carve a pumpkin. Here a few things you should think about so your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

What you need:

  • One pumpkin
  • A flat surface
  • Newspaper/ old magazine/ table cloth
  • Knife/pumpkin carving kit
  • Bowl
  • Design

Pumpkin carving kits can be found at most supermarkets around Halloween or on Amazon. They usually consist of mini saws (to help cut your design), a scraper scoop and some design stencils.

Finding the right fit

I believe the most important thing is choosing the right sized pumpkin. It can often work out better to choose your design before you pick your pumpkin, so you can get one that suits. Try not to buy a pumpkin too far in advance of when you want to display it, because sometimes they can spoil before you’ve even cut into them. Check the bottom and the sides to make sure that it isn’t wet, this is a good sign that it’s already going rotten.

Once carved, the pumpkin should last a few days, although this can vary. We have heard that applying Vaseline to the cuts can help preserve your design for longer. As it is bio-degradable just take the light out in the middle and put it in your compost/garden waste bin. The whole pumpkin doesn’t have to be perfect, all you need is one clear straight side to carve into.

 

Getting started

Place newspapers down on the surface you are going to work on. Take a damp cloth or a piece of kitchen paper and spray with a disinfectant and wipe down your pumpkin. You’ll often find there are bits of dust or mud which are easy to take off, and this also helps to preserve your pumpkin. Now start by cutting the top off. There are a few ways of doing this:

Cut straight across your pumpkin. This is often the easiest method, using a bread knife, although you will find the top might slip off after you try to replace but you can use cocktail sticks to stabilise this.
Note:
Light may come through where you have cut so you’ll be able to see where you have been.

Cut at an angle around the top. When you cut through the pumpkin make sure the angle of the knife is around 45° as this means you will be able to prise off the lid easier.
(If you cut vertically down you risk the lid falling in).
Note: Make sure that you cut a hole big enough to fit your fist through, I’ve done this before and gotten my hand stuck! I had to cut my way out, not ideal!

Top Tip: Whilst cutting the top, put a notch or cut out a shape so you can easily find the position in which the lid sits

 

Take out the guts

Get a bowl ready to pull out the flesh inside. Using a spoon or scoop (from your carving kit) and take out as much of the middle as possible. First remove the seeds and stringy bits, then carve away at the flesh to make the sides thinner so carving is easier.

Lucy also makes sure she has a second bowl, the first one collects the guts and seeds and gross bits, whilst the second bowl can be used for pumpkin flesh that can be used for baking! She usually makes a pumpkin pie or these amazing pumpkin brownies. This year she made this Tesco recipe, see the results here. Make sure there aren’t any strings of pumpkin left as this could set on a fire when you ignite your tea lights.

 

Sculpt Your Piece Of Art

There are lots of designs online for inspiration and often  pumpkin carving kits include patterns to try.Transfer your design to your pumpkin, by freehand or by attaching the image using tape or pins. This can be tricky if your pumpkin is curved, you may have to fold parts of your paper to mould to the pumpkin.

 

Slice It Up

The Lorax Pumpkin Carving

Think about the order in which you cut parts of the design. It is very easy to not pay attention and cut through and lose the detail, e.g. an eye, it happens to the best of us! I would recommend starting with the smallest detail first as the more you cut the less you have to lean against and you could capsize the walls!

I cannot emphasize enough about investing in a pumpkin carving kit, they usually only cost only a few pounds and can make your life so much easier. They are safer for children to use rather than knifes and give you more control to cut out your design.

Once you have cut out all your design, try to clean up the inside of your pumpkin where you have cut. The cleaner the cuts the more light will get through and the better the design will look.

 

Can’t Take The Heat?

Some people don’t realise that although tea lights are small, in a confined area – like a pumpkin, it can generate some serious heat. If the flame is too near the top, i.e. in a small pumpkin, the heat can cause the lid to shrink and you will start to see small burn marks. This isn’t a major issue it just means your pumpkin might not last as long and in some cases your lid might fall in.

Equally, if your design isn’t big enough then heat will escape through the top of your pumpkin, rather than the sides. An easy way to fix this is to pierce holes in the top/lid of your pumpkin using an apple corer or cut a shape in the top i.e. a star.

Alternatively, a battery operated candle is a great idea if you have little children or you want to minimise fire hazards. It also means that if you are putting them outside on a windy night they won’t blow out.

 

Relax

Light it up, stand back and enjoy the effect. Take photos as you go through so you can watch your pumpkin take shape.

 

9 Top Tips When Packing For A Disneyland Paris Break

  1. Pack comfortable shoes (and a spare pair!)
    Each Disneyland Paris park is around 20 km2 and you’ll easily do 15,000 steps a day. If you aren’t used to walking this much it will be tough on your feet. Be sure to take lots of breaks and make sure you have practical shoes. We swear by Sketchers as their memory form soles are heaven on your feet – like squishy clouds! A couple of extra pairs of socks wouldn’t go amiss either.

  1. Make sure you have enough t-shirts
    This might seem a little over cautious, but with lots of walking and the interchangeable weather conditions in Paris, you’ll be glad you have a spare back at your hotel to change into.

  1. A camera and its charger
    Disneyland Paris is so picturesque you’ll want to snap endless photos to remember your magical holiday by. With Sleeping Beauty’s gorgeous castle, Big Thunder Mountain, the Hollywood Tower Hotel and endless unique character opportunities you won’t want to forget these memories!
    Note: FitBit/Fitness tracker chargers, laptop cables, tablet chargers – all essential!

  1. Prepare for all weathers
    Let’s be real, Disneyland Paris isn’t blessed with the climate California is, the weather can be beautiful but it can also be unpredictable. Check the forecast before your trip but prepare for every eventuality by packing a rain mac and some sun cream. This would be an excellent time to remember a poncho from a past visit – feeling smug I remembered mine!

  1. Disney merchandise
    Don’t forget your purchases from your last visit! If you’re like us, you’ll have an extensive collection of Disney merchandise such as pyjamas, t-shirts and hats. Lots of stores including H&M and Primark stock reasonably priced Disney clothing, so for those of us on a budget this is the perfect way to show your Disney side whilst saving your pennies!

  1. Backpack for the park
    You can take your bag on the rides so don’t worry about storing it. Get a comfortable bag which you don’t mind carrying all day, with compartments for easy access to tickets and money as these are what you will need most in the parks.

  1. Don’t forget your plug adaptor
    The last thing you need is to be stuck not being able to charge your camera or worse, phone! How will you let everyone know you’re at Disneyland? If you are from within the EU (with the exceptions of UK and Ireland) your plugs will work fine. For the rest of us (and guests travelling from USA), you can pick up a cheap EU travel adaptor at most supermarkets or pharmacies. If you do forget to pack an adaptor or charger most hotel shops stock them, however they will come at a premium.

  1. Leave room for souvenirs
    Probably the most important point, leave room for souvenirs! Holly always comes home with a new jigsaw and the latest pins whilst Lucy invests in more practical items such as kitchenware… and candy apples. Don’t miss out as they could be gone before you get a chance to come back.

  1. First Aid Kit
    The last thing you need is for your day to be ruined by a blister or a headache, take care of yourselves and your family by packing essentials such as: lip balm, plasters (normal and blister), ibuprofen, paracetamol, cold sore patches (a must for our family), rehydration sachets (in case of stomach bug – but also great in case you become dehydrated after a hot day in the parks) and tiger balm (to soothe aches after a long park day – also great for insect bites).

Honourable mention: Whilst we don’t have children we do have an adorable niece. A good idea (and one we are going to put into practise for our family trip to Orlando in May) is to purchase your child an outfit before you arrive. You can find preowned Disney princess dresses on eBay for a fraction of the price or even kit your kid out in Primarks finest. This way you are sure to make them feel special with their own outfit, but again is a great way to save money (some outfits in the parks can cost 80 Euros all in!)

We hope you find this useful, and enjoy your holiday – and don’t pack anyone by accident!

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!

Genie’s Cave Afternoon Tea

Last week Lucy was very fortunate to be treated to afternoon tea by her dear friend, and because it was Disney themed we thought it would be worth a mention!

You can find it in the basement of Cutter & Squidge, a bakery in Soho (London) just down the street from The Prince Edward Theatre where Aladdin The Musical is currently playing. I didn’t have time to see the show, but I imagine two combined would be the perfect way to spend a day with your Disney loving bestie.

As you enter the basement, the magic and wonder begin…

There are heaps of treasure everywhere and the décor is just perfect!

First, you get to order your tea, we went for Moroccan mint – because, when in Rome!

When it arrived, it came in a magic lamp themed teapot that could have been straight out of the show!

And yes, the table is sparkling gold too….

The Moroccan tea was made with fresh mint leaves, just the way I like it. It was a good accompaniment to the food because it was a nice palate cleanser to jump between sweet and savoury (and back again!).

We also opted for the prosecco, just to make everything that extra bit magical, the afternoon tea on its own is £29.50, and £34.50 with prosecco. There is also a child’s option, which is a smaller portion (at a smaller cost too!).

Moments after we had sat down and ordered our tea, the first course was up.

A Genie’s Welcome: This was a sort of raspberry and pomegranate creamy/yoghurt mix topped with some wisps of candy floss (cotton candy) and a meringue we had to break through – very imaginative and delicious!

Though, be careful when taking children, as I saw the little girl on the table next to ours get a bit over enthusiastic breaking her meringue and smashed the glass into her dessert…

Once we had finished this, our afternoon tea stand arrived, chock full of delights and an additional plate with sandwiches accompanied it! It was safe to say we were overloaded with food, and neither of us managed to finish everything we were given. We gave it a jolly good try though!

Yep, everything is served on golden platters, all the cutlery is gold and the tea set has a gold trim… the theming is executed brilliantly!

First to the sandwiches: coronation chicken, cucumber and mint and cheese and tomato jam. All good, a pretty standard run of the mill, but tasty selection.

The Desert Rose Tart (pictured with the sandwiches), Savoury Scone Swirls and Golden Cheese Clouds were great additions to the savoury selection. A twist on the usual (in my opinion) boring scone was a welcome change. I was obviously so obsessed with them that I ate them before taking a photo… If you look close enough you can see them on the bottom tier of the cake stand.

Let’s move onto something sweeter.

Raspberry & Rose Tart sprinkled with Emeralds: such a bold flavour from such a small tart.

Magic Carpet Cookies: very light biscuit (sugar cookie) with a very delicate design so they look just like carpet!

Golden Treasure Biskie: these did actually have a hidden surprise, what I thought was going to be a generic Malteaser or a lump or chocolate contained a caramel centre and it was great! It complimented the soft (macaron-like) biscuit perfectly. The gold leaf decoration on top just added to the opulence of the meal.

Hidden Gem Macaron: Peanut butter and raspberry jam macaron, need say more. Except that – the cocoa lamp detail is adorable and genius!

Ruby Dream Cake: now I saved this one till last as it was in my eyes – perfection. The vanilla sponge was light and perfectly complimented by the strawberry filling. I spent the meal trying bits of everything, so that I could get a taste for everything but not leave there feeling sick, but I could not put this one down. The addition of Abu’s ruby on the top just really brought it all together for me, a very well thought out selection of cakes and pastries.

As we paid we were given a final parting gift – some treasure of our own!

Which is handy because it was almost too tempting to grab some off the walls for ourselves!

This wonderfully immersive experience is one I would recommend as a gift to ANY Disney fan. The décor is amazing, down to every golden teaspoon. They even have Disney music playing out through the speakers and it’s just all-round Dis-tastic.

The service was great, I definitely think it is worth the money as I did not need to eat for the rest of the day!

Thanks Cutter and Squidge for a great experience!

Five things Disneyland Paris has learned and five things it can learn from the US parks

What you may not know is that Disneyland Paris, much like Disneyland Tokyo, isn’t solely owned by the Walt Disney company. In its early days, Disney sold shares to investors in order to keep the park afloat during difficult times. This year the Walt Disney company increased its ownership of Disneyland Paris to 85.7% and they are starting to push more money and changes into the park

The Ratatouille ride, which opened in 2014, is a prime example of how more investment and attention to evolving these parks can draw in more visitors. As a mark of how successful this ride has been, early this year at D23, it was announced that the Ratatouille ride is coming to EPCOT world showcase.

 

With Disney investing and developing more in Disneyland Paris we can already start to reap the benefits. Here are five things that have already been actioned:

  1. Disneyland Paris Food Festival
    This September, Disneyland Paris hosted Le Rendez-vous Gourmand de Disneyland Paris, a two-week food festival held within the Walt Disney Studios park. The festival showcased food and drink from 6 different regions of France similar to the Food and Wine Festival, held in EPCOT each year.
  2. Electroland
    Probably one of the first time a hard-ticketed event has been seen at Disneyland Paris; Electroland, a concert at the base of Hollywood Tower Hotel in Walt Disney Studios, took place in July 2017. The concert had a whole host of world famous DJs including Steve Aoki, alongside a stunning projection on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

    Photo Credit: Electroland Facebook

  3. RunDisney
    Now on its second year, RunDisney hosts a 5K, 10K and half marathon event in September. Participants get a chance to run through the Disneyland Paris parks, an exhilarating Disney experience.
  4. Updates to the Disneyland Paris App
    This might not sound like the most exciting update, but for those of us who have experienced the ease of being able to see what rides are open, wait times and parade show times at the touch of a button in the US parks cannot wait to have this at our disposal in Paris. It still isn’t as sophisticated as the US App, where you can make dinner reservations or book FastPass time slots, but hopefully that will soon follow.
  5. Star Wars: Season of the Force
    Star Wars has been slowly creeping into the park since the first (or 8th) film was released. Firstly with the update of Star Tours, rebranding of Space Mountain to Hyperspace Mountain, Jedi training sessions and character meet ups. Now it has its own special event: Season of the Force takes place between January and March each year and includes: an evening show projected onto the Hollywood Tower, an action-packed live show, the first order march, more character interactions and additional scenes in the Illuminations night time spectacular.

 

We have visited Walt Disney World several times and within the last two years have both been to Disneyland in California. They offer so much more than Disneyland Paris as they have been around such much longer and are much more of an institution to America. Here are the 5 Things we would like to see come from the US Disney Parks to Disneyland Paris:

  1. More hard ticketed events
    These events provide unique opportunities, often exploring the parks after normal closure times. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, is an afterhours trick or treating event in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. As well as being allowed to dress up as your favourite character whilst gorging yourself silly on free candy, you can also enjoy stunning night time shows, a ghostly parade and the best firework display we have ever seen (ever!)

    Other hard ticket events include: Mickeys Merry Christmas, a Christmas celebration including all you can eat cookies, hot chocolate, eggnog, snow cones and spiced apple cider depending on where in the park you are; and Fireworks dessert Party providing unique sweet treats with prime viewing areas for the evenings fireworks.
  1. Food variety
    We often find when the parks are busy it is difficult to find food which isn’t fast. The US parks have really upped their culinary game, with EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival each year showcasing the best food from countries around the word, and its newest land, Pandora, has shown us the amazing food items you can create that can still be completely on theme with the land they reside in. We often visit DLP out of season, and find again food choices to be limited because half of the outlets close.
  2. Immersive hotel experiences
    Announced at D23 earlier this year Disney are opening a Star Wars hotel in Walt Disney World Florida by the Hollywood Studios. This will provide a unique cosplay live-in experience you can’t experience anywhere else. It was also revealed that Disneyland Paris’ Hotel New York in getting a reskin, turning into the Worlds First Marvel Hotel, but we’d like to see more effort put in rather than just a superficial design overhaul. It sounds as though it will be more of a façade showcasing props and costumes from Marvel movies, rather than a whole new exciting place to explore.
  3. New Lands
    The question on most people’s mind is – will Disneyland Paris be getting a Star Wars land? In both of the US parks construction is underway for a 2021 opening but will this come to Europe? Or will there be an extension on one of the current lands? New fantasyland at Walt Disney World is a great example of this. Over time here they have updated the area to include a new eateries (Be Our Guest and Gaston’s Tavern), rides (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and Enchanted Tales with Belle) and the Story Book Circus.

    Be Our Guest Restaurant

  1. More diverse characters in the park
    We’d like to see some of the newer Intellectual Properties (IPs) come to the park. Seeing Mickey and the gang is always good but we’d love to see them shake it up a bit – although since the 25th Anniversary celebrations commensed we have seen a whole range of characters including Moana, Max (Goofy’s son) and the gang from Emperor’s New Groove, we hope they keep this up!

We hope some of these changes are just around the corner, if Mickeys Not-So-Scary Halloween Party came to Paris we would booking our flights and tickets without hesitation (like when they announced the inaugural runDisney half marathon weekend!).

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