Holl JC

Best Character Dining in Disney World

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
If you've been around these parts for a while you'll know I have a massive love for all things Disney and Disney World. 
It's also something that I have a whole lota knowledge about, and I quite regularly get messages from people on both Facebook and Instagram asking for Disney World tips or recommendations. I've decided to pull some of my tips and info out of my brain and put them into some blog posts for anyone interested or looking for some Disney advice.   

One of my favourite types of experience at the Disney Parks is character dining and meals. They combine two of my favourite things, food and meeting characters! There's 20+ different character dinning options at the various parks and hotels in Disney World, which can feel very very overwhelming and can feel difficult to know where to start. Each character dining restaurant has different food options and choices, and different characters to hang out with - which are all things to keep in mind whilst deciding if a character meal is something for you, your family and your trip.

I would highly, highly recommend going to at least one character meal whilst visiting Disney World! They're an incredible experience, and you get the chance to meet 4+ characters without having to wait in super long lines. The food quality varies massively between the different restaurants, as does the type of food available, but my four top character dining picks all have amazing food quality!  

Garden Grill - Epcot 
The Garden Grill is my number 1, and top character restaurant in Walt Disney World! 
The Garden Grill is in the Land Pavilion in Epcot, above the greenhouses where alot of the food you eat in the restaurant is grown. 
The food is served family style, and is also all you can eat. The meats are incredible quality and very tender, plus there's also vegetables too, which can be a rarity in the Disney parks. 
The characters you meet are some of the traditional favourites, Mickey, Pluto and Chip & Dale. The restaurant is also pretty small, which means you often get to see and meet each character multiple times, which is just even more fun for your time and money, especially compared to other restaurants in Disney.     

Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace is an absolute classic, and is in Magic Kingdom just across from Cinderella Castle. Crystal Palace is a buffet meal, available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving traditional American style food. The cast of characters at Crystal Palace are totally unique in Disney World, and come straight from the 100 Acre Wood - Pooh, Tiger, Piglet and Eeyore.  

Hollywood & Vine - Hollywood Studios 
Hollywood & Vine is a relatively new discovery of mine, and is a hidden gem in the Hollywood Studios Park. Hollywood & Vine is a buffet with some of the most incredible food I've ever had at a buffet style restaurant. It's all seasonal, and there's no chips in sight. The characters come around and meet you at your table, and it's the fab five dressed up to the nines - Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. The characters outfits change depending on the season or time of year, which is always super duper cute! There's also a character at the exit where you can get a professional picture of your whole group with one of the characters, in our case, at Christmas it was Goofy dressed up as Father Christmas, which was pretty hilarious!   

Tusker House - Animal Kingdom
Tusker House is another rather hidden restaurant and can be found in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom. The food is again a buffet, and Tusker House serves food that is both traditional American and African, being the perfect option for groups with both adventurous and fussy eaters. The vibe and decoration is like an African market to fit in with the gorge food served, and the Africa area it's situated.  The characters at Tusker House are again the fab five; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy and they're all in safari gear to match the Animal Kingdom surroundings too. 

Honorable Mentions
There's a couple of other Disney World character restaurants that I wanted to highlight too. These are both restaurants I've never been to but definitely want to in the future, as I've heard such great things and they're also that little bit different. 

Ohana - Polynesian Village Resort
Ohana is a character breakfast meal situated in one of the resort hotels. The food is served family style with traditional American options along with both Hawaiian and Polynesian themed foods too. Lilo and Sitch are the main characters for this character dining meal, which is really fun as they're not characters you'll find really easily in the parks. 

Trattoria Al Forno - The BoardWalk  
This is a relatively new character meal, and is something that is totally different! Trattoria Al Forno is only a character meal at breakfast and offers traditonal Italian food for lunch & dinner.
For breakfast Trattoria Al Forno hosts the Bon Voyage Breakfast with extremely popular characters, Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Princess character dining is always super duper popular and in high demand, and seeing princesses with their princes is something that only happens at special events like Halloween. Which makes the Bon Voyage Breakfast something really different, special and exciting. For the price of the meal everyone gets a breakfast main, starter and a sharing plate of pastries. 
For those who're a big Tangled or Little Mermaid fan this is perfect as even the little details are themed on the films. The pastries come in a frying pan and the food is named after characters of scenes from the film (King Triton's Shipwreck). 

I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch! Also if there's anything you'd like another post to be on regarding Disney World and my tips and recommendations then holla! 

God Bless

Spring & Summer 30 under £30

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Now spring and summer are officially (hopefully) upon us, I've pulled together 30 of my top high street items that are under £30 for any of you wanting to grow or add some fresh blood to your warmer weather wardrobe. There's so many gorgeous pieces available on the UK high street at the moment ready to be snapped up for what will fingers crossed be a long and warm spring summer season! These are just a snapshot of a few of my fave pieces, and they're all under £30 too! 

God Bless

10 Things to do after a bad mental health day or week

Monday, 23 April 2018

  • Watch something that will make you smile, whether Friends, Love Island, Corrie, The Big Bang Theory or Game of Thrones is your thing!
  • Eat your fave food. Is it pizza, cake, chocolate, chips, sushi, cocktails? Grab yourself at least a handful! 
  • Order a takeaway or deliveroo, cause the food is always fab and the anticipation of the delivery man arriving at your door is always a fab one. 
  • Play loud, enthusiastic bubbly music. Whatever will have you singing along at the top of your voice or dancing around your room at a hundred miles an hour.
  • Make a plan with someone who makes you feel comfortable. 
  • Talk to a friend or someone you love, even if you just talk about the random TV show you just watched or the meme you spotted on the Insta explore page. 
  • Do a lil’ bit of retail therapy.
  • Do something creative. Write, paint, dance, sing, draw, let your creative juices flow in whichever way they do. 
  • Have an exercise sesh (if that's your thing)
  • Get some fresh air, even if it's just for 5 or 10 minutes sitting in your garden or on your door step.

God Bless 

Disney World Florida Easter 2018 Photo Diary

Friday, 13 April 2018
Over Easter myself and some of my extended family spent a lovely lil' week over in Disney World Florida, as usual after a trip I've compiled some of my favourite images to share in a good old photo diary. This one is quite photo heavy, but I'd taken nearly 600 pictures on just my camera alone! If you have any questions about the places we visited, restaurants we ate at, rides we went on or just any questions about Disney World in general please don't hesitate to send me a message! I have so many tips and recommendations! 
I also vlogged the whole trip, which means there are 6 daily Disney vlogs coming to my Youtube channel very very soon! Or once I've edited them anyway! The trailer for my Disney World vlogs is at the end of this post if you'd like a sneak peak into what's coming up on my Youtube Channel over the next month or so!   

God Bless

Phones are a girls best friend?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

In 1949 Carol Channing sung the song Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, during the hit Broadway show, Gentleman Prefer Blondes; and it was made famous in the 50’s by It girl Marilyn Monroe performing it the film remake. Over the years many many many people have sung or quoted the words from this famous song! But in modern day society it kinda feels like this may have changed a bit.
Rather than diamonds being a girl’s best friend, it’s iPhones!

Over the last few months I’ve become more and more aware of just how much time I spend on my phone each day. But didn’t have a way of accurately figuring out, how much time it actually was rather than what I assumed or wanted it to be. However after seeing a conversation on Twitter, I found out about an app called Moment.

Moment is an app that does one job, it monitors your phone usage. It runs in the background whilst you’re doing your stuff on your phone, and times how long each day you’re on it. For over a month now, since March 8th, I have been tracking my phone usage and it really does seem like my iPhone is my best friend.  I also tracked the amount of time I spent on my phone whilst on holiday, but I haven’t included those in my lil’ analysis as it didn’t seem very representative of my normal life. Over the 22 days from March 8th to March 30th I have cumulatively spent 100hrs and 74 minutes on my phone, out of the 528 hours that those 22 days hold. That is an average of 4hrs, 57 minutes a day.

Looking at those statistics I’m not quite sure how to feel really, I guess without having someone else’s statistics to compare them to it’s a little tricky. But in reality 100hrs over 22 days seems and feels like a lot to me, but then an average of 5 hours a day out of 24, doesn’t necessarily seem that much. Yet going on to the app and actually seeing how many hours a day I’ve spent scrolling and tapping and typing, it does feel like a lot of my day.

The question of do we spend too much time on our phones and social media is one that has raged over the last few years, with many, many, many people saying that the answer is yes. That we need to put our phones down, go outside and actually talk to people. But thanks to phones maybe we actually spend more time talking and connecting with people than previously. We no longer only know the people who live on our street, or in our village or that we go to school with. But can connect with, share and speak to people not only in our own country but those in countries across the globe. We can easily stay in constant touch with friends who we don’t live near anymore, rather than only being able to send them letters and hoping they don’t get lost in the post.

I guess like most things, phones have both their positives and negatives, and monitoring my phone usage these past weeks has really made me think about and consider how much time I spend using it and how I spend my time in general. Being given the time and reason to consider what it is I spend my time doing on my phone and why I do it, has been both really interesting and helpful. I don’t think I can promise that I’m going to drop my average phone usage to an hour next month. That feels very drastic and very unrealistic, but constantly monitoring how much time I spend on my phone versus doing other things. Or keeping an eye on what it is I’m doing on my phone, so playing games compared to keeping in touch with people, is something that I definitely want to do.    

I would highly recommend downloading Moment and monitoring your phone usage. It’s a very, very interesting experiment, and really does make you think about things and consider how you spend your time and what it is you’re really using your lil’ phone friend for.