Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disneys Hollywood Studios
What we did, day by day
Saturday: Animal Kingdom in the afternoon
Saturday: Animal Kingdom in the afternoon
In Disney you spend a significant amount of time in queues. You queue for security, you queue for the monorail, you queue to get in, you queue for Starbucks and then of course there are the rides. I have been in the UK now for 6 years, so I am totally ok with queuing – in fact if you are British then I personally think Disney is the queue lover’s ideal vacation. You can spend hours happily sandwiched between other people as you slowly inch forward. The reason I mention the endless standing in line is because it allowed for a lot of people watching, and some rather through observational research into what the best age is to take your kids to Disney World. It is a tough one, Disney is an expensive ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday, so you absolutely want to make sure your kids will enjoy it, but what oh what is this magical ideal age?
Let me break it down for you.
New-born: Yes we saw a lot of new-borns at Disney. I am rather judgey Mc judgey on this point, because I just can’t get on board with a new-born being in direct sunlight in a queue for two hours in all the noise and chaos of Disney. I get that if you book a holiday 11 months ago and then have a surprise baby that you don’t want to waste all the money. But maybe go to the parks in the morning and afternoon when it’s cooler and less crowded? Or if you are going to be there all day take some sort of sun shade for the micro human. Anyway, new-borns are lame to take to Disney because they can’t do most of the rides and they don’t even eat churros yet.
Toddler: Toddlers at Disney might be the funniest thing in the world. They don’t give two flying Flounders about the judgement of others AND have zero logic. Throwing a tantrum in the middle of crowded Fantasy Land because you met Rapunzel after you had asked to see Rapunzel? Totally cool in the mind of a toddler. And don’t get me started on their lack of spacial awareness. Dad managed to push three over in a row as they wandered into his path (we were rushing to join the Avatar queue, there was no time for dodging mini-humans). But for the parents dealing with these snotty sugar covered monsters? I have never seen parents so desperately stressed. After all the money they paid the kid is more interested in the $12 bubble machine than any Disney provided fun.
Children (generic ages): I believe children are the short humans that are older than a toddler but younger than the ones with a swoopy fringe. They seem to understand the magic of Disney a little more, but just don’t have the stamina for it. I can’t even count the number of ‘final warnings’ that I heard parents dishing out.
Teenagers: Much like the toddler category, teenagers are hilarious at Disney as long as you are not responsible for them. There is nothing like the face of a teenager trying to be moody while on the Whinny the Pooh ride. Or like the photos of the entire family with the Fairy Godmother as the teenager folders their arms and glares at the camera imitating their future mugshot. Beautiful, but not ideal.
29: This is the best age. I will fight you on it. At 29 you are old enough to be able to stand in the queues all day long (I only threw a tantrum once in the line and made Dad go and buy me popcorn), you can march at adult speed to get from Space Mountain to Splash Mountain while the queue time is only 45 minutes and, the best thing, YOU CAN DRINK. When Epcot all got a little too much? We had margaritas in the Mexico pavilion. I mean, I still made my parents order and pay for them (I’m still their responsibility after all) but it was a chilled out afternoon of drinking and rides that parents with any other aged children just don’t get to experience. And side bonus, at 29 your child is old enough to be in charge of The Map and help with the planning.
Seriously, if you are the parents of a 29 year old, or a 29 year old yourself, then it is time to book a stress free trip to Disney World. You will build memories that you will take with you throughout your 30’s and bring magic back into the dreary adult existing.
I woke up today and being a millennial went straight onto twitter. The first tweet I saw was simply “Oh fuck” from a seismologist monitoring underground nuclear testing, not exactly the person you want swearing on a Sunday morning. North Korea had let off another test and this one was a biggy. As I sipped my tea I moved on to aimlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram which were far less terrifying.
I don’t know how seriously to take the threat of a North Korea induced nuclear winter. On one hand, with ego driven nut cases in charge of the big red buttons it feels like all it will take is either one seeing a tweet about their haircuts. But on the other hand I have to trust that the international bodies that have been set up since the last few wars are there to protect us and are possibly doing a good job.
I think where I have put nuclear attack on the Runawaykiwi worry scale is somewhere between embarrassing myself during a work presentation and chocking on a penny that someone has left in my tea (not a fantastical situation, this has actually happened to me). Given how this year has gone maybe it should be higher, but the absolute lack of being able to impact this fate means it is quite far down on the list.
In rather terrible timing I have been attempting to read books lately after years of only reading things in tweet form. Reading itself is not terrible, many people would argue that it is in fact a good thing. The problem is that that Taloned witch Lex recommended I read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a delightful tale of living in a post-apocalyptic reality. In the book the apocalypse comes in the form of a fast acting flu that kills most of humanity rather than a Trump vs North Korea pissing contest, but the effect is somewhat the same. (Side note: it is a amazing book which unveils the story in a very clever way as well as creating a terrifyingly realistic post-“oh fuck” world).
This combination of book and tweet made me think on a Sunday morning made me think about where I would want to be when the world ends. Given how much I agonise over my physical location (I still manage to have a weekly existential crisis over it) the answer was astoundingly quick and simple: New Zealand. The reality is that in a post-apocalyptic situation New Zealand just has so many advantages. Low population density in relation to the size of the land means there is a chance we can get enough food for everyone. Fewer guns means the initial riots will have a significantly lower chance of death. And with the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude there is every chance that NZ will just keep trucking along as normal pretending everything is ok. Oh, and my family is there.
Now, I choose London with every fibre of my being because of the history, the culture, endless museums, galleries and markets. I choose it for the ability to make my own choices, be 100% authentic to me and to have career opportunities that don’t exist back home. But in an apocalypse? I don’t think any of that matters. Mum making me a cup of tea from tree bark foraged from behind the ear of a sheep will matter. And knowing her she will make it taste delicious.
So essentially I have to comb over every detail of Trump’s tweets to try and get the last flight out before that big red button is pushed…too bad I’ve already muted him.
I love London markets, they are one of my favourite parts of living here. But today I discovered that I have been doing them entirely 100% wrong. I was asked by Camden Market to do an Instagram takeover which was really flattering. I am the girl who refused to join Instagram for so long because I thought it was going to be a flash in the pan trend (yeah, slightly wrong on that count), so to be asked to do a takeover was awesome. I made the rather radical choice to take a day off work and even went to the extent of deleting work emails off my phone (I will wait for you to get over your shock and pick yourself off the floor before I continue) so I could have an uninterrupted day in Camden.
I had been to Camden market in 2008 (on the ten year anniversary of the Spice World movie coming out on VHS in New Zealand, not relevant to this post but I thought it was worth a mention) on a Saturday at lunchtime. I made a half ditch attempt to crowd dodge before getting fed up and declaring it a lost cause (not before going to CyberDog because Mary-Kate and Ashley went there in one of their classic movies). The sea of humanity was just too much. But some very credible sources (Talonted Lex and Pack your Passport) have raved about Camden over the last few years so something in the back of my mind said maybe I ought to give it a second chance.
I was going to do something I had never done before, I planned to spend the entire day at a market. The plan was to start with breakfast at Cafe Loren (amazing menu full of shakshuka), wander round the market, work from the Interchange co working space and then visit Half Hitch gin distillery (because gin and also because gin distilled with tea). It was in the middle of this day that I realised exactly what I have been doing wrong when it comes to markets.
On a Friday morning Camden Market is super chilled out, most of the stalls have opened but by morning tea time the crowds are already starting to file in, mostly on the hunt for food. Somehow though, the crowds weren’t bothering me this time.
It really puzzled me for a while, but in between my third coffee for the day and a family sized helping of churros I realised why it this market experience was different. Normally I am on a time crunch, I have a target and I go from A to B to get to it. I am so busy trying to get to that stall that sells waffles, or that coffee van where the guy gives me a free flat white and a hug (connections are important), that any mere hint of humanity in my way sends me into a rage. I want to be in and out in a hour and eat all the samples possible.
But this time I was going to be here all day. I meandered. There was no rush to get somewhere and so people being in my way didn’t impact me in the slightest. I had the time to look at the stalls, investigate the food options (while managing to drop churro sugar all over my camera) and hang back and people watch for a bit.
Turns out when you treat a London market as an experience rather than a goal you actually have more fun [insert quote about smelling roses here].
It had never occurred to me to spend an entire day at a market, but I am really glad that I did.
So far this year I have taken 23 flights. This means a scary amount of time hanging around in airports, and in particular time spent waiting in the boarder control lines to get back into the UK. I snort laugh in the direction of any panicking Brexiters who continue to proclaim that the UK has no border controls…yes you fucking do.
Normally it is around 45 minutes per trip that I have to spend waiting in the snaking queue surrounded by jetlagged, hungry and confused fellow non-Brits. The worst was a two hour wait where I almost popped a ventricle because they only had three agents on. The best was like winning lotto after a trip to Berlin where there was not a single person in the line ahead of me.
I am normally the one that power walks (read: gallops like a millennial zombie) to the Border line as fast as my jandals will let me, just in the hopes of getting there before whatever plane of foreigners that has just arrived. But with the amount of flying I seem to be doing (and I am about to be in Germany for all of July) I was getting wholeheartedly sick of the hours I spent in that damn line. I’m not even going to start on a rant about those stupid landing cards and the people who forget to fill them out.
So I did what I should have done a year ago and joined the Registered Traveler Scheme. Essentially if you meet the criteria you can pay the government £70 a year for the privilege of using the e-gates (turning your 45min+ wait into a 5min wait). I think what took me so long to sign up is that I still consider it a bit of a rip off, and it’s not like waiting in a line for a bit is going to kill you. But when I only have two days in London between trips I just don’t have the time to waste. Government you win this round.
Anyway since this seemingly ends my interactions with the front line of Brexit, those hard working border control agents who have not smiled in 80 years, I thought I would bring you my most memorable ‘getting back into the country’ stories. Although in saying that, I tried to use the e-gates for the first time this week and it threw up a ‘Seek Assistance’ error and I had to go to an agent anyway. Sigh.
The very first time I came into the UK on my ancestry visa, all excited about moving to London, the agent asked ‘Who did you get this visa through’ and I answered “my Mum’s Mum”. “Your GRANDMOTHER” he angrily replied as if he had caught me out in a massive lie, before going on to ask if she was still alive. I said no, to which he said the sentence that still sticks in my brain to this day “Well, as least she was a bit useful then”. Fuck you Mr border control man.
This is still the best thing that has happened to me in an airport. After flicking through my passport for a good five minutes (and me getting more and more concerned about what was wrong) the good looking Swedish man checking it looked me straight in the eye and said “I’ve had you before”. I mean, I always have a good time in Sweden but not so good that I would forget sleeping with someone. After seeing my startled expression he turned bright red and clarified that he had stamped my passport before.
On the trip from Berlin mentioned above I was riding high that I got to go straight to the desk (after still having to walk through that snaking line even though there was no one there) but then the agent started quizzing me about my job in detail that I had never seen before. ‘What type of analyst are you’, ‘What are your hours like’, ‘Where are you based’ – I thought it was because I was dressed in a kitten t-shirt and ripped jeans so he was skeptical weather I was telling the truth. Nope, turns out he was incredulous that I was full time employed rather than going contracting. He said I was making a big mistake, and that if I went contracting I would be making far more money and have a better CV. Maybe that’s why the lines take so long, because they are not only protecting the border but also giving out career advice.
It was a late flight and I was feeling rather ratty, when I handed over my passport the boarder agent frowned as he flipped through it. He then called over his manager who joined him in the intense study of the pages. Then his colleague sitting with him in the booth got involved with the flipping and the feeling. At this point I was wondering if I was going to be on the next plane out of there but no, after all that he stamped and handed my passport back to me saying “New Zealanders have the most beautiful passports”. Thanks?