I like to think of Disney World as one of those corporate personality tests. You arrive fresh faced and full of hope, and leave crushed by the stark openness of your soul laid bare. In other words, it really helps you figure out what you like in a park ride. We spent ten days in the parks in total (8 in Disney World, 2 in Universal Studios), and did very little planning in advance.  As someone who arrived super chilled about the different rides I now have VERY STRONG OPINIONS on which are good, bad, magical and horrific. For example, I hope the Good Place looks like the Tiki Room – many would disagree. I could go on and on about this (lord no one give me a podcast) so I have made things simple and broken it down into the best worst and mildly entertaining per park. AND because I love an overshare, I have included our full ride itinerary at the end.
Fun fact: I loved rollercoasters as a kid, but then got really really scared of them as a teenager. Now, at 29? Forking love them again. I seriously could not get enough of that almost out of control feeling as your stomach sits in your mouth and all of your senses are assaulted with speed and noise.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Best 
Avatar Flight of Passage
This is the ride of Kings, seriously I don’t think there is another ride on the planet that can top it at the moment. The concept is you are flying on a Banshee across Pandora, which in reality means you are sitting on a motorbike type contraption (which ‘breathes’ underneath you) and you watch a 3D movie as the bike moves a little in place. But holy James Cameron it actually feels like you are flying through another world, the effects are just that good. So good in fact that we did this one twice even though the wait time was 2 hours a piece. Even the waiting is not that bad since the theming of the queue is superb (you walk through the forest, caves, and labs of Pandora). If you are going to Disney you can’t miss this ride.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
A more traditional rollercoaster but at some point a yeti turns up. Its fast, you go backwards and the feeling of going through and around a mountain adds something extra.
Mildly Entertaining 
Kilimanjaro Safaris
You sit on a safari truck and go and look at actual real life animals. I mean ones that aren’t plastic and controlled by a server in the basement. The Disney animals are no different to what you would see in any other zoo, but if you want a good 20minute sit down and a chance to see a rhino butt..then this is the ride for you.
Festival of the Lion King
A live action show with all the songs you know and love AND some acrobatic monkeys (well…very good looking humans pretending to be monkeys). Very good fun and again, a good chance for a sit down.
Bad
Dinosaur
What the hell Disney. Why is this ride still a thing? It looks like a paper mache class project from the 90’s that has been combined with a track so jerky that even biltong is wondering why Dinosaur is so extra. I’m sure a micro human would enjoy it, but don’t wait more than 10 minutes and for all that is holy don’t waste a fast pass on it.

Magic Kingdom

Best
Space Mountain 
Loved it so much we rode it twice. Its an almost pitch black rollercoaster with surprising twists, a space theme and games you can play in the queue. Whats not to love?
Splash Mountain
This is quite simply a classic log flume with excellent music, characters and a good old fashioned soaking at the end.
Mildly Entertaining
Pirates of the Caribbean 
Its amazing that Disney somehow manages to turn raping and pillaging into wholesome family fun, where even the domestic abuser cameo at the end seems delightful. That aside this is a great ride that takes you on a pirate adventure and will leave you singing ‘yo ho’ well into the next ride.
People Mover
This was great, not sure of the point of it, but a nice place to eat some snacks.
Bad
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Fantastically smooth rollercoaster but it did not make up for the horrific wait time. This was the only queue that felt painful (compared to Avatar for example which was the same time but went by in the blink of an eye), it was hot, long and full of children (#thatswhatshesaid). The ride is just too short to overcome the horrors of the line. I would say it is worth doing if the line is under 1.5 hours…which it never is so just give up and ride something else.
Haunted Mansion
Not a bad ride in itself, but both times we rode it broke down for not insignificant amounts of time. I can now say Madame Leota’s monologue off by heart. It haunts my dreams. Oh god why wont it stop.
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
This is a point and shoot ride where you need to hit the targets. The problem is that it is impossible to see what you are shooting at which rather takes the fun out of it. Worth it if you have a fast pass, not if you have to queue.

Disneys Hollywood Studios

Best
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Basically its Space Mountain but with music. It may be even more fun if you know who Aerosmith is. Is a Spice Girls roller coaster too much to ask?
Tower of Terror
I don’t think I have ever been this genuinely scared on a ride, which I guess is the point. It was Dad’s favourite so we rode it twice. I didn’t know anything about the Twilight Zone so the theme was a little lost on me, but the final random drop sequence is terrifyingly brilliant. If you are ever feeling a bit blue send me a DM and I will show you the ride photo from this – the look of terror on my face will make you happy again.
Toy Story Mania!
Think 3D carnival type games where you are trying to knock down plates and toss rings. So much fun and very well executed as a ride.
Mildly Entertaining
Star Tours
This was a good concept and great if you are into Star Wars, but now just feels a little dated in comparison to Avatar and the like. Oh and there was a family on the ride with us that SCREAMED the entire time, I was very close to turning to the dark side by the time the ride ended.
Bad
Where the hell are the rest of the rides? Ok I know they are building them, but right now Hollywood Studios just feels empty. I would recommend getting fast passes for the three ‘best’ ones above and then you only need a half day in the park to see everything.

Epcot

Best
Living with the Land
Ok your kids may hate this one, but as a grownup it is fascinating. You learn all about agriculture across the globe and get to see some of the growing techniques up close. Much fun. Much learning. Much growing.
Frozen Ever After
Basically a modern version of the Pirates ride but with more ice and less rape.
Mildly Entertaining
Spaceship Earth
The overall vibe for Epcot is ‘stuck in the 80’s’ and nothing says that better than Spaceship Earth (it is the ride inside the big ball). Spaceship Earth is a look at how we may all live in the future but from the past i.e. think the Jetsons with flying cars instead of all just hoping WW3 isn’t started on Twitter.
Bad
Nothing? They were all mildly entertaining and vaguely educational. Although it is telling that we only spent a day here and it was the only park we didn’t double dip on.

What we did, day by day

Saturday: Animal Kingdom in the afternoon

– Avatar: Flight of Passage
– Dinosaur
– Its a bugs life
– Avatar: River Cruise
Sunday: Disney Springs & Epcot
– The Void (Starwars VR experience)
– Living with the Land
– Journey into Imagination with Figment
– Test Track
– Mission Space
– Spaceship Earth
– The Seas with Nemo & Friends
– Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
– Soaring over the World
– Frozen Ever After
Monday: Universal Studios
– Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
– Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
– Men in Black: Alien Attack
– Men in Black: Alien Attack
– ET Adventure
– The Simpsons Ride 🙁
– Transformers the ride
– Revenge of the Mummy
– Revenge of the Mummy
– Minions 3D
Tuesday: Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
– Cat in the Hat
– Poseidon’s Fury
– Flight of the Hippogriff
– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
– The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show
– Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Wednesday (Valentines Day): Magic Kingdom
– Carousel of Progress
– People Mover
– Jungle Cruise
– Tiki Room
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Fireworks (Happily Ever After show)
– Its a Small World
– Haunted Mansion
Thursday: Magic Kingdom
– Big Thunder Railroad
– Buzz Lightyear
– Bells Enchanted Tales
– The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
– Space Mountain
– Splash Mountain
– Train Ride
Friday: Disneys Hollywood Studios
– Tower of Terror
– Indiana Jones Show
– Star Wars
– Toy Story Mania
– Rocking Roller Coaster
Saturday: Kennedy Space Center!
Sunday: Animal Kingdom
– Expedition Everest
– Safari
– Lion King Show
– Avatar: Flight of Passage
Monday: Magic Kingdom
– Space Mountain
– Haunted Mansion
– Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (rage)
– Pirates of the Caribbean
Tuesday: Disneys Hollywood Studios
– Rocking Roller Coaster
– Tower of Terror
– StarWars Fireworks

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?

It’s 29.

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.

  1. Airport: London Heathrow

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.

  1. Airport: Stockholm Arlanda

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.

  1. Airport: London Heathrow

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.

  1. Airport: Cologne

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?