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Nicky

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About Nicky

  • Birthday December 18

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  1. Nicky

    Europa Park

    I went again at the beginning of August and I now know that Europa Park is the place to go in school holidays (which I am stuck with thanks to my new job). Queues were all just under/over an hour with them constantly moving. The slowest queue was for Matterhorn (wild mouse). The park was heaving yet the operations were fantastic.
  2. Nicky

    Reserve n Ride

    The use of fast track can be so demoralising. Long queues are made unbearable when you are only moving every five minutes or so. You then compare this to say Europa Park (in August) where the queues were just over an hour but they barely stopped moving. I found this a lot easier to deal with than being in queues where you have time to try and sit down somewhere as you haven't moved in ages. I've just remembered, Reserve n Ride reminds me of when Legoland Windsor did a similar system (less technological) with Jungle Coaster. As people have pointed out, my smart phone just about lasts the day with a bit of usage. Someone I know was there on the trial day and the countdown drained her battery ridiculously fast.
  3. Nicky

    Rant

    Finally signed yesterday for a 4 bed house to rent near to my school with three of my friends. Spent weeks sorting this out as we have all been in and out of the country. One of us goes round toda yto find damp has suddenly developed in the basement room. Goes back later in the day to find water pouring from the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom. ARGH!!!!! Agents have said they will withhold the landlord signing our contract to complete it until he has sorted the damp (they closed before they could find out about the flood). Landlord is on holiday in France and its a bank holiday weekend so the letting agents aren't open till Tuesday. Parents coming down on Friday with a van full of my stuff that is already pre-booked. Don't know what the hell is going to happen, whether we can even move in, whether we need to find somewhere else to live, what money we would be able to get back. Meant to start teaching a week on Wednesday and would have preferred this to have been sorted.
  4. Nicky

    TPM Fantasy Football

    Adding some female presence to this league. Team - Teach Last
  5. Nicky

    2013 Changes

    Other businesses manage it because they are contracted to work those hours. They will leave at say 11pm because that's when they have to. There is no flexibility with how many customers are in, they are kicked out when it is closing time. Also, theme parks work one shift of workers. Supermarkets and call centres have mixed hours and in my case the vast majority of those late staff you are talking about don't start till 2pm at the earliest but mostly start at 5pm.
  6. Nicky

    Snow Joke in Paris

    The only reason we can think that Mushu was about was that he is the focus of the Art of Animation show and also he has been appropriated by Disney as the dragon for St David's day which was the weekend before we got there.
  7. Nicky

    Snow Joke in Paris

    Day 4 - 14th March The early starts and late nights were starting to get to us. So the day before we had asked at our reception desk to change our breakfast slot so we had a more respectable start of 8.45am rather than the 7am the day before. Due to our late start, we skipped out on EMH all together and just went straight over to the Studios. Expecting to have a long wait, we were surprised to see the gates were already open and they were letting people straight into the park. It was starting to become clear that thanks to the slightly warmer temperature all the locals who had been dissuaded for the past few days had come to visit. This was going to lead to longer queues The advertised opening time was 10am and we had already been through Tower once before then. We also got to witness the vast majority of the cast members for it turning up in one go to have a team pow wow. Now that the weather was warmer we got a chance to grab some of the rides that hadn't even got going at any point in the day. First up was Parachute Drop. The queue was only 20 minutes but due to the fact that the seating arrangement is 3 across we joined the single rider line. After a false start for me when the cast member miscounted we were on after waiting for one cycle. The first obstacle was the fact that everyone who was just a two on the benches had already pulled down their bar leading to the cast member having to go round and opening them all to get the single riders on. I wasn't expecting much and I was pleasantly surprised as you got a bit of airtime and it was good to be able to see over all the backlot (especially the closed Tram Tour). The second obstacle was being able to actually get out. The seatbelts had a weird unfastening button that was in a completely unexpected place and Benin had to come and free me Next up was RC Racer and I was finally able to get my front row Two people from the single rider ended up getting split up and then tried to get me to move to the second row and I refused. You can just see the excitement on my face when I finally got on. Ended up sat there for five minutes while there was a bit of swopping around with the girls next to me as they couldn't fit in with the restraint down properly. Didn't help one of them was wearing a massive puffa jacket at first which wasn't a good idea at all. Attack of the scarf We headed over to Stitch Live but we were looking at a 30 minute wait for the next English show so had to decide what to do in the gap. We tried Armageddon but found the experience was 20 minutes so we would be really pushing it. In the end we just wandered over to Rock n Roller and grabbed a Fastpass for it (a sure sign the parks were busier as FP was barely used earlier in the week) before going to top up the hot chocolate flask and grabbed some more cakes to tide us over. Two 20th anniversary desserts down we went back over to Stitch. Now I've done Monster's Inc Laughter Floor in Florida and loved that and found this good. It does depend on who they pick and it is obviously really kid centric though they try to involve the adults. The sight of Stitch gyrating his hips was a tad weird though. By the time we came out, it was time for our FP for Rock N Roller which left me with a bit of a headache. The more I did the rough rides over the week the more my head started to hurt Next up was Armageddon and I hadn't done this before. It had been open when I last visited the Studios (11 years ago) but I am very glad now that I hadn't gone it. It scared the hell out of me at 22 let alone when I would have been 11. It is definitely not "family fun" as it was suggested on the map. I was clinging to Benin and the fencing by the end of it. Give me Twister any day. I think its problem was that it happens all around you where with say Twister it only happens in front of you. The amount of kids that were crying when the lights came up that I wasn't the only one who hadn't been too keen on this. It definitely left its mark on me. I needed cheering up so we gained a new friend for the rest of this trip who may be making a few more trips with us now. Will have to see if you can spot him later. It was getting time for us to move on to the main park. We spotted the Flying Carpets finally working and not being sure whether Dumbo/Orbitron was working next door we thought it would be best to get at least one of these. Only Disney could get away with having three different versions of the same ride We passed the Crush queue and it was in its makeshift extension. Ewwwwwww. No more Crush for us this holiday. Off peak was over as there were more characters out roaming, even some that are pretty rare by Disney standards. We switched to the other park and hoped that the queues weren't so bad. You can already see from the photos that we were fighting against the crowds. We caught the Parade train again. With the weather brighter and the park obviously busier it meant that we might actually be able to grab the Casey Jr. cred. It tends to shut on off peak days let alone those that are covered in snow. We saw that it was open on the information board. Yay!!! We went for a wander to see how the other rides were doing. At least the main coasters were open but they all had huge queues so we ended up just taking photos (and grabbing a FP for Big Thunder Mountain). Busy! ^Starring our new friend We finally ended up in Fantasyland. Benin spied Captain Hook on his way to Adventureland. There were loads more roaming characters about. We ended up meeting Tweedledee. It was finally time for Casey Jnr. A kiddie coaster with two trains which means the queue was barely anything even though it looked really long. Stitch providing a useful leaning post in the queues. By this point the hunger was setting in and lunch was needed. We ended up heading over to Hakuna Matata as Benin hadn't ever seen it actually open and the menu looked pretty interesting. The first challenge was avoiding the death trap of sliding snow off the thatch roof. Benin went to find a seat while I joined the queue for food. It was miles longer than it needed to be thanks to the burdenous family who only decided it was too expensive for them when they got to the till *headdesk* Benin headed over to the Timon Terrace and ended up taking photos to keep himself occupied. Our FP time had come up for Big Thunder so ended up heading over there for that. It was nice being able to skip the long queue, especially when they had a whole station just for FP and disabled riders. Indy had died a death by the time we got to it so we just had to take some photos and hope that it would reopen later in the day for us. Oh the irony With the queues getting up we headed back over to Discoveryland, grabbed a FP for Space Mountain before working out what we could do to fill the gap. Now Benin had never done Captain EO (I had grabbed it in Florida) and since we didn't have anything else to do I persuaded him that it was something he needed to do at least once. Stitch had swopped to being carried by me. I got slightly less funnier looks than Benin had done when he was carrying him. We only saw one other person with the Stitch rucksack. Even Stitch got his 3D glasses. It really is weird and the 3D is rather rubbish. It definitely shows its age and the pre-show stuff is so much longer than the actual show. When we came out, it was FP time for Space Mountain before realising it was parade time. We headed over to a space we had spotted when we watched the show on Tuesday. The one problem was the sun. We just hoped that it would move behind the castle by the time the parade started. The little girl next to us had rather funky wellies. It seemed like the parade had been altered on Tuesday and we got to see a few more dancers (especially the fairies and those that glide around) and a few different characters on the floats. Urgh Tiana was there instead of Belle These were non-existant in the snow. Mickey had also made the jump to the top of his float. Tink hitching a lift on the back of the float. When we planned the place we would stand it had partially been chosen because we could easily escape when the parade had gone past and get to the rest of the park. We headed off towards Fantasyland and encountered Captain Jack walking back behind the scenes. There were lodas of pigeons about he decided to go running after them, chasing them around with his arms failing around. Our aim was It's A Small World and you could definitely see the boats that had been filled while it was the parade time. And so the hell begins... Benin not too impressed. Stack stack stack We eventually joined the real world again. We passed the Princesses who had finished for the day. Our next stop was the maze. It didn't seem that big from the outside but it definitely has loads of twists and turns. It was more exciting when you could get past people and stop it feeling like you were just trudging around after people. By this point we still hadn't had our fill of boat rides so checked out Storybook Canal. This looked like the only chance I was going to have to see Belle but first we got the boat to ourselves. A chilly Benin. And this was the closest I got all holiday The sun was beginning to set and we needed to get out of Fantasyland before it closed early because of Dreams. We decided to give Indy one last chance and we happy to see that it was open and had a really short queue. With the cold and BTM still having a long queue we popped over to something that would warm us up. Phantom Manor time. I still loved the thing however a recurring problem while we were there was that the Hitchiking Ghosts had hitchhiked off and all you were left doing was staring at the mirrors. It kinda ruined the end of it for you. By the time we came out Benin was hungry and still cold. We wanted to stay for Dreams and we had a dinner reservation for Cafe Mickey's after so didn't want to eat too much. We tried to get crepes from Gibson Girl but we were spited by them locking the doors just as we got there. Disney still haven't learned that they need to have more food outlets open late into the evening. In the end we ended up grabbing some fries from Casey's and topping up the hot chocolate flask. It was still 40 minutes till Dreams but it was beginning to get busy already. We wanted a straight on view this time so we knew we would have to stake out our space a lot earlier than the other nights. We chose our spot right up to one of the flower bed fences. It meant that people couldn't really block our view in a really bad way. Now I had been in Disney for four days. I had been polite, I had let kids in front of me with characters, I had tried not to block people's views. This is the night I snapped. I watched as a Spanish woman came over with her family less than 15 minutes before it started. She proceeded to stand her child up on the fence rail, moving directly in front of me and blocking my view. I snapped and told her firmly with a lot of hand gestures so she knew what I was getting at. I turned to see that I had a few supporters behind me. She got all huffy at me and pointed me to the space that she had been stood in. Now I would have got even more pissed off if she hadn't had a great view from where she had been stood. My view had actually improved. WIN!! I wasn't planning to take photos that night. I just wanted to enjoy the show so there aren't many photos for this night. However I made a few exceptions. The past two nights, all the projections had been straight onto the castle and its walls. The weather was a lot better today and the water projections came out. It looked so much better and you could tell this is what it was meant to be. It was good to see though that they could vary the show depending on the weather rather than just cancelling it. It also led to a lot more space for the projections. It didn't feel as clustered. Also Benin wanted a better picture of this: This looked immensely better and was one of my favourite scenes. All too soon it was over I'd go back just for Dreams. I was quickly cheered up by remembering that we had a reservation for Cafe Mickey. We had booked it for 9pm so we could see Dreams first. We barely had any queue to get in and got in 15 minutes earlier than our reservation. We hadn't even got to our table before we encountered our first character. The characters have a set circuit that they go round with them being staggered. It means in theory that everyone gets to see every character. You feel sorry for the waiters as they are trying to do their jobs while sorting out but we weren't too bothered. We were just glad to be sat down and having a rest. You did find yourself however looking for the characters and feeling like you couldn't leave your table in case you missed them. Minnie came along: Followed by Gepetto: Considering you just order off the menu, you don't pay that much more than you would do at any of the other Disney Village eateries. First up was garlic bread that was bigger than your head: Then steak Mickey and Pluto were also on the rounds but by this point we were exhausted. We knew we were having a character breakfast in the morning so decided to call it a night. We got our bill from the waiter and he had only charged us for two drinks rather than the five that we had (a godsend when they were 4 euros each) as a way to apologise for his slow service. We left him a tip and he was so happy. It wasn't his fault that he had been ran off his feet and I wouldn't want to have his job. It was time to go and head back to the hotel. It was our last day tomorrow and we needed to pack everything into our suitcases. I'll leave you one last photo of Tigger being all techno celebrating someone's birthday.
  8. Nicky

    Tea or Coffee?

    Surely this poll needs a third option of either neither or hot chocolate. Tried to start drinking coffee but it just made me want to retch. I'll stick with hot chocolate and get my caffiene from Diet Coke.
  9. Nicky

    Snow Joke in Paris

    Day 3 - Wednesday 13th March We woke up to see that no more snow had fallen but it was bitterly cold. The shot of the Panorama balloon was a useful way to show cold it actually was. The lake had even started to freeze over. It wasn't looking good for rides actually being able to open in this temperature. Now the one problem with going on holiday as just a couple is that it can be really awkward to get photos of just the two of you without having to rope in a passerby. This time a random French woman (who thought herself a photgrapher) just volunteered without me even asking. Icicles everywhere looking like they would cause some serious damage if they fell down on someone. Benin's hat did lead to some fun shots of his shadow as we wandered through Disney Village for Extra Magic Hours. Disney Cast Members had definitely been to work over night. A lot of the snow had been cleared off the main paths and they were slowly working their way around the more off the beaten track ones throughout the day. You could see that they were constantly trying to get things open all day rather than just send staff home. The snow might be nice and pretty but it was beginning to lead to problems for the rides we wanted to go on. The first casualty was Space Mountain. The track was frozen but people didn't understand that while most of the ride was undercover there is one small part with the launch that was causing all the problems. They were testing it and you could see it barely making the top of the launch. This led to the cast members all being stood at the entrance and they were obviously getting rather bored. So they started a snow ball fight: And it ended on with one of them on the floor. Orbitron was the second casualty of the day even though the cast members were trying to clear snow off it all morning. We also discovered that a certain Fred was moonlighting at Disney Paris. With Obitron and Space Mountain closed, all that was left in Discoveryland was Buzz. Leading to this: When they eventually opened the queue we went round twice before deciding that we needed to move over to Fantasyland to make more of the time we had before the park properly opened. We passed this on the way. If only we had the money for one of these It wasn't exactly busy in Fantasyland either. And Fantasyland was suffering the same fate as most of Discoveryland with only the completely indoors rides managing to open. So we grabbed Peter Pan's Flight while the queue was like this: Then began a faff. Nothing was open and we couldn't be bothered to do things more than once. We popped up into the castle as I had never been up there. Got some pretty shots of the windows. And of a snowy Fantasyland. The way out didn't exactly look safe. Snow and spiral stairs do not mix so we headed back through the main entrance with everyone else. We wandered back over to Discoveryland to see if Space Mountain had managed to warm up enough to open. We hung around for 20 minutes before giving up and going back to Fantasyland. Now my favourite princess is Belle and the one thing that I wanted to do was queue up for the princesses. We thought joining the queue ten minutes before the park opened (10am, bearing in mind that the princesses didn't open until 10.30am) would be fine. We were wrong. The queue was on its way back to the maze. We knew this would be the best time we had to do it so we just joined the queue. I'd hate to queue up with a child to see a character, it was boring enough as an adult. We eventually got let into the building to go through the queueing system in there. The problem with this queue is that it grinds to a halt quite often. There are always two princesses there but you don't know who they are until you go into their area and you only get to see one. This is a bit of a problem when you aren't really interested in seeing any of the other princesses. It was a nicely themed queue line that spiraled up to the centre. They had stained glass windows for all the princesses castles with light up objects such as the flower from Rapunzel or the rose from Beauty and the Beast. An hour and 45 minutes later we finally got to see a princess. Now we had agreed that the chance of seeing Belle was low but as long as it was either her or Rapunzel then it wouldn't be /so/ bad. We lucked out and got Rapunzel, seemingly just before she changed for a break. We have no idea who replaced her nor did we know who was on the other side until we got out into the photo buying area. Luckily it had been Cinderella and we weren't too interested in seeing her. We also found this spectacularly taken photo by the "professional" photographer of us and Rapunzel. As much as I wanted to see Belle I wasn't going to join that queue again myself let alone make Benin do it again. You have no idea who you are going to get which is rather annoying. At least with Mickey you know who you are getting no matter how long you wait. We checked our timetable and saw that Winnie would be out near Main Street. We headed over and could just about make out Winnie's ears over a scrum. Now because of the weather he couldn't go up in his usual space as all the steps were icy. This meant that he was on the ground with no queueing system, yet again. We joined the scrum and tried to wait our turn. This was one of the more organised ones as the accompanying cast member was British. She was making sure that people were taking turns and stopping people from pushing in. This led to a funny moment of a Spanish woman talking to her trying to get her kid to go next. The cast member's reply was "I don't speak Spanish." The woman said more to which the reply was "I still don't speak Spanish." She noticed that there was us two and a group of girls from Liverpool who were getting a bit exasperated and she just shrugged her shoulders. Winnie had to go for his break but would be back in five minutes. We decided to hang around and we formed a queue of people waiting for him to come back. We made friends with the Scouse girls while we were waiting. Winnie came back out but instead of standing where the queue started he went right into the middle and the scrum began again. Now we had had enough. This led to us and the girls getting territorial and getting onto the front row of the crowd. We stood firm and didn't let anyone get past us. Now the girls got picked first and we volunteered to take a photo of them with Winnie. When they had finished they made sure we could dive in before any kids got their first. They also took the photo for us. Our hard fought photo: As we finished, the 20th anniversary celebration train got announced as being cancelled due to the weather. This gave us a suspicion that the characters meant to be on that parade would be out for meet and greets instead. We headed to the far end and found that we had hit the jackpot. Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Chip and Dale (plus random female chipmunk), Goofy and Pluto were all out. M&Ms area looked the most organised, having been placed in a corner. M&M were on the ball and were picking people out themselves going on who had been waiting the longest. We got to the front row and ended up lucking out straight away, getting called forward. By this point we were rather charactered out and decided it was time to try and grab another ride. We headed over to the information board (a godsend in this weather) to find out what was open. BTM and Indy were still closed but Space Mountain had obviously got going. We headed over and joined the queue. We had just made it into the station when it suffered "technical difficulties". They pulled all the trains off the track and back into the maintenance shed and it became obvious it wouldn't be openeing for a while. We stuck it out for a bit until we got the exit passes (I.e. the cards from the Fastpass machines with a written note on them). We tried to do Star Tours next but that had a long queue so we decided to it was time for lunch and to go to Casey's. Just as we got there we saw the parade train was running this time so watched that go passed right outside the entrance to Casey's. While we were waiting, I found a wellie buddy. After lunch (having ended up sharing a table with two other people as there was no other space) we came back out and encountered the train again. By this point we had done everything we could do really in the main park and decided to switch parks and try and see whether Studios was coping with the cold any better. With Tower having this queue it was just asking for us to ride it. Another Tower ride down we headed over to Toy Story. RC Racer was going but it was definitely struggling. We managed to get on it though before it died again. By this point the cold combined with the really early morning for breakfast had got to us. We decided to head back to the hotel for a warm up and just some time to put our feet up after doing Art of Animation. It was good to see even though the attraction had been open for a while they were updating it with a segment on Wreck it Ralph. It was a bit confusing with having to wear headphones that was piping through an English language track over what the cast member was saying. It was even more when the video was in English and you were fighting with the French language track. A bit of a headache inducing moment. We planned to head back over to the parks to catch Dreams, with plans to eat after lunch. As the Studios gets really empty after their parade has finished we decided to stop there first. We grabbed another Tower ride and two goes on Rock n Roller before heading back to the main park. We still had our Space Mountain pass so used that before grabbing Buzz. It was while waiting for Buzz that we realised the importance of 1. the handheld emergency stops and 2. stepping very carefully onto the moving walkway. we witnessed an older Spanish woman fall over smacking her head against the metal bar. It was lucky the cast member could speak Spanish as he got it all sorted out and the ride only stopped for a few minutes. She was fortunate not to draw any blood. It was getting close to Dreams starting time so we headed over to the main area. It was a bit busier than the night before but you could see that a lot of people had got too cold and had headed back to the hotels. We ended up with a more central spot and now was the time to try and take some good pictures. With shows like this, you get some very blurry pictures but some good ones just by sheer chance. The show was pretty much the same but we did notice some added water fountains that they hadn't wanted to switch on the night before as it would create sheet ice on the castle slope which would not be a good idea. It was then time to join the scrum out of the park and get some food at Disney Village. EARL OF AMAZINGNESS. Screw Subway, this place was awesome and was perfect for walking back to our hotel room and putting out feet up to eat. And that was the end of Day 3 with one more shot of the Panaroma balloon.
  10. Nicky

    Rant

    Erm...... http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=The%20Railway%3A%20Keeping%20Britain%20on%20Track
  11. Nicky

    General Discussion

    I think with Jumbos at least they have painted them grey now and according to the map they are now included in the Zufari area. I'm going to reserve complete judgement until I can see them from further away in context of the new area entrance.
  12. Nicky

    Rant

    Part of me wants to go you try living in the north. Your "Sunday service" is better than our week day service most of the time. As it is they can only work 7 hours from the last service on Saturday to the next one in the morning so it is impressive with what they get done. They definitely have some cool pieces of kit like machines that can take up old sleepers and lay down new ones. As Mark said I'd definitely recommend watching The Railways documentary. It is also nice to know that when your train is late someone is getting fined for it somewhere (either the train operating company or Network Rail).
  13. Nicky

    Food Outlets

    We tried out Burger Kitchen at the weekend and were pretty impressed. It isn't trying to be fancy, it's just simple burgers. All four of us had different meals and there wasn't any complaints. The amount of staff they had in there was just woah! They were fighting each other off to serve customers. I wouldn't be too disappointed if Thorpe lost its franchises to be honest.
  14. Nicky

    Snow Joke in Paris

    As far as I am aware of yeah Space Mountain 2 at Paris is the only one with inversions. Probably the best comparison is with RnR in Florida if you have been on that. By the end of the holiday I was wearing my hoodie up, my hat on top and my hood to try and protect my head from the bashing.
  15. In reference to me saying the weekend, I meant more in general terms of a busy period meaning weekends/school holidays.
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