Pisa

On our way back from Sestre Levante we decided to pop into Pisa City Centre to check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the surrounding area before heading to Galileo Airport back to Edinburgh.

You can really just see Pisa in an afternoon, I’m sure they’re may be lots more to see outside the main part, but we were quite happy seeing the tower and other monuments, and finding a lovely spot for lunch and coffee.

In the heart of the city there is the Square of Miracles, or as it is formally known, Campo dei Miracoli. It is also a World Heritage Site. There are three structures found in the square, the Baptistry, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the graveyard. However, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the cathedrals bell tower. The square is surrounded by a gorgeous, and well maintained lush lawn, where you could find crowds of people relaxing and taking in the sights. There is also two museums that you can visit, the Cathedral Museum and the Museum of the Synopses, to learn a bit of history.

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Around the monuments there are mazes of stalls selling souvieners. If you want to pick up a cheap magnet or key chain, then here is the perfect place. Unfortunately the majority of the stalls sell all of the same items, so it’s difficult to get something unique.

I couldn’t resist having a go at the mandatory holding the tower up pose! I’ll be honest, this was actually quite difficult and resulting in Dino yelling at me where to put my hands for a good five minutes! I think it was worth it though, what do you think?

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s a difficult choice deciding which Disney World park comes out on top, but I have to say it’s definitely a tie between the fairy tale of Magic Kingdom and glitz of Hollywood Studios… However, today I’ll be chatting all about my day trip to Hollywood Studios!

As soon as you enter the park you feel as though you are transported back into Hollywood’s golden age. Hollywood Boulevard is lined with various Disney shops, with a few classic Hollywood landmarks along the way. This first part of the park really sets the scene.

The first ride we went on was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and we had to go on this more than once! It was a different story for the Tower of Terror… One ride was enough for me thanks!

We just had to go and see Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. The broadway style musical was packed and is a must see when visiting the park. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite classic Disney films, I couldn’t help but sing a long!

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We decided to ditch the fast food stall for lunch and have a sit down meal in one of Disney’s many restaurants. We chose Disney’s Prime Time Cafe, and we were glad we did! Again, Disney did a fabulous job transporting you back in time. It was just as though you were in an American 50’s style home, complete with TV style dinner meat loaf!

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Star Wars has made a huge appearance throughout the park. Which I loved as a recently converted fan! You can meet all your favourite character like Chewbacca, and take a trip on their new ride Star Tours.

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Near the end of the day we ventured into Pixar Place. I loved this part of the park. It was just like you were in a movie, with hanging barrel of monkeys above you a giant etch-a-sketch! My all time favourite ride in the whole park was here… Toy Story Mania! It’s a 4D ride where you need to shoot moving targets. Perfect for big kids like me!

The only thing I was disappointed with was finding out that the Mr Golds Pawn Shop front from Once Upon a Time was gone! They had to take it down to make way for the future refurbishment of the park. Although it was such a small part of the park, as a big fan of the show I was so excited to see it. Lets hope that when the park is revamped they make Once Upon a Time a bigger part of it!

 

 

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Being a Witch for the Day

Dragons, wands, broomsticks and butter beer? There’s only one place that has all of those and that’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I had the most magical and action packed day at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in Orlando, and I wouldn’t have to think twice if someone asked me to go back.

As I walked into Hogsmeade I was greeting by snowcapped hatched roofs and cobbled streets that were nestled with crooked buildings, including the recognisable Three Broomsticks Pub, Honey Dukes sweet shop, and stalls offering butter beer (a must have!). It seemed almost surreal as the heat of the Florida sun baked down on me, but I couldn’t help but be whisked away into the magical universe of Harry Potter.

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We quickly jumped into the queue for Dragon Challenge before it got too busy (We went on the Blue side, AKA the Hungarian Horntail). I’ll say that all of the rides at Harry Potter World are a must do, but the Dragon Challenge is one of the best roller coasters at Universal in my opinion. We then took a tour through Hogwarts Castle, which is like an attraction in itself. The ride at the end of the queue is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which I believe is quite a new ride. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, as it is so immersive you feel right at the heart of the magical world of Harry Potter. I won’t give too much away, you’ll need to experience it for yourself!

Diagon Alley is the newest addition to the Harry Potter attractions in Orlando. In order to get there from Hogsmeade you need to take a trip on the Hogwarts Express. As you hop off the train it actually feel as though you’ve arrived in London Kings Cross Station- they really have done an excellent job!

Diagon Alley really goes above and beyond. You’re instantly drawn to the eery dragon perched on top of Gringotts Bank (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is another ride not to be missed!) which breathes fire down on the shops below. The Leaky Cauldron, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Ollivanders Wand Shop are just some of the stores you can browse while you’re making through your list for your term Hogwarts.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is hands down a must visit on your trip to Orlando. Even if you’re not into roller coasters and rides, it’s the immersive, truly magical experience that counts.

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