Disney’s New Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

disney paradeDisneyworld’s Magic Kingdom is seeing a huge expansion going underway in the Magic Kingdom theme park, removing certain elements, updating older parts and adding some fantastic new areas and rides that has only just been completed. Most parts of the new Fantasyland are already open and complete, with two new sections: Fantasyland Forest, which is home to the Beast’s Castle and the world of Beauty and the Beast, and the Storybook Circus.

The overhaul began with closing various elements of the park including Ariel’s Grotto, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and the original Dumbo and Snow White’s Scary Adventure rides. The Imagineers created a model of how they envisioned the new part of the infamous park to look:

In 2012, Disney opening the new Storybook Circus area, filled with nostalgic elements of the circus featured in Dumbo including Dual Dumbo the Flying Elephants and the Casey Jr Splash ‘n’ Soak Station to keep you cool on those hot Florida days. The original Barnstormer ride has been re-themed and updated to be called The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini.

storybook circus

(Image: Anna Fox)

The next thing to open was the revised Ariel’s Grotto with the brand new dark ride, Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid. The old area was closed in 2010 which featured the Meet and Greet with Ariel, but the new section features a shipwreck and Prince Eric’s Castle.

little mermaid

The Beauty and the Beast area is the most looked forward to part of the new Fantasyland with its brand new castle perched upon the rocks. There are several new elements in this area including Gaston’s Tavern where you can try cinnamon rolls and LeFou’s Brew made from frozen apple juice and toasted marshmallows; Belle’s cottage where you can participate in the interactive storybook experience of the Enchanted Tales with Belle; and the brand new Be Our Guest restaurant inside the Castle itself with three magically themed rooms offering quick counter service during the day and table service at night.

new fantasyland

belles storybook

belles storybook 2

The latest offering in the new Fantasyland which has only just celebrated its grand opening is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The indoor queue area features several interactive activities while you wait including a gem sorting game and musical spigots. The ride itself is both indoor and outdoor with similarities to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It is aimed at families with architecture drawn straight from the film and stunning scenery. The attraction is the first to feature the tilting vehicle to simulate swaying and tipping in a mine cart.

7 dwarves mine train 2

7 dwarves mine train

There is also a new rest area in the new Fantasyland which is a scene set straight from Tangled with Rapunzel’s tower as a feature in the distant background against Disney’s skyline.

new fantasyland 3

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How to pack your luggage for a long trip

 

 

suitcase1If you’re heading away on a long trip this summer, whether it’s just over two weeks or a few months travelling the world, you’re going to want to take a lot of stuff with you. Perhaps you’re going somewhere that requires various different types of clothing, such as swimwear and light loose clothing from tropical beach weather, but warmer coats and boots for hiking in mountains, all in the same trip.

 

The first thing you need to do is ensure that you’ve got some good quality, lightweight luggage that’ll be easy for you to transport. You don’t want to have to have any hassle with broken cases or straps coming off bags. It will of course depend what kind of travel you’re doing, if you’re staying in one place or not, whether you’ll just be able to transport your things there and unpack, or if you need to keep it stored in a backpack while you move around.

 

You’ll also need to make the decision on how much you’ll be able to take. Many airlines only allow a limited amount of baggage and this can be too restricting for some people. If you really do need more than one suitcase full, or you have bulky items, your best bet is to send on some of it separately by using something like SendMyBag.com. If you don’t want to do that, find out what you want to take with you, limit yourself to only certain items of clothing and plan your outfits in advance. You’ll be surprised how much being organised can help you save on space. Don’t forget that you may also be able to buy heavier items such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and other toiletries even cheaper at your destination.

 

As for the packing itself and fitting everything into one suitcase, the technique of rolling up clothing is generally favoured for space saving over folding clothing. You can even pack smaller items into ziplock or vacuum bags to compress and remove any excess air in the case.

 

Remove that you will most likely be able to wash clothing wherever you are, even if it means taking along or buying some of your own detergent. You might be able to use a laundrette in your destination, or simply wash things in your sink.

 

A final tip is to make sure that you wear your bulkiest clothing that you plan to take on the plane; there’s no point in wasting suitcase space on something like a coat or pair of jeans. You’ll be able to take off any extra layers if you get too hot on the plane or when you reach your destination.

Image courtesy of Mamboman1.

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The expanding dress that protects your space

expanding dress 2It’s an issue that every person who uses public transport has faced at least once in their life, if not daily for everyday commuters: the lack of personal space and invasion of it by strangers.

Artist Kathleen McDermott suffered this problem one too many times and decided to come up with something that would solve it forever using her sense of style and brain to create something unique and surprising: a dress that expands to keep people away and protects your space. The designer is a student on a Masters course in Fine Art at the City University of Hong Kong.

The dress itself has built in sensor that can identify if a fellow commuter is coming too close for comfort and begins to slowly expand outwards like an umbrella using built-in plastic scaffolding. It is part of a project called “Urban Armour”, a collection which includes “playful electronic wearables for women”. Other pieces in the series include a pollution sensor scarf, the “Autofilter” which automatically covers the wearer’s face to defend against cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes and “Miss-My-Face” a hat with an inbuilt veil to protect your identity from CCTV footage.

McDermott stated that the ideas came to her for this collection when she began to look “for ways women could take more ownership over their personal space in public.”

expanding dress

Images courtesy of @KathleenMcDermott

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Qatar Airways all-business class flights from Heathrow

Qatar Business ClassFrom the 15th May, London Heathrow will be able to offer flights that cater entirely and solely for business class passengers with Qatar Airways launching their Airbus A319 flight service out of Terminal 4. Qatar airlines already offers five daily flight from Heathrow, and this will be the 6th daily flight, leaving the airport at 9.55pm and arriving in Doha at 6.40am the following morning after seven hours in the air.

The aircraft has the ability to seat up to 40 passengers at one time and has a single aisle with seats laid out in a 2-2 configuration. The major advantages of this business class only flight are the fully reclining seats and the airline’s exclusive Oryx entertainment system, which gives passengers access to more than 900 films, television programmes and games. Unusually they will also be able to use SMS mobile texting, GSM and GPRS connectivity while on board. Passengers will also have access to the Qatar Airways lounge at Heathrow airport and the Premium Terminal on departure at Doha.

Qatar currently has 129 aircraft, flies to 134 destinations and has been running for more than 17 years. British Airways also offer a business class exclusive flight from London City to New York JFK airport on a 32 seat Club World service aircraft.

Qatar Airways have not yet released pricing and rates for the service, but a seat on the inaugural journey on May 15th from London, returning from Doha on May 22nd, will cost around £4325.

Image courtesy of Leslie.

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How to wear a playsuit

PlaysuitPlaysuits came back into fashion again a few years ago after being cast away to the realms of children’s fashion for a fairly long time. While they look fantastic on the hanger, and can often be mistaken for dresses until you get tangled in them in the fitting room, they’re fairly difficult to wear and style up as items of clothing go.

Make sure that you don’t layer on top too much

This is the number one issue with playsuits: going to the bathroom! Because of the shorts-like bottom half being attached the top, you need to strip it all off to use the toilet, and why add more hassle by layering over the top? Instead wear a thin, fitted top underneath the playsuit if you need to keep warm so you won’t need to get right down to your underwear every time.

Pick a dress-like playsuit

Fitted playsuits definitely give off the infantile vibe you should be trying to stray away from with the playsuit. Choose one that is loose cut on the legs that gives the illusion of a dress so it’ll be super flattering on your thighs while also keeping everything covered up in adverse weather.

Wear tights

Playsuits in general tend to be shorter than dresses, and while they do have shorts on the bottom to keep your modesty mostly preserved, they do expose a lot of leg, and occasionally more if the fabric is too loose. Opaque tights will help to keep everything covered and give an illusion of a longer hem line.

Wear it to the beach, on holiday or to a club

There are loads of places you could wear a playsuit, but our favourite options are at the beach or on holiday, thrown over the top of a bikini for a cool covered up look, or out to a club for a summery vibe where you can get away with the shortness.

Image courtesy of maxlovessatin.

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How to wear midi dresses

Aquilano Rimondi prom style skirtMidi dresses have been around for several seasons now. They were a bit of a surprise item to begin with, with only the fashion experts attempting to style them, but now pretty much all retailers, high street and high end alike, are stocking them. It’s not likely they’ll be going out of style any time soon, so it’s high time we started thinking about how to style them.

The main issue with midi dresses is the awkward length – a “true” midi dress is supposed to hit mid-way between knee and ankle, bang in the middle of your calf, the widest part of your lower leg. For a more flattering length, look for midis that hit on your knees or just below.

There is also the problem that the dress may look great on a model on a website, reaching to the exact point of the leg you want it to, but when it arrives you find it hovering mid-thigh or grazing your ankle. If the site lists the model’s height, pay attention to this and compare it to yourself. If you find it isn’t going to work for you, but you still love it, be prepared to get it altered professionally.

Midi dresses are a lot easier to wear during the summer months than they are the winter too, so bear this in mind. They’re not great with boots that aren’t ankle height and flats with them can make your legs look stumpy, so go for heels to elongate the leg. You also have the problem of what to layer over a midi dress during the winter months. Cropped cardigans or jackets are generally the layer of choice to emphasise the longer length and stop you from looking frumpy, and when it’s especially chilly, go for a full length coat that reaches the bottom of the midi dress.

Remember though, there’s no right or wrong way to wear an outfit, so if you like it and it works for you, then wear it! Be it a body con mid-calf dress or a full skirted knee grazer, wear it your way.

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Revamping your style on a budget

After all the fun of the Christmas season, you’re usually left with a couple of things: several unwanted gifts that may not suit you and an empty purse. Coming into January can be a hard time on your wardrobe – you have no money to spend on new clothes, yet you’re in the midst of the darker months and fed up of what you’ve got. So here are a few tricks to refresh your wardrobe this season:

Rochas Ful;l Skirt

Reuse your more dressy outfits

Get more wear out of the dress that you chose especially for New Years Eve by throwing an oversized cardigan over the top of it for a more slouchy, casual look, or pair your Christmas Day heels with boyfriend jeans for a top fashion look.

Try some DIY

This time of year is the best time to attempt some DIY on your old clothes: plenty of time to spare on the dark evenings and lots of boredom. Switch the buttons on your old coats or cardigans for new ones – go for gold or silver for a more dressed up look, or mismatched vintage finds for a cute and quirky outfit.

Shop the sales

Need a new pair of gloves to last you through the rest of winter or a sparkly skirt for an upcoming do, stay away from the ‘New In’ sections of the shops and head for the sales. There are still plenty of pieces left, and some with even further discounts post-Boxing Day sales. You can even pick up a few things in preparation for next winter too!

Layered necklacesImage courtesy of Maegan Tintari

Use accessories wisely

You might have worn that favourite outfit too many times already, but you can wear it again by swapping around your accessories. Try adding a pair of coloured or patterned tights to a simple outfit for a something unexpected, or layer up your jewellery with statement necklaces and multiple bracelets for an arm party.

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Marks & Spencer release multiway dress

M&S multiway dressDo you have problems finding a new dress to wear for every single occasion? For Christmas parties, family weddings, evenings out with the girls, it always has to be something new. But this year, Marks and Spencer have come to the rescue with their multiway dress – heralded as being five dresses in one, you can wear it to all your occasions and look as if it’s a new piece every time.

The dress is available as a maxi or knee length, in sizes six to eighteen, and in navy, gunmetal grey or black. The reason it is so versatile though is the two long jersey ties that start below the bust and the inbuilt bra within the dress. This means it can be worn in a range of styles, looking like a new dress every time.

Just a few of the ways you can wear the dress are: assymetric Grecian goddess style, with the ties over one shoulder and twisted at the neck; cap sleeved with an open back for a cool summery style; strapless with the ties pulled around the bust and knotted at the back for a simply stylish look with minimal effort; and mid sleeved for a more demure look for an older lady.

M&S have certainly got it right this time, with the dress being perfect for all ages, from teens looking for something simple and flattering for summer weddings to the more sophisticated woman wanting to look stylish.

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High street stores Topshop and H&M stop sourcing angora

Angora RabbitOver the last month, there has been an uproar in the fashion industry about the use of angora wool that has been irresponsibly sourced by popular high street stores.

Last month saw animal rights campaigners from PETA release videos showing the fur being plucked from live screaming rabbits by Chinese workers at farms. Their encouragement for viewers to boycott stores which sell garments manufactured with this angora wool had a huge impact and high street retailers were bombarded on social media and via petitions.

H&M and Acne made the announcements last month that they were halting the production of all their products which contained angora wool with immediate effect. H&M made the following statement:

“[We] will immediately stop the production of all angora products until we have secured that out strict product policy is being followed. H&M doesn’t accept that animals are treated badly, which is checked when audits are made. We only allow products made of angora rabbit hair from farms with good animal husbandry. Plucking is not acceptable in accordance with our product policy. We will now accelerate further inspections of our sub-suppliers to ensure compliance with out policy.”

As a result, other major chain stores that were still stocking angora products came under fire from the general public.

Topshop is now the next on the list of merchants who have made the decision to stop sourcing their angora products from abused rabbits in Chinese angora farms. They currently stock 41 products, such as a cable jumper, socks and a onesie, manufactured using the angora fur from rabbits.

Image courtesy of Marlana Shipley

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Travelling Abroad – Weird Border Crossings

When travelling abroad there are many strange and unusual things you can come across. Different experiences, cultures and ways of life. Travelling is a great way to broaden your horizons and gain experiences you wouldn’t at home. When traveling abroad it’s important that you have correct documentation. Many countries require correct visas, these are normally free but some countries do charge an entry fee. However one thing your cant prepare for is the weirdest border crossings.

Looking at travelling abroad, IXPVisas looked into border crossings around the world to see which ones are the weirdest. There were a number of surprising results, with many people not realising that these crossings even exist. They found that:

Crossing from Costa Rica to Panama means crossing the border at Paso Canoas through a shopping arcade, perfect if you want to get some shopping on your travels. Not surprising the crossing between Kyrgyzstan to China isn’t particularly well placed. You have to pass through a standalone gateway at the 3,900m high Torugart pass. You get fantastic views but do have to sit in long queues behind heavy goods vehicles.

Closer to home in Europe, the border between the Netherlands and Belgium cuts one town in half. Baarle-Nassau has white lines differentiating between Dutch and Belgian territory. The plus side of this crossing means that when the drinking laws in one side the town stops drinking, all you have to do is go to the other half! Also a border crossing is also marked underground in a salt mine. The Austria to Germany border is marked underground in the Bad Dürrnberg salt mine.

Considering the size of the US Canada border it’s no surprise that they have some unusual border crossings. One American township can only be accessed over water through Canada. Northwest Angle, which is technically part of Minnesota is tricky to get to, you have to leave the US to get to it, back in the US, confusing.

 

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