Monday, June 27, 2005

5 Days and 4 Nights with Mickey and Minnie

Alrighty people... as promised! But please beware, it'll be a mighty long one....

Day 1:

A friend sent us to London at 5.30 am but since he doesn't quite know how to get to Waterloo, he dropped us in front of Sheraton Towers near Sloane St. and we managed to grab a black cab to Waterloo Station. Boarded the Eurostar with plenty of time to spare. I would have thought that the Eurostar would be something out of this world seeing that it's an ultra fast train but nahhhh... inside it's just like any other commuter train. It might have made a world of difference though if we were in first class but we're not rich people.

Reached Marnee Le Vallee (Disneyland Station) at 1.30 pm local time. It was bloody HOT!! We didn't hit the parks yet because we were starving and so Mcdonalds it was. After feasting, we decided to just take a stroll at the Disney Village since all of us were quite knackered from waking up too early and the long journey. At 4, we checked into the Hotel Cheyenne. It's a wild wild west themed hotel with buildings in the form of old western atmosphere. Our rooms were in the Wyatt Earp block. Very nice I must say.

Zareef with his good friends, Sarah and Yana (they're sisters) in front of the entrance to Disney Village.

We were very tempted to hit the parks but we had to succumb to hunger and weariness.

After unpacking and refreshing ourselves, we decided to explore the Disney Village and also to have my birthday dinner in one of the restaurants but oh boy! We were in for a huge surprise. A piece of advice: if you ever want to dine in any of the restaurants in the Disney Village, do make a reservation in advance. They were all filled to the brim with human lines snaking out of the restaurants similar to the ones you would find to any rides. We tried Cafe Mickey, Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Steakhouse and even McDonalds (the lines were ridiculously long!!) but to no avail. It's either we were turned away for not having any reservations or the lines were too long and we could only be seated after 10 pm. So we opted for sandwiches instead; fast, convenient and healthy. What a way to spend a birthday dinner! B promised to make it up to me the following day with a reservation at Cafe Mickey.

We spent the remaining evening just weaving in and out of shops, looking at all forms of entertainment available (very happening I must say the night life here). Zareef and I even managed to go on a balloon ride (B was such a wuss for passing up the opportunity to get a bird's eye view of the entire Disneyland Resort).

Day 2:

Yes... we made it into Disneyland Park. Zareef was so besotted with Fantasyland that we didn't quite make it to other lands. To him, the epitome of Disneyland is the Princesses's castle. If we were to even stray into other lands (there were Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland), he would cry and insist that we go back to the castle and say that he wants to go to Disneyland. I kept repeating to him that we ARE at Disneyland but no.... to him Disneyland is the Castle and nothing else. Aduhsss.....

Zareef and his beloved castle, the mother of all lands...

So, we managed to go on almost all of the rides except for the crazy twirling teacups. Mummy and Daddy yg tak nak sebenarnya coz those kind of rides give me the headaches. I should applaud Zareef for being very brave on going all the rides. He was wowing, oohing and aahing all the way. Not a single moment did I detect in him any feelings of fear or boredom (memang jauh skali la) nor was he feeling even a speck of tiredness. Kuat berjalan anak aku nih. Macam Mummy dia jugak.

At 6 pm, we adjourned to Cafe Mickey for my birthday dinner. To anyone who plans to go here, do make a reservation at this restaurant. It's worth it! Seafood and vegetarian selections are in abundance. My Pocahontas Pasta was simply delicious! Disney characters kept popping in at our table. Senang citer. Tak payah beratur panjang2 or berasak2 ngan org ramai nak ambik gambar. In fact, Zareef was at his happiest moment when he could give Mickey, Minnie and Pluto his big bear hugs. There was a short entertainment done by the staffs and the characters every hour for about 5 minutes. They would get up on the counter and dance. Masa ni, Zareef and his friend, Sarah would join and boogey their hearts out. Kalau ikutkan hati, nak je mak budak ni join sama tapi karang kena halau pulak keluar. The kids truly had a great time. Thank you so much Aling for the wonderful, wonderful treat! I had a blast of a time!!!

Day 3:

We spent the whole day at Walt Disney Studios. If you've been to Universal Studios, well Walt Disney Studios is a bit like that but way, way lacking in rides and entertainment and is quite tame. Surprisingly, there weren't many people there so we got to take lots of pictures with the characters and there wasn't any irritating people whom I had to jostle with to let my kid take pictures with the characters.

We watched the afternoon parade, Lilo & Stitch show, the amazing and entertaining Animagique, went on the tram ride into several movie sets (sebijik macam Universal Studios punya tram ride tapi this was a bit lame), went on all rides available (tak banyak pun) and let Zareef see his favorite characters up close and personal.

Zareef and Daddy at the entrance of Walt Disney Studios.

Sedap peluk Mr. Incredibles nih.

Zareef's all time favorite character, Woody. He even managed to give Woody a wet sloppy kiss and a big hug.

Usually around 4ish, Zareef's steam would run out and he would take a quick nap in the stroller. So we took the opportunity to go on rides which are out of bounds to Zareef. Luckily the lines weren't too long so it didn't take for B nor I to ride the Aerosmith's Roller Coaster and Armageddon since we had to take turns to look after Zareef. I didn't quite like the Aerosmith's roller coaster because for one, the music was too loud. The speakers were right behind my ears. It was an indoor roller coaster so I couldn't see where I was going. Occasionally there would be light strobes and flashes. B had a headache riding it but miraculously, my headache vanished once I rode that thing. Must be all the sudden twists and turns that did it.

The Walt Disney Studios closed at 6 pm. Went back to Disneyland Park and did some serious shopping at Main Street USA. What did I buy? Oh... the usuals. Fridge magnets, t-shirts, postcards, keychains, a Buzz Lightyear toothbrush, a Buzz Lightyear figure that could turn round and round when you squeeze its leg, a huge Lollipop yg Zareef merengek2 nak (it's really huge!! Sampai hari ni tak habis2 lagi), a beautiful picture frame with Mickey and the castle on it(this is the most expensive souvenir that I bought but it was the most wanted) and a Pluto cuddly yg Zareef juga merengek2 nak.

We then had our dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Again the food was delicious! Added to that is the experience itself dining in the restaurant. It was surrounded by acres of trees, sounds of the jungle and lifesize animals that move and make lifelike sounds. Now and again, the elephant near us would come to life by lifting its trunks and trumpeting loudly. Zareef had the scare of his life the first time he heard it. Must have jumped out of his skin I might add.

Day 4:

We went to the Sea Life Center to let the kids experience underwater creatures. Because there was a factory outlet right next to the Sea Life Center, wajib la ke kunjung kan. But sadly I didn't spend even a single euro cent to which B cepat2 tadah tangan and said Alhamdulillah! We had our lunch at McDonald's and realized it was still early. We rushed back to Disneyland Park just in time to catch the parade. It was a sight to behold especially for Zareef although he didn't recognize almost three quarters of the Disney princesses that went by but the music, costumes and colorful floats were enough to make him excited. It was amazing and such a joy to see Zareef's face change from happy to amazement to excited to dumbfounded. Very, very priceless!

At the entrance of Disneyland Park. The old Victorian building behind us is actually the Disneyland Hotel and is the most expensive hotel among all other hotels.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Ariel and Under the Sea creatures.

Beauty and The Beast

We waited till Zareef was asleep so that I could go on the train ride at Frontierland and the Indiana Jones ride at Adventureland, being the adrenaline junky that I was. B refused to go on the rides coz he said his time for all roller coaster rides have long since gone. Cehh... such a wuss! The truth is, my dear husband is afraid of heights. He wasn't when we were in the States. He used to ride out with me but just for the first few rides. After that, he'll just wait and look after our bags while the rest of us went up to get our adrenaline rush. But after the Aerosmith ride, that was it for him. Aisey.... camna nak pegi Alton Towers camni??

Zareef takes after me when it comes to the rides department. We took him on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and he enjoyed every second of it even when there were two deep drops along the ride. Good boy Zareef! Nanti bila dah cukup tinggi sket boleh teman Mummy naik roller coaster yg dahsyat2. Kita tinggal Daddy kat bawah jaga beg2. Hehehehhe....

Day 5:

It was time to go home but our train wasn't until 6.30 pm so we still had a full day ahead of us. We checked out early from our hotel and had our luggages transferred to the Disney Express checkout so that we don't have to lug our bags with us the whole day.

We entered Disneyland Park, again. Since it was a Saturday, there were people literally everywhere. The queues doubled in size with time estimated for each ride increasing by three to four folds. So a piece of advice to those who plan to come here, please go during the weekdays. Book your leaves in advance coz if you were to come here during weekends, you'll just waste your time queueing for rides in the blazing scorching sun instead of enjoying and soaking in the atmosphere. We had to queue for almost 45 minutes just to let Zareef snap a picture with Winnie the Pooh in the tortorous hot sun! Adeihh... nasib baik Zareef tak mengamuk or meragam sebab dia tau nak ambik gambar dengah Pooh. Yang si Pooh pulak sepanjang kitorang queue tu, dia boleh ambik break 2, 3 kali. Lagi lama la kami tunggu. But to see Zareef's face when he finally had his chance to hug Winnie the Pooh was simply priceless!!

Even Winnie the Pooh pun tak sanggup berjemur tengah2 panas.

Since we have finished covering every single inch of the Disneyland Park and there were millions of people congregating there making it quite impossible to go on any rides and taking pictures with any characters, we decided to make a beeline to Walt Disney Studios so that Zareef could get pictures of his favorite characters. It was a relief to enter the Walt Disney Studios because there weren't as many people there.

Zareef with his favorite heroine, Mrs. Incredible who was such a sport sebab sanggup melayan Zareef and buat macam2 aksi dengan dia.

With Jessie, another one of his favorite heroines.

And so at 5 pm, we concluded our visit to Disneyland Resort Paris. Zareef bid farewell to his beloved castle and characters. We checked into Eurostar quite early because Mummy and Daddy couldn't take the heat anymore. It was too bloody hot. We were all dark and glossy. Zareef being a fair kid that he is, turned to red macam udang kena bakar. We managed to catch a shut eye on the way back but it was so hot in the Eurostar that sleeping soundly became quite impossible.

We took a cab from Waterloo to Edgware Road. Being a melayu that we were, 5 hari tak jumpa nasi and ayam, we dined at Satay House (behind Mawar). Kami melantak dengan tak malunye sambal tumis petai udang, ayam masak lemak cili padi, kangkung belacan, ikan goreng bercili, kuew tiaw goreng (memang sungguh lazat!) and minum teh tarik, sirap limau and teh ais courtesy of our good friend. Zareef even managed to polish up two servings of rice and 3 pieces of chicken despite it being very, very pedas. Thanks a million to Zaki who treated us to this feast and Fahmi who then drove us home to Loughborough.

Zareef hugging Mickey at Cafe Mickey during my birthday dinner bash. It was awesome!!

The trip to Disneyland was totally awesome. It was also an eye-opening experience for Zareef and a renewed experience for B and I (we've been to bigger ones at Florida so this was just a fraction of it). Thanks a million to my darling husband who treated us to a wonderful birthday dinner. Eventhough the surprise birthday cake didn't come out as it should, it was very sweet and thoughtful of you to want to suprise me darling!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Day My Husband Turned 29....

...we frolicked in the boudoir in the wee hours of the morning....

... I reluctantly left him to go to work at 6.20 a.m....

... I rushed home asap at 10.30 a.m. only to find him and Zareef still in their PJs crumpled hair and all...

... I quickly took a bath and washed Zareef up for our big day out at Meadowhall, Sheffield...

... I wrote his birthday card and let Zareef do his artwork while B was taking his shower and slipped it under the bathroom door (Zareef did this) just to surprise him...

... I couldn't surprise him with his birthday gift like he did to me coz it was bought way in advance; a Nokia 6630...

... we had a really good time at Meadowhall because there were sales everywhere!! Yiehaaaaa!!!!...

... we had a gorgeous cake from Thorntons but it was a bit too sweet for our liking (even Zareef who normally has a sweet tooth)...

... we went home very, very happy....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I know... I know... I haven't been diligent in updating my blog. In fact, I was this close in abandoning it but nahhh... not yet...

Wokay... here goes

1. It has been a month of whirlwind sports for the Malay community here in Loughborough as a run-up for our annual family day which has been fast-forwarded to June instead of the usual August. I participated in volleyball, badminton, netball, bowling and pingpong. I won badminton and netball, came second for volleyball, third for pingpong and just had a jolly good time for bowling.

And ohhh... I dislocated my left pinkie while playing netball. The ball hit so hard and fast that I didn't realized that I've dislocated my pinkie until I was trying to shoot the ball into the goal. I raised my hands and saw that my left pinkie looked extremely weird and felt even weirder. The middle bone went underneath the the third bone near the palm. Luckily B was there to pull my pinkie in order. He gave a sharp jerk and pulled it back in shape. After that, it swelled to double the original size and bruised into a royal blue.

2. The season of car-boot sale has started and I simply can't recall how much B and I have spent on second-hand stuffs. Well, as they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. In my case, it's one hell of a cheap treasure! Some of the stuffs that I got were just too good to be true like 10p for a Ladybird storybook and there were 11 of them so I wiped clean all of it, £2 for an FP ride n stride, £4 for a Little Tikes Police Car Coupe, several original DVDs for a measly £2-£3 each and the list goes on. This is what I call guilt-free shopping. The problem now is I have no idea where to put all the stuffs that I've accumulated. Maybe I might have to do a yard sale myself to get rid of some of the stuffs that I've picked here and there before shipping the rest home. Or... I might bring everything back home and have a car boot of my own and let everyone browse through my junk. What say you???

3. OHHHHHH... Royal Doulton at Stoke had a half-price sale on ALL of the range during the last May Bank Holiday Weekend. I got to know about it from a friend and I immediately dragged a very reluctant B to Stoke. I went on Saturday and the sale ended on Monday. I stocked up on my Old Country Roses and added the quantity to eight-place setting instead of six. I was in pure heaven but at a price. B made me swear that I shall NEVER, EVER under any circumstances set my foot at my beloved Wedgwood, Portmeirion and Royal Doulton before allowing me to make a purchase. And swore I did. Very, very sad..... but what the heck... I've completed my fine china collection. That's the most important part.

4. The Best Part... we're leaving for Disneyland Paris tomorrow in the wee morning hours or 5 am to be exact. A friend is sending us to London and we'll be catching the Eurostar from Waterloo at 9.39 am. It's a direct ride to Disneyland Marnee Le Vallee station and we're reaching there at 1.30 pm. After that it's pure fun, fun, fun for us especially for Zareef because he's been asking and wanting to go there since forever. Will be back on Saturday 18th June at 8.30 pm. So... it's Viva Disney for us.

5. I'll be 29 tomorrow. Yes, I was borned on 14th June, 29 years ago. I've had a few early b'day gifts from B and Zareef. Yesterday, B bought for me the first season DVD of The O.C seeing that I'm soooooo obsess with the show. Then today, Zareef presented me with a very, very cute birthday card which he drew his hand (with help from his daddy of course) and some graffiti on it. I was sooooo touched!!! Just 10 minutes prior to writing this post, I walked into our bedroom and was surprised with a huge card and a charming gift box. I shouted in glee, opened the card and the present. Oh boy!!! I had the shock of my life. It was an extremely gorgeous bracelet from H. Samuel (B calls them Haji Samuel). 9 carat white gold diamond bracelet to be exact!!! I was rendered speechless!!!!!! I hugged, kissed and thanked my darling husband profusely for getting me something that I've wanted sooo much but never thought I would be getting it now. I was hinting on a Baby Blue Blenheim Mulberry bag but this is much, much better! And now, it will end with a huge bang with us celebrating the finale at Disneyland Paris. This is the best birthday bash EVER!!!

Thank you so much darling for your thoughtfulness, kindness and the love and care that you've showered me with. I can never repay it. I just pray to God that this feeling will last till the end of time and grow stronger with each year. Amin!

6. The news just came in. After a 16-weeks trial, Michael Jackson is found not guilty on all counts. He is a free man. Let's just hope that he learns his lesson and not open Neverland to any more lewd acts involving underage children.