Disneyland Paris Holiday Diaries – Day 1

We left our house at 10am, and headed for Faro to pick up our car which had been in for a service. Trying to fit all our bags and BattleKid’s buggy into a Land Rover Evoque was fun. You don’t realise how used to your own boot you become until you don’t have it. We were soon on our way to the airport which is no more than 5 minutes from the garage, destination – our first family holiday to Disneyland Paris.Disneyland Paris Holiday Diaries blog day 1

We checked in, got rid of our bags, headed through security and grabbed a bite to eat before boarding our plane for our departure to Paris Orly at 13.55. Our flight was on time and we left the warm blue skies of Portugal, me more excited than the two boys put together. I had done a lot of planning and was hoping this trip was going to run smoothly and be enjoyed by us all.disneyland paris day 1 - bye bye Portugal

We landed early but had a trek to get to our bags. However, this was where we came up across our first hurdle of the holiday. I had booked the Magic Shuttle bus when I organised our trip back in June. I thought it would be a regular service, but oh no. Due to the delay in getting off the plane, we’d missed the 17.50 bus and the next one wasn’t until 19.00, a 50-minute wait.

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Paris was cold compared to Portugal and I really didn’t fancy waiting around for 50 minutes so we decided to hop into a taxi. This in itself was easy enough but there was a horrendous amount of traffic on the road between Orly and Disneyland and it took us an hour and twenty minutes to travel the 31 miles. It was stop-start traffic almost the entire way to the turnoff for Disneyland. BattleKid ended up falling asleep for the journey and I had a job to wake him at 7pm so that he didn’t sleep too long.

We finally arrived at the stunning Disneyland Hotel just before 8pm. It was amazing to see it all lit up and decorated for Christmas. Our bags were taken from us, to be delivered to our room for us. We checked in and couldn’t have had a more helpful gentleman, who not only gave BattleKid a badge and some balloons, but explained all our vouchers in detail. He even changed our Fast Pass for that day to the next day as the parks were closed and we’d missed out on using the Fast Pass that day. I was not expecting that, and it was so kind of him.

disneyland paris day 1 - the stunning disneyland hotel by night
The stunning Disneyland Hotel

We went up to our room, put our passports and valuables in the safe, and headed out to get some dinner. The Disney Village was open, and we tried to get a table in a few of the restaurants where we could use our meal vouchers, but they were all full. It had been a long shot but there was no harm in trying. It felt strange walking through the Disney Village as the last time we’d been there we were still just a couple. This time we were there as a family of three.

In the end we managed to get a table in Planet Hollywood before 9pm and opted to just have mains before heading back to get some sleep. Now, Planet Hollywood was chaotic. We were seated within 10 minutes of our arrival and our waiter took our order quickly, but it was very loud and when our meal finally arrived it was lukewarm at best. It was as if it had been sitting ready to be brought to us for quite a while. The food tasted fine, albeit presented a little strangely but none of our dishes were hot.

My lasagne was brought out and I initially thought I’d been given the wrong meal as it certainly didn’t look like lasagne. It tasted lovely but just looked strange. BattleDad had a burger, and again, while it tasted fine it was a little too cool for his liking. After paying up we headed back to our hotel and got one or two pictures of it all lit up before heading to our room for pj’s and bed.

disneyland paris day 1 - BattleKid outside the disneyland hotel where we were staying
A wrapped up BattleKid

Surprisingly BattleKid went to sleep shortly after 10pm, as did we parents. We were planning to be up early to make the most of our first day in Disneyland Paris as a family.

Join me tomorrow when I fill you in on our first full day in Disneyland Paris as a threesome!

Cath x

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disneyland paris holiday diaries twitter day 1

Brecon Mountain Railway – Brilliant for Train Fans

So, you’ve got a train-mad little boy, a nice sunny day in South Wales and nothing planned of a Saturday morning. What do you do? You visit the Brecon Mountain Railway of course.

brecon mountain railway

The Brecon Mountain Railway is situated just a few minutes from Merthyr Tydfil and is a railway with a steam engine to thrill the hearts of any train fan. It is also located just 15 minutes from our South Wales home and was somewhere we had been meaning to visit but hadn’t until last year.

Running from Pant to Torpantau, the Brecon Mountain railway follows part of the original route of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway which closed in 1964. It takes you into the Brecon Beacons, through Pontsticill and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir before climbing up to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons.

On the day we visited the Brecon Mountain Railway, we drove to the Pant Station, parked up and bought our tickets in the office before making our way to the platform. We passed the locomotive running shed and workshop on the way to the platform and the smell was lovely. Grease, oil and engine smells. There is also a model railway as you approached the platform which BattleKid loved.brecon mountain railway - photo collage

brecon mountain railway - photo collage

We waited patiently for our train, boarded and handed the conductor our tickets. The train left Pant Station and started its journey through the stunning Brecon Beacons towards Torpantau. We saw the peaks of Pen-y-Fan and the Pontsticill Reservoir.

brecon mountain railway - BattleKid holding his train ticket ready for the inspector
BattleKid holding his train ticket ready for the inspector

Although it had been sunny when we left Pant, the clouds got thicker as we ascended towards Torpantau. We alighted the steam train and a certain little boy wasn’t too sure about the steam coming from the engine.brecon mountain railway - photo collage

The engine spends a few minutes changing around before everyone gets back on for the journey back to Pontsticill. There, you have 25 or 30 minutes to enjoy the views, have a refreshment in the small café or spend some at the playground, as we did. You can even spend longer there if you want to, and get a different train back. We chose not to.

brecon mountain railway - BattleKid enjoying the views of the Welsh Valleys

BattleKid enjoying the views of the Welsh Valleys

brecon mountain railway - photo collage

Back at Pant Station, we visited the traditional sweet shop and bought some rhubarb and custards for BattleDad, his favourites, before heading home. Although we had only been at the Brecon Mountain Railway for less than 2 hours, it was a fun filled 2 hours. BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed his ride on the steam engine and his time at the playground.

Things to note if visiting the Brecon Mountain Railway

  • There are 3 or 4 train journeys a day, depending on the time of year. There were three the day we visited.
  • Adult tickets cost £14, children cost £7 (up to 15 years of age), and seniors cost £12.50 return. Under 3’s are free.
  • There is ample parking at the Pant Station and it is free.
  • The Brecon Mountain Railway is mostly wheelchair and buggy friendly, although wheelchairs are limited to manual ones and cannot leave the train at Torpantau Station.
  • There are toilets at both Pant and Pontsticill Station and baby changing facilities.
  • There is a tea room at both Pant and Pontsticill Stations.
  • There is a gift shop at Pant, while the Steam Museum (which is free) is located at Pontsticill Station.
  • A children’s playground is located at Pontsticill Station, which we can highly recommend for young children.
  • The Brecon Mountain Railway also holds special days throughout the year such as for Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day. They also hold Santa Special Trains throughout the month of December.
  • Trains run non-stop to Torpantau and return to Pontsticill for 25 or 30 minutes. Passengers are allowed to stay longer at Pontsticill and get a different train back to Pant station.
  • For timetables and up-to-date news, it is best to check the Brecon Mountain Railway website.

brecon mountain railway- BattleKid enjoying the playground of the BRM

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours on the Brecon Mountain Railway and would highly recommend it for families as a day out in South Wales. It would particularly appeal to Thomas fans and fans of trains in general.

Cath x

*I was not asked to write this review.

brecon mountain railway brecon mountain railway

 

 

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris as a Family

As you read this post, we are on our way to Disneyland Paris, finally! It has been six months in the planning. Everything from where we should stay to where to eat, it’s been read, reread and read again. As you’ll know by now, I have had help from the blogging community during the last few months. They’ve helped with the initial stages of planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris. They’ve told us the best places for food at Disneyland Paris, and they’ve also told me which are the best rides for under 5’s, essential when you are travelling with a nearly 4-year-old. But in the last few weeks I’ve been asking them what are their last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

BattleDad and I have visited Disneyland Paris twice before, 5 and 10 years ago. You see, if you aren’t aware by now, BattleDad was part of the opening crew in 1992 when Euro Disney (as it was called then) opened. He spent a year living in Paris, working as a Cast Member at Disneyland Paris. The last two visits we made coincided with his 15 and 20-year anniversary of being part of the opening crew. And this year he (and Disney) celebrate 25 years!

However, our last two visits were as a couple and we spent our day trips to Disneyland very much fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. We went on about three rides, ate at the worst places we could have picked because we didn’t book anywhere ahead of our visits, and apart from getting some lovely bits in the shops, they weren’t visits you’d write home about. This time we have BattleKid in tow and this holiday is all about him. BattleDad will be interested in seeing the Star Wars rides and seeing if there are any memorabilia we should get, apart from the mugs we always buy. But other than that, we want to get the most out of Disneyland for BattleKid as we can.

I have a rough itinerary planned out and I am fully prepared to change that, but I wanted to know if anyone had any last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. So, as always, I turned to the blogging community and here’s what I learned.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family

Jemma from Have Kids Will Travel gave me an awesome tip.

Make sure you use the baby swap facility where one parent goes on the ride (whilst the other waits by the exit with a non-riding child), and then the other parent gets to go pretty much straight on the ride. Was fab when used with the Fast Pass.

Now, this is brilliant. Although we expect BattleKid to want to go on most rides, there may be one or two he won’t, so this will allow BattleDad and I to go on those rides one after the other without having to queue again. I checked with Jemma if it can be used with a nearly 4-year old, and she said yes, for any ride they can’t go on themselves, or one they don’t want to. Genius!

Beth from Twinderelmo said not to forget our autograph books as they are expensive in the park.

Also take your own pens as the characters don’t carry their own!

I bought a packet of cheap pens in my last shopping trip and popped them in my bag in readiness for our trip. Although the autograph book I bought BattleKid has one, it’s no harm to keep that and use ones I don’t mind losing or sharing with other families.

Coral from Way Too Much Luggage says to wear comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking to do. She also said don’t worry about a stroller if your little one doesn’t use one at home as it will make life for your stay easier. The walking shoes and trainers are packed, and we have actually elected to bring BattleKid’s stroller, just in case. We will probably use it on our first day and see how he gets on. If he doesn’t need it, then we’ll leave it in our hotel room for subsequent days.

I was going to bring a bike lock, and lock our buggy to the railing at the ride entrance as suggested by Coral, but Laura from We Forgot The Sperm said this is against park rules and your buggy can be removed. She advises to lock the wheels together instead.

Laura also advised to buy the Photo Pass as they got over 100 pictures in 5 days and each picture in the park would have cost €15 each in the park. Well, I’m glad I added it to our booking as I was unsure about it. Plus, I’ve since read that it’s cheaper to buy before you go. We paid £45 at the time of making our booking, but to buy it in the park will cost you €69.99 (£62.40, at the time of writing). That said, if you were to want to buy just 4-5 pictures, you’d cover the cost of the Photo Pass. Worth thinking about!

Jade from Mummies Waiting, who is also at Disneyland Paris at the same time as us, is a seasoned visitor to Disneyland with her little ones and had these tips for me.

  • Prepare your kids ahead of time by watching Disney vlogs so they get a feel for how busy it’s going to be.
  • Don’t pack too much stuff. Be aware there has been pick-pocketing going on and stealing from rooms (even safes). Lock valuables in your case, and bicycle lock that to your bed.
  • If you like to prepare, bring snacks and squeezy juice to refill your drinks bottles.
  • You can write down what parades and shows are on and when. Then print that as a pocket size card.

Jade even has a rough timetable prepared for their visit and I took inspiration from her and did the same. I also listed out rides in areas we definitely want to do and Meets and Greets in each area too.

Sophie from Sophobsessed said to download the App as it’s so useful. Thanks Sophie, done!

Nat from Awaybies had a few good tips. Firstly, following on from Coral’s advise (Way Too Much Luggage), wear comfortable shoes. She also said to bring your own costumes as they are eye wateringly expensive in the park. We have that covered as it was mentioned in my planning post. We have a Buzz Lightyear costume, a Lightning McQueen outfit and a Kylo Ren one for BattleKid. Jemma (Have Kids Will Travel) also said costumes can get your kids onto the ride of that costume without queuing so that could come in useful!

Nat also suggested bringing some souvenirs in advance and I have one or two items for BattleKid for his “Disney” pack. And we have our autograph book too.

Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy said her biggest tip is to plan your days. Decide what Meet and Greets you want to do, what rides and what shows. Decide what areas of the park you really want to visit too. She also suggested downloading the app for live wait times, meet and greet times and show times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – The Eateries

While I did a post dedicated to the best places for a meal at Disneyland Paris, a few bloggers told me their must-do places for meals. Anna from Squats Make Mama Sassy said Café Mickey is a must while Kate from Five Little Stars said to remember that Café Mickey is no longer a character dining restaurant and she prefers eating at the Rainforest Café or Planet Hollywood in the Village instead.

Caroline from Mum’s Misbehaving said to go for meals early. When it gets busy

You cannot get served and can queue for an hour and a half. It was soul destroying with my 3-year-old who was starving.

She also said Café Mickey is a must and also recommended Buffalo Bill’s Show. We have all our meals bar two already booked so hopefully we won’t have to experience long waits. But we may try Café Mickey for one of those meals if it isn’t too busy!

Booking your meals ahead was also a tip from Coral of Way Too Much Luggage. Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy also suggested booking meals ahead of your arrival.

Jade from Mummies Waiting also advised booking ahead and I’m happy to say we’ve all but two meals booked. We don’t have lunch or dinner planned for our first day in the park as we have the Characters Breakfast booked for the 9.45am seating. We figured we’d get a late lunch or early dinner, depending on when everyone is getting hungry and just go to one of the walk-in places, most likely in the village around parade time. Hopefully they won’t be too busy then. After that, all meals are booked for specific times!

Victoria from Starlight and Stories said to check your order at any quick service restaurants BEFORE leaving the counter, especially during the lead up to the parades.

Lines get really long, and it’s really frustrating to get outside and realise you only have half your order.

This is a great tip. Victoria has, unfortunately, been caught out many times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – Other Blog Posts to Read

As well as all these great tips, many bloggers have written full posts with hints and tips to enjoying Disneyland Paris with kids.

One of the first Disneyland Paris posts I read back in the summer was the 30 Awesome Disneyland Paris Tips and Tricks by Kellie of My Little Babog. She had so many good tips for us when we were starting our planning and I was still referring to it recently.

Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure has a great post with Tips for Visiting Disneyland Pairs with Toddlers. She covers everything from getting your Fast Pass ticket early, to watching out for the scam artists looking to “use” your phone to find lost loved ones, to getting your spot for the parade EARLY.

Kate from Five Little Stars is a regular Disneyland Paris visitor and has a whole Disney series on her blog.

Joanna from The Knights Tribe has a blog post Top Tips for Disneyland Paris. The tips I gleamed from her were to bring a small first aid pack with Calpol, plasters, wet wipes and antihistamines in it. She also said to make sure you find time to just soak up the atmosphere as Disney is a magical place.

Nat from Awaybies has a comprehensive Disneyland Paris Review and Top Tips post on her blog which is definitely worth reading.

And Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy has some great posts about Disneyland Paris including one about booking your trip to Disneyland, a review of the Disneyland Hotel if you’re considering it, a great packing list guide and also a quick tips post.

Other posts you might find useful if you are thinking of booking a trip to Disneyland Paris include one by Kara of Are We Nearly There Yet, who has a great post for saving money when you are booking a holiday to Disneyland Paris.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

So there you have it, last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. As mentioned I’ve read tons of posts about visiting Disneyland Paris but there is nothing like getting tips from those who have been. All that’s left to say is keep your eyes peeled on the blog for our Disneyland Holiday Diaries and all the Disney related posts I will no doubt be writing following our trip.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris as a family? Have you got any tips you’d like to share?

Cath x

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Our Visit to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Those of you who have read our USA Road Trip Holiday Diaries will know that we visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI as it is known, while we were in Portland. This had been recommended to us and was on our Portland Bucket List. In this post I’ms haring with you our visit to OMSI as well as some useful information should you plan a visit there yourself.Our Visit to OMSI

The day after we arrived in Portland we decided to head there. I was quite excited as I had found out they had a Pompeii Exhibition on at the time of our visit to OMSI. BattleDad is a huge fan of Roman History and we’d love to visit Pompeii at some stage so to see the exhibition was an unexpected bonus. Our only reservation for our visit to OMSI was whether BattleKid would enjoy it. We need not have worried.

OMSI was founded in 1944 and was originally located in Washington Park at the site of the Portland Children’s Museum. However, as visitor number grew, and exhibitions got bigger, a new location was found for it on the east bank of the Willamette River.

The OMSI building is huge and houses no less than 3 auditoriums, a planetarium and numerous exhibition halls. They also have a submarine exhibit in the form of USS Blueback which was used for the film The Hunt for Red October before being towed to its current location at the pier adjacent to the main OMSI building.

Exhibition halls include the Featured Hall for special touring exhibits and the Turbine hall with exhibits for engineering, physics, chemistry and space travel. There is also the Life Sciences Hall which is all about biology, and includes talks and demonstrations with live animals. The Earth Science Hall features geology-oriented exhibits with two specialised laboratories. The Planetarium holds astronomy and laser light shows. And there is the Science Playground which we spent the most time in.

We arrived shortly after 9.30am after driving from our hotel and once we’d bought our tickets for the Pompeii Exhibition (including museum admission) and planetarium tickets, we made our way to the café for a quick cuppa and bite to eat. There I had my very first peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which was quite nice.

After we had eaten, we made our way upstairs to explore the exhibitions halls. As soon as we entered this area, BattleKid made a beeline for some giant cubes and dived right in. He and I had great fun at a giant pinball machine which was designed to educate children about food groups. Although he was too young to understand these, he still had fun trying to whack the balls!

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid falling into soft bricks
Giants soft cubes!
Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid playing with the food pinball machine
Fun with the pinball machine

There were exhibits about recycling and garbage, exhibits about animals where we saw a Dire Wolf skeleton and saw live animals, and my personal favourite, an exhibit about fluorescent materials. This brought me back to my science background.

Our Visit to OMSI - Fluorescent Minerals at OMSI
Fluorescent Minerals
Our Visit to OMSI - A Dire Wolf skeleton
A Dire Wolf Skeleton

Next, we moved onto the Science Playground. And BattleKid had a whale of a time in the Science Playground. This area has been designed for families with newborn to children of six years of age. Fully enclosed and designed so that children are visible and secure at all times, it encourages children to discover through play and imagination. It has various experimental stations including

  • a stimulating infant area
  • a giant sandbox
  • a water area
  • a reading area and
  • a physical sciences area.

First stop was the water area of course. Only, we hadn’t quite planned for the wet floor. We had to take BattleKid’s shoes off as we entered but forgot to take his socks off. Wet feet were the result for spending so much time having splashy fun in the water area. It also meant he couldn’t really go into the giant sandbox as his feet were still wet and I didn’t fancy trying to get sand off his feet!

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid having fun with the water area at omsi
Fun in the water area

Next BattleKid had fun at the physical sciences area and was playing with other children, putting balls through holes and down ramps.

Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid playing at the physical sciences area
Fun at the ball wall

We moved into one of the rooms off the main one and he and I did a fun game with magnetic balls in a maze. I ended finishing it when he got bored!Our Visit to OMSI - BattleMum helping BattleKid with a magnetic game

As were we getting close to our 12pm time for the astronomy show in the planetarium, we had to drag BattleKid away from the Science Playground. This was the first time BattleDad had been in a planetarium and he and I enjoyed it. It was great being shown some of the star constellations we can see above our house in Portugal, although I couldn’t tell you their names, apart from the Plough now. BattleKid got a bit restless before the end but stuck it out thankfully.Our Visit to OMSI - BattleKid pretending to be an astronaut at omsi

After the stars show we made our way to the Pompeii Exhibition. They allowed entry at timed intervals, which was to allow them to show the short video at the start of the exhibition. This gave some background about Vesuvius and Pompeii and the build up to that fateful night in 79AD.

Once you had watched the video, you were let into one of the main exhibition halls which featured artefacts from Pompeii including urns, gladiator clothing and weapons, mosaics and frescoes. Between this hall and a second one, there were over 200 artefacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum.Our Visit to OMSI - One of the Pompeii displays at omsi Our Visit to OMSI - Roman vases from Pompeii at omsi

It was amazing to see how well preserved some of the items were and the level of detail in them, particularly metalworks such as jewellery and coins. After the main hall, we were led upstairs where there was another short video. However, it was advised that it was unsuitable for young children and we were allowed to skip this video and were let into the next exhibition hall by a member of staff. #

The video we didn’t see was a 4D one in which you could experience the fury of Vesuvius in an immersive theatre with vivid sights, sounds and shaking ground. I think it was very helpful of OMSI to allow families with younger children to skip this part.

The last room of the exhibition had more artefacts and also body casts of people from Pompeii. It was a sobering place, especially seeing the body casts of children. We didn’t stay long in this room with BattleKid.Our Visit to OMSI - The Pompeii Exhibition was at omsi during our visit

Before we finished our visit to OMSI we visited the gift shop which is well stocked, and BattleKid got a little space ship souvenir with his name on it for his room. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to OMSI and highly recommend it. Had we known how good the Science Playground was going to be we might have booked a later showing in the planetarium and let BattleKid enjoy it even more. I am so glad it was recommended to us and made it onto our Portland Bucket List.

Visitor information for OMSI

  • There is a large car park adjacent to the OMSI building with a charge of $5. WE were there early on a Wednesday morning in September and there was plenty of parking.
  • OMSI is served by public transport. The OMSI/SE Water Ave Station connects to the MAX, bus and Portland Streetcar lines.
  • The museum is open from 9.30 to 5.30 Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
  • The café is open from 8.30 to 5.30 Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday and from 8.30 to 8.00 on Friday and Saturdays.
  • Submarine tours are from 9.50 to 4.30 and you can even do sleep overs!
  • Entry to the museum costs $14.50 for an adult and $9.75 for a child (3-13 years).
  • Entry to the submarine costs $6.75. For the Empirical Theatre, which we didn’t go to, an adult costs $7-8.50 and a child is $6-6.50. Entry to the Planetarium costs between $5.75 and $7.50.
  • The Pompeii Exhibition ended in October. To see up-and-coming events, please visit the Events page of the OMSI website.

Our Visit to OMSI

We can highly recommend visiting OMSI if you are ever in Portland, Oregon. There is plenty to see and do for children and adults alike. Children will particularly like the Science Playground, so give yourself plenty of time in there.

Cath x

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

**We were not asked to write this review.Our Visit to OMSI

Our Visit to OMSI

Apartment in Astoria – New York AirBnB Review

Last September, the Battle Family finally visited New York for the first time. I had originally booked an apartment in Lower Manhattan via AirBnB but just two months before we were due to fly out, our host got in touch to say the booking was cancelled as they no longer had the apartment. Cue panic. We needed to secure somewhere and fast. I went back onto AirBnB and scoured ‘Book Now’ places to find us somewhere, and reasonably priced, and stumbled upon a fabulous apartment in Astoria.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnbNow, Astoria wasn’t our first choice of areas to stay in. We had ideally wanted to be on Manhattan itself but with so little time before we travelled, the available apartments were silly money. I read the reviews of this apartment in Astoria and decided they were good enough for us. We booked it immediately and, although it was a little over budget, we were at least guaranteed our booking. Lesson learned. Always go for the ‘Book Now’ option, not the ‘Contact Host’ option.

We flew to New York on September 18th and although we arrived before the check in time, our host Jada allowed us to drop our bags off. She went through the building and apartment rules before we took our keys and headed straight for Times Square. I’ve written all about our New York holiday, but thought I’d let you know what our apartment in Astoria was like.


New York CityPASS

We booked a 2-bedroom apartment, mainly so that I could sleep with BattleKid as he had only just moved into a big bed. It also let me escape my husband’s snoring!

Located in Astoria on Astoria Boulevard, this modern 2 bedroom apartment will sleep up to ten people. Initial thoughts were it was a very clean, modern apartment, well decorated and would set a New Yorker back a fair few pennies to buy it!

You enter a lovely little hallway which leads into the open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen. The living room is comfortable, although only had one sofa which would seat three people. Additional people would have to use the dining chairs, although you couldn’t be spending a lot of time in the apartment. The living room also had air conditioning and cable TV.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb
The living room and kitchen – spot BattleKid

The kitchen was well equipped, with everything you’d need for a city break. There was even a kettle, which Jada said previous guests had insisted she get. We’d have been happy boiling water for our tea on the hob.

There are two bedrooms in this apartment in Astoria. The main bedroom had a queen size bed with a sofa beside it. We made this up as a bed and pushed it beside the queen bed for BattleKid. The main bedroom had a small built in wardrobe and gorgeous floor to ceiling windows which lead to a balcony. You could see the Manhattan skyline from the balcony.

apartment in astoria - review of a new york airbnb
Two bedrooms and a lovely bathroom

The second bedroom had not one, not two, but three queen beds, with an additional queen air bed in the huge walk-in wardrobe. The three beds were configured in a bunk-bed type style and I’d never come across anything like it before, but was brilliant. This bedroom also had floor to ceiling windows and a balcony on which to view the Manhattan skyline.

The bathroom was modern and had a huge shower. There was also a cupboard with a washing machine and dryer, handy if staying longer than a few days. You also have access to a lovely roof terrace for viewing the Manhattan skyline!

The apartment in Astoria was also well located near an underground station with a direct line to Times Square. That ride takes less than 20 minutes. There are bars, shops and diners nearby for food and drinks, and plenty of take-aways around which will deliver to your door via apps such as Seamless or Yelp Eat 24. My personal favourite was the Starbucks on the corner of Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street.

As for our host, Jada, she was lovely. She was very welcoming and accommodating. As we’d arrived early, as mentioned, she let us drop our bags off and collect the keys before we headed to Times Square. When we got back she had kindly put our bags in a wardrobe and hung up our coats! When one fire alarm kept beeping all night (the battery was going), causing BattleKid and I to take solace in BattleDad’s room, she responded to my message very quickly and helped us sort it out. Jada was a lovely host.

Overall, the apartment in Astoria turned out to be the perfect location for us. Getting to and from JFK airport was easy via Uber, and was less than a 30-minute ride. With a terrorist attack which occurred in Jersey the day before we arrived, we were happier staying outside of Manhattan. Although not completely child-friendly in terms of some glass tables, the AirBnB apartment in Astoria was brilliant for us and I’d highly recommend it should Jada list it again as available.*

Our stay cost us £213 per night. This is quite expensive but as we were let down so close to our trip, it was the least costly option short of staying in a hotel room. And hotel rooms are not an option for us. They are a last resort for us or booked out of necessity! Here’s a tour of our apartment in Astoria.

As an area to stay when visiting New York, I’d never considered Astoria but would definitely stay there again as its location for both Manhattan and JFK airport was ideal.

Have you visited New York, and if so, are there other areas we should consider for our next visit?

And if you are planning a visit to New York with your kids, why not check out my post about 5 Things to Do in New York with a Toddler in Tow and the Manhattan Top 10 with Kids by Our Globetrotters. And if they don’t convince you to visit New York, then check out the amazing pictures in Sorry About the Mess’ Winter in New York post.

Cath x

*The listing for this apartment is no longer on AirBnB at the time of writing this review.

**I was not asked to write this review.

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