Empire State v’s Rockefeller

New York is well known for it’s skyscrapers and many of these you can go to the top of, to see spectacular views of the city. None are more famous than the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Tower. We were lucky enough to go to the top of both, we had done some research and we decided it was best to do the Empire State building at night and Rockefeller during the day. So which is best …

Empire State Building

The Empire State building has 103 floors and is 381m tall (443.2m tall including the antenna). We arrived at around 8pm and then we queued and we queued and we queued forever it was packed ! Every time we turned a corner and we thought we were almost at the top we joined yet another queue. As we finally got near the top (by this time it was almost 10pm) there was one last queue or you could decide to do the last 6 floors via the stairs, foolishly we decided the stairs would be a good idea it nearly finished us off!

 

When we got to the top and onto the observation deck it was a little disappointing  because it was so crowded it was difficult to get near the edge to see the views. As we fought our way to the edge the views were spectacular but you had very little time to take it all in before you were jostled out of the way.

 

 

Rockefeller Tower

Part of the Rockefeller centre (well known for its Christmas tree and skating rink) It was built in 1931 and is 260m tall (much smaller than the Empire state building) and has 70 floors. We had decided to visit the Rockefeller centre during the day and given how busy the Empire State building was we were prepared for the worst.However as soon as we got there it felt much calmer and less crowded we went straight up in the first lift it was amazing as it has a glass roof with lights and images of the tower being shown and it was really fast 43 seconds to go 67 floors – it really makes your tummy flip!

When we got on to the observation deck  we couldn’t have been more surprised – there was hardly anyone there it made all the difference as you could take your time and look from every side of the tower.  Although not as high as the Empire the views are certainly no less breathtaking you can all the way across Central Park and you can see how huge it is, you can see the whole of New York from every direction.

So which tower is the best?

Because of the crowds at the Empire State building it’s hard to compare the two fairly. I did however prefer the views from Rockefeller as I enjoyed looking out over Central Park and the lift was fun too!

Should you visit?

We used our New York passes so they were included in the price of our pass. I would recommend doing both towers. But if you only have the chance of doing one I would suggest the Rockefeller and I would say it is best to do it during the day.

Where’s Abbie Rating

Empire State Building 7/10

Rockefeller Tower 9/10

http://www.esbnyc.com/

https://www.topoftherocknyc.com/

 

 

 

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The New York Skyline

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While we were in New York we took a helicopter trip along the Hudson river. Having never been in a helicopter before I didn’t know what to expect, mum was worried because she is scared of heights! When we arrived at the heliport we had to tell them how much we weigh I became rather concerned as I was sure the weight my mum said she was was more like the weight she would like to be rather than the weight she really is!

We walked along the pier to our helicopter and there were lots of helicopters waiting and taking off it was very noisy and windy I thought we might be blown over the edge into the water!  We were told where we had to sit I was lucky and got to sit in the front. We had to wear headphones because of the noise and the pilot could talk to us through the headphones.

As we took off the helicopter tips forward this felt really weird, Our pilot introduced himself and started to tell us about the things we could see. I was surprised by how noisy it was but it was also really smooth and although we were flying high it wasn’t scary even mum enjoyed it!

We headed towards the Statue of Liberty first and as we flew around it we had fantastic views .

As we flew up the river we could see in detail the Manhattan skyline we could see many of the places we had visited. They looked so different form the sky you could see how the skyscrapers dwarfed the other buildings.

My favourite part of the trip was the way it felt when the helicopter twisted and turned in the sky. It was amazing to see all the landmarks from new heights!

 

As we came back to the pier we saw a NYPD helicopter land. We seemed to glide and land really softly which I wasn’t expecting.

 

Should you visit?

If you are visiting New York and get the chance then a helicopter ride is a must, it’s a great way to see all the sights and is an incredible experience.

Where’s Abbie rating

10/10

 

http://www.libertyhelicopter.com/

 

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New York New York

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If you read my last post you will have noticed I recently visited New York (lots of posts to write but haven’t had any time!)

We flew to New York with Delta airlines although the flight was 7 hours it didn’t seem that long we had lots of films to watch and we were constantly being given food and drinks so the time seemed to go quite quickly. When we arrived at JFK we were picked up by a limo which was a lovely surprise and we were driven to the house we were staying in on Staten Island.

 

New York is a huge city full of amazing landmarks and busy with crowds of people. We had a lot to cram into 5 days but we manged to see most of the city by using one of the City Open Top Bus Tours. As well as seeing all the sights we were told lots of information about the buildings like where celebrities live and famous sights from films.

 

 

 

Statue of Liberty

Because we stayed on Staten Island we past the Statue of Liberty every day., however we got a much better view when we went on the beast, the water taxi and the helicopter (in fact we probably saw the Statue of Liberty from every possible angle !)

 

Grand Central Station

“It’s grand and it’s central”- quoted from Madagascar. I love Madagascar so it was great to see the clock that Melmen got stuck on his head !

 

 

Times Square 

Times Square is probably one of the busiest places in New York but it is probably one of my favourite places as I loved all the big billboards and massive shops, also when we were in Times Square I had a caricature portrait sketched.

 

Stereotypes of New York 

Everything in New York is just as you would expect like big graffiti , yellow taxis, hot dog stands, dunkin donuts ( we ate a lot of dunkin donuts! And every dunkin donuts we went in they were policemen eating donuts !)

 

 

Should You Visit?

If you are ever in New York sight seeing is a must! Be prepared to walk miles as in 5 days we walked 53 miles!

Where’s Abbie rating

10/10

 

Aladdin on Broadway!

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While visiting New York we were lucky enough to get tickets to see Aladdin (opening in London June 2016) Having always enjoyed the film I was looking forward to watching the musical.

Our seats were near the top of the theatre we had a good view and as we were high up we could also see how the effects such as the genie appearing were done. This only added to our excitement.

The story keeps very close to the original film with the addition of a few new songs and characters. The stage comes alive with the hustle and bustle of the market place the costumes were bright and colourful and really stood out. The singing and dancing was amazing. American audiences are very different to British ones there is much more clapping and cheering , it makes it really fun and lively.

It was then time for the genie to appear ( played by James Monroe Iglehart) in the film the genie is such a strong character that I was wondering how this would be brought to the stage. Straight away the genie was so full of energy  and stage presence that he immediately connected with the audience receiving lots of cheers in the process!

As the story continued we were wondering how the magic carpet was going to be done. After lots of thought we still have no clue how it worked,there were no stings to be seen! They really were they flying through the sky on the magic carpet!

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All  of the effects were truly amazing from the way the genie appeared, to the cave rising from the sand, to the market, to the palace the music and the costumes.It was everything you would expect from a Broadway show. The audience being so enthusiastic really added to the magic.

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Should you visit?

If you are visiting New York a Broadway show is definitely something you should do and Aladdin doesn’t disappoint. If you are in London tickets for the same production of Aladdin are now on sale.

Where’s Abbie rating

10/10

 

http://www.aladdinthemusical.com/   (Broadway show)

http://www.aladdinthemusical.co.uk/  (London show)

aladdintoronto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oasis Camel Safari

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Recently we visited Oasis Camel Park near Halesworth. Oasis Camel Park is a family run farm that specializes in looking after camels.

 

When we arrived at the centre we we given some food to feed the goats, horses, sheep, donkeys,  and lamas. At first I was a bit scared of the animals eating from my hands but I soon got used to it (although it was a bit slimy!)

 

Before we went on our camel safari we were able to see all the baby rabbits and guinea pigs. I absolutely loved this they were so cute and fluffy; It’s a shame this part wasn’t open all day because I just wanted to keep going back!

 

We were then ready to go on the lama trek. I didn’t know what to expect and  I was a little bit scared of the lama’s at first. We were given 3 lama’s to walk around the park on our own and it was really relaxing to walk around with them. They were really friendly and gentle one of them liked looking into the camera to have its photo taken! They were very greedy and stopped to eat everything!

When we had finished the Lama trek it was time for our camel safari. The first thing you notice is how big the camels are, they are huge. We had to climb on a platform to get onto our camel it was rather uncomfortable and bumpy but really good. The people leading us on the camel told us lots of information about them so we learnt a lot. The camels looked a bit shaggy and scruffy because they  are loosing their winter coats. The staff were lovely and really friendly and helpful they made the safari fun . We walked for about half an hour which doesn’t  sound long but by the time we had finished I was feeling it in my legs!

 

After the safari we had lunch which was provided. It was a hot sunny day so we sat outside, Again the staff were very helpful and friendly. After lunch we had a look around the park and fed more of the animals.

Should you visit?

We were lucky with the weather it was a very hot day so the perfect weather for a camel safari. The Oasis park is a fantastic place to visit and has something for the whole family. It is such a great experience ride a camel, Oasis Camel Park is well worth a visit.

Where’s Abbie Ratting 

9/10

http://www.oasiscamelpark.co.uk/

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Harry Potter Studio Tour

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My sister Maisy is a huge Harry Potter fan and recently she visited The Harry Potter studio tour, this is her blog.

As soon as you arrive in the car park the first thing you notice is how big the studios are they are huge! I couldn’t wait to get inside.

As we waited in the queue we passed Harry Potters room under the stairs.We then went into a large room where we watched a short film about Harry Potter. We were then led into the Great Hall.

The Great Hall is amazing and as soon as I walked in it felt as if I was in one of the movies! The attention to detail is extraordinary . At the end of the hall there were models of the teachers from Hogwarts. They were wearing the actual costumes from the films even the shoes; there were scuffs on Professor Snape’s shoes.

From the hall we walked around the other sets and saw many props and costumes. I liked the wigs as most of the characters had to wear wigs even Harry! To be up close to the props and sets was like I was in the film the sets were so big, my favourite was Dumbledore’s office.

A new addition to the tour is the Hogwarts Express.They have re-created platform 9 3/4 and you can climb aboard the Hogwarts Express each carriage is set up as a scene from one of the films.

Half way around the tour it was time to try Butter Beer! Butter Beer was disgusting!!! Mum liked the creamy topping but neither of us liked the ‘beer’.

 

Outside on the Lot we came across the Knight Bus, Privet Drive and other exhibits we then went into the 2nd stage of the tour where there were more props and sets. We were able to walk along Diagon Alley, this set is huge and you see many more details that you miss on-screen.

Finally the tour ends at Hogwarts Castle as you enter the room it is truly breathtaking to see every detail from all angles as you walk around the edge of the castle.

 

Should you visit?

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan you will be fascinated by the scale and detail of the sets on the tour. If you are a fan you will discover things you never knew or had seen before. Entry slots are timed so there are no big crowds as you go around so booking is advisable.

 

Where’s Maisy Rating

10/10 !!!

https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/

 

Madame Tussauds London

Whilst in London we visited Madame Tussauds wax works; we have been before but this time we went to see the new Star Wars exhibition. Madame Tussauds has lots of different sections varying from film stars, YouTube bloggers, sport legends, music stars and world leaders.

When we arrived there were crowds of people gathering around the wax work stars. First we went to the movie star section. Here we saw, Johnny Depp, Emma Watson, E.T, Jim Carrey and many more.Each model looked very realistic and felt as if you were next to the real stars. Katniss Everdeen was my favourite as I love the Hunger Games!

Next we went to see the music sensations such as Miley Cyrus, Adele, Freddie Mercury, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rhianna and Micheal Jackson. All the stars were great but it would be better if they added people like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. This area was very crowded with lots of people jostling to get the best pictures.

 

After visiting the other sections we watched the Marvel Superhero 4D experience. The film starts with the marvel Superheros going to Buckingham Palace but this take a turn as a gigantic robot is let loose on the city of London.The film is in the original observatory dome part of the building this means that the 4D effects are amazing it really makes you jump as pieces of glass and rocks come flying towards you , you also get sprayed with water and Wolverine stabs you in the back and it really made me jump.

Finally we went to the Star Wars exhibition, even though I’m not really a star wars fan it was great fun.It was full of Star Wars fans who seemed so excited to be up close to the ‘stars’ of the films , they took it all very seriously questioning the staff about every detail of the costumes etc.

 

There are many more sections to see such as the Politicians, Royal family and Chamber of Horrors. There is also a ‘ride’ where you sit in a black cab and travel through London through the ages.

Should you visit?

Madame Tussauds is one of London’s busiest attractions so plan your visit carefully (ideally out of school holidays.) Its also very expensive but there are many offers available luckily we were able to use our Merlin passes.

It really is fun to pose for pictures with the models and you can fool your friends by pretending they are real!

Where’s Abbie rating

8/10

 

http://www.madametussauds.co.uk/london/en/

 

Shrek Adventure

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Recently we visited the new Shrek’s Adventure on London’s Embankment.This has been heavily advertised and is part of the Merlin group so we were able to use our Merlin passes.Luckily we booked in advance because if you just turn up on the day of you will have to queue for ages as it is very busy.  Even though we booked and had been given a time slot we still end up queuing for about an hour. We soon found out why we were queuing because they restrict each tour to 40 people. This makes it feel less crowed as you go on the tour.

Once we were in our group, the tour was explained by one of the crew members. The staff are great at keeping in character and making the wait an enjoyably one. Cameras are not allowed on the main tour so we were unable to take any photos

The first part of the tour is a 4D bus ride setting the scene of the story that follows through the whole tour. This was by far my favorite part as the 4D was amazing and really feels as if your’e flying through the air being chased by the witches.

When we arrived in Far Far Away we were greeted by Cinderella who was down on her luck  and looking for a new husband. She explained that because we had run over one of the witches in the bus, Rumplestiltskin was after us. Cinderella said that if we found Shrek he may be able to help. To find him we would have  to solve puzzles and clues along the way.

As we traveled through the tour we met lots of characters along the way. My favorite character was the fortune teller as he was very funny. He was amazing at changing accents from Turkish to Cockney. He showed us where Shrek was through his magical crystal ball and showed us where we needed to go to continue our journey.

Along the way we were faced with a mirror maze. Our group go very lost as we all kept following each other in big circles. After what seemed like hours we eventually found our way. Going through the mirror maze probably took longer than most groups as it really did seem like there was no way out!

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Once you finish the tour you get to meet other DreamWorks characters such as the characters from Madagascar, How to train your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Here your are allowed to take photos spend as long as you want looking around the models.

Should you visit?

Shrek Adventures is a great family attraction for all ages. Even if you haven’t watched the films you still can sill have a wonderful time.

Where’s Abbie Rating

9/10

 

https://www.shreksadventure.com/london/

London Eye by Day and Night

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Whilst we were in London we used our Merlin passes to take a trip on the London Eye.The London Eye is a giant big wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in . It was originally known as the Millennium Wheel, it is now called the Coca-Cola London Eye.The structure is 443 feet (135 m) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 394 feet (120 m). 

We had been on The Eye before but this time our aim was to go up twice in one day, once in daylight and then in darkness. When we got there we were surprised as there was hardly any queue. As we got to the front of the queue we had to have our bags checked and a quick security search. We then got in to our pod which has a bench in the middle (where Mum sat at the start of our journey as she is afraid of heights!) there are big glass windows so you can view London from every angle. Once everyone was in we started to take to the skies of London. The wheel turns so slowly that you hardly notice you are moving. This makes it easy to take photos.

It was great to go on the London Eye on such a clear day as we could see as far as the  Wembley  Arch really clearly . It is easy to identify the landmarks because there are  Ipads in the pods so you can check what you are looking at. At night the London Sky Line was filled with bright and colourful lights reflecting in our pod.This makes the view very different to daytime and it isn’t as easy to spot the landmarks.

Although there are  lots of people in the pods nobody blocks the view, and everybody is evenly spaced out and you are able to move around with ease.

 

Should you visit ?

The London Eye is a great attraction to visit whilst in London. Even though going on the London Eye is amazing in the dark I enjoyed going up in daylight best as you can see all the famous London Landmarks.

Where’s Abbie Rating

8/10

 

 

 

https://www.londoneye.com/