I've never really been a massive Disney girl. I mean, yes I can appreciate that it's cute and magical and funny and clever and lol prince charming do you actually wanna jump out of the screen and come find me please boo?... but I'd generally be more inclined to whack on a Love Island*/Grey's Anatomy/Scandal etc.

*Forever making classy TV decisions with no intention of stopping!

So I've always really liked Disney and enjoyed the annual Lion King/Beauty and the beast binge but I've never been an out and out fangirl.

Fast forward a few weeks, a trip of a lifetime to Disney World, Florida, that I will never ever forget and you have got yourself one fully fledged Disney addict that's rewatching her Disney vlog, crying like the sop/melt/ultimate drip/[insert your own choice of soppy twat synonym here], dreaming of being back in the most magical place in the world.

So here's what went down on our trip, why it was so incredible, and why you absolutely need to book the Free Disney dining plan if you go because it is bloody incredible (and saves you so much money, but more on that in a bit).
So before I take you through day by day (because I felt like this was the nicest way to do it, a little dear diary if you will), I want/need to talk to you about the Free Disney Dining plan. In short, when you book a Moderate or Deluxe hotel with a UK ultimate park ticket through Attraction Tickets direct, you receive a free Disney dining plan for the duration of your stay. Plus you also save money on your room too.

So why should you book a Disney dining plan? (Apart from the fact that you save money and OMG DISNEY);

  • You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance (Restaurants like The Beast's castle get booked up super early)
  • There's no need to carry around cash as everything is loaded on to your Magic Band
  • You can eat at up to 100 different restaurants so you'll never get bored and there's so much variety.
  •  The plan operates on a super easy points based system which means that if you don't use all of your points on one day, they can carry over
  • All restaurants are fab for Gluten free and other dietary requirements
  • YOU SAVE LOADS OF MONEY. Did I mention that already?
Per person per night stay includes;
  • 1 Self Service meal
  • 1 Waiter Service meal
  • 1 non alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 selected snacks
  • 1 Refillable resort mug per stay
Basically you never ever go hungry! When staying for 2 weeks the average person saves £700 so yes you are right, you definitely do need to go and definitely do need to book it now. I totally agree!


After arriving at the Disney Grand Floridian resort and spa the night before and going for a beautiful Steak dinner (with the most dreamy firework display visible through the window) at Citricos, we - i.e my favourite human Ally - woke up and got ready for one of the most magical days in existence because Day 1 took us to Magic Kingdom and OMG IT REALLY IS MAGIC!

We actually started off at our hotel with a character breakfast and I have to say, there's nothing quite like getting a massive hug from Tigger in between your gluten free waffles is there? It was beyond bizarre and beyond surreal and it almost overshadowed the fact that the food was so so good (but didn't because, food). 1900 Park Fare is a buffet breakfast and the variety is just incredible. From hot food (eggs, sausages, corned beef hash, basically everything savoury that you could possibly imagine) to waffles and pancakes and croissants and all the pastries, there is just options for days.

So once I demolished 39428 rounds it was time to head to Magic Kingdom. To be honest, we went on lots of rides (Space Mountain being my absolute favourite) but without a doubt my favourite thing about Magic Kingdom was just wondering around like a 5 year old child feeling invincible.

Yes you read that right, I just said that Magic Kingdom made me feel invincible and no I'm not taking it back. I felt like... nothing could stress me out. Nothing could upset me. Nothing could bother me. I was in my own magic place and lol bye world, does anything outside Disney even exist?

For lunch we went to the Beast's castle. I felt like Belle (just minus the princess dress and man in her life even if it was a Beast), I ate the best french onion soup of my life and a very strange but really delicious raspberry cream pastry tart kinda dessert. The food was great, service was quick, the options for gluten free were brilliant, and we topped it all off by going to see the Festival of fantasy parade after. The dream!

The rest of the day was filled with more food and the Happily Ever firework show back at Magic Kingdom, it really was truly special.

Day 2

Day 2 of our trip might have just made it into my top 5 most fun days of my entire life. Going on press trips are always fun, but being able to take your best friend is really bloody amazing. I woke up the day after this day with the most achey abs of all time and a sore face from laughing so much... and to be honest, that's a kinda pain I can get on board with.

Breakfast started at the Disney beach club (dreamy, FYI and was filled with more Mickey Mouse gluten free waffles and more characters (not gonna lie, I love Goofy but he went in for the hug and nearly knocked me out with his huge nose LOL) and then took us to Epcot. Epcot's a funny one, I didn't remember much from my trip when I was 8 and I wasn't the most excited about it but actually, I loved it this time round. Test track was my personal highlight from the rides (mostly due to the screams that went down in our car) and just wandering around was completely surreal as it has little sections from all over the globe. Japan, Morocco, London, Canada, Ireland... you kinda have to see it to believe it (which is a great excuse to book a ticket now, no?)

After eating at Teppan Edo in Epcot which was the most insanely deliciously Teppan yaki restaurant (amazing for gluten free too as everything is cooked separately) we went to Hollywood studios which was potentially the highlight of my trip because OMG TOWER OF TERROR AND THE ROCKING ROLLERCOASTER ARE THE MOST FUN THINGS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! But seriously, I forgot just how much of a thrill seeker I was, and I forgot how much two people can laugh, even if it is me and Ally (who spend 99.9999% of our time crying with laughter). We ate dinner at The Hollywood Brown derby where Margaritas and cocktails and incredible food was consumed (I'd highly recommend the salmon) and finished off the day watching the Fantasmic show which, just like everything that Disney do, was just a total spectacular.

We slept really bloody well that night and woke up with laughter abs the next day. Winning at life!

Day 3

I'd been excited about Typhoon Lagoon ever since I saw it on our itinerary because who doesn't love the sound of potentially drowning in a massive pool with lots of people?

Lol just kidding soz Typhoon Lagoon, love ya really.

So Typhoon Lagoon is basically just the most amazing waterpark with all kinds of water rides and one particularly amazing wave pool in the centre which in short, chucks out a huge wave and completely drags you under the water. I know it sounds savage and terrible but it is so much fun!!!

Unless you can't swim, because then it really wouldn't be fun at all. [insert upside down smile emoji here].

But I loved this day because it was the most chilled day we'd had. We had breakfast at our leisure, lunch in the park (I actually stumbled across the most insane gluten free chicken burger and chips and really enjoyed that whilst wearing a bikini and slowly expanding). And then we went to Disney Springs (one of my absolute faves) for dinner and had the most beautiful meal at The Boat House. If you get the chance, please visit here because you will feel like you're living the American dream and you will eat your weight in the best fish and incredible chocolatey, marshmallow desserts.

Oh, and then we went to an Irish bar and I honestly don't remember much about it (lol thanks cocktails) other than discussing karaoke songs and coming to the conclusion that TLC No Scrubs is an absolute tune!!

Day 4 

Day 4 was our final full - all of the sad times, insert all of the god damn crying face emojis here - and it was spent a) demolishing a buffet breakfast at Boma, flavours of Africa b) visiting Animal Kingdom and obsessing over the animal safari and c) just generally being blown by Pandora - The world of Avatar, which was one of the most insanely amazing things I've ever seen. In particular Flight of Passage which is a brand new simulator ride which just blew my mind. 

Day 4 was a strange one. I was so aware that the trip was coming to an end which made me so incredibly sad, and I'd also been hit by the horrible, shitty Instagram hack early hours the night before which meant that I stopped appearing on hashtags, I wasn't suggested as a user and I immediately saw my engagement and followers plummet. And in all honesty, it was really really difficult considering that Instagram is one of my biggest sources of work and one of the reasons I was there (to instagram and show how amazing Disney is and yet for the last two days I literally couldn't post anything). But weirdly, and credit to the dreamboat that is Disney, despite such a huge, horrible, crappy thing happening in my work life whilst so far away from home, I still managed to have the most incredible time. I still laughed all day, I still ate everything in site (Yak & Yeti restaurant was a dream, please drink the Yak Attack if you go, they are like reliving your 16 year old self with a frozen WKD/Smirnoff), I still squealed with joy on every ride (Everest and the rapids being my fave) and I still sang and danced like never before during the festival of The Lion King (which was bloody incredible and one of my trip highlights).

FYI, instagram put everyone's accounts who was affected back online and all is seemingly back to normal after a couple of weeks of hell. But it definitely put things into perspective for me and shifted my focus to other platforms and avenues.

We went for drinks that night and I just kinda sat there looking around at the 13 or so people that I'd met 5 days before thinking, isn't it crazy that 6 days ago I didn't know you existed. And now we have all shared a trip of a lifetime and the most hilarious memories, most of which still make me cry of laughter now. It made me realise that whilst annoying apps, and actually, my job, are unpredictable, I have already been gifted with a lifetime of opportunities that I never dreamed I would.

BRB whilst I grab a sick bucket because omg I have turned into the world's biggest sop!
Our final day was spent at Disney Springs where me and Ally pretty much did a supermarket sweep in Sephora before heading home.

It all still feels like a crazy, surreal magical blur of happiness but to wrap this up;

You must go to Disney because you will feel eternal joy.
You must book the Free Disney dining plan because it is insanely amazing and you save so much money and the food is incredible.
You must go on Tower of terror, the Rocking Rollercoaster and every ride at Typhoon Lagoon. Even if you are terrified. In fact, especially if you are terrified, and go on with friends and get them to take their cameras for endless lols.
You must forget your "normal life" and embrace your inner 5 year old.
You must hug every character, sing every song, watch every firework and laugh until you cry. Because Disney really is the most magical place on earth.

Let's be honest, I have spoken for far too long as it is so I'll end this here. Thank you for reading. And thank you to Disney for providing me with the trip of a lifetime and making me truly believe that magic does exist.

As always, thanks so much for reading!



I'm not sure there's anybody in the world that loves food as much as I do.

OK, bold statement and potentially not true having seen many documentaries about many people eating so much food that they can't actually physically move anymore but you get the gist, I really, really, really love food.

I also have coeliac disease which means I can't eat any kind of gluten and that my friends, can be a bit of a pain in the arse - literally.... #noshame #vilebuttrue - for someone that thinks about food 99.9% of the time. 

But recently I've found a little cluster of restaurants that are not only so good for gluten free, but generally are frickin amazing in every single way and I'd thought I'd share the love for any fellow foodie/coeliacs/greedy beasts out there because I couldn't recommend each place enough.
If The Ivy's had a membership card or some kinda sassy equivalent to airmiles, I'm pretty sure I'd be owed all the rewards/avo on toast a girl could eat. It's a favourite with a lot of PR's/brands so the The Ivy Soho brasserie is pretty much a second home, and now we have a branch at Tower Bridge I am completely prepared to become a fully fledged member of The Ivy appreciation society. But jokes aside, there's a reason it's so popular... the decor (which is the most dreamy, pinterest worthy, incredible thing ever) and the food. Which always comes up quick - winning!! - and is always incredible.

For us coeliacs/gluten freers there's a good amount of options and the waiters/waitresses always have amazing knowledge too so never feel afraid to ask about cross contamination, ingredients etc. My personal fave is the Avocado on gluten free toast because it tastes like an absolute dream (the pomegranate is a babe'in touch fyi!) and I obvs always go for a side of poached eggs because Avo without eggs is like Ant without Dec!


OK, and breathe.

But, basically, Leadbelly's is great for a few reasons. Number 1 - because it is oh so close to where I live and basically where I live is the most boring place on earth so I am so damn happy to have some instagrammable and ridiculously tasty places close by!

Number 2 - because the vast majority of the breakfast/brunch menu is gluten free.

BRB while I cry of happiness, Instagram it and then eat my weight in waffles.

So Leadbelly's is wonderful. It has gluten free waffles (which come with all kinds of toppings), it has avo on toast, it has full english kinda breakfasts. It has it all, and it also has the dreamiest pinterest worthy interiors to top it all off too!

PS there was also once a super hot waiter in there so it's worth visiting for that alone #PrioritiesAlwaysInPlace
Potentially one of my favourite new finds, Barbecoa is a stunning Jamie Oliver restaurant chain based in London (I went to the Piccadilly branch but there's also one at St Pauls). It's not new but it's new to me and honestly, after I visited the first time - with DadNextDoor in tow - I have genuinely been so excited to go back each time. Essentially, Barbecoa Piccadilly is the most stunningly luxurious looking restaurant that serves up the most insane meat, dreamy cocktails, all with such an incredible buzzing atmosphere. To look at, Barbecoa is extremely decadent but what I love most is that it's not in any way pretentious. For me, you'll find nowhere better to have the most stunning roast dinner in the sexiest surroundings. (Can you call interiors/decor sexy? Pretty sure you can!)

I honestly couldn't recommend Barbecoa enough, they were also able to make the roast dinner totally gluten free, only missing the yorkshire pud (which yes is the best bit but we can't have it all guys). If you're in the Piccadilly area, go and check it out, I promise you won't regret it.
I do love a good sit down for 3949294 hours putting the world to rights kinda meal but I also just sometimes need some quick on the go, incredibly tasty meals and this is where Crepe Affaire comes in. I struggle with crepes. Mostly because I love them so much and I generally can never have them. So when I found out that the absolute babe of all babes Crepe Affaire had comes up with a gluten free option with lots of topping options too, obvs I ran down faster than you can say greedy beast to check it out.

I went for bacon and maple syrup because I know how to win at life (well, food choices) and omg they were divine!!! The actual crepe itself is surprisingly soft and not too dry at all, lots of flavour and just the perfect quick snack on the go. I was also mega impressed that most of the fillings for "normal people" were also gluten free so you don't feel like you're missing out at all.

Highly recommend.

*attempts to stop salivating just thinking about bacon maple crepes*
Whether you are coeliac/gluten free or not, if there's one place to put on your must visit list, please make it the Conrad St James for afternoon tea. From the incredible service, to the champagne greeting, my afternoon here with MumNextDoor was one of my all time favourites. The hotel itself is just stunningly beautiful, decadent, luxurious and just somewhere you could happily sit and people watch for hours. And whilst you're sitting and perving why not do it with a shed load of cake getting sloshed merry on champagne? Ok, so... the gluten free option comes with bread roll type sandwiches which were really really good. It didn't fall apart or taste like sawdust and the fillings were OH MY GOD SO GOOD. Coronation chicken being a personal fave but that's just me and my curry loving self. The cakes were an absolute dream. Each one beautifully presented and incredible tasting, my personal fave was the chocolate loaf that dreams were made of.

The scones were very good. I'd be lying if I said that they didn't fall apart as soon as I touched them with a knife but then I've literally never found gluten free scones that manage to stay in one piece (if you have, send your recommendations my way). But they were the perfect way to finish off a perfect evening. You just can't help but feel like a bit of a princess with such impeccable service and permanent refills. So yes, in case you couldn't tell, I really want you all to get your butts down to the Conrad St James because it is just stunning!

And that's it for my little foodie five. I'm actually surprised it's been so long since my last food post considering that I spend 99.999999% of my time thinking about when I'm about to eat next. I really, really hope you enjoyed it and I hope it's helpful for any coeliacs/gluten free eaters out there because trust me gal pals (and lads) I know how difficult it can be, but all 5 places mentioned here are a gluten free dream!

I'd love to know if you're loving anywhere in particular at the moment? Where do I need to eat my weight in carbs/goodness? I always love your blimmin lovely recommendations!

As always, thanks so much for reading!


© the Elle next door

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