Toy Story 4 Review – The toys still have it

When rewatching Toy Story 3 in the lead up to seeing Toy Story 4, you have this sense that it was the perfect ending to a wonderful franchise, how could you top that? We had, with those final scenes, a bow being put on top of the franchise when the torch was passed from Andy to Bonnie.

Toy Story 4 doesn’t quite top Toy Story 3, but it does a very good job at telling an emotional story that also feels like a logical next step in this series – and yes, you will need tissues because the ending will break you.

The Toy Story franchise is an odd one in where it sits itself, having been around since 1995 it has found itself grappling with the audience and its adolescence and now young adulthood; and, much like the previous outing, it manages to balance this wonderfully. The plot isn’t overly revolutionary – toys start off happy, something happens, toys go off on an adventure, then the film serves up an emotional kick at the very end. It’s simple and it works.

This new installment introduces interesting new characters with Gaby Gaby as well as Ducky and Bunny (who provide the comedic relief) and Duke Caboom. Of course the star new character of the film is Forky and, whilst I did enjoy watching the character, I do wonder what larger role Forky could have played, it does feel that there is some lost potential. Bo Peep returns, and with it the explanation as to why she was not in Toy Story 3; it is very clear that she is not the same character as she was, and with it she has become a much more developed character with a good deal of depth and the Toy Story franchise is all the better for it.

For all the Pixar fans out there (myself included) keep an eye out for a number of really quite brilliant references and throwbacks to previous films and shorts including Up and Tin Toy. These hit a brilliant sweet spot and fans will really get a kick out of these moments.

The thing that really works for the Toy Story films is the emotional connection we have to the characters, and that is the genius of the original creators of Toy Story: taking inanimate objects that we can all connect to, and giving us an emotional connection to them. Here we are, 24 years on and it still works.

Toy Story 4 is not the best of the Toy Story films (for me, that’s still the original Toy Story) but it does do an excellent job of being a funny, emotional and enjoyable film. These Toy Story films are very likely the closest we have to a perfect film franchise, they don’t skip a beat.

Review: Breakfast with the Disney Princesses

Pastries next to a menu during the Disneyland Paris Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillon

Who doesn’t want to wake up with breakfast in the heart of Fantasyland with the Disney Princesses? From July 1st 2019 this popular breakfast offering is returning to Disneyland Paris, I had the chance to try it during its Spring 2019 run and it was such a wonderful experience that I’m so glad is making a permanent return to the park.

The food

Upon arriving at the Auberge de Cendrillion in Fantasyland, a friendly Cast Member will take you to your table in the restaurant; already set up on the table are a range of pastries including Croissants, Pain au Chocolat, Breads. These pastries tasted fresh and were a great way to open up the meal.

Pastries next to a menu during the Disneyland Paris Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillon

At this point you will also be brought your choice of hot drink and fruit juice. These are pretty basic, but fine, they are never going to be the highlight of the meal.

After a few minutes, you will be brought a selection of sweet items including yoghurt, salmon and a few other bits. These felt mostly forgettable in the great scheme of the breakfast, an afterthought and not the most tasty one at that.

A breakfast dish at the Auberge de Cendrillion including an egg, 3 sausages, potatoes and assorted vegetables. The plate is finished with a Mickey Mouse waffle

The main dish is a good mix of eggs, sausages, potatoes and a Mickey waffle. These were all delicious and tasted like the premium offering that this meal is. The potatoes are cooked in butter and taste richer for this, whereas the sausages are the usual veal sausages that you’ll find in the hotel breakfasts. Whilst I enjoyed the Mickey Waffle, and it does make for a good photo, it would have been nice for some form of accompaniment to it, perhaps some maple syrup? Without it, the waffle lacks something.

The Disney Princesses

Whilst a delicious breakfast is one part of the breakfast, you’re really here to meet some of the Disney princesses! At the breakfast 3 princesses will be present – no princes or other characters. Whilst this is not a large number of characters, you never feel rushes in your interactions, it always feels relaxed and that the princess has time for a good conversation.

Aurora posing in a medieval castle looking doorway at the Auberge de Cendrillon at Disneyland Paris

Cast Members will always be walking around to ensure that you get to see each of the 3 as well, you’ll never be caught short. On my visit I had the chance to meet Aurora, Cinderella and Snow White. Getting 3 princesses in quick succession with no wait time can be worth its weight in gold during the peak seasons!

I felt that 3 was the optimum number, I came away feeling both satisfied with my meets but also that I had the chance and opportunity to have a relaxed breakfast meal.

Practical Information

The Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillion returns on 1st July 2019. Bookings can be taken via your travel agent or via the Disneyland Paris dining line.

The meal is priced at €49 (with annual pass discounts applicable as usual) and is broken into two sittings – 8:30am and 9:45am.

Should you do this meal?

If you are wanting to have a more upper-end breakfast or meet the Disney Princesses without the wait, then almost certainly yes, you should make time for this. The Princess Breakfast is a truly special experience and will make many faces light up with joy.

It would be nice for the breakfast to have photographers with the characters to add to the Disney PhotoPass+ service, but unfortunately this does not happen – make sure you bring your camera to immortalise those memories!

An empty dining room in a castle-like setting at the Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Paris

Hotel New York – The Review!

Stepping into Disney’s Hotel New York is a strange experience, at those doors a strange time warp occurs and you found yourself being plunged directly into 1992. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, there’s a sort of charm about having the opening era of the resort preserved and in pristine condition. But there are also some negatives that come of this, modern life has changed dramatically since 1992 and the hotel has struggled to keep up.

Ahead of its Marvel refurbishment that begins in January 2019, let’s take a look at the hotel as it is right now.

The entrance to the bar at Disney's Hotel New York

Check-In

The check-in procedure at Disney’s Hotel New York matches all the other Disney Hotels on property. The check-in desk is extremely easy to find (it is literally located right next door to the doors) and you will be greeted by friendly Cast Members. The service here does match the 4 keys that it has been granted; check-in is quick, courteous and your luggage (if left with the concierge) will be delivered directly to your room as and when it is ready.

The Rooms

Disney’s Hotel New York is big. Make no mistake about it, it is huge. Finding your room may take a moment, but luckily the signs are very clear and so whilst time consuming, it is no issue. Perhaps my favourite element of the hotel is the elevators, these ooze class and sophistication with jazz music filling the air. It is a pleasure to hop in these for a brief few moments. 

The rooms are large and very spacious, the majority of rooms are set out as two double beds with a small seating area to the side. Included are all the usual amenities for this level of resort: water glasses, tea and coffee facilities, a mini-bar and iron. The dedication to the New York theme throughout the rooms is rather wonderful stretching from apple motifs hidden throughout to the rather gorgeous Empire State Building lamp (that I really wish I could buy).

Empire State Building lamp at Disney's Hotel New York

The beds are rather comfortable, but they do not seem as soft as those in the Newport Bay Club. The issue I had was with the air conditioning, mine did not seem to want to turn out and then once I managed to get it on, I could not turn it off which negatively affected my sleep. I’m sure if I had made a quick call to the reception that help would have been provided quickly.

2 beds in the centre of the room at Disney's Hotel New York

Another negative was the plug socket situation, I could only find one socket in the room and this was located next to the bathroom. Understandably this can be explained by our different needs in 1992, newly refurbished hotels such as Hotel Cheyenne has plenty of plug sockets and so I am extremely confident that this will be fixed in the upcoming refurbishment.

Overall, the rooms in Hotel New York are comfortable and pleasant enough. If you are truly lucky you may get a park view room, and those are truly stunning. 

Breakfast

Disney’s Hotel New York has two restaurants (Parkside Diner and the Manhattan Restaurant), for breakfast both of these are in use. I took my breakfast in the Parkside diner. Once again, I was very impressed by the breakfast spread which included everything from baked beans to croissants and cured hams. All elements were nicely cooked or prepared and service was attentive with Cast Members at each moment making sure that I was happy with my breakfast.

Breakfast at Disney's Hotel New York (a selection from the hot food buffet)

Whilst I did not try it, a room service breakfast was also available. 

Check-Out

With all Disney stays, the check-out procedure was a dream, simply leave your room key in the box next to the hotel entrance and head to the parks to enjoy your final day. Nothing could be simpler. 

If you activated the MagicPass (with a charge Card), your purchases will automatically be debited from your bank card without you needing to do anything.

Hotel New York (outside) at Disneyland Paris

Final Thoughts

Disney’s Hotel New York is a fine hotel that merits its four key status. The New York theme is bold and strong throughout which is to the hotel’s credit. Whilst elements are time- warpish and outdated, these are minor concerns with a full refurbishment coming up.

I would strongly recommend a visit before the January 2019 closure date and experience a piece of Euro Disney history that we will shortly be losing. 


This Hotel stay was provided by Disneyland Paris for the InsidEARS Ready 2018 event. A review was neither requested or agreed with them and all opinions presented within the review are honest and fair.