The Toronto Umbrella Academy

Fans of The Umbrella Academy (viewable on Netflix) can visit several of the sets in Toronto.

Image from Netflix

As I’m not familiar with this show, I’m going to link you to an article that has more information than I know what to do with. You can find the Narcity article here.

Interested in doing an Umbrella Academy tour while visiting Toronto?

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

The Shire

Do you want to visit The Shire, but New Zealand is too far for you to travel? Do you love the idea of travelling to Ireland, and love Lord of the Rings? (I fall into these categories)

Then you’re going to want to visit Killarney in the Kingdom of Kerry, and stay (or simply eat) at The Shire.

The Shire. Image from theshirekillarney.com

They have minimal accommodations (5 doubles, 1 twin, a 4-bed dorm, and an 8-bed dorm), a bar, and a café.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Ontario Ice Cream Trail

Looking for a cool way to spend the last half of August? Don’t want to leave Ontario? Look no further than a road trip to taste Canadian dairy ice creams.

While you could easily take day trips if you like in the southwest or central parts of Ontario, or the GTA, the rest of Ontario could have a great road trip.

Ontario Ice Cream Trail map

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Gold Rush Canada

Who shot the boss? is the question that Gold Rush Canada asked several thousand contestants before releasing them to search for the $80,000 dollars buried somewhere in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday July 27th 2019 at 9 am. Armed only with a special map, a video from the website, and smart phones, everyone headed for where they thought the first clue was hidden.

Image from goldrushcanada.com.

Now, days later, most people (if not all) are stuck on the third challenge of ten. Based on the comments on the Facebook page, people are getting very frustrated. (As of July 30th when this post was written.)

Nobody said that it would be easy.

So why am I talking about an event that is currently ongoing?

Because Ottawa is only the first city of six.

On August 10, Edmonton starts. August 17 is Calgary and Montreal, and August 24th Toronto and Vancouver.

Due to Ottawa’s event taking longer than expected, they have rearranged the dates for the other cities.

Montreal is August 24, Vancouver is August 31, Calgary is September 7, Edmonton is September 14, and Toronto is September 21.

Are you ready to reserve your map, solve the mystery, and find the treasure?

Knowledge of Escape Rooms is definitely an advantage.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Breda, Netherlands

While Fandom Travel is near and dear to my heart, Accessible Travel is supremely important to me as well.

So when an article crossed my path about the city of Breda in the Netherlands and how it is the most accessible city in Europe, I knew I had to share it.

Breda. Image from theguardian.com.

Europe, generally, is NOT built with accessibility in mind. Cobblestones, stairs, narrow doorways, etc are the norm.

Read about how Breda changed all that, and their website, to make them the most accessible city in Europe.

Also, a huge happy birthday to my amazing husband, who is turning six squared today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Guest Post: HP Studio Tour

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca and I’m so happy to be writing a guest post for you today!

I’m turning 28 this year, and like a lot of people my age, I was BIG into Harry Potter as a kid. Midnight releases for books and movies, all the merch, playing Harry Potter games with my sisters, the whole deal.

So when a good friend from University invited me to a conference in London, England, I knew I would have to visit some Harry Potter attractions.

We had a busy trip, and while I didn’t make it to King’s Cross Station (oh look, a great excuse to go back to England!) we did go to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour to see the sets and props used in the making of the movies.

And it was so worth it.

The Studio Tour is outside of London and the tube doesn’t run there. However, there are lots of travel packages  that offer a bus to and from the tour, departing from convenient places around London (often near major hotels).

The only downside of taking the bus is that you have to catch it to get back to the city! I could have stayed all day! That being said, the timeframe that we had (approx. 3 hours) was reasonable and I never felt like I had to rush by something super fast to be able to make the bus.

The tour is set up a bit like a museum; most of the items are behind railings so you can’t touch, and there are information sheets all over telling you about each item, and fun “behind the scenes” facts. There are also video clips playing –  from the movies, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

The tour begins in the Great Hall, as if you were a student arriving at Hogwarts for the first time!

One thing I appreciated was that there was no forced Sorting ceremony. While this might be fun for some people, I know that for many adult fans, we know our houses and definitely have strong house loyalty! (Team Ravenclaw here!)

The great hall was amazing, (the whole tour was) but there were two instances in particular that gave me the WOW factor.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time ? That was a magical scene in both the book and the movie, where you really get to experience the magic of the wizarding world.

Walking into the set for Diagon Alley – it all came flooding back. Suddenly I was 8 years old again reading my first Harry Potter book. That magic and pure joy was truly something special.

The second location where I got that feeling was the Hogwarts Castle room. This is where they have the model of the castle that was used for all the external sweeping shots. You can see every tower, all the grounds, Hagrid’s hut. I actually teared up a bit.

Aside from the marvel of all the sets and props, the staff were also amazing. In Ollivander’s wand shop, they’ve written the names of cast and crew on the wand boxes. When I was there, a staff member was sitting with a young child who was asking where all of the character’s wands were. And the staff member knew each one! She was using a laser pointer to indicate the appropriate wand boxes all around the room.  I’m sure that was a special moment for that child, and the staff member sure made an impact on the guests!

I could go on all day, but I don’t want to spoil that magical childhood transportation moment for anyone!

I would highly recommend this tour to any and all Harry Potter fans – no matter your age! I will note that part of the tour does go outside to the Knight Bus, Number Four Privet Drive, and a few other locations, so check the weather and bring a jacket if needed.

Thanks again to Jen, Eric, Dragon, and baby Pegasus for the opportunity to write for you today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Men in Black: International – spoiler free

I saw MiB:I last night. It was so much fun; probably helped by how excited we got every time Les Twins (YouTube, Instagram) were on screen (which was often, but not often enough IMHO).

Men in Black: International poster from IMDb.

The cool thing about this movie is that we saw a lot of different locations that would make quite the fun trip.

We start off in New York City.

Take the hyperloop to London.

Travel to Marrakesh in Morocco.

Paris at night is featured several times, specifically the Eiffel Tower.

Hmm… I guess we’ll have to start working on the hyperloop and alien tech to get between places….

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Disney World 2020

Disney World packages will be available to book as of June 18, 2019! This is for bookings from January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Image from yourfirstvisit.net. Please go check out the link. It’s a pretty great assessment of the parks for the next few years.

Have an urge to go to Disney World for Christmas 2020? Book early and save with early booking bonuses.

We’re hoping to go at the end of January 2020, when the crowds are quieter. We’ll have to wait and see what the deals are for Canadians – we’re hoping for free meal plan again. 😀

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

A Haunted Anniversary

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this August, and they’re inviting all of the living to join them!

Celebrating 50 Years of Retirement Unliving The Haunted Mansion Disneyland. Image from disneyfoodblog.com

Well, all the living that manage to buy a ticket, that is.

There are only two dates for this special celebration: August 7th and 8th (until 4am the next morning).

Tickets are priced at $299 USD per person, and while the wording is vague about what is free and what is not for food, they do specify “a commemorative event memento, […] a guide map, event credential, and unlimited downloads of Disney PhotoPass® photos taken during the event [are] included with each ticket.”

Don’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime (or deathtime?) event in Disneyland California? Tickets are available starting tomorrow, May 23, 2019.

If you’re lucky a ghost might even follow you home.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Thank You Ottawa ComicCon

Hello Imaginary Friends, Coffee Lovers, Blushers, Fandom Travellers, TARDIS lovers, and Crochet aficionados,

THANK YOU! To everyone who came to see us this past weekend at Ottawa Comic Con. It’s not the venue or the guests that make a great con, but the attendees, and this year you were extra awesome.

Without you ,there would be no JenEric Coffee, Designs, Travelling TARDIS, or Blush. (Aspiring Something would still exist because I don’t think I could stop writing, but it would be much less fun alone.)

Thank you again and see you next year at Ottawa ComicCon 2020!

Éric