Vanja and I recently had a trip to Paris, and of course visited Disneyland Paris as it’s a part of our “routine” when we travel there. This time, our favorite attraction “Phantom Manor” had been given some upgrades and the first reopening since 1992. First of all, Vincent Price’s introduction in the opening area was back once again, with original excerpts as well as previously unused material from his 1990 recording. The French actor Bernarde Alane is doing the parts in French. They’ve also tied the story of the manor a lot more into the attraction itself, which in my opinion makes it even more “horror”. So, good work by the “renovators”, and two thumbs up from us!

 

Below is an older photo from our second visit, which was in October 2012. The facade remains the same.

Phantom Manor

 

 

I filmed a little bit of the hallway and the attraction, where the hallway had some very nice additions regarding the paintings on the wall. Photos wouldn’t really do them justice, so I decided to make some animated gifs from the videos I captured. Enjoy:

 

The painting in the hallway featuring the Phantom, showing both his previous human side and what he eventually becomes.

 

 

Another painting in the hallway, showing a duel in front of Phantom Manor.

 

 

The loading area, where you get into the “doom buggies”. A new addition to this area, is that the bride is now present on top of the stairs.

 

 

And of course, the upgraded animatronics of the Phantom in all his glory, from inside the attraction (the cemetery part)! His upgraded version has more fluid movements and overall looks much better.

 

For more photos from Disneyland Paris, and other places,  check out my SmugMug page: https://tomte.smugmug.com/Travel

 

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We had a great Halloween celebration (as always, as it’s our favorite time of the year!) and here are some photos.

Vanja and I didn’t have a specific theme for our costumes this year, so we picked something a bit more random:

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

And of course, we had some Halloween cupcakes and cake! They’re watching…

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Vanja’s brother playing Super Castlevania IV, no-damage run.

Halloween

 

And I carved two pumpkins. The smallest one was left all alone in the grocery store, so I just had to buy it, that poor thing.. and it ended up as a Cyclops pumpkin, which we put out on the porch to welcome the kids who came trick or treating.

Halloween

After visiting Pele’s Castle, we were heading for Brasov for a short stop to do a little bit of sightseeing and walking around. We spent the time taking some photos, did some shopping, and ate some ice cream.

 

Brasov

The famous “Brasov” sign, just like the Hollywood one. The Rasnov area has also its own sign, which we’ll be visiting next time.

 

Brasov

Brasov

Brasov

Brasov

Brasov

Brasov

 

 

Then, we were off to our final stop: Bran Castle, also known as the (unofficial) Dracula’s castle. This is not a very long trip from Brasov, so we were there shortly afterwards. Before coming over to the castle, there were loads of souvenir shops which we wished we’d had more time to explore, but due to the time limit we had to focus mostly on the castle, the main reason we came there. And it was so fun to finally see the Dracula castle, made famous by Bram Stoker’s novel. In the real life Dracula just spent some nights in the castle, while his real home Poenari Castle, which is now in ruins, is located on a mountain 60 km south/east from Bran. The place was not open for tourists during our visit, but we’ll definitely check it out sometime.

 

Brasov

Bran Castle, seen from the park area.

 

Brasov

Some interior photos.

 

Brasov

Brasov

From the courtyard.

 

Brasov

A pretty cool “do not smoke” sign in the park area.

 

Brasov

Outside one of the secret passageways to the castle.

 

So, all in all the “2 castles in 1 day” trip with TravelMaker was excellent, and we were able to get so much done in just 1 day. Both the guide and the driver made the trip truly enjoyable. Highly recommended if you’re wanting to make the most out of your day while visiting some castles near Bucharest!

And that was Romania for now.

Some final thoughts: Great country, great people, great food, and Bucharest was a surprisingly clean place in spite of being in a relatively poor country.  There are police everywhere to make the streets safe. Easy access to Taxis which also is very cheap. And of course a lot to see, and we haven’t checked everything off our list yet, so we’re definitely going back sometime. Here’s some of the souvenirs we brought back home:

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

Romanian souvenirs

One of the Romanian traditional masks which is used  in some customs, rituals and traditional dances, depending on the time of year. It’s also handmade, and really big.

 

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