Friday, March 31, 2017

Magic Kingdom, October 2016

I wrote a review of each day of our October trip to Disney a while back, but never published them.  I've decided now, to publish one day for the next several Fridays.  So, enjoy your throwback to October.

After our June trip, some dear friends of ours shared that they were thinking of going to Disney World and asked if we wanted to go with them.  I still think they may have been joking, but as you know, when it comes to Disney, we don't mess around.  By the time we finalized our plans to return, we were past the 180 day mark for dining reservations and nothing was available.  However, I kept checking, and I realized that around the 60 and 30 day mark, many reservations opened up and we ended up with the most reservations we've ever had.  This included breakfast in Cinderella's Castle our first day in the park.  Originally, it was a pre-opening reservation, but upon our hotel check-in, we learned that the park had extended it's hours for the day and would be open from 8-12 so our 7:55 reservation would take away time from the precious first hour the park was open.  Since this was something we had never done before, we still kept it and were excited about it.  It really was an amazing experience.  We were let into the park at 7:50 and walked down an empty Main Street where photographers were already lined up for the main opening rush so we were able to get this great picture.

 7:55 - Cinderella's Royal Table
We were the first to enter into Cinderella's castle and were asked if we'd like to be the royal family for the day.  We had no idea what that meant, but we said yes and they then gave Littlecjc a pin and Patrick and I got a sticker.

Upon entering, you are greeted by Cinderella (character #1) where a photographer is present.

Once we made it upstairs to the dining area, we were seated and informed that all the princesses would come to our table first.  Littlecjc was given a coloring page and crayons along with her wishing star and wand to be used later.

They also brought out this amazing plate of pastries and fruit for the table while they took our order.

Yes that's right, that's a Mickey shaped blueberry muffin!

Patrick ordered this steak.

 I chose the stuffed french toast.

 Before each princess made her appearance, they introduced them with a brief story.  On this day, we met Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, and Jasmine (characters 2, 3, 4, & 5.) 

After all four characters came out, there was a wishing ceremony where all the little girls waved their wands and the boys waved their swords (to protect the little princesses.)  The lights sparkled after everyone said Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.

Although most of the park's first hour open was spent at Cinderella's Royal Table, we were still able to get one attraction in.  We headed for Winnie the Pooh, attraction #1.

By 9:00, our friends were in the park and we joined up with them at the Princess Fairytale Hall, where we again met Aurora, character #6, and Cinderella, character #7.

Well, she made it one entire hour before she pulled her cute ponytail out!

After our time with the princesses, we all made our way to the Mad Tea Party, attraction #2 for a spin in a teacup.

Once we finished getting dizzy, it was time to use our first fastpass.  Our window was 9:55 - 10:55, and we got there right at the beginning, making Tomorrowland Speedway, attraction #3.

At this time, our friends actually left the park, and headed to Disney Springs for an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  Yes, there is a boutique at Cinderella's Castle inside the park and that would have been ideal, but again, we planned this trip a little on the late side and so this was the only appointment they were able to get throughout the entire week.  Since it was now just the three of us again, we decided to venture a little further into Tomorrowland for a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, attraction #4.

When our tour of Tomorrowland ended, we decided to wait out the standby line for  Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, attraction #5.

By 11:00, we had traveled out of Tomorrowland and made it back to Fantasyland and my new favorite Gaston's Tavern.  We didn't sit down at this time, but we got some amazing LeFou's Brew, their non-alcoholic signature drink.

We were working our way to Peter Pan's Flight since we had 11:10-12:10 fastpasses, but we came across Anastasia and Drizella along the Fantasyland wall and decided we needed to stop.  However, by the time we made it to the front of the line, the stepsisters had left and the Fairy Godmother had taken their place.  I'm so glad she did, because this was possibly the best interaction we had this trip.  She was so sweet to Littlecjc and actually got Littlecjc to talk to her.  So, the Fairy Godmother became character #8, and will forever be the first character that Littlecjc actually talked to.

Even though we had plenty of time still in our fastpass window, we made our way to Peter Pan's Flight, attraction #6.  I know Littlecjc is blurry, but here we are in our pirate ship.

Before leaving Fantasyland, we stopped by Rapunzel's tower for a picture and a little photo magic.

If you're familiar with Magic Kingdom's layout, you know what's next.  I know it just looks like a very dark picture, but here we are in our doom buggies riding the Haunted Mansion, attraction #7.

We then journeyed to Adventureland for a boat ride with the pirates.  Littlecjc learned to sing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me," while waiting in line and sang it almost the entire time.  Eventually we boarded our ship and we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, attraction #8

When we left Adventureland, we headed toward Main Street USA for a late lunch reservation at the Crystal Palace, with our friends who had just made it back from Disney Springs.  Although our reservation was for 2:10, we didn't actually get in until almost 3:00.  Littlecjc fell asleep as soon as we left Adventureland, so we didn't mind too much.  We also got to hear (and see from a distance) the end of Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire and the Royal Welcome of Elena of Avalor while we waited, both of which we originally did not plan on taking the time to see.  

Once inside the Crystal Palace, we discovered that it was friendship day and were invited to celebrate with Pooh and friends.  (If you've never been here before, I'm pretty sure every day is friendship day!)  In particular, we met Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, and Winnie the Pooh, characters #9, 10, 11, and 12.

This restaurant is very tight.  This was only a little inconvenient trying to get in and out from your table when getting food, but more importantly, it was nearly impossible to get good pictures with the characters. 

Since we were eating so late, we were able to see just enough of the large floats of the Festival of Fantasy parade to intrigue Patrick enough to watch the parade another day.  I've been trying to see this parade for the last several trips to Magic Kingdom, but he never wanted to take the time before.

While eating, our window for our final pre-planned fastpass began.  The three of us had passes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and our friends had passes for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, both for 3:25-4:25.  This was a big deal this trip, because it was the first "adult" roller coaster for our Littlecjc.  She loved it and this was by far her favorite ride this trip.  So, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, was attraction #9.

Once we scanned our magic bands, we got on our phones and looked up available fastpasses on the My Disney Experience app.  We saw that our friends had done the same and already had picked up passes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at 6:10-7:10, so we decided on the Pirates of the Caribbean at 6:25-7:25.  I know we had already ridden this ride, but our friends hadn't so we decided to ride it again with them.  In the meantime, we made our way to the Storybook Circus where we met back up with our friends and took a flight with Dumbo, attraction #10.

When we finished our flight with Dumbo, the whole group headed over to Ariel's Grotto to meet Ariel, character #13.  Bless these characters, because this was the most awkward interaction.  Not one of these little, crazy kids would actually talk to Ariel. 

Since we had similar fastpasses coming up, we continued to travel together through the park and we made our way to Mickey's Philharmagic, attraction #11.

After watching the Philharmagic, we headed to Adventureland so we could all ride Pirates of the Caribbean, attraction #12.   Again, as soon as we scanned our magic bands, we got back on the app to look for our next fastpass.  We were able to snag one for Jungle Cruise with a 8:00-9:00 window. Since we ate such a late lunch, none of us were really hungry for dinner, but we did have a brief pit stop here in Adventureland to refuel with some beverages.

With our Jungle Cruise fastpass in an hour, we chose to stay in Adventureland.  Therefore, we headed to Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride, attraction #13.

When we finished our magic carpet ride, it was time for a Disney classic.  Enter attraction #14, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.

When the birds and flowers were done singing and crooning, we used our fastpasses for attraction #15, Jungle Cruise.  Like before, once we scanned our bands we began searching for another fastpass.  We didn't want anything right away, because we wanted to make our way back to the front of the castle for the nighttime celebrations.  Therefore, we decided on Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid at 10:20-11:20.  We then went on our "2 week cruise," and then headed to Main Street.  The crowds were already pretty crazy, especially anywhere with a great view of the Main Street Electrical Parade as it was the last night for this parade before retiring from Magic Kingdom.  Instead of trying to fight that, we found a great view for the fireworks just in front of the hub spot used for firework viewing.  The kids played with glow sticks that we had brought from home and the boys went to get some popcorn.  One of the best deals at Disney World in my opinion is the popcorn buckets.  This was a new deal for us this trip, but I hope it continues.  We purchased our original bucket for $10 and then were able to refill it for the length of our stay at any park for only $1.50.  I realize this may not be as convenient if you don't carry a large bag or have a stroller like us where you can easily store or hang your bucket.  But for us, this was great.

When the parade came into our viewing area, we lifted the kids up on our shoulders so they could still get a good view.  For my purposes, I'm counting the parade as an attraction as it was a priority event for us to see.  So, the Main Street Electrical Parade was attraction #16.  After the parade, we finished our popcorn snack and waited for the castle to light up with Celebrate the Magic, attraction #17.  

Of course the main reason we stayed in this same spot for over an hour was so that we could watch the Wishes Nightime Spectacular fireworks display, attraction #18.  Littlecjc fell asleep during Celebrate the Magic and didn't wake back up.  The other kids were in and out a bit during the fireworks, so we assumed we'd just go back to the hotel after the fireworks.  However, once the lights came back on, the older kids woke back up and decided that they wanted to ride more rides.  So, we headed to Fantasyland to use our fastpasses on Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid, attraction #19.  We really didn't need fastpasses for this attraction at this time, but I'm sure there weren't many options available when we got them and I don't believe there were any available after this.  Here's me and my sleeping girl in our clam shell.

With little ones, it's always difficult to walk past the carousel, so we decided to walk back that way and allow the youngest still awake to take a ride on the Carousel, attraction #20.

It has always been my experience that there is barely a line at the Fairytale Princess Hall after Wishes, so this is where we went next.  We met Tiana, character #14, and Rapunzel, character #15.

Somehow, this is the only picture we took all day of the entire group in our matching shirts.  

The kid's second wind continued and the group all headed to Winnie the Pooh, attraction #21.  Since our little girl was out for the count and we had already ridden this once today, Patrick and I opted to sit this one out.  Our little one is getting big and heavy, so we kept her in her stroller.

The same goes for attraction #22, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.  We saw no point in moving Littlecjc out of her stroller for a repeat ride so we just took a bit of a rest while we waited on the rest of the party to finish the ride.

Our final ride for the evening was Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, attraction #23.  Patrick did choose to ride this one again, but Littlecjc and I sat out.

As always, we had a very busy and great day at Magic Kingdom.  To recap, we opened and closed the park where we had two character meals, (Cinderella's Royal Table and Crystal Palace) met 15 characters, and got in 23 attractions while using six fastpasses.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pete's Dragon

Well, this was an interesting twist for Disney Dinner.  This week, Patrick was actually excited and eager to watch the new version of Pete's Dragon.  Littlecjc, was excited watching the older Pete's Dragon with me one day as well.  However, this week I failed at making our themed dinner.  I had planned on cooking some fish with simple veggies thanks to the Whole30 restrictions, but since we were out Sunday evening making some runs, my family decided they would rather pick up a pizza leaving me to eat some leftovers.  I have to admit, I couldn't complain too much as I wished I was eating the pizza as well and was just as happy not needing to cook any dinner.  Hopefully, when I finish this Whole30, and realistically, once return from our Disney trip, these Disney dinners can get a breath of fresh air again.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Ratatouille

"Your only limit is your soul" - Gusteau

This week, Deb prompted us with 4 things.  I have to admit, I struggled with this one since it was so broad.  4 what?  Then I realized, it doesn't matter and my 4 things don't even have to go together.  So here goes.





Join the fun, and show us any 4 things!

Focused on the Magic