Starting with...new carry on bags for the girls to help give away the surprise. Oldest did not seem to notice that hers was actually a diaper bag. I may steal Youngest's bag for myself at some point. Filled with autograph book and stickers to decorate it; new swimsuit, flip flops and sunglasses; swimsuit Princess barbies; magazine and snack for the plane ride.
$14.99 - (2) Clear Poncho Child
Since I had been stalking Orlando weather going on two weeks, I had packed my own rain jacket. But the girls didn't really have any and I forgot to remind Dad to pack his. Day 1 at Disney was drizzly on and off all day, which was lucky for us because it kept all the lines down. The girls were thrilled with the extra souvenirs. Several times they asked Dad if he wanted to get one. Silly rabbits...at some point you will understand that your father would never be caught dead in either plastic or ponchos.
(I myself was a little concerned with how much I loved the new Sketcher On The Go-Bungee Shoe in Taupe I bought for the trip. Am I one step away from mom jeans? Probably. But, damn, they were comfortable. Five stars.)
$119.24 (2) Adult Dinners and (2) Kid Dinners at Crystal Palace with Pooh and Friends
I had a bit of internal debate over which character meal to choose, but my Oldest is just the tiniest bit obsessed with the bear with very little brain (keep reading below) so I chose him over Mickey and Princesses. The food was fine. I like to think the value in the meal is spending time with the characters without having to closely associate in a 45 minute wait line with random strangers that may or may not have demon spawn. You tell me if the smile on this girl's face was worth it?
Day 1 Highlight - (other than Pooh) - Rapunzel. All the princesses are great, but there is a reason this girl's line is so long. As opposed to Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella who all still carry somewhat of a regal air, Rapunzel is on the common folk level. Who knew someone could have so much to say about hair and frying pans.
$30.02 (3) Hot Chocolates (1) Hot Tea (4) Pastries
This is our Epcot breakfast that was obtained after finding out it was a 4-5 hour wait to see Elsa and Anna. This was at 9:30 in the morning. Only a half hour after the park officially opened. And no there were no early Extra Magic Hours for the Resorts that day. That line was based on people that had early breakfast reservations at Akershus. I have since wondered if we would have just gotten in line if it would have been only two hours? Was she just trying to scare people off? After all, the Peter Pan ride read 45 minute wait every time we went by, but when we finally sucked it up, it only took 20 minutes. (All other times were pretty close to those posted on my Lines app through touringplans.com.)
I will say this put more of a damper on the trip than the rain the day before. I think they finally perked up a couple hours later during Turtle Talk with Crush (Highly recommend this and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor for interactive experiences. Very funny and talented cast members.)
In case you"re wondering about Hot Chocolate in Florida. It was COLD on our Day 2. Not sure it ever hit 60 degrees. But, coming from Ohio, it felt like spring. So we still benefited from the lower crowds.
Before we left for lunch we caught up with Chip and Dale, who promptly stole the Oldest's head band and proceeded to search the girls for nuts. Girls could not stop giggling.
We ate lunch at the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney that day.
Best value of the day is the $15 parking fee that allows you in and out of all the parks all day. I get that the shuttles are free but you still pay for it, if you know what I mean.
Since we were in Downtown Disney anyway, we decided to let the girls poke around the largest Disney store on the planet. The girls received several gift cards at Christmas from different family members which was very much appreciated. Thank you, thank you. A million times thank you.
$69.18 - Costume Sparkle Aurora < - That's the ball gown Youngest chose.
$9.54 - Pooh Plush Keychain < - What Oldest chose.
Could I have two more different children?
Afternoon was spent at Hollywood Studios, highlights included Rockin Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania.
Evening was spent at Magic Kingdom, which was open until 1am! Saw the light parade we had decided to skip the day before. Got there just in time to grab a prime curb spot and eat our hot dogs. Youngest asked for corn dogs, which she proceeded to suck out of their breading like a vampire, leaving us with the fried shells. Yeah. I don't know either.
I had promised them each a set of ears. The Oldest promptly found a set of Pooh ones and the Youngest insisted on a bridal pair, even after the sales lady tried to explain they were for grown ups. Seriously, lady. do you really think a five-year-old cares?
Then we hit a few rides while everyone else was watching fireworks. Rode the Winnie the Pooh ride again and as we are exiting I mentioned that the Oldest might want to spend more of her gift cards while we were in a shop with all Pooh bears. And then the Disney World miracle happened. She offered to buy her little sister something, too!
$36.11 (1) 9" Eeyore Plush (1) 9" Pooh Plush
We decided we might as well hit Animal Kingdom for the morning, since Magic Kingdom was open till 1 am again. And here is where I will insert the typical dialog that ran throughout our trip.
First of all, I was convinced that the number one thing the girls would want to do would be to get character signatures. But from the moment we hit Space Mountain (yes, the first ride I took my five year old on was Space Mountain) it was all about the rides.
In line: How long is this wait? Does this ride go fast? How long does this ride last? Is it a roller coaster? Are you going to sit with me? Is it scary?
On the ride: Silent Awe or Screams of Happy Terror
As the ride pulls back in, but before we get off: When can we do that again? What is the next ride we are going on? Where is it? How long will the wait be? Does it go fast? How long does it last? Can I sit with you?
I thought that the Oldest had conquered all fear once she took on the Rockin Roller Coaster. Halfway through line she found out from another little girl that it went upside down and for a brief moment I thought she was going to bale. But it ended up being her favorite ride of the whole trip. Surely Everest at Animal Kingdom would be child's play.
But she had really psyched herself out of that one due to (a) the Yeti and (b) she knew it would go backwards (thank you YouTube). In the end she relented to trusting me, but for some reason that is the only ride that both girls stated they would never go on it again.
All of us were ready to leave Animal Kingdom almost as soon as we got there. Mainly do to the crowd levels and narrow passages of many of the walkways. Probably in some ways we had been spoiled with the low crowds and temperatures the previous days, but something about that place made each and every one of us grumpy.
This time we stopped at Panera for lunch. No, I am not above saving a buck or two by eating at a chain outside the resort. Sometimes the "magic" is just too much to take.
An afternoon by the pool to wash away the morning and we were back to Cinderella's castle by 6 pm.
$15.75 - Dinner for family of four
What? How did we eat dinner in the park for that little? Well, quite possibly by participating in the most unsanitary event of the entire trip (and that includes the bathrooms). We all shared a turkey leg, bag of chips and a Diet Coke on Liberty Square. And guess what? We were completely full. (To be fair, we had gotten snacks back at the hotel in between. Lest you think we are starving our kids.)
When the first parade crowd cleared out, we nabbed spot right in front of the castle for the Celebrate the Magic display that they do on the castle walls. A-MAZE-BALLS. And I try not to use words like that. Better than parade and fireworks combined. I just can't fathom the genius that went into it. You can watch one on YouTube. Ours was a little different because it had a Frozen part.
$8.82 - Ice Cream for Everyone!
And that's when it happened. We had just decided to head further into the park during everyone else's mad rush to the monorail. Youngest was finishing her cone so Dad headed into the building we were in front to look around. Then he immediately came back out because THERE WAS NO LINE FOR MICKEY MOUSE!!!!
I mean how awesome is it to end your trip with the big guy himself. And HE TALKED!!! He got them to spin around with him like they were on the tea cups. It was honestly the perfect ending and I still contest that Mr. Walt Disney might be the single most marvelous man that ever walked our planet.