There is nothing like the look on their faces when they first lay eyes on Cinderella's castle.
We were told that if we could make it there before the park opened that we'd have a good hour or two to be able to do pretty much anything, and that proved to be the case. We immediately headed to Fantasyland where we walked on to Dumbo, then Goofy's Barnstormer (rode it twice), then the teacups. Mary Ella was not a fan of the barnstormer roller coaster, but we were surprised when Sam was actually tall enough to ride it! (I think 35 inches was the height requirement.) Mary Ella cried because she hated it and Sam cried when it was over because he wanted to do it again. He actually cried several times when rides were over and would say "I do it again" with the saddest look on his face. About halfway through the day he finally caught on to the fact that we had to get in line again in order to ride again.
Note: There are actually 2 Dumbo rides in Fantasyland and they are side by side. The Dumbo ride is a slow-loading ride and lines can be super long. You can use a FastPass on this ride if you want, but I would recommend getting a Fast Pass for another ride and waiting it out in the Dumbo ride. They've actually built an awesome circus-themed indoor playground between the two rides, and now you get a pager while you stand in line. So your kids can play in the play area while you wait in line and they page you when it is your turn to ride. So use your FastPass for something like Peter Pan or Pooh! There were actually parents giving away their turns to ride left and right because the kids were having so much fun on the playground.
These are some of my favorites of him on Goofy's Barnstormer with Poppa.
The famous Mad Hatter Tea Party ride...
We rode The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and the carousel before heading to lunch at Columbia Harbor House, a quick-service seafood restaurant in Liberty Square. We ate shrimp and fish baskets and it was so good. We also enjoyed a good sampling of desserts (another benefit of the dining plan - dessert with every meal!). The desserts here were an apple crisp, chocolate cake and strawberry yogurt; we each got a different one and ate some of everything. I'd definitely recommend this place to anyone.
After lunch we went to the new section of Fantasyland, which includes Enchanted Tales with Belle, the Be Our Guest restaurant (in Beast's castle), Gaston's Tavern, Voyage of the Little Mermaid ride and Ariel's grotto (a meet and greet with Ariel.) The Little Mermaid ride was temporarily closed while we were in that part of the park so we skipped it and went to Ariel's grotto and waited about 30 minutes to meet Ariel. Definitely a highlight for Mary Ella. Here was her face when we turned the corner and she saw her for the first time...
It was so sweet and you could tell it was very surreal for her.
She walked up and sat beside her and Ariel was soooo sweet. One thing I love about the characters is that they never break character; they talk and act just as if they were straight out of their movies. Ariel asked her her name and then said, "Oh, Mary Ella! I see we have something in common! We both like to put pretty things in our hair! See? Mine's called a starfish! What's yours called?" And without hesitation, Mary Ella said, "Mine's called a bow-fish." She was so serious and you could tell Ariel was about to laugh but she held it together. I was dying it was so cute. This was the longest line we waited in all day and I think if the Ariel ride hadn't been broken then this line wouldn't have been so long. Still totally worth a half hour wait.
After meeting Ariel we headed to Gaston's Tavern where Chad sampled "LeFou's brew," a snack credit beverage of frozen apple juice with toasted marshmallow and mango flavors added in... I think? Whatever it was, it was good. They also had roasted pork shanks listed as snacks (basically a pork leg, similar to Disney's famous turkey legs) that were as big as my head. For a snack I'd say that's not so bad. They smelled divine.
Sam loved all the fountains in the parks, and we had to make a stop at each one so that he could stick his fingers in the water and throw some 'moneys.'
We headed to Adventure Land and Frontier Land after this and Mom and I used our snack credits for a Dole Whip at Aloha Isle. These are basically pineapple juice with soft serve vanilla ice cream on top. So good and especially for a warm day. Emma Kate approved as well.
Sam, Chad and I rode Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride while EK and Mary Ella slept in the stroller.
Then I sat with the girls while the rest of the gang rode Pirates of the Caribbean. Emma Kate watched a street show put on by the famous Jack Sparrow. (Mary Ella was still asleep at this point.)
Next was Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontier Land. Since Dad has a mobilized scooter rented, we were able to go in the wheel chair line so he wouldn't have to climb all the stairs and stand for the 40 minute wait. (We actually got to go in the FastPass line for every single ride, because of Dad's pass; which was awesome in itself because we never had to get an actual FastPass for anything. We were just a weeee bit spoiled in that aspect, so I have no tips to offer you on the FastPass service!) Dad and I rode this while Chad waited with Emma Kate, then we swapped out and I rode it again, this time with Chad. (If you take a baby that can't ride, they will let you do "Rider Swap;" one adult in your party will wait in a designated area with the baby while the other people in your party ride the ride; when they get back, you swap out and another adult watches the baby; this means most people get to ride it twice.) This was probably Chad's favorite ride of the day and I have always loved it too. Fast and thrilling. And yes we are 12 years old.
After this we walked back to the castle and took some pictures. Nothing like a sweet picture of your kids loving on each other in the most magical place on earth. (Also known as, "Hey kids, hug Emma Kate so that she won't escape and Mommy can get a great photo.")
And the reality is, there is no hope of getting all 3 to look and smile. So we will take what we can get, which is usually one smiling, one break dancing and one staring off into space. I love them all anyway.
After the pictures we handed out suckers and headed to Tomorrow Land.
By the way, the suckers were indeed a lifesaver. Go to the Walmarts immediately if you are planning a trip to Disney and get you some Mickey suckers. Here's hoping 2013 comes with no cavities. Eeek.
We did the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor because Sam and Mary Ella love this movie, and although I wasn't expecting it to be great or keep the kids' attention, it really was cute and actually pretty funny. This is a good break from all the walking too. Sam was on the front row. He loved it and preferred to stand the entire time. He loved this show and asked to do it again every time we passed it.
After this the boys all rode Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin while us girls took a bathroom break. Then we waited in a 10-minute line to see none other than the space ranger himself. Sam was soooo excited. He kept saying he was going to give Buzz a "boom" (a fist pump) and even practiced with Mary Ella. But, like he did with every other character of the day, he chickened out when it came time for his turn. Mary Ella loved it, of course, and gave Buzz a big hug. Afterwards she said, "Man! He realllly liked me!" Sam didn't even want to walk past Buzz, and waited until he turned around to sign another boy's autograph book before he made a run for it. :)
|Practicing the fist pump|
|Getting nervous already.|
|Sister tries to tell brother to come on over, but brother refuses.|
|Brother makes a run for it while Buzz isn't looking. :)|
Chad and Dad left after this to go to the Boardwalk to watch the Super Bowl. Mom and I took the kids up to the Main Street area. We ate another quick service dinner at Casey's Corner - a hot dog joint on Main Street. (We did not have a sit-down reservation for today so we used 2 quick service credits.) And the best part about this meal was that it was FREE. Earlier in the day a lady came up to my mom and gave her her Key to the World card and said Mom could have the rest of her meals because they didn't use them all and they were checking out that day. I think it had 4 quick service meals and a few snacks on it. So our meal at Casey's Corner was free; we ordered 2 quick service meals and a kids meal - a Chicago Dog, nachos and a plain hot dog, and the dogs came with fries. And of course each of these meals came with dessert. So what's a girl to do but sample all of them? Pink cotton candy, Cracker Jacks and a chocolate brownie - yes please. (This was a baseball-themed eatery so the desserts were all things you could get at a baseball park.)
After dinner we went back outside to the Shake It Up street party; it was kind of like a parade except there were only 5 or 6 floats and they all stopped in the middle of the square and the characters would get off and dance with the kids. They both loved this. Of course Sam wouldn't get too close to the characters but he loved watching from a safe distance. Mary Ella got to dance with Woody and Jessie which was pretty sweet. And this is a chance for your kids to get super close to Mickey Mouse without waiting in a line. I loved the music too. I think they do this one twice a day.
Even little sister was clapping along. Mom looked down and there she was, just a clapping.
I wuv Disney World!
After this parade we headed back towards the park entrance (it was around 7pm at this point and we'd had a pretty full day.) Before leaving we surprised Mary Ella by going into the Town Square Theater (the first building on your right as you are entering the park), where she got to meet Rapunzel, Aurora and "the real life Cinderella." She was beyond excited and you could tell she was just in heaven. These princesses were amazing and they all acted just like they do in the movies. This was definitely the highlight of Mary Ella's day; afterwards she said, "Mom, this really IS the most happiest place in the world." Made my day.
We headed home after this for an early bedtime... We had an early breakfast reservation at Chef Mickey's for the next day and definitely needed the extra rest.
Read about Day 1 of our trip here!
See all things Disney here!