On December 1st through the 6th Tom and I returned to our "home": the most magical place on earth. I know we seem to say this after every time we visit, but once again this really was the best trip we've had at the parks yet. It seems like every time we go, the experience only gets better and better. And the bar has always been set quite high, starting with our first trip in October of 2013.
First I wanted to share the ensemble I wore for our first day back at the parks. We always like to visit the Magic Kingdom on our first day, and I wore an ensemble in celebration of the most lovely gal anywhere in the parks. I don't mean the princesses: I'm talking about this gorgeous castle right here.
I know I've shared the skirt before. It appears perhaps Amazon might have stopped carrying this particular print, so I'm thankful I got it when I did! It's my favorite skirt I own, and I got many compliments on it, as well as my Cinderella-theme flower crown mouse ears.
Tom and I woke up at about 2:30am to get to the airport in time for a 5:30am departure to Orlando. This is our "tired but excited" selfie at the Columbus airport.
At the Orlando airport, we saw the Universal Store had Spidey on the wall. Since we don't really plan to visit Universal, this is likely the closest Tom will get to a Spidey meet-and-greet...until we go to Disneyland this July!
Off we went to board our Magical Express bus. I took another selfie on the bus to express my excitement and glee. There's nothing quite like the first day of a Disney trip.
Tom and I have recently discovered the vlogs of Justin Scarred, specifically his Randomland video series on his YouTube channel, Live Fast Die Poor. Justin is rather quirky, with a voice that can sometimes sound like PeeWee Herman, but his videos are entertaining and he is quite knowledgeable in Disney history, actually. Aaaanyway, all that to say that he has named the dime store Indians at the Disneyland and Disney World. Jimberly and Johnberly. Johnberly apparently likes to have his eye rubbed, so I took a photo of myself doing so.
Anyway, moving on from that strangeness. Tom and I have started the tradition of visiting Merida in the parks before anything else on our first day of a Disney trip. I love this vinyl "tapestry" of the characters from Brave that you pass by in her queue.
This trip, I had a set of Disney buttons to give out to the princesses. DeviantArtist PrincessBeautyCase created a series of Disney princess portraits with all of them wearing flower crowns, often themed to their films (for instance, Ariel's is all under-sea urchins, shells, etc). Merida seemed to love hers. I also had a button with the drawing I had done of her and her mum.
Disney hugs are some of the best hugs.
As we were walking out, I noticed that even the drain grates in Merida's little grotto are themed to her film. Of course they are. Disney, you don't miss a beat.
On our way out from Merida's grotto, we stopped for a castle photo together.
And heading toward the hub, we saw that the Move it, Shake it parade was going on. So Tom got to see his first in-person view of one of his favorite characters, Judy Hopps!
We meandered over to Main Street to check out the Christmas merchandise at the Emporium. And, with the theme of this trip apparently being noticing little things I missed before, I saw that in the center room of the Emporium, where the Christmas merchandise was, they have William Morris & Co. print wallpaper on the walls. (Sweet Briar)
(For those who don't know me, I'm passionately enthusiastic about the Victorian Pre-Raphaelites, of which William Morris was a related member of the second generation)
Tom and I had watched videos from the new Muppets show in Liberty Square, Great Moments in History (But Just the American Parts). We were so excited to meet the real Muppets. Especially after Tom had an early traumatizing experience in his childhood where a local mall advertised a "meet the Muppets" event in the paper. Little Tom got super excited and woke up that day after barely being able to sleep. He went to the mall, and they had...................animatronic Muppets. :( He was heartbroken, so getting to see the real Muppets was a big delight for him.
|There are Muppets behind me!!|
Our first fast pass of the day was for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. We always look so miserable on this ride, but it's because we both have intense "game faces" on as we shoot our lasers.
While we were in tomorrowland, we decided to ride the TTA/Peoplemover. I admit, a few of the vloggers we watch had expressed their appreciation for the TTA, and I didn't "get" the appeal until we rode it last spring. Now I get it. It makes for a nice relaxing spacer in a day filled with activity.
Later on, we went to the Storybook Circus area to meet Goofini, Donaldo, Daisy, and Minnie. These photos with Goofy were actually taken *after* the photos with Donald, even though we actually met Goofy first. But Goofy was so flirty and hilarious this visit, I got distracted and forgot to have the photographer scan my magic band. I didn't realize it until after we met Donald. They let us hop back over to Goofy to get a few snaps, and he was flirty again, making me laugh.
I'll be talking more about this little Mickey we had the characters sign in the post about our second day of our trip.
Minnie, however, wasn't thrilled with Tom's shirt choice. She insisted on a photo with him turned around to block the image on the front of his shirt.
But she came around, agreeing to take a regular photo with us.
We walked back to the hub and realized we were there very shortly before the next "Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire" castle show presentation. I was giddy to see this stage show, because a. it's new since the last time we visited b. I LOVED the videos I saw of it c. I am obsessed with Minnie's costume from this show and hope to recreate it to wear to D23 this summer (and to the parks whenever we get back there).
First while we waited, I grabbed us both our first Mickey ice cream sandwiches of the trip. Some people love Dole Whips, some love Nutella waffles...for us, the signature treat of Disney trips are the Mickey ice cream sandwiches.
And then there they were! The stage show was even more enjoyable in person, despite the fact that I've watched at least a half dozen videos of the show online.
And seeing it in person I was able to snap shots of details, like the layer of mustard yellow in Minnie's skirts.
Sadly I wasn't wearing my flower crown Minnie ears I made to match hers in this show, but Minnie still saw my flower crown ears and pointed to them, making a heart sign. I didn't catch that, but this was her acting excited right before she did it, looking at me. <3
Look at that dress!!! I love it so much.
We moseyed over to Frontierland and found a good (actually a great) spot to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. This little bird was cracking us up. As the parade was coming out and beginning, he was walking along the path, keeping pace with the first dancers, like the Grand Marshal of the parade. He kept this up for at least 20-30 feet.
Flynn saw Tom taking photos and gestured "are you ready?" to him. Tom nodded, and Flynn gave him a perfect smoulder to capture.
Love this shot of Ariel, indignant with her Dinglehopper.
Great shot of one of the thorns looking right at Tom.
My favorite parade costumes are the Rapunzel dancers. Tom prefers the Big Top girls, as seen below.
We went to meet Ariel in her Grotto. Tom lets me take the lead on this one when we meet her. Here she was admiring my flower crown ears and the tinsel in my hair.
I gave her two buttons: one with her flower crown portrait, and another that said "I woke up like I'm gonna need a dinglehopper to fix this mess." I told her with my long hair, I relate to that one.
I had her sign the Mickey, and explained that I keep the pens for signing inside of him (he's a zippered pencil case.) This was her saying "I like this girl, she's prepared!"
Excited over the buttons.
If you zoom in full-size, you can even see the buttons I gave her here.
Next we had a fast pass to meet Elena of Avalor, Disney's newest princess. I don't know a single thing about her, but we love meeting characters so I figured why not. And guess what? It wound up being one of the better meet and greets of our trip. First, it was magical to see Elena speaking and telling stories in flawlessly fluent Spanish to the family right in front of us. There are so many Spanish speaking people who visit Disney, it was a great idea for the parks to include an inclusive princess. But then it was our turn, and she perfectly transitioned to English. Instead of giving us what seemed like a pre-packaged story, we joked about the ears and the tinsel in my hair, and she talked about how amazing she finds the shoes kids are wearing that light up magically. She made some references to her story that we didn't get, but it was a fun meeting anyway. She gave us a good amount of time, and was truly lovely.
Not to mention, that DRESS! She was admiring my skirt here.
Cinderella has good days and bad days when we meet her. Our last trip in May was the best day we've ever had with her. Today, she seemed a bit underwhelming, especially since I was wearing an outfit themed to her, but she was pleasant and I have no complaints.
Rapunzel was charming, and we got to talk to her about Maximus, who Tom loves. I observed that we both love wearing flowers in our hair.
Tiana is always delightful. She loved her buttons. I gave her two: the flower crown one, and one that says "When we tell our kids the story of how we met, let's leave this part out" with a picture of her and Naveen as frogs with tongues tangled.
By this time, it was starting to get dark. Our first night there was one of the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party nights (a special ticketed event), so all regular parkgoers have to leave at 7pm.
Tom got a beautiful shot of the castle.
Thankfully, literally three days before our vacation, I was able to score a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. This was an especially big victory because there was only a 2-hour dinner window to grab a reservation for, since dinner starts at 5 and non-ticketed guests have to be gone around 7. It's our tradition to eat at Be Our Guest on the first night of our trip, and I was so glad we were able to continue that tradition.
We ate in the West Wing, as we always do, and both got the steak and pommes frites (fries), as we do.
For dessert, I got the eggnog cupcake. Which was satisfactory, but not overtly eggnoggy. I did love the chocolate syrup rose she drew on my plate. You can see they made the cupcake look like a mug, with a handle and a straw.
Tom got a lemon merengue with a strawberry syrup hidden Mickey.
After dinner, we went out to the ballroom, which I always love to visit on our dinner trips, even if the room itself is way too loud to be atmospheric for dinner itself. Anyway, there was a Beauty and the Beast themed Christmas tree right near the snowy windows. I loooove these stained glass ornaments of the characters!
I got a photo by the lovely tree.
I always curtsy when I meet Beast. It's only polite.
And then of course a hug.
With that, we left the park, escorted by a Be Our Guest cast member, since we were leaving a bit later than 7:00. I noticed the park was absolutely packed for the party that night, and I confess I got a little worried about how busy our own night at the Christmas party would be on the fourth evening of our trip. But we walked out of the park as carols played, and hopped on a bus back to Pop Century, where our luggage was waiting in our room to be unpacked. After we got settled, we walked over the bridge to visit our "home resort," Art of Animation, and picked up a few things in their resort store. Then we collapsed in bed and fell into the deep and happy sort of sleep that only comes on a Disney trip.
More to come! Day two is Epcot, and the Frozen Ever After 5k! Stay tuned.