--and on the monorail and at the park by 9:00 am. By this second day at Magic Kingdom, we also knew exactly what we wanted to do. This mostly consisted of riding roller coasters--
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--I honestly can't tell you how many times we rode this ride! Six, maybe?|
|How many times can two kids ride Dumbo?|
|Willow was in love with Prince Charming's Regal Carousel.|
--and checking out the couple of rides that we somehow missed the day before:
|We made up for missing The Jungle Cruise the previous day by riding it twice in a row.|
This day, however, mainly seemed to revolve around meeting every single character in Disney World twice more. I want to say that it was the girls who were completely character focused, but by this point in our trip, I'd fallen in love with watching the characters interact with my kids (not as much as this other mom with toddler sons who we eavesdropped on in the monorail, who was telling another stranger all about their own princess breakfast, and naming which character had given each son his "first kiss"--ewww!)--so sweet, and the girls were always SO entranced, and the fangirl in me loved hearing each face character's patter that interpreted her own back story.
Not only did we attend the Cinderella's Royal Table character breakfast in Cinderella's Castle--
|Breakfast was tasty, and although I'd been afraid of feeling rushed, what with all the character meetings, we had plenty of time to eat.|
|The decor? Also fabulous!|
This was our second time meeting Cinderella (this morning!)
--our second time meeting Belle (yes, this morning!)--
|See what I'm talking about with the Photopass photographers' giant cameras?|
--our third time overall meeting Aurora (and did the kids ever seem to notice a difference? Nope!), but it was our first time meeting Rapunzel:
|She was adorable--she asked the girls if they'd journeyed far to see her, and when they said that they had, she asked them if they'd brought their frying pans!|
Of course, all this scheduled character interaction does not mean that we passed up ANY opportunites to meet characters on the street--
--EVEN if we've already met that same character three (four?) times already!
I had a fabulous time accompanying the girls to meet all of these characters, because there was some sort of unspoken agreement on this day that every single face character would 1) compliment my children on their manners and 2) compliment me on their homemade Snow White dresses. How thrilling, right? One CM even chased us down in Tomorrowland to tell me that she had actually had that same sheet set as a child! It was super-cute that they all asked if Snow White had seen their outfits yet--I sort of thought about searching her out (I could have easily asked any CM to call and find her for us), but nixed the idea as too much trouble on such a lovely day when there were so many other fun things to do.
Cinderella's Castle looked glorious in the sunshine, and I'm pretty sure that I forced my children to pose in front of it on every side:
This was in addition, of course, to the show that takes place in front of the castle, which we also enjoyed:
One interesting fact of note is that the previous day had been Matt's birthday. He got presents from me, yes, but no carrot cake or kid-made crafts or work-sponsored birthday dinner. His main birthday celebration was SUPPOSED to consist of him stopping by Guest Services as soon as he entered the park that morning, on his way to meet me and the girls after our YES class, and receiving a birthday button from them. It says "I'm Celebrating My Birthday!", and Guest Services writes your name on it, and all the CMs that you pass that whole day wish you a happy birthday by name.
Pretty awesome, right? Well, Matt thought that it sounded kind of lame, and he claimed that he'd seen the birthday buttons around but hadn't noticed anybody getting wished a happy birthday because of them, so he figured he'd just skip it.
Want to guess what he then had to hear me bitch about for the next 24 hours?
Yep, the fact that he'd ruined his birthday and didn't want to have any fun and it certainly wasn't MY fault if he didn't have a festive birthday!
So on this day, Matt snuck off to go to the bathroom early on and came back with... a birthday button! Personally, I was still outraged, since it was not his birthday but the day AFTER his birthday, but I garnered sweet revenge from the fact that every single CM that we passed all day (and many park guests, too!) said "Happy Birthday, Matt!" Matt got told to have a happy birthday a hundred times, easily, and possibly even double that. One guy even sang. And finally, FINALLY Matt admitted that yeah, it actually was pretty awesome, after all.
This guy, performing in a show on Main Street, wished Matt a happy birthday, but only after thoroughly enchanting Sydney, first:
I don't think an hour went by while we were on Disney property that I wasn't amazed by how friendly, helpful, or just generally awesome the Disney CMs were. If one of them didn't know how to solve a problem, such as when a Fastpass machine only spit out three Fastpasses after I'd inserted all four of our tickets, it didn't take an entire minute before someone was found who could open up the back of the machine and grab another Fastpass for me. CMs at ride entrances high-fived the kids as they passed the gates. Princesses gasped, held their gloved hands to their hearts, and beamed upon meeting the girls, as if their presence had just made their day. Ride operators who'd seen us a couple of times already often offered us shortcuts back to the front of the ride or let us stay on the same ride while it re-loaded. At one point, when Matt and Willow were in the bathroom, Sydney wandered a few feet away from where I was sitting to check out a couple of CMs who were playing with bubble-blowing guns while they manned their respective kiosks. When they saw her there, both CMs immediately aimed their bubble guns at her and let her run around and chase their bubbles until she got tired.
But that's not even the best part of that story. Here's the best part:
Look at that CM's face! Doesn't she look like she's having as good of a time as Sydney with those bubbles? One thing about being a parent is that you're kind of obsessed with how great your kids are. Even if you never admit this, you secretly want everyone to notice how cute and nice and funny your kids are, and to be as utterly charmed by them and in love with them as you are, and it always kind of sucks just a little bit because nobody ever does.
But at Disney, everyone who works there acts like they notice how cute and funny and nice your kids are, and they act like they're utterly charmed by them and just absolutely love them. It's intoxicating.
Magic Kingdom's version of the Jedi Training Academy is Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial. Syd wasn't into this one, but Willow was all about learning to be a pirate!
|Pirate CMs took the kids on a little parade around the grounds a few minutes before the show began.|
Of course, Sydney got so jealous sitting in the audience with us while Willow fought pirate-style that afterwards she jumped right on the stage with all the other kids to take the pirate oath, too:
And then, well, since we're over there, might as well ride Pirates of the Caribbean a couple more times!
Sydney spent the very last dregs of her spending money on an Aurora doll (her favorite princess, ya know!), and I bought each of the girls a seven-pack of princess panties, with a different princess per panty. Can't have too many underpants! Matt and I never ended up purchasing anything for ourselves, and Willow came away from Disney with plenty of spending money left unspent, that clever girl.
Over the five days of our trip, we'd often joked that Willow was taking her own personal tour of the water fountains of Disney World. Our girl loves to be well hydrated, and she had to stop and drink from Every. Single. Water fountain. You don't realize how many water fountains there are at Disney World until you have a kid who seeks them out!
After a while, we all got into the game, pointing out any water fountains that we saw so she could run and drink from them. This particular water fountain that we spotted on one side of Cinderella's Castle on our way out of the park is the most elaborate that we found:
Strangely fitting that it was our last "official" Disney activity, then!
We had so much more fun at Disney World than I ever thought that we would (and I thought that we'd have a LOT of fun!), but our five days there was so much more exhausting, physically AND mentally (so overstimulating!), than I'd ever expected.
The next day, we drove to the beach. I called our days there our Disney recovery!