A Magical Anniversary!

Even though our plan change had us arriving super late in the evening I’m so happy we did it because that meant we spent our entire 11th wedding anniversary park hopping instead of airport hopping!

We were at Magic Kingdom before 10:00a on Friday morning! It was before our flight would have even landed in Orlando. I actually didn’t expect to be in the park so early because I thought we’d sleep in a little later or visit the Contemporary Resort. Who am I kidding though? We’re Park people?! All of our FastPass+ reservations were for later at Epcot. I didn’t have much of a plan for Magic Kingdom but knew we’d find plenty to do in our favorite place.

Since there was no urgency in any of our plans we stopped to do something special for some friends at home. We went to City Hall for two birthday buttons for some very special twins that were celebrating their 1st birthday that day then we march across the way to Town Square Theater to meet Mickey & Minnie in the celebration outfits. The twins would be celebrating their birthday with a Mickey-themed party and they got a very special birthday message straight from the Mickey himself!

Disney did make a slight change to photography at this prominent character meet and added an automated photo box, instead of a live photographer. I was very saddened to see the box when we entered and overall not happy with some of the pictures that came from it, including me blocking the camera. A true PhotoPass photographer never took those shots. It’s been reported that the box has been removed from here but does exist at other locations. I have often posted the link on social media to a petition to #savethephotopass and still advocate it today because those photographers really make a lot of magic! In the end, we did end up with a good picture of the kids.

Picture by Disney PhotoPass

There was some more meandering down Main Street USA as we stopped to look in Cinema, a store that we’ve overlooked before. A friend was checking for a certain item that was only available in parks and I offered to check it out. Unfortunately, it was out of stock, but I enjoyed the detour into a new shop. As we stepped out we caught a few minutes of the new Move It, Shake It, MousekeDance It Parade as it was ending.

And then there was the Castle! We took some pictures and watched Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire before we made our way into Tomorrowland. I took the kids to Space Mountain and Grumpy decided to pass so he didn’t set his motion sickness off right away. Diva was so excited for her first ride!

picture by Disney PhotoPass

We spent the next two hours leisurely making our way around to some of our favorites! Buzz Lightyear’s Space Spin, The Barnstormer (only twice!), Dumbo, and trying cool off but not to get soaked at Casey Jr. Splash N’ Soak Station– well someone did want to get soaked.

We bought our first popcorn bucket– the best investment we could make!

Stopped at Gaston’s Tavern to catch a bit of a/c, ice cold water, and a few silly pictures in front of the establishment.

We also decided to do something we’d been avoiding on the two prior trips: ride it’s a small world! So it wasn’t that painful–but the song certainly was stuck in our head for a while. Our lunch reservation was approaching, but we had time for one quick Carousel ride and some fun pictures with the Sword in the Stone.

HUGE TRAVEL TIP ALERT!!!

Most people take this picture with Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel.

But turn around and take this instead!! (Even when the crane is in the background it’s still a great picture!)

A Royal Meal

Next up was a reservation that I’ve been saying I was going to make since before I ever stepped foot on Walt Disney World property: Cinderella’s Royal Table! Three and a half year’s later we were finally going.

I couldn’t be more excited to finally EAT IN THE CASTLE. I’m pretty certain Grumpy rolled his eyes at me and my giddiness. Diva shared in it though.

The restaurant was quite busy and we weren’t allowed to check in until exactly our scheduled meal time, even though Disney’s general rule is to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled dining time. We decided to just relax out of the sun in the covered breezeway and admire that beautiful mosaic artwork. (You can normally walk through this breezeway even without a reservation as long as there is not a show on the Castle stage.)

Full details of our meal experience will be in a forthcoming dining post, but overall it was a great way to celebrate! I absolutely loved our view too!

After the meal we took the best pictures in front of the Castle. I love when it looks like we are the only ones there!

It was time to head out but first we stopped at my favorite store the Confectionery for a few treats and then Peanut and Grumpy went to refill the popcorn bucket while Diva and I picked up my anniversary present!

It was a quick bus ride to our new resort. Oddly enough, I didn’t get a room ready notification and the app still hadn’t posted a room number either. We were a bit tired and I was disappointed to see a line at the front desk, even though it was prime check-in time. It was not too long, but still longer than any of us wanted to wait. Then as if they knew we had arrived at the hotel (they might actually!) I got the text notification and seconds later MyDisneyExperience notification that the room was ready. And it was exactly where I had requested to be!

We picked up our stroller and groceries and settled into the room. Grumpy and I closed our eyes for a few minutes. The kids were too excited by the newness of the room and curios to peer at the pool so they didn’t relax for a minute.

An Evening World Tour

About two hours after leaving Magic Kingdom, a very short “nap” (I think I dozed off for a couple minutes and I heard Grumpy snore at least once), and another bus ride later we arrived at Epcot. The kids could not wait to make it to Test Track. This was another first for Diva and for me! Some clouds were looming and we were watching the radar hoping the tiny storm that was brewing didn’t close the ride. We hear a couple of delay announcements and warnings about possible closure for bad weather. We lucked out though and had the best time. Diva designed the strangest vehicle I’ve ever seen. I didn’t realize that it would actually test and rank the designs. Her strange, little, orange things beat out every the other designs in every category: efficiency, responsiveness, power, and capability! It caused a lot of laughter.

The wait time was very low for Soarin’ so we jumped to the other side of Future World just to ride and then zipped back for a FastPass on Mission Space. We did the Green side and Grumpy was feeling a little woozy after exiting.

All of us were hungry. Dinner tonight was going to be a feast of samples at the International Food & Wine Festival! It was pretty dark by the time we were making our way into World Showcase so there are no food pictures, just this one of the Festival sign. (I really do miss the daylight hours of springtime.)

We stop at every menu to see what offerings were available. The first eye-catching item was in Africa: Kenyan Coffee Barbecue Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Corn Mealie Pap and Kachumbari Slaw. It was a little questionable, but I ordered it without the slaw since there was no chance any of us would eat it. There were several good size pieces of beef so each of us was able to have a couple. It had a bit of an after taste, but overall was very good. Even my little Peanut enjoyed it. We thought about ordering another, but wanted to keep trying new things.

Next booth with an appealing dinner-type item was Spain: Spanish-style Paella with Botifarra and Roasted Chicken. One bite and this was not my kind of food, but Grumpy and Diva enjoyed it.

Then we arrived at the Italy booth. One of every “entree” was ordered and we skipped the dessert items. Ravioli Carbonara, Balsamic-glazed and Oven-roasted Pork Ribs, and Pollo, Crispy Chicken with Marinara Sauce. The ribs were fattier than I would have preferred and not very Italian style, but they were still good. I devoured the Ravioli and the chicken was really just chicken fingers so the kids consumed them rather quickly.

We were eating next to the gelato stand so the only logical thing to do was to get ourselves some dessert. Everyone actually ate more than enough with those 5 dinner “snacks” and our gelato. It was a really great way to eat dinner and convenient use of the snack credits on our dining plan.

The evening end meeting with friends that were also in Epcot just to say hi for a few minutes. Peanut enjoyed a bit of the music from the Eat the Beat Concert featuring Tiffany. I had actually wanted to see some of the show, but the lack of sleep was catching up to all of us and it was time to call it a night.

It was one of our best anniversary celebrations ever!

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