Travel, Walt Disney World

2014 DisneyWorld Day Three: The Grey Stuff

Have you heard of Magic Bands yet? Leah has.

Disney is replacing the Keys to the World plastic cards that have longed served as room keys/park tickets/room charge/fastpasses with new RFID/NFC bracelets that serve all the same purposes and more called Magic Bands. When we were here in September, our resort was part of a test, and our resort this time around is part of a larger test, so we’re using MB’s for the second straight trip. We each got to pick out our own color MB before the trip and they’re personalized with our name so we can keep them straight. All four of them work to get into the hotel and hotel room, but only the adult ones work as room charges, etc. This morning as we were getting ready to head out, Leah says “I need my Mickey bracelet, so I can get my money!”, which had us all dying.

We arose without incident this morning for our relatively early breakfast date at 8:05 at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle at Magic Kingdom. We got everybody dressed and sent the two kids down to the lounge to grab a snack while we made sure we had all the necessities for the morning packed up. I followed shortly behind the girls, who apparently had been running back and forth down the hallway, because this is the condition I found Leah in:

After a quick diaper change, we hopped aboard Monorail Bronze for the sunrise trip around the Seven Seas Lagoon, where we had great views of both the Grand Floridian and Contemporary Resorts.

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One of the great things about dining with Cindy is that an early reservation like this gets you into the park an hour before the park opens, so you get to walk down Main Street USA in an nearly deserted state, which makes for fun pictures. Down one of the side streets, they were wrapping up a video shoot but I didn’t take any pictures of that.

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We got our picture with Cinderella in the hall and then headed upstairs for the important part – breakfast. I once again forgot to take pictures. I think electroshock or frontal lobotomy are likely the only things that will condition me to remember “photograph, then eat”, since I’m working against a lifetime of “eat, then anything else” conditioning. We were seated very quickly, and Leah’s breakfast of French Toast sticks arrived, along with OJ for the table and various pastries. Aly didn’t get to order, but was brought two FT sticks, scrambled eggs, and two bacon strips. The adults are allowed to order from a short menu; I chose a stuffed FT (duh!), and Rachel chose a traditional breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausage and other stuff I don’t remember because I didn’t take any pictures. See how that works? Aly set to work on her activity kids’ menu while Leah got to work coloring.2014_01_13_16659 2014_01_13_16661 2014_01_13_16662 2014_01_13_16664

The first royal princess to be announced was Snow White, and Leah couldn’t way to show the fairest of them all her coloring work.


I don’t understand how Aly can look so sweet in some of these pictures, yet have the venomous tongue of a demon-child most of the rest of the time.

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When Aurora came over next, Leah immediately started asking about Aurora’s crown and necklace, and Aurora ate that up. The ensuing conversation was pretty funny.

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I told Aly that only girls who show real effort have a chance to pull the sword out of the stone. I think she actually tried!

Leah kind of mailed it in though.


After that, we walked straight back to Peter Pan’s Flight and Aly’s negative attitude popped back up when we got in line as she said something like “Why are we getting in this awful horrible line?” and I saw “This is the shortest line we’ve ever been in for Peter Pan. If this is any longer than ten minutes, I’ll buy you a Mickey Bar for second breakfast.”

Of course, she was only angrier when it ended up being nine.


Leah was a bit spooked about it being a dark ride, even though she’s ridden it several times before, so we knew exactly what must be done next.

This next section brought to you by the generous donations of Douglas A.R. Goudie

Generous donation of hatred, that is. My brother cannot stand it’s a small world, which of course means I love dragging him onto it whenever I have the chance. Or calling him and leaving a voicemail for the entire length of the ride whenever I have the chance. Or similar tomfoolery whenever I remember to.

Leah does not share her Uncle Monkey’s feelings about it’s a small world and thoroughly enjoys Mary Blair’s creation. Leah’s sister, on the other hand, aligns more closely with Uncle Doug, as you can see.


The rest of these IASW photos are generously inspired by my brother Doug, so please be sure and let him know if you enjoyed them, or if you’ve ever enjoyed the IASW ride. If you can recall a few bars of the tune, call him and sing it to him or his voicemail – it will make both of your days, trust me on that.

Anyway, IASW did have the desired effect on Leah’s mood and had her begging to do it again. Sanity prevailed and we did not ride it again today, though I’m sure we will ride it again this trip. Leah also announced that she was hungry, so we fed her some Froot Loops swiped from the lounge. I also sent Aly to use the bathroom, which earned me 5 full minutes of haranguing like “this is the worst day of my life” and “I hate you.” I did get to watch a mid-teens boy follow her down the entranceway into the ladies room before he realized his mistake and make a quick turn, so that almost made up for it.


After that, we walked over to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, where the girls played their way through the line until we got halted at one point. We were looking at the Seven Dwarves ride, so I started asking the CM some questions about it. She said it would be opening this Spring, possibly in May. I asked whether the train was running in testing, and she said yes, they just started testing it with weight in the cars – which is cool. This is going to be one awesome ride and I won’t spoil the surprise for those of you that don’t know yet.


After Pooh, we headed over to Dumbo and played in the indoor queue for about 15 minutes, even though there was no wait.2014_01_13_168932014_01_13_168972014_01_13_16901


We all rode and then took a few pictures outside after the ride, then headed back to find a few more characters for pictures.



One of the new character areas in New Fantasyland has Daisy and Minnie as Fortune Tellers, and we’ve never done that before, which Lele got a kick out of. Aly, it’s hard to tell, as usual.


Next up, we did something we always do, Dole Whips (!), followed by something else we’ve never done before, meeting the fairies. The timing was great, because the stage show was happening in front of the castle, so we knew there would be almost no line for the fairies, and we were right. We waited about 15 minutes, despite the 30-minute posted wait time, and 15 minutes was fine, because we were eating our pineapple float Dole Whips! We saw Tinkerbell and Periwinkle, and they were a blast with both girls. Funny and cute, Periwinkle even gave Leah’s stuffed animals hugs after Leah introduced them to her.2014_01_13_169632014_01_13_169752014_01_13_169852014_01_13_169942014_01_13_170072014_01_13_170112014_01_13_17013





We then started making our way out of the park, because this was planned as a split day with two trips into MK and a pool break in the middle.


As we passed the circle near the train station at the main park entrance, we saw character Marie, the kitty who Leah had gotten as a stuffed animal the day before, and we knew that tired Leah would want to see her, but she had a really long line. As we made our way around the circle, I saw Marie leave the greeting and go back behind city hall for her “five minute break”, so we hung around hoping for a peak of Marie so we wouldn’t have to wait in line, knowing that we wouldn’t get a picture and autograph. It worked! Big Marie spotted baby Marie and came over to pick her up and gave her a hug and kiss, and that was good enough for Lele.




We hustled the girls out to the monorail and back to the hotel. The three girls headed out to the pool while I dealt with 448 pictures from the morning, then joined them for a swim.

More monorail, more Magic Kingdom

We got cleaned back up and ready for heading back to MK. But before that, I decided that it was time to give Leah her first birthday present of the trip. Well, I should clarify. We’d already bought her a Marie, Roo, and Piglet, but I mean a wrapped birthday present from the suitcase that we brought with us from home. See, her actual birthday is Saturday, and we brought presents for everyday, but we’ve been so busy so far that we haven’t had much time to actually give her any presents yet. Present #1 was the cute blue bird from Sofia the First. Which she never let out of her sight tonight. Except, of course, when she dropped it on the floor and cement several times. You’ll see it in the Belle pictures later on.

We headed into Tomorrowland hoping to ride Buzz before dinner, but it had a 30min wait, so we headed over to the dance party where Frozone, Elastigirl and Mr Incredible were boogeying down, which Leah liked, but only from a distance, so we headed on towards dinner.

Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!


New Fantasyland has an excellent new restaurant named Be Our Guest, which we loved when we first tried it in September, so we were quite pleased to come back tonight. We checked in and waited on the bridge, where Aly climbed up a light pole and put on a sulking face (one of the few manufactured ones) to match a gargoyle.


Even though this restaurant has been open for only a few months, they’re making changes all over the place. Our buzzer went off right away and when they came to bring us into the restaurant and to our table, they brought us candelabra and handed it to Aly for her to carry as we made our way through the main dining room.

2014_01_13_17042This was new since our last time, and a cool touch. Leah thought the regular restaurant pager was a cool touch, though, and was not willing to give it back, so we kept it for half our meal. We did an okay job with the food picture thing this time around, and I even took a picture of a non-food item, the rose-folded napkin!


We ordered quickly, as we were hungry, despite eating most of the day. Aly ordered the spaghetti.


I started off with the divine potato leek soup, which I had also ordered in September, but I forgot to photograph. Sorry! Leah, predictably, had fries, no photograph necessary – except that the fries here are not your ordinary fries and are to die for, truly to die for, if you recall the adoration I poured upon them in September.

There is good news, though! I ordered the same steak I ordered in September, and I did take a picture of the steak, which comes with fries.


Also, Rachel had a salad trio appetizer, which is neither photographed nor pictured, but (wait for it), she did have potato leek soup for her main course, and we did photograph it, lol.



Aly, who does not like any soup, nor typically anything creamy, loves this soup. Literally was hounding Rachel for her soup after I made her try a bite towards the end of my bowl. We all enjoyed our meals very much, but of course it’s all a setup for

The grey stuff

which we tried and loved in September, and Aly ordered right away when our fantastic server brought the dessert cart (it’s not a tray) by our table. Note the hidden Mickey in strawberry sauce at the top right corner of the plate.


Leah and I were of the same mind when the desserts where shown to us: we must have the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. And oh my lordy lord, were we right. The grey stuff was delicious. Was. The grey stuff was a 10 before, but the cupcake made it a 4 now. The cupcake is up there among the best desserts I’ve ever had, and once I gave Aly, who doesn’t like anything strawberry, a taste, she never touched the grey stuff again.


Marriages could be broken up, countries could fall, CEOs would give up their golden parachutes over this cupcake. It is that good. I just had a moment there remembering it. Thank you unknown pasty chef and server Julie, you have impacted lives on this night.

Leah was overtired and Rachel was overfull, so they headed outside while Aly went into the West Wing to watch the magic of The Rose, so I could hoard the remaining quarks of the cupcake and pay our bill. Then Aly and I got our Beast pics in and met the girls outside, so we could move on to the next attraction.

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 There are many things at DisneyWorld we’ve never done

People are always surprised by that. They think you can do everything at WDW in 4 days, or 7 days. I tell them that we’ve been here umpteen (it’s German) times, and there are still many things we’ve never done. After dinner, we walked right next door to Enchanted Tales with Belle, where we had conveniently booked a FastPass+ reservation for just that time. Again, this is something we had never done before, and I had never read about online, so we didn’t know at all what to expect. There are some pretty good surprises here, so I’ll try to not to post spoilers, but let’s just say that people can volunteer to be in a show with Belle, and both of our kids volunteered, which meant that Rachel got volunteered, too.

Aly was Mrs Potts, and Rachel/Leah were both salt & pepper shakers. We walked out of it saying it was awesome!

2014_01_13_17071 2014_01_13_17079 2014_01_13_17091 2014_01_13_17094 2014_01_13_17097We still had some time before Wishes started at eight, so the girls rode the carousel while I shot some photos, and then we all took in Philharmagic, which was amazing as it always is. Leah actually made it through the whole show, which was great. She got stressed around the time she usually does (Simba), but she didn’t bail out, which made it more fun for all of us. She did think we were underwater during the Ariel scene and kept shouting “I don’t want to be underwater!” in her angry voice.

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We then had only a 4-minute wait for Wishes to begin. In our morning walk to the castle, we had pointed out to Aly the wire that Tinkerbell uses to fly from the castle to Tomorrowland, and then we’d walked under it again in Tomorrowland when we entered the park tonight. But as we looked at the wire right before the fireworks began, we noticed a mylar balloon was tangled around the wire about 40 feet from the castle and we wondered if that meant that Tinkerbell wouldn’t be flying tonight. Sure enough, no Tink on this night. The fireworks were awesome, although we were in a weird place to watch them because they were going off all around us and we kept having to spin around to see them all. Also, we were getting smoke and ash in our eyes, which is not ideal for tired cranky kids, but oh well, we danced with them when the song played at the end and all was well, except for cramming into the sardine can monorail.

We made it back safely though, and if you’ve read this far, you’ll be rewarded with something completely unexpected: more food pictures! As we arrived back into the lounge around 9, dessert was out and we had three options tonight: mickey napoleons, mickey brownies, and chocolate ganache cups.

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