So I left off when we were stuck in by the Move It Shake It Parade, a few minutes late for our lunch ADR (advance dinner reservation) at Crystal Palace. Thankfully, it was the end of the parade, so we arrived just 5 minutes late for the reservation. My heart sank when I walked up to Crystal Palace and saw how many people were standing outside, but I got in a very short line to check-in and our name was called about 15 minutes later. It was so hot and we were all exhausted, so the freezing air conditioning inside Crystal Palace almost instantly refreshed us all:
I really love this place, its so beautiful inside with all the windows and white, light colors. Despite the crowd of people outside, there was initially very few people inside the restaurant. The first couple of characters came by right away, while Wade was still at the buffet getting his food:
Hayden really enjoyed the characters, Emelyn – not so much. It was actually quite funny … she was in her high chair and Eeyore came up to her and got down on her level. Emelyn leaned back and looked stunned, like she didn’t know what was going on, then she screeched as loud as she could. It was really very funny because she just kept screeching – not crying, but this little scream over and over. Poor Eeyore tried to engage her and play peek-a-boo, but she wanted nothing to do with it:
Wade got back right when Piglet came. Emelyn was scared of him, too. Unfortunately, I had forgotten Hayden’s autograph book, so we just did hugs and photos during this lunch.
During this time, the restaurant filled up very quickly, so the last 2 characters took a lot longer to reach us. We enjoyed our food, especially the cold drinks and the desserts! I found that I was so exhausted and hot from the morning, that I couldn’t eat much. I don’t even remember what I ate. Wade had mentioned that the food was pretty good and Hayden, who doesn’t eat much when he’s sick, really only ate a small piece of pizza, some of this huge cookie and some orange soft serve.
Emelyn was pretty nervous the whole time, keeping her eye on the characters LOL The plate I had in this photo is my dessert plate which I had a lemon square and Boston Cream Pie, which was heavenly!!
My poor little boy, still not looking well…
Emelyn shared some chocolate ice cream with daddy, which she really loved!
Finally, Tigger made it to us! I wasn’t a big fan of Tigger because when he walked up to Emelyn, I said “She’s scared” and instead of trying to engage her like the other 2 did, he waved his hand at her like “Oh, forget it” and walked away. It came off as a bit rude and you could tell he was in a rush to get to the next table.
I had to have a picture of Emelyn’s reaction LOL
By this time, ironically, we were FREEZING! They had the a/c cranked all the way up in this place and the table where we sat seemed to get the full force of it. As soon as we took our Pooh picture, we headed out, the whole meal taking about an hour. Our original plan was to head back to the hotel for a break, but we hadn’t gotten a text that our room was ready and we actually felt quite refreshed after lunch, so we headed to Adventureland to hit some of the rides there. We pretty much abandoned our plan from here on out because it wasn’t necessary. We found every line to be very manageable and up to this point, didn’t even consider Fast Passes for anything!
As soon as we entered Adventureland, we ran into Rafiki, who had a short line, so Hayden and I jumped in for a photo with him. Then we headed for the Jungle Cruise. Hayden wound up with quite a few of these lanyard cards during the trip which the Cast Members use to time the waits. He always got excited when he had one:
I’ll stop here to talk about the birthday button for a second. Originally, our trip was planned for the week of Hayden’s 4th birthday because of the “What Will You Celebrate” campaign, but when Free Dining was offered, it ended 10 days before his birthday. I wanted to celebrate anyway and figured we’d celebrate Emelyn and Wade as well, since they are also in October. Poor Hayden seemed so confused, though, when people would tell him Happy Birthday, that I wound up taking off the button and forgetting about it the rest of the trip. We also had told the Crystal Palace CM that it was his birthday, but besides some confetti and streamers on the table, did not get any other recognition. Maybe it was because of how busy the restaurants were for free dining, but we just didn’t see any “birthday magic” that day.
From the time stamps on my photos, it looks like the wait for Jungle Cruise was a little under 15 minutes. Emelyn finally let Wade hold her for a bit and entertained herself by playing with daddy’s face:
Hayden was finally perking up a little bit:
I couldn’t get this kid to make a normal face for the camera the whole trip LOL
Our guide was Missy and while she had plenty of the typical corny Jungle Cruise jokes, she was a bit dead-pan. I found this was the case with most of our guides. I know it probably gets so boring and annoying to do the same act over and over, but I expected Disney Cast Members to be a bit better. You could just tell they were bored out of their minds and didn’t seem to enjoy their jobs. You just hear so much about how special Cast Members are and to be honest, there are hardly any from our trip that stick out in my mind.
Emelyn enjoyed our trip through the jungle, though!
After the Jungle Cruise, we checked out these Tiki’s … I only wanted to stand in the mist and was nervous that I’d get more than I bargained for, so we only stayed here for a few seconds!
Hayden really wanted to see the Tiki birds, but the next show was 15 minutes away, so we headed to check out Pirates, another walk-on. We stopped for waters and Hayden wanted some chips, then we headed to the Tiki Room.
Here’s a funny little story about once we were inside: Hayden had has chips on his lap and was eating them, staring up at the birds. The CM gave us her little speech about no photography, food, etc. so I told Hayden he couldn’t eat his chips. He looked at me like I was crazy, so I figured he’d keep eating them anyway. Once the show started, I looked over and he had this one little crumb between his fingers, stopped right by his mouth and he held it that way the WHOLE show. Apparently, I had stopped him mid-bite and he really took the warning seriously! That chip didn’t get eaten until we were outside LOL
Emelyn liked the show as well as Hayden and they were happy campers in their stroller once it was done (well, Hayden doesn’t look so happy) We had conquered Adventureland and it was time to head to Frontierland!
Once we reached Frontierland, we grabbed some FP for Big Thunder Mountain. Neither of us wanted to get wet, so we skipped Splash Mountain and headed to the Haunted Mansion to kill some time before our FP window. I was so excited about Haunted Mansion, but a little afraid that it would scare Hayden, so I didn’t say anything about what it was in the line. We didn’t wait long, I think we may have walked right into the stretching room because I don’t recall seeing much of the queue. Hayden got a bit nervous in the stretching room when the lights went out and later, said that this ride scared him, but I enjoyed it. One of my favorites, so much nostalgia! Oh, and Emelyn had fallen asleep before we even got on the ride.
After the HM, we noticed everyone was lining up for the parade, so we found a spot close to the Hall of Presidents and waited for the Celebrate Parade. This is also a cute parade, I love seeing all of the characters in it. I was laughing at one of the dancers because she was obviously watching her shadow the whole time she was dancing … Wade said maybe she liked that it made her look skinny :-) Emelyn was still asleep so I walked back and forth from the parade and through the gift shop in Liberty Square, trying to keep her cool. Wade took lots of photos of the parade, here are a few:
Genie and Jafar having a stand-off:
My favorite princess, though this Belle wasn’t as pretty as the one at Epcot:
After standing in the sun for the parade, we were in serious need of some rest and a/c, so it was off to the Hall of Presidents. I knew this one would get Hayden and I was right. He fell asleep about 5 minutes into the show and Emelyn had woken up, so we carried him out and put them both in the stroller. It was time for Big Thunder Mountain!
We headed to Frontierland, stopping for water and grapes, and I found a nice shady spot to park the kids while Wade took his turn at BTM. We also stopped for Splash Mountain FP just in case we changed our mind, but we wound up giving them away later. When I saw this photo, I was shocked because I couldn’t believe he’d pull out my camera to take a photo on that ride, but he said that they were stopped for some reason:
I entertained Emelyn by feeding her grapes and playing with the spray mister while we waited for Wade. Hayden stayed asleep the whole time. I took my turn when Wade was done, then we felt like we had done enough and it was about 4:30 by this point and the room should have been ready for us. We took the bus back to ASMo, Hayden sleeping the whole time. Once we got back to the hotel and parked by our building (Fantasia Building 5), we realized we didn’t know what room number we were in. It wasn’t written on any of the paperwork and we were so exhausted and aggravated that this almost caused me quite a meltdown. We FINALLY found a number for the hotel to call and they told us our number (Rm. 5954) so we got ourselves and all of our luggage up to the room and settled in.
I really liked the location of the room except for how far we had to walk from the parking lot to bring up luggage. I got lost a couple of times because we were near so many buildings that looked the same. Other than that, we were only steps away from the pool and Cinema Hall. We were at the very end, a corner room on the 3rd floor, overlooking the Love Bug courtyard where the Winner’s Circle is. I was glad we had an end room so we only had to worry about one neighbor. Once you turned out of the elevator, you just walk through the big Sorcerer hat and there everything was, it was very convenient. Very quiet as well.
Since both of the kids had taken decent naps and we were feeling pretty good, we decided to grab some dinner at the food court then head back to Magic Kingdom to hit a couple of rides and watch Wishes. One thing we learned from that first meal was the children’s counter service meals are not distinguished from adults so we wound up buying all adult meals and sharing between Hayden and I. He was eating very little and wasting what we’d get for him, so it worked out perfectly for us. That first night, before I knew this, I grabbed a child’s chicken nugget meal with french fries and grapes and Wade had a burger with fries. I think we had cookies for dessert.
After dinner, we hopped on the bus for Magic Kingdom, around 7:30 and arrived at Monster’s Inc by 8pm. Hayden was definitely feeling better by this time, after his nap.
We all enjoyed the Monster’s Inc show and Emelyn made it up on the screen when Sully said “Wanna know what’s cute? A baby human!” I was glad they cut off my face, I didn’t want to be on that huge screen! We all laughed really hard at the show, too cute!
After this, Wade insisted on trying Stitch’s Great Escape, which I thought would be too scary for Hayden, but he really wanted to take him on it. Emelyn was fading pretty quickly, so I decided to take her on the TTA (another of my faves!). I LOVE this ride at night; all the lights of Tomorrowland and the cool nighttime breeze, it was so relaxing. Once we got off, Emelyn fell asleep in her carrier and we walked around waiting for Wade and Hayden to come out of Stitch. They came out about 10 minutes before Wishes, so we rushed to find a spot. I had planned on finding that terrace in Tomorrowland to sit and watch it, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there, so we wound up on the bridge from Tomorrowland to the hub. I didn’t realize how low the fireworks are, so once they started, we couldn’t see a thing because there was a tree in the way. We made our way a little closer to the Hub, but still didn’t have a great view.
We were able to see Tinkerbell fly right over our heads, though! Hayden loved that part! Emelyn woke up a little during the fireworks, but sometime during our long, slow walk out and the wait for the bus, she fell back asleep. It took us about an hour to make our way down Main Street and catch the bus back, I think we were on the 5th bus to All Star Movies.
That concludes our first wonderful, full day in Magic Kingdom! Looking back, this was BY FAR my favorite day. The kids were so good and it felt like we got so much accomplished. I guess b/c of the way MK is designed, there are so many rides in concentrated areas, so you get a lot done, quicker. There was also a lot more for the kids to do, which was great! Growing up, Epcot was always my favorite park and Magic Kingdom my least favorite, but that all changed during this trip!
Up Next … a day at Epcot! Would it continue to rank high among the parks? Would we get to Soar? How did Hayden get lipstick on his cheek??