Vacation Day 7: Back to MK
We had an early reservation (before park opening) for the Crystal Palace (CP) which is inside the park. The great thing about having a pre opening reservation is the opportunity to walk up Main Street with it practically empty and get practically empty park photos :-) After hitting up every photopass person along the way we headed to breakfast.
Crystal Palace is a character meal with Pooh and Friends. I'd read mixed reviews about the food quality but I thought it was fine. Anytime I'm presented with all I care to eat lox, capers and red onions, I'm a happy camper. As expected, G loved the characters. We did have one issue with Piglet who, believe it or not, gave me a tude. I know it seems hard for a giant stuffed character to be actively rude but he (she??? heck I don't know who's in there) was. It was so bad that Bobby actually considered complaining but finally didn't. G didn't really seem to pick up on it much although she was aware that Piglet took off without even giving her a hug which is a big deal to her. The good news is, about 45 mins later Piglet reappeared and was really nice to her and interacted quite a bit --a different Piglet obviously --so things ended on a high note.
With it being September (kids in school and hotter than the hinges of hell) the parks are really empty. Most rides were a walk on today which is nice. I'd read on the Disney blog that they were doing testing/previews for the new Enchanted Tales With Belle attraction. I guess it was actually going on the other day when we were there but I didn't notice. I saw some people walk through the door in the wall but wasn't sure what was happening. Armed with my Disney blogs knowledge, we marched up to the guy manning the door-in-the-wall and asked if they were doing testing today and, if so, could we participate. He said he "wasn't sure if they were doing it today or not". I pressed him a bit and he finally admitted that there could "possibly" be testing going on that day and, if there was, it could "possibly" be happening in the next 20 mins or so. Bingo!!! As it turned out we ended up being the second family through the door.
The new attraction is super cute! I'm a Belle lover and it did not disappoint. The detail in the "cottage" part of the attraction is really good. G was fascinated by all the stuff in there and wanted to touch it all. The animatronics (Wardrobe and Lumiere) are awesome!!! I also liked that its not a show but rather an interactive attraction where the kids get to be up and participating. The cast members are going to have to be on their toes though because when little children become part of the show you can never be too sure what will happen. Anyway, it was so cute that we actually jumped the rope on our way out and did it again --don't tell!
Even with my untrained eye, I could see some problems with the mechanics of the whole thing. People are going to want to take pictures and there's really not an opportunity for that. The kids sit on the floor and the parents on benches behind. If you're not sitting in the front/middle part of the bench you cannot snap a photo of your kid. They have a photopass person there but a lot of people aren't going to want to use that because it costs money. And, they hand you a group photopass card on the way out but I didn't even realize that's what it was. It had a pic of Belle on it. I thought it was just a little give away and may have tossed it or let G play with it which guarantees it will be lost. The other problem I see is that if you don't participate in the show by volunteering you will not have a picture taken with Belle. Some smaller or more shy kids may not want to participate in the show but will be bummed that they won't get to have a moment with Belle. As soon as she's done she leaves the room and they politely but very insistently skooch everyone out of the room. It will be interesting to see how Disney deals with these issues.
Anyway, after Belle we took advantage of the short ride lines and spent lots of time seeking AC and cool drinks. Finally having filled up another MK day with fun, we were off to dinner.
Dinner was Mickey's Backyard BBQ at the Ft Wilderness Lodge campgound. Getting out there was a bit of a production. We have a car but you still have to park and then take their bus into the campgrounds. The BBQ food was really good. I mean its BBQ food (mac and cheese, ribs, chicken, cornbread, etc) but it was really tasty BBQ food. There was also a big freezer with all you care to eat mickey ice cream bars. For anyone who has never had one, you're missing something. They are fantastic!!! The entertainment was, not surprisingly, country themed: western singing, rope twisting, etc but we were there for the characters!!! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Chip & Dale in western wear. It was super cute but wow!! I have never seen anything so chaotic in my life.
The kids were invited out to dance with the characters. Everyone was crowded around trying to take pictures, etc. and it was a complete mad house. I saw one of the chipmunks literally plow down a little boy who was probably not yet two. Craziness I tell you. Overall, it was a fun time and G really did enjoy herself. She was chosen by the emcee to do some sort of announcement which she loved :-) Even with all the positives, I don't think this is something I would repeat, mostly due to the cost. I think its so expensive because they have unlimited beer and wine but, for us, that's not a selling point and having to fight to get a moment with the characters is not that fun.
Once the BBQ was over, G was pretty much done. It had been a super long day. Again, fun but exhausting.
Tons of pix from MK:
An empty MK is a wonderful MK!
At the Crystal Palace... G loves Tigger. They bounced A LOT!!
With "tude" Piglet
The restaurant wasn't very busy so Pooh made his way around a few times. I think G could hug on him all day long. She just loves him!
They do a parade around the room with the characters every so often. G was thrilled she got to hold Pooh's hand. I'm pretty sure she maneuvered herself in front of another kid for the honor.
In front of Belle's cottage. The way its landscaped and situated you really do get the impression that you've happened upon it out in the woods. I'm not sure the feeling would be the same if you'd just waited in line for an hour but for us, walking in pretty much alone, it worked!
That's the Beast's castle up on the hill
G was excited to see that she was the same height as Belle was when she was 6! G thinks of herself as being quite tall :-)
In the background is a portrait of Belle and her mother. I loved that!
Wardrobe's facial movements are very impressive.
The Lumiere candalabra seems real
First time through, G was a magic mirror (laughing mirror??) can't remember exactly.
Second time through she wanted to be Philippe the horse. When they asked for a volunteer who could neigh, G neighed super loud and jumped up and down kind of like she had at the pirate tutorial thing a few days earlier. She was picked!
Again with the carousel
Thought it would be fun to post a photo of how empty Fantasyland was11:43am. Crazy empty.
haha! G loved the theme queue for Pirates
Visiting with the fairies. The following day they would switch out Vidia for Periwinkle (Tink's sister) and transition to their winter wear.
I love the expression on G's face in this picture. I think it shows how much she truly enjoys her interactions with the characters.
Dancing with Minnie several hours later at the Backyard BBQ.
Minnie cowgirl dress by this seller was a huge hit! She really was adorable. The light up tiara hat and pink boots from Target were the perfect finishing touches. G love, love, loved wearing it!
Getting a picture with the characters during the dance party was nearly impossible.
The only official photo op of the evening. Check out Minnie's boots!
See Bobby's sunglasses tucked into the right pocket of his shorts??? Last time they'd ever be seen...