Archive for September, 2014

Walt Disney World – Day 5 (The Extended Post)

Epcot – Round Two!  Yes, we are an odd family, and Epcot is my kids’ favorite park.  Go adores the Kidcot stations, while the older boys like the Agent P missions and the World Showcase.  We had decided to start the day late.  The park didn’t open until 9 am, and we were SO tired from the night before, that we all slept until 7:30 am.  Instead of a fancy breakfast, we had apple juice and pop-tarts in the room, then upon arriving at Epcot we had Starbucks for breakfast.  (YUM!)  No rushing, and we still made it to Epcot at opening and parked on the second row.

 

Good Morning, Epcot!

Good Morning, Epcot!

Our first stop (second, if you count Starbucks) was for B10, CW, and I to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.  The line was non-existent, and it was nice to get pictures with the Head Cheese himself.

 

Goofy

Goofy

Minnie

Minnie

We <3 Mickey!

We ❤ Mickey!

PhotoPass_Visiting_EPCOT_7049042965Pictures were great, and we made a quick run to “The Sea” to ride the Nemo Rides.  After that, the boys remembered in 2010 they did a ride called “The Sum of All Thrills”.  Basically, you create your own rollercoaster, then ride a simulator (that even goes upside down) to “ride” your creation.  GO was too short, so we let B10 and CW play, while we hung our in the Innovations area.  There are lots of areas with hands-on stuff for littles.  This is NOT a short line, because max capacity is only 150 people per hour – and one of their four simulators was down.  BUT – we got it done before the World Showcase opened up.

The next stop was Mexico.  I have never been inside the Mexico Pavilion, and it was really cool!  We rode the Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, which was cute.  Plus, it was a nice ride for GO and Went.  Rain seemed immanent (we pulled out our ponchos to cover our strollers), and the boys and I ran over to the Baby Station with Went to change him, while Auntie M and GO hung out at the Kidcot Station.  This was one of the times when we realized that you MUST give CW explicit instructions (and make him repeat them back to you).  Luckily, Auntie M and I carry cell phones.  Otherwise we would have been searching for each other for who knows how long.  We had a 12:10 pm lunch reservation at The Coral Reef, which we made with no problem.

Coral Reef  Restaurant

Coral Reef Restaurant

Went was NOT impressed with lunch in any capacity.  He didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to sit still, didn’t want any of Auntie M’s Diet Coke or straw.  He was not the only angry toddler in the restaurant, but I try (especially in nicer places) to not allow my child to be a distraction to others.  When our entrees came, I took Went outside and put him in his stroller to walk around the area.  About ten minutes later, B10 came out (he had finished his lunch), and Went was already asleep.  B10 continued to walk in a circle, while I went back inside to eat my entree.  (I have a super wonderful oldest son!)  Like most restaurants, the menu is posted outside, so I was able to order B10’s dessert, and then trade off with him when it came.

Went continued to nap as we headed back to the World Showcase.  We were on a search for a Duffy Bear and for Duffy clothes.  Between that and Meeting Mulan – that was my only real plan for the day.  The skies were grey, but not pouring rain, so our walk to China was pleasant.  Mulan was out (YAY!) and GO and I quickly got in line.  A quite rude Handler let us know that he didn’t think we would get to see Mulan, as she only had 20 minutes before she was leaving.  There were eight people in front of us…  My bigger problem was that he NEVER came back to let anyone else know anything.  By the time we made it to the front of the line (and three families had left from in front, so we were really only #5), there were over 20 families behind us – all with no idea that Mulan was leaving soon.

MULAN!

MULAN!

Not a great picture of me - but these is my two favorite Princesses!

Not a great picture of me – but these is my two favorite Princesses!

Yes, we got pictures (PhotoPass ones – another bonus to Memory Maker) and headed inside the shops of China.  GO *really* wanted a fan.  A pink fan with purple markings.  She saw on on Monday and by this point is was Thursday and it was the only “thing” she still had her heart set on.  They are relatively inexpensive, so I let her choose the “perfect” one, and she happily skipped over to the China Kidcot Station to colour a Duffy Bear.  B10 and CW were spending the time doing an Agent P mission – and Auntie M and I decided to let them continue, while we headed towards The American Adventure.

Chip and Auntie M

Chip and Auntie M

Characterpalooza!

Characterpalooza!

Upon arriving “in America”, a most coincidentally awesome thing happened.  B10’s favorite character is Stitch (with Angel – Stitch’s girlfriend – being a close second).  He was in line at Hollywood Studios and missed meeting Stitch by 2 people (they switched him out for Pluto).  So as Auntie M and I are coming up to American Adventure, we stumbled upon the Epcot Characterpolooza!  AND STITCH WAS THERE!  Auntie M, being the heroine she is, took two photos with the Chipmunks then RAN back towards B10 and CW to get them, so B10 could meet Stitch.  BEST AUNTIE M EVER!  (She got a cold Diet Coke as a Thank You!)

B10 and Stitch

B10 and Stitch

B10's Favorite Character

B10’s Favorite Character

I love this kid!

I love this kid!

Meeting Stitch

Meeting Stitch

Once Stitch was met, we went inside The American Adventure and had one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had at Walt Disney World.  I have heard the Voices of Liberty before, and enjoy them very much – but this was September 11th.  Sitting on the floor, with GO in my lap, listening to them sing the songs of each branch of the military – it brought tears to my eyes.  They had anyone who had served/was serving stand as their branch’s song was played.  Then at the end, they asked all military to stand, and sang “God Bless America”, asking any First Responders (Fire, Police, EMT) to also stand.  Quite possibly one of the most moving September 11th tributes I have been able to witness.  The fact that all my Caterpillars sat quietly and listened, that simply adds to just how powerful the moment was.

Our dinner reservation and Soarin’ FastPass times were approaching, so we finished the 1.2 mile loop (yes, that’s how long the World Showcase walk is), checking out stores as we went.  Auntie M found her perfect Christmas Ornament (in Italy), taking weird photos (in the United Kingdom), having fun at more Agent P missions (mostly B10 and CW), and NOT finding any Duffy Bear stuff.  (Disney, you are missing a huge market to not AT THE VERY LEAST have one Duffy costume per county, two (female/male) would be even better.)  Stopping only along the way to get our Disney Visa perk photos.

DSC_0043

Our Soarin’ FastPass was from 5-6pm.  We arrived about 5:30pm, and Auntie M took the first shift with the older boys (we got a child swap pass in addition to the FastPass), and I decided to take the Littles on the Living with the Land ride.  This turned out to be a GREAT idea for GO (Went kept trying to leap out of the boat).  She loves salad, and was SO BEYOND EXCITED to see “baby salad” growing!  When I told her we would be eating that “baby salad” for dinner, I think it made her day!  (Well, that and the pink/purple fan from earlier!)

She asked Auntie M and CW to take her back on the ride, while B10 and I were riding Soarin’.  I love that crazy girl!  (I have no photos – Went SERIOUSLY was trying to leave the boat headfirst.)  At this point, B10 and CW watched “The Circle of Life” (Conservation video starring Timon and Pumbaa), while Auntie M rode UP and DOWN the escalator with Went, and GO and I sat and hung out.  The boys got out right as we needed to check in for our Garden Grill dinner.  (Which we ended up waiting 20 minutes to get in to…)

Someone is SO not sure about Farmer Mickey...

Someone is SO not sure about Farmer Mickey…

Farmer Mickey!  (The Garden Grill)

Farmer Mickey! (The Garden Grill)

After dinner, it was back to searching for Duffy Bear (finally found in the big Mouse Gear store at the front), a quick ride on Test Track (no line!), then a few photos, before we headed out for the night.  We did stop at the Photo store, where each of the adults received two free 5×7 photos (printed out VERY quickly and put in pretty folders for us).  Normally you get one – but we had our coupons from Monday, and no problem using both (they could see we also had Monday photos on our Memory Maker package).

B10 helped her make a "pink" car

B10 helped her make a “pink” car

GO's car she designed

GO’s car she designed

Little Girl's Favorite Ride

Little Girl’s Favorite Ride

Disney Visa

Disney Visa

I wanted to get back to the resort with time to pack tonight, since we were checking out VERY early in the morning.  I also had to do package pickup (of our Hollywood Studio purchases) at the Resort Gift Shop.  As a surprise, we gave B10 and CW each a coupon for 100 free tokens, plus $7 to use in the arcade – AND $15 for the gift shop (with the rule – they couldn’t use the gift shop money for the arcade).  They did so well this week, really being helpful, and this was their final “gift”.  I managed to get everything packed up and ready to go (to load in the morning), and both littles bathed and in bed by the time they came back.  B10 was just not tired, so while CW took a bath and fell into bed, B10 went out to the sandy beach and looked for animals for a little while longer.

Our Guardian Frog

Our Guardian Frog

This was about the most perfect last night I could imagine.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom)

Be Our Guest is one of the most difficult restaurants to get reservations at.  Even though my travel agent was trying 183 days in advance – she still wasn’t able to get us a dinner reservation.  However – I *really* wanted to eat here.  Yes, it’s weird, but I knew we were going to get a photo with Belle in Epcot – and I wanted a family photo with the Beast to match.  Silly?  Perhaps, but very important to me.  Every night, for about two months, I checked and checked for a reservation to pop up.  Finally, on a random Thursday evening, a 9 pm reservation became available.

I immediately booked it, knowing then that there was no way we would wait until 9 pm to eat dinner.  I continued to check, as our vacation approached, but could never get an earlier dinner.  Auntie M and I had a plan, though – we would eat our dinner at 4:45 pm (Tony’s Town Square), using our dining credits.  Then at 9 pm, we would have dessert, and pay out of pocket.  Desserts are served tableside, and all cost $4.19 (as of September 2014).

We were only allowed to check-in 15 minutes early (even when we came by and asked if they had an earlier time – we were sent away until 15 minutes before our reservation).  You are given a pager and sent to the “bridge” outside the main door to the castle.  We waited about 20 minutes (with no stroller – not easy), but I had brought glow stick bracelets from the Dollar Store (pack of 12 for $1) and pulled those out.  All four of my kids loved them, and we made the night of a couple next to us with two younger kids by making bracelets for them, too.  Five minutes past our reservation time is reasonable to me, and our server was polite when she sat us and we told her that we would not be having dinner – could we see a dessert menu, please.

A plate to share (each person tried all five desserts)

A plate to share (each person tried all five desserts)

Went was QUITE pleased with this restaurant!

Went was QUITE pleased with this restaurant!

Napkin Rose - Auntie M spent the time we were waiting at our table teaching B10 and CW how to make them.

Napkin Rose – Auntie M spent the time we were waiting at our table teaching B10 and CW how to make them.

We sat in the Rose Gallery, very pretty room, but we didn't have time to explore the other two rooms.

We sat in the Rose Gallery, very pretty room, but we didn’t have time to explore the other two rooms.

Auntie M had a Diet Coke, and I had coffee, but the kids all drank water (better at that time of night, anyway).  We enjoyed each dessert.  The “Grey Stuff” is delicious, even if it’s just fancy chocolate mousse.  The desserts we shared:

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Magic Kingdom)

I had planned an early dinner at Tony’s Town Square – and this was actually a place I changed at the last minute (only 2 weeks before we left for our trip).  Originally I had scheduled for us to leave Magic Kingdom and do Chef Mickey’s.  But after talking to Auntie M, we decided we did not want to deal with leaving and returning to the park.  This was my first experience at Tony’s, and I really enjoyed it.  I was skeptical that I would find much to eat at an Italian place, but was pleasantly surprised.  For those wondering, they serve Barilla pasta – which was nice for me to know, because then I knew there wasn’t a problem with me eating it.  We were seated quickly (and they had “Lady and the Tramp” playing in the waiting area), and our server was very prompt it taking our drink order and asking the chef to come to our table.

If you had told me 3 years ago that CW would be reading a book inside a theme park, I would have laughed at you.

If you had told me 3 years ago that CW would be reading a book inside a theme park, I would have laughed at you.

B10 (this would be the most beautiful restaurant to sit in during a rainfall)

B10 (this would be the most beautiful restaurant to sit in during a rainfall)

I love this boy!

I love this boy!

The appetizers were all quite good:

My Appetizer: Pasta Fagioli Soup

My Appetizer: Pasta Fagioli Soup

CW's Appetizer: Mixed Greens tossed in our House Dressing topped with Croutons

CW’s Appetizer: Mixed Greens
tossed in our House Dressing topped with Croutons

Auntie M's Appetizer: Seasonal Melon with Prosciutto

Auntie M’s Appetizer: Seasonal Melon
with Prosciutto

B10's Appetizer: Caesar Salad Romaine Lettuce tossed in Caesar Dressing topped with Romano and Crostini

B10’s Appetizer: Caesar Salad
Romaine Lettuce tossed in Caesar Dressing topped with Romano and Crostini

The entrees were diverse.  I was pleased to see B10 and CW choices.

My Allergy Meal: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

My Allergy Meal: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

New York Strip Steak with a Red Wine Butter, Tony’s Potatoes, and Seasonal Vegetables

New York Strip Steak
with a Red Wine Butter, Tony’s Potatoes, and Seasonal Vegetables

Shrimp Scampi Linguini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Asparagus tossed in a Garlic Sauce  (Auntie M said there was SO MANY Shrimp in this dish!)

Shrimp Scampi
Linguini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Asparagus tossed in a Garlic Sauce (Auntie M said there was SO MANY Shrimp in this dish!)

Went is hiding his food under his plate (I think he is hoping for dessert soon!)

Went is hiding his food under his plate (I think he is hoping for dessert soon!)

We all had dessert (as GO continued to sleep in my lap!).

The Kid's Ice Cream Sundae (Went ate it)

The Kid’s Ice Cream Sundae (Went ate it)

Auntie M: Pistachio Crème Brûlée

Auntie M: Pistachio Crème Brûlée

CW: Gelato Italian-style Ice Cream–Chocolat

CW: Gelato
Italian-style Ice Cream–Chocolat

My Allergy Dessert: Raspberry Sorbet.  I appreciate it when they take time and care with the allergy dish!

My Allergy Dessert: Raspberry Sorbet. I appreciate it when they take time and care with the allergy dish!

Chef's Signature Cheesecake: Caramel Apple on the day we were there

Chef’s Signature Cheesecake: Caramel Apple on the day we were there

When we left, they gave us a box to put GO’s pizza in, and she woke up as we strolled down Main Street.  She happily ate her two slices, and we were glad she had the nap (it made the rest of the day go as well as it could, considering how long it was).

The Castle lit up as we left Tony's

The Castle lit up as we left Tony’s

I appreciated that there was a variety of choices here, and while this isn’t my top place to eat in Magic Kingdom – it will be one I choose if the others are booked, or I’m having more than a couple of meals in this park.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)

Unsweet Tea!

Unsweet Tea!

Lunch on our Magic Kingdom Day was at one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World.  I can’t remember ever coming to Magic Kingdom and NOT eating at Liberty Tree Tavern.  A long time ago, this was a Character meal, and Minnie Mouse was in Revolutionary War dress – be still my beating heart.  I honestly believe that if they ever brought that Character Meal back, I would fly down to Walt Disney World – JUST to experience it again.

Minnie Mouse and Me in 2010

Minnie Mouse and Me in 2010

As it stands now, Liberty Tree Tavern is not a Character meal at any time, but the food is still some of the best in Magic Kingdom.  Chef Jennifer not only came out before the meal to talk through the menu with me, but was the only chef to come back at the end of the meal to make sure I was satisfied with having enough to eat and the food.  Excellent service for those with allergies.  Chef Jennifer ranks with Chef Ivan (Hollywood and Vine) as two of the best in Walt Disney World.

GO's Meal: Pasta with Marinara Sauce  (I should call it Went's Meal - actually.)

GO’s Meal: Pasta with Marinara Sauce (I should call it Went’s Meal – actually.)

B10's Meal: Angus Chuck Cheeseburger topped with your choice of Bacon and Cheddar or Mushrooms and Provolone served with fresh Fruit or Tavern Fries  (He topped with Bacon!)

B10’s Meal: Angus Chuck Cheeseburger
topped with your choice of Bacon and Cheddar or Mushrooms and Provolone served with fresh Fruit or Tavern Fries (He topped with Bacon!)

CW's Meal: New England Pot Roast Our Tavern Keeper's Favorite...Braised Beef in a Cabernet Wine and Mushroom Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes and Garden Vegetables

CW’s Meal: New England Pot Roast
Our Tavern Keeper’s Favorite…Braised Beef in a Cabernet Wine and Mushroom Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes and Garden Vegetables

My Allergy Meal: Turkey, dairy-free Mashed Potatoes (DELISH) and French Fries

My Allergy Meal: Turkey, dairy-free Mashed Potatoes (DELISH) and French Fries

Auntie M: Freedom Pasta Farfalle Pasta with Sautéed Chicken, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mushrooms tossed in a Cream Sauce

Auntie M: Freedom Pasta
Farfalle Pasta with Sautéed Chicken, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mushrooms tossed in a Cream Sauce

My salad appetizer, with a raspberry dressing.

My salad appetizer, with a raspberry dressing.

Went enjoyed the oyster crackers from B10's soup!

Went enjoyed the oyster crackers from B10’s soup!

GO received a small salad with ranch dressing on the side for her appetizer.

GO received a small salad with ranch dressing on the side for her appetizer.

B10 asked for Cheddar Beer Soup for his appetizer.

B10 asked for Cheddar Beer Soup for his appetizer.

The last of CW's appetizer: Mozzarella Sticks

The last of CW’s appetizer: Mozzarella Sticks

Overall, the food is excellent.  I didn’t get pictures of the desserts, but they were devoured.  I was surprised by how hungry we were at 11:30 am, but every bit of food was gone when we left.  Our server was one of the best in Disney, also.  It was obvious she truly loved her job and making Disney Magic every day.  An overall great experience, and this will remain on my list of “must do” places to eat at Walt Disney World.

Our seating area, plenty of room - not crowded at all to other tables.

Our seating area, plenty of room – not crowded at all to other tables.

Went ended up eating basically GO's entire entree - Pasta and Marinara Sauce!

Went ended up eating basically GO’s entire entree – Pasta and Marinara Sauce!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – The Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

The Center Atrium of the Crystal Palace

The Center Atrium of the Crystal Palace

Breakfast with the Winnie the Pooh Characters!  I scheduled an early breakfast, in order to enter the park before opening, and that worked out well.  We only waited about 10 minutes after checking in (and only about 5 after they actually opened the restaurant).  Our server was polite and efficient, coffee was already sitting on the table!

COFFEE!

COFFEE!

The decor is beautiful, one of the prettier restaurants in my opinion.  I loved how light and airy everything was.

Buffet

Buffet

Atrium

Atrium

The server was also very good about telling us exactly where the characters would stand (information we used to make sure GO was on the OTHER side!).  The entertainment handlers were wonderful, and caught on quickly that the little girl DID NOT want to meet the Characters.  B10 and CW, on the other hand, were excited to get autographs and photos with some of their favorite childhood friends.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh

Eeoyre

Eeoyre

Piglet

Piglet

Tigger

Tigger

Now, let’s discuss the food.  If you have no allergies, this is a basic buffet.  You won’t find anything special, but you’ll find plenty to eat.

B10's plate (2nd or 3rd - he is a fan of bacon).

B10’s plate (2nd or 3rd – he is a fan of bacon).

CW's cereal for his second course.

CW’s cereal for his second course.

CW had breakfast pastries to start off with.

CW had breakfast pastries to start off with.

GO asked for fruit and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese

GO asked for fruit and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese

Went had fruit and a Cinnamon Roll

Went had fruit and a Cinnamon Roll

Allergies?  Oh my gosh, it was awful.  Think of a piece of cardboard.  Now warm it up and dump maple syrup on top. That’s basically what they offer you.  Fresh Fruit and a one-size fits all frozen waffle (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, taste-free).  Worst breakfast I had in Walt Disney World.  THIS was the first place I felt like was a cattle call to shove as many people through as possible.  Even at Hollywood and Vine – it was a madhouse, but the chef and the server cared about each individual.  I felt like Ivan (from Hollywood and Vine) made a point of making sure I received my money’s worth.  The chef at Crystal Palace could care less, as long as your allergy fit in the “gluten/peanut/dairy/egg” category – you were getting a serving of the frozen boxed waffles.  It was very disappointing, and I basically had fresh fruit and decaf coffee. (I handed the server back a full plate of waffles with three bites taken out.)

Overall, unless one of my younger kids shows a deep affinity towards Winnie the Pooh – we will be skipping this breakfast from now on.  And if they do, I’ll probably try the lunch or dinner next time.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World – Day 4 (The Extended Post)

The Castle

The Castle

Day Four – and we are on our way to the Magic Kingdom!  This was a PACKED day – we arrived at the park before opening to make a Crystal Palace breakfast and had a 9 pm reservation for dessert at Be Our Guest – with LOTS of stuff packed in between.

I always forget that you don’t ever park at Magic Kingdom (this will be important to remember later).  You park at the Ticketing and Transportation Center (TTC).  This is FAR away from Magic Kingdom.  You will have to take a bus (usually what is running early in the morning), a ferry, or the monorail to the actual park.  I’m going to skip ahead here and give you a very important piece of advice.  Unless your child is in love with fireworks and I mean IN LOVE – skip the Magic Kingdom ones.  GET OUT BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE.  The ferry that holds 600 people?  Yes, it still took us over an hour and a half from leaving the park to getting on the ferry and getting back to the TTC.  Buses do not run to the TTC at closing, and the monorail holds even less people.  We even waited for Main Street to start clearing out before we left, and it was still the most nightmarish part of the entire vacation.  Sleepy, sad children at 11:45 pm; it’s hard to blame them for melting down.  (No one blames you either, but pull it together – you’re the parent right now.)  My advice?  If you are going to stay for the fireworks, afterwards – grab a Starbucks and find one of the side streets off of Main Street USA and SIT DOWN.  Wait.  Don’t worry, they will kick you out at some point, and you’ll walk right onto the monorail or ferry.

Breakfast was great, even if the two Littles were not impressed.  B10 and CW both liked meeting the Winnie the Pooh Characters and we had a great server.  We followed our Touring Plan pretty closely, and it worked to our advantage.  We never really waited in line, plus everyone did everything they wanted (usually more than once).  Our first stops after breakfast was to head over to Ariel’s Grotto to ride her ride and meet her.  The Little Mermaid is one of my least favorite movies, but I adore how Ariel called Went a “Little Starfish”.  It is one of those sweet touches that I simply adore.

Little Starfish and Little Princess

Little Starfish and Little Princess

One the way over, we ran into Merida (from Brave) and had to meet her.  I’m a little disappointed in this particular PhotoPass photographer! 😦

Merida from Brave

Merida from Brave

The Littles and I grabbed a picture outside of Be Our Guest (that is the Beast’s Castle in the distance), and we all walked over to ride the Haunted Mansion.  GO hated it.  Everyone else, loved it (including Went).  We still had almost an hour before our lunch reservation, so we went ahead down to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – which GO refused to even get on.  The line was very short, and we were back at the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch with time to spare.

The Castle of the Beast

The Castle of the Beast

During lunch we checked our Touring Plan and found we were way ahead of the game, so we felt like we were in great shape.  The Magic Carpets of Aladdin were a family favorite.  Auntie M stood with a napping Went, while the rest of us rode them five times in a row.  The older two liked trying to get hit by the spitting camels!  Our FastPasses for the new ride, The Seven Darwfs Mine Train, were starting, and we made our way back to Fantasyland to ride.  I think this was a great new addition to the park.  I love the location of it, and how the Imagineers really created a ride that was visible from all sides and fit in with the landscape of the new Fantasyland.

We actually decided to go on over to Space Mountain, and had the chance to ride it twice each (instead of just once), using our FastPasses and rider/child swapping.  I gave GO a few quarters for the arcade, since she had so many rides she simply wasn’t on, then we made our way to Town Square (the front of Magic Kingdom) to meet Tinkerbelle!

Tinkerbelle!

Tinkerbelle!

Tink is really tiny, so when we meet her in Real Life, we have to have Pixie Dust to be shrunk down.  Tinkerbelle said the Pixie Dust didn't work on B10!  :D

Tink is really tiny, so when we meet her in Real Life, we have to have Pixie Dust to be shrunk down. Tinkerbelle said the Pixie Dust didn’t work on B10! 😀

This was perfect, since I could then grab Went’s ears (every Caterpillar gets them on their first visit) and go straight into Tony’s Town Square Restaurant for an early dinner (they are all in the same building).  Everything was catching up to GO and she feel asleep in my lap before we even got our appetizers.  She had ordered a pizza and ended up eating her half in her stroller upon leaving the restaurant!

Our evening was back to Fantasyland to ride It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and The Teacups.  We had a hiccup trying to meet Anna and Elsa (Tip: It doesn’t matter WHAT the time says, if you can see the line outside the building, expect to be waiting at least 2 hours!).  GO handled not meeting them well, and rode the carousel with Auntie M and Went a few times, while B10, CW and I stood in line to ride The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train again.

The only reservation I could get for Be Our Guest was at 9 pm, and I wasn’t making the Littles wait that long to eat dinner, so Auntie M and I paid out of pocket for desserts.  The kids were great and drank waters, and we chose five desserts to share.  After getting our picture taken with the Beast, we let the boys RUN ahead to Space Mountain, to ride one last time.  Then we left the park with 20,000 of our nearest and dearest friends.  (Nightmare!)

We did not get back to our resort hotel until after midnight – and immediately fell into bed!  It was our longest day, but I’m glad we did everything we wanted to do in Magic Kingdom!

Check out our matching Mickey Ears!

Check out our matching Mickey Ears!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios)

WDW Day 3 (50)

For lunch on Tuesday, we ate at Hollywood and Vine inside Hollywood Studios. This is a Character Dining Experience and a buffet.  We had done it in 2010 and met older Disney, Jr. Characters, so I was excited that they have updated to new ones: Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake (Jake and the Neverland Pirates), and Handy Manny.  Since both Went and GO knew who everyone was, I was hoping for a nice meal and some excitement from the Littles.

First, we arrived 3 minutes past our reservation.  Upon checking in (where we stood around, I actually think we arrived right on time, but had to wait behind a woman complaining about HER wait), I was told since we were “horribly late” it might take a while to seat us.  To say that put me in a grouchy mood is an understatement.  Three minutes (again, most of which was standing behind a VERY upset customer) is not “horribly” anything.  If the restaurant is backed up, simply say so and I’ll gladly occupy my kids until you call our table.  BUT – I’m not “horribly late”.

We were not seated until almost 11:45 am (25 minutes past our original time) and by the end of the meal (when we left at 1:30 pm), I realized the problem.  There are four characters rotating through the two sides of the Dining Room.  Every 15 minutes, two Entertainers (no costumes) come out and have a five minute (3 song) “dance party” that the kids can go up and dance in the middle of the restaurant.  Supposedly, only one Costumed Character on each side is suppose to go up and dance, while the other keeps circulating among tables.  Well, after two hours of watching – I can tell you that more often than not, ALL FOUR Costumed Characters went up to dance, meaning that for 15 minutes an hour, no one was visiting tables.  I know all this, because by 1 pm (when we were done eating, and the poor server sat down at my table to talk to me), I eventually spoke to the manager.  Just be aware, this is NOT a quick lunch (the entertainment goal is 1 hour and 15 minutes to see all four characters, it took us 2 hours).  GO and I stayed the entire time, but Auntie M and the boys left (Went fell asleep in his stroller, and the boys just needed to GET OUT).  Not only are the characters moving slow, but at every table, you have the toddlers with parents who are coaxing them into pictures and the preschoolers who CAN’T STOP TALKING BECAUSE IT IS DOC RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!  Emotions run high!  (Especially as naptime approaches).

Signing the books

Signing the books

Jake

Jake

Signing the books

Signing the books

Handy Manny

Handy Manny

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins

Doc McStuffins

The food was good.  It’s a buffet, but solid offerings.  There is a make your own pasta station (Mako was my cook) and the chef (Ivan) is one of the two best in Walt Disney World when it comes to allergies.  The dessert station is probably one of the most diverse at a Disney Buffet.  Large salad bar (and the only one with a dairy-free option sitting out), lots of bread options, and plentiful meat options.  GO had chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli, along with a small salad.

We don’t need to discuss what is happening to Went’s face in this picture:

WDW Day 3 (51)

So, yes – the food is good, but you aren’t coming here for the food.  You are coming to appease your SMALL child.  Keep in mind you are in a room with lots of other parents trying to appease their small children.  Fun, but long and tedious by the fourth or fifth time they sing the same songs…

I’ll do it again, but only IF I have a child who hasn’t seen the current characters and is old enough to actually MEET and ENJOY the characters.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(