Our second Fast Pass of the day was to meet Rapunzel "and visiting Princess" at the absolute brand spankin new (just opened its doors two weeks before our visit) Princess Fairytale Hall. We joked about the whole "visiting princess" thing, thinking it'd be some generic character, but we were surprised to see Snow White in there when we arrived.
When I met Rapunzel, I told her what Merida had said about her trying to learn how to braid her hair. Below, Rapunzel was gesticulating about how much hair Merida has ;)
And then we posed for a shot together. It was this photographer who taught us the best setting to use for our camera for indoor shots. Thanks photographer!
I tried doing what I call "princess hands" in some of the pictures with the princesses. But I was so excited and distracted, in many of them they wound up looking like claws. LOL!
Snow White was....well....she signed my hat, so that's good. Honestly they rushed us through pretty fast for her.
When we got out of the hall, we saw that the line for the other side (two princesses and guests do pictures in the two sides of the hall) was not bad, and we also wanted to see the decorations in the main queue line (you bypass the queue when you use the Fast Pass), so we decided to meet Cinderella and friend too.
Portraits of the princesses line the hall, with lovely architecture and lights overhead. In the front of the queue is Cinderella's glass slipper.
And then we met Cinderella herself! By this point, my hat was getting happily covered with autographs. Cinderella saw Merida's signature and told us that she was keeping an eye open for a handsome prince to match-make with her. It was a little awkward because she asked if we knew any eligible princes, and I bit my tongue to keep from saying that Merida just wants her freedom!
Next was Aurora, Sleeping Beauty.
After Fairytale Hall, we realized we had forgotten to go to the Beauty and the Beast gift shop near Gaston's Tavern! We went back there and Tom found a shirt he wanted. Ironically, they didn't have the shirt in size XL. What sense does that make? No Gaston shirt in XL? Ugh.
And since it's a park exclusive, we haven't had any luck finding it online yet either.
I also found the plate set I had seen online in photos of this new shop. I didn't buy them this day, but I bought them the next day when we returned. And then they shipped them to our resort at no cost, all packed up safely and well. They're now on display in the dining room cabinet.
In case you can't tell by now, Beauty and the Beast was a big part of our trip experience. I never stopped loving that movie, (my favorite Disney film) but it wasn't until this trip that I truly remembered what an essential part of my formative years it was for that 11 year-old who saw it in its theater debut on a school class trip and got chills down her spine when Belle ran to the top of a hill and yearned for adventure and understanding. I teared up MANY times during our trip remembering how important that was to me.
Sooooo next we were walking by the Carousel, and we noticed that Tigger and Pooh were in their area, and the queue was short. So off we went to meet them! One of our friends loves Tigger, so we knew he'd be happy to see our picture.
Tigger and Pooh were great characters. We both got hugs, and Pooh started playing with my hair and gesturing to what I thought was my anniversary button. I didn't know what he was getting at until Tigger played with my hair and then gesticulated like a bow and arrow. I laughed and said "Oh yes! I do have hair like Merida don't I?" Fun! :)
We meandered around a few areas we hadn't seen yet...went on the Swiss Family Robinson tree thingy (not impressed) and walked around the side of New Fantasyland we hadn't seen yet, where the bathrooms were all themed like a village from Tangled. Tom loves Maximus, the horse from Tangled, so he had me take a picture of this door:
And here's Rapunzel's tower!
We walked around a little bit more, and by this time it was that notorious mid-afternoon hour where the sun beats down on you, my head starts to ache a little, and I realize I've forgotten to stay hydrated. I told Tom I just had to sit down for a moment, so we sat down in the shade beside the Country Bear Jamboree building. Next thing I knew, cast members were roping off the street right in front of me. Tom asked what was going on, and they told us it was the big parade. Hooray! What a fortuitous coincidence!
|Fables has forever ruined my opinion of Geppetto|
|This was right before Jafar looked at the girl sitting next to me and did a "bring it on" antagonistic gesture that had us all laughing.|
|GRRRR PETER PAN. He's the character I wanted to meet at the parks that I didn't have any luck tracking down. I've heard online that the Peter Pans at the parks are just FUN.|
Our next Fast Pass was to the Haunted Mansion ride. And voila...I discovered my favorite ride at Disney!
Tom knew a lot about the back story narrative of the ride, so it was fun to have him explain it to me. I'm hooked now...it's such a great ride with the perfect amount of spooky and fun.
We went to Mickey's Philharmagic, which was a super fun 3-d film presentation. Disney never goes halfway with anything, so there were all kinds of special effects and such. Recommended.
Next we decided to wait in line for about a half hour to meet Tinkerbell and the visiting fairy friend she was with. I've watched a couple of the recent direct to video Tinkerbell movies, but I didn't know the friend's name. Apparently she's the autumn fairy, Rosetta.
The fairies...well...they didn't quite seem to know how to take us. I think they're especially used to mostly little girls coming for their pictures and autographs. Sorry, ladies, but I love fairies!
|Cute shot of Tink inspecting the hat of autographs|
The sky started to get overcast at this point, nothing too worrisome, just a little cloudy, and I realized it was the perfect lighting to get Cinderella's castle shots, which I had decided not to get first thing that morning since the sun was so glaring it'd cast hard shadows.
And thus it was we got my favorite picture of us from the whole trip.
We went to Main Street and shopped a little, then it was time to visit the bathroom so I could get changed into a dress for our biggest, most anticipated-by-me event of the week: Dinner at Be Our Guest restaurant.
Be Our Guest restaurant is THE hot ticket at the parks right now. Everyone wants a peek past the bridge and gates into the gorgeous front doors of Beast's castle. At lunch time, when the restaurant is counter-service, the line for a table stretches across the bridge and into the street. For dinner, it's reservations only, and I woke up at 7 am the first morning we could make meal reservations for our trip 180 days before it started to book our table there. Good thing I did too, as just an hour later I checked back and there were no openings for all four days we were there.
Yeah, it's a hot ticket.
So I was breathless with anticipation for Be Our Guest restaurant. Remember what I said about Beauty and the Beast? I changed into a red dress we had carried in our backpack, and put a flower behind my ear. I was rummaging around in our backpack while Tom was in the restroom, with my back to the park road. I finally turned around and RIGHT THERE in front of me, two feet away, was TIGGER, in his costume, bouncing and dancing around. I exclaimed, and then started laughing uproariously. Tigger's handler started mock-chastising him, and Pooh came up behind him to take my hand in apology. I was still crying with laughter when Tom got out of the bathroom just in time to see Pooh walking away.
We walked over to Be Our Guest, and Tom waited for me while I got in the line to get our buzzer for our table. When I walked up to the woman at the kiosk, I explained to her that this was our anniversary meal, and that we wanted very much to be seated in the West Wing. No matter how long we had to wait, we were willing.
She smiled and was very nice about it, and handed me a buzzer. We then waited on the bridge for it to go off. During that time, Tom saw countless park guests go to the end of the bridge and try to cross, begging the people there to just let them take pictures inside. Nope...reservations only.
Our buzzer went off, and they really make a gloriously big to-do out of it. A lady came and welcomed us by name, wishing us a happy anniversary, and escorted us through the impressively huge double doors that make a delightfully heavy sound as you open them.
Our guide escorted us through the entry area, SO beautiful:
So why did we want to be seated in the West Wing instead of this grand room? Well, as beautiful and awe-inspiring as it is, it's also BIG and packed full of tables back to back. How do I put this? It's loud. It's not intimate.
We were then escorted to the West Wing. HOORAY!
And every now and then a petal falls.
Tapestries with tears in them are on the walls.
We were seated at a small table for two, with roses made from napkins on our plates.
We each got an appetizer of potato leek soup, and ate tons of the delicious dinner rolls. Tom got the steak and veggies with fries, and I got the shrimp and scallops in a pastry bread bowl...but I got double scallops instead of shrimp.
For dessert, our waitress brought us out The Grey Stuff with a candle in the top and asked us to make a wish together.
The Grey Stuff is complimentary to those celebrating special occasions at Be Our Guest. It's a delicious cookies and cream mousse. But it must be a brand new thing that it is also now on the menu, as a topping for a brownie-like dessert, which we also ordered and split.
After dinner, we were encouraged to walk around and explore as much as we wanted, and then to walk into a side room to get our picture taken with Beast. I walked around the ballroom a little more, staring in awe at the falling snow in the windows, and took a picture of the overflow room, the jewelry box room, where Beast and Beauty rotate on a giant jewelry box in the center of the room:
Then we went in to meet Beast! When I saw him, I curtsied politely. He is, after all, a prince. Tom said the people in line behind us "oohed" at that. I was too excited meeting Beast to notice.
Sadly, though I wanted his autograph for my hat somethin' fierce, his handler explained that Beast didn't sign. It was cute the way he explained it: "Have you seen him try to hold a fork or spoon?" ;)
I was really really hesitant to leave, we loved it there so much. But we didn't want to wear out our welcome, so after a few more pictures we departed.
If you click on these pictures to see them larger, you'll see a big real grin on my face, and super wide in-awe eyes. I was a kid at a candy store.
We stayed for the fireworks over the castle, "Wishes," which was just beautiful and the perfect end to a perfect day.
And the Disney magic wasn't even quite over yet: When we got back to our resort room, there was an "autographed picture" from Mickey and Minnie on the bed, with Congratulatory wishes on our special occasion.
Once again, we collapsed in bed and slept like babies. Thus ended another incredible, phenomenal, amazing day in the Most Magical Place On Earth.
Next up...Wednesday, our third day in the parks!
Once more, my favorite picture from our trip: