Friday, October 25, 2013

The Waning Days of Autumn

Well now that Disney is a warm memory, we've entered our autumn season here at Catty-Corner Cottage.  Which means preparing the garden and the outside of the house for winter.  Not too many visually-exciting things happening.

However, this morning my mom and I went to an estate sale that had a solid *heavy* stone urn and pedestal set for sale for $ extremely good price for the quality.  Unfortunately, all I had with me was $10, so I purchased just the pedestal.

Chimera looks pretty neat up there, doesn't he?  You can see the wear on the top of the pedestal from where the urn was sitting.  I may clean that up, but I might just leave it, since I think outdoor statuary *should* have a patina to it.  Chimera is up there now, but I think in the summer I'll put a flower pot on top of the pedestal.  All told, Chimera + base now stand about as tall as my waist.

David's memorial mum is doing just as beautifully this year, and has started to bloom.

The palm tree we bought at Easter was no more...I've heard the inexpensive type from grocery stores are notoriously hard to keep instead I did some research and we bought a lovely and lush Peace Lily for this corner. 

This also means that Corvin will no longer be sitting on the table you see above and trying to eat the narrow palm leaves.  Peace Lily apparently tastes abhorrent to cats, so they quickly learn to not nibble.

And to keep the Peace Lily company, a Schefflera plant for the bay window table.  

You might see in the above picture, the red maple in our front yard is stubbornly holding on to its green leaves.  Last night we had our first full frost of the year, so we'll see how much longer that continues!  Thankfully we bought a leaf blower this year, so we are prepared.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bringing the Magic Home

Thanks for listening to all my stories about Disney World!  For those who might not have read them all yet, here is

Part 1: Epcot

Part 2: Magic Kingdom 1

Part 3: Magic Kingdom 2

Part 4: Park Hopper Day

Part 5: Hollywood Studios

And finally, we had some gift cards given to use at holidays this year for use at Disney.  I bought the Be Our Guest plate set, and my Mickey ears hat, but Tom couldn't find anything that was quite right.

Thank goodness, then, for the Disney store, where we can carry on the fun of our trip at home!  Tom went to the website and created a cart full of Disney fun. 

Here's my favorite of the loot:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Our Disney World Adventure Part 5: Hollywood Studios and a Fond Farewell

Our last day at the Disney parks was spent at Hollywood Studios.  Tom had saved all of his gift cards for this park that revolves around cinema, and features rides and characters from Pixar. 

We started out our morning by posing with an awesome shrubbery outside the gates of Mike and Sully from Monsters University.  My face looks all weird here because the sun was RIGHT behind the photographer and I was trying so hard not to squint. 

The photographer then asked us to make a roaring monster face, and when we logged onto the Disney photo page we saw this:

...which gave us a chuckle.

We walked into the park and went first to the Animation Courtyard, where we knew Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope would be doing a meet and greet at some point.  Ralph and Vanellope weren't expected until 10:30, so we went in for an instructional session on how they create characters for cartoons, followed by a 20 minute step-by-step art lesson.  Our task was to draw Dopey.  I saved our drawings, but Tom requested I not share his ;)

So instead here's a random picture of Dopey.

Tom and I are both interested in the behind-the-scenes featurettes and how-to's of creating art and film, so this area was really fun.  In fact Tom said it was his favorite part of the day.

We finished our drawings shortly before 10, so we got in line to meet Mickey again, but this time in  his Wizard ensemble. 

At this point, there was still no line at all for Ralph and Vanellope, so we debated what to do, and we finally decided to just start the line.  It quickly formed behind us, but we were first to see Tom's favorite characters from our Disney trip. 

The queue line for Ralph and Vanellope was pretty awesome I gotta say.  Two screens showed the video games from the movie, and a "train departure" screen had inside jokes from the history of arcade and video games. 

Tom LOVED Wreck-it Ralph (the movie).  I've never seen him get so fond of a movie so fast...usually it takes quite a while for him to add it to his roster of favorite ever films.  Of course, I grew up on computer games and he grew up on console and arcade games, so when we watch it, he ends up having to pause the tv every few seconds to explain all the fun references for him. 

Note the Cybug in the corner, messing up the system:

This cute monitor showed the "out of order" sign, like you were inside the game:

As I said, we were first in line to meet them!  Vanellope gave us both high fives, and as I shook Ralph's massive hand, Tom whispered to her "Ralph got stuck in Hero's DOODY!" (joke from the film) and she snickered behind her hands.

From here, we walked over to the area where we had heard Mike and Sully appeared, and enjoyed their queue line as well, filled with all sorts of bulletin boards advertising collegiate bulletins for Monsters University.

Then we posed with Mike and Sully, who weren't very mobile.  Heehee

We went to the Muppets area to see the Muppets 3-D.  Some people online loved it, others thought it was outdated and bland.  We thought it was fun and awesome, but then we really love the Muppets.  There were a few surprises we didn't expect in it.

I took this picture while exiting of the awesome decor above the doors:

Next we went back to the front area of the park to go see the Beauty and the Beast stage show.  It was pretty fun, though not as impressive as the two in the Animal Kingdom from the day before.

I kept my camera tucked away for most of it, enjoying the moment (unlike the two ladies in front of me who spent the whole performance glued to their smart phones...arrgggh) but I had to snap a shot when Belle and Prince Adam made their grand entrance at the end:

Gaston was the best part of the stage show foam muscles on that guy's arms, and he had the deep booming voice of Gaston down too.  A great lookalike.

At this point, it was time for our Fast Pass to ride the Tower of Terror.  We loved this ride too...the awesome exterior made to feel like you're walking up to a hotel, the dusty and cobwebby hotel lobby interior, and then the enjoyment of the ride itself...being shot up into the air or dropped down several stories at a time during a random sequence that changes every time.  There was a lot of screaming laughter in that "elevator."  I definitely would have ridden that one again if we had time.

Tower of Terror is right near the Aerosmith Rock and Roller Coaster, which we've had several people positively GUSH about to us, so despite our ambivalence, we decided to give it a try after a snack of hot dogs.  I clutched my Mickey hat in my hand as we sat in our seats, and made Tom promise me ten times that our backpack was tightly secure at his feet. 

Well, I'm sorry folks, but I just don't get it.  Maybe it's because I'm spoiled by Cedar Point roller coasters, where you legitimately can't clutch something in your hand and have it be ok by the coaster's end, but after that initial zero-to-sixty launch (which was pretty cool I must say) the rest of the ride was bland.  When the ride was over we both looked at each other and shrugged.  Leave the roller coasters to Cedar Point I think....Disney is for other things, at least for us.

As we walked back to the middle of the park, we saw Daisy Duck posing near the big wizard hat.  We got in line...someone else in line said she's a hard one to catch in the parks.  I dunno if it's true or not, but it was fun to get her picture either way.

We meandered over to Star Tours, which was pretty awesome.  It was a short ride, but it definitely had the best 3-d of any ride we went on in any of the parks.  We made it in to see the Indiana Jones stunt show just in time, also a fun show.

We then had a little bit of time before our next fast pass, so we decided to wait in the half hour line to meet Buzz and Woody from Toy Story.  The line was pretty slow-moving, with screaming kids right in front of us, so we've had more enjoyable queues, but we met very few other full-body costumed characters at any of the parks who were as charming.  Buzz and Woody saw our buttons, and we said "yeah!  Our anniversary!!!" to which they started stomping their feet faster and faster and clapping their hands until we had a good ol' fashioned hoedown going on.  Their handler finally jokingly said "guys!  Quit jumping on the bed!" (the set background was Andy's bed) and they settled down long enough to take a picture. 

This is definitely another favorite picture from our trip.  I chuckle whenever I see it, remembering how fun these guys were.

We still had a bit more time before our fast pass, so we went back over to the Animation Hall area to see if we could meet Mr. Incredible and Frozone.  Yep! 

They were also really fun, especially Frozone, who did a handshake sequence with Tom ending in the "kaboom" hands. 

Finally it was our fast pass time to ride Toy Story Midway Mania.  Of all the rides and experiences at Disney World, we saw and experienced blissfully short lines...half an hour max on anything even when we were on standby...until this ride.  It's definitely the hot ticket at Disney World right now.  Earlier in the day, we walked by and thought maybe we'd give it a try before our fast pass time, but we were shocked to see a wait time of 80 minutes!!  It was definitely the most worthwhile fast pass we selected on our trip as far as being a time saver.

The ride itself was pretty fun...a 3-d series of arcade shooting games with both of us "competing against" each other.  Would it have been worth waiting 80 minutes for?  Not for us.  But we got in and out in about 15 minutes because of our fast passes.  Woohoo!

We went to the studio backlot tour, which featured props and costumes from Disney movies.  I snapped a quick picture in the "warehouse" area of these prop statues from Jadis' courtyard in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

Our dinner reservations were for the Sci-Fi Dine in Theater, where we sat side by side in a car booth and ate hamburgers and fries while watching old trailers for cheesy and hilarious 1950s sci fi movies.  We almost choked on our dinners several times while laughing.

Our final fast pass of the day was to see the pyrotechnic and waterfall show, Fantasmic, but we decided to skip out on the show and instead go check out Downtown Disney.  Throughout our trip we had been told "no, we don't have that, but maybe they have it at Downtown Disney."  We especially were in pursuit of a couple of shirts Tom had seen and wanted, and a silhouette-cutting booth that might be willing to do a silhouette of us with Mickey, like this one I had seen online that had been done in Disneyland:

Sadly no luck on either front, and Downtown Disney just isn't our kind of scene either.  But it was a low-key way to spend our last night at Disney World.

Friday morning we ate a hearty breakfast at the resort dining hall again, walked around the gift shop, took pictures of the hotel decor, and watched some Mickey cartoons in our room before we boarded the bus back to the airport and home. 

So what did we think of our Disney experience overall?  It was the best vacation either of us have ever taken.  Disney made every detail easy and fun, and everyone we talked to was so friendly and polite and helpful.  By about mid-way through our trip, we were already pondering when our next visit might be.  I've even already decided who the main characters are I'll be seeking out for my hat next time, as pointed out on this autograph frame at the gift shop:

So, as Mickey so aptly says, See Ya Real, Soon, Disney World! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Disney World Adventure Part 4: Park Hopper Day

On Wednesday of Disney week, our scheduled stop was the Animal Kingdom.   However, from researching online and talking to people who have been there, we knew that the park closes early, and you can probably fit most if not all of what you want to do there into a relatively short amount of time.  So we went there planning to go back to the Magic Kingdom after we were done.

We had been told to do the safari animal tour first thing in the morning before it gets warm and they all retreat to shade.  Clearly everyone else thought the same, as there was a steady stream of people headed toward the safari area.  Thankfully we had a Fast Pass, so we bypassed the not-insignificant queue to go see some aminals!  Hooray!

Below are a few highlights of the tour.

We were especially amused by this last one, considering that at our resort there was a huge statue of Simba on a rock, very similar.

We then went back to the Camp Mickey Minnie area that was just opening (park opens at 9, that area opens at 10) in hopes we could see Donald Duck, one of Tom's favorites.  We met Donald (yay!)

Tom saw King Louie and Baloo and asked if I wanted my picture with them.  I've never been a huge Jungle Book fan so I was ambivalent, but Tom wanted the picture so we got in line.

And it was fortuitous because when we got in line, there was no one in the queue line for the next hut over, but when we were done, we saw a line and peeked over to see Pocahontas!  Another princess for my hat!  This one's for you, Grandma:

From there, we went to see the Finding Nemo stage show, which we were curious about but hadn't used a Fast Pass for.  Wow.  We were super-impressed.  It was the best stage show we saw on our trip, and highly recommended.

All of the songs are performed live by the excellent puppeteers, and some also have to do acrobatics while singing and controlling their puppets.  It was insane!  And wonderful.

Google image
We went on our next Fast Pass to ride Expedition Everest, which was a really fun ride!  We knew the basic storyline of the ride going into it, but it was still a blast to experience the traditional roller coaster taking an "unexpected turn", and we shouted out "DISCO YETI" as we went by the huge animatronic that almost never works.  (it's a huge yeti, and when it breaks down they have strobe lights on it)

After eating our lunch in a secluded sitting area on a path near the Tree of Life, we went to our last Fast Pass to see the Lion King musical.  It was also very impressive, with live music and circus-like acrobatics in this theater in the round.  Personally though, we both preferred Nemo.  But I would definitely recommend both.

As we were waiting in line for Lion King, I hesitantly broached the topic of maybe possibly since we HAD the Park Hopper passes and could go to as many parks as we wanted, we could go to Epcot France and see if we could get Belle's autograph for my hat, since she wasn't signing anything at the Enchanted Tales experience in the Magic Kingdom.  Despite the fact that it was that notorious time in mid-afternoon when the sun scorches, Tom sweetly agreed.  When we got to France, we discovered that we'd hit it just right at a time when Belle was standing in her area, and we got in line just in time, as they cut off the line two groups behind us.  Belle was standing in the shade under a tree by the water, but....the queue line was all in the sun.   Midafternoon scalding sun.  Oh my.  We waited and waited, and well....she was worth it.

I was so impressed with Belle...since she's my favorite princess, I'm pretty picky about real-world representations of her, and I couldn't get over just how accurate to how I imagined Belle's real-world equivalent looking.  She smiled genuinely, had her graceful gestures down pat, and gave each group meeting her her undivided and charming attention when they were in front of her.  Really, I anticipated Merida being fun when we met her, but this Belle was so impressive, I actually logged onto the Disney World feedback page yesterday to write a positive review of her in hopes she might get acknowledged for her outstanding performance.

But again, in the moment, I wasn't thinking about her performance...I was just blown away because she was Belle.  The magic of Disney again.

Tom knows how much I love Belle, so this meet and greet was all me.  :)  As I met her, he shot a million pictures.  There are many more, but here are highlights:

This is me saying "sign as huge as you want on the very top.  You're my favorite princess."

Her reaction to hearing she's my favorite.  :)

Her reaction and mine to seeing Gaston's autograph on the hat.  Whoops. 

But in the end it was smiles and laughter.

And then we got our picture together!!
This was my second biggest highlight of our trip for me.  After we got Belle's autograph and picture, we stopped in some shade for a Mickey ice cream sandwich and Coke.  Then we were off to the Magic Kingdom.  But enjoyably enough, we got to take this part of our trip via the monorail (hooray!) and a boat across the water.  That was an unexpected bonus to stopping by Epcot!

In the Magic Kingdom, we again tried to track down where we could see Peter Pan, only to find out that he supposedly signs in an area next to his shut-down ride, but his last sign time is noon.  (sigh)

Off we went to ride the Haunted Mansion again, sit and enjoy the nostalgic simplicity of the animatronic presentation in the Enchanted Tiki Room, and went back to the Beauty and the Beast gift shop in New Fantasyland to get my Beauty and the Beast plates.

We decided to skip out on a second night of watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom to avoid the crowds, and went back to our hotel to DEVOUR a food court meal of mix your own pasta bowl.  Once back in the room, we again had a surprise for a third day in a row:  We had left a note that morning beside the autographed picture of Mickey and Minnie saying "Thank you, Mickey, Minnie and resort staff for such a wonderful surprise" and here we had another one...a towel animal fish with hilarious girly lips!

And thus ended our second to last night at Disney World, with laughter and fish lips.

Don't forget to read the other parts of our trip if you haven't already!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Disney World Adventure Part 3: The Magic Kingdom 2

Ah yes, so Enchanted Tales with Belle was a wonderful experience at the Magic Kingdom.  Our second day at the parks was so full of magic and wonderfulness, I had to split up the blog post about it!  So here we are, about mid-way through the day. 

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'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:

Google image. 
And into the main ballroom.  This room was just breathtakingly awe-inspiring.  White snow fell softly behind the windows, and the chandeliers glittered.  Our escort turned to us to say something, and...yeah...I was choking back tears.  She smiled and said "don't worry...I get that all the time when I take people in here."

Google photo

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!

The West Wing is intimate.  It's dark.  So dark Tom's eyes had to adjust so he could see the menu.  There's the sound of thunder in the distance, and every 8 minutes, Prince Adam's picture transforms for a few seconds to the Beast.  In that curtained corner, the rose rests in its dome.

Google image

And every now and then a petal falls.

Google image

 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.

Google image
Everything we ate there was so very very delicious.  It was the most expensive meal we've ever eaten together, but I don't regret a thing.

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: