One fun thing we found out about last trip was the fact that vacationers to Disney World will often decorate their resort room windows while they are there. We got some adorable Halloween Mickey-eared gel clings from Walgreens, some Halloween tinsel from the Dollar Tree, and I made a special banner that says "We're Celebrating!!! Two Foolish Mortals, 7 Years Hitched." We figure I can paint over the year for every time we go to Disney World for our anniversary.
Even as we were putting it up in the window on our first night, we had several passersby remarking on it. Yay, a hit!
Our first night, we arrived around 8:00 and didn't get our room settled until about 9:30. Of course it was pouring rain, but better a rainy day at Disney...
We knew we needed to run to Disney Springs to pick up a Mickey ear hat. Ah, the Mickey ear hat. Last trip, we bought one to have the face characters (Ariel, Merida, Belle, etc as opposed to Pluto, Goofy, Mickey) to sign. We got a white oil paint Sharpie, and it worked out wonderfully. Tom suggested we should do the same thing for this trip too, only buying a fresh new hat, so it could be a record of what we did each time. (and wait until you see the final result of the hat from this trip...we are definitely avid character hunters)
The next day was set to be our first day in the parks, and we didn't want to waste time in the morning getting an ear hat at a store, so we decided to run to Disney Springs on our first night and get one.
While we were there, we stopped by Earl of Sandwich. We've been watching...um....pretty much TONS of videos of YouTubers who go to the Disney parks in order to hold us over between our trips, and we had heard from several people that the holiday sandwich was not to be missed. It features turkey, cranberry, stuffing, and even a bit of mashed potato, and is deeeeelicious as advertised.
The next morning, bright and early, we excitedly rose from our beds (not quite as comfortable as Art of Animation) and made our way to the Magic Kingdom for the park opening ritual. Once again, we had seen countless videos of people watching and being excited by the morning opening ceremony, but it's still not the same as being there in person.
Our first stop was at Merida's meet and greet area. Now, I have to explain the special plan I had for this trip. One of the most precious things to us about Disney is the way that the entire world around you is based on the concepts of belief, magic, imagination, wonder, and amazement. And not only that, the employees are all empowered to do whatever they can to make the day more magical for the park attendees. The days at Disney are sometimes marked by little moments known as "magical experiences," in which you may be (or see someone be) surprised by something special: a free ice cream sandwich, an extra ride on your favorite ride, etc. Many strong Disney enthusiasts will try to spread this magic themselves, by bringing little giveaways to the park to give, or little things like decorating their windows as I mentioned above.
This trip, I knew I wanted to make something for my favorite Disney princesses, and I wound up making necklaces for six of them. I would draw an artwork on the shrinky dink blank (most of them were original, a couple were inspired by drawings found) and then bake them down into the size of jewelry findings. I'd then connect them together into a necklace.
Merida's necklace features the triple bear pendant she traded to the witch...er...woodcarver!!!...in exchange for the pastry that transformed her mother into a bear and "changed her fate." Three wisps lead in a line, guiding her to the pendant.
I was very excited to give these necklaces to the princesses, so I asked Tom to video the results.
It went over wonderfully, and I was thrilled with her reaction.
Our next step was to go over to the New Fantasyland area we love so much.
...and take some pictures at Gaston's fountain. Since it was still pretty early, this area was relatively empty, and we managed to both pose at the fountain with no one else in the photo!
Then it was time for our first fast pass: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It.Is.Great. We loved it! Would I stand in line to ride it for over an hour, as the regular standby line almost always is? No. But it makes for a great fast pass choice.
Tom and I went to Enchanted Tales with Belle next. The last time we went to Disney, I got to participate in the tale as the Wardrobe, and Tom fondly remembers how incredibly happy my grin was. This time, he was chosen to participate as a knight.
From Belle to....Gaston! We discovered very quickly that the videos that went viral late last year of Gaston doing things like push-up contests and arm wrestling successfully made his meet and greet....*extremely* popular. We were sitting in his tavern looking out the window and waiting to join his queue line for his next meet and greet time, and about a half hour early we noticed the line starting to form, and decided to go ahead and wait in line. They had to cut the line before Gaston had even arrived. Popular fellow! And of course he also is so entertaining people want to stick around and watch his interactions with other people too.
Tom and I have seen videos of this Gaston online, and we jokingly called him "handsome Gaston." He fits the part physically for sure!
And he's hilarious. I tried not to laugh the entire time...really I did. And failed.
I gave Gaston two buttons: one of them says "Every last inch of me's covered with hair" with a drawing of him, and the other is the image of him Belle sees outside her door when she peers out to see who's there.
I had this idea for a pose, and at first it went as planned.
But he kept creeping closer and making me laugh.
Next we had a fastpass to meet Rapunzel and visiting princess (Cinderella) in Fairy Tale Hall. I gave Cinderella a button that had "Have Courage and Be Kind" on it...which I am absolutely obsessed with in the new movie.
Next I had a necklace made for Rapunzel.
The center image was from a Tangled coloring page. Note the hanging lanterns, but only one has the royal sun crest, just like in the movie.
Rapunzel also pointed out that this means we're both artists, and we should do paintings around the castle together. Aww!
I also forgot to mention that all of the necklaces had a note inside their boxes that said "For all you do every day to bring joy to the lives of children of all ages. Thank you sincerely."
And the two girls responded to them just how I thought they might. They immediately fought over whose button was true.
We then posed for pictures...
and of course they wanted to see my ring and exclaim over it.
Not pictured, but also hilarious, when they signed my hat, they saw that Cinderella had already signed, and imitated what her meet and greet might have been like "oh lovely to meet you, blah blah wah wah, now let's pose for a picture, byeeee." Tom piped in with "oooh I have to wear gloves to hide my claw hands. And watch out for the drool coming out of my mouth." They tittered delightfully and kept repeating that too.
Aaaaand that's about all I can fit into the first blog post. We're only halfway through our first day! Next post: giving Ariel her necklace and getting my favorite reaction of the trip on video, saying goodbye to Duffy the Disney Bear at his last meet and greet and meeting new friends Jeff and Denise, and dinner in the Beast's castle, followed by a dance. And yes, that's all still day one!!!!