For Ariel, I made one of my favorite necklaces of the bunch. Her central figure is surrounded by nouveau swirling ocean and her red hair, and a single pearl dangles from a curl. To each side, I attempted a more "realistic" version of Flounder, and of Sebastian, although honestly there's no real way to do a "realistic" Sebastian unless you just draw a plain crab, so he still looked a little cartoony. Anyway, it was one of my favorites.
And guess what? Ariel's reaction was phenomenal. It's probably the best reaction we got on video. And I don't know if it comes across in the footage or not, but it was fascinating because I could actually see her break character a couple of times in excitement. She didn't do anything obvious, but it was a small change, allowing emotion to show through.
I mean, not that she's a character or anything. She IS Ariel. What am I talking about? Nevermind, just ignore me....
Then we meandered back over to Gaston's Tavern to eat our packed lunch, with a cinnamon roll as big as my head for dessert.
We then taunted our host by taking pictures in his chair. I was trying to look casual and mocking in mine, but I might just look bored. I wasn't. LOL
Then it was time...I couldn't wait any longer to visit the new Memento Mori Haunted Mansion gift shop....
We had our portraits done in the magical lenticular haunted portrait shop at Memento Mori. We had actually brought "prop costumes" to wear...a pop-up top hat my dad uses in magic shows, a couple of dickeys of nice shirts, and a Leota cameo for me.
Then of course we had to ride my most beloved ride in any Disney park (The Haunted Mansion). We wound up riding it 7 times this trip, and I would have ridden it FAR more times, but the crowds were heavy on the days we went to Magic Kingdom, and the line was rarely short.
We knew we had to park hop that afternoon over to Epcot to catch Duffy the Disney Bear's final meet and greet session, but on our way out, we caught the Festival of Fantasy parade. We weren't right up front to see the details, but the floats are so huge you can still enjoy it.
Then we were off to Epcot for Duffy's last meet and greet. Last time we visited Disney, we didn't yet "get" Duffy, but we learned more about him, and now we love him very much, and it was sad to see him go.
While we have to be away from Disney, as I mentioned, we've been relying on excellent sources of information and footage from the parks online. By far the best resource we've found is Mousesteps and their wonderful weekly YouTube show, Mousesteps Weekly. They've had 162 shows so far, (not counting their extra shorter footage on YouTube) and we've watched them all, so we were excited to meet Jeff and Denise. They were really lovely in person, and we wound up standing around for a couple of hours just talking about Disney enthusiasm with them. Definitely a great part of the trip. Thanks guys!
I had brought our mini-Duffy plushy with me on the trip for our Duffy meet and greet, but a couple of days later we were wandering Epcot's Mousegear store, and Tom turned to me and said "you really want a full size Duffy, don't you?" So we came home with a regular size Duffy plush <3
And then it was a hop on the monorail to go back to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the evening. We had late-evening dinner reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant, a difficult reservation to score, at 9:15p.m. We asked for a table in the West Wing, the most atmospheric room of Beast's castle, "however long it took." The end result of this was that we were called for our table and escorted into Beast's castle as the Wishes fireworks were exploding directly overhead. Disney magic indeed.
I changed into a yellow dress I found a year ago. The dress color, combined with the stained glass looking rose pattern on the bodice, made me think of Belle's ballroom gown from my favorite Disney movie.
So of course you know what that meant. After dinner, when we were invited to meet our host in the Study, I had to ask him to dance.
Our first night at Disney was also Extra Magic Hours for park guests staying at Disney resorts. That meant from midnight to 2am the parks were far less crowded. We took advantage of this by riding the Haunted Mansion again, in what was the most atmospheric ride of it from the week. Later, on Halloween party nights, the mansion might have had neat mood lighting and fog, but this first night in the dark, in a small quiet group, it seemed almost like we were doing some ritual. Very somber. I believe that it was this time riding the ride, as I tapped the heads of all the famous bat stanchions in a row holding up the divider chain, that I noticed there are 13 in a row. Nice touch Disney!
We also used this chance to ride the Peter Pan's Flight ride. The standby line was almost never under 45 minutes or so the whole time we were there, and that night it was 20 minutes. They recently revamped the queue line for the ride, and it was the best part of the ride. It was wonderful!! You could play with interactive shadows, be dusted with pixie dust, and walk through interactive areas in the children's ooms. So fun!!
As it drew on toward 1:20am or so, I turned to Tom and admitted I thought I needed to go back to the resort to sleep. He agreed, and we just happened to walk by the castle, streets almost totally empty, JUST as the "kiss goodnight" was starting on the castle. It was a true Disney magic moment, and a perfect way to end our first day.
And so our first full day at the Disney parks drew to a close, and we stumbled off to bed...feet aching but hearts very very happy. And many more days to look forward to!