Saturday, May 9, 2009

Princesses and the 50s Prime Time Cafe

April 27, 2009

We arrived at the MK a little after 8 a.m. -- Olivia and her cousin Madysen had 8:40 a.m. appointments at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. This relatively new experience is a beauty salon where your little one can be transformed into a real princess! Fairy godmothers in training style the girl's hair and makeup - Olivia and Mady both chose the "coach package" that included hair styling and makeup (style includes a crown and 'Mickey' barrette and a BB Boutique sash).

This was such a cool experience! The girls are treated like royalty...and they are absolutely adorable (beautiful!) when the fairy godmothers are finished. And there is so much hair product used that the style stays all day -- and probably longer.

After the BBB, we had a few minutes to spare before the ropes were dropped and the park was "officially" opened. In that time I watched a small group of very, um, "dedicated" parents line up behind the rope as if they were running a race...and once the rope dropped these parents literally RAN to Dumbo the Flying Elephant. And, I mean they RAN. It was amazing (and somewhat scary) to witness. Yes, Dumbo is a cool ride...but really, do you have to run?

We chose to not ride Dumbo and instead WALKED to Ariel's Grotto, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive mermaid. And we were in LUCK! We were first in line and Ariel was ready to greet her guests! [Anyone who has tried - in vain - to meet Ariel only to be faced with an hour long wait -- or longer -- can understand how lucky we were!]. The girls all met Ariel and had their autograph books signed and all was well with the world again.

Now, it was time for breakfast in the castle. Getting a reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table for breakfast, lunch or dinner is probably one of the most difficult things to achieve when planning your WDW vacation. I called on the very first day I was able to make Advance Dining Reservations -- actually, I started calling at 6:58 a.m., 2 minutes before the ADR lines open. As soon as I had a live person on the line I said "Hi. I need breakfast at the castle on any day during the week of April 26-May 2!" [Yes, that's really how you have to do it if you want to eat at the castle. Really.]

Dining at the castle is so amazingly cool. I mean, YOU'RE IN THE CASTLE! WITH PRINCESSES! It doesn't get much cooler than that. When you walk in you are greeted by Cinderella herself, as she is holding court in the lobby. You get photos taken by the Photopass photographer (these photos - one 8x10 and four 4x6 photos are 'included' in the price of the meal. If you use the Disney Dining Plan, it will cost you 2 table services. I recommend paying cash for this meal in order to save your DDP credits. Know however, that breakfast is $34.99 per adult and $23.99 for kids ages 3-9. It is pricey!]

After meeting 'Rella, you walk up the spiral staircase to the dining room - which looks out over Fantasyland, specifically Cinderella's Golden Carousel. This is a plated meal and the food is quite good - stuffed french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breads. And, of course, there are princesses in attendance. The princesses vary each time - our princesses were Ariel (as a human), Belle (in her blue 'civilian' dress), Sleeping Beauty, and Jasmine. [The last time we ate at the castle, the Fairy Godmother was in attendance].

All I can say about the castle is - YOU MUST DO THIS MEAL.

After breakfast we decided to ride some more rides - 1/2 the family stayed in Fantasyland to ride Dumbo. We decided to head over to Adventureland and ride The Jungle Cruise (we waited about 15 minutes) and then Pirates of the Caribbean (only a 5 minute wait!!!).

A stroller tip here: When you park your strollers around any of the WDW theme parks, you should know that a cast member might move the stroller. You can usually find a designated "stroller parking area", but sometimes you just put your stroller with a bunch of other strollers - along a wall, etc. We did that before ride the Jungle Cruise, only to get off the ride and have NO idea where our stroller was. We searched (along with many other families) for about 10 minutes before we found it, parked in a designated area close to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Whew!

Since Olivia's was a princess that day we didn't swim during the afternoon at the hotel. Instead, we decided to head over to Disney's Hollywood Studios early - we had dinner reservations at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.

Let me put it this way: it is a good thing we decided to go early because our bus ride took an HOUR. Yes, one hour. It was the WORST bus trip we had during the entire trip.

Buses at WDW. Yes, let's talk about this for a minute. Usually the buses run smoothly and while you might have a short wait at your resort (or a theme park), it tends to be an OK operation. Not so much on this day. We waited at the Wilderness Lodge for 30 minutes before a DHS bus even arrived. Then, we had to stop at Fort Wilderness - which added a good 15 minutes since there was a bus line up there. Finally, an hour after the "trip" started we arrived at DHS. It was not a good way to start our evening.

Dinner at the 50's Prime Time Cafe - this is not a character meal. Basically you're getting homestyle food (just like mom used to make) in a setting straight out of a 1950's kitchen. It's a fun place to dine. The food was pretty good too -- fried chicken, pot roast, meatloaf. I had the pot roast and it was delish. However, I have to say, I remember the wait staff being more fun. Our waitress was rather low-key. Perhaps our chaotic party of 10 scared her?

Dessert at PT was oh-my-goodness good. I ordered 'Dad's Brownie Sundae'...and this is what I got: vanilla ice cream on a chocolate brownie topped with M&Ms, Cracker Jack, whipped cream and a cherry. So good.

It was also Extra Magic Hours this night at the Studios (the park stays open a few hours past 'official closing' for resort guests). To me, it wasn't really worth it. It seemed very dark (compared to say Epcot or the MK) and there wasn't much to do. We rode The Great Movie Ride and that was about it.

When we arrived back at the WL, it was almost time for the Electric Water Pageant. This is a nightly display on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake -- so if you are a guest - or even a visitor from another resort - at any of the resorts on these bodies of water (WL, Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian) you can enjoy the show. I headed down to the beach with Olivia and my parents and waited for the show. It started at 9:35 p.m. (at the WL)...and was so neat to see. The best description is from The pageant consists of two strings of seven barges, each carrying a 25-foot-tall screen of lights. The pageant features King Triton and creatures from under the sea -- turtles, whales, seahorses, even a sea monster! -- in an aquatic parade set to Disney (including "Under the Sea," and the crocodile's theme song from the film Peter Pan) and other music.

And then, it was 10 p.m. and everyone was ready to dream about our day and look forward to our next Disney adventure!

Overall thoughts:
- You must eat at Cinderella's Royal Table
- Sometimes bus rides can be horrible
- Whoever thought of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was a GENIUS! And clearly had daughters.
- The Electric Water Pageant was very, very cool

- Make sure you park your stroller in a designated area - or run the risk of having to search for it later
- If you are on the dining plan and have reservations for CRT - pay cash for that meal. Save two table service credits for another meal. It's worth it.
- If you want to meet Ariel, head to the Grotto as soon as the gates open at MK. Otherwise, you will wait up to an hour or more

No comments: