As I somewhat promised, here are my tales from visiting all four parks in Disney World!
So, if you’ve been to Disney World lately, you know about Magic Bands. If you haven’t, they’re these bands (shocking, I know) that get you into the parks with your ticket information and you can also use them throughout the parks to charge things to your room…and yes, it’s as easy, fun, and financially dangerous as it sounds! I bought some “band-its” from the Disney Store’s website to accessorize my band. My friend Hallie had ordered a vinyl decal from Etsy to decorate hers with, but it failed to arrive before we departed for the trip. I felt bad and decided to share one of my Dalmatians with her; I got Pongo because he is my favorite, so I gave her Perdita. I had Patch left from the set I bought and decided to basically force Emily to wear him on her band so we could be a beautiful Dalmatian family together. Sadly, just after Day 1, they both lost theirs. I lost my Pongo briefly 4 times, because sadly it was quite easy, so on all of the rides I constantly was grabbing and checking my wrist to make sure Pongo didn’t fall off. They need to make those more secure! Next time, I’m going to do what Hallie did and order some vinyl decals off of Etsy….but like, several months in advance. I think she ordered hers about a month before the trip but still.
When you can’t get into Cinderella’s Castle for a fancy dinner, you at least have to get a classic picture in front of it. And when you’re walking by and see Stitch chilling right before you Main Street, you can’t help but jump in line before it gets super long. We were so excited when we discovered that they had added Rapunzel’s tower, but didn’t get any decent pictures…and that area turned out to be a restroom. We didn’t care, we still came back at night and watched the floating lanterns gleam! And then I completely freaked out when I saw Prince Eric’s (my favorite prince!!) Castle and realized it was the new Little Mermaid Ride, which was just so beautiful and majestic, and the most impressive animatronics I have seen on a ride to date. I already talked about the magical meeting with Ariel in my previous post…and you’ll be able to see below, I’m not the only one helplessly enraptured.
When you get over not being able to dine in Cinderella’s Castle, you decide you want to try the Be Our Guest restaurant because you and your friends love Beauty and the Beast. You walk by, and the Beast’s castle is very subtle but beautiful and prominent in the distance, and the bridge to the restaurant is outlined with the gargoyles that decorate the castle prior to end of the curse. Ha, just kidding. You can’t get in there either. The whole week was booked. But it’s okay, we hung around Gaston’s Tavern, had some LaFou’s Brew, and even met Gaston himself! (And while we are all old enough to have some real beer, LaFou’s Brew is a delicious mix of frozen apple juice, something maybe mango, and marshmallow foam to create the hilarious farce).
Evidently I didn’t save any of my pictures from Animal Kingdom…but I went there, I promise. Epcot was beautiful, as always. I already spoke about meeting Mexican Donald Duck, but enjoy the shot of all of us with him! Also, we found Alice dancing in the streets of their little England and decided to follow her. My hair was already severely ruined by then during that rainy, disgustingly hot day; as you can see, I gave up and put some of my hair back and then stuck a red bow in there to feel cute. But the picture above with me in the background as Alice admires Hallie’s pin lanyard is my favorite of the ones we took with her anyway. How do we have so many pictures of the characters interacting with us like that, you ask? Because Hallie’s older sister purchased a package called the Memory Maker, which saves all of the pictures you take at the park by a cast member as long as they scan your band! We almost forgot to do that when we were leaving Alice, and she adorably said “don’t forget your memories!”, which was both helpful and such an Alice thing to say.
In addition to taking many candid shots with the Memory Maker, sometimes they will add a little magic to your pictures for no other reason than because they can! One of them we expected, because the photographer had instructed Hallie to hold out her arm and me and Emily were to appear shocked. She didn’t tell us why at the time, but we knew it had to be something cool. When the pictures uploaded to the account, we discovered she had added Pascal from Tangled! And we just straight up had no idea that Tinkerbell had photobombed us all.
Oh, and Chef Mickey’s…this was a trip with my friend’s family, and Hallie’s sister has three young boys, so honestly that excursion was solely for them. It’s basically a super expensive breakfast where Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy all come to your table to take pictures with you. I recommend this experience to anyone with young children who tire easily and can’t handle waiting in lines to get pictures with the characters in the parks; it’s a good way to get some great character shots without waiting for at least a half hour (and most often that’s outside in the heat). And the food was delicious; Mickey Mouse waffles, chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate croissants- basically all of the wonderful breakfast things you could imagine are there. I basically only did it because everyone else was and I didn’t want to be alone. I would only do it again if I was with my own children in the WAY, WAYS AWAY future. Otherwise, it’s way too pricey of a venture.
Okay…I saved the best for last.
Guys, they have added so much Star Wars to Hollywood Studios, while so much was also covered up and clearly under construction so there will be even more!! I don’t think I want to go back until it’s all finished. They currently have shows with the major characters periodically throughout the day, including one that is simply called The First Order March, which is precisely what it sounds like. It’s so cool; Captain Phasma exerts her authority and they all march around on her command. One of the days we went there, I wore my BB-8 dress by Her Universe, of course. We went into a building that was partially a prop gallery, partially a theater, and also the place to meet and greet Kylo Ren and Chewbacca. We were there immediately after the opening of the park so the wait to meet Kylo was literally two minutes. But man…it was intense. One of the cast members who walked us in warned us not to “keep him waiting”. Then we walked into the room…he just stood there, staring at us. Emily made the hilarious mistake of thinking he extended an arm for her to loop in…and he took his arm away from hers and just stared at her. I’m pretty sure he was getting ready to Force-choke one of us…
Meeting Chewbacca was a much better experience. First of all, I received special, basically VIP treatment for the first time in my life. The young gentlemen cast member that was manning the line instantly struck up a conversation with us. He called me BB-8 and asked me to do my best impression. While I thought I did an amazing job, he thought I sounded more like Blue’s Clues. Hallie and Emily laughed. I then explained the specific scene I was going for and did it again, and they all agreed that one was better. He then told us to come back in a few minutes and he would do something for us. Still super early for park hours, we had a little fun in the other parts of the building with hardly any crowds around. I pretended to drink blue milk and almost traded goods with a Jawa:
So we came to our new buddy and he brought us to the front of the line to meet Chewbacca!! Such a magical moment. I think the wait time for everyone else was almost a half hour…I would have felt bad for the people in line if I didn’t feel so cool for being selected for such a neat privilege…even though I think he did it because he felt bad for saying my awesome BB-8 impression sounded like Blue’s Clues. And the second we walked in the room Emily already felt much better, and even explained to Chewbacca and the photographers what happened with Kylo Ren. The photographer rose his arms in the air and exclaimed “you tried to touch him?! Why would you try to touch Kylo Ren?!” while Chewie just shook his head at her.
Oh, and Hallie and I did this (and by pure coincidence, it was on Natalie Portman’s birthday):
I think I make a pretty cool Aayla Secura.
I almost forgot!
I think I mentioned my pin lanyard at least briefly in the previous post, so naturally I have to show you how it ended up after a few purchases and trades:
Dodger (from Oliver and Company) and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit were trades, while I bought the Han and Leia set for myself despite its’ clear Valentine’s Day packaging. I mean, I’ve bought myself chocolate on Valentine’s Day before..same thing, right? And Spider Girl came from a mystery pack with a handful of different Marvel pins; we all agreed to buy the pack and split the cost because Emily was desperate for the little Captain America she saw on the packaging. Because she wanted him so badly, we decided that she would get him if he was in our pack, which he was! For the rest, we had planned to fight over who got which pin. Hallie kept Hulk for herself and used She-Hulk and Venom to trade pins for her niece who couldn’t make the trip due to illness. I had contemplated trying to trade my Spider Girl but in the end, she was just too damn cute to give up…for now.
This is the end of my Disney World tales…until next time!