Saturday, June 11, 2011

disney: {another} character meal plus epcot

We started day 3 with a classic character meal at Cape May Cafe, which is in the Beach Club, the Yacht Club's sister resort (they share the pool and other facilities and have the same management staff). I really thought long and hard about cancelling this after witnessing Caroline's previous reaction to the characters, but we needed to eat breakfast, and the restaurant was so convenient for us, and the big kids wanted to go, soooooo . . . we decided to go for it.

The time, Minnie, Donald and Goofy (no Mickey at this one) are dressed in beach attire (get it? They're at the Beach Club!):

Turns out we had kind of a Pooh-esque experience with Caroline this time; she (really really) didn't like it, but she was at least willing to come into the restaurant and hide. Since David was there to take some of the pictures, I grabbed the chance to get one with Minnie myself:

As was the case at Crystal Palace, the staff here was SUPER sweet and concerned about Caroline, and went out of their way to talk to her, inform Minnie, Goofy and Donald that she was a shy one, and generally reassure her that it was all going to be okay. Minnie and our server even hatched this plan to get a picture of Caroline and Minnie in the same frame - Minnie snuck around to the back of the booth where Caroline was sitting:

In between greeting the characters, we enjoyed our breakfast. This is what happens when you give a six year old autonomy at the breakfast buffet:

1 mickey waffle, 3 hard boiled eggs, pineapple, sausage, and a heaping cup of chocolate chips

David and the big kids with Donald:

Goofy is one tall dog:

Our plan was to head to Epcot after breakfast, and finally Touring Plans recommendations matched with with our largely-inflexible-due-to-meal-reservations plans! Whereas the past two days we'd gone to the "park to avoid," today Epcot was considered a Touring Plans "best park." Yay!

The famous Epcot ball:

On numerous tips, we decided to start our day in Epcot by grabbing fastpasses for Soarin', Epcot's most popular attraction.

You enter Epcot from the Beach & Yacht Clubs the back way, into the World Showcase. Therefore, even though we got there right when the park opened, we had a bit of a hike to get to Soarin' in Future World. We just kind of meandered there, as the kids stopped to play along the way:

Jacob wasn't quite tall enough to peep through the top hole, so he waved instead

Next time one of us will sprint to get Soarin' fastpasses while the other takes his/her sweet time ambling with the kids, because we grabbed our our fastpass at around 9:30, and the return time didn't begin until 12:10. That would have been fine except our lunch reservation -- a princess lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway that Caroline was seriously excited about -- was for 12:35. At that point we were still operating on the {bad} information we got at Animal Kingdom that whether or not fastpasses had to be used during the stated one hour window was in the discretion of the attraction operator. And there was no way we could get to lunch on time if we did Soarin' at 12:10 (and we couldn't count on pulling another fastpass to Soarin' later because it would either be for a very late ride time, or they'd be gone altogether). So a considerable amount of time was wasted that morning on the phone with Disney dining to see if we could move our lunch reservation, walking to Norway to see how late we could be and still get our table, walking BACK to Soarin' to see if there was any way we could get on a little early, etc. The good news is that I really feel like we've now worked out most of the logistical bugs associated with navigating a day in the theme parks! The bad news is that we probably unnecessarily wasted two hours in Epcot that morning because we didn't know for certain that fastpasses could be used from the stated return time until park closing. KIDS, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. IF YOUR FASTPASS SAYS RETURN BETWEEN 12:10 AND 1:10, IT REALLY MEANS RETURN BETWEEN 12:10 AND PARK CLOSING. When we got to Soarin', that is exactly what the cast member working the attraction told us, and our problem immediately went away.

In between the hand-wringing about all this, we still had tons of fun! The kids loved the Seas attraction:

Outside the Seas are the famous Epcot seagulls -- noisy, yapping seagulls who chant "mine mine mine." My kids were magnetically drawn to them -- coincidence?

You can watch these hilarious birds yourself here.

We got into clam shells to ride on the Nemo ride (everyone loved it), and then the kids checked out the aquarium and explored the sea-themed play areas:

I then wandered towards our lunch spot in Norway with Caroline while David and the big kids headed to Italy to get instructions for their Kim Possible mission. They LOVED these missions. It felt good to be able to help save the world while on vacation.

Walking with Caroline:

We checked in at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and waited for the rest of the gang to arrive:

Akershus was one of the best, most fun meals we had in Disney World. Its only drawback was that it was a really dark dining room, so the pictures are pretty flashy.

Belle greeted us when we got inside:

At our royal table:

The children were invited to join in a royal procession around the restaurant. Here's Snow White leading the procession:

During lunch, the princesses came around to greet us. Here are the kids getting Cinderella's autograph (she's such a rock star!!)

Aurora (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty):


To the great relief of everyone, Caroline LOVED the princesses. She asked for their autographs, posed for pictures with them, danced and spun for them and showed off her dress. It was really great to see Caroline finally enjoying a character meal!


Caroline even had a hug for Snow White. What a difference a day (and the lack of a huge three dimensional mask) makes!

But we were right back to normal after lunch, with the big kids hankering to meet new characters and Caroline panicking at the very thought of it.


Lies, all lies!

After lunch we did tons more stuff, and the kids were getting tired. We were trying to hold out for our 6:00 dinner reservation at Le Cellier in Canada, a steakhouse that gets rave reviews and is apparently a difficult reservation to get.

David and I thoroughly enjoyed our amazing meals. I believe that one (or perhaps three) of my children rejected their steak in favor of plain pasta with butter while we were there. I died a little that day.

Like the steaks, we were stick-a-fork-in-us done after dinner, so we headed back to the hotel. First the kids looked for Hidden Mickeys in Canada:

When we got back, I tried to get Caroline to bed and David took the big kids night swimming. They told me that they watched the Epcot fireworks from the top deck of the water slide (and I was able to peek out our window to see them). A really cool way to end the day!


Mom to 3 C's said...

Another fun day! I love the twins picture.

Hope you took good notes... I am going to ask for all the insider tips when(ever) we get to Disney. Last time I was there, fastpasses didn't even exist!

Pamela said...

Another great post! So happy for you all that Caroline enjoyed the meal with the princesses. It really looks like an amazing vacation was had by all.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through Google as I was trying to decide if the CRT meal is worth it! We have breakfast there booked and at Norway too. I have a huge princess lover, so I think we'll keep both reservations after reading your blog.

Your photos are wonderful! I wish you had posted your settings LOL! I am quite the novice and will probably use auto a lot for fear of messing them all up!

We don't have as many character meals planned as we just decided last weekend and leave in 90 days and have a family of 7 with 5 children, but I keep calling and going on-line and have managed to get the Akershus for all 7 of us together and CRT by splitting into groups of 4 and 3. The rep. told me to explain we are together when we arrive to CRT and they will try to seat us together or beside each other.

Anyway, thanks for all the trip posts b/c I am reading them all and taking notes!!! We are staying in our camper at Fort Wilderness and cannot wait. We've never stayed on-site and this will be 3 of our 5 children's first trip to WDW.

Thanks again!