We started out our second Magic Kingdom day with breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. This one is a must-do if you have a little princess in your house, but I think they really make it fun for everyone -- there are lots of boys here too (they get swords instead of magic wands, in addition to the wishing stars that they pass out to all the children). I mean, who doesn't want to eat in Cinderella's castle, when you get right down to it?
One of the best things about eating breakfast (as opposed to lunch or dinner) at Cinderella's castle is that you can get into the park early. So you have time to snap some pictures in front of the castle without massive crowds swarming around, and once breakfast is over, you can hit a few attractions before the the rest of the crowd has made it in from the gate.
Given that Caroline wears more satin and tulle on a daily basis than an 80s bridesmaid, I had no doubt that she would want to dress up like a princess for these princess meals. Elizabeth was more borderline in my mind -- she loved to dress up when she was 3 and 4, and she still liked to dress up some around her 5th birthday, but she hasn't really initiated dress up play on her own in a while. But I thought that when she saw other girls dressed like princesses at Disney, she might want to join in the fun, so I brought along a couple of dresses for her as well, just in case. After the princess lunch at Akershus, she told me that she wanted to dress up like a princess at Cinderella's castle. But when we woke up the morning of the breakfast, she had changed her mind and absolutely did not. Forcing my six and a half year old to dress up like a princess against her will to advance my own selfish photo visions seemed wrong, so Elizabeth wore what she wanted to that morning . . . and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
Meanwhile, Caroline was in her glory. I've talked a lot with friends about the "best time" to take kids to Disney World, and I really don't think there is one best time. I think every age is great for different reasons. The 8+ crowd can do most of the attractions and have more endurance. The 5+ crowd will definitely remember the trip in a way that younger kids may not, but they still have some of that little kid magic left in them.
But if you have a 3 or 4 year old who loves princesses, or Buzz Lightyear, or Mickey Mouse, there is really something magical about taking them to Disney World at that age. Because at three and a half, Caroline was not meeting a pretty lady dressed like Cinderella -- she was meeting Cinderella. And watching her awe and joy when she met her (and the other princesses) really ranks right up there with my happiest parenting moments ever.
Being a princess comes naturally to Caroline as the third child/baby in the family, and she broke into a royal strut as soon as we approached the castle.
Her Royal Highness:
Outside the castle:
Oh, about Naked Baby Doll. You might think from these pictures that this is Caroline's special lovey -- but no, it's just one of the 100 random baby dolls that we have lying around the house. Caroline happened to grab it for the car ride and proceeded to carry it around for most of the trip. She does not even have a name besides Naked Baby Doll, yet she is forever memorialized in our Disney World photos.
Caroline walking into the Cinderella's castle for the first time:
After we checked in, we entered the castle, where Cinderella was there to greet us.
This is one of my favorite photos over:
It shows how sweet my kids can be to each other when they are not too busy being not-sweet. Jacob is so happy in this picture not because HE is meeting Cinderella, but because Caroline is meeting Cinderella and he knows how much she loves Cinderella. He is excitedly telling her how awesome it is that she meeting Cinderella! His happiness for her is almost parental in nature. Wish we could bottle moments like this.
Caroline & Cinderella:
Kids & Cinderella:
We then sat down to enjoy our breakfast and wait for the other princesses to arrive.
Caroline and the Royal Uneaten Eggs:
Jacob & Elizabeth
The Wishing Ceremony:
Caroline had fully warmed up by this point:
Jacob and Elizabeth also enjoyed chatting with the princesses, who by now had to feel like old friends:
When we left the castle after breakfast, we had the good fortune of running into the Fairy Godmother right outside the castle!
Such a fun way to start the day! And it was only 9:00 -- we still had a full day left in the Magic Kingdom.