Thursday October 27
We got up early, pumped for our day at Magic Kingdom and Stitch's Unbirthday celebration! We wanted to be there waiting at rope drop! Seeing the opening ceremony was just bonus. We got up at 6am and managed to be at the bus stop at 7am, our goal. We still had to wait 15 minutes for a bus, which made me antsy that we would miss everything. Ursula was already feeling the heat of the day as we waited at the bus stop. We still made it to MK with plenty of time to spare, we were in the front of the gathering throng on the left side (the really early birds were on the right side). We waited more or less in line, and made note of an adult family in front of us all wearing mouse ears from the World showcase, each in a different country.
The opening ceremony started and the music was so loud, I actually held my ears the entire time. WHY so loud? We are all right here, there is no risk we won't be able to tell what's going on if it's below the decibel level of a nuclear blast. The little show with the characters on the train was cute but it was totally ruined for me by the volume, I am sad to say.
I never could get a very good pic of the opening ceremony. I wasn't willing to lose my place to get a better shot!
When they finally let us inside we were giddy with excitement! We took a ton of pictures in the early morning light in the relatively sparse crowds. After the initial onslaught, Main Street felt something close to quiet.
Who would be crazy enough to go to town hall this early in the morning?
Not the best shot of the horse, but I couldn't stop to get a better one. Onward!
Well hello, gorgeous!
These guys are my favorites!
We headed first to Fantasyland, where we got in a short line for Peter Pan, always a winner! But not a ride I ever feel like waiting in an hour long line for, that's for sure. I feel like I see something new each time I ride. I feel the same way about It's A Small World, I notice new things every time, but my eye also gravitates toward the things I know and love. We headed over there next since we were close by. I am also a big fan of Mary Blair so seeing her images and ideas come to life is a special treat for me
Could you look any more beautiful in the morning sun, castle?
I love this mosaic so much! This was the background on my phone forever.
I've never seen this fountain without a million people around it!
Have you ever noticed the roof of this shop? It's even cuter inside!
So cool to see everything without bunches of people everywhere. Took a few empty Fantastyland shots.
Off to Neverland!
I'm a bad girl for taking this picture. but nobody else's pirate ship was around at the time so I didn't think it would bother anybody.
Ursula departs her ship
The castle always looks amazing!
One of my favorite rides! get ready for many pictures!
Next up we rode the Carousel, which of course has some long, boring name and insufferable spelling. It is always fun to take a spin though, and for once Ursula took more pics than I did. I think she really likes carousels!
Two R's? really?
Stitch looks regal upon her steed
Ursula doesn't care to hold a pose long enogh for me to get better lighting. Thus, she appears angry instead of delighted. Trust me, she was delighted!
We headed over to Snow White's Scary Adventures, which is another ride I won't wait in any kind of a line for. It was incredible to see it had a zero minute wait time!
Beyond the construction barriers, one of the new castles could be seen, and it was coming right along. I took a few pictures as we headed over to see Winnie the Pooh. Though it wasn't our first time in the interactive queue, it was the first time we realized that underneath the dripping honey one can see the characters! The line was moving quite rapidly however so we weren't even able to find everybody. I always use antibacterial hand gel right after rubbing my hands all over the glass though, my inner germaphobe has fun freaking out about interactive queues, even this early in the day. I always enjoy the Pooh ride more than I think I will-- I believe it is Tigger's bouncy section!
Interactive queues are the best!
In an unlikely burst of energy we walked over to an old family favorite, the Haunted Mansion and gave that a whirl. I think the rope barriers were still up, blocking us from entering the rest of Frontierland or Adventureland, because we then walked clear back to Fantasyland where we rode the Teacups at the Mad Tea Party.
We headed over to Tomorrowland and found out that Cosmic Ray's wasn't open yet. We sent Stitch to get FPs, then loitered outside the restaurant about 10 minutes until it opened. We popped in quickly to get brunch. We sat in the lounge, as usual, to enjoy the show of the original lounge lizard. I ended up getting a kid's meal because I wasn't very hungry and I knew my stomach couldn't take any more of the cheese food product. Even the bites I snuck from my family's lunch trays made me feel a bit unwell, so I was glad I had forgone the fries and veggie burger. Ursula was happy to get her much-craved chilli cheese dog and cheese fries. “Cosmic Ray's has an endless fountain of cheese-like substance on the toppings bar,” she explains. Stitch too enjoyed “the unhealthiest food for breakfast, Cosmic Ray's cheese-like substance with chili-cheese dogs.” Funny that they both described it the exact same way!
After we'd eaten we were ready for more adventures. We walked over to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, where Stitch and I rode together. I ended up getting an amazingly high score, which made Stitch insanely jealous (I know the secret of hitting the volcano for a huge point bonus). “Space rangers was cute, despite the usual humiliating score.” It is nice that Ursula is such a good sport.
We went to Monsters Inc next, and very much enjoyed the show. Ursula was pleased to note that so far we'd been on 9 attractions and every one had been a walkon!
Continuing on our fast wait time streak, we used our fast passes for Space Mountain and were allowed to ride on the left side when we asked. Ursula sat in front and said it was terrifying! She had to stow her ears away in her bag so they didn't blow away into outer space. I think the left side is way more fun, I'm not sure why, as I heard the tracks are mirror images of each other. It shouldn't make that much of a difference, yet it does. Right after we got off they announced that the ride had to be shut down temporarily, so we think we might have broken it. Oops!
We stopped to get a bottle of ice water to share, then got in line for Astro Orbiter. It ended up being the longest line of the day so far, but even the 20 minute wait was nothing compared to how it usually is. Ursula took a klonopin to prepare herself for the ride (she is afraid of heights, and on a previous trip freaked out while riding with toddler Stitch!) and she did great. “The small, hot elevator was the worst part.” We got frozen cokes and started to wander toward Main Street.
Stitch really wanted to see the Dapper Dans, so we found the schedule and figured out where and when to see them. Is is her Unbirthday after all! The park was starting to get more crowded, and we had afternoon plans for Stitch, so we were fine to head out of MK. We ran into the street party parade at the Hub and I got what I thought were great pictures of Mickey and Minnie with the castle in the background. What I didn't notice at the time that was glaringly evident in the photos was the back of a man's bald head in every single shot. Oh well.
The parade kind of chased us down Main Street so we got to see it all again as it passed us a second time. Ursula found a bench and sat down while Stitch and I went to stake out some good spots for the Dapper Dans. We ended up getting front row “seats” and they put on a great show. Stitch is really into choir, band, acapella and music in general so she really loved it. If it wasn't for her sake I would have bailed after about 5 minutes but she was having fun so we stayed for their entire performance, maybe 20 or 25 minutes.
We left MK just as it was getting really crowded. Good timing! We took the bus back home and stopped at the gift shop to pick up our shopping bags, then had a nice short walk across the bridge and past the pool to our room. We got all spiffed up for our afternoon surprise treat for Stitch-- lunch and dessert at Beaches and Cream!
We drove to the Beach Club and felt quite posh as we handed over our keys to valet. A gal could get used to this lifestyle! We walked through the lobby and down to the restaurant. We were gazing wistfully at the pool (fully dressed of course) when a friendly CM started to put bracelets on our wrists so we would be granted access to their exclusive Storm Along Bay. The resort pool apparently gets so many unwanted pool hoppers they had to station a guard and color coded bracelets. Unfortunately we had to decline the bracelets, as a swim was not in the cards for us today. Nice to know we looked like we belong at the deluxe Beach Club resort however!
We had a short wait outside in the sun at a tiny ice cream cone-shaped table, then were seated at a small diner table once indoors. I would have preferred a booth but they were all taken. The restaurant wasn't very large, and it was certainly very busy, if not necessarily over-crowded. We ordered lunch, which was good but utterly forgettable in light of dessert. For Stitch's Unbirthday we ordered the Kitchen Sink, which is a giant sundae with eight scoops of chocolate, strawberry, coffee and mint chocolate chip ice cream, all the toppings-- fudge, strawberries, caramel, pineapple, almonds, Oreos, Snickers, etc.--a jar a maraschino cherries and an entire can of whip cream, served in a giant bowl that looks like the kitchen sink, complete with little faucets.
They do a little ceremony where they turn off the house lights, turn on some flashers and announce to the room that the Kitchen Sink is coming (and they outline the ingredients as well). I don't think they sang happy birthday to Stitch, but that was just fine with all of us (I can't stand it when servers all gather round and sing). It was a little embarrassing, but we got over it rather quickly as we dug in. Stitch was in heaven, she loves ice cream so much, so this was the perfect treat for her. Even with all of us eating we barely finished half of it! Before we were done another family with a million kids came in from the pool and ordered one, too. Must have looked like fun!
We all waddled back to valet and fetched our car, then headed back to Port Orleans to freshen up. We had a little bit of time before Stitch and I were slated to head back to Downtown Disney to see Cirque Du Soleil. The goal was to take a nap, but of course there was no time for such luxuries. We both got dressed in our finest vacation wear (basically something that was clean and not too tacky looking) and powdered our noses (Stitch hates makeup so we had to force her). I had almost talked Stitch into wearing a necklace or something when Ursula intervened. Oh well.
Ursula settled into bed with her book as we headed off to the boat dock. She had purchased the tickets for us with the promise that we would not make her go. I personally can't imagine not wanting to go see le Cirque, but she insisted. She only asked that we stop at Earl of Sandwich and pick her up a holiday sandwich on our way back, which we were happy to do as we'd be stopping there for dinner after the show anyway. Ursula read a couple pages of her book and then took a 3 hour nap.
Stitch and I arrived at the dock about 45 minutes before showtime. I knew we'd be cutting it close but crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The boat first docks at the Marketplace, then heads over to the West side, which is where the theater is located. I hoped we would have just enough time to do that and be at the show before it began. Since we had reserved seats (rather good ones) I wasn't worried about that, but I didn't want to be the late-entry patrons who annoy everybody else in the theater, or get turned away if the show had already started. It ended up that another family destined for La Nouba was also on the boat, and they were more proactive/entitled than I am, as they spoke with the captain who agreed to take them directly to the West side so they didn't risk missing the show. It worked out well for me and Stitch though, as we arrived in plenty of time and got to see some of the clowning that goes on to entertain the audience before the show begins.
Our seats were great--not too near the stage to risk being chosen for audience participation, but just a few rows back where we could see everything in all its remarkable detail. There were a couple of loudmouths behind us who started off the show narrating everything that was going on, but after turning around twice and giving them dirty looks, then finally shushing them (last resort before calling an usher) they shut up. I can't stand people who need to talk constantly through the entire show! Applause, gasps of shock and awe, and an occasional “Wow!” are acceptable, but blah blah blah is not tolerated!
It was so amazing though, we just loved the show. I'd read a less than stellar review, which dampened my excitement for the show, but I now throw that review to the dogs, because the show was fantastic! It started off a little slow with jump-ropers, which I'm not overly thrilled with, but then the high wire act came in and saved the day, it was really great. The next act was a group of young Asian girls with Chinese yo-yos and they were adorable. One of them got her string tangled up briefly and I saw her cheeks flush red. The crowd was very forgiving though and cheered loudly for the talented youngsters. I was expecting the bike and BMX portion (yawn) but it wasn't too terrible. I suspected they threw that in as an effort to entertain the young boys who got dragged to the show with their families.
The following acts were all much better. We were stunned by the performers on the aerial cradle (had to google that one, I would have called it a flying trapeze myself), and the beautiful aerial ballet done by winding oneself up in long silks, then an actual flying trapeze act, and some juggling. The final act, which was a trampoline show with a stage set of a building, had the performers jumping into, through and out of the building's windows. It was all really amazing. Beyond any run-of-the-mill circus act, there were all these details in every act-- great costumes, amazing music, and something going on in every corner of the stage. You couldn't take your eyes off the stage for fear of missing some aspect of the show. I feel like I could see it many times and still not see everything that was going on at any given point, it was very busy with action.
After the show was over Stitch and I went directly to the gift shop and bought the program and CD, and I bought myself a La Nouba magnet. I let Stitch have the program and disc, but only after I copied it to my computer. What a great show! When I asked Stitch what she remembered of the show she enigmatically responded “Trumpet. Funny clowns. Red silk everywhere. Fat maid gets true love and a good show. Funny clowns.”
We were very pleased that there was a plus-sized person who was not made a mockery of in the show, and not only that--she got her man at the end of it. That so rarely happens in shows!
We discussed our favorite parts of it as we walked through the crowded, defunct “Pleasure Island” area over to DTD Marketplace for Earl of Sandwich. As we passed Ghirardelli's I jokingly asked Stitch if she wanted to stop in to get some ice cream, and she was all for it. “Really? I thought after this afternoon you'd have had your fill for a day at least!” She stared at the building for a moment before deciding “Yeah, I guess I don't really want any more right now. Maybe later.” You can't teach an old ice-cream loving dog new tricks-- she always jumps at the chance to have ice cream, even if she's just eaten the world's largest sundae mere hours before!
We went over to EoS and got in the forever line. It was somehow even longer than it had been previously. I got Stitch's order and sent her to find a table for us, we ended up sitting outside again and listening to the beeping truck. But the sandwiches were great, and we made quick work of them before heading down to the dock to go back to the resort. There wasn't really anything we needed in the stores there, and we were tired after our busy day. Stitch read her book and I patiently tried to check my email on my phone with spotty, slow reception. We got home and told Ursula all about it, sharing our new purchases with her. She seemed glad that we had enjoyed ourselves, and happy to have her sandwich.
We settled in for the night, I worked on some homework and posted pics of the ice cream extravaganza on Facebook, which amazed our friends and family.
For the next day we planned to return to Universal Studios and visit the original park, then return to Isle of Adventure to see Potterland one more time. Fun times ahead!