Friday, August 26th
We wake up early this morning, and are just in time to listen to the giraffes talking to each other outside our window. It’s so amazing to stay at this resort and have this awesome benefit!
We are checking out today, and it’s a big day for Eilis! She got an invitation under the door this morning from the Princess herself! Cinderella has invited her to lunch at the Castle! Eilis is beyond thrilled, and so glad to see that Cinderella thinks she has been well behaved enough to go (thank goodness for clip art and pre-planning!).
We pack up quickly, and I am secretly happy not to have to trudge back and forth to this room anymore – although I have found shorter ways to get where I needed to go, so if I was staying longer, I would not risk any further weight loss from the strenuous exercise I have been doing. Nice to know I’ll maintain my girlish figure (hey, Mama Cass was a girl, too!!).
Our arrival at the Sheraton Safari is well before the 3 PM check in time, but I wanted to make sure I got there and checked in, since I booked both rooms in my name and wanted to make sure my brother wouldn’t have any problems when he arrived from the airport. The lady at the desk is soooo nice to us! I expected her to hand us a bucket and mop and work to pay for that $1.13 rate we got on the rooms, but she is very pleasant. She tells us our rooms are not ready, but we are welcome to change, use the pool, use the arcade, relax in the bar, whatever we want to do. Our oldest is meeting her grandparents today to shop for her birthday gift, so we just unload the bags, leave them with the bellman, and head out to Poinciana to drop Brighid off.
This has nothing to do with Disney, but can I just say, why is it that everything in FL is so far away from everything else? Even when we lived here, it seemed like it took 30 minutes to get everywhere. The mall? 30 minutes. The parks? 30 minutes. The grocery store? 30 minutes. Either traffic or distance always seemed to make every trip 30 minutes long.
We arrive at Solavita and check in at the gate. The security guard tells us that Russell will meet us at the gate since even though we are inside Solavita, they must live on the Alabama border portion of the subdivision. Yes, they are that far from the gate!! After dropping Brighid off and agreeing to meet for dinner later this evening, we are headed back to the Magic Kingdom with Eilis and the baby.
There is one thing I said so often during this trip that I wanted to tattoo it on my forehead. The phrase was WWW.ONESTEPAHEAD.COM. I purchased two clip on fans for the baby’s stroller, and EVERYWHERE I went, someone asked me where I got them, or commented on what a great idea it was to have the fans. Today, being a little hotter than yesterday, we got twice as many comments.
We arrived a little early for our lunch at the castle, so we head over to Buzz Lightyear, the ride Eilis has been talking about since we arrived across the border into South Carolina. (my kids never say “are we there yet”, but they do say “can we ride….. when we get there?”) If you can stand the heat, this is really an awesome time to come to Disney World. I grab fast passes for Buzz, because Eilis is distracted by the Stitch ride, but the fast pass time is only about 45 minutes away. Jim and Eilis ride Stitch (Jim’s review – don’t bother, especially if you’ve done Alien Encounter; Eilis’s review – “great!”), and then we go to the People Mover (okay, I know it’s not the People Mover anymore, but dang it, I like the People Mover better than the Tomorrowland Transit Authority). The baby so loves this ride – she is turning her head around from side to side so quickly, we are mobbed by people who want to remake “The Exorcist” and cast my beautiful daughter as the evil, head spinning Regan. Next, we go to Buzz. Jim and Eilis are going to ride together, and I am going to ride with Gracie Face. I’m not saying my husband is bad at the Buzz Lightyear challenge, but I will point out that while holding the baby in one arm, and controlling the vehicle and aiming the gun with the other hand, I managed to outscore him. And Eilis. Put together. Go me.
And now it’s time! Our late lunch with the princess has finally arrived! Jim heads off in front of me to snag a fast pass for Philharmagic, and I check us in at the castle. Eilis is amazed, and when I ask her to sit on the throne and have her photo taken, she tells me that the throne belongs to Cinderella, and no one may sit in it! She seems a little disappointed when some of the other little girls who gather to wait show up in princess costumes, but you will never catch my kids in the theme parks dressed up like that unless it’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It’s way too hot, way too uncomfortable, and I think it’s a little unsafe in terms of getting on and off the rides.
We waited a long time to be seated. Our Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) time was for 2:45, but it is about 3:15 when they seat us. Eilis is in such awe, I cannot even capture it in words. We are seated, and over the course of the meal, Eilis is visited by Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, Wendy from Peter Pan, and, of course, Cinderella herself. Jim and I have done castle meals before, by ourselves and when Brighid was small. I know I am in the minority when I tell you that I do not like the meals here. It has little to do with the food, but everything to do with character interaction. It may stem from the fact that all of the princesses are skinny, cheer leader types, and I have had a huge bias against them since my own chubby childhood, but in all honesty, if you go to just about any other character meal on property, you will find the characters more endearing and offering more time. The princesses every time I have eaten here seem to have only enough time to take a photo with very little interaction. Snow White did tell Eilis she loved her hair style and thought she might try it herself, but that was really all she said before turning Eilis around to pose for the photo.
On the way out, Eilis watched another family take turns taking pics in the throne, and she could no longer resist the temptation. She sat in the chair with Gracie and we took their picture.
There is just enough time to head over to Mickey’s Philharmagic before heading to the Sheraton to officially check in and meet the in-laws for dinner. What a great show.
We end the day with dinner at the Marriott World Center – delicious! We finally get our room at the Sheraton Safari, and I am pleasantly surprised that it is not the janitor’s closet! The room is large, comfortable, and has a ton of toiletries. We have a pool view with a balcony. And the beds and pillows – oh, man, are they comfortable!