Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Character I Love to Find in the Parks

This month I was asked which character I seek out in the parks, and I immediately thought, "oh no! I'm going to have to find someone to write for me because I don't seek out characters!" Then I realized that was kind of a lie... I prefer to happen upon characters, but sometimes being with whoever I'm with causes me to go look for characters, or I'm in a face my fear kind of mood that day.

What? Face your fears?!  Yes, non-face characters (ones that don't talk and have a headpiece) scare me a little.  I just turned 30, and I still have a tendency to wave at characters, take guest-less photos of them, and head the opposite directions.  Over the years, though, I have learned to fight this fear, so let me share some of my favorite characters to find.

 January 2009 I discovered my fear when we went to Chef Mickey's the first night of the trip, and I realized my heart was pounding out of my chest every time the characters came near. In fact, I kept praying they wouldn't come too close!  When I was a little girl, though, we went to Walt Disney World, and the one character I REALLY wanted to meet was Minnie Mouse, and despite having a meal with the characters and Mickey Mouse playing with my curly hair through the meal, Minnie never came to our table.  As an adult, I was determined to get a photo with her:
January & May 2009 Trips
On that trip I also met Stitch (horrible photo not shown - better one there is my redo May 2009) and Tinker Bell who quickly became my favorite character to meet because you never know what she'll say!  Meeting her with other fairies present is one of the best experiences because they banter with each other and guests the entire time!  They're awesome!

 Between our 2009 and 2010 trips, I read a blog post about getting good photos with the characters and how if you ask them to pose with you, as long as it's in their character's nature to do that pose, they will.  I went on our family trip in 2010 determined to face my fear and get a really good pic of me and Stitch surfing together.  I also have one somewhere of the Red Queen and myself, but I can't find it right now.  Having a plan to meet the characters made me shake much less!
November 2010

When I visited Disney World with my friend, Kyle, I couldn't resist grabbing a photo with Minnie Mouse again, but I don't have a good pose to do with her, and Kyle sort of shared my fear of characters with giant heads...
June 2011

On my cruise this last November I had no intentions of meeting the characters, but Tink had a tiny line after dinner one night, and I so love meeting her, so my mom joined me in grabbing a quick photo. 
Disney Dream - November 2012

I think the secret to the best experiences with characters is to interact with them.  Talk to them if they talk, pretend you're a princess or a fairy too, go with the flow.  If your child is like me and scared of meeting characters, talk to them before your trip about ideas for poses with the characters.  "You love Belle - how about pretending to read a book with her?"  Having an idea to focus on helps take the focus off of the fear.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Thanksgiving at Disney: A Trip Report - Day 2 - Dining in the Royal Palace

Sorry for the brief hiatus I took from my trip report! I took a week or two off while I celebrated turning 30! In fact, my sister and I will be at Walt Disney World next week to celebrate together! If you're not already following me on Twitter, I encourage you to click on the link to the right to do so. I'll be posting photos and updates throughout the trip.

Now let's get back aboard the Disney Dream, shall we?  When last we "spoke" my parents and I had gone to explore the Pink Lounge and were headed towards the Royal Palace for dinner.  Along the hallway, we saw some of my favorite art on board. It's simple sketches of various characters. I love this style!
Jasmine and Abu
My awesome mother asked me to take her photo next to her likeness. ^_^
If you arrive early to dinner, you wait in the hallway outside until the doors open.  There were two entrances to the Royal Palace.

Dining Hall being reset

Mom & Dad waiting in one of the giant "portholes" 
Waiting on our beds were Pirate Night bandanas (is that what pirates
call them??). Dad wore his for a bit. The kids had adorable costumes
you'll see in a bit. I decided my giant brown & gold belt on my black
dress was sufficiently pirate wench enough, so I refrained from
the headgear. ;-)

Dinner this evening was good but not my favorite, but I loved the chandeliers (like always).

Without further ado, I'll get to the food photos and descriptions.
My mother's appetizer was the Double Baked Spinach and Cheese Soufflé.
It looked different than I expected.
Because I'm a carbaholic, the bread basket appealed to me, but I
also loved the design of it! Just a little more magic for the table!
The olive spread was not my favorite, so they kindly brought me butter.
Dad bought a couple of light up cups which they filled with
ice and left on to illuminate our table. I'm sure Katelyn and
Josh will love using them when they visit GA this summer!
Most of us got the Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp appetizer.
It was one of my favorites of the entire trip. Every simple but delicious. 
I loved how they put the cocktail sauce on my plate as a Mickey head.
Yes, I eat cocktail sauce on lobster... and shrimp...
and really any fish when I can get it...
I'm a big fan of the idea that you're on a cruise, so try whatever you
want which can mean appetizer and soup. This was Belle's
French Onion Soup. I'm not a huge french onion fan, but
what grossed me out here was that the crouton or bread
or whatever was on top of the soup was totally soggy and
like a wet rag on top of the soup. Ew.
Mom had The Comtesse du Barry's Soup which was a cauliflower cream soup.
This is the Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin topped with Grilled Shrimp.
This night my dad traded steaks with me. I prefer mine pretty rare, but
this came out medium-well despite what I ordered.  Because I
didn't want to speak up, he kindly traded. It was good but nothing
like the steak from the Enchanted Garden the night before.

Our server, Niks, was always good about making suggestions and helping us decide what to order. The night before he told us the Double Cut Rack of Lamb with a Dijon Crust was his favorite. My brother-in-law ordered it and mentioned that he wasn't a big fan of lamb, but he was willing to try it if Niks said it was so good.  Niks steered him away from it saying he'd be happier with another choice.  I appreciated that honesty.

During dessert time, Randy took the kids out to start meeting some of the characters that were out in the atrium. While there are lines to see nightly and daily characters, they're nothing like at Walt Disney World, AND the characters were in their pirate finery!  I don't have photos of dessert because Randy took the camera. In my mind though, the character photos were 20x better than the dessert this night. I couldn't decide, so I took the Disney Food Blog's advice and ordered two. This seemed to confuse Niks a bit... but he brought both.  Haha!  No idea why he was so confused.

Here are the kids in their pirate finery (something happened with
Josh not wanting to wear his...) with Captain Mickey. 
LaRae, Mom, and I waiting below for Randy and the kiddos 
They spotted Pirate Stitch and took a pic for me since I love Stitch!
I always try to quickly grab pics of characters when they're between
"visitors". I prefer pics of them alone when I can get a good one
over me with them... especially when they're
characters that don't speak.
My exception to the above rule is Tinker Bell. She is
always fun to visit because she says the
darnedest things! Adore her!

After dinner and characters, there was a Pirate Night party on the pool deck and then fireworks at sea.  Mom and Dad took the kids, so LaRae, Randy, and I could have some adult time. I tried to hang back a bit and be their photographer.
Sometimes while walking through the Dream, I felt like I was
walking through a Disney Art Gallery. All of the artwork was
absolutely amazing! 
The Dream had its very own Gingerbread House. When we were disembarking
they were putting out TONS of poinsettias. You can tell by how tilted this
photo is that I or the boat one were listing a bit. Both of
us were guilty of this. Hehe.
The red sundress was fun but not practical. I was so cold that I refused
to take off the sweatshirt even for photos. I regret that a tiny bit. 
The elevators had such old-fashioned glamour!
Walking up to the decks to see the fireworks. I thought they were
sweet all dressed up and walking hand in hand down the corridor.
Waiting for the fireworks
The moon was large and beautiful slightly behind some clouds.
Next trip I shall bring a tripod, so I can do longer exposure on fireworks.

After the fireworks, we were all exhausted, so we went back to the room for bed.  Have I shown you this great little guy that we found on my bed?  I love when they snag thing like sunglasses to use on the towel animals.  All the towel animals were unbelievable!
I so wanted to bring him home with me!

Thursday come back to join my family and I on Disney's private island: Castaway Cay!