Sorry this post has been so long in coming. My mom and I had a really great trip, but she left today, and the real work can begin. I’m going to space out the posts from the last week so that there’s something new every couple of days. I figure if I do it this way, and get “behind” on my writing, I’ll have some experiences saved up and can still write for a bit, even after going to restaurants all the time is too difficult (which I fear may be coming sooner rather than later).
Anyway, for our first day in the parks, my mom and I decided to go to Magic Kingdom. Well, I say we decided…really it was the touringplans.com crowd calendar that decided…but whatever. As I usually do, as soon as we decided we were going, I looked into getting us good ADR’s. There was one thing I HAD to have…Crystal Palace breakfast.
There were several reasons I needed this reservation. 1) I felt like my mom wouldn’t be getting the full Magic Kingdom experience if we didn’t do character dining. 2) My mom LOVES the Winnie the Pooh characters (her love of Eeyore borders on obsession). 3) At CP you can make pre-opening ADR’s, and therefore don’t have to spend precious park touring time eating.
After trying several times over a couple of days, I discovered that a pre-9am reservation wasn’t going to happen. The only breakfast reservation available at all was at 10:20am, so I took it. I figured it would be fine, even if not what I considered ideal. Oh well, at least we wouldn’t have to get up quite so early…although, we would still be getting up very early to get to the parks by 8:30am.
It turned out that there were going to be several “Liners” (the folks in Lines chat) at MK the same day. Whoo-hoo! Rope Drop meet up!! Susan AKA Sweatshirt (@shrtswt2thpt) and Susan (@weasus) agreed to meet us at 8:30, while a couple of others said they might pop by, but no guarantees (there was also a mission planned to find a paintbrush, but we weren’t going to go along due to our ADR).
We get to the parks as planned at 8:30, with no drama!! I was so excited that we didn’t have any of the disasters that I usually end up facing…however, it looked like we were the only ones with smooth sailing. While we were waiting for the MK morning show, I kept checking Lines…Susan’s monorail was broken, Sweatshirt’s tram wasn’t moving, Shane was MIA…it looked like our party was a bust.
After the morning show began, we could see Sweatshirt across the crowded courtyard, but couldn’t get to her. We waited til the show ended (I cried…as usual), then tried to find her. While we were looking, Susan appeared! We then found Sweatshirt, and our Rope Drop party turned into a walk down Main Street party. My mom, Malcolm, and I were headed to Fantasyland, and Susan and Sweatshirt were headed to Space Mountain…but that walk down Main Street was still really nice. It’s so awesome to know that we are part of this great Lines community and that there are always fellow Disney enthusiasts around.
So, after park opening we have an hour and 20 minutes til our ADR. I want to be there 15 minutes early or so, so that mean we have about an hour to do stuff at this point. We decided to hit Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, and it’s a small world, then run get a fast pass for Splash Mountain before heading to CP. Normally, this plan would have worked out great. In fact, as we boarded IASW, I was actually considering that we might have time for a quick ride on the Jungle Cruise on the way to CP from Splash. But something happened that most people have nightmares about…we got stuck on small world.
That’s right…almost immediately after we entered the tunnel, the lights came on, the boat slowed down, and they made an announcement that our voyage would be delayed. Now, I have to admit, that I really like small world. The song doesn’t bother me the way it does for so many people. However, at the thought of being trapped in there with it…I was a little nervous. The people sitting in the row behind us? They were full on freaking out. They began to paddle furiously, and were encouraging others to do the same. When we caught up with the boat in front of us, they then began yelling at the people in THAT boat to paddle…it was actually pretty hilarious. Well, it was hilarious until their 4 year old daughter said those magic words…the one every parent dreads at times like this…”Mommy, I have to pee…RIGHT NOW!” Uh-oh. All of us in the boat spent a few minutes joking about what they should do…hold her out over the water, jump out of the boat and make a run for it, empty a water bottle and have her use it. Apparently, we spent too much time joking…and she pee’d her pants…oops.
Okay, now, as I said, I totally like the ride and the song and all…but being stuck in that little boat, for 45 minutes, while hungry, and with a hungry baby…AND it smells like pee and there is an upset 4-year-old (not to mention her parents)…well, this was not a fun ride. On top of all that, I ended up, once again, worrying about getting to breakfast on time. When we (FINALLY!!) made it to the end, the CM’s asked if we wanted to ride again since we’d had issues…ummm, seriously? No.
We ended up getting to Crystal Palace only 5 minutes late, and only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were seated. As soon as we walked in, I was amazed by the building. It was so open, airy, and bright. It was beautiful and it smelled delicious…just walking in made me excited to eat there, and that was before I even saw the food or the characters. I knew that this would totally save our morning following the IASW disaster.
The hostess showed us to our table, and immediately I noticed a problem. We were assigned a 2 person table, and they just stuck a high chair on the end. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, except that the tables were VERY close together, and our table was right by a big pole, and I have an 8 months pregnant belly. Needless to say, getting in and out of my seat was SUPER difficult. I felt really bad for the poor family next to me that I kept bumping with my giant stomach while going to get food, going to the bathroom, etc.
The seating issue, however, was the last of our problems. First, we got our food. It was pretty typical breakfast fare, although, they seemed to have EVERYTHING you would normally associate with breakfast…waffles, omlettes, fruit, eggs, potatoes, pastries, bacon, sausage…and all of it was really really REALLY yummy. It was fresh, it was hot, it was delicious. I also discovered that they didn’t mind when I ordered 3 different drinks…I couldn’t decide between decaf coffee, orange juice, and iced tea, and they happily brought all three, and even kept all 3 constantly refilled!
Now, we could see the characters making their way toward us on their rotation…first up was Eeyore. I was really excited for Eeyore. This is my mom’s favorite Disney character, and I figure Malcolm would love his big nose and his (perpetually going missing) tail. Eeyore, however, seemed to be in a bit of a rush to finish up with our table. He only stopped for a moment, let me get a couple of quick pictures, and then moved on. I was worried that all of the interactions we would have would be a bust.
I soon realized, I needn’t have worried. Piglet was next, and Malcolm loved him! He stuck around for a while and played while I took pictures. He even stayed and waited for my mom to get back from the buffet so that she could see him too. Tigger and Pooh each came by shortly after, and each of them were also extremely playful and had a great time with Malcolm. Malcolm really loved them, and seemed to enjoy how cuddly they were in comparison to the Playhouse Disney characters at our last character dining experience.
By this time, breakfast time was ending and the restaurant was clearing out as they prepared for lunch time. There were only a few tables that still had people at them, and the characters came around a second time and spent TONS of time with us…even Eeyore stuck around for longer, so I figured the first time he was just feeling a bit gloomy, or maybe was anxious to find some thistles to eat.
My mom was so impressed with the magical breakfast. She doesn’t get to see Malcolm play with the characters all the time like I do, so she really enjoyed being able to sit, relax, and eat while watching him have a fabulous time. She made me realize that for people who aren’t locals, and especially people who are travelling with grandparents or other extended family, character dining is a must-do. It’s a perfect opportunity for the whole family, to experience the characters, and to see the kids get some really good one on one time with them. You don’t have to stand in line, you don’t feel rushed, it’s a great family experience. We enjoyed this breakfast so much, I did some fudging to assure that we could have breakfast at Tusker House on our AK day (more details on that to come).
I definitely recommend breakfast at Crystal Palace. If you don’t mind losing some park time, I also really recommend the time we went. Even though I had REALLY wanted the experience of walking down Main Street when it was totally empty, it was great to knock out a few attractions right at rope drop and then take our time over breakfast instead of getting seated at 8am and then rushing to pay the check and get to Dumbo by 9am. We actually had a very leisurely meal, we took over an hour and a half. There is no way my neurotic touring brain would have been able to handle a breakfast that slow if it meant we had to miss rope drop.
We later had a late lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, and then did Fireworks Dessert Party for “dinner.” I chose not to write about either of these experiences. I’m not writing about LTT because I already did it, and I chose not to write about dessert party because I know I’m going to do it again, and I really wanted to focus on enjoying the party with my mom and Malcolm without worrying about taking pictures and thinking about what I was going to write.
The next day, we headed to Epcot for a VERY early breakfast at Akershus! Look for that post soon.
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