We left early on Thursday morning for a day at Epcot! Trav's Mom came with us to spend the day and it was the MOST beautiful day. Cool in the morning, but sunny all day and eventually warm enough to shed layers and enjoy a perfect 76 degree day! After our steamy day at Hollywood Studios, it was a welcome reprieve. We had a special surprise planned for the kids that morning, but we weren't sure how much time we'd spend at Epcot. There were a few rides we knew they'd like but so much of Epcot is walking and geared toward adults, so our expectations were low. BUT, we all decided quickly that we had forgotten how beautiful Epcot is and how much there is to see! We ended up spending a whole day there and actually, it may have been my favorite day of all. We had a great time!
Another start to a fun day with Daddy!!
Lucky for us, HGTV was in the park during the month of March for their flower show and everything was just gorgeous!!
We made a beeline for the Finding Nemo ride and Turtle Talk with Crush, both of which were great! And because we were there for the opening, there was no line which made it even better :)
A butterfly house filled with darling topiaries
of Tinkerbell and all her fairy friends!
Our little fairy :)
We got some fast passes and rode some rides but we had a VERY important appointment in Norway, so we made our way to the land of the Vikings...
...also home to creepy trolls.
We had a Castle to visit, although Miss Ava didn't know why...
These two cuties were surprisingly willing to cooperate for some pictures while we waited...
...and I'm so grateful because this ended up being one of my favorite pictures from our trip!
BUT the real reason we booked it to Norway and to the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall was to dine with some local celebrities, otherwise known as the Disney Princesses! Trav's sister was able to get us one of the last reservations for the day a week prior and we were so grateful! We knew Ava was going to LOVE the whole experience but as I told Travis, I was so excited about it too, I seriously thought I might burst into tears from the anticipation!! We didn't know which princesses would be there, but we knew it would be several of the "A-list" variety. As the manager of Ava's autograph book (haha), I knew which ones we were lacking and I was just hoping we would hit several of them so we wouldn't have to track them down later. Because let me tell you, that autograph book thing?? It's stressful! And it's a big deal on your first visit when there are specific pages for every princess. I had to constantly check to see where the characters like to sign autographs and what time they'd be there, while figuring out how to squeeze rides in there too. I know, it was definitely the most stress we'd had in weeks, but how could we live with ourselves if we got home and had a blank page for one of the princesses??
I was a Mom on a mission and I was not about to disappoint my baby girl!!
When we told Ava that we were going to have breakfast with the princesses, her eyes got huge as she thought about it for a few minutes then said, "So do they have cars? Are they going to drive there?" It was overwhelming for her little mind to comprehend and because she assumed they all lived in the castle and she had no idea where we were meeting them, we think she seriously though they were like driving to a restaurant to meet us! As if we called them and said, "Here's the deal Cinderella, we'll be at Perkins at 10:30, call Belle and Ariel and tell them to meet us there, OK??" It was so cute and made us laugh! To her, these princesses were real, so meeting them was a big deal and she needed details about how the logistics were all going to work!
After our names were called, they led us into the restaurant and immediately sent us over to the photo spot for a portrait with none other than, Belle!!
Their professional photographer took several pictures then brought us an 8x10 while we were eating, as part of the breakfast package. The real shot was just darling and Ava couldn't wait to bring it home and put it in her room! After the photo op, they seat you and then send you through a buffet line to get your breakfast started. I told Ava it was our turn to go, but as I helped her get out of her chair she firmly told me "NO" and refused to put her feet on the floor. I couldn't figure out what was going on, that was pretty unlike her, but she would not budge no matter how many times I told her we had to go get some food. Finally, we realized she was so worried that she'd miss the princesses coming out that she was determined to NOT leave our table! I convinced her that she wouldn't miss it and that each princess would come to every table, sign autographs and take pictures, we wouldn't let her miss her turn! She finally gave in but I thought we were going to have a real problem on our hands and she was dangerously close to melting down over it! Poor girl, her head was definitely in the clouds and she was thinking about one thing only, princesses!! She could barely decide what she wanted to eat and in her fog she she wouldn't touch her food except to down an entire decorative butter rosette?? Yes, just pure butter :) It was hilarious and the same thing seemed to be happening all around us! Everyone was on the edge of their seats, waiting for the first glimpse of a princess and trying to get their kids to eat! Ha ha!
Finally our time came and Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, and Cinderella were milling around the tables! I couldn't believe it, most of the heavy hitters we still needed!! Score!! As we waited for them to get to our table, I looked at Travis and told him, "I seriously think I might need to go to the bathroom and cry! I can barely hold it together I'm so excited!" I wasn't kidding either :) He died laughing and made fun of me of course, but seriously, watching Ava's face and seeing her get so excited, it was just adorable...All I could think about was being a little girl again and loving those princesses myself. Now I was here with my own daughter...OH!! It was too much for this emotional Mommy!!
Sleeping Beauty was the first to come over and Ava was just on cloud 9. They really did spend several minutes with each kid, asking questions, telling them stories, signing books and taking pictures. We definitely paid for some one on one time and we got it!
I could have blown Cinderella over she was so little :)
Lest you think Carter was totally left out, he was also taken with the princesses and when Cinderella came over, he told me "Get me out Mama!"
He wanted a picture with her too! We thought that was so funny!
Snow White was a big hit and once again, Carter was starry eyed!
Travis had the video camera on every time they came to our table and already we've loved watching it to hear our kids talking to them and to see their sweet reactions. We died laughing when Cinderella came over because she asked Ava what she most looking forward to that day and Ava told her, "Seeing Ariel in her green dress!" Travis said, "No offense Cinderella, we're excited to see you too!" Ha! All week Ava had been diligently looking for Ariel to no avail and she kept insisting she wanted to meet her in her green dress. I kept telling her we would try to see her but I had no idea what she'd be wearing, all the while wondering if Ariel even wore a green dress? I remembered her in blue and in pink, but I had no idea when she was in green?? But Ava was determined and it was the one thing she was hoping for most, SO, you can imagine our JOY when we spotted Ariel walking in the room to see us and on top of that, wearing what?? A GREEN DRESS!!! I'm laughing at my own self as I type this because it sounds so silly, but seriously, to our Ava that was special and so, very sweet :)
With every princess she surprised us with how much she talked to them and was eager to take a picture, but when Ariel appeared she got totally tongue-tied and nervous! She could hardly put a sentence together, sweet girl :) I told Ariel she was our favorite and we were hoping to see her this week, especially in her green dress! She laughed and said most people ask her why she isn't wearing a pink dress! So funny, I guess Ava has an eye for detail...I wonder who she gets that from??
We enjoyed that breakfast so much and the kids both had a blast. They had a little princess processional for all the kids and Travis even cornered Belle to give Ava a little message on camera! The food was actually amazing and after the princesses said goodbye, we ate like we'd never tasted food before :) I told Travis I needed a nap from all the stress of making sure we got the autograph, with the right colored pen, got the video camera footage and took a picture with everyone looking and smiling! Good grief! It was an intense 90 minutes! But after it was all said and done, it was definitely the highlight of our Disney visit and something that we will always remember. Also, we could have mortgaged our house with the price we paid, so we'll never forget it for sure!! :) :) :)
What did you think guys, did you love it??
I think they did!
Such a great memory!!
After the princesses were out of the way, all these other characters were just for fun!
Carter got especially tickled over Daisy, I don't know why but it was cute :)
Even I got in on the Minnie shot :)
Another Mickey autograph
Hugs for Goofy!
As the day wore on, it turned into a gorgeous day to walk from country to country.
Springtime in Paris!
We decided Epcot would be a really fun day date without kids. A coffee, some shopping, great restaurants and lots of walking in the sunshine...Maybe next time :)
The topiary art around the park was incredible!
Beauty and the Beast
I love this picture of Pam and I! We both love to cook and this was a French Restaurant she loved from a trip years ago. Wish we could have dined there, but not thinking the kids would have made that very fun :)
As the sun shined brighter and hotter, they were wearing out and ready for a stroller ride in the shade.
Tick-Tock Croc from Peter Pan
And Peter Pan himself, on a roof in England!
A belly dancer in Morocco
Japan, where we made the mistake of asking where Mulan would be to sign autographs? Travis got a very condescending "This is Japan, Mulan is from China" response from one of the employees! Whoops!
Good ole USA!
These trains in Germany were something we promised to take Carter to see all day. He loves trains and we knew he'd get a big kick out of watching them go around this little city. But as luck would have it, when we finally got there and I announced "Here they are Carty!" I bent down to see his reaction and realized he was sound asleep :)
Poor guy! He finally took a much needed nap, unfortunately right before we got to his destination of choice :)
He slept for almost two hours in the stroller, which ended up being a really good thing. It was a great day to just walk around and we got to do it with one less child to keep entertained!
A few dwarfs
I just love all the details of every country, really quite amazing!
Texie treated Ava to some face painting and she picked out this cute design!
Loving that pose and that face!
China. Not to be confused with Japan :) Mulan was in fact HERE and one of the minor princesses we were missing. We got to the line only to discover it was closed and she was about to go on break for an hour. So, we got a little treat and decided to come back later. Right as we were headed to see her, Ava was skipping and she tripped, cutting her knee pretty badly. She was sobbing and I tracked down an employee to get us some band-aids. We got her cleaned up and a sweet lady held our place in line. By the time we got to Mulan, Ava was still a little misty eyed and Mulan was SO sweet with her.
She found out what happened and called Ava her little "warrior princess" :)
It was so darling.
Sidenote, I thought she was beautiful and I loved her costume!
Those princesses, they know how to win over girls who are little and big!
We made one last stop for the classic boat ride around Mexico! One of my favorites!
They've renovated it since I was a girl and it was a great last ride for the day.
We had a full, exciting day at Epcot and by dinner time, these guys were over all the magic of Disney!
I regret that we waited til the end of the day for a pic of them with Texie because this was the level of excitement and cooperation we got. Texie looks happy at least!
Oh Epcot, you did not disappoint!
Another great day of memories, with grateful hearts for the opportunity to do Disney with our kiddos. We loved every park, but Epcot was a lot more fun than we expected!