For those of you unfamiliar with Disney World, Cinderella's Royal Table (CRT) is located in the castle. Because we were waiting for Rich outside of the entrance, we overheard some conversations between guests and the hostess and learned that we would be able to check in 10 minutes prior to our reservation time. It also appeared that 3:50 was one of (if not the first) reservation times for dinner.
After having to wait in line at Akershus, I wanted to check in as early as possible. It was now well after 3:00 and Rich was still missing. Not only did the girls need to change but I needed to cath Anna and have Allie and Em try to go to the bathroom. So where was Rich? He was stuck in the afternoon parade crowds on Main Street.
After Rich finally returned with his precious cargo, I asked the hostess where the nearest bathroom was. She directed us to the one next to Pinocchio Village Haus, which was a bummer considering they usually allow restaurant guests to use the bathroom in the castle to change clothes. I hadn't seen anyone enter or exit so I assume that they hadn't opened for dinner yet.
When we reached the bathroom, it began to rain again. Sigh. I'm going to have to change where I cath Anna on our next trip. I used the baby centers when at all possible during this trip but even there, the changing tables are out in the open and don't give her much privacy. In addition, she's getting too big to be on a changing table. A few times, I cathed her on the changing area in the public restrooms. This time, there were two women there trying to clean up a baby blow-out and it was a smelly blow-out. That changing area is long enough for two groups to use but poor Anna whispered, "It smells in here," a few times.
The heaviest part of the rain seemed to be over so we ran back across to the castle and checked in. The line to meet Cinderella was almost out the door. Of course. About every three minutes or so, a CM would walk up and down the line and ask us to move up and fill in every empty space. Am I in line to be branded or to meet a princess? Okay, so the CM actually wasn't bothering me at all but she was annoying the hell out of Rich, which was kind of funny.
The girls met Cinderella (I think this was Cindy Meet #3) and we had photos taken. (I was too lazy to take a picture of a picture for this blog post. I'll have to do it later so you all can see my awesome all-black outfit.) So here's the deal with CRT - your photo with Cinderella is free. We were allowed two different group photos because we had a large party. (Maybe?) But anyway, they print out the photo (you actually receive an 8x10 and a few smaller ones) and bring it to you while you are enjoying your meal.
We were seated at a table right next to the windows (natural light!) and we were the second table the princesses stopped at after they were announced.
My sweet Allie. I feel so bad that she wasn't able to fully enjoy this experience.
So here's a photography issue I struggled with at Disney. I only brought two lenses with me - an 11-16mm and a 35mm prime. The 35mm was too tight (meaning I couldn't fit everyone into the frame) for most of the character meets, especially the restaurant ones. I ended up using the wide angle for some of the meet and greets and had it on my camera to begin with at the castle but then I switched over to my 35mm lens because I was taking pictures of the food and of the girls at the table. So all of this is to explain why only the girls' heads are in some of these pictures. I was backed up as far as I could go. I had to keep apologizing to the woman next to me because I think she thought I was going to end up in her seat with her. (I kind of spazzed too and didn't try to turn the camera vertical.)
See Allie rubbing her eye. This was the beginning of the end.
Although my position still stands that character meals with several small child with corresponding small appetites is a waste of money, I do recommend this meal. Especially if you have princesses of your own. Unfortunately, it's expensive. If you are on the dining plan, you need to say good-bye to two of your table service credits - it is worth it though. I checked the total cost when I signed the receipts and for our meal, it was $385. You do receive an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. And the experience of dining in the castle.
This was my meal.
The only appetizer available to kids was a grape/cheese combo.
Anna and Allie both ordered pizza.
Em had the chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and corn.
The girls all chose a cupcake for dessert instead of ice cream.
View of the new castle in the Fantasyland expansion area.
After dinner, Rich checked stand-by times for rides on his phone. Splash Mountain was at 35 minutes and Big Thunder Mountain was 40 minutes. Granted, there was a bathroom detour on our walk over to those rides and the line app could also have been incorrect but I was a bit surprised to find the stand-by time for Splash Mountain at 55 minutes. Big Thunder had wait times listed but as we approached the entrance, we quickly realized that it had been shut down. Boo! I'm assuming that those in line for Big Thunder had moved over to Splash Mountain.
We were running out of time because Allie really, really needed to be in bed at a decent hour. We decided to head over to the part of Fantasyland that was open. The wait time for Dumbo was 30+ minutes so we settled upon Barnstormer, which had a stand-by time of 20 minutes. It actually took almost 25 minutes. The girls had a blast and were a bit bummed out when we told them that we needed to leave.
Just as we loaded up the van, it began to rain again. I was sad that we left a bit early but it was the right decision.
Sleeping bebe. (Anna)