Itinerary for the day
ADR: Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, 8:25 AM
Must do: Soarin'
We awoke Monday morning to the sound of rain pelting against the sliding glass door of our room. It was pouring and didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon. I had suggested the day before that we purchase rain ponchos in advance but Rich had been optimistic that we wouldn't need them.
We are fairly low maintenance and had only given ourselves 45 minutes or so to ready and get out the door for our dining reservation. Rich had to run down to the resort's marketplace though to purchase rain ponchos. Because of the location of our rooms, a quick trip was at least 20-25 minutes.
When Allie finally woke up, she said, "My tummy hurts." Crap. She looked sick too. Crap. I told her to stay in bed and I would dress her and do her hair right before we walked out the door. I asked her a few times if she was able to go the princess breakfast and she answered yes. What five year old princess-loving girl would say no?
There was a bit of a chain reaction meltdown right before we walked out the door. I have some weird clothing issues, like I hate wearing turtlenecks or scarves that touch my neck. Emily is like me so I try to have patience when she flips out over something that may seem ridiculous to most. She took one look at the rain poncho and said that she wasn't going to wear it. Anna and Allie, who hadn't seemed to care about wearing a poncho, suddenly decided that they weren't going to wear theirs either.
"It's pouring rain outside. You are not leaving this room without a rain poncho. I'm going to have breakfast with the princesses. Are you coming with me or are you going to stay here in the room?"
I picked up my bag and turned towards the door.
"Okay. I'll wear the poncho."
Once we found Norway, we were forced to park our strollers out in the open. In the pouring rain. We checked in at Akershus and because of the rain, found ourselves in a very crowded lobby. At first, I thought that they had us in line to meet and take pictures with Belle but Rich quickly informed me that no, we were in line to wait for our names to be called to move over to the line to meet Belle.
"Now seating the royal LeBlanc Family."
As soon as we were seated, Rich and I stormed the buffet in search of food for the girls. I was looking for pancakes as that was what Allie had requested. There were no pancakes. No Mickey head waffles. Maybe because we were in Norway? I grabbed some mini muffins, pastries and bagels and scurried back to the table. Our server showed up a short while later. She was super nice, as are most who work at Disney, but she was a low-talker. She told us how this was only her second day working there so I considered telling her that she needed to speak up but I didn't want to be rude. It took us awhile (because of the low talking) to figure it all out but not only was there a buffet but we also received a plate of scrambled eggs, hash brown casserole, bacon and sausage.
After experiencing a few character meals, here is my opinion of them. If you have a few small children, who are not big eaters, these are a waste of money. Unless you have free dining and that was a bigger savings than a room discount. We booked quite a few character meals for this trip because we thought (and had heard others say) that it would cut down on time spent waiting in line to meet characters. For us, it really didn't as the girls like to meet as many characters as possible. And even the same ones multiple times. Which is perfectly fine.
The food was pretty good. I love potatoes - they are a separate (and necessary) food group to me. The hash brown casserole was delicious. The bacon was cooked well (undercooked bacon is a pet peeve of mine) and the scrambled eggs were light and fluffy. Unfortunately, I found myself shoveling forkfuls of food into my mouth between serving the kids and watching the girls interact with the princesses. I didn't really have enough time to eat.
Even though I don't recommend a lot of character meals if you have small kids, my girls did have a wonderful, magical time.
My indoor photography at Disney was what I refer to as "spaz photography." I didn't obsess over my settings and my failures. (Although, I did everything in my power to not use fill-in flash as it is not "my style.") Honestly, it was about watching the girls meet and interact with the characters, not about getting the perfect photo.
Snow White loved Emily's dress, which was made by Grammy, and spent a lot of time checking it out. She even re-tied the back tie for Emily.
(See. Spaz photography at its finest.)
It was still pouring rain after breakfast so we dumped the pools of water out of the stroller seats, loaded the girls up and took off to find Soarin'. There were no complaints over having to wear a rain poncho this time around. We hadn't picked up a map that morning and we had to take cover from the rain at one point so it took us a little bit of time to find the entrance to Soarin'. If you are familiar with Epcot, you know that this attraction is in The Land Pavilion, an indoor building, which was crowded because of the rain.
When we finally reached the entrance to Soarin', the stand-by time was only 25 minutes. 25 minutes!!! When we were there in 2010, the stand-by time had been over an hour. But we couldn't just get in line. (This will show you why it takes a family of six, which includes three young ones, much longer to tour the parks.) Grammy and Emily needed to go to the bathroom. I brought Allie over to the height chart to confirm that she was 40 inches tall. She was. I then asked her (multiple times) if she needed to go to the bathroom or at least try to go because I didn't want to have to get out of line with her if she decided she had to go at the last minute. She did want to go. Well, then Anna decided that she had to go into the stall with me and Allie and I couldn't fit two kids in the stall with me so she ended up standing in the middle of the bathroom (with Grammy watching her) screaming. Yeah, it was awesome.
After the bathroom visits, we checked Emily and Anna against the height chart. Em is now the same height if not a tad bit taller than Allie. Anna wasn't even close. So it was decided that Grammy and Anna would hang out in The Land while the rest of us rode Soarin'. Okay, so this part is my fault. I hadn't researched what else would be right there for Anna to do so Grammy and Anna ended up checking out some of the shops and pressing some pennies. Anna didn't really seem to care that she wasn't able to go on Soarin'. She was mad over the fact that she couldn't go with me.
By the time we finally stepped into line, the stand-by time was up to 35 minutes. And it took 35 minutes. Emily and Allie were great waiting in line and they loved Soarin'. They list it as one of their favorite rides.
Rich and I decided that Grammy needed to experience Soarin' too. The stand-by time was now up to 45 minutes. We had forgotten to bring the bag with Anna's cath kits to the park that morning so Rich offered to walk back to the hotel with Anna and cath her there while the rest of us rode Soarin'. It took almost an hour in line before we were able to get on the ride again. It felt like the line was barely moving and the Fast Pass return line was backed up. We could sense some tension with the CMs and realized that something was going on. As we were exiting the ride, they announced that they were experiencing technical difficulties and they were changing the stand-by time to 120 minutes. I'm glad we rode it when we did!
We met up with Rich and Anna. Rich likes to give me news as good news/bad news. The good news was that the rain had stopped. The bad news was that there were tornado warnings in the area due to the storm. Going into this, I wasn't too concerned with the hurricane threat as we have been through hurricanes here in Massachusetts. I was concerned with the tornado talk though. Those things freak me out.
By now, lunchtime was approaching so we decided to grab some food at Sunshine Seasons Food Court. The food that we ordered was okay. After the fact, I read that the rotisserie chicken is good. There was a really long line for that so we had made other choices.
After lunch, we rode Nemo, which had no wait at all, and then stopped at the Fab 5 character meet and greet, which took FOREVER. The wait time was approximately 45-50 minutes.
The lighting in there was terrible, by the way. And, yes, Mr. PhotoPass Photographer, bouncing my flash behind me is a creative use of my Speedlight.
Because of the rain, they had moved what are normally outdoor character meets to the hallway of this building. Emily saw Chip and Dale and took off running so fast that she tripped over her own feet. Of course, Chip and Dale were about to go on break. Allie was fading fast and Anna needed to be cathed again so we decided to go to back to the resort for an afternoon break.
~To be continued...