Originally my parents were going to go with us, however at somewhat last minute they canceled. We invited Hazel's best friend from school and his family. His mother and he were able to come with us and they stayed for a portion of the week. They really wanted to go to Epcot and I decided to take Hazel too and managed to get a reservation for the Storybook Princess Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway of Epcot's World Showcase for Saturday, so the four of us enjoyed a lunch hosted by Belle and with Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, and Ariel at it. So on Saturday we had two chances to meet Cinderella. Then we did not see her until we went to the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday.
First a bit of history about Disney World. Disney World is an entertainment resort in Florida. It was opened October 1, 1971. Walt Disney wanted to give the Eastern United States a park similar to the one he opened in California in 1955. It originally was meant to be a supplement to Disneyland (in California). Walt Disney disliked the businesses that popped up around Disneyland and wanted to control more of the area. Market studies also showed that only 5% of the visitors to Disneyland came from the East coast where 75% of the population of the country lived. He chose the Orlando area since it had good roadways and an airport close by. Using dummy corporations he managed to purchase 27,443 acres of land. Many were happy to sell the swamp land they owned. In 1965 the true owner was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel. Disney held a press conference sharing his plans including the plans for EPCOT--a futuristic planned city. Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966.
In 1967 his business partner and brother, Roy O. Disney took over and eventually got the rights for a district that included a two towns. This area is now called Lake Buena Vista. The only places this land would be governed by the county and state was in property taxes and elevator inspections.
The roads and drainage for the Magic Kingdom were built very quickly and several of the resorts were completed before the opening in 1971. The plans for the futuristic planned city were pushed aside after Walt Disney's death. However the idea evolved into the Epcot Center or Epcot. Also the town Celebration was later developed in 1994. (Source) We actually spent an afternoon in Celebration walking around the downtown area. It has 1950's feel to it and is beautiful and friendly.
Now onto our trip. We stayed at our time share, Vacation Village at the Parkway. The developer of the time share saw that someone was buying all the land around his and refused to sell. Now Disney is all around it. It is a wonderful place to stay without being in a Disney Resort. Our first Cinderella sighting was at the lunch in Epcot.
It was a quick visit, but a very fun lunch. Next Hazel and I took the monorail to the Grand Floridian and planned on meeting Daddy for dinner. Daddy however got lost driving to the Grand Floridian, so he got there very late. We however enjoyed seeing the characters of the story. The first thing we saw was a dance which Cinderella and Prince Charming did once or twice an hour. Sorry for the picture quality. The room was dark and we were a bit far away from the dance floor.
Then we waited for some characters to come before heading to the buffet. Cinderella came first and was closely followed by Prince Charming.
Hazel was actually not afraid of Prince Charming (unlike Aladdin). She posed for several pictures with him. Cinderella was also impressed with her dress having Cinderella's picture all over it. I made this dress for her. We had a short break so we headed to the buffet and got some food for Hazel and some strawberry soup for us to share. It was delicious!! Then Lady Tremaine came by. After a bit of confusion about Ducky and Daddy (don't ask), we had a nice conversation with her and got a picture and autograph.
During the dance we saw a bit of the personalities of the stepsisters and stepmother. The big question we had was are they going to be nice or mean. Anastasia seemed to still lack manners. She liked to shout in the restaurant, but was very fun. Drizella did not like children, but did pose for pictures and give autographs. Both stepsisters asked why her face was not on Hazel's dress. I believe it was Drizella who said everyone had trouble finding the fabric with her face on it since it always sells out so quickly.
Anastasia was told that the little boy at the table next to us considered her his favorite, so she asked him to marry her. He refused since he was too young.
Steve finally arrived to see Drizella. After we saw all of them, there was another dance. Lady Tremaine commented that it was good to see Daddy made it. We had a lovely time and Hazel was beside herself. Plus we loved the strawberry soup and will definitely have to try to find the recipe. I think this one will be our first try. Hazel managed to fill her first autograph book by this time. It did not have many pages since it was one of the ones you could put a picture on one side and they signed the other side. Plus we did a character breakfast as well.
On Sunday we went to Sea World and had a visit with a friend of mine from high school and his family. Monday we went to the Animal Kingdom. Tuesday we had breakfast with the time share and then spent time in the pool and headed to Celebration. Wednesday we went to the Magic Kingdom. This was Hazel's favorite! Our first stop was in Town Square Theater to visit the princesses. It was the only place you could see Rapunzel. Also there was Aurora and Cinderella. Both of which we had already seen twice, but she still wanted to see them again. Then we went off to see more and check out the castle. We spent the day checking out princesses. We managed to see Belle and Ariel (this time as a mermaid) as well as Tiana and Merida. Plus Hazel saw Mary Poppins. We also rode on Prince Charming's Regal Carousel (by this time we had been caught in the pouring rain and it showed).
Our plan for lunch was to go to Be Our Guest Restaurant which is at Belle and the Beast's castle. However the wait was two hours and we knew the rain was coming, so we did not want to waste our time. We did catch the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade at 3 p.m. There was a Cinderella float as well as some of the characters ahead of it.
Hazel was very excited to see the mice. We did not see the Fairy Godmother at the castle, but I got a picture of her on the float.
Hazel's goal had been to stay up for the fireworks, however we all got tired and wet, so we left around 8 p.m. The fireworks were at 10 with the electric parade at 9. Luckily we saw Dream-Along with Mickey Show that included some fireworks (as well as the princesses). One of the major disappointments for me was that all the characters now have assigned places to meet people. Apparently some of the adults started tripping them when they walked around so they had to do this instead for the safety of the employees. How sad that adults would ruin something that is suppose to be fun for kids. I'll share more about our trip in the future! Our next Cinderella story will be on Sunday since next week is the Virtual Book Club for Kids week.