First, my favorite memory:
We spent the weeks leading up to our trip "prepping" Ellie for all the characters she would be seeing. She hadn't had much exposure to anything Disney prior to making our plans, so we wanted to make up for lost time. She quickly latched on to the concept of "princess" and fell instantly in love with Mickey (and gang). So, we started telling her we were going to "Mickey's House." She seemed to get into that concept a little bit, but we had no idea how much.
I had several friends recommend that we arrive at Magic Kingdom a few minutes before the park opened to see Mickey and friends arrive by train to do a little musical number to officially open the park. So, we did. And oh, man. Was it ever worth it...
When Ellie saw Mickey pull up on that train, she literally cried her first tears of joy. She was so thrilled she could barely process it all. And just like that, the entire trip was worth it, before we even set foot in the park.
Other favorite memories include:
- Ellie braving her initial fears of the T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney, and ultimately enjoying dinner on our first night looking oh-so-prehistorically-precious in her T-Rex hat:
Happily coloring away while animatronic dinosaurs roar around her
- Shopping for the perfect Mickey for Plus One:
Our first purchase for the little guy!
- Ellie giving hugs to Cinderella (aka "Pindess 'Lella"), the very first princess/character she met:
- How cute Ellie looked sitting on rides:
And despite the look on her face, she loved them! She would always say, "ride boat? I ride boat?" whenever we got in line for something.
- Being silly together as we waited in lines:
- How cute Ellie looked in her new Minnie Mouse sweatshirt (that we had to buy because it was far more cold and rainy than we had packed for):
The sunglasses are purely for coolness factor.
- Speaking of rain, it was so overcast and foggy on our first night at Magic Kingdom that we could not see the fireworks at all, with few exceptions. We could see the sky changing color, but the show was almost completely hidden - except for one part with red lights, which caused Ellie to yell out, "RED!" at a particularly quiet part of the program:
Everybody chuckled at Ellie's color observation!
- Ellie playing with Minnie at Epcot:
She LOVED IT.
- The fact that we booked a dinner with princesses at Epcot, and Ellie's favorite part of the whole thing was the straw in her cup:
- Dancing to polka music in Germany at Epcot:
She heard that polka music and her instinct was to strip off her clothes and dance naked in the street. Needless to say, her father and I will not be sending her to study abroad in Germany in college.
- Looking so cute in her princess pajamas and mouse ears on what was to be our last morning at Disney:
Is this girl ready for some Disney fun or what???
- The fact that the ferry ride from the parking lot to Magic Kingdom was probably her favorite ride of the whole experience:
As soon as we disembarked, she was all, "Bye, boat! I love you, boat! Hug, boat! Kiss, boat!" and then from then on, every time we were at the entrance of the park she was all, "I ride boat?"
- The way she INSISTED on walking through the park as much as possible:
Little Miss Independent down there in the mouse ears
- The highlight of the trip for Ellie was lunch with Pooh & Friends on Sunday, which she eagerly waited for outside the restaurant before we were seated...
Peeking in the window at Piglet
...and then the look on her face when she finally got to meet everybody:
She was beside herself.
- Filling up Ellie's signature photo mat with character autographs:
A great souvenir!
- How much Ellie loved the Dumbo ride:
In this picture she's running back towards the ride shouting, "again, Dumbo? Again?"
- The fact that after three days of chilly temperatures, rain and wind, the weather on Sunday was so beautiful that we were easily convinced to extend our stay by an extra night:
At last! Sunshine and blue skies!
- The fact that by sticking around, we were actually able to see the fireworks that night! And also, Ellie's assumption that the child singing at the start of the show is a "baby princess," whom she so happily cheered for when the singing stopped:
"Yaaaay, baby princess!"
- How happy Ellie was to have some time at the pool on our extra morning in Orlando:
- And, last but not least, my most favorite picture of the whole trip:
The ears, the dress, the castle, the delight. Love.
It was a weekend to remember, that's for sure!