I woke up yesterday to my lovely husband’s voice saying “Happy Birthday Amy” and smiling from ear to ear because I knew THIS day of all days, was forever mine to enjoy. I had so much anticipation for the day that I was up early, dressing in a new outfit that Mom had bought me before I left WI, and talking a mile a minute about how excited I was with the kids. I promised I would share every minute and detail, so enjoy!
I enjoyed a small carton of raspberries for breakfast, my absolute favorite, and thought about how much my Mom and I would buy raspberries for my birthday each year as a treat. I talked to her the night before, which helped a lot. Today is also the first installment of the “Adventures of Amy and Shelley” in which we will explore something of WDW and I will share with you what we did. Shelley picked me up, bright and early for rope drop at Epcot. I ran out the door to hug her, excited for the day that laid ahead. The morning was beautiful, with just a hint of the smell of “Rome Burning” in the air. I only noticed the forest fire smell when we parked at Epcot, and honestly never smelled, saw, or thought of it again once we got into the Park.
First things first were to grab the Birthday Button at Guest Relations, which is located on the left of Spaceship Earth. A wonderful Cast Member named “Elton” greeted me with such a warm smile and wrote out my name, sticking a piece of tape over it so it didn’t smudge- a great tip for any of you planning to get one as well! Because we were in no hurry, we went into the “Character Connection” for some magic. I hadn’t seen Mickey yet since we moved here, I know, blasphemy, but I have been busy. So I got to see him, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and my FAV, Goofy! If you hit this right away at rope drop, you will walk right into see them and have absolutely no wait. This line gets VERY long during the day, so keep that in mind!
Because of my love affair with “Soarin,” it had to be the first ride. We walked on with no problem, and I enjoyed hearing that queue music on my special day. I wore my favorite pair of brown sandals instead of the hot tennis I normally did- and I was elated that when I got buckled into Soarin, FIRST row, middle section, I could slip them off and ride Soarin barefoot for the first time! I’m not sure why that is so much fun, but it is truly a “freeing” feeling to ride something like that and feel the wind through your toes. Close to tears as the part my hubby and I share our love of the most, I clapped as the ride ended and was onto the next.
After a stop for some necessary caffeine for the day of fun, Shelley and I sauntered over to the other side of Future World to take a ride on “Test Track.” We took our time to enjoy the morning, and attempted to get pics of ourselves everywhere we went. A word of warning and advice to those of you who ask Cast Members to take your pictures- ask the younger ones who “KNOW” what a smart phone is and how to work them. We spent more time with one CM who could not understand how to work my phone and even though we had time to take it slow, those of you vacationing usually don’t, so keep that in mind.
We had so much fun on “Test Track” and took the funniest ride picture EVER! If you are polite and kind, Cast Members are willing to give you the front row over the back, and accommodate you in any way. We also asked for the first row on “Soarin” and they were more than nice to help us out, so if you are willing to wait and be patient, it can bring you some extra magic on any trip!
It was time to attack the World Showcase head on, so we headed in, to find out we were early for the opening. We started with Mexico, and I got to see them open it with a small ceremony. The young man who opened it was on the College Program, and spoke that it was his last day and welcome to his home land. It was really cool to countdown to it opening, and I wasn’t even aware the Countries did this. I am not sure all of them do this, but I plan to find out! The Kidcot stations have “Duffy” on a stick to color, so we grabbed one for my Birthday. Well the CM gave me one that had all the Characters signatures on the back already, super cool and nice. So we decided to have each Country write “Happy Birthday” on Duffy throughout the day, along with my name in their language. Cool and FREE souvenir of the day! After a ride on the “Grand Fiesta Tour” and of course, sitting in the front row, Shelley and I BELTED out the song- so much the people in the boat were laughing and smiling at our enthusiasm. (Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the moment and not worry what others think- THAT, my friends, IS LIFE).
As we headed to Norway, I was excited to see the Trolls, as I had not been on the “Maelstrom” yet since we moved here. We laughed because we got the last row in the Viking Ship and spoke of how romantic it was! LOL Tradition for Norway is to get your picture taken with any of the trolls, or in a Viking hat- we did both.
As we left Norway, and basically ANY Country that day, Shelley would sing “Happy Birthday” to me from that native tongue. She made me laugh and laugh, and it was a treat to hear every time! Next we headed into China, where we had an interesting encounter with a Chinese man. He wouldn’t look at us as we asked him where the “Duffy” station was, yet when he walked away, he looked at everyone else. Did we forget deodorant? No. Is it because we are so darn cute? LOL Must be!
“Guten Tag” to my home land of Germany, and after 6 years of taking the language in High School, all I had to say was “Guten Tag” and “Danke! “ after they signed my Duffy. But, the best part of Germany, which I’m not sure many know, is that our newest soon to be “Disney Official Princess Rapunzel” is from GERMANY! So they had full shelves of Tangled items like American Girl Doll Size, Barbie Size Rapunzels, pins, lots of neat story books, the wig, and so on. Emily had been wanting the “Rapunzel” American Girl doll size, but it sells out quickly, so when I saw her in Germany, SHE WAS MINE! I do have a rule that I am not to buy anything for anyone on my Bday, but this was special and hard to find. She was $24.95 and I save 20% with my Premium Annual Pass discount. If you want to buy your special little someone this doll, and you find it, buy it then because she was HARD to find!
After a stop to see Snow White and Aurora, (get back there early, we walked right up to them with no lines), we enjoyed the rest of World Showcase, finding different ways to take pictures with items from those Countries. I got to explore shops I had never been in yet, and it was fun to relax in the WS without having to rush. On top of the fact that it was quiet for the first couple of hours, which makes an Park experience, a beautiful one! I can handle the heat, it’s the crowds and heat that get to me.
Shelley had scored a “Le Cellier” reservation for 1:35 for the both of us, and I was ELATED, because I had never gotten to eat there before. We can never get us in, as it is a VERY hot spot to eat at in Epcot. It is located in the Canada area, and is worth it just to walk through the beautiful gardens to see it. We got there 40 minutes early, but we got in right away, and had a cozy table to enjoy lunch. They have a great deal which offers you a appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert for $28.99 for all three! They only do it for lunch, but if you are looking to watch you bottom line, this is a great deal for so much food. Being local, we aren’t on a dining plan, and haven’t had time to get a “Tables in Wonderland” card yet either, so it was a great deal for a Birthday lunch! I ordered the Cheddar Cheese Soup, because I had heard AMAZING things about it, then the Steak Skillet with potatoes, and then the Chocoalte Mousse for dessert. I also got the Raspberry Smoothie with a twist of Sprite in it, and it was SOOOOOO good! We chatted, ate like Kings, or Queens, and tried to distract ourselves from a waitress that was either having a bad day or was just plain rude. The food was AMAZING, and I couldn’t eat enough. The Mousse was the only thing neither of us could finish because it was VERY, VERY rich. After having a tummy full of carbs, the rich stuff doesn’t sit as well. We both looked at each other and said “I am stuffed!” It was time to find the “Real” Duffy and went to get a pic with him.
After a ride on Spaceship Earth to top off our wonderful day, we walked out, full, happy, and satisfied with the awesome celebration we had. I thanked her, hugged her, and almost teared up that someone like her cared enough to make it so special for me. When you are the new kid in town, it is a terrifying thing. You can talk online forever, but until you really hang out and get to know each other, then is when you know the friendship is real or not. Shelley, you are the real deal, I love you, and I thank you for caring enough to make my day so incredible.
I literally got out of Shelley’s car, walked into my FL home, and was surprised by the kids and Craig with a decorated home, presents, flowers, and lots of hugs and kisses. Emily could barely contain herself from letting me open my presents, so I opened right away so she wouldn’t bust! Emily bought my the Disney family decals for my car or the van, not sure which one will get them yet. A goofy pen and antenna topper, as she knows me well and my love for Goofy! Kyra bought me a Vinymation that had WDW Attractions all over it, VERY cool, and a WDW Journal to write all my blog ideas in. Craig bought me a MUCH NEEDED IPhone case, WITH the Castle on it, and I geeked out because I REALLY wanted this! The kids made me a chocolate cake, and with the Minnie cake Shelley bought me, I have a lot of cake to eat over the next week- such nice gestures! Kyra made me a Goofy picture, Emily a Goofy card, and Craig wrote inside a very touching card. Along with their own blog posts yesterday, I couldn’t shed enough tears over how much I loved them at that moment.
Once Craig was off work officially, we chilled for a bit, then headed to MY favorite park, MAGIC KINGDOM!!! We parked at the Polynesian this time, as I refuse to deal with the TTC and the mobs afterwards, and we lucked out walking right into the Torch Lighting Ceremony. We got leys and watched him blow the conch shell and then do a fire dance, right outside the Poly lobby! It was so cool, so spontaneous- great birthday surprise! I cannot WAIT to stay at the Polynesian some day, I want to VERY badly with the family or Craig, as we love the movie “50 First Dates” and it was based in Hawaii, so that Resort makes us think of that.
We finally hopped the Monorail, and headed into MK, and as the Security Guy checked my bag he sang “Happy Birthday” to me in German! Yep, gotta love Walt Disney World. After lots of pics, and a very relaxed walk down Main Street, we scored a table inside “Caseys” where we had hot dogs and fries for BDay dinner. I love them, but those buns are just GROSS! I mean, they fall apart, and quite tasteless. I would prefer bringing my OWN buns into the park to have the hot dogs! LOL
We got a great family picture after dinner, then headed to “Pirates of the Caribbean” for a Birthday Pirate ride. Well, it was a BUSY night in the Park, and we actually waited 20 minutes to ride POTC, AND we stupidly took the right lane. DO NOT TAKE THE RIGHT LANE- the left lane is MUCH faster!! We enjoyed the ride, and then headed to “Haunted Mansion.” Again, the crowds were thick, but I refused to let them get me down on my day. The line was out into the walkway, so we went shopping at the “Yankee Trader” which is just outside the “Haunted Mansion.” It is great for kitchen stuff, so we bought Mickey bowls for strawberry shortcake and ice cream this summer.
Good times were then had on “Philharmagic” as we got to see it together as a family, and I LOVE that show, and then headed for the TTA for an evening ride. We were fortunate enough that it wasn’t too busy, so we were able to ride it twice. We watched the lightening across the sky, and got a bit nervous we may had to have called it an early night, but it stayed West so we were ok. “Space Mountain” was not running at all, so all the lights were on, and it was quite cool to see what it really looks like. I have to say, I was a bit shocked they let people see it with the lights on, as you could hear gasps from other cars when we went into the tunnel VERY VERY lit up. It looked abandoned, which was a bit unsettling. I still haven’t rode it yet, we shall see if as a Resident I ever attempt it.
We decided early on that we would watch “Wishes” from the Pooh area, not only because we avoid the chaos in front of the Castle, but because they surround you in Fantasyland. We had room to breathe, and we all sang along to it, I LOVED IT!! The finale was seriously like a dream- I cried, I smiled, all while Emily was hugging me- again, THAT is why I moved here.
When there are two showings of ANYTHING in any of the Parks, as far as fireworks and parades go, always, always go to the later, or second, one. We avoided the first “Magic, Memories, and You” show, which gave us time to hit the rides, and then went to the second one after “Wishes.” We literally sat on the ground, right in front of the Castle, NOONE in front of us, and the four of us laid back and watched the show. I can’t tell you enough how much better it is to see close up, than further back. I could actually see the faces of the pictures this time, and it was such a nice time to sit, chill, and shed some tears. “You’ll Be In My Heart” is one of the songs they use for the show, and that’s my song with Emily, so I totally teared up during it, as well as when Walt is on the Castle. Just amazing.
Fifteen minutes after the show ended, the second “Main Street Electrical Parade” started, and we watched it with no problem- it was Craig and the girls first time seeing it, so it was really neat to see their reactions to everything. We have hamsters named “Gus, Gus” and “Jack” and they were IN the Parade with Cinderella’s float- we all laughed!
We finished up my Birthday with a ride on “Haunted Mansion” and a nice cold Coke from “Sleepy Hollow.” We were fortunate to see the “Kiss Goodnight” at the Castle, and enjoyed strolling down Main Street at 12:15 a.m. this morning. A brief ride on the Monorail to the Poly, and we crawled to the van, among the tiki torches and waterfalls- I REALLY love that Resort!
We would get into bed about 1:30 this morning after we wound down from the day, and all I could do was smile at how awesome my day had been. So many Facebook well wishes, emails, private messages, voice mails (THANKS MATTHEW!), and blog comments made me feel so loved and special- I can’t tell you what it means to me when you comment and leave messages on FB- it tells me that you like me, my family, and what we blog. As long as you like the blog, we will keep on writing it.
So here is to another year on this planet, to all the friends I have met and yet to meet, and to the love of my awesome family- cheers!