Cinderella’s Royal Table – Lunch Review

Recommended:   NO!

Yes, you too can spend a criminal amount of money to eat inside of the castle at Magic Kingdom.  While your personal mileage may vary, expect to be extremely disappointed overall.

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Disney spared no expense in terms of the details in Cinderella’s Royal Table. The entrance hall alone was spectacular.

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Then the dining area was incredibly decorated as well.

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I wanted to go through the areas slowly and get pictures for my daughter’s cosplay page (as she was perfectly dressed as Cinderella), but it was so busy there was nothing but a rush from cast members to keep moving along.

Alas, even though the details were magnificent, Disney skimped a LOT on everything else.  Considering that I had to pre-pay $204 (for our party of four) six months in advance, they shouldn’t have many excuses to not be a top experience in Disney World.  After all, if your guests have to pay in full upfront, it’s not like you’re hurting for revenue to keep the wheels greased at a place like this.  By the by, if you’re on the dining plan, this meal eats up two of your sit-down dining credits.

To try to go through the rest of the venue in order, first, you check in for your reservation (this restaurant is reservation only 99% of the time, and it’s booked up to six months in advance).

Then, you get to pose with Cinderella herself.

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After that, you guide yourself upstairs and are seated at a pre-determined spot, and you get a menu.  Since you pre-pay for this meal, you can pick whatever you want as an entree and dessert, with a pre-selected appetizer.  You drink is also included in the meal.

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Now, our server wasn’t mean, she wasn’t awful at her job, but she came off as very grumpy throughout our time at her table.  This was during Spring Break, so maybe she was overloaded and exhausted, but she definitely had an attitude that we needed to hurry up and get out so that they could flip the table for another party.  Considering that her tip was included in my pre-payment of the meal (and it was something to the tune of $30-40 without me being able to alter or have input on that amount!) I felt like she had a really, really unacceptable attitude.

Part of the children’s meal included a plastic Wishing Star and either a Wand (for girls) or a Sword (for boys).

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Our server smacked them on the table while walking through to get elsewhere.  She gruffly said “these are gifts from Cinderella” and kept marching on without ever stopping.  Again, maybe she was overloaded, but it was an abrasive action that I didn’t appreciate.

The appetizer came out quicker than expected.  I don’t know how they managed to make cheese and crackers taste terrible, but they did it.  They also had an over-seasoned salad with some type of pear (?) in it.  The crackers, I believe, were the same gluten free crackers from the Perfectly Princess Tea Party, and they were still like eating plastic.  I know that gluten free is a growing diet trend, but maybe you should ask your guest if they want that trend forced upon them.  There is nothing about the appetizer that was appetizing in my opinion.

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We had been sitting for maybe five minutes at this point, and the waitress had pressed us to order four times already.  I was having trouble deciding on an entree, and trying to help my kids decide on their own, but I felt like I wasn’t moving to the server’s pace, and that she was getting put out over it.  Maybe I’m wrong, but for $204 for a family of four to eat somewhere, I should get to relax, think about exactly what I want, and enjoy my time in the facility too!

Four additional princesses do come to the table at this restaurant, and, just due to our luck of timing, they showed up before our food.  Let me touch on them and then I’ll get back to the food.

We met Snow White:
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Ariel (still inexplicably wearing green):
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and Aurora:
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Back to the food, I settled on the ribs, my husband went after the pork, and we decided we would split those two entrees so that we could try both.  I am not joking at all when I tell you that the entree was two bites. The photos below are not of super-sized plates.

The pork was two small coins of meat on a bed of rice, just a little larger than two hot dog slices,

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and the ribs were two small cubes of meat on mashed potatoes.

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I couldn’t believe these miniscule portion sizes!  I wish I had thought to put a quarter on the plate for an accurate comparison.  Disappointed didn’t even begin to cover it.  For half the price of this meal I could have gone to one of a half-dozen other character meals that included a full buffet!

I will admit, the ribs were absolutely delicious, though.  I don’t like mashed potatoes, but these were actually very scrumptious.  The pork, on the other hand, was bland and dry, and that flavor extended to the rice as well.  Overall, had the waitress not been so grumpy, I think we would have asked for a refill on our food (sort of as a joke, sort of hoping that a second helping was possible).  So, 0 for 2 on the meal courses.

On the children’s side of things they were given grapes and cheese cubes as an entree.

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My daughter had the chicken leg with rice.  She wouldn’t touch her greens, but for the price of the meal, they became an “offering” to my husband.

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My son had, I believe, a beef tip kids meal and said that he enjoyed it.

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Then the desserts arrived seconds after our entrees were finished (adding all the more to the super-rushed atmosphere).

My husband and I both had The Clock Strikes Twelve.  It was beautifully crafted and delicious.  I believe it was vanilla ice cream in a chocolate shell with a white chocolate ring on the top and a graham cracker hand.  A chocolate sauce making roman numeral numbers was a gorgeous touch, and a small pool of custard was on the side.  My only complaint is that the dessert was bigger than the entire entree portion size.
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My son had the smores dessert choice, which looked fantastic and had a chocolate Maleficent dragon “painted” on the plate.
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My daughter, however, got the raw end of the deal.  She picked the yogurt with blueberries.  It sounded great, but nowhere did they disclose that it was GREEK yogurt.  If you don’t know the difference, it’s a harsh taste and not at all like the typical yogurt you’d find in the US (which is essentially flabby ice cream).  If you aren’t used to the stuff, it can take a while to get used to, and they should have warned her as it was a dessert option on the kids menu.
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Side note, in front of the yogurt is the plastic Wishing Star that they give the kids.  I apparently didn’t get a better photo of them.

Most character meals have a get-up-and-do-stuff moment.  Some places have a parade for the little ones, others have a mini-dance party, it just depends on the venue.  At Cinderella’s Royal Table, the barely audible loud speaker starts saying something about making a wish with your star and wand.  As people quiet down you can hear better, but it’s still not very loud.  On the magic cue, some lights flicker towards the ceiling, then all the princesses walk away.

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My kids always participate in these moments, but the fact that the staff didn’t even call attention to it, and that you could barely hear it happening, well, that was just another disappointment of this venue.  I was kind of irritated that, for so much more money, the little girls couldn’t even walk around with the princesses on parade or do a dance or song or SOMETHING!

Now, if you noticed earlier, I only described 3 princesses coming to the table.  That’s because we got skipped by Jasmine.  None of the characters had handlers, which was odd enough, but there were also no staff members coming around and checking that each character had visited us, something that has always happened at every other character meal we’ve had.  In fact, I think this was our first time at a Disney sit-down restaurant that a manager didn’t pop by the table to check in.

So, my husband flagged down our waitress as we saw all the princesses leaving.  He asked if they were coming back out and the server gets and attitude and says, “what, are you going to tell me that they didn’t stop by your table?”  Really?  This is why I NEVER tip in advance.  If you have a guaranteed $30 in your pocket, you can be a complete jerk and you still get a huge tip for a bad job!

My husband said that it was just Jasmine that missed us.  The waitress sighed and started walking away.  She also stopped by a neighboring table and said “you know, you already paid in advance, so you can leave any time.”  In a nice tone, that wouldn’t be anything off putting to say, but it was not a friendly tone.

Jasmine reappeared and chatted my daughter up for a few minutes before disappearing to the back again.  Then we were made to feel like we needed to rush out as fast as possible, because our desserts had been finished for a whole five minutes.
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Also, when I booked the restaurant in October of 2014, I was required to pay for the entire meal upfront.  I already mentioned that, but part of the “package” I paid for as a diner included a free set of photos with Cinderella.  I felt so rushed and irritated while at Cinderella’s Royal Table that I didn’t realize until I returned home that the waitress never brought those photos to us, and there was no desk or location to get them from in the castle.

I emailed Disney’s customer service and they thanked for my interest in their complimentary photos, but said that they discontinued giving them out in January.  Wait wait wait – what?!  One of the main draws of choosing this restaurant over another character meal was the free photo set, because we didn’t buy Memory Maker, and the photos cost around $40 a piece after taxes.  That was basically the freebie that almost balanced out the insane amount of money they charged us to eat there.

I responded asking for a manger, because it wasn’t right to charge me six months in advance, then change what I signed up for without notifying me.  Disney World makes hundreds of announcements a month, it’s unrealistic for me to go through them all hoping that one applies to my vacation – especially for something I pre-paid to get!  Since all the money I paid didn’t go to food, couldn’t it have gone to at least a courtesy email about changes to my package and given me an opportunity to cancel my reservation?  Ultimately, this conversation went nowhere and, since this was our last Disney World visit, it certainly left me with a bad impression.

My overall thoughts on Cinderella’s Royal Table:

  • The portion sizes were pathetically small to where the kids’ meals had more food than the adults.
  • The prices were double every other sit down restaurant in the park.
  • The staff was not very nice and made us feel rushed every minute we were there.
  • It’s nice to have the princesses come to you, but they’ll only spend 1-2 minute per table, so any experience is minimal.
  • Considering the ungodly expense, the princess line up should be better.  I understand that Cinderella needs to be at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but I personally feel that the rest of the characters should be updated to the more difficult-to-meet princesses that have longer wait times (make skipping those big lines more worthwhile!).  Elsa, Anna, Merida (who is only available at limited times, weather permitting), and Rapunzel make the most sense to have in the restaurant, as their lines are always long, they are newer (and thus more relevant/recognizable for the children meeting them), and then it keeps the characters between here and Akershus completely different (meaning I can justify going to both places and spending more money!).
  • I felt very burnt over the “free” photo set getting ripped out of our hands without advance warning.

Truly, I was not over-the-moon for Akershus (the princess character meal in EPCOT’s Norway), but it was roughly half the price of Cinderella’s Royal Table, the entrees were twice the size, and it included a salad bar.  The princess line up is also very similar, except you get to meet Belle instead of Jasmine.  And, at least during our visit, the staff at Akershus was very good.  Overall, if you’re making a choice for a princess meal, Akershus is a much better deal, even though the adult entrees are a little strange (being Norwegian-themed food an all).  Alternatively, I would also recommend 1900 Park Fare for dinner as it has really good food, and features the Cinderella cast (Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and Prince Charming).  We did their breakfast buffet and left very impressed and happy with everything food-wise, although the morning characters are English themed.

Akershus Lunch Review

Recommended:  No for the food.  Yes to see the Princesses in one swoop.

Located in Norway, but surprisingly void of Anna and Elsa, I’m torn on whether or not to recommend Akershus, which is the only character meal available in the EPCOT World Showcase.

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If you are looking to collect a lot of princess autographs quickly, this would be the way to go.  A number of princesses, like Snow White and Belle, are not available for very hospitable hours.  Usually, you have to already know where they’ll be and line up a half an hour before they arrive to get your photo and autograph.  Typically, once the princess arrives to her outdoor station, the line to meet her has already been cut off.  Then, if it rains, the character doesn’t come out at all.  So, when thinking of Arkerhus in those terms, it is an easy way to meet five princesses in one shot.

They say the line up can change any time, but these are the princesses that we saw:

Belle meets you as you enter the restaurant.
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Then you’ll see Cinderella,
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Followed closely by Aurora,
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next is Ariel (in a green dress that she NEVER wears in any of the films – my daughter thought she was Merida because of that),
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and last is Snow White.
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Snow White only hangs around in EPCOT these days, and she is one of those weather-permitting princesses.  We’ve had trouble getting to her in the past, which is what brought us to Akershus in the first place.

However, be warned that there are NO Photo Pass photographers once you get to your table, so you will be on your own there.  There are also a lot of tables crammed into a little bit of building (Akershus was clearly built before Disney World saw the volume of tourist that is does today), so getting great pictures that show off the princesses beautiful dresses will not be a likely possibility.

We also felt very rushed with the time the princesses gave our table.  Much like Chef Mickey’s, we got about 2 minutes per princess in.  It was, hello, hugs, autograph, pose for photos, and goodbye.  They keep these characters on too tight of a schedule, it would be nice if the kids could have a few more sentences with each one and create a stronger memory of the event (like my daughter training squirrels with Rapunzel or teaching yoga to Merida).

The princesses also do a gathering/parade for all the little ones who want to join in.  That seems to happen at every character meal, and it’s always a cute touch.
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The Akershus building is magnificently beautiful.  It feels like an Old World castle that has been refurbished by a modern owner.  As you can see in the photograph above, the walls are stone, and put together in an uneven, ancient architecture type of style (something like Merida’s castle, I suppose).

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The artwork on the walls ranged from tapestry and flags to very somber paintings.

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And even the roof was magnificent.  My daughter said it looked like Elsa’s snowflake.  While the waiter denied any resemblance, I’d be surprised if the designers of Frozen didn’t find some inspiration in this building.
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The food is where the experience gets iffy for me.  Norwegian food is weird, if not gross.  At Akershus, there is a set price, and that include the salad bar, an entree, and a plate of three Norwegian desserts for the table.  Here’s a not-too-great picture of the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.

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It came with potato dumpling and Brussels sprouts, but they had been cooked (boiled?) until they tasted the same with the same bland texture.  Definitely not my favorite meal from Disney, although my father highly recommended the meatballs.

The dessert portion of the meal was interesting.  They brought out two sets of the desserts, which included a piece of Apple Cake (not my cup of tea, personally), Chocolate Mousse (amazing, actually), and Rice Cream (no, not Ice Cream, a tapioca kind of warm, solid, goop – not a fan!).  Having two sets of desserts for five people, and only one of those desserts being any good, essentially leads to a fight over the Chocolate Mousse.  That is worth the fight, fork your children if you have to so that you can try a piece!  haha.  But, really, it would have been nice if everyone has a smaller sized sampler plate than making everyone share.  I actually missed out on the photo opp here, but I found a picture from DisneyFoodBlog.com to share.

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I also didn’t appreciate that we were a party of 5, we had made reservations months in advance, and we were crammed into a table for four.  There was not enough room for plates, the kids had to climb over people to get to the princesses, and the room we were in (the rounded room in the castle tower portion) was already a tight enough space without putting someone on the end like a baby in a high chair.  That was very poor dining management from whomever decided to seat us there…

So, if you’re looking for a good place to eat, skip Akerhus, there is much better places in the World Showcase.  If you’re looking for a guaranteed slew of princesses, this is your best bet in EPCOT.  It just depends on what you’re looking for.

My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party Review (Photos!)

Recommended:  1000% YES!

If you have not yet found an excuse to go into Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, boy, do I have a recommendation for you!

Blog’s not for you?  That’s okay!  I have a vlog post about it now too!

 
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Instead of spending $200 reserving a birthday party venue this year (which, as always, would require us to pay for 10-20 kids in advance when only 2 or 3 will show up to the party), I decided to try something different.  So, booking months in advance, I reserved my daughter and I a spot at the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party, which is in the Garden View Tea Room in the Grand Floridian Resort (the huge, beautiful, white, Victorian-style resort that you monorail past on the way to the Magic Kingdom).  If you can find a way to schedule this into your trip, it is a completely fantastic, premium experience.

THE COST (to get that out of the way) is very high.  For just my daughter and myself, the expense was $291, paid at the time of booking.  The good news to that is that the event/meal includes a lot of gifts for the attending princesses, gratuities, and someone mentioned it also covered the cost of valet parking at the resort (we monorailed there from the Magic Kingdom parking lot, so I can’t verify that detail for certain).  Now, we did book months ago, and the price may have changed, as the sign at the entrance noted it as $333.64 for one adult and one child.
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Cancellations are possible, but they must be a full 72 hours in advance to get a refund.  While many Disney dining venues charge $10 per person if you do not show up, the cost of a no-show is much more steep here.  If you do not make your reservation, or cancel after the three-days-prior window, I believe all of your money is forfeited.  It may seem harsh, but this event only holds a small number of people, it is only done once a day, and only on a few days of the week, so it’s a pretty exclusive ordeal.  There wasn’t an empty seat in the room, either!

You also need a child between the ages of 3-9 to attend.  This is a girls event, but brothers can have a seat purchased for them, which will include a sword, shield, a “Disney Bear” (I assume they mean Duffy), and some other odds and ends.  If you have extra adults or daughters that want to attend, you may purchase a seat for them as well.  But, remember, booking early is vital, as the venue is small!

Alright, those nitty gritty details are out of the way, so lets dive into the fun!  Princess parties always mean pink, and nobody is known more for her pinkness in the Disney family than Sleeping Beauty!  This is not a princess meet-and-greet bonanza, but Aurora and her magical friend are wonderful all the same!

When you enter the main building of the Grand Floridian, you’ll see huge bay windows on the 1st floor, that is where you need to be!  Around 10:30am, they will start allowing guests to check in, giving each little girl card with her name on it, saying that it is their ticket to the tea party.

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I did notice that a few girls were running late, and they held the start of the event to give them some extra time to get there.  Considering how overly taxed the Disney transportation is, I appreciated that very considerate action, even though I was not the one benefiting from it (but it took us 92 minutes to get from Pop Century Resort to the Grand Floridian that morning, so I was sympathetic!).

Now, the girls weren’t tall enough to see a thing, but the dining area was beautifully set up, with dolls already waiting at many of the seats.  Only little princesses get dolls!  Collectors and older fans are out of luck!

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To keep the young princesses from bursting with anticipation, the lovely and talented Rose Petal came to the steps to chat the ladies up.  As girls were encouraged to dress up as their favorite princess, there were a sea of Elsa’s, with a few Rapunzel’s and a Cinderella sprinkled into the mix.  When they were ready to begin seating, each girl was called up and announced individually, then given a special Aurora crown.
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Each girl was then seated by another Cast Member, meticulously placed so that they can best be able to see the center of the room.  Since the girls were all shorter than the moms, being given a seat was their first chance to see their Aurora dolls, which were waiting for them!  The dolls are exquisitely detailed, with beautiful locks, purple eyes, and a dress that is amazingly similar to that of the Aurora’s costume at Disney World. It’s really hard to see the detail on that dress, but, I assure you, it’s magnificent.
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Aurora is also holding a scepter, made with pink beads, that the girls can take.

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The dolls used to be the only way left to get the My Disney Girl dolls, but Aurora seems very different.  She does not match the face or body of the My Disney Girl, actually, she looks more like the 18″ Disney Princess and Me dolls at Toys R Us.  However, as far as I can tell, the face mold and dress on this doll are unique, meaning I’ve never seen one anywhere else for sale.  So, in my experience as a doll collector, I do believe that this is an exclusive! 🙂

Each princess also has a little pink tea cup, whereas the adult have a more fancily decorated cup (white with flowers).  A napkin is beautifully placed in each cup, and the girls are told not to touch anything yet!  There is also a place card for each princess, naming her the princess of a flower (Kairi had Orchids, the two sisters at our table had Poppies).
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There was also a live pianist (organist?) playing right beside our table.

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And this was our view to the outside, where several brides came through for photo opportunities!  Be aware, though, these big windows are bright, and it makes taking photos a challenge!

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I would say it was about 11am (30 minutes after the start time) when all the princesses had been seated and the event officially began.

Rose Petal told her story, of how she was a flower in Aurora’s garden, and one day she sang out and the fairies heard her, and turned her into a real person.  After that, she told the condensed version of Aurora’s story, then asked the girls to all take their napkins out of their tea cups, because Aurora had left them all a little surprise.  It was a charm bracelet!  There was a blue, yellow, green, and pink charm, along with a bejeweled Mickey Mouse head charm.  Kairi decided quickly that each charm represented a different princess (Aurora, Belle, Tiana, and Elsa).

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While this was going on, pink pots of apple juice went to the girls.  Once all of the little princesses were served, pots of hot tea came out to the accompanying adults.  Hot tea was not a joke, it was super hot!  The lady next to me drank it up so casually that I was not prepared for the shocking burn that I gave myself (used to iced tea myself!).  The tea was flavored and pretty dull, I didn’t get a lot of strong “tea” taste out of it like I have with other varieties.

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After that, plates of food went to all the little ones.  They were pretty packed full of fruit, turkey sandwiches, and jelly sandwiches.  The center of the plate offered a drizzled chocolate swirl of Mickey ears topped with Mickey shaped sprinkles.
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Once the little ladies had their plates, the adults were served a much different meal:
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Grapes, raspberries, blueberries, a mini quiche (?), two different types of cheeses, a cucumber sandwich, egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, and what I believe were gluten free crackers – quite possibly the worst, most rubbery crackers I’ve ever tasted.  I was a good sport and ate all that I could, but I was very glad to have lunch reservations elsewhere shortly after this event.  It was just not my preference.

What felt like moments later, the girls were called up to sing Hail to the Princess (the intro song from Sleeping Beauty).  And, with a cute extra touch, Rose Petal taught parts of the song to the girls in sign language!
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At the end of the song, Aurora appeared behind the girls, and they had a little parade around the room before returning to their seats.
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The cake was then announced, and I encouraged my girl to gobble up her plate with the fear of losing that very expensive meal.
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As I had feared, the plate clearing began to make room for the cake.  While I almost wanted to cry at the lack of ability to save the grapes my daughter could not eat fast enough (there really didn’t feel like enough time), I consoled myself silently as I noticed that most parents were handing over their children’s plates still completely full – not even flinching at the cost of the food being wasted!  Apparently, everyone else was much more well off than I was in life to not even bat an eye, so I decided that it must not be a big deal.  But, the cake came, and it was almost a religious experience!
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I can’t be certain, but I believe the cake they held up was a prop, as there was no fondant on this cake, and I don’t believe the staff would have had adequate time to cut it into slices.  The cake was beautifully layered between a soft, moist cake and some pudding-esc strawberry filling.  The strawberry cream (?) at the end of the cake and the strawberry dipping sauce were also divine.  Kairi also loved it, but she tends to eat slow and pick at things, so, again, the plate was gone almost as quickly as it had come.

Aurora and Rose Petal began to visit tables to meet each little princess and sign autograph books, and the cast members hand out little cinch bags for the dolls.  I don’t believe that was on the list of “gifts,” so it was a cute surprise!

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Aurora comes through with the most beautiful, pink roses to offer each little lady.

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Then she signed and chatted with the girls before posing for pictures.

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And Rose Petal comes through with another gift, a friendship necklace (where the gem turns pink in certain lights/angles) in a yellow draw string bag.

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Birthday songs began next, with four different little princesses celebrating that day!

The girls were then asked to make a circle in the middle of the room so that Aurora could give out pink thank you cards.  Of course, my daughter was more interested in getting the favor of Rose Petal!
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And, in true Disney fashion, a sing along was required!  First, the girls sang a Sleeping Beauty tune, then, of no surprise to me, Let It Go began to play.  My little diva decided that was her moment to force her way into center stage!
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Next, the girls were lined up to do a Princess Parade through part of the hotel.  While everyone else was waving, mine was blowing kisses to her “adoring public.”  You can’t out diva Kairi, she has an astounding, often exhausting, level of self-esteem.
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Through the lobby and up the grand staircase the girls went, where they were lined up and put into a Photo Pass moment.
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Finally, the last bit of our magic came as we were sent down to the hotel Disney shop and taken to a table where a Cast Member, Britt, was filling out the best friend certificates for the dolls.  With the certificate came a large sheet of princess stickers (still wrapped so the girls couldn’t easily get into them, thank goodness!).
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On the what-your-princess-gets count, that is:

      1. A Meal with an Amazing Dessert
      2. An Aurora Tiara
      3. Girl/Doll Sized Sceptor
      4. An Exclusive My Disney Girl 18″ Doll
      5. A Doll Cinch Bag
      6. Charm Bracelet
      7. A Necklace
      8. A Rose
      9. Thank You Card
      10. Best Friend Certificate
      11. Stickers
      12. Aurora Time
      13. The ONLY Way to Meet Miss Rose Petal and Hear Her Story!

Even though I am still a little hung up on the expense, this was one of the best things we’ve ever done at Disney.  I would have liked some more time for eating (although, it was 12:30 at the time we received the certificate, so it was a two hour long event overall, which is a pretty good amount of time).  But Rose Petal is amazing, so sweet and energetic, with a beautiful voice – and you can only meet her here at this event!  So, again, if you can make this happen with your little lady, I cannot recommend it highly enough!  And if you have time to walk around the Grand Floridian afterwards, it is a gorgeous resort with so much to look at.  We were very tempted to skip the Magic Kingdom and just walk around the resort all day. 🙂

UPDATE:  Kairi asked me to comment on her flower.  We carried it around Magic Kingdom until we left around 6pm that evening.  We then drove eight hours home.  With all that, the poor thing looked shot.  The rose was drooping, the petals were falling open, and the edges were drying out badly.  If it had gotten dropped, I think the petals would have exploded all over the floor.  I wanted to sneak the pretty blossom into a dictionary and press it for Kairi, but she was still carrying in her hands when we pulled up at home.  The first thing she did at almost 3am was get out her Frozen thermos and fill it with water – she didn’t ask about her doll, she said the flower was alive and needed help now, so she refused to rest until her rose had a drink.  I really thought it was a lost cause, but the flower looked better in the morning.  I pointed that out and Kairi snuck it over to the window, where I just found it again, and, as of 9:30pm tonight (almost 36 hours after receiving it) the rose looks almost fresh cut!  The flower is strong, it’s full, and lively again, and you can feel the cold water going up the stem.  I don’t know what type these roses are, but I think they may be a little bit magical!
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Disney Designer Dolls – Purchase with Caution!

I keep seeing a trend so I want to throw out a PSA on buying limited edition designer dolls on eBay, Amazon, Craigslists, or other similar venues.  

 

First, pay attention to the release dates of the item you want.  MOST online stores can only give you a buyer protection policy for a very limited amount of time (usually less than 2 months).  That means if you don’t complain within a set timeframe, your money is lost forever if there is a problem that arrises.  

Paypal, for example, usually will side with the buyer if a transaction goes bad, even if it’s something the seller can’t control (USPS damaging the item, primarily).  However, if you do not file your complaint within 45 days of your payment, your dispute is automatically cancelled and there is nothing you can do to reclaim your money.  So, if you purchase a “pre-order” item from an eBay seller and pay for it via Paypal on August 1st, the item has to be released and in your hands before September 14th to be able to file a dispute.  Otherwise, the seller can take your $600 pre-order money and mail you a $5 bargain bin doll from Walmart, and you can’t do a thing about it if the 45 day mark has passed.  

Why am I bringing this up?  Because Disney has once again released a beautiful set of Fairytale Couple dolls that are in high demand.  A new doll will soon be releasing every few weeks, but a small number of people were able to pre-order the complete set upfront.  The problem is, though, that Disney will not deliver the dolls to the buyers until all of the couples have been released (I believe October 22nd is the ship date), and many of the eBay resellers are listing their complete designer doll sets and getting $1,000 or more for them.  Imagine how many of those listings might be fake!  They were so difficult to get, there should not be that many already up on the market boards, so you have to wonder how valid their claims of having an entire set to re-sell are.  

Counterfeiting is also a big deal that happens a lot online, so never purchase a doll that is shown off via stock photos.  You’ll want to see real photos from multiple angles WITH the certificate of authenticity before you even consider buying.  Ask how they got the doll, and realize that if the answer isn’t “from the Disney Store” that it’s very likely a fake reproduction.  Some collectors will trade around, but if you can make hundreds of dollars off of a cheap knock off doll, you have to be very careful and educate yourself thoroughly about what you’re looking for.  Also, use good sense, because anyone can Google and steal images that others have posted, so have the buyer include a handwritten piece of paper next to the doll with their name/user name.  I hear a lot of people get irritated and roll their eyes over asking a seller to do this, but there’s no way I would give a stranger that much money if I wasn’t positive I was getting a genuine article.

The Princess Crawl

Have you ever heard of a Pub Crawl, where people mill around from one bar to the next to accomplish a goal of going to each one?  Well, my daughter and I attempted to do this with Disney Princess characters, and since the lines move so slowly, and there are so many places to visit, we dubbed it “The Princess Crawl” (a non-alcoholic venture, of course). Day 1, we began at EPCOT.  We expected to hit Alice, Mary Poppins, Belle, Aurora, Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, and Duffy the Bear.  Not all princesses, I know, but it was essentially hitting every character that is around the world in EPCOT’s World Showcase. Unfortunately, the rainy season of Florida was not letting up, and the only character experience stations that were open were the indoor ones (Jasmine in Morocco and Pooh and Tigger in the UK).
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So, day 1 of the Princess crawl was a pretty big mission fail.  And, while Pooh rarely seems to have a big line, we waited over an hour for Princess Jasmine.  In better weather conditions, with more Princesses out and about, I assume the wait wouldn’t be as bad, but Jasmine seems to have very limited hours of availability compared to the others.

 

Day 2 was much more fruitful in the Magic Kingdom, where almost every character is found indoors.  Our goal was to hit every princess, and just to sweeten the experience (since it was just my daughter and I that day), I lugged around a bag with every costume we brought with us. First, we had a FastPass+ for the left side of the Princess Fairytale Hall:
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Next, we waited in long lines for Ariel’s Grotto and Fairytale Garden for Merida (which Kairi got to do yoga):
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Then, we had a FastPass+ for the right side of the Princess Fairytale Hall: princesscrawl5princesscrawl7

And, finally, we wrapped up the day with a FastPass+ to Tinkerbell, whom Kairi told that she was Elsa’s half sister, and it was a crazy life:
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Day 2 was a success! The wait time for Anna & Elsa was still tragically long at over 90 minutes, but we lucked into getting Fast Passes right after Disney World extended their hours and added more passes to the My Disney Experience website.  We also missed out on Tiana, because she is outside for a very limited amount of time, and her line filled up well before she even came out to meet people.

It also rained a lot again, so Tiana and Merida were by far the hardest Princesses to get to.  We had to get in line twice for Merida and wait over two hours combined due to rain outs. You can also find various characters around Magic Kingdom, like Peter Pan, Aladdin, Alice, and a slew of others, but they are not Fast Pass-able, and are subject to weather being decent. Definitely use FastPass+ to your advantage at Magic Kingdom!  For the most part, Fast Passers get to skip all lines, and they make the standby lines take a lot longer than they should.

 

Oh, and just for good measure, Kairi asks that I throw in her Tiana costume.  We were ready to go but they close down her line very quickly, as Tiana has very limited appearance hours.  Naveen and Tiana did walk by us though and had a little “hello, look at you!” moment, which was precious – but my camera and I weren’t fast enough to capture it!
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Disney Princess Favorites

Video

So, this has been a long debated issue among all Disney FanGirls, and I kind of love this video about Disney Princesses.

To me, there are 4 categories of Princesses:

Early – Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora.
Golden – Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Pocahontas.
Modern – Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida (even though Disney/Pixar gal), and, as of last year, Anna & Elsa.

Then we have the Forgotten Princesses that aren’t well advertised or remembered – Eilonwy (The Black Cauldron), Kida (Atlantis), Tiger Lily (Peter Pan), Melody (The Little Mermaid II), and maybe even Giselle from Enchanted if you want to debate whether she’s an animated or live action princess character. And there are probably more that I don’t even recall any more – feel free to post anyone I missed.

You could also argue for a kind-of-Disney Princess category – Leia (Star Wars), Kairi (Kingdom Hearts), and anyone potentially a Princess in the Marvel Universe too.  I’m sure there are dozens, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Finally, you could opt to count the animal princesses too – Nala and Faline. Perhaps Maid Marian too, her uncle was the true king and had no shown heirs, but I’m not sure how that places her in terms of princess capacity.  So, I guess there could be 6 Princess categories, but I’m sticking with my original thought of 4.

Mulan makes the princess list, but I think that’s almost an insult to Mulan’s character. I like Mulan as she is, a rough and tumble tom boy who can’t do the girls thing very well. In the Disney Princess collection, Mulan is always in her kimono-style outfit and often with the white-faced make-up. This is also the only Mulan Halloween or dress up costume available, and I’ve never seen Ping-Mulan at Disney World hanging around. But… hello! she hated that outfit! It was probably the lowest moment of her life where she failed her family by not being “a perfect bride.” There was a whole song about it and everything. So, Mulan, you’re beautiful and I love you just as you are, but you’re the daughter of an ex-general (?) and engaged to another military man, so you aren’t exactly sipping tea at the royal palace.

Okay, end that rant, it’ll turn into a whole other blog post! But as for my picks? In each category I would choose Aurora, Ariel, and Rapunzel, with Kida being my favorite forgotten princess, and Nala my favorite animal one. How about you?