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Monday, April 7, 2014

Cinderella's Royal Table

When we just had Kye Zach and I talked about if/when we ever had a daughter that we would for sure do a Princess dining experience. I am a Disney lover. I don't mind waiting in lines. I don't mind the crowds. I don't mind the cost. I don't mind the heat. It's ingrained in me to love it all but I know not everyone is like that. Zach wasn't raised with the "Disney Brainwash" I was ;) His biggest reservations about going to Disney were always: crowds, heat, and lines. I know this may sound silly when I say it...but I 100% cater our trip around what I know will help Zach have the best time possible. The kids and I will have a blast no matter what, but if Zach doesn't have a good time then it spoils my fun too! So we schedule our Disney trips when the crowds are the lowest possible (level 3 or lower crowd level on the Touring Plans site) and I do my best to minimize lines ( again, using the Touring Plans site to create a daily itinerary) and provide options for heat should it be an issue. One big way to cut out lines? Do a character meal! Yes, they aren't cheap BUT the characters come to you and there is no waiting involved at all. Plus no crowds. And no heat :) And the added bonus of FOOD! :)

This was our first experience ever booking Cinderella's Royal Table. Zach and I actually ate there for lunch several years ago with my younger brother and his girl friend at the time but we just walked in and got the seats randomly. I knew this occasion would take a bit more planning :) First of all you HAVE TO book your Cinderella's Royal Table reservation 180 days in advance. Have to. And you also have to be planning to visit Magic Kingdom that day as it requires a ticket to get in. When making our booking I got the earliest time available which was 8:25. I have to say, I will request this same time again in the future. We were still able to get in the park at 7:50 when the 8:00 time slot reservations were also allowed in...BUT we weren't having to rush to our reservation. Instead we were able to take our time and still got seated prior to our original reservation time. You do also have to pay in advance for this dining experience so be prepared for that! It was nice for us not to have to pay that bill that day though :) 

At first I was a bit undecided about which day to book our breakfast at the castle. My FAVORITE thing at Disney is the opening show. Which we'd be missing in order to eat at the castle that morning. However, I thought it would be an amazing way to introduce Britt to the park. Also Britt has never done well with characters. Not even Santa! So I thought meeting the princesses first might help ease her into the world of character meetings. The princesses interact with you and are "real people" rather than characters like Mickey Mouse. I also remember that on Kye's first morning at Disney he was overwhelmed and frustrated by the lines and such. I thought by getting in the park early we could really show Britt the world of Disney without it being a rush and without her getting that overwhelmed feeling. I also booked our Chef Mickey breakfast for the last morning of our trip so she would be well used to seeing characters and have a full understanding of the entire Disney experience before meeting Mickey and the gang :)

Since we had to be at the gates by 7:50 I was a little nervous about how it would all work? Would they let us in the parking area that early? Would we be able to take a monorail to get to the park at that time? I hunted the internet like crazy and Mrs. Charlotte and I discussed it with a cast member at guest services at Downtown Disney. And we decided to leave plenty early to make sure we would not be in a rush. 

We actually put the kids to bed super early the night prior and they woke up early too which worked out great! We just put their clothes on them and hit the road! Over the past several months to a year I've been collecting little Disney things for the kids. As I find things on Clearance or discounted I'll get them and pack them away. When we took Kye on his first visit we surprised him with a new little gift every night and I wanted to continue with that tradition. I got each of the kids their own Disney bag and put their treat in the bag for them to open :) I went ahead and did a treat the morning of our first day because I had gotten them each special cups to use on the trip as well as super cute pens to use with their notebooks while we waiting in lines and a little toy to carry with them throughout the day :) They were both SO excited to be heading to Disney...Kye said "I'm so excited I'm like CRYING!" And had true tears in his eyes!!! Zach said "He really is your child" haha ;)
Clothing Tips: I am VERY picky about my Disney clothes. Especially when it comes to Kye. It's a pet peeve of mine to dress Kye just as cute as I dress Britt. When you go to Disney (or anywhere for that matter) you see little girls dressed SO cute and then you see their brother wearing random stuff where the shirt and shorts don't even match half the time. Zach enjoys looking nice and he and I both enjoy clothes and even like to coordinate with each other and our kids! It's just something we personally like to do :) So we also want Kye (and future sons) to look put together too!

I am also kinda hardcore about wearing Disney stuff at Disney. I saw SO MANY dang "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" shirts. Also a ton of those minion guys? Hello people: THOSE ARE NOT DISNEY. I think every time we passed someone wearing that stuff I made a comment to Zach or Mrs. Charlotte haha. But I mean if you're going to Disney you don't have to wear Disney stuff (Zach usually wears his VSU shirts haha) but don't wear characters from other theme parks, ya know?

Comfort is the most important thing when it comes to Disney clothing. I think a lot of the little girl attire we see at the parks is super cute, but not practical. I'm not going to have my daughter at a theme park all day wearing an itchy princess dress. I am a big fan of soft cotton for everything my kids wear to the parks (and myself too!). 

Keeping the weather in mind is also important. Going at the end of Feb we knew we'd get a variety of weather. Cool as well as warm. So I put the kids in layers. If Kye had a short sleeved shirt planned for that day then I also brought along a long sleeved shirt to wear under it if he got cold. Kye tends to get hot easily so I wasn't overly worried about the cold weather bothering him. Britt, however, has like 0% body fat so I was more concerned about her staying warm. I put her in long sleeves that could be rolled up if warm or I put her in short sleeves with a sweater over the top that could be removed. I also put her in leggings each day. And I packed each of them a jacket as well as a rain coat AND a poncho! 

For Kye I've ALWAYS had him wear Crocs to the park. They are comfortable for him and do fine if it does rain. I had the biggest struggle with footwear for Britt. Not only is she an odd size right now (where one size is too small yet the next one up is too big) but its also more difficult to find shoes that will be comfortable for extended wear for her. I ended up bringing 2-3 extra pairs of shoes with us each day to the parks! That way if she got uncomfortable in one pair we could switch them out :) 

I also ALWAYS pack a "head to toe" extra outfit for each day. That way I'm prepared for anything. If it rains and they get soaked. If they have a spill of some kind. A potty accident etc. Yes, I even packed them both extra underwear (Kye hasn't had an accident in years but you never know!). 

When it came time to decide on outfits for each day I did want to have somethings made for them to wear. Again, I'm picky :) I like simple details, especially for Kye. I know it's a personal thing but I am just not a fan of a big appliqué on a little boy past a certain age. Which Kye is def past that age in my opinion! I'm also not a fan of white for either child. And I don't like their names on stuff. The name thing isn't a safety issue really (and I have heard it's neat that the cast members will all call them by name if you put them in clothing with their names on it) but it's more of a wearability thing for me. I would not put them in those outfits again at home if their names were on them and it would mean I also couldn't let future children use them so it's a waste. And I don't like to spend a fortune on stuff. 

For Day 1 I wanted to go with classic Mickey colors, of course! I found a plain black dress from Old Navy for Britt and already had a plain red golf shirt for Kye. I had an AMAZING experience working with Green Feet Boutique on many of my design ideas. She also made Britt's bows! And right now she has a SALE going on! 10% off from her Etsy Shop through April 15th (use code TAKE10 at check out). If you are local she does custom work and is SUPER affordable. I was blown away by the end results :) 


Ready to go!
There is NOTHING more exciting than driving through these gates!!! Knowing our trip was really about to begin was so awesome. I did feel bad for poor Britt...she's still rear facing in her car seat so she couldn't see any of it! Zach can't believe they have "no parking" signs posted up like crazy...I think he wanted to stop and let her look at it ;) So sweet!

I was nervous about the parking situation since we were there so, so early (park didn't open that day until 9 and we got there at like 7:20). However, it worked out great! They didn't even stop us at the parking entrance. They just waved us on in so we scored free parking that morning! 

The ferry boat obviously wasn't running yet and they told us to get on the monorail and that went to the resorts and it would also take us to ticketing. So it worked out with no issues! We were surprised that so many people were there so early and were glad we had so much time and didn't feel rushed like we were worried would happen. Britt's first Disney ride was the monorail!
When we got to the entrance of the park they had us go through security check like normal and took our tickets as we came in. Then we all stood in line waiting to be allowed in the park. I'm used to everyone gathering in front of the train station so it was odd to be off to the side in a roped area. There were a good bit of people in front of us in line and a plenty long line after us too. I think that is one big misconception about a pre-park opening reservation time. You do NOT have the park "all to yourself." You just don't! Other people have reservations that early as well and guess what? All those people are thinking the same thing you are about getting pictures in front of the castle before the crowds come. It's still WAY less people than at park opening, but it's not empty either :)

It did surprise me that no one asked for any reservation info. Not at the parking gates. Not at the ticketing. Not even in the line waiting to go in. We actually started talking to the people behind us in line (shocker!) and they didn't even have a reservation but came to the park that early in hopes of being able to get in and be able to get on stand by to eat. 
Waiting to get in! I was a little nervous that they would be hungry, but they didn't even ask for any food at all! 

Getting in the park so early was a truly amazing experience. If we had the means, I'd book Cinderella's Royal Table at every visit. Seriously. While I love me the opening show...getting to walk in and be leisurely was incredible. Usually we walk in and our most exhausting part of the entire day is the mad dash from the entrance to Fantasyland! The kids rode in the stroller up until we got them out for castle pics and then they just walked the rest of the way. Which is awesome. I mean they were able to run up ahead of us a bit and we just took our time taking it all in. Truly magical! 

Just like when we came for Kye's first visit...there was a HUGE crane right at the castle. So I did my best to edit it out but you can still see some of it as well as the workers ;) For Christmas this past year I had found Zach a really cool Mickey shirt. Very modern and not an obvious Mickey. Before the trip I even wrote down a reminder for some of the shirts he needed to pack and that was on the list for him to wear our first day at the park. Guess what shirt he forgot? I take that to mean he doesn't like it haha. I had also gotten him this shirt from Express for Christmas with Disney in mind :) It's not Disney at all but the colors are and I knew he'd like it! And, what do you know, he remembered to pack this one haha! My dress, if you are wondering, is from Old Navy (non-maternity!). 
No lectures about how I'm pregnant and shouldn't be holding my 40 lb child ;) He's my baby and if he wants me to hold him you know I'm gonna hold him!!!




In all the times we have visited Magic Kingdom we have NEVER stopped to take a picture of Walt with Mickey. We just are always in too much of a rush!!! 


I will probably say "this was my favorite moment" like a million times in these Disney posts haha but this was one of my favorite moments. Watching the kids running hand in hand up to the castle was just precious. Britt was SO excited and Kye was beyond thrilled to get to share the experience of a place he loves with his sister. 




Another view I've never been able to take the time to enjoy: Main Street from the Castle! 
And remember this was taken at roughly 8:00, an hour before the park opened...not crowded by any means, but also not empty!


We had to park the stroller on the other side of the castle before going in for our breakfast so we got organized and decided what to bring in with us and what to leave with the stroller. I also took the chance to snap some pictures of another rare view...the side of the castle we never notice ;)

We walked up to get in for our reservation and had no wait, even though we were early. They also didn't ask for our confirmation number. They just asked our name and if we were celebrating anything and then ushered us inside! 


Kye's first ever line experience at Disney was for Dumbo. Britt's was waiting inside Cinderella's Castle to meet Cinderella. I was a tad nervous about this experience as, like I mentioned before, Britt isn't big on any type of characters. Usually we end up holding her while she cries! Having to wait in the line was a new experience for her and she was also hungry since it was past breakfast time so she got a little upset. Nothing that some "baby rabbits" couldn't fix ;)
Park of the cost of the breakfast includes a photo package with Cinderella. You get two large photos and 8 4x6 photos. They also give the girls wands and the boys swords and every child gets a wishing star to keep as well. Not that any of those things can justify how much it costs...but at least they try to give you some little extras to make it even more special! 

When it came to be our turn to meet Cinderella I was SHOCKED at how Britt responded. She RAN into Cinderella's arms!!! When I got her dressed that morning I told her about her special Snow White shoes. I found them on mega clearance over a year ago from the Disney Store and they are, legit, Snow White shoes. Well my little shoe lover was beyond thrilled by that and ran to Cinderella and immediately showed her the special shoes she was wearing (and she made sure to show them to every other princess too!) :) 

Speaking of shoes...I rocked my tennis shoes every single day of our trip. Usually at home if I'm wearing the tennis shoes out and about I am mindful to wear clothes that look okay with tennis shoes. But this is DISNEY. And I wanted to wear cute clothes on the trip! So I decided to just ignore my shoes when planning my outfits. I was surrounded by strangers anyway and have you seen what kind of stuff people will wear to theme parks? I was zero percent concerned about my shoe choice...I just was mostly concerned with my foot being comfortable with all the walking! Mrs. Charlotte also has foot issues so she rocked almost the same exact pair of tennis shoes I did...we were twins ;)



The photo pack they gave us also included this random pic of the castle at night? 
After we met Cinderella we got to go inside the castle...and even walk up the winding staircase. Kye was so excited about it and even Zach commented on how cool it was. Midway up we were able to stop at a balcony and see Cinderella below greeting her guests :)
We also stopped by the bathrooms on the way up. I had bought Britt a Snow White princess dress. I didn't want her to wear it all day at the parks, but thought it'd be cute for her to wear during the breakfast when she met all the princesses. I brought it along to the bathroom and showed it to her and asked if she wanted to wear it and she said no. Which was FINE with me. She was really, really in love with her Snow White shoes so I didn't push the issue. Of course when she went tee tee she got it all over her panties and pants! Smooth move! THIS is why you pack extra of everything haha! The boys had a good bit of time to wait on us with our bathroom issues and they took some pics which I didn't know about until later...so silly!

I have read many mixed reviews about Cinderella's Royal Table. My personal review is 100% positive! I did NOT feel rushed AT ALL while we were there. While our server wasn't overly accommodating (we had to ask a couple of times for water) it didn't take away from our experience at all. The room was beautiful and we had a seat by a window so we could see Fantasyland which was very neat. We have done Chef Mickey many times and do enjoy the buffet style dining better because we can select anything we want to eat. This was table service with a select menu, however, they brought out a basket of mixed baked goodies right at the start which was perfect! Both Zach and Mrs. Charlotte (and the kids) LOVED their food. I spent most of my meal helping Britt and paying attention to the princesses so I didn't really enjoy mine too much but next time I WILL be ordering what Zach got (the steak and eggs). It was FABULOUS! I do remember the breakfast potatoes being my favorite thing I had with my breakfast! While Chef Mickey is very fun, it doesn't hold a candle to the magical experience of being inside the castle. I mean you just can't top it! 

They came over the loud speaker and did some special wish thing but we were so busy that we didn't notice it and couldn't really hear it? I think it had something to do with the wishing star, wands and swords they passed out. Hopefully when we go again someday we will be able to better participate in that portion! 
Mickey shaped muffins!

I called in advance to find out which princesses we'd be meeting. But they told me wrong which ended up being better than what I had expected. Not only did we get to meet Cinderella before going in for breakfast but Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Jasmine all made their way around the room while we ate! Plus we knew we'd get to meet Belle later on the trip at her story time thing so we were PUMPED by the great variety we were able to meet!!! 

Leading up to the trip I had LOW expectations of Britt with the meets and greets. She SHOCKED me at her excitement that morning. It was beyond precious. Like I still get tears in my eyes when I look at these pictures. Having a son at Disney is AMAZING, but having a little girl and see her meeting the princesses? Super, super special. 

Snow White is Britt's favorite...and we got to meet her first! She actually helped clean off Britt's hands haha! I want to go ahead and say here that I have put off doing the whole character signature book thing with my kids. I plan to put it off as long as possible, actually. I want them to truly interact with the characters and have read that if kids have the signature books then they don't actually enjoy the moment of interaction as much because they are so focused on getting the signatures. I also try really hard not to rush my kids when meeting characters. I don't hurry them to get posed for a picture and try to stay back a bit and just snap pictures as the moments happen. It really does make for some great memories and wonderful pictures too :)

Of course Britt immediately wanted to get out of her seat so she could show Snow White her special shoes!



My FAVORITE moment of the morning (okay I guess I should say one of my favorites, told you I'd say this a bunch!). Britt hugged Snow White so tightly and just did not want to let go. Sweetest thing ever.

Aurora was up next and we all agreed she was the prettiest! Zach told Kye he should be "getting digits" from all these princesses and Kye said "I can't! Kailyn would be mad!" 


Haha I love how Kye is totally creepin' on her ;)


Ariel! My favorite!!!! She was the sweetest one, in my opinion. She really talked and laughed a lot with us and the kids!




Duh. This HAD to happen :)
Breakfast time! The steak and eggs was LEGIT!!!
Last, but not least, Jasmine!


Yes, it totally appears that our precious, innocent son is checking out some Jasmine cleavage. But can you BLAME him?!?! HELLO JASMINE - COVER UP. At one point Britt, legit, grabbed Jasmine's chest!!! They were really on display in that outfit and Jasmine has to have a LOT of confidence to wear that all the time. There will for sure not be any Jasmine Halloween costumes in our future...

Talking about how old they each are! Kye told every princess that he was celebrating his 5th Birthday so of course Britt had to let them all know that she's two :) They also talked to Jasmine a good bit about Aladdin since he is Britt's crush ;)

Haha Guess Britt approves of Kye's game! Thumbs up for that hug dude ;)

The timing of everything went wonderfully. On our itinerary for the day I assumed with an 8:25 reservation time that we wouldn't be done and ready to explore the park until 10. Since we ended up getting seated earlier, and due to the natural flow of the breakfast being pretty fast, we were actually out of there right after the park opened at 9! To end our morning our waiter announced the birthdays we had in our area and everyone sang and Kye got a special birthday cupcake :) Pretty awesome way to start the day, huh?



We ALL agreed that we LOVED Cinderella's Royal Table. It was especially awesome to be at Fantasyland when the park opened. It was a big advantage to the start of our day with lines and such and was SO amazing to be able to be so relaxed about everything rather than feeling the usual park-opening rush. It set such a great pace for our entire trip. I feel like this was, truly, our best Disney trip ever and so much of that is because we did all just feel so relaxed and truly were able to enjoy every moment. Meeting the princesses that morning surpassed all my expectations and it was one of the (many!) highlights of this trip! It is one of the things we still talk about the most! If you are planning a Disney trip then Cinderella's Royal Table is a must do for any little (or big!) princess in your group!!! 

2 comments:

  1. Ahh, this looked amazing! What a great start to the day!


    We had a similar Jasmine experience with Bo (who was just 2.5) when he saw her boobs on display. He actually grabbed at them and played with the jewels hanging off her top. haha!

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  2. We loved our meal in the Castle, too. We had the last breakfast seating and I will say that we waited a really long time to go upstairs and I think they must have just been backed up by that time so late in the morning. But still, the experience can't be beat! And yes, the steak and eggs were delish!

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