On Britt's first visit to Disney we scored a breakfast reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table and we loved it! I wanted to do the same for Tess but was SHOCKED at how fast reservations went! Even at 180 days out it was IMPOSSIBLE to get ANY of the places I wanted at the times I needed. Especially the CRT one. Which is just insane. I knew the park crowds weren't going to be high for our trip so, to me, it didn't match up. If less people are there, then why aren't there any available times? Supposedly free dining was offered and that caused people to way overbook all their dining times. And those that stay on property are allowed to book 180 days out from the FIRST day of their trip. So if they were staying 10 days then they'd technically be able to book for the last day of their trip 190 days in advance. What I also learned was that people hoard reservations. They book a TON at 180 days and then drop things as they get their fast pass times.
So you know what? I'm gonna hoard reservations like crazy too! I booked anything I could find as it became available then dropped stuff as I found others. I took advantage of sites that help notify when reservations become available and checked both the website and the mobile app constantly. It was pretty stressful but that RUSH when I nailed reservations was exciting ;) I actually didn't even get the time I wanted for our Chef Mickey (later in the week) until a couple nights prior! People tend to drop reservations 60 days and 30 days out from their trip so if you try at 180 days and can't get anything: KEEP TRYING!
I owe a HUGE thank you to my amazing friend (since pre-school!) Liz. She was traveling a few days prior to our trip and when I saw how crazy booked up everything was she booked a CRT reservation for me before I was able to book it. Then I called Disney and was on the phone with a cast member. She dropped her reservation at the same exact time that I picked it up. It worked out flawlessly (although stressful haha). I've seen a LOT of people doing this in Disney groups and it's good to know it works! It also felt good when I did go and cancel things to offer them up to others before canceling. I helped a lady get a much desired reservation for her family because I was dropping mine. It felt really great to pay it forward and help someone have an extra magical trip! I'm thankful for Liz for helping me and will def continue to help others in the future with it!
On every trip to Disney I try to do a small stuffed plush as a gift on a day we go to the parks. They are GREAT sizes to carry and the kids usually enjoy bringing them along (even if they are in my book bag most of the day!)
On the monorail!
I love how natural our kids are starting to feel at Disney. It's comfortable and familiar and I LOVE IT!
You know those empty park pics you see? The ones of a kid all by himself in front of the castle? Those are next to impossible to achieve anymore! On the times we do get a reservation before park opening I like to take our time walking down Main Street and like to go ahead and get a photo pass photographer to take our castle pic. At least it's not AS crowded as usual ;) This time though? There were NO photo pass photographers even out which was super disappointing!
Even MORE disappointing? I just found out last week that Disney has done away with the opening show to the park. Y'all. It's my absolute FAVORITE thing at Disney. I cry every single time and I cried when I heard the news. Now you will be able to enter Main Street earlier and they will do some sort of opening show at the castle. I'm sure it'll be great. And I get that the only constant in life is change. But nothing can compare to that magical feeling of the opening show followed by walking onto Main Street. It's just perfection! And I feel SO sad that I booked the early breakfast that day. I mean we loved it, don't get me wrong, but if I'd known that it was Tess's only chance to see the opening show? And my last time to get to see it? No way would I have missed it!
I love that Zach took my camera and got some pics of Tess and I walking down Main Street. And, yes, I know I'm a lot more excited than she is haha.
First time seeing the castle!
I loved letting the older kids show Tess around :)
Cinderella's Royal Table is very pricey and extremely hard to get reservations. It is VERY much worthwhile though! I've had lunch there once but it was back in college when I didn't fully appreciate Disney haha the other two times we've been were both breakfast and we walked away very impressed each time.
Right when you walk into the castle you wait in line to meet Cinderella. It's a good set up and Tess just stared and stared at Cinderella :)
Zach's shirt is Target (a couple years ago)
Mine is from Groopdealz (but you can find them cheap on Etsy as well). My shorts are Express (I hunted everywhere for just the right pair!) and my plaid jacket thing is Target
Girl's shirts are H&M and ran very small. Britt's pants are also H&M but they ran big. Her sweater is Old Navy.
Kye's shirt is Forever21 and hat is from Aliexpress (it was THE talk of the day from everyone we met ...this is the direct link, and yes it was under $4!)
The standing in line experience just simply can't compare to when the characters come to the tables. There isn't enough time for true interactions! Tess was still THRILLED to see her favorite though!
Heading up Cinderella's staircase!
This is hilarious haha
Our first (and last) visit to Cinderella's Royal Table was for Britt's first visit. So fun to be here again for Tess's!
Each girl gets a wand and each boy gets a sword. Also each child receives a "wishing star" to keep!
I ordered the shrimp and grits. Oh. My. Goodness. Best meal, hands-down, that I've ever had at ANY Disney restaurant!!!
Duh, he got the steak and eggs!
And the kids loved the Mickey waffles!
I love how shy she gets when given attention ;)
Zach and I both appreciated Snow White's look! I loved that she's not super mega skinny right?!?!
It was so precious that Tess clung to Snow White in almost the exact same way Britt did on her first visit!
Tess was also very into Aurora! She picks and chooses who has the privilege of speaking to her ;)
Serious princess talk over here!
Kye is our princess protector for sure!
So Tess loved Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora. But then we get to Ariel who we all know is my personal favorite...
Ariel didn't take it too personally ;)
A must take pic for me ;)
"Okay Mom I hugged her, now can I be done?"
Jasmine recently had a costume makeover. A LOT of Disney fans aren't happy about the change but I LOVED it. It's beautiful in person (I will agree it doesn't photograph super well) and I love how much more modest it is. Britt doesn't own a Jasmine dress up outfit because it's not modest (hello belly barring top!). I'm hoping they start making children versions of this costume as it's much more kid appropriate!
There is a lot of speculation as to WHY the change in costume. I've heard that a lot of men would be inappropriate with Jasmine due to the revealing nature of her outfit. I'm sure that Jasmine appreciates the change! Not only is it less revealing but it has to be WAY more comfortable too! And it must be nice not having to constantly worry about tummy rolls or a nip slip!
Just to give you a look at the old costume...Yes my son got an eye full too haha!
Cinderella's Royal Table is pretty quick! It's a good flow without feeling rushed. We still finished up right at park opening (9ish) and beat the crowds to Fantasyland! I'm SO appreciative to Liz for helping us score the reservations. We all had a great time and now I'm totally craving the shrimp and grits ;)