When our children turn ten, we treat them to a 10-year-old trip. To catch up on the full story with Clare, check out part one, part two, part three, part four and part five. And, if you want to follow our escapade on Instagram, just search the hashtag #clarecelebrates10atdisney
The last time we came, this was one of the surprise parks of the trip. We absolutely fell in love with it.
This was one of two parks within walking distance of our hotel. Early on Wednesday morning, we strapped on our backpacks and enjoyed the leisurely, quiet, semi-cool walk in the shade, to Hollywood Studios. Perfect start to our day.
Of course we ramped it RIGHT up with Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.
Um, holy ****. It takes off at 60mph and never really lets off. I think I had my eyes closed the first 20 seconds. When we got off, Clare looked at me and said, “Um, Mom, I’m not sure I liked that.” I’ll just say I’m really glad we hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. It was good, but the start was serious business.
We dialed it wayyyy back and headed over to Frozen’s sing-a-long. Oh my gosh. We loved it. Great humor, beautiful singing and an air-conditioned building for half an hour. Yep, yep and yep. And, of course, what’s Frozen without a photo with Olaf? He liked warm hugs and we delivered.
The Great Movie Ride was surprisingly good (there were some real classics in there) and we had a great little tour guide. We stumbled upon Chewbaca when we exited, too. Even though we aren’t huge Star Wars fans (we still think it’s great, don’t take me off the cool kids list), we were pretty impressed with all the Star Wars rides, especially Star Tours. Our meet and greet with Chewy didn’t disappoint either. He loved Clare!
We were famished and I had read rave reviews about the Prime Time Diner. Y’all. For those of you from Chicago, think Ed Debevics. We had a real hoot for a waiter and our fried chicken was DELISH. Clare got a milkshake and I had to make do with a vanilla Coke. Next time I’m sneaking Dr Peppers into this place! The real cherry on top was when our waiter came out with a cupcake, made the entire restaurant sing “happy birthday” to Clare and then had her make her wish. Not gonna lie. This mama teared up. Such a fun lunch and I’m super glad I made reservations ahead of time. They were swamped with people.
We just said no to Tower of Terror. Don’t hate us, we just couldn’t do it. But, we did snag some prettty fantastic seats for the Beauty and the Beast show. Hands down, best show at Disney. Just off the hook.
We had a little down time so the birthday girl did a little shopping. It’s a tradition, within the tradition. The birthday kid brings back a small gift for each sibling. Oh, if only I could really explain just how much care and thought and time Clare put into selecting those gifts. I saw a lot of gift shops, people.
Clare and I jumped on the ferry back to the hotel to dump our things, freshen up and hit Magic Kingdom for a few more coasters. YES!
We were crazy sad to see 7 Dwarfs was broken (and we had fast passes, too!) so instead we hit Big Thunder and a few other rides in Fantasyland. Then, it was time to catch the monorail for dinner in Canada at EPCOT. We did a wee bit of park hopping!
Isn’t EPCOT gorgeous at night? There’s something about being in a Disney park at night, with almost no one around that makes it feel even more magical. We had to do some serious hoofing it to make our dinner reservation at Le Cellier. But that meal? Oh my lands.
This photo was taken a couple of days later in the daylight!
Our waitress could not have been kinder. She was so inquisitive with Clare, asking her all about her birthday. When Clare shared with her that we hadn’t yet been to EPCOT, she asked what rides were on the docket. At the time it never dawned on me what she was doing. But at the end of our meal, our waitress came out with the golden ticket. No really. It was a front-of-the-line-to-be-used-anytime at Test Track. That was the one ride I couldn’t get a Fast Pass for at EPCOT. They have a tiered system and, in this case, you had to choose between Frozen or Test Track and Clare had chosen the former. Well, it appeared we would get to ride it all thanks to sweet Canada. They brought her the cutest chocolate moose/mousse to celebrate her birthday, too.
Disney, you’re too much!!
And with that awesome, we called it a night. For a hot second we thought about hightailing it back to Magic Kingdom to catch 7 Dwarfs one more time, but our beds were calling and our dogs barking.
Tomorrow, we see Harry Potter, chat it up with the Knight Bus, hang with Fallon and try – oh how we tried – to manage our mischief. Universal coming up next!