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
Today was all about the castle.
We knew the earlier we arrived at Magic Kingdom, the shorter the lines and the smaller the crowds. Plus, we really wanted to be there for rope drop and the opening show. Add in Clare’s “birthday button” and we had a banner day. Such. A. Blast.
Those awesome sauce shirts we’re sporting are from a company I adore, Celebration Shirts. They outfitted us on our family vacation to Disney in 2015 and to Disneyland last summer. I can’t sing their praises enough. These were a custom birthday shirt design just for Clare and we absolutely loved them!
I could’ve spent hours on the computer and Pinterest, figuring out what rides to ride and when. Instead, I paid $14.95 and used Touring Plans to plan all our days. It was pretty spot on, helping us avoid long wait times. It will be the best money you spend and no one is paying me to say that! Because it was just the two of us, I asked Clare what she wanted to ride and then booked our fast passes 60 days out. I’m not kidding when I tell you we rode about 90% of the Magic Kingdom rides. In one day.
Warning: you may get tired reading this list.
Swiss Family Treehouse, Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain (twice), Haunted Mansion, PhilHarMagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World (twice, don’t judge, it was hot), Under the Sea, Barnstormer, Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (almost twice), Monsters Inc., Speedway, Space Mountain, People Mover (twice) and Buzz Lightyear. Don’t forget to add in a little Dole Whip, an encounter with Captain Jack Sparrow, lunch with Beauty and the Beast, dinner and the fireworks show and WHOA.
Space Mountain is still awesome.
But, y’all. It was, easily, one of the most memorable days of my life. Clare leaned her head on my shoulder while we were in line at Big Thunder, the second time, and said, “Mom, this is the best day of my life.” Agreed, sister. I’ll let the photos do the talking and interject a few funny ha-ha’s.
Right after we rode Haunted Mansion, we decided to pop onto Pirates of the Caribbean (better at Disneyland, in case you’re wondering). After we exited, we noticed a show about to start and Clare was all, “why not?” So we stayed. Who knew Johnny Depp would show up? Seriously. This guy looked and talked juuuuust like him. He asked for crowd volunteers and some cute kids raised their hands. Not Clare. She’s not a volunteer kind of kid. But then he pointed me out, winked in true Jack Sparrow style, and the next thing we know Clare is on stage with a sword. It was such an unexpected fun twist to the day and even funnier, when he recognized us later in the day!
Did somebody say Dole Whip? Yes. Yes, I believe they did.
Lunch at “Be Our Guest” was such a treat. That’s one well-oiled machine. As much as I was hoping we could snag the dinner reservation and interact with Belle and the Beast, the atmosphere was sure fabulous and we thought the food was pretty darn good. Clare and I saved money most places by ordering just one entree (they were always huge) and splitting it. One meal a day, we got a coke, but drank water the rest of the day.
I almost lost my lunch on the teacups because “somebody” decided to turn that wheel as fast as they could. In all fairness, I did just fine during the ride, but when that teacup stopped spinning, my head didn’t. We had to take a five-minute breather after that one.
And by breather, I mean Dumbo.
And then the People Mover. God bless the People Mover. It gave us just enough time to relax, eat some Twizzlers, people watch and enjoy the breeze.
We spotted Chip and Dale shortly after arriving. It appears we can spot a cowboy hat miles away. The funniest part was the three people behind us in line were all Texans. Birds of a feather, y’all. That was the only time that many Texans were in one spot!
We spent most of the afternoon riding things for the second time and using up our Fast Passes, essentially meaning we didn’t have to wait in line longer than 15 minutes the entire day. Woot! Around 7, we started scoping out a place for the fireworks and decided to have a little FaceTime call with the family back home. That was pretty cool. Clare was such a trooper. I kept asking if she was good to stay longer and her reply was classic. “Mom, we came here to ride rides, didn’t we?” She is my junkie. So, when I gave her the option to have prime seats for the night show or catch some coasters, you can guess her choice. We compromised and stood to the side so as soon as they ended we could beeline for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. We really wanted to ride that and Big Thunder Mountain at night.
After a quick 15 minute wait, we buckled in for an awesome coaster. Except, um, when we broke it. On the incline. That’s right, the ride just started to slow down, then the dwarfs stopped singing and everything went black. For 10 minutes. After 20, all the lights came on and out came all the cast members to get us out. That was a trip and a half. They had to hand crank us out, seat by seat. Then, we had to haul ourselves out of the coaster, ON THE INCLINE NO LESS, and walk down the stairs out the secret entrance. We decided to leave our mark, though. If you ever happen to get stuck in the same place we did, you’ll find a “CW” initial on one of the chest of jewels, in the dust. We never did get to use our Fast Passes to ride it again, but we’ll take the Disney story anytime. We rode .75 of it!
That wasn’t really the way we thought we’d close the park down that day, but what an adventure. We left all smiles and immediately crashed when we got back to the hotel.
Tomorrow, we rock and roll through Hollywood Studios, sing along to our favorite tunes and spar with a waiter at lunch. Another banner day, coming your way.