Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day One: Well This Isn't What I Expected

Our first day started at 4:30 am checking into Pop Century.  I was nervous about the term "value resort" which conjured up images of a seedy motel, only Disneyfied.  I was quite relieved when we pulled up and the hotel didn't look outdated and at minimum, the lobby was clean.
There was a little confusion with checking in-I actually had two reservations, one for Friday night only and one for the next seven nights.  It took quite a bit through the process for the Cast Member to understand that I was wanting to check in for Friday night-based off the time I was coming in, he assumed I had already checked in for Friday and was rechecking in for the remainder of my stay.
By the time we finally got to our home for the next seven nights, it was nearly 5:30 am and we had an 8:00 reservation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Evelyn to be transformed into a princess.  I decided that since we had to leave by 7:00 in order to catch our bus, there was no point in going to sleep for any period of time and began unpacking.  Penny and Boyfriend fell asleep while Evelyn and I unpacked all of our belongings and got ready for the day.
One thing I had done prior to our trip was have a few items shipped to Pop-our double stroller, snacks, and water (so we didn't have to pay the price of an entire case for just one bottle at the parks).  I put together my stroller and was pleasantly surprised by my $90 purchase. 
I woke Boyfriend ten minutes prior to us having to leave and he rolled out of bed, half asleep and we made the two minute walk to the bus stop.  During our walk, Evelyn started to get really excited because she saw the pool for the first time and all of the other features of Pop's grounds.
On our very first bus trip, we discovered Penny hated the bus.  She would cry pretty much the entire time, and grab at my chest wanting to eat.  I hardly deny her nursing so this would especially piss her off and she would just scream.  Over the course of the trip, I began to dread every bus ride.
Once at Magic Kindgom, I attempted to get the girls set up in the stroller but Penny was tired and wanted to cuddle so I put her in the carrier and we started our trek from the bus stop to the front gate.  Since we had a reservation prior to the park opening we waited in a line until about 7:45 when they let us enter the park with a group of other people who had 8 am reservations.
I had heard that this was a prime time to get pictures in front of the castle and stopped at the first PhotoPass Photographer we saw.  The photographer was nice and tried very hard to get a smile out of Evelyn but she was just not  having it.  I kept saying it was ok, but he kept insisting on trying-another trend for the trip.  Eventually we learned to say right away, "She may not smile and that is ok."
With our destination right behind us we walked up to the front of the castle and a Fairy Godmother in Training greeted us asking where we were headed.  I explained that Evelyn had an appointment that morning and she brought us back to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  Even though it was still 7:50 and it didn't open until 8:00 there were already several adorable little girls that had started their transformation.  We walked in and our Fairy Godmother showed us to the Royal Changing Room so that Evelyn could put on her princess gown (Belle's dress).
This is when things turned sour.  Evelyn refused to change into the dress.  I half expected her respond this way-she isn't one for wearing costumes in public.  I explained it was ok and she didn't have to change and let's go get her hair done, it is at a salon (which she asks to do at home).  She said that she didn't want to and started to get a panicked look on her face and tears in her eyes.
I asked Boyfriend to leave the room and sat down with her in my lap.  I told her that I was ok if she didn't want to do it-but if we didn't do it now, we would not have the opportunity to do it at a later time if she changed her mind.  She was scared and overwhelmed and I hugged her for a little bit, finally we exited the room and explained to our Fairy Godmother than Princess Evelyn had changed her mind and we wouldn't be participating today.
Our Fairy Godmother couldn't have been more sweet and brought us back to the front where we spoke with her manager who told us that if she changes her mind at any point in the trip to call her and we will get fit in.  She tried to give Evelyn some Belle stickers but Evelyn had totally shutdown and was hiding in Jackson's arms.  We left and I became filled with fear about what the rest of our trip would be like.
I tried to rationalize that Evelyn was just so tired but that is her personality-she does not like attention from strangers.  I'm not sure why in the world I thought this was something she would enjoy-prior to our trip I made sure to show her videos and pictures of everything we would be doing so she was prepared and she seemed interested at home, but I should have known better.  
I didn't feel disappointed by her choice at all, only sadness that she was feeling anxiety over something I was asking her to do.  We left Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and I asked Evelyn if she would like to go on a ride.  With her classic shy smile, she said she would.
At this point it was just a few minutes before nine and we noticed a large group of people walking behind some cast members with a rope-the park was officially opening!  We looked around us and due to my preplanning and help from Touring Plans I knew Peter Pan's lines would escalate quickly so we hopped in line.
This was a great first ride for our trip.  Even though we walked straight through the line queue we had the opportunity to play with some of the interactive lighting and cause Evelyn a lot of confusion when we said, "Look there is Nana!" at the famous St. Bernard (I guess Evelyn never picked up that the dog's name was Nana).  By the time we had finished the ride, Penny was asleep in the carrier and Evelyn was in much better spirits.  
We went on It's A Small World next, Evelyn and I played a game where we pointed to the prettiest dolls in each area.  Penny continued to sleep.

Our next ride was Haunted Mansion, and our realist five year old said that it was no big deal because everything was just pretend.  By the time we finished these three rides, it was only 9:30 but I was started to feel the results of being up all night.

Initially my plans included us staying at Magic Kingdom until noonish and then heading to Epcot but we decided that we would go back to the hotel for a bit and rest, maybe swim a little bit.  By the time we got to the bus stop, Evelyn was in a quiet mood again-I think she was starting to feel overwhelmed again. 

  Everyone was also very hungry so our first stop was to Pop's food court to eat some breakfast and get our refillable drink mugs.  One thing I hadn't planned was how we were going to use our quick service dining credits, I figured we could just use them as needed.  For our first meal, we ended up getting a Bounty Platter-this included eggs, french toast, bacon, sausage and hash brown casserole.  We actually all shared this-Penny ate some of the eggs, Evelyn isn't a huge breakfast eater so she had some bacon and a piece of the french toast (which I ate the rest of) and Boyfriend had the hash brown casserole, sausage and the remainder of the eggs.  For $8.99, while not the tastiest and was the epitome of food court quality, it was an excellent value to feed our entire family and only utilize one quick service credit.  This would not work for families who need a hearty breakfast though.

We filled up our refillable mugs (and I couldn't get over how COLD my drink was) and headed to our room to change into our swimsuits.  With some food in her belly and in her happy place (water) Evelyn was a changed girl.

Penny was obsessed with swallowing the pool water so we didn't spend a very long time swimming-maybe only 30 minutes or so.  We headed back to the hotel, took a shower and immediately fell asleep for a much needed nap. 

We woke a couple of hours with everyone in much better spirits.  It is amazing what a nap can do!  We headed back towards the bus to go to Epcot with renewed energy.

I know this makes us in the minority, but Boyfriend and I didn't really enjoy Epcot near as much as we did the other parks in past visits.  It may be that we fought the entire time we were at Epcot the first time, but whatever the case may be-some of it is entertaining for us but it definitely is a park we wanted to visit only once.  Even though this was my least anticipated park, I was still really thrilled as we walked in and saw "the big golf ball."

Almost immediately our Touring Plan went out the window.  Evelyn's moods were very delicate that day and so we just decided to go with the flow and only try to adhere to our FastPass+ times.  Unfortunately, we also learned that Penny pretty much hated the stroller so I carried her pretty much the entire trip.

Our first stop was one of the Innovations buildings where Evelyn learned all about saving and investing.  This was a fun and interactive activity and I was happy to see Evelyn starting to enjoy herself, even if she didn't totally understand the activity.  From there we headed over to Club Cool to try out all of the different drinks from around the world, including the infamous Beverly (Boyfriend and I both, predictably, did not enjoy it).

Outside Nemo, we annoyed both girls by taking a kissing picture.  Creeper Nemo.

Between that and our last fast pass before dinner, we went on Figment, saw the Tomorrowland Preview (which made me excited to see it), a trip to the Baby Care center for an air conditioned nursing break, completed an Agent P adventure in Mexico, and spent some time checking out the character topiaries that were being featured for the Flower & Garden Festival.

Our last FastPass+ was for Soarin which I was really looking forward to.  This was the one thing that both Boyfriend and I thought was so cool on our last visit.  This was also the first ride Evelyn was going to attempt with a height requirement and I was nervous she wouldn't make it.  According to her doctor's appointment that was a month prior, she was 39.75 inches without shoes.  I wasn't sure she had officially hit 40 inches (minus shoes) but assumed with shoes, especially her boots, she would be tall enough.  

I kissed Evelyn and watched Boyfriend and her head towards the entrance.  Less than a minute later, I got a text from Boyfriend, "We are in!"  After about 15 minutes, I saw Evelyn and Boyfriend coming out the exit and Evelyn was so excited.  I asked her if she wanted to go on it again (thanks rider switch!) and she did so Evelyn and I took a turn.

On our way to our dinner reservation, we stopped to get some more photographs taken.  We had almost convinced Evelyn to smile when a large group of cheerleaders (20+) behind us collectively went, "Awww!" to Penny waving at the photographer.  I love the next set of photos because you can see her disappearing.

Next up was our dinner reservation at Akershus.  I booked this reservation because I thought it was the best way to meet many of the Princesses without having to wait in line.  I also thought it would be fun for Evelyn dressed up as a Princess from her earlier Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment, though that obviously wasn't happening.

Dinner, well dinner was awesome.  We really enjoyed the food (on a later blog post I'll update my thoughts on all of our Table Service meals) and our meals that evening made us excited for the remainder of our meals that week.

What was not awesome was how Evelyn reacted to all of the Princesses coming by our table.  She was totally overwhelmed and shut down every instance a Princess even came near.

I know Evelyn isn't the only child like this and most of them immediately picked up on her nervousness and would focus on Penny, who absolutely loved each and every one of them.

We exited Akershus about ten minutes prior to the start of Illuminations.  While I wanted to see the show, I also didn't want to exit right as everyone else was since that was also park closing time.  We walked quickly to the exit and Evelyn watched a few of the fireworks from her daddy's shoulders.

After a tear filled bus ride home (Penny) we arrived back at Pop, filled up our drink mugs and headed back to the room.  When we got back into the room Evelyn discovered "Tinkerbell" had left a few trinkets behind-another coloring book and a necklace.

After showers and baths for everyone, we crawled into bed beyond exhausted. I was really looking forward to the next day-Hollywood Studios, which was our second favorite park from our previous trips.


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