Thursday, May 7, 2015

Niall's Birthday, Part One - Hollywood Studios

My baby turned five, can you believe it?  Such a strange mix of feelings with that.. lots of nostalgia and bittersweetness, but also just lots of sweetness.  Look at this adorable little guy!

Our day started out with chocolate chip pancakes, of course, and then we stayed at home until around 4pm or so.  It felt weird not going out and doing something during the day, but he was so happy to just get to play in the sandbox and have screen time.  I'm proud of myself for consciously letting Niall do what he most wanted to do, regardless of what I felt like we "should" be doing to celebrate his birthday.

Mainly that was because we did have a big evening planned!  We got to Hollywood Studios (riding the tram, above) maybe an hour and a half before our dinner reservation.  Niall wore his birthday buttons - I made him two (one with Spiderman letters, and one with a train).  We did MuppetVision 3D which we hadn't seen before.  It was alright.. some of the kids liked some of it, but I don't think we'll be in a hurry to see it again any time soon.  Doug met up with us then, and we rode Toy Story Mania, which we hadn't done since our vacation in September.  After that, it was dinner time!

For Star Wars Weekends, Hollywood and Vine has been having Star Wars character meals, where you can meet the classic Disney characters dressed up at Star Wars characters.  Pretty fun, right?

The character interaction was pretty awesome.  Goofy, being so tall, was a little intimidating, but he was really sweet, tousled Niall's hair, etc.  We got into a funny on-going conversation with Chip, Dale, & Donald when we asked Chip if they could take Donald in a fight, since the Ewoks beat the stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi.

Obviously, Donald did not like hearing that, and nearly got into a brawl with Dale, right in the middle of the restaurant!  You couldn't get the characters' autographs, which was okay with us because we weren't planning on getting them anyway.. but given the price of the buffet, I'd have been pissed if I was on vacation and they wouldn't sign.  The characters all came around twice, so I don't understand why they wouldn't have time to sign an autograph at each table.

The food was alright.  Nothing to complain about, but nothing fantastic.  Maybe Applebees quality.  The kids absolutely love buffets, though, so that's where the value came from for us.  They were thrilled with it.  Everything was labeled with some sort of Star Wars name, which added to the fun, too.

The dessert station was over the top and really fun.  There was a Light side and a Dark side, and all of the desserts were themed accordingly.  Niall got a bunch of cupcakes and cookies, but I think his favorite was the plain old soft-serve.

Fiona couldn't figure out where to start, or where to put it all!

We gave Niall the option of staying for Fantasmic, but he didn't want to.  So after dinner, we rode Star Tours, then headed over to one of the gift shops to get his birthday present.

He has wanted one of these Disney World trains ever since we started coming to Disney World.  The reviews say they're not that durable, so we tried to hold off as long as possible.  This year, the ONLY thing he asked for was this train, though, so we gave in.  He was beside himself when we got it.  Look at that face!  How could you not buy this kid whatever he wanted?

We got home pretty late, but we had a cake waiting for us.  Niall requested chocolate cake, Nutella frosting, and sprinkles, M&Ms, and chocolate chips on top.  We only ate a little bit, but it wouldn't have felt complete without a cake and singing Happy Birthday.

Niall had a pretty awesome birthday, I'd say.  We all had a lot of fun, too, and the dinner was only slightly appallingly expensive.  Considering we will never wait in line to meet these characters at Star Wars Weekends, the price felt somewhat justified, especially since we got better interaction with them than we would have at a regular character meet and greet.

The birthday celebration will continue with a trip to Legoland!

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