Monday, June 8, 2015

Fiona's 7th Birthday

Fiona turned 7!  I was so, so excited about her birthday, because we planned a mother-daughter overnight in a Royal Room at Port Orleans!  There wasn't much prep for this birthday, but I did have to stay up until 1am to book Fast Passes for the weekend (we wanted some hard-to-get ones), and I had to spend a fair bit of time researching Disney World birthday cakes, then spend some time corresponding with the cake people to get that settled.  The big thing was sewing Fiona a Cinderella dress.  It actually gave me a lot of trouble and I may have had a temper tantrum or two, but it got done in the end.

We headed over to Port Orleans to check in on Saturday, the day before her birthday, around lunch time.  We ended up getting delayed because I forgot my license and had to turn around - which wasn't itself a problem because I realized early - but the road going in the other direction was closed due to an accident, so we had to take a detour that took nearly 45 minutes, instead of what should have been maybe 5-10 minutes.  But we got there in the end, and the cast member that checked us in was super nice.  I had booked a pool view room but they were booked, so they gave us a refund and a garden view room.  She handed Fiona a scroll and told her that she was very lucky, because she was going to get to stay in the very room that Tiana uses when she invites the other princesses over for sleepovers!  Fiona totally believed it and was thrilled.

The room was in the mansion section of Port Orleans, which we had never checked out before.  The room itself was absolutely amazing.  I can't believe such an elaborately themed room was at a moderate resort!  We had so much fun looking at all the details.  The story goes that each princess gave Tiana something special to furnish her room with.  So there's dinglehoppers in the bathroom, a magic carpet on the floor, a carved wooden mirror from Snow White, a genie's lamp for a faucet, etc.  The really cool bit was the headboard, which lights up in a dazzling fireworks display.

We took a quick dip in the quiet pool, but couldn't spend too long because we had a date to meet the boys at Epcot!  We experienced some amazing timing and came through the (separate) bag checks at exactly the right time, so no waiting around for either of us.  First up was Spaceship Earth, then we met Mickey and friends at the Character Spot.  Goofy noticed Fiona's Happy Birthday button and began 'conducting' so his photographer serenaded Fiona with a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday.  She was incredibly embarrassed, but pleased.  We had time before our Soarin' Fast Pass, so we hit Club Cool, then went over to Mexico to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour.  The kids absolutely love that ride, for some reason.

Soarin' was fun, as usual.  We also watched the Circle of Life movie, mainly to rest our feet and kill a little more time.  Everyone was getting hungry at that point, so we went back to Port Orleans for dinner.  Doug and I love their pulled pork sandwiches, otherwise we probably would have eaten in Epcot.  We swam in the pool for a while, then headed back to the room to change so the boys' could go home dry.  Niall was really upset that he couldn't stay, the poor thing.  I stood by what I had promised Fiona, that it was just a mommy-daughter thing, but I really felt like I had set Niall up to be disappointed (hey, come swim at our awesome resort, and hang out in our amazing room.. then bye-bye!).  Well, Doug handled it wonderfully, and Fiona and I really enjoyed cuddling and watching some TV before going to sleep.

We didn't have to be anywhere in the morning, so we took our time getting ready - which included manicures and pedicures for both of us.  The boys met us in our room right before check-out and we all headed over the pool after loading the car with our luggage.  We spent a good two hours or so swimming, then ate lunch in the food court again.  Doug took the boys home to change and rest a bit (and play with Luna).  Fiona and I spent a good bit of time browsing in the gift shop, then drove over to the French Quarter to check that out (we'd never been before).  It was pretty cool, but not really my style.  We sat in the lobby for a bit trying to decide what to do next.  Fiona said she wanted ice cream, so I told her we could get ice cream there, or go to Magic Kingdom early, or go back to Port Orleans, or even go back home.  She said she was tired, and just wanted to go back to Port Orleans to get some ice cream and color (they have a coloring area and TV set up in the dining area of the food court).  We killed a good hour or so doing that, and then tried to give a picture she'd colored to the CM who had checked us in the day before.  Unfortunately, she'd gone home for the day, but we had a lovely conversation with a different CM about the Royal Rooms and she promised to deliver the picture.

So we headed over to Magic Kingdom for the big celebration.  We took some pictures of her with Cinderella's Castle in the background, then rode the carousel.  We have got finding Cinderella's horse down to a science - Niall and I got to it first and 'held' it for Fiona - she was so pleased.  After the carousel, we did Journey of the Little Mermaid, another of her favorites.  We were getting quite close to our ADR at Tony's Town Square so we hustled in that direction - until Niall got a gusher of a bloody nose.  We had to sit down and deal with that for a good 10 minutes, which put us quite close to being late for our reservation.  Our kids are troopers, though, and we made it to the check-in desk just in time.

The waiting area at Tony's was mobbed.  It was crazy!  I've always heard less than favorable reviews about the place, so I wasn't expecting it to be so packed.  The kids really liked being able to watch a movie while we waited (Lady and the Tramp is one of Fiona's favorites, which is why we picked Tony's), and Doug and I were just happy to be in the AC with free ice water.

Our waitress was super nice, and the food was actually pretty good.  Fiona devoured her food, so she must have really worked up an appetite.  I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant the most, though, with all the Lady and the Tramp pictures and the fountain in the middle.  The highlight, though, was when they brought out the cake.  Fiona was not expecting anything special (I just told her it would be a plain cake), and while we didn't spend a lot of money on a fondant cake from Disney, or a lot of time on a fondant cake from me, she was over the moon about this cake!

The gel layer was pretty gross tasting, but it peeled off easily and the cake was fresh and tasted good.  From my reading online, I learned that if you order a yellow cake with vanilla frosting or a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, you usually end up with a stale, frozen Sara Lee type cake, so I ordered a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  When describing the image I wanted on top, I said I wanted Ariel, preferably as a mermaid, not cropped from a group shot of all the princesses, taking up the entire top of the cake.  I figured that would eliminate the few 'wrecky' ones I'd seen (a small square photo on a big round cake, or one cropped from a group photo with other princesses elbows and what not in the picture).  We ate about half of it and they put the rest in a box for us to bring home.

After dinner, our timing was a little tight.  We had to get behind the castle for our Fast Pass to meet Anna and Elsa (the boys had never met them), then get to the Fast Pass viewing area for the fireworks.  The princesses were both sweet (Anna moreso, as usual), and then we practically ran out of there.  Thankfully, there are always lots of Cast Members to direct people in the hub before the fireworks, because we had no idea where to go to get into the viewing area.  But I have to say - this was a wonderful use of a Fast Pass.  We got to sit in the grass, nobody was in our way, and we were able to have a (mostly) unobstructed view of the show on the castle before the fireworks.  Tinkerbell flew pretty much right over our heads.

We didn't dilly-dally afterwards, like we've done other times.. we were tired and just wanted to get home.  The cake made it home in one piece and the kids were able to enjoy it the next day.  It was a really awesome weekend, and Fiona said it was the best birthday ever.

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