Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 4 – Magic Kingdom Part 2

This post could also be titled “A Day with the Princesses” because pretty much this entire day was devoted to Princess Ella meeting the rest of the princesses.  This will be my longest post from our trip, so be prepared.

Every day when Ella woke up she asked the same question, “Can I wear my Cinderella dress today?”  Every day I would have to explain to her that her Cinderella dress needed to be saved for Sunday.  Every morning she cried and begged to wear her Cinderella dress, and every day I was the mean mom that told her no, and convinced her that another outfit would be more appropriate.  On Sunday she was so happy when she asked if she could wear her Cinderella dress, and mommy finally said YES!

I planned this day on October 1st.  That was when I went online and booked all the reservations we needed to make the Princess day go off perfectly.

We headed to the park at 8 am and let me tell you, it was empty.  Ok, not really empty, but there were at least ¼ of the people that were there on the 31st.

As we entered the park, Snow White was standing there.  We got in line to meet her and Miguel, Snow White’s helper, stood behind us and told everyone else that we were the last family to meet with Snow White.  Wow, we must have been pretty special.

Right after Snow White we headed over to meet Mary Poppins.
The mom in me couldn’t get over how white her dress was.  There wasn’t a speck of dirt on it!  She even kept kneeling down on the ground to meet all of the kids, yet her dress remained white.  As we were leaving I couldn’t help but wonder how I could get my hands on whatever stain remover they use.

At 10:30 our day for Princess Ella began with a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  We went back and forth for weeks on whether or not to let Ella do this.  The boutique is a hair salon for little girls.  Each Princess is assigned a Fairy Godmother in Training who fixes their hair and puts on make-up.  With Ella’s EB, she has never been to a real hair salon, I always cut her hair myself.  So I was a bit hesitant about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  I asked several EB families and not one of them had ever been, so I didn’t have any EB advice to go on.  I asked several other friends and they told me that it can be a bit rough but that it was a wonderful experience.  I watched video after video on you tube and with each one I weighed the pros and cons.  Ultimately it came down to a cost/benefit analysis.  The cost: potential boo boos.  The benefit: a priceless memory.
We decided to go for it.  Boo boos last a week.  A memory lasts a lifetime.  When I made the reservation I told them that she has sensitive skin, so whoever did her hair would just need to be gentle.  They seemed fine with that.  When we arrived they confirmed and asked again what special accommodations would need to be made for her skin.  I just told them to be a bit more gentle, but other than that it should be fine.  Ella’s Fairy Godmother in Training, Wanda, was perfect!  She took special care to ensure that Ella didn’t get hurt.  The only time we got a bit nervous was when Ella chose a fancy jewel to go on her cheek, but again we weighed the cost and decided to go for it.  If it left a boo boo we’d deal with that later (FYI, her face was fine.  No boo boo in sight).
We made the right decision!  Ella had a smile on her face the entire time she was getting her hair done.  She chose a fancy blue tiara to match her blue Cinderella dress, and she chose a rainbow Mickey barrette to go on the back of her head.  She chose a combination of pink, blue and purple eye shadow, and clear lip gloss.  Throughout the whole process Ella truly felt like a REAL princess.  Her entire demeanor changed!  When we were finished she no longer sat back in her stroller, but sat up so the world could see her.  When she walked she floated, like she was trying to be as graceful as possible.  My only word of warning to parents…after your visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you will have glitter EVERYWHERE!  It was all over Ella’s stroller, and even all in Joe’s beard.  He was looking very festive for the occasion.


There are more pictures of the entire process in the Disney World 2011 picture folder to the right.
GiGi and the Murray clan had reservations for lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  When we first entered the castle we met Cinderella and had our picture taken.  Ella was so sweet and loved meeting her favorite princess.  We headed to the upstairs of the castle and were seated right in the middle of the room.  It was perfect for seeing each of the princesses as they entered the room.  Ella soon caught on that before announcing another princess, they would have her story told over the intercom.  As soon as she would hear the story begin she would tell us all to be quiet because another princess was coming!  Here are the princesses she met at lunch.

Cinderella, of course.  It was her house, afterall.

Snow White (#2)

Jasmine (I felt bad for Jasmine having to walk around in a bikini all day)

Ariel (after she got her legs...and got her voice back)

And Belle (in the blue and white dress).  Belle was the only person in all of Disney to write a note in Ella's autograph book.  Everyone else just signed their name.

Ella and Ariel even got to make a wish together with their “Wishing Star.”  Ella waved her magic wand and said the magic words, “Bibbidi, bobbidi, boo!”
Ella loved lunch so much!  The food was terrific.  All of us adults were impressed with how good it was, and Ella even ate all of her fish.  Of course she loved her make your own ice cream sundae, but she didn’t touch the ice cream.  Instead she ate all of the toppings and let the ice cream melt.  Oh well.

As we were getting on the elevator to leave Ella said goodbye to Belle and Ariel.  Both princesses turned around and without thinking twice they shouted, “Goodbye Princess Ella!”  They had remembered her name!  With probably 40 or 50 other little girls in the room, the princesses remembered Ella’s name!  We were shocked.  Ella looked at us with big eyes and said, “They know my name!”  That made her feel so special.

After lunch we rode several rides (Ella and GiGi spent a lot of time together so Joe and I could ride some grown-up rides) then decided to head to the entrance of the park to visit the princesses in the “Storybook Princess” room.  Joe needed some daddy time (a coffee break) so GiGi and I took Ella to meet the princesses.
We first reunited with Cinderella (I liked this Cinderella better than the one at the castle).

Next came Belle, this time she was wearing her yellow dress.

Finally came Aurora.  This was the only place to meet Aurora, so it was really important that we come visit her.

After we visited Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, for those of you not in the know about Princesses), one of the cast members (what they call the workers at Disney) came up to us and asked if we could stick around for a little bit.  To make a long story short, they were finishing up visits for the day, so we were close to the end of the line.  After Cinderella met with her last princess, she came back over to us and talked with Ella more.  Then Belle finished up with the princess and joined Ella and Cinderella.  Finally Aurora was done and Ella was alone in the room with all three princesses.  What a dream come true for a 4 year old girl!

The cast member had specifically held us back in the room so Ella could have a special treat of getting her picture taken with all 3 princesses!  GiGi and I were in shock that Ella got such a special treat.  Ella had a permanent smile on her face.

It was such a special experience!  Of course as we were leaving GiGi and I were crying our eyes out.  We just couldn’t believe that they would do something so special for Ella.  She is such a lucky little girl!

Ella couldn’t stop talking about (and still talks about) how she got to meet princesses “in real life.”  They weren’t cartoons, they weren’t in a movie or on TV, they were in REAL LIFE!  She got to talk to them and give them hugs (which she did, every one of them got a hug) and they even danced together!  Yes, Ella danced with the princesses.  My favorite part was when they all twirled their dresses together.

It was hard to finish up a day like that.  The line for Rapunzel was over 2 hours long, so we didn't get to meet her.  And I have no idea where Tiana was.  The best we saw of her was in the parade.  Maybe next time we can add them to our book.  We stayed and watched the Electrical Parade and the fireworks, then headed home.  That night we all dreamed about princesses.

I have to add that the thing that impressed Joe, GiGi and I the most was that NOT ONE princess had a reaction to Ella.  Not one of them looked at her as though something was wrong.  Not one made a awkward face.  Not one flinched.  Not one hesitated in touching her or giving her a hug.  A couple even gave her a big kiss on the cheek.  They looked at her and responded to her as though she were the most typical 4 year old girl in the world.  I can count on 1 hand the number of times in Ella’s lifetime where we’ve been in a public place and haven’t gotten some sort of reaction.  And it wasn’t just the princesses.  All of the cast members throughout the 3 parks we visited were incredibly helpful and never asked any questions or looked at us as though something was wrong.  To them we were just another average family coming to have a fun time at Magic Kingdom.  That alone made the experience priceless.


Linda said...

Hi Katie: You didn't warn me that this update would be a tissue alert. I am sitting her at my desk crying. I am so happy that everyone treated Ella so warmly and remembered her name. She must have been on cloud nine all day. What wonderful memories Ella will always have. So happy for your family. Love and Peace Leah and Tabby's Nana

Mama Mary ATL said...

I was captivated by every word, action and deed. It is encounters like these that lifts "every" heart and leaves a positive lasting, loving impression on "everyone". Thanks for sharing. I read every word and some more than once. May God us this posting to touch others as He used it to touch me. ... Mama Mary, ATL, GA