Now, the wonderful thing about having an early BBB reservation is that you get into the park before opening, before the general public, before it gets loud and busy. When else would we be able to get a family photo in front of Cinderella Castle with no one in the background.
And Princess Carissa was able to quietly lead us up the castle walk with no one in her way. That almost made getting up early worth it. It was very neat to experience the Magic Kingdom while calm.
We made our way inside to the BBB, where Carissa's fairy-godmothers-in-training spoiled her with all sorts of lavish attention. She got her nails painted, her makeup done and a very special princess hairdo, complete with glittering tiara and sparkling Mickey head barrette. Carissa was in heaven with all the extra special attention. It was quite a special occasion for her.
After Carissa’s makeover was complete we stopped by City Hall for a birthday button. Carissa wore this and her “Birthday Princess” sash all day long, and right after receiving it she had her first special birthday moment. We were waiting at the rope drop to Tomorrowland so that we could be one of the first on Space Mountain. However, once they realized that it was Carissa’s birthday they decided to let our party in early. So a few minutes before it officially opened they led us through a deserted Tomorrowland and right inside Space Mountain! I don’t think Carissa realized just how special it was to get that little treat. And she was officially the first rider of the day on Space Mountain!
After our special ride we headed to nearby Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger spin where Brian beat us all in this arcade game ride. He kicked our butts really. He had 300,000 while I had just 35,000 and the kids had somewhere around 2,000 each. OUCH! But on our way out we got to see Stitch who also made a big deal about Carissa’s birthday pin.
In keeping up the momentum of the day we rode Tomorrowland Indy Speedway before heading for some rides in Fantasyland. Here the kids and I enjoyed a very spin-y adventure on the Mad Tea Party. A big *bok, bok, bok!* to the rest of the group who didn’t want to ride. CHICKENS!!!
Up next was an attraction none of us had ever been on before – Mickey’s Philharmagic. This was AWESOME! Lots of wonderful songs and cameos by several popular Disney characters, but the best part was all the 3D effects. The kids weren’t the only ones who found themselves grabbing for what was seemingly “in reach”. I just had to try it too. Best of all is that EVERYONE absolutely loved it. It was the highlight of Magic Kingdom for both Brian and myself and one thing that we will be repeating in upcoming days at the Magic Kingdom.
We hit a few other Fantasyland rides, the first being Carissa’s “It’s a Small World”. I call this her ride because if not for her we probably wouldn’t have ridden it. It’s just one of those rides that doesn’t change over time so riding it once or twice ever would have worked for me, but Carissa wouldn’t even think about passing it up! So we all went along with her and listened to 10 long minutes of “It’s a Small World,” which is still running through my head some 12 hours later. Amazing.
We flitted around Fantasyland for a while where Chase tried to pull Excalibur from the stone. He was excited that he could wiggle it, but he wasn't able to pull it out. ;)
Last off in Fantasyland was Peter Pan. We stopped for a quick bite at the Harbour House where we had chicken strips and fries - our most common counter service meal during the trip.
After lunch it was off to a ride we hadn’t ridden in Disneyland, Haunted Mansion. This was the first time for Tristan and Carissa, as Chase had ridden when we visited Disneyworld in 2001. He was only 5 then, but he rode it with me anyways, despite how scared he was. Now at 11 not much scares him – certainly not some computer generated ghosts in a Disney ride. LOL Despite the younger ones fears, it was not at all scary and they rather enjoyed it, especially Tristan who wanted to ride again.
While we would have loved to ride Splash Mountain after Haunted Mansion, that just wasn’t possible. Much to our displeasure, Splash Mountain is closed for it’s yearly refurbishment. So sad!!! Instead we opted for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, another favorite of us all. I was actually surprised with how much I liked it this time. It was great.
A short trek and we were in Adventureland, where we visited Pirates of the Carribean and saw the new updated version for the first time. This time there are sightings of both Barbosa and Jack Sparrow in the ride as well as a very neat vision of Davy Jones. What a fun addition!
We jumped in the short line for the Aladin's Magic Carpet Ride
before heading next door for the long awaited “The Tiki Room - Under New Management” show. The boys have been listening to the “Tiki Room” song since we returned from Disneyland, but we had never taken them in this theater. It was a fun little show! Certainly not as good as Philharmagic, but it let the boys finally see what the Tiki room was all about.
By now things were getting a bit more crowded and we were all ready to take a bit of a break. We staked out a spot along Main Street to wait for the Dreams Come True parade to start.I bought some Mickey head ice creams for the kids (Nestle Crunch ice cream for the rest of the party). It wasn’t too long before Mickey and some of his friends came down the street for the parade. Carissa stood up, dressed to the 9’s in her new Aurora costume and with her hair and makeup all done, and waved at all the passing characters. Well, maybe not ALL the characters. She absolutely refused to wave to anyone from the villain float! Several times the characters saw her birthday button and pointed to her and blew her kisses. It was just so cute! It was a quick parade but a great time and place for some down moments and special birthday wishes for Carissa.
We had thought about leaving after the parade, but a mass exodus began and we decided to stick it out a little while longer. We decided to stop at Toontown, the only land we hadn’t yet visited. We were on a mission to meet some characters and we did just that in the Toontown Hall of Fame tent. Here Carissa met Aurora, Belle and Cinderella. Next was the boys turn, but after Carissa saw who it was she wasn’t going to be left out! So all 3 of them got their photos taken with Pluto, Goofy and Donald. FUN!!!
A ride on Goofy’s Barnstormer finished out our ride day so we got on the train for a nice leisurely jaunt and made our way back to Main Street. We split up for some shopping on Main Street. We went to the Exposition hall so Carissa could got her adorable princess photos. She did a great job and it wasn’t too long before we were shopping again. We hit a few shops and didn’t buy much to speak of but we had a great time anyways. An hour later we were on our way back to the Ticket and Transportation Center and out of the parks, enjoying the beautiful sunset from aboard the boat along the way. We had some dinner at Denny’s … not exactly what we wanted for a birthday dinner but we couldn’t get any Disney dining reservations that night either. So we opted for Dennys’ and then headed back to the room.
Princess Carissa got to open all of her birthday gifts! She got some nice, soft PJ’s, a jean jacket, snowglobes and several other Disney-themed items. We enjoyed a nice, sweet piece of Carissa’s “Enchanted” birthday cake. It was so cute! We demonlished about half of it today and will have the other half to snack on during the week.
All in all a nice, long, productive day for us all. Several times Carissa enjoyed birthday niceties from those around her at the parks. It sure made for a fun and interesting birthday!