The Weekly Peanut, Issue 167
AKA "let's check stuff off our Disney bucket list" week.
After introducing D to A New Hope recently, we went ahead and got Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi both under our belts this week. Empire fared far better than A New Hope when it came to holding D's attention. Chewie was still a favorite throughout. As well as "da princess." She was particularly enthralled during the climactic light saber battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. D says Luke is "very cool" (she loved his flips). So team Luke was she, she finally seemed to understand the bigger picture with Vader "Mommy... Mommy... Darth Vader... he not nice." Nope. Apparently that didn't quite get figured out for her in Episode 4. As the fight continued, D got more and more distressed. She was VERY upset that Darth Vader was a bad guy. She even started crying at one point. Aww kiddo, give him one more movie, ok?
Saturday we'd planned to do Hollywood Studios and Fantasmic that night, so we went ahead and watched Return of the Jedi that morning. No one will be surprised that this was DEFINITELY D's favorite of the three, holding her attention completely from almost start to finish. She still loved Chewie, but of course she loved the ewoks and Luke and the robots and the battles and Darth Vader's redemption. Loved it all. So now all that's left is TFA. No, we aren't watching episodes 1-3. She can make the choice to watch those as an adult, but I feel about those movies much the way I feel about Godfather III: once seen, they cannot be unseen and will forever tarnish the franchise.
After the movie Ian told me he had a surprise for us and that we needed to pack an overnight bag. WHAT? BUT I HAVE PLANS! WITH PEOPLE! "Don't worry, I've already talked to them." What???? Yes, as it turns out Ian and all my friends FOR MONTHS have been going behind my back to surprise me with an extra special birthday weekend. So we packed some bags and hit the road.
Frequent readers will probably have picked up by now on the fact that I'm completely infatuated with the Polynesian Village resort. I seriously love everything about it, and every time I walk through that lobby I feel like I am home and at peace. Well, Ian treated us to a night here. It's not something that I ever thought would realistically be in the financial cards for us (Disney's deluxe resorts are $$$$), but here we were.
While Ian checked in, D made friends with the lobby girls. She hugged every one of them before we left the lobby. She also colored in the activity book they gave her.
It was relatively early in the day, so our room wasn't ready yet. We left our luggage with the bellhop and headed over to Hollywood Studios after all.
Rode Star Tours.
Checked out the Star Wars stage show in the hub area. Ran into Kelsey.
Waved at all the characters as they left the stage. D doesn't know who Darth Maul is. Maybe we'll let her watch Episode I? I dunno, I just don't think I can handle Hayden Christensen.
Headed to Launch Bay. D was wayyyy more interested in the Empire display than the Rebel Alliance.
Traded with some Jawas.
Played Star Wars Angry Birds. Neither of us was very good at it. Finally we headed back out to the entrance to catch the Fantasmic surprise character sets. It was a bittersweet day for us and Mulan, as our mutual friend, Melanie, will be leaving soon to pursue her career dreams. :*(
The gates opened and Mulan came right up to Daphne. So many characters were out! D grabbed Mulan's hand, but instantly got character ADD. "TIANAAA!" She hollered and waved at Big Sis, so Mulan walked her over.
The only downside to these meets having so many great characters to see is how short they are; if you want to see everybody, you have to move FAST. D was excited to show Mulan her warrior poses she'd been working on (in the bathroom, she shows me all the time). Many laughs were had as Daphne decided she'd forgotten how to do one of the poses so Mulan would show her again.
Don't mind me, crying into my keyboard over here...
We had to walk away from Mulan or risk getting emotional at that point. Or MORE emotional. D at least was easily distracted by a character we'd never gotten a chance to formally meet, who also happened to be one of Ian's favorites.
D and Robin Hood were too cute together. Robin kept tickling her with his nose and she couldn't stop laughing. As we were walking away from Robin, before I could get my bearings I hear a "pssst." Pocahontas had snuck around a building and is waving urgently at us. OH, ok.
D LOVED her little private Poca moment. Poca even taught her a new warrior woman pose!
Ian and I REALLY wanted to meet Bert, but he was out without Mary Poppins, and D wasn't interested (sob). So I told her we could go see whoever she wanted. Aladdin was out, and D is always so charmed with him, but she kept insisting on the other guy wearing a hat. Brer Fox it is.
They were having a ball, but as I was starting to lead D away we had an awkward moment when she ran back over to Brer Fox and gave him this bop on the nose. But before I could yell at her she'd pulled him down to give him a kiss. Had to have a little talk about the appropriate way to get character's attention after that (ie NOT bopping on the nose, ahem).
Ian had decided to grab a spot in Aladdin's line just in case. Just as well since most of the characters were winding down (these pop up meets are FAST) and he ended up grabbing the last spot before the line was closed. He predicted D would change her mind about seeing Aladdin as soon as she got a good look at him, and he wasn't wrong. Unlike in Morocco, however, D had room to play with Aladdin. As soon as she had his attention, she announced it was hide and seek time. She ran around the corner to count and ordered Aladdin to hide. He did. Behind me.
Aladdin really is a wonder at charming my kid. As soon as she spotted him, he took off. Now here's my kid chasing after Aladdin...
...and giving him the biggest giggles and cuddles of all. Pretty much the most adorable reunion. I didn't even hear what they were talking about since they'd charged off. By the time I caught up to them, the rest of the characters had gone back behind the gate and we had to say our goodbyes. We got a text that our room was ready at the resort so we headed back.
Not just any room. Theme park view room. Third floor. This is the view from our room. Pinch me. So this is how the other half lives. Le Sigh. The problem is that I never wanted to leave. I left my heeeeeeeart at the Pooooolyneeeeeesian Villaaaaaage... Ian suggested we go down to the main building to grab some food, but he had one more surprise in store for me.
MY FRIENDS! I can't imagine a better way to celebrate than surrounded by my favorite people. And Daphne's. Jeanna, Greg, Bella, Alexis, Drew, Ava, Amanda, Maddie, and Meg all came to party and take over the Poly's Trader Sam patio.
There were snacks, presents (FOR ME?!), awesome dads that took over kid duty so the moms could sit around with our Trader Sam's cocktails laughing endlessly. Jeanna even brought me a cake from the famous Carlo's bakery!
It lived up to the hype. I made myself give about half the cake to our server to share with the rest of the kitchen so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it all myself, honestly. We partied on the patio into the evening, until Ava and Bella's families decided to call it a night. Ian had invited Amanda and Maddie to share the room with us, so the rest of our party went back to the room so we could enjoy our view of the nighttime festivities over the lake.
Like the Electric Water Parade.
And Wishes fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. By the time they were over even Daphne was eager to admit how tired she was and ready to go to sleep. You'd think being up hours past normal bedtime would mean my kid would sleep in, right? WRONG. 7 am. Up and at 'em. Oh well, at least I can go out on our balcony and enjoy our view...
Holy Fog Batman! Oh well. We dragged ourselves out of bed and reluctantly packed our things to leave our own little Fantasyland. We had late breakfast reservations for Ohana (my favorite <3), but we needed to be packed up and checked out before that time. Sadface.
While waiting to be seated, I came to the conclusion that letting D stay up so late the night before may not have been the wisest decision.
How on earth do people do, like, 10 day WDW vacations? Up every night for fireworks, back up the next morning for breakfast reservations? How do these kids not spontaneously combust? Little Miss sleepypants just wanted to lean against me and mope at first.
Ian talked her into this picture. Then they brought out the fruit juice. Daphne remembered it from a year ago when we were here. Oh man, she sure perked up for that juice. I told her she could have the juice IF she improved her attitude and was a good girl for breakfast. She promised she would. They sat us in the dead middle of the restaurant. What does that mean for me? NO LIGHT at the table and I have to use the flash on my camera. Boooo. Stitch made it to the table first. D was so excited cause she loves the blue guy (as do I).
He had a photopass with him and almost as soon as the hugs were over POOF off Stitch went. It bummed me out a little. I've never felt rushed at Ohana with the characters before. We had more time with Lilo. She got very excited about Daphne's dress and paraded the girls around a little for some of the staff to see.
Lilo went on her way just in time for the food to arrive. D was back to being sort of mopey and refusing to eat more than some nibbles of mickey waffle and a few bites of egg. We waited... and waited... no sign of Pluto or Mickey anywhere close to us. Lilo was across the walkway, but I guess she decided she wanted to come back and play with the girls again.
No complaints from D.
They tickled, they picked their noses and wiped them on each other, they slow danced, and eventually they paraded around the restaurant with the rest of the patrons in Ohana's friendship celebration.
Thanks, Lilo. Serious magic overload. At last Pluto found his way to the table to give the girls some puppy kisses.
D and I were both pretty over waiting for Mickey, so I took her to change into swim gear (no way we were leaving the resort without taking advantage of their awesome pool!).
D thought the kid's area was VERY cool. There were tons of shallow splash areas, plus a little and bigger water slide. She was a little timid the first time down the slide (it gets completely pitch black in there!), but after that she wouldn't be stopped. She seriously went down that thing at LEAST 20 times. She was barely able to get out of the stop area at the end, yet she giggled and screamed and attacked that slide over and over and over.
My kid never would have left that slide. Ian noticed on his phone that a particularly rare character was out at Epcot. One that was on the top of his character bucket list. Did we want to go to Epcot? At this point, why not??? After prying D away from the slide and back into dry clothes, we all headed out.
Maddie was asleep before we even made it into the park. D? Not so much. Headed back to the character training area in world showcase hoping to catch one last set. D wanted to take pictures. After nervously hovering over her while she held my camera for a few moments, I finally found my brain and just handed her my phone to take some pictures.
Here is a sample of my budding photographer's work.
Little climbing monkeys waiting for the gates to open.
The gates opened and the character Ian was most excited for was the first out. LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK! Launchpad is from the TaleSpin TV show of our childhood. He is tall. He wears lots of leather. D didn't know who he was. She still greeted him with a big hug.
Then Launchpad took her by the hand and led her into the greeting area. They had lots of talks. I think D asked for flying lessons. Launchpad taught her his flying pose (3 new poses in one weekend!).
D let Ian take a turn meeting Launchpad, too.
He was pretty excited. Maddie rejoined us and we let the girls decide where they wanted to go next. They chose Baloo.
Maddie kept trying to play with him and show him her sloth, but D just wanted to sit there and cuddle him.
I sang a little bit of the Bear Necessities for him. He dug it. The girls' last choice was the matched Jungle Book set.
Baloo got all the cuddles, Louie got ALL the kisses.
Mission Accomplished. We headed back to Future World and took the girls on Living with the Land (I got D a violet lemonade in honor of her awesome behavior despite her sleepiness). We were all pretty spent by then so we said our goodbyes. D didn't even make it to the interstate.
Thus ended the most magical weekend and marked our return to reality. I'm so grateful to everyone for all the work they did to DECEIVE ME (j/k) into this wonderful weekend. The next couple months are going to be birthday-palooza with D's friends. Of course, all Disney birthdays all the time....