Day 181- Dapper Day at Magic Kingdom

Today is Dapper Day at Disney World! I am beyond excited! This is a fun day and there will be so many beautiful Dapper Day visitors, and they will be dressed to the nines. The day is sunny and it says it will be 88 degrees today, but it ends up reaching a very hot 90 degrees in the late afternoon. Even though it’s hot today, there are a few clouds and a good breeze.

We arrive and they are just beginning to park in the Villains parking lot, so the traffic is at a standstill as they are getting the traffic redirected. It doesn’t take very long to get traffic moving again and they are filling up both the left and right sides of the Villains lots now. There are a ton of people arriving – I mean a ton! Soon, we are parked and walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center. There are people going to the ferryboat and the Monorail. After a short wait in line for the Monorail, we are on our way to Magic Kingdom. 

We disembark and head for bag check, where every table is open. There are so many strollers and bags being checked. Today there are so many people. Soon, we are heading to scan our MagicBands and enter onto Main Street USA. When it is busy, I enjoy seeing all of the families taking pictures, so happy to be here! You can hear all of the “oohs” and “ahhs” as they see Cinderella’s Castle for the first time. As you can see, the crane is now gone and the path to the right of the castle is open again!

I am looking to get a picture for Dapper Day! So, we are heading for Cinderella’s Castle… I want our picture to have Mickey and Walt Disney’s statue in it. “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.” 

Now, we are off to find the citizens of Main Street USA. Oh, we see Ms. Trumpetto! She is looking beautiful (as always!). She is a lovely, happy lady. You must meet her the next time you visit; she is very fun and so spunky! As we are fixing to take a picture, she says that she needs something more, something fancy. “Oh, you want my furry critters?”  “Sure, that is wonderful!” Then, she is so cute and gives one of the weasels, as we affectionately call them, a sweet kiss! So very funny! As we cross the street, there are seagulls flying past us, trying to get to the crackers a little family spilt! It is surprising how quickly they swoop down, in and out of the traffic flow. Then, we turn and see the most dapper family and ask if we can take their picture! 

Ms. Trumpetto lets us know that Ms. Beatrice Starr is here. Soon, we find Ms. Starr and say, “Hello!” She is so vivacious. She noticed my fur collar and said, “I missed you, Henry.” She said that he was her ferret and oh, how she had missed him!  I said, “Oh, I call them weasels, ‘cause a weasel gave them to me!” She started laughing and said that a weasel is just a flat ferret! We all laughed and then tried to get a picture! As we are blowing a kiss, Ms. Starr begins to laugh and laugh and laugh! She is adorable.

Next, we met Constance Purchase. She was dressed in a beautiful purple dress and had a parasol! We had not met her before today, and she was a delight to meet.

The Dapper Day group is having a meet up at the PeopleMover at noon, well, that is right now. We know it will be very busy getting everyone on the PeopleMover. I think we will skip this meet up.

We have not had any hot beverages yes, so we are going to the Main Street Bakery to grab some tea and coffee. Twinkie gets her drink and goes to find a table while our drinks are being made. We join her and sit in the shade of a yellow umbrella. Everyone seems to be facing the same way since the sun is already bright and it is getting hot. I saw a nice family sitting at the table next to us, so I asked if I could get the son to take a picture for us, and the older sister jumped up and took one for us and it turned out great. Her brother was so disappointed. So, I asked the dad if we could get the son to take a picture of us with the castle, she did a great job, but I would like for him to be our hero and help us out. Every guy needs to be a hero. The dad nodded and the mom looked surprised, but the dad loved that we understood that dudes, young and old, like to be heroes!

Soon, this area is full. I see a dad waiting for a table, so we offer ours to him since we thought about moving to a cooler area of the park. As we step into the walkway, a couple stops us for a picture. 

We move to another area, and soon another Dapper Day couple sits down at a table next to us, so they begin chatting with us. We just met them earlier; they brought their 2 nieces and a nephew. Their nephew wanted to come for Dapper Day, so he asked them if they would drive! Too neat that he asked his aunt and uncle to come to Dapper Day with him! They’ve just come from the PeopleMover and tell us how busy it was, the line zigzagged and it wrapped all the way back to Space Mountain. The funniest thing was that they took a video on their phone that they showed us, and it lasted a few minutes, she was surprised that it had taken them that long to walk that far. 

Twinkie takes a picture of them in their dapper finery and we have a fun time visiting. Soon, a man walks up and tells us that we, my kids and I, should have a picture of us sitting there. We say OK and he takes one for us, as his family sits across the way watching and smiling. He asks if we would mind taking a picture of him and his family in front of the castle. Not at all! So, Twinkie hops up and snaps a couple of pictures for them.

I love days like today, where we meet tons of people and they take pictures of us and with us. We get to explain Dapper Day to a lot of people who ask us about it, and it is so fun! I love talking to and meeting so many happy people.

We have lunch at the Plaza Restaurant. The kids have wanted me to try the gluten free cheesesteak sandwich. They went with some friends and said that it was over the top delicious. So, here we are. I love the ornate woodwork and detail! It is so art nouveau in all of its décor, absolutely fabulous.

As we are leaving, we can hear and see part of the parade. We see Rapunzel, Ulf, and Flynn, and we see Maleficent’s fire breathing dragon, and some of the other floats as we walk toward Tom Sawyer Island. This is where the next Dapper Day meet up is today. We stop to get a picture with the Liberty Belle riverboat and walk on around to the launching of the boats to cross over to the island. It is so very hot, and we meet a nice family as we are crossing. They are from Texas and close to where we lived. The mom says that the kids are having a little trouble with the heat since Texas has been so cold this winter. I totally understand the difficulty of the transition from cold to hot, especially on a humid day like this. I do let them know there is a rope bridge and barrels to cross if they have time to find them.

Once we arrive on the island, we turn to the left and find the rope bridge that leads to Fort Langhorn. This fort is so much fun! Escape tunnel? We just had to go through to find out where it lead, and we popped out at the back of the fort. Now we go back around and explore the rest of the fort. Oh, look, Dapper Day people! As we get down the spiral staircase, we find that the wind has died down. It is hot on this island. I think we need to find something cold to drink. It is suggested that frozen apple juice is at Gaston’s Tavern, better known as LeFou’s Brew. Sounds wonderful to me, so we make our way over to Fantasyland, where Gaston’s Tavern is just past his statue on the water fountain.

As soon as we have our LeFou’s Brew, we head outside to see Gaston talking with the guests who have come to meet him. It is so very fun to watch, and today there are so many Dapper Day people watching since the line to meet him is now closed. As we watch, the cutest Dapper Day Baymax with his dapper bowtie, Mickey Mouse ears, and his suspendered pants pops up as he’s being carried by a dapper lady! Too cute! With our Brew in hand, we go to find a place to sit and finish our frozen apple juices. As we are sitting, I get a picture of the sparkly fireworks from the Dream Along with Mickey stage show. We stop for a beanstalk picture at Sir Mickey’s, pictures in front of doors at Cinderella’s Castle, and since the crane is gone we can go to the wishing well for pictures.

Today has been fun, hot, and so enjoyable! I love interacting with so many people and I enjoy Dapper Day with so many dapper people! It has been a very good day. With the hot weather, I think we constantly were drinking water and other yummy beverages. Please keep yourselves hydrated, and make sure your kids are drinking enough and you will have a great day at Disney World!

Day 86- Epcot: Chefs de France & LeVar Burton at the Candlelight Processional

We are going to have a full day at Disney’s Epcot! I am so excited to get here early and enjoy looking around before it gets really busy. We arrive, park, and walk to the front gates. There are plenty of security guards to check our bags and a pretty good line to get our MagicBands scanned. It does move quickly, and soon, we are walking toward Spaceship Earth.

Oh, that mom looks like she might want to be in the picture with her kids! I ask and she is so happy. We stop and my kids take the picture. The mom is so thankful, and we are happy to help. I love seeing how happy people get just with a simple offer to take a picture. It is a future treasure to have the whole family in one picture. I know that, and it is important to me to get that treasure to them.

We do some pin trading at several shops. We make it out to the World Showcase Lagoon and then back to Starbucks for Twinkie’s coffee. I going to check the Port of Entry shop and as I get close, I hear Tooti say, “Would you like to be in the picture with your family?” I turn and have to take a moment to see her doing what we do best, helping someone have a wonderful Disney experience of kindness.

As we begin to make our way around the World Showcase, we spy Duffy in his Santa suit! Wow, the line is very short and we’re also in our Christmas attire! Picture? I think so! Along the line, there are cute open storybook-type displays telling the story of how Mickey went on a trip, and Minnie gave him a teddy bear, Duffy, so that Mickey wouldn’t be lonely on the trips; so sweet! Duffy is too cute and so fun to meet! He gives us hugs and complements our outfits. How fun to meet a teddy bear that hugs you back!

I am so excited to see the Candlelight Processional again tonight. LeVar Burton is there tonight, and I cannot wait to hear him read the Christmas story. So, we have chosen Chefs de France for our lunch reservations. This is one of our most favorite places to eat. The décor is so French, from the tin ceiling, to the windows framing the passersby; everything is so picturesque as you look out towards the World Showcase Lagoon.

The Chef is amazing and the food is served with excellence. We usually have gluten free French onion soup. But, today, we are going to enjoy a feast. Chefs de France has a wonderful selection that is gluten free. We are quickly served gluten free bread and butter with our tea and cappuccino. Next, I am having the goat cheese salad and the kids are having the cheese board. The salad is wonderful and the goat cheese that accompanies the salad is so delectable. The cheese board is amazing. Tooti and Twinkie are very pleased with the amazing assortment of cheeses. This is one of their absolute favorite cheese boards in Disney World. They are really smiling as they taste each cheese, and they love all of them!

Soon, we are served our beef ribs with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli. Twinkie has the roasted chicken with the same sides. Oh my goodness. The beef ribs are cooked to perfection, boneless, and oh, so delicious. They even bring us a side of the specially prepared Cabernet sauce… it is especially scrumptious on the potatoes! Twinkie’s chicken is absolutely incredible, cooked to perfection, and even better than she remembered. Our waiter, Max, was wonderful, attentive, and courteous. Soon, it was time for dessert. What would we like? Crème brulee, please! The crème brulee comes out with perfectly caramelized sugar, and it is fantastic, the perfect ending to an incredible meal. We receive our passes for tonight’s Candlelight Processional, and then we are off!

We walk towards America and look at the shops there. Then, we decide that it is a little over 2 hours until the Candlelight Processional begins, so it’s probably a good time to get in line. We are there for a while and then a kind couple joins us. It is quite a while until others begin to get in line, but we have a wonderful chat with them until we are seated over an hour later. They are a very nice couple, and it was the wife’s birthday today. Happy Birthday!

We make our game plan as they are letting the wheel chairs and scooters enter the theater. I would love to be on the front row, right up close, and near the orchestra. We are so excited. We get the OK to be seated and are instructed to stay to the left until we get down near the front. Sure, we can do that! We walk in and it is so exciting to get to sit at the front. It was so worth the wait! I hear the delicate harp sounds and see the beautiful lady playing. We see the orchestra begin to filter in, and soon the orchestra plays the sounds of Christmas. The choirs are gathering and the trumpets are sounding. Then, LeVar Burton is there. Geordi LaForge in real life! He is amazing. He greets us and says that Walt Disney himself actually began this Candlelight Processional tradition, and this is LeVar’s favorite thing: to get to read the Christmas story. He begins reading, “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…” I love hearing this story read. I have heard it my whole life, over 50 years now, and I still feel the excitement of this Christmas season well up inside of me. The entire Candlelight Processional is spectacular, and the ending of the Hallelujah chorus is magnificent.

Day 79- The Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris

Tonight we are sitting at the Candlelight Processional. The orchestra is beautiful as they begin playing the stringed instruments. In a sudden burst of festiveness, the trumpets sound their joyful call.  The conductor led the orchestra and the music was so beautiful. I see the choir as they begin to come in from the sides of the stage. The choir comes in and fills the green Christmas tree, complete with a giant star on top. The Voices of Liberty, dressed as carolers in red, stand in front of the Christmas tree choir. Then, the beautiful golden choir comes down each aisle, and passing by all of us in the audience. They are beautiful as they enter the stage, flanking each side of the Christmas tree choir. It is a beautiful sight to see the choir all singing as the men take their places, and then the ladies.

When everyone is in place, Neal Patrick Harris is introduced, and comes out onto the stage. As he begins to read the Christmas story, you can feel the atmosphere as it changes and a sense of awe comes into the American Gardens Theatre. I can feel the peace, and I feel my eyes welling up with tears as I hear the story of Jesus’ birth. The Christmas songs and the reading of how God spoke to Mary and Joseph was beautiful. I am going to go back to another Candlelight Processional; it was so amazing that I cannot fully absorb all its beauty.

When the singers finish the Candlelight Processional with the Hallelujah Chorus, my heart is full. It is so beautiful as everyone in the audience stands and sings along. What an ending to a wonderful processional!

We are not in a hurry to leave as the choir is finishes and the orchestra is done. We watch as everyone leaves, and then we move toward the back. The choir is almost gone, and people are leaving. I am forever changed.

It was so beautiful that it made me forget all about the rain this afternoon, my soaked clothes, and our dinner. We did have a marvelous dinner at Biergarten in Germany. We found that if you plan to go, it is best to choose the Candlelight Processional dining packages, since it guarantees you a seat for the show. A couple of days ago, we checked to see if there was any possibility of finding an opening at any of the restaurants; we found we could have lunch in Germany at Biergarten today (Tuesday).

So, we get checked in at the restaurant and wait for a bit. In a little while, we are called, and then another family is called. There will be a table for eight: our three and the family of five. Later, we find that it is a family of 4 and their family friend, they were so nice! Biergarten is a really fun place to eat. There is music, Christmas skits for the holidays, wonderful stories, Christmas tree lightings, and hand-bells! Oh, it is just fun! The gluten free options are many! I especially loved the fruit dessert. It is a wonderful buffet.

The Candlelight Processional is worth everything. I loved hearing the Christmas Story read by Neal Patrick Harris, and celebrated with the powerful voices of the choir. It is a must if you can get a reservation for lunch or dinner. The dining package line for tonight’s first Candlelight Processional was past Morocco into France, and it took 35 minutes for everyone to be seated. When I looked around about 10 minutes before it began, people were still being seated and the theater was almost completely full. I am so happy to see so many people coming to celebrate the Christmas story.

Day 49- Epcot: La Hacienda de San Angel, Canadian Lumberjack Show & Spaceship Earth

Happy Sunday Morning! It is cool and breezy on this sunny day, so we threw on our ugly sweaters and headed for Epcot!

We arrive at the park and ride the tram to the front gates, check in at bag check, scan our MagicBands, and head for Mexico! We have lunch reservations at La Hacienda de San Angel. We are seated quickly and look at the menu. Tooti has been talking about the Queso Fundido cheese dish at La Hacienda de San Angel. We are served chips and 2 salsas, the red one is hot, and the green one is not. Soon, we have our tacos and Queso Fundido, gluten free. It is a nice lunch.

There is a concert tonight with 38 Special. I was not the right age for this group, but the concert is packed out with people standing along the edges! We took a minute to listen and see the huge amount of people watching. Already, the line for the next show is growing.

Our next stop is the UK Pavilion for a Chai, and next-door is the Canadian Lumberjack Show! I have tried for a couple of weeks to be here at the right time to get to see them. It is a great show, and very fun! At the close of the show, they said they are going to be available for handshakes and pictures. The kids got a picture with them!

Next, we have a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth! It is a very chilly walk, and I am so glad that the ride is much warmer inside. I really like Spaceship Earth and the story of how communication began and transformed over the years. Then, near the end of the ride, they put together a little video specific to you and your choices to the multiple-choice questions they ask. It is really cute and fun.

Now we are off to the front gates, it is dark and even cooler outside. The tram is very full, to the point the tram attendant said, “We are full, so full that I have to say there is no more boarding, since there is no more room.” I agree, we have 3 of us already in out row, and then a very tall, large couple got on our row, and kept scooting us over. I put my arm behind Twinkie, and the lady kept pushing me over, saying, “Excuse me!!!” I had to not laugh, there was room for 1.33 of them and they were 2+. We kept ooching over until they both fit. If I had the breath to chuckle, I would have. I did enjoy the family behind me, and I had to tell the grandmother, “I love your accent!!!” She was bashful and said, “It is not much of one,” in a very thick British accent, “It is not very good, not very sophisticated.” I said, “I am from Texas and this is what I have!” She laughed so hard, “Texas?” “Yes, but we moved down here in the summer!” “Oh, so you are living the dream!” she said. We laughed and then it was time to disembark! We all shouted, “Have a wonderful evening!” and we were off to walk to our cars. Nice to be in the warm car on a cool day!