“Disneyland is a Show.” – Walt Disney

Friday morning we were up and at ’em bright and early.  We had a mission.  Get to the park at opening time so that we could get in line for the Princess Pavilion.

On Thursday, I had been a little surprised that we didn’t see many characters walking around.  I expected to just be walking to a ride and be like, “Oh, there’s Mickey!”  But no.  There are designated spots to see characters at designated times.  Then you stand in line (surprise) and wait your turn to get their autograph (if that’s your thing) and a picture.

The princesses are different, though.  The princesses hang out in the Princess Pavilion.  And much like a Fastpass for a ride, you have to get a time slot and come back later.

Walking up to Sleeping Beauty’s castle before the park was officially open.

I got to look at this windmill from all sides while waiting in line for a time slot to see a princess.

We didn’t have Disney Magic Hours, so we got in at 10 (the official opening time) instead of 8.  People with DMH can use that time for rides or to snag early spots in line for activities like this.  Even though I got in line pretty much as fast as possible after the park opened, our time slot for was 1:25 to 1:55.

(While I was in line, G and Andy rode several rides.  They definitely benefited from being there so early.  I was lucky enough to be in line next to a lovely British dad on holiday with his wife and son, so I had someone to talk to while we stood in line forever.)

After I finally made it through the (first) Princess Pavilion line, we went over to Walt Disney Studios Park because we hadn’t seen very much of it the day before.  It’s definitely a smaller park than Disneyland Park, but it’s where most of the Pixar stuff is (including Ratatouille).  Which was about all we really had time to do before going back for our princess appointment.

We rented a stroller on Friday because G kept wanting to be carried and she’s getting too big for that nonsense. Plus it’s hard to carry anyone of any size for roughly 13 miles a day. And yes, she was still making that lovely face on Day 2.

Wendy, Peter Pan, and Tinker Bell in flight.

In line for Ratatouille, contemplating one of Gusteau’s less appetizing treats.

Showing off her sweet 3D glasses.

After a round in our rat car, we headed over for what was certainly G’s favorite part of the trip.  I wasn’t sure how the Princess Pavilion would work, who would be there, how many princesses we would be able to meet.  The answer is one.  One princess.  Which is fine, but when you hear “Princess Pavilion,” you kind of imagine a room full of princesses.  But instead there are several smaller rooms and each person/family gets a turn meeting one of the available princesses.  I’m not complaining, but it wasn’t what I expected (and I also did zero research beforehand; I’m sure the Internet could have explained this process to me).  Anyway, it was pretty great in the end.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

While you were in line, you could look at these stained glass windows depicting all of the different princess castles.

And an item near and dear to that princess’s heart.

After a pretty decent wait (considering the wait I had already put in to even get this spot…), we met our princess.

I’m not going to lie, I was relieved when she hugged Cinderella. I could have easily seen her acting shy and refusing to interact with her in any way.

She had just mastered holding up three fingers like that earlier that morning. The way she was doing it before made it look like she was saying she’s 2.

Princess pose!

In this picture, I imagine that G is a little ticked that Mama and Dada are butting in on her time with Cinderella.

I had randomly thrown one dress into the suitcase for G and then suggested that she wear it on Friday (in the event that we got to meet a princess).  She has several princess dresses here at the apartment for dress-up, but I didn’t bring any of those because she can’t really eat in them (they’re spot-clean or hand wash only and that is not my jam) and I didn’t want to be carrying around a costume all day.  But lots of other little girls either brought their princess dresses to wear or their parents shelled out the €70 (!) for a dress at the park.  They were selling a beautiful Anna coronation dress that G was in love with, but I just couldn’t do it.  That is too much money for dress up clothes.  (I’ve found similar ones on Amazon and I think she’ll be getting one for Christmas.  So don’t feel too bad for her.)

After the excitement of the Princess Pavilion, G said she wanted to see Aladdin again and then we went in search of the pirate-themed playground.  (I think it’s great that in addition to all the rides, they have a couple of regular playgrounds so that kids can just play.  We visited the pirate one in Adventureland and the Pocahontas Indian Village in Frontierland.)

Sometimes you have to step on a bed of nails to get what you really want.

Avast, ye scurvy dogs!

After some play time, we did our souvenir shopping and then snagged a spot to watch what we thought was a Frozen parade, but was really just one carriage with Elsa and Anna in it.  G still loved it.

Andy manned the camera while I went in search of some snacks. I had a LOT of pictures like this to go through.

But I also had a lot like this.

Peanut butter cup ice cream + a Mickey Mouse cookie. How could I go wrong? (Answer: I couldn’t.)

Letting Andy have the camera is always dangerous.  He takes a million pictures and then I have to go through them all to figure out which ones to keep.  Which one is best out of these 5 that are all very similar?  But it’s worth it when he catches moments like this.  I don’t have many high quality (non-selfie) pictures of G and me because I’m usually holding the camera.  So this makes me happy.

Hi, Anna!

Hi, Elsa! (This wave was directly at G, FYI. She was pretty psyched about that.)

We walked around for a bit and then found another spot to watch Disney Magic on Parade.

You might be surprised to learn that Merlin plays a mean air guitar.

Why, hello, Cinderella! Nice to see you again!

“Off with their heads!”

Somebody smooched Pinocchio!

The Toy Story gang.

Cheer up, Eeyore. I’m happy to see you!

I loved that Mary Poppins was on the carousel, but Bert was hilarious. He hooked some lady’s shopping bag with his cane and walked away with it! (He brought it back, obviously.)

“I forgot about Chip and Dale.” – Andy

Hi, Mickey!

Walking to grab dinner after the parade, we caught a bit of the fountain show at the castle.

After dinner, we headed back to Walt Disney Studios Park for the rest of the evening.  This was a great plan!  Since that park closes at 9 (instead of 11), a lot of people had already left, even though it was only like 7.  So we were able to get a ton of rides in with very little wait!

G was very curious about this mop, but I think she may still be a bit too young to appreciate Fantasia.

Getting ready to go on the Cars ride, which she was very excited about and LOVED.

There was pretty much no wait for this ride, so we went on it several times.  She was cracking up so much; I really wish I could have gotten a picture.  Unfortunately, the ride was really jerky and I was afraid I would lose my phone or camera if I had tried.

This was just amusing to me. I rode in the front seat with G and Andy rode in the back seat with our bags. I can tell you that four adults wouldn’t be able to fit in one of those cars for leg room reasons, either.

We rode the Ratatouille ride again and then headed to Toy Story Playland where G went on her first official roller coaster.  She was a fan of that one, too, and we rode it a couple of times as well.

I love all the little details.

Hi, Slink!

It was getting late, so we rode the Cars ride one last time and then, as we were trying to leave, G said she wanted to go on the flying carpets.  There was no wait and the park was still open (barely), so we obliged.

Waiting for our carpet.  The front seat controls the height of the carpet and the back seat controls the angle, which I thought was pretty cool.

“Touch nothing but the lamp!”

Hi, Genie.

As we were leaving this ride, they announced that the park was closing.  It was 9 PM, still totally light outside, and we were all wiped.  I wanted to see the Disney Dreams closing ceremony, but… the park closes at 11.  I didn’t have another 2 hours in me.  At that point, I understood all the people who had been getting on the shuttle bus and going to the park as we were going back to our hotel the night before.  They took a break and then went back.  That’s the only way to do it, I think.  It’s just too long of a day otherwise.

So we returned our stroller and packed it in for the day.  We had a big day in the city ahead of us and we all needed to rest up!

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