Strawberry Festival 2015

The annual strawberry festival means the beginning of the summer! This year was luckily not as hot as last year. We went in the morning and stayed until early afternoon and then went back after dinner until late for fireworks.

Elin, of course, loved walking to all the different fire trucks and checking them all out.

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Love this pic of her giving the thumbs up to the fireman!  She LOVED wearing the earphones. Reminded her of when she wears similar ones on the riding mower with papa.

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Look how much she has grown from last year. I think it’s amazing how much older she looks.

Firetruck-2014-2015Ringing the bell was another favorite of the day.

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She also got a lesson on wearing a life vest on the water. Sadly she never gets time on a boat so she enjoyed checking out this one on dry land.

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This siren they let her press was insanely loud! I can’t believe they let her press it several times.

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Then she played on the three different playgrounds forever until we finally dragged her away for lunch and a nap.

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After her nap time we made it back in time to see lifeline land and got to get a quick look inside before we watched them fly away.

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The highlight for Elin was when her good pal Lydia showed up for playground fun and fireworks. These two are two peas in a pod. They looked so cute in their little pink matching bag chairs watching fireworks.

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3 Year Update

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The Stats:

Weight: 31.75 lbs
Height:  37.25 inches
Clothes:  3T
Shoes: 7-8

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Favorite Books:
  • 5 minute Princess Stories: Disney
  • Look and Find Minnie Mouse: Disney
  • Aqualicious: Victoria Kann
  • Paulette the Pinkest Puppy in the World
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Favorite Activities:
  • Reading
  • Dancing
  • Going to the park
  • Swimming
  • Play-doh
  • Chasing the dogs
  • Cuddling with dogs
  • Disney Princesses

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Elin is officially 3 years old! She has had such an amazing and exciting year! She has grown so much physically and intellectually. She is becoming more outgoing everyday.

Two weeks before her birthday, we celebrated by going on her first Disney trip. She got the royal treatment all week long, and when we got home we celebrated her actual birthday by taking her to see the Cinderella movie in the theatre and also got her presents. A few days after that she had her birthday party with family and friends.

She has recently changed from a 45 minute dance lesson to 1.5 hours and she now takes ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. We are planning on trying gymnastics in the near future.

In two short months she will be going to preschool and will probably start learning and growing exponentially.

I’m so proud at the sweet, funny, smart and loving little girl Elin has become. She couldn’t make me more proud if she tried!

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Cinderella Birthday Party: Part 2

If you would like to see Part 1 of Elin’s birthday please click here.

On the day of Elin’s third birthday party, she woke up so excited and ready to party! She was in awe of the ginormous Cinderella balloon from Party City. She would not let it go for a second. She drug it all over the house waiting for party guests to arrive.

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I love this picture of her peeking outside in eager anticipation of her guests! She was so excited for everyone to get there. A family friend Carole who is a hairdresser came over to put up her Cinderella updo that day. Elin was so excited to get the whole Cinderella look going on again just like in Disney World.

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Finally her cousins were the first to arrive and she was thrilled!

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Once her friends got there, they sat down to start working on Cinderella necklaces.

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After that they played a little in the castle tent.

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Then they played pin the shoe on Cinderella. However they were not fans of the blind fold, so they just sort of stuck shoes everywhere.

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Then it was time for a little birthday cupcakes. I think all the girls found them delicious. Don’t the little girls look adorable in their dresses? They all looked so beautiful!!

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After some cupcakes, they started coloring Cinderella coloring pages. Some of the girls started on making foam crowns as well.

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Then Elin starting to open all her lovely gifts. She loved everything! She received lots of new princess themed toys. All the girls were eager to start playing with her new Cinderella castle.

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Group shot that didn’t quite include everyone but almost!

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These two got into their treat bags and got into their princess suckers. I have a feeling these two will get themselves into lots of trouble in the future.

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I love this moment of Elin going in for a kiss with her beloved Papa. She loves him to pieces! She was modeling her new sweater knitted by her Oma.

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Elin had such a good birthday party and I’m so grateful for all her lovely friends and family who came to celebrate with her. She was one tired girl when everyone left, but it was well worth it for an awesome party with her friends.

Cinderella Birthday Party

When I started to plan Elin’s birthday, I wasn’t sure on the theme, but as it got closer to her birthday and her obsession with Cinderella grew, it was clear that we definitely needed a Cinderella themed birthday party! We wanted to stick to the iconic blue color from Cinderella’s dress and and the beautiful silver from her Coach. Elin and I have watched the 1950s Cinderella film so many times now that I can tell you in more detail than you would ever want to know about the color of blues and silvers in the movie.

This post will just show some of the party details and in the next post I will share images of Elin enjoying the party with her friends.

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Elin loves the beautiful coach that Cinderella rides in and she was so excited when I found these wire carriages at Hobby Lobby. They were a bright pink, so Elin’s Papa spray painted them a perfect silver for us.

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The cake turned out perfectly! It was seriously a work of art. The bakery, Confectioneiress, matched the blue color perfectly and made all the little details look beautiful!

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The cake is quite the challenge to cut and thankfully I have a friend who takes on the task every year (thank you, Diana!). So in the meantime, cupcakes are perfect for little eager hands to hold and I find that the little kids enjoy them.

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A party is not complete without gorgeous flowers and our local florist makes everything more beautiful. I think they turned out fit for a ball for Cinderella! The beautiful beads were the perfect embellishment.

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I knew the girls needed wands for all the bibbidi bobbidi boo magical fun so, I made these out of tulle and used them for decoration and then party favors.

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Of course we had to incorporate Cinderella’s glass slipper! I found a variety of sizes and decorated with them in several different ways.

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Elin is the perfect Cinderella to me, so I used a photo of her dressed up like Cinderella from our recent Disney trip to personalize the cake plates.

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I used my other carriage to decorate the mantle. The florist did the flowers inside it.

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I am in awe of how this centerpiece came out. When searching for inspiration of Cinderella items on Etsy I came across a seller who made beautiful Frozen centerpieces and I asked her if she could make Cinderella-themed wands and these turned out so beautiful! The detail was amazing and they were sparkly and beautiful!

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I used one of more beautiful Cinderella book (we have several different versions) to decorate in the kitchen.

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I had the printables for the party made by Paige from Paiges of Style. I love how they turned out!

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We moved out all the sunroom furniture to make a special area for Elin and her friends. We moved in her tent since it looks like a castle.

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I put a crown at each of the princesses’ spots along with their first craft which was a necklace making set with Cinderella-themed beads.

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The picture is actually for a party game of pin the shoe on Cinderella.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the details of the party. I enjoy party planning and love watching all the little details come together.

If you would like to see links from her second birthday you can check them out here and here.

Vendor List

Disney Day 6

It was so sad to wake up on the sixth day of our trip and know it was a our very last day in Disney. We tried to pack as much as we could the night before so we could enjoy as much time as we could in the park.

I had to get some shots of the park from our hotel room on the last day.

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The Grand Floridan hotel was also a beautiful view from our hotel room. I would love to have enough time to check it out on a future trip.

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On our way into the park I noticed this posted above the entrance and I have no idea why I never noticed previously.

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It was very crowded in the park and we didn’t have a lot of time to spend, but we managed to ride a few different things; one of which was the Peter Pan ride. It was an insanely long wait and in retrospect it was not even remotely worth the wait, but I felt like we needed to see it before we left. At least there were lots of things to look at while waiting in line. It took you all through the Darling household and had some very cool special effects as you saw TinkerBell flying all around.

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By the time we got off the ride, we only had enough time to get Elin a quick lunch and head back to our hotel to catch the Magical Express bus from our hotel to the airport.

Check out the chocolate mouth. She had just devoured a chocolate chip cookie.

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We arrived at the airport and Elin immediately spotted a Snow White statute and wanted to get a picture with it. She must have really regretted not getting a picture of her at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

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Once on the plane, Elin got strapped in along with pink doggy, Gus, and Jaq and she enjoyed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes until she fell asleep until just before the plane landed.

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Elin was excited for her friend Kelsey’s birthday party the very next day! The party was at our local Gymboree and had a Frozen theme. This picture cracks me up because Elin was very focused on the birthday girl blowing out her candles.

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Notice the room has completely cleared out but these two were s-l-o-w-l-y enjoying their cake. Catching up with a friend post-trip should not be rushed.

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Such happy girls! Friends from birth to three years old.

Disney Day 5: Part 2 – Cinderella’s Royal Table

On to the second part of our 5th day. If you missed part 1 you can see it here.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Magic Kingdom and taking pictures and just taking in all the sights and sounds.

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Ariel’s Castle.

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We had an early dinner reservation for Cinderella’s Royal table. We were excited for this and I packed Elin’s Cinderella costume for her to wear. Castle Couture let us change in her in their nice dressing rooms which was much better than trying to change in her a public restroom!

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Cinderella’s Royal Table is yet another one of those hard reservations to snag. It’s the only restaurant in the castle and it is the only option to see inside the castle other than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It seemed like every time we walked by there was a cluster of people outside by the hostess stand begging for a reservation. I highly recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table! It was by far my favorite restaurant we ate in Disney World. The food was wonderful. I had read a lot about how the experience can be rushed because they are running on a tight schedule and I would say that the waitstaff seemed very busy and prompt, but we personally never felt rushed. Our server was beyond awesome and truly was magical! That reminds me that I need to figure out a way to to send a positive comment to Disney about him.

They call back families one by one and you get to come in the first level of the castle and get a private experience of meeting Cinderella. I’m not sure if it’s always like this but it was for us.

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Elin loved holding Cinderella’s hand and talking to her. I love how this photo shows the details of the dress and how closely the costume you can buy in Disney World resembles the costumes that the cast members wear.

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After seeing Cinderella, we were escorted up a long and winding staircase to the upstairs restaurant. They sat us immediately and gave Elin a wishing star and a wand.

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The first princess we meet upstairs was Snow White. I was shocked when Elin wouldn’t stand with her for a picture! She loves Snow White and usually is not scared of her, but she was not into it there; therefore I have no pics of her. The funny thing is I think Elin was sad that she didn’t get her picture with her because she asked us to go back and see her later that night and during the rest of the trip, but it was too late.

After Snow White, we saw Aurora. Although Elin looks nervous in this photo, she was excited to see her.

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Then Ariel came by and she was a true hit. Elin really loved her! I think all those rides on the Ariel ride reminded Elin of how much she liked her. We saw Ariel in grotto in the beginning of the trip, but it was nice to see her in her princess dress and with legs–not a fin!

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Then we meet Jasmine. We have only watched part of her movie and I wasn’t sure if Elin would be thrilled with her, but Elin seemed to really like her and talked about her a lot later that day.

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They had moments when you were supposed to wave your wand around and Elin really loved that part. I was scared to death she was going to let go of it and sending sailing and hitting someone, but luckily that didn’t happen. She sure got wild with it though.

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Our server was seriously the best! He brought Elin out a cupcake for her birthday and sang to her. She was all about it!

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If you are interested in seeing the adult dessert, here was the “Clock Strikes Twelve” dessert. It was almost too pretty eat. The dessert in the upper left corner was the kiddie dessert. They gave Elin that along with her cupcake.

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Posing on the royal changer….

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After we left Cinderella’s Royal Table, we saw Aurora on way out of the park. Elin was thrilled to see her again!

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We went back to the hotel to work on packing for our departure the next day. Not a fun task at all! We thought Elin could take a mini nap, but she choose to watch Cinderella on the tablet and just relax before we made our way back into Magic Kingdom to watch “Wishes” and the electrical parade.  It was sad to think it was the last time to watch before our trip was over!

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Disney Day 5: Part 1 – Mickey and Tiana

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How cute is this princess sleeping? This is how Elin looked when we woke up on day 5 of our trip. This day was exciting but sad because it was our last full day in Disney and we wanted to enjoy everything!

Our first stop of the day once we arrived in Magic Kingdom was to go see Mickey Mouse at the Town Square theater. This is the only place in Disney that you can hear Mickey talk during a meet and greet. This is well worth using a fastpass for if you have a Mickey loving person in your party.

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Of course all the details to look at while you wait are seriously so amazing and intricate.

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Mickey was so awesome and we got to spend a decent amount of time with him. He first asked Elin to do the hotdog dance with him which was so adorable! Elin was shy of course, but it was clear how much she loved him. She embraced him and literally would not let go until we had to practically pry her off of him.

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After seeing Mickey, we rode rides including the Ariel ride and of course we made it to see old Belle again.

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We also enjoyed the Mickey PhilharMagic show. I wasn’t expecting much from this 3-D movie show but it was so cute and had extra touches like air blowing on you, a light water splash, and smells piped in. Truly unique and fun. It only lasted 15-20 mins or so.

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Then we went and saw Princess Tiana for the first time. We went early and were the first in line, so I got a few pictures of Elin with the flowers as we waited.

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Tiana was beautiful and very sweet. Her dress was one of the prettiest up close.

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Then we made our way over to watch the afternoon parade. They perform this Move it, Shake it parade at least two times a day and it’s fun and loud. Lots of dancing and singing.

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We also watched a show in front of the castle and Elin was waving to all the princes and princesses.

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I’m on picture overload at this point and will have to split this day into 2 posts. Check back soon for Part 2 of day 5 at Disney World.

Disney Day 4: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

I cannot even tell you how excited Elin was for her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment! Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a beauty salon for children where you can become a princess, complete with hair styling, nail polish, and princess costumes. They offer a few different packages for all different kinds of budgets. We choose the the castle package that included everything along with a photo shoot. The BBB has only 2 locations: inside Cinderella’s Castle and there is one location at Downtown Disney. This is one of the hardest reservations to get and it is advised to book at the very least 180 days in advance. However, I would recommend booking an appointment as soon as you book your tip. We actually got lucky and got someone’s cancellation. Of course there is also some strategy to try to get your appointment in the early morning to get into the park earlier or to try to book Cinderella’s Royal Table after the appointment, but we were just excited to have snagged an appointment at all.

We spent the morning riding rides and enjoying walking around the the park.

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When you walk though the door of the bustling boutique, you are taken to a display of all the different princess dress options. We of course chose Cinderella. Then you are taken back to a dressing room where the gown and accessories in the correct size are waiting for you….a bit like magic.

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Elin was assigned her Fairy Godmother in training and they went right to work on her hair and another one came to work on her makeup and nails. For those concerned about makeup, it was very minimal and barely noticeable. Elin was all about it and got to choose her eye shadow shade, blush, and gloss shade. She also got to keep the palette they used. After she had her first application of eye shadow on one eye, she reminded her godmother to not forget the other eye.

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I was surprised to see the sparkle nail polish, because in all my research I learned that the options were a very light pink or blue. Apparently this change is recent. I would have preferred the former options, but this worked as well and it was very glittery.

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After the hair was put up and makeup was applied, it was time for a shake of the wand with glitter falling and the magic words of, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!”

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She loved seeing the Mickey shaped rhinestone barrette they put behind the bun. For anyone considering the BBB, I highly recommend it! It was honestly our favorite thing we did in Disney. Elin loved it so much and I think it was purely magical for her. It is not cheap, but I thought it was worth every penny!

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Then when the salon part was over, we walked next door to the Castle Couture shop where they have a little photography studio. Our package came with some printed photos. It was so hard to pick our favorites. Luckily, since we have the memory maker package, we got digital copies of all the photos.

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I could not be happier with how the photos turned out. The photography studio was tiny but it was decked out with the most adorable displays from the Cinderella movie.

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Then, as luck would have it, as we were leaving the photo shoot we saw that the fairy godmother from Cinderella was out to take photos and the line was decently short. The fairy godmother was probably nicest of all the characters. She spent a long time with each child.

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Then right after that Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters from Cinderella came out. They spent a long time talking to Elin as well. I think Elin was a little concerned about it since she knows they are not very nice to Cinderella.

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After meeting the sisters, we had our fastpass+ ready to see Cinderella. I love that the costumes at BBB were such high quality and were the exact shade of the costumes the cast members wore.

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Another one of Elin’s faves is Rapunzel and she was right next to Cinderella.

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Then Elin wanted to go to Belle’s Enchanted Tales again. She was excited to be Chip in the play.

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Elin had such a good day and meet so many characters! I couldn’t resist taking a few pics of her looking so adorable in her jammies that night.

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Disney Day 3: Magic Kingdom & First Haircut

On Tuesday morning we woke up to it rainy and dark outside. This was less than ideal because we had an early morning reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant. We are not breakfast people and prefer quicker items for breakfast but I specifically booked this reservation because I read in my planning research that if you make an early reservation to one of the restaurants in the park then you can get in early before the park opens and its an awesome way to get pictures without hoards of people in the background. I was so excited to do that but the rain put a damper on that. I was able to get some pictures, but it was slightly miserable to be in a rain poncho holding an umbrella and trying to take pictures without getting the lens wet.

Elin was also not happy to get up early. I think she was ready to sleep in since she had a late night before, but with Disney you have to make all your reservations in advance.

Here are some pictures of Main Street leading up to Cinderella’s castle.

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There were only a couple Disney photographers out, which was disappointing, but it was because of the rain. However as a side note for anyone thinking of booking a Disney vacation, we LOVED the Disney Memory Maker package that we purchased in advance. This package allowed us to get access to all photos taken. The photographers are hanging around everywhere you can have them take pictures and they all get loaded into your account. This was especially nice since we did the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience. More on that later.

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Below are the images from the walkway in the castle. It’s almost impossible to get pictures of this without people in it since it’s a smaller area so I was glad to get pictures on this morning.

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After some photos we made it to Be Our Guest. There is different themed rooms that all resemble the castle in the movie Beauty and the Beast.

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This girl was happy to get her milk. She was a fan of the Mickey straws she got everywhere.

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On our way out of the restaurant, we checked out all the different rooms and we saw the rose.

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Then we rode some rides before we had to make it to see TinkerBell. We rode the spinning teacups many times.

Elin was mesmerized by Tink’s wings. She still talks about her flying around.

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Then we saw Ariel in her grotto. I have to say this was the most rushed meeting. I don’t know why, but I felt like she barely had had time to talk to her. I didn’t get any good pictures of them together.

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Then after some more rides we saw the afternoon parade.

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Then it was time for Elin’s first ever haircut! I knew it was time for it and in researching Disney, I found out the Harmony Barber shop was a fun place for her first cut. It is modeled after a old barber shop. They keep them entertained with stickers and fun toys and then when they are done they get a certificate and Mickey ears with “First Haircut” stitched on the back. Plus they bagged up a lock of her hair nicely for me.

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We had our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment the next day, so I was nervous for her to cut off too much, so they just trimmed it up for us. Elin did very well and got her little certificate at the end. Our appointment was right in the middle of nap time, so I was really impressed with how well she did.

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She was up for a photo-op with some of her stickers.

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We made our way back to our hotel for her to nap a little, then we made our way back into Magic Kingdom in the evening.

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We had the best time with no wait times at the rides. We rode the teacups and the Dumbo ride endlessly without having to get out. Elin loved it! She also rode her first roller coaster, the Barnstormer. This kid has a need for speed.

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We had a long but awesome day at the park and this little girl was exhausted, but extremely excited about her princess appointment scheduled for the next day.

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Disney Day 2: Hollywood Studios & Downtown

Our second day in Disney was spent going to to Downtown Disney in the morning and then going to Hollywood Studios the rest of the day. This day was my least favorite by far. I was not a huge fan of Hollywood Studios and I didn’t plan well for this day. In retrospect, I wish we would have spent the day exploring Epcot. Maybe next time!

I just love this picture below of Elin checking out the castle. Every morning when she would wake up the first thing I would hear her say is, “I like the castle”.  She loved seeing it from her bed.

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When we first go to Downtown Disney, Elin just had to ride the carousel a few times and a little train ride. She loved them both.

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Then we did a bit of shopping, including checking out the World of Disney shop. Naturally, Elin loved the Cinderella statue and the huge coach on the sign. We spent awhile in there getting some cute souvenirs.

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We had lunch reservation for T-Rex. It was such a fun themed restaurant. Elin loved all the different displays and all the different areas of the restaurant. She particularly liked the meteor shower every 15 minutes or so.

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After lunch, we stopped at Goofy’s Candy Company to let Elin pick out a treat. She loves M&M’s, so we went with a Rice Crispy treat covered with chocolate and M&M’s. It was fun to place our custom order and watch them make the treat in front us. Elin painstakingly picked off each tiny M&M and ate them one by one. It was quite the process but we just sat and enjoyed the air conditioning as she did this and she was just excited and happy with her little treat.

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On our way out of the Downtown area, we spotted this sign and Elin was happy to get pictures next to it.

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Then after a bit of a bus ride, we arrived in Hollywood Studios. The main reason we decided to go there was for her to see the Disney Junior Live on Stage. She watches these shows all the time and I figured it would be so exciting to see them in person. It was pretty cool and it was fun to have bubbles, snow, and even gold doubloons fall from the ceiling during Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

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Then we had tickets to catch the Ariel on Stage show. It was pretty cute and Elin enjoyed it. Photography was not allowed in the theater.

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Not too long after the Little Mermaid show, Elin started to get grouchy and then she just promptly fell asleep before we even made it to it the big firework display and Fantasmic show. It was bound to happen since we had been up early without any nap. I can’t believe she was asleep for almost all of the show considering it was extremely loud and had so much action going on. Luckily she woke up right at the end to catch the best part of the boat going by with all her characters.

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