Okay, we interrupt this day by day recap to tell you the best story from the cruise.
Every night there was a show after dinner. (Or before dinner if you have second dinner but we had first dinner.) We would have dinner (5:45pm) and come back to our room afterward (about 7:15pm). We would get the little kids ready for bed and settled in. Then Matt would stay in the room with them and Elizabeth and I would go to the show. We did this four out of seven nights and saw all the good broadway style shows and also the magician on day one who was fine. The broadway style shows were AMAZING.
The first show we saw was called Wishes. It was basically a loose plot designed to string together a highlight reel of great Disney songs. (That sounds disparaging but I mean it as a compliment. It’s a good plan for this kind of show.) The story was three high school students who are about to graduate and they are going to Disney World for the last time together before they go to college and everything changes. They make a wish on a wishing well and travel magically through a medley of Disney songs to learn a lesson about…writing a good valedictorian speech I think. It was basically a live version of Disney’s greatest hits and it was AMAZING.
So we got to the theater slightly late and were looking for two good seats. Elizabeth saw some in the front row on the right side and charged towards them. The sign language interpreter was standing in front of them and said that we were welcome to sit there but they would be standing in front of them the entire time so they weren’t great seats. We decided we didn’t mind and sat there. So Elizabeth is in the front row and on the aisle.
She loves this show so much that she is dancing in her seat and singing along and at applause times, she is clapping so hard that she is straining in her seat and her hands had got to have been hurting. She is enjoying the show with her entire being.
After a few songs, the cast starts to notice her. First Rapunzel grinned right at her. During the applause parts after songs, they start waving at her and blowing kisses and such. They dance/run/parade through the audience a few times and each time, she is getting high fives and waves and etc. They hand out leis during the Lilo and Stitch number and one of the dancers runs over and gently puts one on her. At the climax of the show, the main character is making her valedictorian speech and she ends it with something like “and the greatest lesson we can learn is that the magic in childhood lives right in you.” And she said “you” and turned and pointed right at Elizabeth. It was amazing. They were all 100% professional but still managed to give her lots of attention and notice.
Elizabeth said that it was the best show she had ever seen in her life and she went back to the room and wrote a fan letter and we addressed it to “the cast of Wishes” and she dropped it off at the guest services desk the next morning.
So during the day, the cast of the shows work other places on the ship. They are all the princesses (and I suspect other characters but I was unable to confirm that) and also the handlers for the characters- the people who shuffle you from one side of the picture taking area to the other and show you where to keep your stuff and talk for the characters that don’t. So Elizabeth started recognizing these cast members from the show other places and acting like she had met Taylor Swift. (And who knows, she may have met an equivalent- Jennifer Hudson got her start in Disney Cruise shows and these people were all amazingly talented.) She would go up to them and tell them she loved them in the show and ask if she could take a picture with them. They were awesome with her. After she met the first one, she went and wrote another fan letter to her.
After her first show, Elizabeth went early to the next show (Aladdin) and got the same seat and repeated the whole thing. Ilana from the picture above came through the audience during the Prince Ali song, throwing pretend money into the audience and carefully handed one to Elizabeth. (Elizabeth plans to keep it forever.) Even when the genie threw a crumpled up piece of trash off the stage, it came towards Elizabeth.
For the last show (Dreams, another loose plot arranged around the good Disney songs), Elizabeth and I went really early to the show and stood outside the theater waiting for it to open so she could get her usual seat. She was talking to some teenagers who were also waiting for good seats and I said “she’s eager to get inside because she made friends with some of the cast and she wants to see them again.” One of the teenagers looked at me and said “…how?” And she had a good point. It was a very Elizabeth thing to do. She made friends with the cast of a show while they were ON STAGE and she was IN THE AUDIENCE. She’s just that good.