“We are going to make a change.”

Ryan informed us tonight that he got to play on the playground at school all by himself for a WHOLE MINUTE. We asked him to explain in a little more detail and he said that his teacher said “we are going to make a change.” And then she said that since Ryan is always in his seat doing his work that he got to play on the playground all by himself for a minute. And that when he finishes his work in his seat, he can turn it in and then go play on the carpet for TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES.

Ryan is very impressed by all of this. All his being good is finally paying off.

Cruise- Day Three

For every meal, Alex requested scrambled eggs. For every breakfast, we let her have them and she ate a LOT of scrambled eggs.

Ryan generally had chocolate doughnuts for breakfast.

Alex was old enough for the kids club on this trip (ages are 3-11) but she wasn’t thrilled with the lack of mamas and dadas in there. Her particular sister and brother helped towards making it palatable but she mostly stayed less than a half hour before having us texted to pick her up. She also didn’t go every day. I think she went about four times over the seven days.

Anyway, they had open house for toddlers and their families sometimes and she really liked that because mamas and dadas are required to also attend. She likes her mama and dada, you know.

The ship had the “Midship Detective Agency” which the kids could do at any time. You went around the ship and found interactive pictures and solved “The Case of the Missing Puppies” (someone stole the 101 Dalmatians!), “The Case of the Stolen Art” (or something like that), and “The Case of the Stolen Props” (with the MUPPETS!)

Look how cute these children are.

Our vacation policy on feeding children is mostly a hands off, “I don’t care, what do you WANT to eat?” policy. We require actual food before desserts but that’s about it and we are fairly loose in our definition of actual food. Alex mostly ate butter at some meals.

At this lunch, she was so delighted to discover that the bread basket looked like Cinderella’s carriage that she ate her entire meal out of it. The fabulous wait staff brought us a second bread basket when it was time to actually have bread.

Alex got to keep her makeup palate after her Bippity Boppity Boutique appointment and she spent quite a lot of time carefully makeuping her face. When she got back from the kids club, Elizabeth came over to me and whispered “what happened to Squish’s face?”

It was pirate night this night. We went as pirates to dinner and then it was the pirate party on deck. Alex and Matt stayed back for bedtime and Elizabeth and Ryan went up to the top deck with me and danced the night away.

Story Time

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.

She was the co star of the first show- the best friend of the valedictorian. And she was the absolutely nicest to Elizabeth.

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.

Cruise- Day Two

We started the day with room service doughnuts. (You can see Alex’s bed as a bed and not a couch here. Bedrail is optional.)

Then we went to the Disney Junior breakfast. (No additional cost for it but you did need advance reservations.)

Elizabeth was the only one willing to pose with Doc McStuffins, I don’t know why. (Well, Alex doesn’t watch the show and Ryan avoids pictures whenever he can see a good reason. That’s why.)

We had room service for lunch and I got this cheese plate.

Alex likes room service.

Anna and Elsa meet and greet. Again, no extra cost but does require an advance ticket.

Seriously, the virtual porthole was one of my favorite things about the cruise. It was a live view out of a real porthole but sometimes a Disney character would come by. Way better than a real porthole.

Alex had Bippity Boppity Boutique reservation this day. (This does have an extra cost. We brought our own dress and got the cheapest package. Still not cheap.) She wanted to do it SO BADLY but it was also really hard for her because stranger and stranger touching her and having her hair touched (she doesn’t even like ME to brush her hair) and etc.

So she had this barely hanging on face for the entire time.

Then she saw herself in the mirror and was immediately happy.

Look at her posing with her little foot.

Then it was formal night for dinner. (Look for this night’s professional pictures on next year’s Christmas card.)

Elizabeth ate off the adult menu the entire trip. She ate A LOT of filet mignon. This is lobster ravioli. She kind of liked it.

We have Ryan wear his Captain Mickey outfit whenever possible.

Again, the virtual porthole is my favorite. Fireworks at night! And it can be turned off with a switch when I am ready to sleep.