So, at long last we come to Thursday. Thursday was without question my favorite day of the entire Disney week. Thursday just happened to be October 3, which is the day that my mom was born 61 years ago. And so, that was basically the entire reason for this trip-celebrating my mom's birthday.
Now, it did not start out so grandly. No, indeed. You see, Johnsons' are boy scouts. Especially Mr. Nicholas Johnson. He loves being first in line, he loves knowing that he is where he is supposed to be, at a set time. So the girls and I were up promptly at 6 AM all week, and we were always parked in the front row, waiting for the park to open. But this day, Thursday, we were under strict instructions to wait on my mom and dad, as well as my sister and her family, before going into the park, because my mom wanted a picture of all of us in front of the castle. Needless to say, we were there first. We watched the super cute opening of the park (I recommend seeing it sometime during your trip) and then the people started filing in, and we were not among them. Nick's head just about exploded.
Once we were all there, we proceeded to get *the picture.* This picture was the most important part of the day. We all had to wear Ohio State clothing for said picture. We all stood on Main Street while people filed past, smiling and none of us all looking the same direction at the same time. But we got the picture. (Later on, we realized that we should have gotten a picture in what they call "the rose garden," where there is no crowd behind you-it would have made a better shot.)
For the rest of the day, everywhere we went, we heard, "O-H!" And people knew that we were together, even when we were far apart. It was very surreal.
We didn't have much to do on this second day at the Magic Kingdom. Because we had managed to do so much the first day, there were only a handful of rides left on our list. We rode Winnie-the-Pooh, which had been closed the first day. The girls and my dad rode the Alice in Wonderland spinning tea cups. We met Alice, as well as Merida, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel. Character greetings were allowed to take up time, since we had pretty much ridden everything prior. We went to Belle's storytime, which is a very cute and interactive new "greeting."
At noon, we went to the Be Our Guest restaurant. They serve quick service for lunch, plated for dinner. We were on the quick service meal plan, so if we were going to go, it had to be lunchtime. We waited in line for about half an hour. Oh. My. Goodness. The food was delicious-expecially the cupcake that I had for dessert. It is billed as the cupcake "with the grey stuff," (like in the "Be Our Guest" song)-it was so yummy. Overall, it was my favorite dining experience, especially for the quick service restaurants.
After that, we rode It's a Small World, and took in The Hall of Presidents. Mom and Dad are great seat savers (truly, my mom has a glare for anyone who tries to hedge in on her space) and so they went off to save seats for the afternoon parade. My family went to ride The Jungle Cruise. Betsy got to steer the boat (she still thinks that she really steered it, I can't bring myself to explain that it is on a rail). We found my family right at the start of the parade, and we got another picture taken. (The photographer told us that we had wasted money on buying 2 photopasses, and that we could have bought 1 and still gotten pictures of everyone in different places-at the time I didn't believe him, but now that I have actually ordered the pictures, I see that he was right.)
The parade was wonderful, and then we headed off to the Bippidi-Boppidi-Boutique for the girls to get their hair and nails done. This was expensive-we got the package with nails and hair only, and even that was a lot-but the girls really loved it, and they did come away with a goody bag of stuff that they are still using even today. I do not reccomend getting the package with the pictures-we went and had the girls pictures taken with our photopasses immediately afterward-and that was the same thing, for about $100 less.
The girls at this point had also put their Halloween costumes on. Betsy was Pocahontas, Felicity was Tinker Bell, and Mallory was Holiday Belle. (Natalie was Snow White, but she was too little to have her hair done.) We were ready for the Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We headed off and got our entry bracelets, stopped for a quick picture with Tiana, and then April and I went and got in line for the picture with the dwarfs.
The dwarfs only come out for pictures at Halloween and Christmas. April loves Dopey and must have her picture with him every time she goes. So she and I got in line around 6 PM. They started taking pictures at 7 PM. So we sat and waited and made friends with the people in line beside us. Nick and Jeremy took the girls for dinner at Pinnochio's and brought us some closer to time.
Mom and Dad, during this interval, had gone off in search of the Dapper Dans, which was the one thing that my mom wanted to be sure and see. They found them and they sang happy birthday to my mom, which was the highlight of her trip.
Once our family came and joined us at about 10 minutes to 7, we were 5 people back from the start of the line. Promptly at 7 the dwarfs came out. Jeremy told the photographer to put April near Dopey, so it was a perfect picture.
Mom and Dad headed off to save seats for the Halloween parade, while the rest of us got in line to see the Pooh characters. They didn't come out until 7:30, so again we waited. But we had to-Nick had to see Eeyore in his Halloween costume. That picture taken, we went to find Mom and Dad, who again had staked out prime real estate at the front of the parade.
The Halloween parade starts off with the headless horseman, which is very cool. It was a wonderful parade. Then we headed over to the ice cream parlor (it is a running joke-but a true one-that my dad always wants ice cream at Disney World), got ice cream cones, and got ready to watch the fireworks. Mom and Dad finished their ice cream and left, wanting to beat the crowd. We were standing up, but a very nice couple sitting at a table turned and asked if we would like their seats. So we had prime seats for the Halloween fireworks, which are spectacular.
After that, we took the girls to several candy stations. We got pictures taken with Buzz Lightyear, Goofy, Daisy, the mice from Cinderella. We danced with Monsters Inc. people and Jessie and Woody. It was just after 11 when we started back toward the entrance, and we stopped in to see Mickey and Minnie and there was no line.
It was a long day-I'm not going to lie, tempers flared several times. But mostly, it was a great day, and I loved getting to spend the whole day with my entire family. My mom had on a button that told the world that it was her birthday, and so everyone who passed by us would yell, "Happy birthday, DEENA!" (My mom's name is DINAH, but it is spelled Dina, and everyone says it wrong.) So allow me to say, months too late, but with all the love in my heart, "Happy birthday MOM!"