The broccoli

We waved a weary goodbye to the Magic Kingdom and trudged up the ramp to the resort monorail. There was a bit of a scrum to board the resort monorail and it was only after we had pulled away that I noticed Adrian and Steven weren’t with us. We pulled in at the Temporary Resort – looking more permanent by the day – and a ton of people got off and Adrian and Steven got on. They’d jumped into the car behind ours at the Magic Kingdom. We left the Temporary Resort and whizzed round to the TTC where most of the other guests got out. A quick stop at the Polynesian, which was my first “visit” to this resort, and then we are on our way to the Grand Floridian.

We stepped off the monorail and entered the Grand Floridian and it was as though we had been transported into another world. Everything was so grand and elegant and…we barrelled in straight from a hard day in a theme park. We felt a bit like the Beverley Hillbillies and expected to be turfed out at any second. But of course we weren’t and were made as welcome as any other guest there. We were a bit early for our Priority Seating time so we looked around the resort as much as we dared. That means we browsed around the gift shop. Thought briefly about buying a Grand Floridian bathrobe and pretending we’d actually stayed there but remembered we had just enough luggage space to hold a pair of Grand Floridian socks, which they didn’t sell. Also toyed with the idea of checking at V & As to see if our Goofy Guy was working but thought better of it in case we scared the poor guy. Well there were 8 of us and we were all totally hyper about being in the Grand Floridian so we would probably have caused a bit of a scene.

After making our way down to the lower level in an elevator that we later discovered was apparently for the use of guests with suites only, we joined the short line of people checking in at 1900 Park Fare. The restaurant looked quite lively and the people in front of us were turned away as they did not have a PS arranged. So even in the quiet season it pays to make a PS if you really want to dine at a particular place as this restaurant had no space for walk-ups on this night. I checked us in and was given a flashy/beepy thing and was told it would be about a 30 minute wait for our table.

As we had 30 minutes to kill we all split up and went to investigate the Grand Floridian restrooms, which surely must be at the very least fitted with gold plated fixtures. I felt a little let down by them though; not as elegant as I was hoping. Also while we were all in various restrooms our 30 minute wait turned into a 5 minute wait and I emerged from the restroom to find Ellie rushing around wildly with the flashing flashy/beepy thing in her hand, trying to round up family members. We managed to find everyone except Adrian and Lisa so we went in and were seated just a little way into the restaurant so they found us easily enough on their return.

Our seater bought a booster seat over for Harry who refused to sit in it so she took it away again with an expression on her face that would have ensured that if she was a CM who required a gratuity she wouldn’t get one. There were a couple of mice doing the rounds at this time. I have to confess that I don’t know much about the mice in Cinderella but these two had skirts on so all I know is that they were girl mice. Steven took to them though and liked one of them so much he bit her nose.

Lisa went to the buffet first to sort out Ellie and Harry and came back with gasps of, “get up there and have a look at the food.” I went to get Steven something and – well you have to go to this buffet. Just the different salads on offer would keep you going all night. Then there was a pasta bar, entrees, soup bar, children’s bar, and the dessert bar of course. Steven had some of the vegetable lasagne, and some vegetables, a bread roll, and of course his mac and cheese. I can’t really remember what I ate here, except that there was a lot of it. I’m recalling some kind of fish that was particularly good. Adrian raves on and on about the Italian sausage casserole they had on offer; I think he had about 3 plates of it. Oh and he also sampled the pasta and saw a shaker of something that he thought was dried tomatoes so he sprinkled them liberally on to his plate. When they turned out to be chilli flakes our server had to be quick on the ball with the drinks refills.

Prince Charming stopped by to say hello and to sign books and pose for photographs. He was very charming too I might add. Cinderella had been spotted at the back of the restaurant, or that may have been one of the 9 gazillion little girls dressed as Cinderella. The Prince goes on his way to charm the next table and Cinderella suddenly floats up alongside our table asking if she could be photographed with the young prince. She means Harry, which took him totally by surprise and he shyly stood up on his seat to have his photograph done. Cinderella moves round to Ellie and poses for a photograph with her too, and signs their back. She then looks across the table and spots Steven in his highchair. She float round the table to him and leans over his highchair. Steven leans backwards and their eyes meet and he breaks out into a huge “I’ve found my Princess” smile. Steven then reaches up with his right hand, and slaps Cinderella round the face with a huge chunk of broccoli.

The table falls silent. Adrian starts to check whether our insurance covers this sort of incident. Nanny Lesley is reaching for napkins, and I’m furiously checking Cinderella’s face for any sign of damage. I start to reassure her that Steven has done no damage and her make up is still intact when she looks at me, gives a dismissing wave of the hand, and says, “oh, it doesn’t matter at all.” Big sighs of relief all round, and Cinderella stays for another few minutes to play with Steven before heading off – presumably to the kitchens where she can curse the child out of guest earshot. Seriously she was great about the whole thing, never flinched, never went out of character, never threatened us with an ugly sister or anything like that, just carried on playing with Steven.

Time is getting on now and the kids are getting tired so we get the check and Nanny Lesley decides to treat us and gets her credit card out. Which for some reason is refused so Adrian ends up treating us. We later find out that there was nothing wrong with Nanny Lesley’s card, but her company decide to randomly stop transactions now and again for some reason. So our tip for today is don’t get a Goldfish credit card. As we left the restaurant the Fairy Godmother appeared and sat on the big couch outside. Harry decided she was the Gairy Godmother but Ellie wanted a photo so into the long line she got. I took Steven out to check out the giant gingerbread house and came back after a while to find the line not moving very quickly at all. Turns out that the Fairy G is a bit of a chatterbox and likes to spend a bit of time with all the children. We start muttering, “just smile and sign,” under our breath and eventually Ellie gets her photograph and her book signed.

Back up to the monorail and yay, we are off to the Magic Kingdom. A resort loop going in the other direction would save a lot of confusion when you are tired. We say goodbye to the Magic Kingdom again and once again pull into the Temporary Resort, which we’ve decided is like those temporary classrooms that fill British schools. Put there for a couple of years as a stop gap but become a permanent fixture.

We roll out at the TTC and walk back towards our cars for the last time. We then have what’s become known as the ‘Car Park Incident.’ Ellie wanted to come in our car to be with Nanny Lesley but Big Steve said no because if Ellie fell asleep we couldn’t carry her because we had Baby Steven to carry. Ellie started to cry. We suggested Nanny Lesley go in Big Steve’s car but that wouldn’t work for a reason I can’ remember. So we’re all standing around in the parking lot deciding who’s going with who when I eventually just get in our car and start it. Ellie comes with us. She wants to sit in the middle row with Nanny Lesley. That’s where Steven’s car seat is strapped. Adrian basically tells her she sits in the back or not at all. I think the two weeks has finally caught up with us all. The kids have done really well, but we all need to get home and have a rest now.

So for the last time we arrive back at the hotel, park the cars, drag the tired children to the elevator, argue over who is going to push the button, get back to our rooms, and crash.

Steven wouldn’t go to sleep. Perhaps he knows we’re going home tomorrow.