Category Archives: Vacation


Le Fou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern

Completing the Beauty and the Beast trifecta at Magic Kingdom, we all went to Gaston’s Tavern for a late night snack.

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I had heard things about Le Fou’s Brew and really wanted to try it.

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We used four snack credits from our Dining Plan to get 2 cups of Le Fou’s Brew, a chocolate croissant, and a cinnamon roll as big as my head.

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I was afraid that the drink would be too sweet, but it turns out an apple juice slush type drink is really delicious! It was one of the best snacks we had on the whole trip.

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While we ate our snacks, we enjoyed the amazing atmosphere inside the tavern.

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No one shoots like Gaston

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“I use antlers in all of my DE-co-rating!”

We also had great fun sitting in Gaston’s chair.

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Enchanted Tales with Belle

Continuing my Beauty and the Beast fandom in New Fantasyland, I had another goal of seeing Enchanted Tales with Belle.

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Portrait in Belle’s Cottage

The last day of our trip in February, I got in line with Scarlett for the show, but the line was already 30 minutes long. She was not even a little interested in waiting, so we went to see Ariel, who had a 2 minute wait instead.

The plan this trip was to go on our first night at Magic Kingdom during late night extra magic hours.

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Luke checking out Belle’s checkers.

The wait was only 10 minutes! We walked right into Belle’s cottage without even having to wait outside. But alas, a cast member came out to tell us Maurice was “tinkering in his workshop” and we’d be let in when it was done. 20 minutes later, he was still tinkering. And while that was happening, this was happening.

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Scarlett fell asleep, Tom was just blinking

Since we didn’t want Scarlett to miss Belle, and we didn’t want to stand there until the park closed at 1am, we decided to try again another time.

Finally, during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Scarlett and I were hanging out in Fantasyland before the fireworks. Low and behold, the wait for Belle was only 5 minutes! It was so not crowded that the cast member told us we wouldn’t be let in until 20 people were gathered, and we only made 5. Scarlett thought that was fine. So we went to explore Belle’s cottage.

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Scarlett said “This is my favorite book!”

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Luckily for us, a family of Princesses and a large group dressed quite impressively as Haunted Mansion ghosts arrived and we were lead into Maurice’s workshop, then through the magic mirror to the Beast’s castle. First, we met the Wardrobe. This is one of the most impressive mechanical characters I have ever seen. She was incredible!

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We were supposed to reenact Belle and the Beast falling in love, so before we got to Belle, everyone was given parts to play. The other kids were picked, but Scarlett wasn’t, probably because she is so little. I told her to volunteer, but she didn’t want to, although later she really regretted not being able to play Phillipe!
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Finally, we were let into the library. There was an awesome animatronic Lumiere. And then Belle emerged!

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They did a cute little show. I thought it was fun, especially with the actors already in completely unrelated Halloween costumes.

The Beast/Ghost

Since Scarlett was the only kid that didn’t have a part in the show, a cast member came over and asked if she wanted to meet Belle. I was surprised she actually said yes!

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It was a very sweet meeting. Sadly (for me), Scarlett didn’t want to stand up there and wait for a formal shot, so we didn’t get one posed with Belle.

She immediately regretted it and wanted to do the whole thing again, but it was time for HalloWishes instead.

Oh well, guess we’ll just have to do it again some day!


Visiting Princess Fairytale Hall

I’m going a little out of order in posting about our latest Disney trip because some things I just can’t want to talk about. The first is Princess Fairytale Hall.

Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom
Looking Beatiful  and Enticing A Few Days before Opening

I was SO excited to hear that Princess Fairytale Hall would be opening during our vacation. On our last day, we got to Magic Kingdom right at rope drop and Scarlett & I made a mad dash for Fantasyland.

Cinderella was meeting with Sleeping Beauty, Scarlett’s favorite, so we decided to see them. Bonus: there was no wait for Cinderella’s side while Rapunzel and Snow White had a much longer line already. It stayed that way throughout the day, with Rapunzel’s line getting up to 85 minutes at noon!

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Enterting Princess Fairytale Hall
Princess portraits line the walls outside the meeting rooms.

Princess Jasmine Portrait at Fairytale Hall
Princess Aurora Portrait at Fairytale Hall

Snow White and Mulan Portraits at Princess Fairytale Hall
Princess Rapunzel and Tiana Portraits at Fairytale Hall

Cinderella’s glass slipper sparkled at the entrance to her room.

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There were more pretty paintings and regal wallpaper decorating the meeting room.

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When we entered, Princess Aurora posed for us.

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Before we met, Aurora, though, we got to meet Cinderella.

Scarlett meets Cinderella

Both Princesses were great and spent a lot of time talking with their visitors.


It’s so sweet to see my little girl hug the princesses!


While we waited to meet Aurora, we checked out the decor.

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Scarlett especially liked the elegant Snow White book. She wanted me to read it, but it’s written in German!

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Finally, it was time to meet our favorite, Sleeping Beauty!


Because Scarlett was dressed as Tinker Bell, Aurora talked all about her fairies, Flora, Fauna & Merryweather. Scarlett paid very close attention, then told Aurora everything she knew about pixie dust.


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Too cute!


Meeting the Princesses was a great way to start a day at Magic Kingdom. They do have one Fastpass machine each for Cinderella and for Rapunzel right next to the Peter Pan’s Flight Fastpass machines. We thought about getting one because Scarlett wanted to meet Snow White also, but she ended up forgetting about it and we ran out of time. Still, it was fun to meet the royal ladies we met. Princess Fairytall Hall is a hit!


Perfect Princess Slumber Party

Before I get to all of our Disney Trip goodness, I have to post about our super fun Princess Slumber Party.

Sofia the First Slumber Party

Scarlett is a Sofia the First super fan, and her favorite episode is The Big Sleepover. She wanted to have a Royal Sleepover of her own. On our way back from Disney, we were stopping in South Carolina to visit Tom’s family. We recruited cousins Aris and Lila to join us for a sleepover at Grandma’s house and they were more than happy to bring all their princess gear for a fun night celebrating beauty and royalty.

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

Luke doesn’t have any prince clothing, so he wore his Luke Skywalker outfit with a Jedi robe. It looked good with the girls’ pretty dresses.

Sofia the First Princess Slumber Party

Aris wore her Snow Queen costume and appointed herself host, dreaming up lots of activities. Scarlett wore her favorite Sleeping Beauty dress and did a lot of twirling. Lila alternated between Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella. Total life of the party!

Sofia the First

Early on, we set up an air mattress. Immediately, all the kids (and some adults) started jumping and bouncing on it. To curb this activity and prevent a pop, we gave the kids some ice cream and put on a Sofia the First marathon. It worked for about 15 minutes.

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

Next, the girls broke out Grandma’s makeup and Aris gave Scarlett a princess makeover. She did a really good job!

Once everyone looked gorgeous, Scarlett wanted to play a game from Sofia’s sleepover, Pin the Tail on the Unicorn.

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

She had never played a “pin the tail” type game before, but she did really well. By the end of the game, everyone was pretty much getting their tails in the right spot. They celebrated their success with chocolate milk, just like Sofia had in her chocolate milk fountain!

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover
Everyone burned off the sugar with some “ballroom” dancing.

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

Finally, it was time to actually sleep at the sleepover. Scarlett didn’t want to take of her princess dress, but then realized the Cinderella nightgown she brought looked like Wendy’s from Peter Pan. The she was cool with it.

Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

It only took the kids about 2 hours to fall asleep after that! 
Sofia the First Princess Sleepover

The next day, we had to leave. It was sad, but we created some great memories to hold us over until our next visit!

  Sofia the First Princess Sleepover
Princess love!

Summer Road Trip: Chattanooga Choo Choo

Luke is a huge fan of trains, so after we dried off from our Coolidge Park trip, we drove a short distance to the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.

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You can actually spend the night in a train car at this hotel! Pretty fun, and definitely on the list for the next time we come to town.

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Luke loved pretending to drive the train. He could’ve spent the whole day there.

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There were also several little kiddie trains to ride for a quarter or two, and a big trolley to ride.

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After we had explored everything outside, we decided to visit the Model Railroad Museum. The cashier didn’t charge us for Scarlett, so it only cost $10 for all of us.

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The museum had a LONG model railroad set up that even had some interactive elements, like making the Incline Railroad climb the mountain and making miniature chickens move around on a farm.

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There was also a very interesting section about how everything was made. We all wished that part had been bigger.

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Before we left, we spent a little more time admiring the gardens and doing a little window shopping.

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I’m so glad we decided to seek out the choo choo in Chattanooga!


Summer Road Trip: Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tom and I had both been interested in visiting Chattanooga for a while. The plan had originally been to visit Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City (visiting caverns was part of our Summer Fun List). By the time we got there, though, we were getting tired from all the travel and weren’t sure the kids would want to do all that walking. We didn’t want to waste $150 on tickets to find out everyone would rather be taking a nap instead of hiking through the mountains.

Plan B – a trip to Coolidge Park on the Tennessee River, followed by a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel – turned out to be great fun!

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Coolidge Park in Chattanooga

The first thing we did when we arrived at the park was take a ride on the restored antique carousel.

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It was absolutely beautiful and only cost $1 per person – a huge bargain compared to our local carousel.

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An extra bit of fun was that you could pick one of many different animals to ride. Scarlett had her heart set on a traditional golden horse. The rest of us rode more unusual creatures – Luke rode a fish, Tom rode a donkey, and I rode an elephant. 

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The kids never get tired of carousels. I just love to see their joy while the ride.

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When the ride was done, it was time to beat the heat in the splash fountain.
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The kids changed into their swim suits and had a blast running around and getting wet.

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It was especially fun when the animal statues around the edges shot water at them!

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It was a very entertaining place to spend the morning.

Next post, I’ll continue with tales of Chattanooga – this time with Choo Choos!


Summer Road Trip: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tom and I are sort of collectors of different spots we see on vacation. We like to collect states we’ve visited (45!) and we like to collect sports stadiums. The kids hadn’t been to Alabama yet, and the University of Alabama campus was on our way from New Orleans to Chattanooga, so Tuscaloosa was good place to stop and stretch our legs for a bit.

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Scarlett was grumpy so we didn’t stay long. Just enough time to view Bryant-Denny stadium and play among the statues they have on the outside.

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Luke played peek-a-boo with Bear Bryant and got a giant hug from Nick Saban.

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It was a short stop but it was pretty neat.

After picking up dinner at Checkers on our way out of town, we were off to our final stop: Chattanooga!