When You Wish Upon a Star

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I’ve eaten at Be Our Guest and I can now die happy.

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Okay – perhaps that’s a little more dramatic than I intended it to be, but it’s also kind of true. I headed for the Magic Kingdom on Thursday the 11th with one thing on my mind – we had reservations at Be Our Guest for dinner and I’d finally be able to enter the Beast’s castle. I mean; it’s as close as you can get to crawling inside the animated movie, right?

If you think I’m joking – I’m not. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom with scores of other people; I think this park was the most crowded of the four parks, although that may have more to do with the park being the smallest of the four. We immediately found several different photographers and snapped pictures – we’d made sure to arrive before the Magic Kingdom actually opened and so we got coffee and secured a spot for the rope drop.

It actually did a little bit of sprinkling rain right before the park opened…and the wind breaker I’d brought did next to nothing for that. Oh well. As soon as the park opened, we headed for Peter Pan’s Flight, then hit It’s A Small World After All, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and popped into Gaston’s Tavern for cinnamon rolls that were as big as our heads. And they were absolutely delicious. The breakfast of champions, to be sure.

After our breakfast, it was time to hop aboard a mine train with the seven dwarves for a quick spin around the mountain. This ride is essentially a children’s coaster, but ever the pansy of the family…the ride photos; and most importantly, me in the ride photos…it was an absolute, crack you up moment of hilarity. I won’t be sharing those photos because no one ever need see my shame – but maybe you can catch my thrilled face in the video?

Once we disembarked from our mine train, we took a spin in the teacups (the wait was only five minutes!) and then made our way over to Tomorrow Land for Space Mountain Fast Passes! Guess what guys? I also don’t really care for Space Mountain…and so I snapped some selfies while everyone else journeyed to space. We got in a trip around Tomorrow Land on the People Mover (one of my favorites) and Lindsey was thrilled when we rode Carousel of Progress…go figure, ha-ha! You just gotta do what’s you – you know?

We made our way across the park and into Frontier Land…and on to Orleans Square to MY favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom – the Haunted Mansion! The line was a 45 minutes wait, but the queue for the ride is so interesting (at least to me). There is plenty to see and the closer you get to the mansion, the eerie sounds pick up and a few years back they added interactive mausoleums as well as plenty of clever tombstones to read. As a kid I was always too scared to ride the Haunted Mansion (go figure, right?) but once I rode it…I was in love! I still can’t decide whether I prefer Disney World’s old world mansion or Disney Land’s antebellum mansion…

Are some of those pictures dark? They sure are – but you know, it’s hard to capture ghosts on film! Ha-ha! We grabbed a little lunch at Columbia Harbor House and explored around the Frontier a bit – riding Big Thunder Mountain, snapping some pictures of Rapunzel’s tower and Maximus hoofprints and of course the views around the “wild west” and staking out a spot for the parade at 3:00…

If you’re wondering – how many pictures can one person take of a parade? Well the answer would be…more than you’d imagine. I also have an outstanding amount of pictures of Cinderella’s castle near the end of this post and when we get to the pinnacle of the day; eating at Be Our Guest, well I took ALL the pictures.

All of these glorious pictures were taken as I posed myself across the top of one of the many brightly colored trash cans that line the streets of Frontier Land… And the grown adult couple to my left kept trying to edge me out of the way – which I still can’t understand because it would be different if I was blocking children, but I’m blocking no one…and you’re both taller than me…go figure…

After the wonders of the parade, we made our way over to Adventure Land and hopped in line for the Jungle Cruise – the wait time said 25 minutes but I think this ride ended up being the longest wait we had all day – a bit more than 30 minutes. We also rode Aladdin’s Magic Carpets; a ride that we have absolutely never rode before…not sure why not? We perused the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse because we didn’t have time to get in line for any other rides…

The time had come to check in for our dinner reservation at Be Our Guest – the best part of the day had finally arrived! All my Beauty & the Beast related dreams were finally coming true…now if only they would hurry up and call our names so we could go in!

There is a bridge that branches out across a stream and up to the gates of the castle and if you don’t have reservations, the closest you’ll get to the castle is the gates. I remember from our previous visit being told that reservations were required to go through the gates – and I didn’t have them. This time though; after we’d spent a few minutes taking goofy pictures of the gargoyle lining the walkway and the castle perched atop the mountain peaks, they called our name and the adventure began!

We were escorted through the gates – emblazoned with the Prince’s coat of arms and through the heavy wooden door flanked by beasts and topped with a tile mosaic that tells the start of the Beast’s story: the enchantress arriving on a cold winter’s night and offering a rose. We were told that the two creatures bearing a load on their shoulders were holding up the weight of the castle (rough life), I was handed Lumiere and we passed under the archway held up by the creatures…and into a perfect replica of the ballroom from the animated film.

The ceilings were soaring and painted with cherubs in the heavenly pale pink and blue clouds, three giant chandeliers lit the room and at the back of the room, floor to ceiling windows looked out on the mountainous landscape that surrounds the Beast’s castle…and snow was gently falling. I was in heaven y’all – absolute heaven.

The food is French cuisine that has been American-ized just a bit (imagine that, right?) and we decided to start our meal with a cheese plate and French onion soup (only Jeffrey got that)… I chose the braised beef for my meal, served with fingerling purple potatoes and it was the best meal I ate the entire time we were at Disney; and not just because I was plopped down in my favorite animated movie while eating it..ha-ha! My entire family agreed the food was some of the best we’ve had at Disney – so I’d definitely recommend trying to get reservations here.

Of course – of course we got dessert! Haven’t you ever heard of the gray stuff? It’s delicious! Don’t believe me…ask the dishes! There was a rolling dessert cart that the waiter would bring table side and show you all the gorgeous pastries that you could choose from – there were so many beautiful choices but I never wavered in my first and only choice – the gray stuff! My Dad got a strawberry cream cupcake that was heavenly and we splurged and got a fifth dessert – a triple chocolate cupcake to share.

The castle is composed of three dining areas – the main room being the ballroom; obviously. You can also sit in the West Wing, where the draperies are torn and the lightning flashing outside the windows causes the Prince’s portrait that is hanging over the fire to transform from his human face to Beastly face and back again. The rose sits on a table under it’s cloche with the magic mirror at it’s side… The third dining area is the music box room, filled with paintings of the characters around the castle and at the center of the room , a life-size music box of the Beast and Belle waltzing in their iconic costumes.

Once your meal is finished and you’ve explored the rooms, you can head to the library to meet with the Master of the castle – the Beast! You wait in the armor gallery…and of course, the armor is enchanted, so it chatters away while you wait. When we met the Beast, he was immediately smitten with Lindsey – her “Beast Mode” t-shirt completely won his heart! We snapped some pictures with the Beast before finding our way out of the castle and into the evening – a lovely end to the best meal and one of my favorite moments of our entire trip!

After our dinner, we split up – my parents wanted to see the updated Hall of Presidents and Lindsey and I wanted to stake out spots for the night time fireworks show at Cinderella’s Castle. Even though there was almost a full hour until the fireworks, finding a seat was pretty interesting and I’ll never cease to be amazed at how grown adults will wait until the moment a show starts and then elbow their way in front of you. Oh well, one of the “joys” of Disney, I suppose?

And yes – there are twenty different pictures of the castle in various states of projection and fireworks magic below. I think I actually took about fifty, so consider yourself spared from all of them…ha-ha!

Once the show finished up at 9:00, it was the long press through the crowd and back to the buses to make the way back to our resort. I love the Magic Kingdom because; as the name implies, it’s got something magical about it. I especially loved this visit because I was finally able to experience eating at Be Our Guest. It was another wonderful day of Disney vacation in the books!

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