Worst to Best: List of Disney Dining Experiences at Disney World Spring 2015, Number Twelve (12): Cinderella’s Royal Table

I've now been to Disney World four (4) separate times. The last time I went, I HONESTLY spent one month and a small fortune. Twenty thousand dollars and counting. Yes, you read that right. $20,000.00. Let's just say that for the life of me, "money burns a hole in my pocket". I am *that* ridiculous of a spender. This is NOT the blog where I tell you how I paid off $52,000 in three months or the frugal ways in which I save a buck. No sireebob. I am a spender and I am STILL paying for it. Not to mention that I have *added* to my Disney trips with my next upcoming adventure happening in March 2016. This post is a recount of Disney Trip #2, Spring Break 2015 with my kiddos in tow. We judged and ranked e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and I'll be happy to write you back.

From twelve (12) to one (1), I give you the Worst to Best experiences as journaled and photographed by me and my kiddos during our Spring Break Trip 2015.

12th place: Cinderella's Royal Table

With Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant

With Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant

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The whole gang and Cinderella too!

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After the guests take photos with Cinderella, she waits and waits, in costume until everyone upon everyone leaves. Once she twirled and flitted her hands.

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Cinderella's Royal Table Menu

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Cover Art for the Menu at Cinderella's Royal Table

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Snow White at CRT

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Sleeping Beauty at CRT

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Ariel at CRT

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Jasmine at CRT. The only Princess that shows off her tummy!

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$60 plate. Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Soy Free.

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$60 steak for my son. He was 12 years old at the time.

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Dessert is included in the price of the DELUXE meal plan at Disney.

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I just might be able to make this "s'more puff" at home. Might need a graham cracker.

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Allergy Free Dessert at Cinderella's Royal Table. These come out of a box. I can buy this box of cookies and rice dream "ice cream" at my local supermarket. I know, because I have this fancy dessert at my own house.

 

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Plastic Sword from CRT. Frankly, it doesn't even have the "Cinderella's Royal Table" poorly stamped on it. I think it's a multi-purpose sword suitable for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Caribbean Beach Resort, various carnivals and Renaissance Faires. My son laughed about this whilst waving it about on our mile trek at midnight back to our car.

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Outside the entrance of Cinderella's Royal Table, in the hall underneath the castle, are beautiful stained-glass style mosaic murals.

Cinderella's Royal Table comes in at 8% average total overall. Son gave it a 5%, Daughter gave it a 6% and I generously gave it a 15%. This is *by a mile* the lowest scoring overall average percentage of anywhere dining at anytime at Disney. Here are some key reasons why we scored Cinderella's Royal Table the way we did.

1. Getting a reservation for this place is practically impossible. Like a dream, someone dumped off a late night post 9:50 pm reservation (I understand why now) and so I grabbed it because I thought that besides Victoria and Albert's (which is as I understand 5 star, Michelin chef, dream-inspired, world-class, haute cuisine) we *had* to go there. All I can say is that children were sleeping and snoring in the restaurant. It was absolutely hilarious and bizarre. The three of us looked at each other, laughed and sarcastically commented on how this experience and dining was costing us two credit points.

2. We were last in the reception area to be called up to dinner. It's really boring in the reception area when you've taken your pictures with Cinderella and listen to the sound of the dinner gong being played for everyone but you. Eventually the "crown gonger" took pity on us and let my kids have a swing at the gong while we waited our turn.

3. Our waitress was sarcastic. She just didn't see how it was possible to accommodate my food allergy and intolerances at that time of night. (Dairy, gluten, egg and soy are listed in advance on each of my dining reservations). But hey, whatevs. Charge us the same amount anyway.

4. I think the chef was annoyed to have to personally accommodate my allergies, especially during dessert. I don't really complain at all, in person. So, here I am a year later finally writing something about it. I was flabbergasted that I got rice dream in a plastic bowl with three cookies from a box that I could have purchased at my local grocery store. See the picture, inset here, with my "extremely fancy" ice cream and cookies. They really had nothing else for me. This is supposed to be a 2 credit experience and the food was simply lackluster. My son's carrots were overcooked and my dessert was something that I can and *have* made at home.

5. Cinderella doesn't show up to dinner.

6. My daughter got a plastic wand with Cinderella's Royal Table stamped on it. The thing? Most of the paint was already chipping off the wand.

7. My son's seriously carnival-esque plastic sword. Laughable. I think I can buy this sword at the Dollar Store. I think.

8. There are no Photopass photographers for the other princesses. Maybe I'm asking too much. But the thing is, they *used* to give you a professional photograph in a lovely sleeve during your meal at Akershus, circa 2012. Alas, no more of that awesomeness.

9. Did I mention the two dining credit points? I did? Let me go right ahead and just re-mention it here. Again, two credit points. At $60 a plate divided by 2, it comes to $30 a credit which is $7 dollars less that the credit point paid in advance. A loss of $14 for two adult meals and I'm not adding the cost of the "child's meal" which had a better dessert than mine, by the way.

10. The time stamp on the receipt is just prior to midnight. I think that very *telling* and slightly humorous, given the tale of Cinderella abruptly needing to leave before the clock struck twelve. What I'm saying is...it's too late to eat dinner at that time of night. Really, it is. Lesson learned.

How to Wind a Bobbin Tutorial by Sew Girly

My daughter, I will call her "Sew Girly", is 10 years-old and decided to make a tutorial today on "How to Wind a Bobbin" using a computerized sewing machine. You see, she received a sewing machine for Christmas and each day that we have off from school for Winter Break is an opportunity to do something different with our day. Today's weather is sleeting, slizzling (new word that I invented) and slushy. As you can see, she doesn't even leave her pajamas for the purpose of this tutorial because we haven't left the house today due to the weather.

As a service to other young crafters out there, Sew Girly wanted to make this tutorial to a.) showcase how easy it is to wind a bobbin and b.) showcase her ability to instruct step-by-step at a young age. Of course, I am biased and think she is GREAT yet I know the world can be a cruel place. Naturally, if I post this tutorial for public viewing, others may be inclined to comment and some, I imagine, won't have anything particularly nice to say. To deflect negativity and as a concerned mother, I have created this video by link only and I have opted to moderate any comments.

If you have constructive criticism that is positively worded and suited to the audience of a ten year-old, I will share it. Also, if you have praise, I will share it. However, if it is venomous or designed to hurt feelings; naturally, I will not post or share these comments.

Simply stated, the tutorial calls for the following supplies on hand to be able to practically follow along.

  1. A computerized sewing machine. (Sew Girly is using a "Project Runway" Brother brand, 100 stitch count computerized sewing machine).
  2. Thread
  3. Scissors
  4. Bobbin

Have fun and tell us if you are successful in winding your bobbin!

 

$17,000 “Diagnostic” Colonoscopy Nightmare

I had a colonoscopy from hell about 1.5 years ago. I am *still* paying for this dastardly ordeal. Apparently there are two types of colonoscopies. Routine and Diagnostic. Routine colonoscopies are paid for through your insurance, by and large near to 100%. Diagnostic colonoscopies are charged rather heftily on your insurance's percentage basis. My routine colonoscopy became diagnostic and was subsequently charged over $17,000 for one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I was overly sedated, the doctor never spoke with me post-op that I recall and I was warned that if I didn't leave the hospital, I would be charged an overnight stay. I was so dizzy and still pooping and peeing on myself that I wish to GOD I would have read this post

What I really should have done right after my colonoscopy from the "bowels" of hell.

What I really should have done right after my colonoscopy from the "bowels" of hell.

before or even right after I had the colonoscopy. I would have called and asked for the credentials of each and every person who determined that my colonoscopy was labeled "diagnostic" instead of the "routine" that I'd expected and I wonder if, just *if* some bozo with barely a H.S. diploma ran my billing as "diagnostic" to the tune of $17,000.

I remember them saying far after the fact, "We found a polyp and removed it." I don't recall one single shred of evidence supporting the claim of polyp removal but I am being charged a king's ransom because the "diagnosis" was that I have a "polyp". I still have $400 dollar to go on this nightmare of a colonoscopy.

Did I mention how disgusting it is to lay on your side with your butt sticking out so that someone can stick a plastic snake with a camera on it up your butt hole? And they say, "Oh it's routine! It's easy! We do dozens of these a day! You'll be in and out!"

Bull excrement. And I'm PAYING for this.

Merry Christmas to the Lonely

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Merry Christmas to the lonely. Merry Christmas to the mom and/or dad who doesn't have their kids on Christmas at all.Merry Christmas to the people who are skipping Christmas because they don't have enough money. Merry Christmas to the husband or wife who is missing the love of their life due to loss. Merry Christmas to the one's whose family is scattered with no real connections living close by. Merry Christmas to the people who awkwardly attend other people's Christmas' because other people "insist". Merry Christmas to the abandoned. Merry Christmas to the heartbroken. Merry Christmas to the people who have tragically lost other people about which they care deeply.

Merry Christmas at the most "wonderful time of the year" which is honestly the most "challenging time of year" for so many.

And Merry Christmas to YOU, if you are reading this.

French History: The Good and The Bad

As I have time to reflect during this Christmas break, I find myself furiously scavenging through Pinterest and coming across new, exciting and interesting topics for my students this Spring semester. One of which is French History in all its forms. Consider this picture:

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What a conversation starter!

CLASS QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: "Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez?" (=What do you think?) Can you imagine if "consorting with the enemy" resulted in women being humiliated by having their heads shaved while other snapped pictures and uploaded them to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media?

Or consider this picture:

marieantoinetteinundergarments

It's incredible! The BBC reports that, "It was this portrait that shocked a nation. Marie Antoinette, the queen of France in 1783, had already outraged the French with her opulence; now she managed to scandalise the nation by ditching the glitz and taking a more simple approach to her outfits. So simple, in fact, that the nation thought she had posed for the portrait in her underwear."

CLASS QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: "Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez?" (=What do you think?) Can you point to any celebrities in our culture that have been photographed looking or acting inappropriately? Was Marie Antoinette a trend-setter in your opinion? Why or why not?

I created a French: History and Beyond Pinterest Board, borne out of my fascination with the compelling images I saw connecting back to French history, culture and scandal. If you'd like to check out the board, which I have only recently created (therefore, a work in progress), I encourage you to click HERE.

Can you think of any other discussion questions relevant to the above photos?

I would be honored to hear from you! Leave your comment in the section below.

Christmas Lesson in Finnish from Joulupukki (Santa Claus)

arctic_circle_laplandAt this time of year, I am reminded of my time in Finland. Around this week in December, I traveled north to Rovaniemi on the Napapiiri (Arctic Circle) of Finland where Santa Claus Village and Santa live! Santa is "Joulupukki" in Finnish and I have discovered the perfect video, lasting only a little over 6 minutes. In that time, you will be taught basic greetings and farewells by Joulupukki himself. Terve! Näkemiin ja kiitoksia paljon! If you have no idea how to say those - watch the video and practice.

If you are interested in the Finnish language besides this basic vocabulary, I have listed the Finnish for Foreigners book, which did in fact teach me a great deal of Finnish even while I was living, learning and studying in Finland. It is a wonderful resource and I can clearly state: "Kiitos "Suomea Ulkomalaisille"" (Thanks "Finnish for Foreigners") for the language skills I was taught within your pages. I have listed this book in the Amazon Marketplace link on the right. If you are interested, you can pick up a copy of it there. It is actually very good especially if you would like to learn more about the Finnish language and get some quality lessons in the convenience of your home.

Spanish Page Coming Soon!

YouTube_Banner_ChristmasAs with the French page, my goal is to create a Spanish page as well. The page should serve as an outstanding resource for all students of Spanish, be they in my classes or not!

Here's a wonderful christmas spanish "villancico" (christmas carol) for you to listen to. It's extra catchy!

It's called "Mi Burrito Sabanero" which means, "My wise little Donkey".

 

What did you think? Here's what you can type en español if:

You love it = ME ENCANTA
You like it = ME GUSTA
You didn't like it! = NO ME GUSTA
You hate it = ODIO

Feel free to let me know what you think of the song in the comments section in Spanish and I will respond to you!

French Lesson One: Basic Greetings

French Land! France! La langue Française! Let's start with the basics.

GREETINGS
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An absolute super resource for all things FRENCH and one that I often show my students is my Pinterest Pin Page for French and Spanish Classes.

Click HERE to see the Pinterest Board populated with over 2,000+ images, inspirations and lessons on French.

The one thing I see missing is the "How to say it?" category. Often, this is the missing piece of the puzzle for people which is why, *ding!*: Your teacher has arrived! For each French word follow these three basic instructions.

1. Make two columns on a paper.

2. Title the first column: The French Word

3. Title the second column: How to Say It

From now on, every time you see a set of parentheses...like this --> (        ); whatever is inside the parentheses is the "how to say it" and NOT the "how to spell it," OK? For each new word I will have a separate set of parentheses.

For example:

BONJOUR                                                           (bone-zjoohr)

SALUT                                                                  (sah-lew)

AU REVOIR*                                  (oh) (ruh-vwahr)       * most people simply say (oh-vwahr) and leave out the (ruh) part. It's like, "Bye!"

BONSOIR                                        (bone-swahr)

COMMENT ÇA VA?                      (koh-maw) (sah) (vah)

COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS?        (koh-mawnt) (ah-lay) (vooh)

ÇA VA BIEN                                   (sah) (vah) (bee-yahn)

ÇA VA MAL                                    (sah) (vah) (mahl)

COMME ÇI, COMME ÇA            (kuhm) (see) (kuhm) (sah)

JE M'APPELLE                             (zjuh) (mah) (pell)

À TOUT À L'HEURE                    (ah) (toot) (ah) (luhr)

MERCI                                            (mare-see)

JE SUIS DÉSOLÉ(E)*                 (zjuh) (swee) (day-zoh-lay)     *In writing, use two "e's" if you are female, one if you are male. They are both pronounced the same way.

EXCUSEZ-MOI                            (ex-kew-zay) (mwah)

JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE        (zjoy-yuhz) (ah-nee-vare-sare)

 

Voilà! There it is! Your introductory lesson on basic greetings in French.

 

 

French Page Coming Soon!

This is a little filler text for a French Page I am trying to set up!

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So that image doesn't have anything to do with French...but I am including it just to see if I can create a link in the top bar for navigation. And, I wanted the post to look at least marginally "dressed up".

Canceling that Disney Trip!

It takes HOURS to cancel Disney Trips. First, I have to cancel with the Walt Disney World Travel company which redirects me to 1-407-DISNEY, to speak with people in Travel Insurance, since Walt Disney World Travel Company can't tell me anything about how much I'll be refunded or even *if* I'll be refunded. Then, of course they want me to take a survey at the end of each phone call.

Candelight Processional Dinner Reservation at Biergarten in EPCOT

I will also need to individually cancel each of my dining reservations, but the customer service representatives seem to think that connecting me to dining is the quicker way to go about it. Wrong! When connected to the Disney Dining, the are pleasant and cordial but want you to list of a long series of confirmation numbers. I can tell you that it is MUCH quicker to simply get on My Disney Experience and press the "cancel" link under the reservation number. I was done canceling the reservations myself before I could even utter the first long confirmation number to the gal on the phone.

Good thing I called though...you basically have to fish for information. For example, the "Candlelight Processional" Reservation you see pictured here needs to be canceled TWO days in advance, not one. It's not your stereotypical dinner reservation. It's *special*. Had I not asked and held on to the reservation, I would be charged $169.32 for canceling within 2 days. There's special rules and regulations and not everyone is inclined to share these details without a little prodding. I could have certainly gotten off the phone with Disney Dining and taken yet another quality survey on the phone. Glad I didn't.

Then, I had to cancel the hotel reservation with Holiday Inn for the night before my flight home. Thank goodness something was a piece of cake! I was even refunded my rewards points instantaneously! Now *that* was convenient. Thanks ihg.com!

Walt Disney World Travel Company didn't even send me a confirmation email of my cancellation of the trip! I had to dig into old emails to find my itinerary number when I called to 1-407-DISNEY to find out how and if I was going to be refunded. I'm still not entirely sure what I will be refunded because it is only hearsay at this point. I have nothing but the phone conversation to back me up. Unless it was "recorded for quality assurance" (which I doubt), I can't prove what the gal on the phone said to me - notwithstanding the fact that I could never call her back since I know neither her name not direct phone line. I also purchase the vacation insurance which I thought would make it a bit easier but that department isn't connected to *that* department...and so on. You get the point. Make another call and explain yourself again.

Finally, I am trying to cancel my flights to Orlando. What a headache! It's three hours and counting that I have been trying to cancel all of the components of my trip to Disney. I am worried that due to Expedia's server issues that I might run up against an issue of trying to cancel within 24 hours of my trip. That's not my fault. I was calling hours prior to the 24 hour window. I know I am cutting it close, but still...not my fault. Now I am going to have to explain myself again. Current trip cancellation effort time? 4 hours. That's half a workday so far.

And so comes the end of the story. Even having purchased travel insurances from both Disney and Expedia and spent now 5 hours on the phone with various agents from various businesses I am forfeiting:

$200.00 to Disney for a canceling the trip within 1.5 days of arriving.

$77.50 to Disney Travel Insurance, non-refundable

$223.20 to American Airlines and Expedia, non-refundable but since I purchased travel insurance, I will receive a credit voucher for future travel with American Airlines. But, wait! There's more. There will now be a $200 re-booking fee assessed when I use my credit voucher. If I didn't have the travel insurance through Expedia, that re-booking fee would obliterate the amount of my credit. Eventually, and in some way, Expedia will refund my re-booking fee. But, the refund of the re-booking fee is ONE TIME ONLY use. So, never mind at all if I would ever have to cancel again for any reason! Caveat emptor!

Sum Total = $500.70 NOT REFUNDED to me today on monies that I have already paid.

Moral of the story? It can cost you over $500 if your cancel within 2 days of a planned Disney Vacation; travel insurances and all.

 

Disney Christmas Ornament Display Stand (I have one on top of my fridge!)