Alana Meets Disney Friends in Easter Outfits

Alana loves meeting unique characters, so our Easter tradition has become visiting Disney to find characters wearing unique outfits for the holiday.

Donald Formal White and Purple 2016-03-27 Port Orleans Riverside Daisy Formal Flower Dress 2016-03-27 Port Orleans Riverside

We started our morning at Port Orleans Riverside and met Donald and Daisy alternating sets.

White Rabbit 2016-03-27 Old Key West

Afterwards, we ran over to Old Key West, where Alana met with the White Rabbit.  She insisted on giving him a kiss on the nose!

Mickey Formal White and Yellow 2016-03-27 Old Key West

After meeting White Rabbit, we hopped back in line to meet Mickey and Minnie meeting together.  This was the same outfit Minnie wore last year when we saw her at Coronado, but the Mickey outfit was completely new. We finished up the morning at Caribbean Beach where we saw Tourist Daisy, but unfortunately the line was already closed.

Mickey Formal Black and Purple 2016-03-27 Port Orleans French Quarter

Later that night, we stopped by Port Orleans French Quarter for one last Easter meet-and-greet.  Alana met Mickey and Minnie wearing outfits she had never met before.

Overall, the day was a huge success.  Alana added five new characters to her total count.  We did miss some characters we wanted to find so we have a plan for next year.

Alana Visited Mango’s Tropical Café

On a random Tuesday night, Alana was allowed to pick any one place to have dinner. We drove down International Drive and Alana selected Mango’s Tropical Café, a new restaurant that recently opened to major fanfare. Mango’s is extremely popular down in Miami and is currently building buzz in Orlando, so we took a chance and stopped for dinner without any clue what to expect. And we were blown away by what we found.

DSC_0009

After valeting the car, Alana stopped to meet some performer friends at a photo-op on the way into the restaurant. Floor seating requires reservations, but the manager was kind enough to invite us to a table that hadn’t been reserved.

DSC_0036

The venue is incredible. There’s a large stage with live music and a rotation of singing, dancing and variety acts – all with Central and South American flair. The outfits are extravagant and beautiful. The dances are so impressive to see live. And the best part is that the show continues throughout the evening so you’re free to join or leave at any time. We intended to only visit for a bit but ended up staying for hours.

DSC_0021

Occasionally, performers work their way through the crowd and greet guests while they continue to perform. Alana seized every opportunity to say Hi to friends as they passed by.

DSC_0012

We even recognized a few familiar faces from our visits to the theme parks!

DSC_0042

Overall, Mango’s is beyond impressive and we highly recommend to everyone we know. It’s become a monthly tradition for us to hit up the shows and we’ll be back again soon.

Alana Visits Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando

Alana’s favorite event of the entire year is Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando.  Besides Macy’s Parade, there’s really no other event like it during the year.  The streets are lined with performers doing meet-and-greets for hours.  Beyond pictures, the performers get park guests to dance, tell jokes and play games.  Alana loves spending hours going up and down the street visiting with all the different performers – easily more than 30 in any given night.  And by visiting week after week, Alana gets to see all of her Mardi Gras friends before they dance down the streets in the nightly Mardi Gras parade.

DSC_0213-2

All of Alana’s (or, in this case, Spider-Alana’s) Mardi Gras friends are so sweet to always stop to take great photos with her.

DSC_0247-2

Matching Green Bows with this Musician!

DSC_0150-2

Alana impressing all the Italian guys with her peacock dress.

DSC_0342-2

Walking down the street with two of her favorite performers.

DSC_0416-2

Big kisses from Alana’s Mardi Gras friends!

DSC_0769-2

Apparently Minions have the power to shatter slap-bracelet swords!

DSC_0800-2

This friend was so happy to see Alana in her Minion dress.

DSC_0337-2

Alana was especially happy to wear her peacock dress and meet this performer wearing her peacock outfit.  Twins!

Goodbye Nick Hotel

We’ve always had a lot of fun during our visits to Nick Hotel.  The hotel was filled with fun activities and unique characters that you couldn’t meet other places in Central Florida.  Unfortunately the hotel never catered to locals, requiring an overnight stay to partake in the on-site activities, so our visits were few and far between.  The hotel recently announced daily passes, which worked perfect for us as locals.

Nickelodeon Hotel recently celebrated their tenth birthday, but unfortunately it appears this will be their last.  The hotel recently announced they would be converting to a Holiday Inn and removing all characters from the property.  This is a huge bummer because all these unique characters would be going away.

So we took one last opportunity to visit Nick Hotel and meet as many characters as we could.

Nick Hotel DSC_0496

Before meeting characters, Alana and Ella shared a slime shake.  It was really great!

Nick Hotel DSC_0514

Our first meet was with Marshall and Chase from Paw Patrol.

Nick Hotel DSC_0522

Big kisses for Chase!

Nick Hotel DSC_0538

Alana has met SpongeBob SquarePants many times at Universal Orlando, but it was nice to find him at Nick Hotel.  Alana even brought her SpongeBob outfit for the day.

Nick Hotel DSC_0583

One of the cool perks at Nick Hotel is a great pool with a daily sliming.  A giant bucket of slime is filled and dumped on all the kids waiting at the bottom.  Alana and Ella kept their distance so they stayed dry.

Nick Hotel DSC_0609

Another great perk of the resort is nearly-daily productions of Double Dare.  The show chooses random families from the resort to participate in trivia and challenges to win big prizes.

Nick Hotel DSC_0612

Alana was chosen to participate in the audience challenge!

Nick Hotel DSC_0660

We started wrapping up the day by meeting her friend from Team Umizoomi.

Nick Hotel DSC_0697

And finished our day with our main objective, a meet with Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob SquarePants.  Alana even had the opportunity to practice her ninja skills.  Nick Hotel is also home to Mrs Puff and Mr Krab, but unfortunately these characters were retired before Alana had the opportunity to meet them.  But seeing Sandy was a real treat.

Overall we had a great experience this day.  We’ll miss the resort and wish we had the opportunity to have visited more in the past.  If you are interested in visiting the resort before it closes in mid-April, be sure to visit NickHotel.com.

Alana Visits SeaWorld

Alana recently visited SeaWorld.  This was her first visit in several years.  It was a fun day of shows, animals and – of course – characters.  Alana especially loved the extremely-large playground and the Annual Passholder lounge.

SeaWorld DSC_0902

This dolphin was so happy that Alana was blowing her kisses.

SeaWorld DSC_0619

Alana wouldn’t be Alana if she didn’t find characters in every park we visit.  She met this dolphin friend during the afternoon.

SeaWorld DSC_0612

She also met this shark friend roaming around.

SeaWorld DSC_0026

SeaWorld DSC_0053

Alana couldn’t believe how big all the animals were.  Definitely looking forward to another trip to SeaWorld soon!

Club Villain at Hollywood Studios

Club Villain is a limited-time event at Hollywood Studios that combines villains with live entertainment.  It was a perfect night that we recommend to everyone interested in this type of event.  The event is held in a sound stage behind Rock’n Roller Coaster.    Dr Facilier is the host of the event and brings together Cruella De Vil, the Evil Queen, Maleficent and the Queen of Hearts to perform songs and meet with guests.  Dinner is also included in the event, with most of the food based on Dr Facilier and desserts based on his four villain friends.

Club Villain DSC_0062

Dr Facilier’s voodoo charms adorned the walls.  They were animated and sang along with some of the songs.

Club Villain DSC_0073

Dr Facilier also brought two dancing girls with him.  Alana loved hopping in and dancing with them.

Club Villain DSC_0091

After dinner, the meet and greets began.  Of course Alana brought a costume change for each villain.  She was especially excited to meet the Queen of Hearts because she dressed like her for Halloween last year.  Also, this is the first time we are aware of the Queen of Hearts appearing as a face character.

Club Villain DSC_0107

Alana absolutely adored Cruella De Vil and would have spent the entire evening with her if allowed.

Club Villain DSC_0139

Maleficent was a little scary, but told Alana that she could take a picture because she knew that Alana wasn’t the real Princess Aurora.

Club Villain DSC_0156

The Evil Queen was taken aback by Snow White’s beauty.  Alana also pointed out that we forgot to bring her red apple for the event.  Apparently five costume changes weren’t enough.

Club Villain DSC_0144

Speaking of apples, this amazing disco ball floated above the middle of the dance floor.

Club Villain DSC_0167

Dr Facilier didn’t offer formal meet and greets.  He offered to take a picture with Alana, but she was a little afraid of him – which is ironic because she loved him at home and has met him several times before.  He organized a dance party and waved at Alana as he danced by.

Club Villain DSC_0173

At the end of the night, Alana and all of her new friends danced for the rest of the event.

Overall this event was so much more than we expected when we originally bought tickets.  There are limited scheduled dates and the show has been extended so definitely try to get tickets if there are any left.

Pasta In The Park with Hercules

Sometimes our quest for rare characters takes us to odd places.  Pasta In the Park is a carb-loading event tied to the Princess Half-Marathon where runners partake in spaghetti dinner.  It combines food, live music and characters.  It’s also one of the few running events that does not require participation in the marathon.  This is key as Alana is too young to participate in marathons with rare characters.

Nothing was announced in advance except that characters would appear, but we took a gamble and purchased tickets hoping for the best.  We had no idea that perfection that we were about to stumble into.

I’ve since learned that each Pasta in the Park has a different theme.  A previous event was themed after Aladdin and contained all characters that Alana has already met.  We couldn’t believe our eyes when the doors opened.

The event was themed after Hercules!

Five ultra rare characters.  All characters that Alana has never met before.  We couldn’t believe it.

Pasta In The Park Pain and Panic 2016-02-19

We quickly jumped into the first line and met Pain and Panic.  Alana loved them and was thrilled to get a picture with them.

Pasta In The Park Hades 2016-02-19

Next line was Hades.  This was a little complicated.  All week, I prepped Alana for the Club Villain event we would be attending the next night.  I reassured her that the villains invited her to their “tea party” because they were nice now, and that she wouldn’t have to meet mean villains like “Ursula and Hades”, as she referred to them.  I had no idea that Hades would be appearing.  Alana initially hesitated, pointing out that he has sharp teeth and blue fire hair.  And of course if she said no, it’s a no, but she realized he was nice to other guests and decided that she “wanted to be brave”.  She met him and I was so proud of her for facing her fears.

Pasta In The Park Hercules 2016-02-19

Next we raced over to the Hercules line.  She loved meeting him and showing him her muscles.

Pasta In The Park Meg 2016-02-19

Finally, Hercules switched with Meg.  Meg was definitely Alana’s favorite of the night.  She took her time with Alana and was sweet and caring.  Alana still talks about her to this day.

Pasta In The Park Mag 2016-02-19

We finished the event in an hour and used the remaining half hour to eat spaghetti and unlimited ice cream bars!  We also enjoyed the live music and dance party. Alana event got to meet Mag, who dressed like her favorite character, Meg.

Overall, the event is great if you love characters and are willing to take a risk paying a good amount of money with no guarantee of anything special.  But it’s a fun event and we look forward to attending more in the future.

Alana Published by Universal

Universal Publish DSC_0841

So excited to announce that Alana has received her second publishing credit.  After being published in a Disney magazine late last year, Alana is now appearing on the cover of the current Universal Passholder mailing.

Universal Publish DSC_0858

Alana originally took this photo back in September 2015.  It was a rainy day and Alana brought her pink umbrella to the park.  It turns out that Betty Boop and Lucille Ball did the same, so we took a spontaneous picture of the three of them together.  Universal noticed the picture on Alana’s Instagram account and requested permission to use it in an upcoming mailing.  Very exciting!

Universal Publish Betty Boop and Lucille Ball 2015-09-07

Alana has so many great Universal moments so I’m thrilled that Universal was able to share one of them with all of the great Passholders.

13 Princess Alanas Visit Magic Kingdom

Alana has so many special outfits that she’s worn to Disney over the past two years.  Unfortunately she continues to grow and is starting to outgrow some of them.  So we wanted to do something really special to celebrate these great outfits.

We gathered up all the outfits and headed to Magic Kingdom.  We booked morning reservations to enter the park an hour, giving us a limited block of time to finish our photography before guests filled the background.  We staged a camera on a tripod and managed to complete 13 costume changes in an hour.

13 Princesses 2016-02-12

The final product turned out better than we could have ever hoped.  Not only are the costumes great, but Alana nailed the personality and spirit of all the princesses.

We have plans for the picture but that will be a future project.

Alana’s Fourth Birthday at Universal

When Alana turned three, we drove to Universal so she could purchase her very first Annual Pass.  So it felt appropriate to do the same on her fourth birthday.  Once renewed, Alana had free reign to choose anything she’d like in the entire park.  And of course she chose her two favorites – Straight Outta Food Truck and the Superstar Dance Parties.

Universal Birthday DSC_0352

Dora is so excited that Alana is now four years old!

Universal Birthday DSC_0497

Patch and Bit from the movie Hop gave Alana extra snuggles on her birthday!

Fish Friends 2016-02-08

All of Alana’s fish friends visited her for her birthday.  It’s the first time all four took a picture with her at the same time.

Universal Birthday DSC_0745

She finished the afternoon with her Minion recruit friends.  All in all, a really fun day doing Alana’s favorite things at Universal.

Alana Met Christmas Characters Aboard the Disney Dream

We just got home from Alana’s first cruise.  We sailed on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, and it just happened that sailing in November means we boarded Disney’s Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise.  Many of Alana’s Disney friends would be wearing their Christmas best, so this was a perfect opportunity to do some new character hunting.

Overall, we were extremely successful.  We met 27 characters, including 24 that were brand new meet-and-greets.

Before I start, here are a few tips:

  • Before boarding, download the Disney Cruise app.  Once you sync with the ship’s WiFi, you’ll be able to access an itinerary that lists all character meets, times and exact locations.
  • Start early.  Lines were much shorter on the first night than the last night.
  • Attend all character events.  Many of the events seemed like nothing, but there would be surprise meets after the event.  We missed a few characters because we didn’t realize this in time.
  • Focus on rare characters.  There’s many common characters on the ship, but it took a lot of time to meet all of these characters.  We made time for all formal dinners, all three stage shows (which were amazing), pool time, beach time and more – but there wasn’t any time for resting.

SAILOR FRIENDS

Mickey-Captain-2015-11-20-02-Disney-Dream

We started by meeting Captain Mickey in the cruise terminal before boarding the ship.  This was a lucky break, as we didn’t see Captain Mickey doing meets anywhere else on the ship throughout the rest of the cruise.

During the Sail-Away party, we saw all the core characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale) wearing their nautical/sailor uniforms.  These are the regular character meets through the year, but not during Halloween and Christmas – and again didn’t see most of them on the ship.

Pluto-Sailor-2015-11-20-02-Disney-DreamWe did found Sailor Pluto later on the first day, but this was the last of the Sailor characters we would meet.

FORMAL CHRISTMAS CHARACTERS

Besides meeting White Christmas Sweater Mickey on the first night, we didn’t find any formal Christmas characters until the third and final day of the cruise.  In the afternoon, Mrs. Claus read a story and invited the children to make a wish.  Their wish came true when these formal characters came out for a 10 minute meet-and-greet.  Later in the night, during the Going-Away party, the characters appeared but again only for 10 minutes.  The last meet was extremely busy because all the families were around for their formal pictures, but we managed to meet a few friends before they had to go away.

Mickey-White-Sweater-2015-11-20-01-Disney-DreamFinding Mickey in his White Christmas Sweater was a real treat.  We found him on the first night, so when he appeared again on the third day, we were able to skip him and focus on other characters – and avoid his line, which was the longest of the last day.

Minnie-Blue-Snowflake-Dress-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamMinnie Mouse in a cool snowman dress.

Goofy-Christmas-Pajamas-2015-11-22-01-Disney-DreamGoofy wearing what looked like Christmas Pajamas.  Alana was extra excited to meet him!

Donald-Green-Sweater-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamWe’ve seen this Donald in pictures, but very excited to meet him in person.

Pluto-Reindeer-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamReindeer Pluto is one of our favorite pictures from the weekend.  Pluto’s nose should have been red though!

Chip-and-Dale-Striped-Sweaters-2015-11-22-03-Disney-DreamWe’ve met Chip and Dale in various sweaters before, but never in these green and red sweaters.

We also saw Santa Goofy and Mickey in a Christmas Tuxedo, but these are characters that we’ve met previously at Walt Disney World, so we passed to focus on new meets.

 

GREEN CHRISTMAS OUTFITS

I was surprised to find that characters met in multiple Christmas outfits, doubling the number of meets we were able to do.  In addition to the formal outfits above, we also met a variety of friends wearing green shirts/dresses covered with poinsettias.

Mickey-Pluto-Green-Christmas-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamWe found Mickey and Pluto on Castaway Cay.  This particular day was extra windy and we’re lucky they still came out.

Minnie-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamMinnie in her green Christmas dress.  You can see our ship in the background.

Goofy-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamThe first meet on Day 2 ended up being Goofy in his green Christmas shirt.

Donald-Green-Christmas-01-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamDonald in his green shirt met with guests at Castaway Cay just outside the ship first thing in the morning.  Daisy also met outside, but was wearing her formal Christmas outfit.  Not sure if she has a green Christmas dress like Minnie.

Chip-and-Dale-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamChip and Dale in their green Christmas shirts.  Also just outside the ship at Castaway Cay, but in the late afternoon while guests were returning to the boat.  We were already on the ship, so we had to leave again to see them.

Stitch-Poinsetta-Lei-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamStitch met in the afternoon after Chip and Dale.

PIRATE NIGHT

The end of Day 2 was Pirate Night on board the ship.  Alana went to the newly-opened Bippity Boppity Boutique to get dressed as Caribbean pirate “Charlotte Goldstealer”, a name given to her by the Boutique.  We seized the opportunity to meet as many pirate characters as we could.

Mickey-Pirate-2015-11-21-01-Disney-DreamPirate Mickey was our top priority and easily had the longest line – maybe 30-40 minutes.

Daisy-Pirate-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamWe missed Pirate Donald, but his line switched to Pirate Daisy, who Alana was just as happy to see.

Chip-and-Dale-Pirates-2015-11-21-04-Disney-DreamPirate Chip and Pirate Dale with Pirate Alana.

Stitch-Pirate-2015-11-21-01-Disney-DreamPirate Stitch was a very popular character to meet.  He met at 10:00pm when there weren’t many activities, so a lot of people came just to see him.

Captain-Hook-and-Mr-Smee-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamWe’ve met Captain Hook and Mr Smee together before, but didn’t have anything else to do at this time so we took the opportunity to see them on Pirate Night.

Captain-Jack-Sparrow-2015-11-21-02-Disney-DreamWe missed meeting Captain Jack Sparrow during Pirate Night, but found him on Castaway Cay with a five minute line.  Very cool location with Caribbean treasure and cannons behind him.

I also saw pictures of Pirate Goofy and Pirate Minnie, but had to miss them.  The cruise schedules activities so no one misses 5:45pm dinner or 8:30pm shows, so they pile up a lot of characters at once, forcing you to make some decisions.  This is where the app comes in handy.  Not only can you plan your time, but you can also choose your activities and your app will plan your itinerary out and send reminders.

OTHER CHARACTERS

While on the ship, we found some other cool characters – but the best was Princess Minnie.

Minnie-Princess-2015-11-20-02-Disney-DreamAlana was so excited to meet a real Princess on the cruise!

In addition to the pictures above, we saw many other characters.  Kids areas had dance parties with Jake (of the Neverland Pirates) and Sofia The First.  Donald in his Green Christmas Shirt led a “Shake Your Tailfeather” dance party in the kids’ area.  You could meet princesses in the lobby of the ship, but needed to get free tickets on the first day before they were gone.  We saw Belle (in her yellow gown), Cinderella and Rapunzel.  The schedule also said there were tickets available to meet Anna and Elsa, but we never saw them on the ship.  We also chose to skip characters we’ve sen before, like Santa Goofy and Christmas Formal Suit Mickey.

Overall, we had an incredible time.  It was exhausting and busy but worth the effort and the photos turned out even better than I could hope.

To check out all of our photos, make sure you follow our Instagram account (filled with Alana’s meets with friends in Disney and Universal) at www.instagram.com/alanaexplains.

Alana Met The Characters of Star Wars Weekends

Alana Met The Characters of Star Wars Weekends

We thought Star Wars Weekends would be a great opportunity for Alana to have fun finding some new characters, but never imagined she’d fall so in love with the event.  The final night was this past weekend, and yet Alana is currently watching Star Wars Rebels on TV so she can see all of her new friends.

We ended up attending every weekend of the five-weekend event at Hollywood Studios.  In the end, I feel we pretty much nailed every picture we wanted to take.  We discovered that many photo opportunities are not as easy as they seem – and yet, with a LOT of luck and some great friends with some good advice, we managed to nail every single picture we attempted over the course of this event.

Below is a collection of Alana posing with all of the different characters that can be found at Star Wars Weekends.

Luke-Leia-R2D2-C3PO-2015-06-06This picture is our home-run shot of the entire event.  Luke and Leia meet throughout the day, but only limited weekends had all four characters out together – and only for 20-30 minutes per day.  This combined with a 45-60 minute wait made getting at line at just the right time a real challenge.  We were the second to last family to meet them, so it worked out perfectly!

Cantina-Band-2015-05-16-01The Cantina Band is one of Alana’s favorite.  Each band member meets individually, but the band took a liking to Alana and pulled her aside for a quick group picture.  Alana will practice playing an instrument this year so she can be an official band member next year.

Darth-Vader-2015-05-16The force is strong in this little one.  In actuality, we spent 45 minutes in line convincing Alana that Darth Vader is really a puppy dog under the mask – that way, she wasn’t afraid to take her picture with him.  Unfortunately, Vader yelled at Alana the next week so she doesn’t like him again – and rightfully so.  Darth Vader is a jerk.

Darth-Maul-2015-05-23Darth Alana isn’t afraid of Darth Maul – plus it doesn’t hurt that we convinced Alana that Darth Maul is a kitty cat.  Made for some confusing conversations later when Alana would tell other guests.

Greedo-2015-06-06-04Greedo doesn’t meet in the park but does appear at a separately-ticketed character breakfast.  Alana found him leaving the restaurant and quickly used the force to trap him long enough to take a picture.

Stormtroopers-2015-05-23The Stormtroopers are very protective of their own!

Imperial-Forces-2015-06-06The Imperial Guard could tell that Alana was dedicated to the dark side by the way she would only wear her Darth Vader and Stormtrooper outfits.

Queen-Amidala-2015-06-06-02Queen Amidala spent some great quality time with Alana in her private garden.

Chewy-and-Logray-2015-05-23Alana loved getting hugs from Chewbacca and Logray.

Wicket-2015-05-24Alana was really excited about meeting Wicket, so imagine her excitement when Wicket invited her to walk together hand-in-hand through the park.  An absolute joy and such a special moment for Alana.

Disney---Jedi-Mickey-and-Leia-Minnie-2015-05-16Alana really likes the Star Wars characters, but her heart is always with Minnie Mouse.

Disney---Stormtrooper-Donald-and-Darth-Goofy-2015-05-23Stormtrooper Donald took a strong liking to Alana’s Stormtrooper costume.

Jedis---Mace-Windu,-KIt-Fisto-2015-05-16She might not have the hand sign mastered, but Alana really enjoyed her time visiting Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Kit Fisto.

Jedis---Shaak-Ti,-Anakin-2015-05-16 Shaak Ti and Anakin Skywalker also helped Alana with her Jedi training.

Ezra-and-Sabine-2015-05-14Finding Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels was a real treat because they don’t do meets in the park.  Alana found them wandering on the last day, but promised she’d keep their location a secret…

Bounty-Hunter-2015-06-14But deep down, Alana is a Stormtrooper at heart and quickly ratted out her Ezra and Sabine to this bounty hunter.

Boba-Fett-2015-05-30-01Alana was initially scared of Boba Fett but appreciated him by the end of the event.

Jango-Fett-2015-05-24Despite her love for Boba Fett, she never quite felt the same way towards Jango Fett.

Jawas-2015-06-09Alana’s absolute favorites of the entire event at the Jawas.  It’s sad thinking that she won’t get to see these new friends for another year.  They carry a basket of trinkets, so Alana always made sure to bring beads and pins to trade with them.  One Jawa gave her an R2D2 statue, while another gave her a Boba Fett pin, and yet another gave her a small stuff puppy dog named Ati Koki.  It wasn’t just the toys though, as Alana LOVED talking to them, hugging them and overall playing with them.

Disney---Chipwoks-2015-05-23Alana loved seeing the Chipwoks – Chip and Dale dressed as Ewoks!

Clonetroopers-2015-06-14The Clonetroopers didn’t have formalized meets, but rather would choose guests from a crowd to approach and take a photo.  Alana was excited when she’d get chosen for her turn.

Ahsoka-Tano-and-Asajj-Ventress-2015-05-24Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress from Clone Wars were happy to see Alana.  Funny story about this picture.  A random guest took a photo from the side and posted to her Twitter – which was then retweeted by the official Star Wars account.  Next thing I know, people are letting me know that hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are talking about Alana on Twitter.  Seeing as we only use Instagram and Facebook, it was quite the surprise to see the conversation going on.

Captain-Rex-and-Commander-Cody-2015-05-30Captain Rex and Commander Cody, also from Star Wars Clone Wars.

Bith-Pilot-2015-06-10-01While not a member of the band, this Bith is a pilot that would hang out in the Rebel Hangar – a Star Wars Lounge event.  We were lucky that we got a photo with him, as not every character would stop for photos.

Rodian-Mechanic-2015-06-10We also met this Rodian Mechanic at the Rebel Hangar.  He’s not Greedo although he is the same species.

Aurra-Sing-2015-05-24Aurra Sing is a little intimidating, although she was kind enough to sign Alana’s Stormtrooper mask.

Zam-Wessel-2015-05-30Zam Wessel is also a little scary, but Alana eventually warmed up and started calling her Purple Princess.

Tusken-Raiders-2015-06-06-02It took four weeks to convince Alana to take a picture with the Tusken Raiders – but once she found one who made goofy noises and played with her, they suddenly became her best friends.  In the final weekend, she asked every Tusken Raider to take a picture with her.  Needless to say, Alana is no longer scared.

Gamorrean-Guard-2015-05-24Alana never quite warmed up to the Gamorrean Guard, but I don’t blame her.  Those pigs are pretty scary.  This particular weekend, Alana was coloring on the floor when the Guard snuck up from behind.  Alana fled for her life while I snapped a picture that clearly counts as a character meet.

And that’s it.  Five weekends and Alana had a blast finding all these new characters.  It was a great time and Alana is already excited to see everyone again at next year’s Star Wars Weekends event.

Alana Met The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Alana Met The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This past weekend, we visited Nickelodeon Suites Resort and met many great characters, but the highlight of the weekend was meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  We had two different opportunities to meet them – on Sunday afternoon, there was a staged photo where you could meet all four turtles at once.  And on Saturday evening, we attended a character dining event where you eat Italian buffet while the turtles each visit your table.

TMNT-2015-03-29Alana became a huge fan of the turtles after this weekend.

Leonardo-2015-03-28-02Leonardo leads – and gives big hugs!

Donatello-2015-03-28-02Donatello does machines – and makes a great elbow rest.

Raphael-2015-03-28Raphael is cool but rude – especially while Alana shows off her ninja skills.

Mikey-2015-03-28Michelangelo is a party dude!  Hi Mom!

DSC_0845Before dinner, the Turtles gave a demonstration of their ninja skills.

Foot-Soldier-2015-03-28Alana, look out behind you!  Foot soldier!!

Alana Met Yellow Rabbit!

Alana Met Yellow Rabbit!

Yellow Rabbit has been one of the hardest characters for us to find.  He only appears very rarely, and odds are against you meeting him unless you immediately hop into line.  When he does randomly appear, he usually only stays for one or two sets before disappearing for the day.  After we met him, he only met with two more families before leaving for break – and ultimately being replaced by Tigger.

YellowRabbit_HundredAcreWoods_2015-04-01_01Apr 2015: Alana meets Yellow Rabbit for the first time, after a year of hunting.  She’s excited to get his autograph in her book.

YellowRabbit_HundredAcreWoods_2015-04-01_04Apr 2015:  Alana with Yellow Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh at 100 Acre Woods in Magic Kingdom.

YellowRabbit_HundredAcreWoods_2015-04-01_05Apr 2015:  Big hugs for Yellow Rabbit!

 

 

Alana Met Scuba Mickey

When Alana and I started hunting characters back in early 2014, we would read websites and see pictures of characters that we never imagined we would actually find in the parks.  The top of our Wish List had to be Scuba Mickey.

It seemed like the perfect storm of impossibility.  He has only been seen in the rarest of occassions, usually disappearing for a year at a time.  All water conditions need to be right for Mickey to enter the water.  Once he’s there, he can only stay underwater for a limited time.  And once he appears, a swarm of people will fill the glass, making it impossible to get the perfect picture.  All these things made the task seem impossible.

After a sighting last week and another this week, Alana and I decided to check out the saltwater tank at Nemo & Friends.  After a 45 minute wait, it suddenly happened.  We saw yellow legs lowering into the water, and before I could say anything, a child screamed “It’s Mickey Mouse!” and the glass flooded with people.  Mickey swam by the last for two minutes before heading over to the windows at Coral Reef Restaurant.  Eventually Mickey came back for a few minutes of pictures and underwater backflips before heading back to the surface.

Huge thanks to Molly for entertaining Alana and holding her in these pictures.  And thanks to Willy The Artist for taking much better photos than I could.  We’ve met hundreds of characters but this has to be the best meet ever, right?

Mickey-Scuba-2015-03-27-02-pic-by-willyMar 2015:  Got extremely lucky when we found Scuba Mickey swimming in the tank outside Nemo at Epcot.
Photo Credit:  www.instagram.com/willytheartist

Mickey-Scuba-2015-03-27-04

Mickey-Scuba-2015-03-27-01-pic-by-willyMar 2015:  Another great shot with Scuba Mickey.
Photo Credit:  www.instagram.com/willytheartist

Alana Meets Universal’s Mardi Gras Performers – March 15th Report

Alana Meets Universal’s Mardi Gras Performers

On Sunday, March 15th, we finished up our trifecta of hitting up all three Mardi Gras parades this weekend.  After wearing her mask for the past few days, Alana decided to mix things up and wanted to entertain her friends with her new jester’s cap.  Hilarity ensued!

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_1069

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0775Alana gets excited because she sees her Mardi Gras bestie coming!

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0805

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0849

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0406

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0303This friend on the left is holding a flower that Alana picked for her earlier in the night!

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0264

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0999

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0864

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_0375

mardigras-2015-03-15-07

mardigras-2015-03-15-06

mardigras-2015-03-15-05

mardigras-2015-03-15-04

mardigras-2015-03-15-03

mardigras-2015-03-15-02

mardigras-2015-03-15-01

After she finished meeting all her friends, we settled into our permanent spot for the parade.  This also gave Alana the chance to say Hi to all her friends one last time before the parade began.

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_1231

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_1247

The parade was amazing – as always – and Alana was beaming from all the attention she received from all her new friends.

mardigras-2015-03-15-DSC_1299

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

Alana Met Cinderella’s Suzy and Perla!

Our run of meeting rare characters continued this past weekend at Magic Kingdom.  We lined up to meet the Tremaines, but they left after a few minutes – and were replaced with Suzy and Perla!  For months, we’ve heard that Suzy and Perla were meeting in Fantasyland, but had never seen them in person.  We know several people who have seen them, but the line closed before they could join.  Basically these characters come out infrequently and are mobbed when they show up.  So this meet was definitely 100% luck!

Suzy-and-Perla-2015-03-08-640x480

Alana Met Winter-Hood Lady Tremaine

It was a relatively warm morning at Magic Kingdom, so we weren’t expecting to see any characters wearing their winter clothes.  We lucked out and found Lady Tremaine wearing her Winter Hood.  We’ve met Lady Tremaine many times in the past, but this was our first time meeting her in her winter hood, bringing our character count up by one.

Lady-Tremaine-Winter-Hood-2015-03-01-640x480

Apparently she’s not too into hugs!

Alana Met Robin Hood!

Huge day today!  We’ve spent countless days attending Characterpalooza events and have met almost all the characters.  But one wily fox evaded us for months.  Just as quickly as he’d appear, he’d disappear for a month or more – just enough to tease that he’s around but remind us that we never met him.

The gates to Characterpalooza were busier than ever.  Because it’s Sunday, there was only one set.  We overheard conversations of people speculating who could be behind the doors, and which rare characters they’d run to first.  Then the gates opened…

The green outfit on the brown fur could be seen from a mile away.  We immediately knew today was magical.  The crowds of people hunting “rare” characters ran right past him to meet Aladdin and other characters there every day.  A lot of people had no idea who he was.  But we knew.  Because we looked for him forever.

The meet with Robin Hood was amazing.  Alana loved the big hugs and had him sign her book, although ironically he’s one of the only characters not in the book because we never found him before.  He posed for pictures and we moved on.  We had enough time to meet some other characters and come back and see him again – because, really, it’ll be forever and a moon before we see him again.

Overall, excellent day at Characterpalooza.  But odd at the same time.  Robin Hood officially marks the final character she has yet to meet at this event.  The driving force for us returning over and over.  Just like the drive to meet the Tweedles (who are fairly regular now at Magic Kingdom) drove us to return over and over through the summer, so is the same for Robin Hood now.  We’ll still return but that prayer for an unmet character is gone – until they break out the next new character!

RobinHood_2015-03-01_640x480

Characterpalooza Report for March 1st – Alana found Robin Hood, Evil Queen and More

Characterpalooza Report for March 1st – Alana found Robin Hood, Evil Queen and More

We had an extremely successful visit to Characterpalooza on Sunday, March 1, 2015.  The gates were busier than ever but once inside we had plenty of time to meet everyone we wanted.  And the event was filled with more rare characters than usual – in fact, the only princess available was Snow White!

Pinocchio-and-Geppetto-2015-03-01-640x480Meeting Pinocchio and Geppeto individually is special, but both together is really a treat!

Robin-Hood-2015-03-01-640x480Robin Hood is one of the most rare characters we ever met at Charaterpalooza!

Evil-Queen-2015-03-01-01-640x480The Evil Queen was not impressed with Alana’s attempts to cast magic with her “wand”.

Donald-Blue-Sailor-2015-03-01-640x480Finding Donald in his blue sailor outfit is much more rare than you would expect!

Snow-White-2015-03-01-640x480After meeting the rare characters, Alana always finds time to tell Snow White about the bears living in the woods.