Woke up extra early this morning for a return trip to EPCOT.  This time around it would without Dan or Josh since Dan had to work and Josh would be staying home.  Instead, I’d be meeting up with my friend Karen who came in from Tampa just to see me, and she brought a friend with her who just needed to get out and have some fun (a sentiment I easily understood and sympathized with).  I was a little worried that it might be awkward, but boy was I wrong.

Dan dropped me off over half an hour before the park opened, and it was raining, so I stood at the front entrance just barely out of the rain for quite a while.  Once they let me in, it was still sprinkling so I just made my way quickly back to Soarin’ once more since it’s such an awesome ride.  Sat next to a British family with two kids, one of which was “special needs” I guess you could say.  I honestly don’t really know a better way to say it and be politically correct and polite and so forth.  Anyways though, it was just really sweet to watch the father buckle that son into the seat and hear how excited the boy was to be there.  It broke my heart a little, but also made me very happy at the same time.

Karen was running a little late, but once she and her friend Emily arrived, the real party began.  We raced over to Soarin’ to get a FastPass for later, which was especially exciting for Emily since she’d never been on it before.  Then we killed some time in Canada before reporting in for our lunch reservation at the incredibly exclusive restaurant, La Cellier.  It had originally only been for Karen and I, but we requested the option to add a third and the restaurant staff were all very accommodating and polite, and it was no hassle at all.

La Cellier, for those of you who don’t know, means “The Cellar”, and that’s exactly what this place was.  It was made to resemble a wine cellar, so it was a little darker than a restaurant normally would be, but to excellent effect.  The atmosphere was flawless, and the wait staff were just great.  Delicious assorted bread types for an appetizer, followed by salads and then the main course.  I had the best steak burger I’ve ever eaten in my life, and Karen had beef something-or-other which she enjoyed, and Emily had salmon (I think).  I don’t really pay attention to what others eat.  At the end of the meal Karen attempted to pay the tab, and Emily snatched it away and took care of it.  She thanked us for allowing her to join in on our fun, and wanted to repay the favor a little.  It was an incredibly generous offer (though I never saw the tab, I know it was no dinner at Chili’s), so Karen and I both thanked her and gracefully accepted (though Karen put up a bit more of a fight than I did [I’m poor!!!]).

We did some shopping throughout Mexico, China, and Japan in the EPCOT Showcase of countries.  Karen and I bought matching rings with each of our names, so I have her name on my hand now and she has mine.  This was in accordance with our incredibly genuine and oh-so-legal marriage earlier this week, spontaneously agreed to after an honest compliment to Karen’s beauty which resulted in her proposing to me.  We’re madly in love.  Babies soon to come.  Perhaps tomorrow.  There were lots of cute children all over the parks this week, and lots of parents not watching closely.  Maybe I’ll snatch a cute one.

Not really.

But maybe.

Just kidding.

But only a little.

The three of us hopped on the inter-park monorail and switched over from EPCOT to Magic Kingdom.  Karen and I had to meet up with Dan and Josh for dinner at the even more exclusive restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is actually on the second story inside the castle itself.  Emily unfortunately couldn’t join us, so she went off on her own for a while to find something entertaining to do.  Just to give you a further idea of what I mean when I say it’s exclusive, I had to call exactly 180 days before the date we’d be dining, and I had to call around 5 am in order to make sure we got the time we wanted.  People book their entire vacations around being able to get into this place for a meal.  Upon getting there, it was immediately evident why.

Once we were let into the staging area downstairs, the entire party took a picture with Cinderella.  We were then directed to go upstairs to the restaurant itself, where we were seated and greeted by a very nice waiter.  Dan and Josh mentioned that you almost never get to be a server in CRT without having been with Disney for at least a decade.  It’s the cream of the crop, the most elite serving position in all the parks, so they make sure no newbie messes up the experience for a family.  Each of us picked out an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert.

As we ate a couple of the mice from Cinderella came out, as well as the Fairy Godmother.  There was a mini-show put on for all the diners, so that was really neat too.  I had lemon chicken for dinner, and it was just magnificent.  Between that and La Cellier, I’d been eating like a king all day.  Before we’d finished eating they brought us our photo package including four 4×6 printouts of our picture with Cinderella from before dinner, and one larger picture framed in a nice album.  Very classy, and all part of the pre-paid meal package that we’d paid for when the reservation was made 6 months ago.

After dinner Karen and Emily headed home, as did Dan and Josh and I.  I’m exhausted now, so it’s long overdue for me to hop in bed.

Tomorrow…Animal Kingdom!  Hope it doesn’t rain again.  I don’t want to be smelling stinky soggy animals all day.