As usual for Friday, it was Expo and social day. After getting up, we headed to the food court for some breakfast. I realized I never took a picture of my dinner the night before. So, I made sure to get pictures of all the menus on the wall.
I ended up at the bakery to get a bagel and cream cheese. While they were in the back looking for more cream cheese, a family ordered the chocolate, chocolate chip muffins and they looked delicious. So, when she came back with my cream cheese, I asked for one as well. The food court was super busy at this time in the morning. Luckily, Jamie found us a table that someone was vacating.
We finished up and headed back to the room to gather everything we needed for the Expo and meetup. I also had to shrink wrap the present I had for my secret princess. In the Facebook group that does the meetup, we also used Elfster to draw names for what I called the Secret Princess gift exchange. I needed to deliver the present to her hotel since she wasn’t attending the meetup. On a whim, we stopped by the concierge to see if they would deliver it to the hotel for us. They looked up the reservation to make sure there would be no issues. After much searching and a message to my princess, we found the reservation and all was good. That saved us a taxi ride and a little time. So, we waited for the Expo bus in front of the lobby. We didn’t have to wait for very long. Before we knew it, we had arrived at the Expo.
They had banners up with all the medals at the entrance for picture opportunities.
This grassy area is where we’ve held the meetup the last 2 years. This is the first year they’ve had things on it.
This proved to be problematic but we’ll get to that later. First stop, the HP Field House to get our bibs and shirts.
They had a pretty cool picture spot just inside, but I didn’t want to stop.
It was pretty empty while we were there.
The completely empty section in the first photo was the bib pick up for the 5k. Considering it had already happened that morning, there was no need for those anymore. I checked in at the Glass Slipper Challenge booth for my bib number, 23637. I had remembered to bring my printed and signed waiver.
After getting my bundle of shirts, we went over to the race retreat lines. Jamie didn’t realize she didn’t get this when she originally got her things the day before. I had read that there was a separate line for them this time. Before, they gave you the bracelet at bib pick up. After getting our race retreat bracelets, we exited through a hallway that had a bunch of inspirational sayings from the Princess movies.
Then we went through the outside hall with the Princess silhouettes. I took a picture of a couple.
Then we went up the stairs and around to the pre-purchased merchandise area.
I had pre-purchased a Dooney for my friend, Rebecca, who wasn’t at Princess this year. I waited in the very short line and got my bag. They even asked me which princess was my favorite (Ariel is Rebecca’s) and made sure she had good placement on the bag.
Then we went across the way to the Expo.
They had a DJ just inside the entrance this year. That’s a new thing.
This is the view of the Expo from above.
My first stop was the Raw Threads booth. I was running Princess with the Raw Threads Club. Since this is the first race I was running with them, I got a nice canvas bag with a patch for Princess. I had previously bought the Star Wars Light Side patch since I did not sign up through the club for that one.
Our next stop was the Official Merchandise area.
I considered the Glass Slipper Challenge I Did It shirt since I liked the color, but ultimately decided to save my money.
On the way out of the merchandise area, we found another new thing. There was an area set up selling wine and cheese. I’m not sure if this was just because the theme was Beauty and the Beast or if this will continue.
While walking around, we did find one booth selling tiaras.
I also stopped and got a pair of the Toy Story shoes for my son. The clip on for them was the green aliens. By this point, we were hungry. After enjoying the display with things from the Beauty and the Beast movie on the way out (where the speaker series once lived), we stopped at the grab and go area and got something to tide us over. We knew we’d be eating at Afternoon Tea so I didn’t want to get too much. I ended up with a yogurt and PowerAde.
Then we went back to the grassy area to wait for meetup time. We ate while sitting on the benches in the area.
Soon, Naomi and Lisa arrived with the goodies. I helped get them out of the car and set up in the grass. I had the list and people had already started arriving. We formed an assembly line to get everything handed out. As I started checking people in, I found out Lisa was approached by someone and told we needed to leave. Somehow, they got them to agree that we could stay for one hour. Due to this issue, a couple ladies jumped in to help us get everyone checked in and move things along. Soon everyone that was present was checked in. So, we arranged for a group picture.
Once the picture was done, we ran through all the raffle items. We had quite a few. Then we called names of Secret Princesses, only one was found, and packed everything up to leave. Since we finished in an hour, we had time to go back to the resort before Tea. The bus was waiting once we got over there.
That is where my day took a turn for the worse. It turns out several ladies showed up to the meetup after we had already packed up and left. They were unhappy and lashed out. I don’t think a few of them realized that we also had plans beyond the meetup. It was getting to me so much that I left a short post in the event on Facebook and then asked Jamie to keep my phone so I wouldn’t look at it. I was already so upset I was almost shaking. Nancy was also staying at our resort and attending the Tea. So, we agreed to meet up in the lobby in about 45 minutes and grab a cab over to the Grand Floridian.
While in the room, I opened the Secret Princess gift that I had received from Shelly at the meetup. She really is a sweetheart.
I tried to relax in the room for the time we had left. Soon we were heading to the lobby to meet Nancy. We found her and got a cab. It was a relatively short ride. Once there, we saw the icon of the Grand Floridian.
As we entered the Grand Floridian, Naomi found us and brought us up to the bar on the second floor where she was enjoying some drinks with Lisa. I was so worked up about the disgruntled ladies, that I really needed a drink. So, Jamie, Nancy, and I ordered drinks and sat at the small table with Naomi and Lisa. Thankfully, Jamie ran down to the Tea room and told them where we were. They assured her we would be fine coming down a little late. In short order, my pretty drink looked like this.
At this point, I honestly can’t remember if I ordered a second or if this was someone else’s drink. I’m guessing it was my second to help calm me down.
These drinks were really good. I highly recommend them if you’re ever at the Grand Floridian bar. Finally, Mimi and her friend arrived. Since it was getting close to the end of Tea time, we all made our way down to the Tea room. They sat our group of 7 at the far end of the room. Luckily, most people were finishing up their tea. I’m afraid our group was a little loud partially due to the drinks previously consumed. Our waiter Patrick really was a sweetheart. He was very tolerant and kind of played along with us.
Corey was also super nice and helped Naomi pick out her tea.
This was the menu for this year’s trip.
The tea selection had changed since last year.
I ordered the Derbyshire again this year. They actually brought the tea out before the sparkling wine this time.
Naomi shared the option with caviar with someone else. They brought out the sparkling wine with the caviar.
Soon the finger sandwiches arrived. I gave my onion tart to Jamie. That’s the only thing I don’t love on this plate. I’m not a huge fan of onions.
Soon, they brought out the scones and desserts together on these stands. I think we were the last ones left at this point.
We enjoyed the last of our tea and then paid our bills. Since we were the last people in the restaurant (and some of the ladies jokingly gave them some grief) we each left with a rose that had been sitting in a bucket.
At this point, Jamie and I wanted to go to Trader Sam’s and just enjoy our night. We hopped on the monorail and rode it around to the Polynesian. Once we got off, we made our way through the sea of people that must have just finished their luau to the sort of hidden entrance to Trader Sam’s. We put in our name and were told it would be about 45 minutes. We walked around outside to the patio with the stand up bar tables. I had heard that we could get the alcoholic Dole Whips here. Jamie went up to the bar area and got us each one.
It wasn’t Trader Sam’s, but the atmosphere was nice. There was a musician playing on the outdoor deck. While we were enjoying it, we met a nice couple and chatted with them a while. Once we finished our drinks, we decided we were ready for bed. So, we headed back to Trader Sam’s and took our names off the list. It turns out we were only one name away from getting in at that point. We took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and caught the bus to Port Orleans Riverside from there. Once we got back to the room, we found my sister already asleep in bed. We both set out our race things for the morning and quickly followed her lead.