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The Sunday Salon: *Happiest Place on Earth* edition

Our family escaped the snow (still more than two feet on the ground in Boston!) over the winter break and headed for Orlando, “the happiest place on earth.”

And you know what?!  It was very happy indeed!  Aside from being comfortable outside (pleasant weather, “dressing in layers” meant a sweatshirt at night – not a sweater, down jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves), there were a few literary highlights:

NUMBER ONE!! I had dinner with Sandy from You’ve GOTTA Read This and Heather from Raging Bibliomania!  Sandy and Heather have spent time together before (and, in fact, are in the Books, Babes, and Bordeaux book club), but it was the first time I had met either of them.

Were we all shy? Were there long, uncomfortable pauses in the conversation when we didn’t have anything to say to each other?  No. and no.  Was it as if I had known them for years? Did I wish that we had more time (more than the 3.5 hour dinner, plus the time we spent “recalculating” the route back to the hotel) to spend together? Yes. and yes.

Wonderful time with wonderful women!  The food was great – we ate at Citricos, a Mediterranean style restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort, I started with a “Citripolitan” and a bottle of something red that Sandy ordered.  Heather and I ended with warm Chocolate-Banana Torte, while Sandy had the Seasonal Berry Gratin.  Yes, we had appetizer/salads and an amazing meal, but I hit the highlights with drinks and desserts.

We talked books, of course – our current book group picks, the difference between chick lit and women’s fiction, various ways book groups create their reading lists, the fantastic home delivery service offered by the Orlando Public Library, Heather and Sandy’s involvement in the Central Florida University Book Festival … I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting.

Mid-meal, around 8 o’clock, we looked out the window in response to some loud banging and popping (and ooh-ing and aah-ing).  The Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks display had begun, and we had a perfect view from our table.  Really, dinner with book friends can’t be beat!

Phillip, one of the chefs, gave us his card; I’m sure Sandy and Heather will likely return before I do … the commute is a bit more tolerable for them (as long as Sandy’s GPS is working!).  Oh, and J and the kids were at the pool when “mom’s book blogger friends” picked me up, so they remain anonymous :)

NUMBER TWO:  We had breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table on Thursday morning.  This is an all-out Disney character breakfast, which starts with a meet-and-greet photo with Cinderella, followed by a table service breakfast (decent food, and they kept the coffee cups refilled … very important at the start of a long day in the them parks!).  The younger kids got magic wands and swords (! I’m not a fan of the swords, magical or not!), and there was a hokey/cute ‘wishing ceremony.’

Various Disney Princesses filed in, chatted with the kids, posed for photos, and signed autograph books.  We met Cinderella, Jasmine, Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White. And … our favorite … Belle!  We told her that she was our favorite, since she is also “too fond of books.”  She smiled and told to keep reading and “have a magical day.”  She did look a bit threatened, truth be told …

NUMBER THREE:  Okay, segueing from breakfast with the princesses, I have to say I’ve been thinking a lot about Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. I haven’t yet read (and haven’t yet bought) the book, but I know enough about it to be interested.

This week I saw a lot of young princesses – girls who visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, “a beauty salon where little girls are magically transformed into little princesses.”  Packages come in three levels (Coach, Crown, and Castle), include nail color, hair style, and make-up, and run $50 to $190.  I’m not kidding. Click the link to view some photos and see what little boys get in the Young Knight package.

There’s a big difference between children playing dress-up and this marketing machine that is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  It’s not limited to Disney, though.  Any nail salon will give a manicure to a girl old enough to sit still for it; I’ve stayed in a resort which offered “my first facial” and “mommy and me” spa treatments.  Even before reading Orenstein’s book, she’s got my attention … and has me evaluating some of the messages I’m sending my own daughters.

That’s all the Sunday Salon chat for this weekend … what are you up to?!

18 comments to The Sunday Salon: *Happiest Place on Earth* edition

  • What a fabulous vacation! Since I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you, Sandy and Heather I know what a fun evening you three had – I know there was a witty, intelligent conversation at that table!

  • What a great photo, and it sounds like you had the most amazing time.

  • What fun! I know how much enjoyment can be gleaned from meeting up with “online friends.” I did that with two friends awhile ago, and hope to do it again soon.

    I haven’t been to Florida…yet. It sounds like so much fun.

    Here’s MY SUNDAY SALON POST

  • That sounds great. It’s always cool to meet other bloggers whom you know only in the virtual world. It’s happened to me once and I’d love to have the experience again.

  • I am so jealous you guys all get to meet up! Too fun!

  • Sounds like a great time – it’s so much fun to meet blogging friends outside the computer :-) . Looking forward to NYC in May for that!

    I have a 16-year-old that’s as far from princessy as it gets, but I’m rather intrigued by the Orenstein book myself. A week at Disney could certainly get someone pondering the whole “princess culture” thing, couldn’t it?

  • Oh that vacation sounds like a blast! And that dinner: yum! I know what you mean about being leary about certain girl merchandise, etc, out there. Cinderella Ate My Daughter is really good!

  • What a fantastic trip! I would have loved to have been there with you ladies. I’m glad you all had such a terrific time!

  • You guys look like you are having such a grand time. How fun! I’ve only meet a few book blog friends but it was really a treat.

  • Aww, so glad you’re having a great time! The book blogging dinner sounds awesome. As I now know, you are so lovely to be with that I would be astounded had there been any uncomfortable pauses in the conversation. ;-) I saw Peggy Orenstein on Greater Boston one night recently, and I loved what she had to say. Her book sounds like it’s right on the mark for our times. I might read it even though we don’t have a daughter; we do have a young man, though, who will be dating soon, so I think it could still be useful.

  • I had such an amazing time with you guys, and you are right that there were no uncomfortable pauses and fits in the conversation to speak of. I always find it funny that when I meed up with other book bloggers for the first time that it’s like we have known each other for years! I hope your vacation continues to be great, and I laughed so much at that picture when I saw that it was one that Phillip has sneaked his way into!

  • If I could have pulled off a 6 hour dinner I would have, but you know, I guess we had to sleep at some point. Such fun. Hope you come back soon! Disney half marathon baby!

    And yes that BBB is freaking insane. Just insane. Praise Jesus my daughter was beyond all that by the time it opened.

  • Ti

    It looks like you all had a lovely time! I was a bit green with envy when Sandy posted that one pic on FB. Sigh. Someday, I will get to meet you.

  • Your dinner sounds wonderful!! All that marketing and the messages it sends our kids…

  • I looked for you in the airport! I had a great time in Orlando last week, too. :)

  • All – yes, vacation was fantastic. So nice to come in out of the cold for a bit … or, rather, to get out into the sun for a bit. Nice to be home to routines, too, so I think it was a successful vacation.

    Care – We had an early flight down (landed at 10), so we missed you. Glad you had fun, too … something to carry us through this last month of winter.

  • Oh boy, did you deserve a break from that weather you’ve been having. That boutique is crazy–you’re so right, big difference between that and playing dress up. Part of which is, I think, the idea that your parents would be willing to shell out that much money to have you look like that. To me that says this is no longer just for fun.

  • What an awesome vacation and a chance to meet bloggy friends :)

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