Disney: July 12: Street Party and Parade of Hats

Our first stop inside the Magic Kingdom was to a store.  Nope, we weren’t trying to load up on souvenirs.  Rather, we had received a coupon for 20 percent off any purchase between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. with our previous day’s meal.  How’s that for a gimmick?  And so we dropped into the store immediately (it’s tough getting out of the hotel room in the morning, ya know?).

We were suffering from a little bit of hat envy, as several of the people on our bus had their official ears (personalized!).  Chi decided it would be totally cool to try on all sorts of crazy hats “for your blog, Mom” and so she ran around the store putting an assortment on her head (none of which did we choose). 

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That birthday hat came with a story.  Chi said she was pretending it was her UNbirthday and so the sass was part of the hat’s mystique.  She was going to fool everyone and see how many “Happy Birthday’s” she’d hear. And the Nightmare Before Christmas Hat?  Didn’t fit at all… but it was her absolute favorite.  Remember that she likes being incognito? This is her favorite shot, as the hat slipped over her whole head right as I took the picture:

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Funny thing was, later we saw a girl wearing the same oversized chapeau and it fit her head!

I got into the hoopla and donned a few ears of my own.  Notice the bride ears on the right? Chi’s subtle hint to me that I should be dreaming of my walk down the isle.

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We asked where to get them personalized and were directed to another shop exclusively for hats right by the entrance to the park.  But just as I was wrapping up my purchase of the prized Chi ears, the excitment outside for the Magic Kingdom Street Party parade was too tempting to miss. (I did however chat up the cashier enough to get our “First Visit” buttons).
There is an art to picking the best vantage point for these parades… and I sort of walked into those spots at absolute random every time.  Now I cannot say the same for my parents, who had to manuever the rented stroller through the crowds to wherever I wandered. [Add the issue of avoiding the tracks in the middle of Main Street that seemed perfect for catching aforementioned rented stroller’s wheels, and it’s a tough drive.]
For the Street Party, the parade circles right in front of the castle, so standing on the interior of the center garden is a perfect place for getting into the dancing and for taking great pictures.  As we were late, I grabbed Chi’s hand and we took of into the crowds, using our lack of height as an excuse to push further into the midst of the activity. We danced with a Jungle Book character for a few minutes! 
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PopPop stayed on the perimeter of the circle and videotaped the parade as each float circled around twice and then stopped to let off characters into the crowds to dance. 
I admit that I felt a lot like a kid as I shook my “tail feathers” to the music and clapped my hands.   And the characters on the floats were those I had been seeing on movies and the Disney Channel all my life.  So awesome!
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