Seriously. It was so fun! Disney’s Next Princess was awesome, well-behaved and not-whiny. Everyone had a good time, and we stuck to my plan, which was a good plan (mostly because I actually took the time to plan) but also because my plan had these components:
- one activity in the morning, one in the afternoon (because more than that is too much)
- asked DNP what she might want to do before we left home, and in the process dropped some ideas which were deemed “boring”
- we saw our friends who live in the UK (friends with kids are great, but even better are cousins who bring candy and love well-behaved little girls!)
- we had an apartment so we could cook meals, or at least reheat meals, which was good because you can seriously spend like a billion dollars eating out in London.
- we stayed in a nice area, that was central to things we wanted to see
- between morning and afternoon activities we headed back to our apartment for a rest and sometimes lunch
- public transit is awesome as long as it isn’t a subway; subways are crowded, you end up doing a lot of walking to transfer, you run for trains, they are crowded, everyone is tall and grim-faced. Buses are good, particularly when they are double-decker, but even when they aren’t, at least you can see where you’re going.
Here is our itinerary:
- Day 1 PM – we arrived mid-day, so in order to adjust to the time zone, we went out for a long walk. We walked to two playgrounds! One was really just accidentally on the way to another, which was our actual destination: the Princess Diana Memorial Playground which is fun and pirate-themed and so crowded! It’s in one corner of Hyde Park, and in order to get there, we passed ice cream (yes!) and ducks and the Peter Pan statue. We took the Tube back to our apartment, and stopped off and picked up some ready-meals at Waitrose to heat up.
Day 2 AM – Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (the best view is from that round thingy in the center, but we weren’t there). Even if we’d been there, it probably wouldn’t have been the most thrilling thing for a 7-year-old. We had a snack in the park near the Palace that we’d brought with us, then headed to Hamley’s (the six-story toy store) where they do demonstrations; toys are flying around everywhere, and there are huge lego sculptures. If you’re from a big city this might not be as impressive as it was for us; they had every toy you can imagine, and pretty much every Playmobil set, which was exciting in itself.
Day 2 PM – Tea at Brown’s Hotel, which has a gluten-free tea that is amazing! This is pretty expensive, but it was both lunch and dinner and we stuffed ourselves.
Day 3 AM – British Museum, which has kids’ activity backpacks with different themes that you can check out. DNP did the Ancient Greek backpack which had about 7 activities including dressing up in a sort of toga, playing a game (a little bit like jacks) and using a magnet board to match shapes to a Greek temple (which is amazingly assembled inside the Museum). We had lunch with a friend of David’s and his daughter in the Museum cafe.
Day 3 PM – Pedal boats and an ice cream (with a flake in it, of course) on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. In the evening, the Irish cousins (who now live in London) came over, and DNP was occupied with Sarah who brought a diary with a little lock (big hit!) and sweets (including saucers which are too cool!)
Day 4 AM – Took a boat in the Thames from the waterfront past the London Eye all the way down to the Tower of London. You can use your Oyster card for the boat ride, and it’s so cool! The tour of the Tower of London was not a good idea because it was both boring and gruesome, so we bailed and toured ourselves. The armor was everyone’s favorite part.
Day 4 PM – Went to the theater district and saw STOMP (got the tickets a few days earlier online) which was so much fun! The perfect show because there was no complicated story line, nothing scary, lots of funny moments and it was just the right length. And then we met our friend Garrett at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby in Soho called Pho. Turned out to be an all-gluten-free restaurant so I could eat the EGG ROLL! Yes!
The next day we headed off to other parts of England to see friends and family… but we can talk about that later.