I think it is pretty clear now from previous posts that I’m a lover of Disney. So is there any better place to spend a birthday than at Disney World? For a Disney lover, that answer is pretty much always no. For the second year in a row I decided that is where I wanted to spend my birthday. It’s also nice, because my birthday falls in a pretty down time at Disney so it’s always a lot less crowded than some other times we visit during the year. I’m totally ok with that, little crowds, pretty mild weather, and good company, what better way to spend a birthday.
We were at Disney for 3 days this time around, and while we didn’t go to the park all 3 days, we did go on to Disney property every day we were in Orlando. For this trip we decided to stay off property because it worked better for our group, and for our budget. We stayed at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Lake Buena Vista/Orlando. It is sort of Marriott’s version of a timeshare hotel. Now while we don’t buy into the timeshare, we can still stay there with money or points since my husband is a Marriott frequent stayer and is at Titanium level. This resort is very large and perfect for large groups. It has multiple pools, lots of things to do and eat, and they have a few different room options that can work for how large your party is. We stayed in a 2-bedroom villa which was plenty of room for our family for this trip. And one of the other great things about this resort is that it is only 15 minutes from the Disney parks. That helps during those mornings when you want to get there for rope drop but don’t want to wake up that early, since you aren’t staying on property and have to drive yourself to the parks.
Check out the resort website Here
On our first day in town, we wanted to do more relaxing things. We had thought about going to Hollywood Studios, but Cameron sort of rules most of our Disney days depending on her nap schedule, and how she’s feeling. We began our day going to the Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue because I wanted to check out the Disney character warehouse and see what sort of merchandise I could find. While this trip to the outlets were pretty good, I was also trying to save up my money so I didn’t buy as much as I wanted. I ended up getting Cameron a Minnie hoodie, some crayons, and then a holiday stitch which is supposed to be like a Disney version of Elf on the Shelf. Still a pretty good haul even if it’s not much. After the outlets we headed to Disney Springs because we had lunch reservations at my favorite Disney Springs restaurant, Homecomin’. Before lunch though I had to grab my celebratory birthday button, because it’s not really a Disney birthday, if you aren’t obnoxious and want to wear a button to let everyone know it’s your birthday. Lunch didn’t disappoint. I had the thigh high chicken biscuits and some grits, as well as a margarita, because it was my birthday trip and why not. After lunch, we walked around, and shopped around Disney springs. I also, had to pick up my Sephora insider birthday gift, and treat myself to some skincare products I had been wanting. Once we were finished at Disney Springs, we stopped by Publix to get some needs for the rest of the weekend, then checked into the resort where we decided to stay in so we saved up our energy for the rest of the weekend.
Friday was my actual birthday. I decided I wanted to spend the day at Magic Kingdom, because while it was my birthday, I also wanted Cameron to have fun. We began our day taking some basic castle and purple wall photos, wanted to get them in before Cameron decided she wasn’t in the mood for photos. Once photos were finished, we headed off to do some rides. I was trying not to rush around this trip, just take our time and enjoy ourselves. We rode the tea cups, it’s a small world, and pirates, peoplemover, and Monster’s Inc laugh floor as well as met Rapunzel and Tiana all before lunch. We wanted to ride the carousel but someone decided she wasn’t about it this trip. Then it was time for lunch, and we had scored reservations at Be Our Guest, which was a first for everyone. I will say, while it was good, I probably will not return. The food, was pretty decent, but I’ve had better food at Disney, and it was super loud the entire time. I think the pull of the restaurant, is that you are dining in the Beast’s castle which is pretty awesome. I am glad we tried it though. After lunch, I decided I was done with Magic Kingdom, for some reason it felt busier than normal and I was over the “crowds”, so we chose to head over to Hollywood Studios. We were able to snag a fastpass on Tower of Terror, and this way we could walk around Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story land. When we arrived, the weather started taking a turn, and it’s Florida so that’s pretty normal, can be sunny all day and then all of a sudden, it’s supposed to rain. We then decided to just walk around for a hot moment, and head back to the resort, because we weren’t prepared for rain. It was actually pretty nice to leave early and beat the crowds, and this also meant we could have an actual birthday dinner. We went to Hurricane’s Grill and Wings, and once again the food was ok, nothing super great, but at least it wasn’t super expensive. We ended the night back at the resort with a cookie cake and some wine. Pretty amazing birthday if I do say so.
Saturday was all about Epcot. This time of year the Festival of the Arts is going on at the park, and while it’s not my favorite festival, it’s still a pretty good festival. We rode Nemo, Imagination, met Joy from Inside Out and road Soarin. But the main attraction was walking around world showcase and trying different foods and drinks from the festival booths. I think my favorite was the slush drink from the France Pavilion. I didn’t try a lot of food this festival because there wasn’t a whole lot that sounded appealing to me. I did get Cameron some Brie in a bread bowl, some beef wellington, and we shared a seared scallop. She seemed to enjoy all three of them. Early in the afternoon, my brother and SIL met up with us since of course we are a Disney family. We walked a bit more around the world, just chatting, and hanging out, then went to the Japan pavilion for our dinner reservation. Sadly, while the food was ok, it was another not super amazing meal. This is one thing about Disney I think they can improve on, their meal selections and quality of food. After dinner we decided to leave the park for the day since we had been walking 8-10 miles the last few days.
Sunday we all got up and left for home, with another trip to Disney in the books. I really enjoy spending my birthday with family at my happy place. It makes getting older not so bad.