4 (and a half) days in Disney
For my 21st birthday my parents asked me a simple question, “do you want a trip or a party?”
Is that even a question? I made the mistake of choosing party for my sweet 16. Not that I didn’t love my party and have a great time, but why in the world did I say no to a trip with my parents?
After I [quickly] decided to go with the trip, they asked me where I wanted to go. Another simple answer: Disney World.
My mom LOVES Disney and immediately started planning. This woman should really be a travel agent with how well she plans trips. We’d been to Disney a bunch of times before this, but going as adults is an entirely different experience. I knew she’d plan a great trip, so I told her a few things I wanted to do, and let her tackle the rest.
My birthday is in July, but Florida in the summer is a little too hot and Disney is a little too crowded for our liking, so we decided to go in September when the weather cooled down and the kids were back in school.
Day 1: Downtown Disney & Hollywood Studios
My dad, mom, and I flew into Orlando early in the morning. My mom always likes to get us as much time into a trip as she can, so we tend to take early morning flights on the way in and afternoon/evening flights on the way home. We grabbed our bags, boarded Disney’s Magical Express, and made our way to the hotel. We were staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. The hotel was adorable. Jazz music booming throughout the lobby, the smell of beignets lingering around, and a colorful New Orleans decor everywhere you looked. We checked in, they gave me a birthday button, and went on to start our Disney adventure.
Since we took such an early flight and ate breakfast at the crack of dawn, we were ravenous at this point, so we made our way to Downtown Disney (which changed names to Disney Springs right after our trip there!) and went to the T-Rex Café for some lunch. The décor is exactly what you’d imagine, dark, a little foggy, and dinosaurs everywhere. It is a really cute place and the food is delicious!
After lunch we went back to the hotel for a quick outfit change, and then we were off to Hollywood Studios! We watched a few shows, our favorite being Muppet Vision 3-D, and did a few character meet and greets, which was one of the criteria I told my mom before planning. I wanted to take as many character pictures as we could, because I am a child 🙂 . I am also a huge Star Wars fan, so obviously we had to check out the Star Wars area (this was pre-Galaxy’s edge unfortunately). We rode Star Tours, which is a really fun simulator and took lots of pics in the area, so the day was pretty great and the trip was off to a great start.
Day 2: Animal Kingdom & the Boardwalk
Next up on the itinerary was Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Boardwalk. Usually you can probably squeeze Animal Kingdom into a half-day adventure, but I wanted to take in as much as we could, so we dedicated an entire day there. It was a bit rainy and wet that day, so we started the day indoors with a show, It’s Tough to be a Bug!, which is a fun 3-D experience with the characters of A Bug’s Life. Then we were off to more character meet and greets. My dad was not a big fan of how many pictures we were making him take, but he was a trooper and did most of them with us anyway. After some more pictures, we took a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, which takes you around the park to see all different kinds of safari animals! It’s a really unique experience from everything else in Disney, and one of my highlights whenever we go to Animal Kingdom. Of course, afterwards, we did some more character meets. One in particular comes to mind here: Russell and Dug from Up. Russell would NOT let me leave. We took so many pictures and then he followed us away from the area!! It was honestly adorable. After a full day of rides and meet and greets, we went to Sanaa, an Indian restaurant located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This has to be one of my favorite places to eat in Disney. The food is out of this world delicious, and the atmosphere is even better. The interior of the restaurant is cozy and beautifully decorated. While you’re enjoying your naan and tandoori chicken you can take a look out of the window and see a giraffe or a zebra wander by! It is really an amazing place to go.
Later that night, we decided to check out Disney’s Boardwalk. The boardwalk is filled with lots of entertainment, restaurants, drink spots, and a beautiful view. The lights from all of the buildings glisten off of the water and create a magical feeling. I mean of course it does, we are in Disney after all. We popped into a sports bar (mainly to give my dad something he enjoyed a little more than character meets) and had a few drinks before heading to bed to get ready for our big day at Epcot!
Day 3: Epcot
Since it was my 21st birthday celebration, what better way to celebrate than to plan a day of drinking around the world? We started the day with my favorite thing, a few quick characters meet and greets. Then off to start the drinking tour! First stop – Mexico. Nothing will wake you up faster than a tequila shot first thing in the morning, am I right? We wandered around Epcot stopping in each country for a drink, snack, ride, or quick character picture. It’s a long day there, but it is always a great time! We got a lot of really fun pictures there and made some great memories. We ended this international adventure with dinner at Epcot’s Coral Reef restaurant, which is right near The Seas with Nemo and Friends, so you can imagine what this restaurant is! You head down stairs to this beautiful, calming underwater restaurant, and eat your delicious dinner while seeing some magnificent creatures swim right by you.
Day 4: Chef Mickey’s & Magic Kingdom
Another big day ahead of us! Since we were in Disney in mid-September, we made it just in time for the start of Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party. The party was at Magic Kingdom, but didn’t start until the evening, so we had a whole day to fill before going to that. We started with breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, a staple for my family when we are in Disney. There’s a bunch of characters and a really yummy buffet! After we filled up on Mickey-shaped waffles and ice cream, we took the Monorail over to Magic Kingdom to start our day. We didn’t want to spend all day dressed up in our Halloween outfits, so the three of us chose outfits that we could add a few simple accessories to when it was party time. In the meantime, we wandered around, rode a bunch of rides, took a million more character pictures, and had some tasty park food!
The time finally came for the Halloween party, so we pulled out our accessories and makeup pencils (for me) and got ready right there in the park. I couldn’t have imagined this would be as fun as it was. There were villains everywhere, which you never really see outside of Halloween season, and almost every guest in the park had a costume on to join in on the fun. We did a few more rides and meet and greets, and Dad decided it was time to go back to the hotel for bed. Me and Mom weren’t ready for bed just yet and decided to stay until the end of the night. We took in everything we could, and we ended this not-so-scary night watching the Boo-to-You parade. We had a blast wandering around, and took so many pictures that we couldn’t forget this night if we tried! If you are ever going to Disney World in the fall, you had to make sure you plan a night to go to the Not-so-Scary Halloween party – you won’t regret it!
Day 5: Character Breakfast
After a fun-filled and exhausting 4 days wandering around parks, we were at our last day in Orlando. We had a flight in the afternoon, so we couldn’t fit in too much more during the day. You know what we did have time for? That’s right – another character meet! This time it was during a character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This breakfast was an Alice in Wonderland theme, which is one of my favorite Disney movies. We took a bunch more pictures and enjoyed this fun buffet-style breakfast before heading to the airport. It was the perfect way to end an amazing trip.
Another trip perfectly executed. (Anyone know my reference here?)
I wish I could relive those few days over and over again. I loved being able to spend time with my parents in one of my favorite places. Hopefully Dad won’t hold all the pictures against us and will come again one day 🙂
I definitely left a few things out from our itinerary, but this post would be way too long if I did a full detailed 4-(and a half)-day itinerary. Maybe one day I’ll do some separate itineraries for each park, what do you think? Comment below!