For Brooklyn’s birthday this year, we decided to take a family trip to Disney World instead of having a birthday party. As most of you know, you get into Disney for free until you turn three, so we thought it would be a great “last free Disney” trip. Luckily, we convinced some family to come along, and Brooklyn had the “most magical birthday on Earth.”
We knew this Disney World trip would be longer than our typical trips, so we decided to divide our stay between two of our favorite hotels: Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. During our stay at Riviera, part of my husband’s family would join us to celebrate Brooklyn’s birthday, and while we were at Saratoga, my family would join us.
On Wednesday, September 15, my husband, Brooklyn, and I flew to Orlando and checked into Disney’s Riviera Resort. We booked a standard one-bedroom villa and ended up having views of the front entrance porte-cochere (for a full review of Riviera, click here). After we checked in, we unpacked our things and took the Skyliner over to Epcot. We stopped by Guest Relations and picked up our new annual passes (yay for another year of magic) and then walked around the World Showcase for a bit. The World Showcase was very crowded due to Food & Wine Festival, so we decided to head back to Riviera to get dinner at Primo Piatto and call it an early night.
The next day we woke up bright and early and were ready to hit the ground running. Epcot didn’t open until 11:00 am, so we grabbed a coffee from Le Petit Cafe in the lobby of Riviera and enjoyed breakfast on our balcony. We took the Skyliner to Epcot (my favorite park) and met up with my husband’s family when it was time. The lines were slightly longer than we expected, but we rode Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo and Friends before checking out the brand new Creations Shop. After shopping, we headed over to Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion for some fantastic pizza. At this point, it was time for Brooklyn to get a nap, so she and I headed back to the hotel room while my husband stayed in the parks.
We ended up grabbing a dinner reservation at The Boathouse at Disney Springs. After enjoying our dinner there, we went back to Riviera and watched the Epcot fireworks from our balcony.
On Friday, we knew we would go to Hollywood Studios, so I woke up early and grabbed Boarding Passes for Rise of the Resistance. I was clearly a little too good at getting Boarding Passes because I accidentally got Group 1. Brooklyn was still asleep, so my husband and his family went to Hollywood Studios to ride Rise of the Resistance before she got up. After I had my coffee and Brooklyn had her breakfast in our room, we headed out to Hollywood Studios. We rode Brooklyn’s favorite ride, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and then grabbed a mid-morning snack at Ronto Roasters in Star Wards Galaxy’s Edge. Around this time, the parks felt crowded and hot, so we took the Skyliner back to Riviera for some coffee and, eventually, a nap.
After Brooklyn’s nap, my husband I decided to take a quick trip to Animal Kingdom. Now, I’ll be honest, Animal Kingdom is our least favorite park, and I didn’t plan a park day here, but I wanted to go for at least a little while. I love the idea of Animal Kingdom, but we are guilty of doing the exact same things every time we go, and it gets boring. We knew we wouldn’t have much time, so we took Brooklyn on some trails and a walk around Discovery Island instead of riding rides. As it turns out, we all LOVED our time at Animal Kingdom, and we were so sad to leave. I guess we have just been doing the wrong things when we visit.
Following Animal Kingdom, we picked up my husband’s family and went to Disney Springs for dinner. We grabbed a very last-minute reservation at Terralina Crafted Italian and were so impressed with how good the food was! We celebrated Brooklyn’s birthday with my husband’s family, and she blew out the candles on a delicious cheesecake. We wanted to do some shopping after dinner but quickly got stuck in a rainstorm and decided to head out. We said goodbye to my husband’s family as they were leaving the next day; we were so happy they could come to celebrate.
We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, packed up our things, left Riviera, and checked in to Saratoga Springs. I can’t wait to share the second half of our trip tomorrow.
Sending love and magic.