February brings a lot of my favorites with it! Valentine’s Day…Disney’s Princess Half Marathon…my birthday… follow along with me as I go through my magical birthday weekend!
I stayed at Art of Animation this time around! AoA is a value resort (along with the All-Stars) and bursting with theme! It’s broken down into four areas: Cars, The Little Mermaid, Lion King and Finding Nemo. I stayed in a Little Mermaid room.
As you can see, both outside the room and inside are very Little Mermaid. This is definitely what I expect at a Disney resort. Unlike the All-Stars, the theme doesn’t really carry into the room.
I’ll fast forward a bit. I spent some time on my last day in the lobby. You’ll find a large gift shop, arcade, food court and entertainment area – perfect for anyone’s needs either coming from or going to the airport.
A free activity also takes place in the lobby. Everyday at 11a, 2p and 5p, the resident artist comes out and will teach you how to sketch a Disney character. I got to partake in the 2pm session on Sunday. We learned how to draw Jafar…
Artist I am not, but I enjoyed learning! I did make it back for the 5pm session as I waited for my bus to the airport. We drew Jasmine during that session however I made Jasmine look like an alien so that sketch will remain hidden 🙂
My birthday!! After volunteering, I started MY day at Magic Kingdom. I scheduled the Keys to the Kingdom tour for myself. Unfortunately, I got to the park seconds before the rope drop and that is an experience I am not sure I want to have! So many people! I made my way through the crowd to the Main Street Theater. I checked into the tour, received my name tag, bottled water and sound equipment, picked my lunch and then got ready for the magic to begin.
I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin the tour for you if you haven’t done it but it was awesome! Starting at Main Street, small details were pointed out to the group. Some of those details are just fascinating!
We were a little ahead of schedule once we got to the central hub so we got to pause and watch the new Welcome Show!
We then made our way to Adventureland and the tour continued. Throughout the next few hours, we covered Frontierland, Liberty Square and just a touch of Fantasyland. We were only in Tomorrowland while we ate lunch which was at Tomorrowland Terrace.
We did go on a couple rides and went to backstage areas. I don’t want to ruin it but I thought the tour was well worth the money.
Tip: I would recommend to a solo traveler, a couple or a family with older kids – I’m not sure if a family with younger kids would get as much out of it (mostly because I don’t think the little ones would be entertained enough).
After the tour, it was time to use my fastpasses, character photos and Tiana’s Riverboat Ice Cream Social!
Tiana’s Riverboat Ice Cream Social is a brand new (ok in February, a 3 months old) experience! It’s a special ticketed event – like most dessert parties – on the riverboat! We checked in at the riverboat landing.
Once it was time, we were let onto the landing. We received Mardi Gras beads and then were free to help ourselves to ice cream, desserts, drinks or finding a seat.
I helped myself to a scoop of ice cream and picked up the 3 desserts that were offered.
I totally scored a seat in the shade (and I totally was that person that dragged a table to me – oops). However, I was quickly joined by others so the idea crossed other people’s minds but I’m the one that acted 🙂
As refreshments were served, Tiana and Prince Naveen joined us on the landing. We were able to take pictures with them and were handed autograph cards.
Once it was time to board the riverboat, Tiana and Prince Naveen left to join the parade and we boarded the boat.
Once on board, the Mardi Gras theme continued and there were all you could enjoy snacks. I helped myself to some popcorn, apple slices and water then headed to the top to find a place to camp out for the parade.
My vantage point was in the shade and had a nice breeze. I made myself comfortable on the floor and settled in. I was soon joined by other guests. As parade time drew near, we moved away from the landing (where cast members had donned Mardi Gras masks and noise makers to send us on our way). We moved maybe 50 left from the landing and were in place for the parade.
Once the parade started, we could hear the music from the speakers along the route (it is not “piped in” like at other events). We also had a tree that was in the way – but it did not block the view of the floats.
As the parade ended, we headed back to the landing. Tiana and Prince Naveen joined us again on board. They led a Mardi Gras parade on the lower level of the boat and guests could interact with them freely. We also went on a cruise around Tom Sawyer Island. Cast members handed out a scavenger hunt to any guests who wanted to participate.
I don’t know when it was I last took a ride on the riverboat and I just enjoyed the breeze and the ride. I did eventually make my way to Tiana again. I wanted to try for a better picture.
Tip: totally recommend! It’s an all you care to enjoy experience -from the ice cream and desserts on the landing to the snacks on the riverboat. Snacks included popcorn, candied popcorn, apple slices, Mickey bars, Mickey sandwiches, Uncrustables, and various drinks. There is very limited seating on the landing and limited seating on the riverboat. Also, no bathrooms on board! However for the best view of the parade, you want to be on the top level (and I just sat down on the floor). The tree is annoying but it does not ruin the view. I loved this event!
Next up was dinner at Disney Springs and then back to Magic Kingdom for the Wishes Dessert Party!
I attended the Wishes Dessert Party a few years ago and loved it. However a few changes have happened since and I think it just enhanced the experience. Anywho!
Checked in and was taken to my table. After dropping my stuff, I made friends with all the delicious desserts that were out! I noticed some sparkling cider and helped myself. I also saw they had milk along with the water, tea and coffee. After helping myself to a plate, sparkling cider and milk, it was time to sit down and enjoy the show!
I love this dining experience. Wishes is my favorite and combining it with desserts (and a seat with an awesome view) just makes it worth it to me. They have also added a little extra pixie dust which is a really nice touch!
hahaha…and you thought my birthday was over! Not! A friend of mine who is DVC got me into the after hours, DVC party that was taking place! I decided I wasn’t going to stay too long since it had been a very long day already. I am glad I stayed! I got to meet: Cinderella and Charming, Princess Elena, Ariel and Eric, Belle and Beast!
And with that, this birthday girl went back to the room and fell into a deep and happy sleep!
After my very busy birthday celebration, Saturday was a very tame day!
For the first time ever, I got to attend a spring training game! The Atlanta Braves use the Wide World of Sports at Disney for spring training. I missed my O’s by a few days but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.
My seat was in the grassy area of the stadium – which was fine with me! I took my shoes off and enjoyed the sun and breeze as I watched the game.
Only bad thing was I couldn’t really tell what was going on! It was still a very enjoyable way to relax and spend a few hours.
My last scheduled activity was a pedicure. I went to the Yacht and Beach Club this time around (I’ve now been to all 4 spas on property). While a little hard to find, it was great once I got there!
The salon/spa overlooks the HUGE pool. Big windows let in natural light and the staff was very welcoming. I was shown to the lounge after I checked in. They had spa snacks (pretzels, candy, dried fruit) and citrus water out for guests to enjoy. I made myself a little snack and got comfy in one of the over-sized chairs.
I was the last appointment of the day and it was wonderful! Justin was my tech and his level of service was above and beyond! I will definitely be going back next time I go.
As I paid, I was gifted with the polish they used, my nail file and some Disney chocolate. I also got a little bag of spa snacks and off I went 🙂
See! I am totally capable of having a low-key kinda day!
Well after my morning didn’t go the way I wanted, I didn’t know what to do with myself. As described above, I did attend 2 of the animation classes. I was also able to get a round of mini golf in.
I got to play at Winter Summerland. I chose the summer course (I didn’t realize there were 2 courses – I will need to play winter next time!).
It was a really great trip besides the craziness of my morning on Sunday. I am loving adding some free activities into my Disney trips as well as paying for some additional experiences. Time and money well spent!
Off to plan the next trip!