For my 30th birthday all I really wanted as a gift was to go to Disney World. Which I guess actually ended up being a really big gift from Ben. We were initially going to go in July around my birthday when we were already in Florida, but it didn’t really work out with my wedding shooting schedule. Instead, we decided to go in November after I was done shooting and when we could make it to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
The first night we got there we went to Disney Springs to see some Christmas decorations and do some shopping for Disney Christmas shirts 🙂
I loved the big ornaments! Plus they turned different colors!
There’s a Christmas Tree Trail with 25 different themed Christmas trees. The Mickey & Minnie and Cinderella trees were my favorite!
The next day we went to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! It was the first weekend for the party and I was so excited to see all the decorations. Two of my favorite things together: Disney and Christmas! I did all kinds of research beforehand so I wouldn’t miss a thing. The tickets say that the party starts at 7pm, but you can actually get in at 4pm.
The decorations were amazing! I felt like a little kid, I was in awe of everything.
None of the actual party festivities start until 7pm so we took in all of the decorations and rode a ride or two.
I feel like this is a secret little spot that’s perfect for pictures! It’s right when you enter the park at the top of the stairs for the train platform. I love that you can get the tree and Cinderella’s Castle in the background. When it’s the regular season you can stand right in the middle of the station and get the castle right behind you.
I feel like any girl that’s a Disney fan has one specific princess that’s her favorite. My favorite is Cinderella and I’m just a little bit obsessed.
One of the things I wanted to do while we were at Disney was to eat in the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table. I tried to hint ahead of time that reservations go quick 3 months ahead of time, so unfortunately when Ben tried to make reservations a month beforehand it was already all booked. I tried not to be too disappointed.
Fast forward to us walking under the castle and we saw where you would enter the restaurant. Ben decided he was just going to see if they randomly had any openings. Turns out the hostess said she did have an opening if we could eat right then. Dinner at 5pm? It was a little early, but we could totally do it if it meant eating in the castle! I was freaking out as we climbed the stairs!
This was probably one of the few expensive meals that I actually enjoyed! lol
The princesses walk around to each table and I of course got a picture with each one 🙂 Ben politely passed offered to take the pictures instead. lol
I know I should be embarrassed, but I was so happy I got get a picture with Cinderella. Meanwhile the girl playing her was probably younger than me. hahaha
Our waiter was an older gentleman who said he had been working at the castle for awhile and he had never had anyone who came in without a reservation. It made it feel like it was meant to be 🙂
At Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party they hand out free snacks all over the park. The big candy cane meant a holiday treat!
I made sure we made it to each spot and got each treat. I only took a bite of each snack and a sip of each drink and that was plenty! I can’t imagine eating everything! (Although I was also very full from the fillet mignon from the castle.)
We went back up to that secret spot once the sun went down so I could get a picture with all the lights on.
The Magic Kingdom felt extra special with the lights on and the “snow”.
A couple times during the party Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration plays on the castle’s stage.
Ana and Elsa light up Cinderella’s Castle with icicles during the Frozen Holiday Wish.
The rides are open during the party and the Jungle Cruise becomes the “Jingle Cruise” and has a some Christmas decor.
We had to stop and see Mickey in his Christmas outfit! (Ben was such a good sport and put up with me the whole time! haha)
The Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade happened twice during the party.
Chip and Dale were so cute!
Cinderella and Prince Charming brought along all the other princesses and their princes.
I liked the roller blades that looked like skis!
The toy soliders were so neat!
The reindeer brought in the Santa and the toy soldiers were actually playing trumpets and drums.
I want to play Tinker Bell! She flies down a zip line to start the Holiday Wishes fireworks. That must be such a neat view!
I didn’t want to leave, everything was so magical! The party was done at midnight, but we found a bench and hung out to admire the decorations and watch everyone leave until almost 1am.
The next day we went to Epcot and it was actually the last day of the International Food & Wine Festival.
Before we did any rides, we walked through all of the countries.
We had to stop in Norway since that’s where Ben is partly from.
Since it was the Food & Wine Festival they had a lot more countries represented with little food stands.
I liked this Christmas store in Germany.
I also liked this little model train village that was setup.
I really enjoyed looking at all the different decorations for each country.
I’m not going to lie, the fireworks were a little disappointing after the fireworks we had seen the night before in Magic Kingdom. I also thought for some reason that they do the fireworks over the big “golf ball”, but they actually do them over the lake.
Ben had heard about gingerbread houses that were in two of the Disney hotels. So during the afternoon we left Epcot and went to the Grand Floridian. One day I’ll stay at that hotel, it’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.
The gingerbread house was awesome! Apparently that Santa is actually chocolate that they then paint.
We also went to the Contemporary Resort to see Cinderella’s Castle made out of gingerbread.
On our final full day we went to Animal Kingdom. It’s the one park in Disney World that I hadn’t been to.
I really loved the Tree of Life and finding all of the animals in it’s bark.
I love how Disney really commits to all of the details.
I had heard a lot of good things about the safari in Animal Kingdom. We actually ended up doing it twice because I liked it so much!
The animals were so close! The giraffes really like hanging around the safari trucks.
I caught a giraffe with its tongue hanging out!
Between the two safaris we got to see a lot of animals. I kind of forgot that we were in Disney and it seemed more like a zoo.
I love big doors!
There’s also a part in Asia that you can walk through and see more animals.
The baby gorilla on the right loved having a blanket. It was so cute!
Can you find the hidden Mickey heads?
The Festival of the Lion King is definitely worth going to.
Had to get my Mickey snacks! Especially with my Mickey ear hair 🙂
There are a couple of other “lands” in Animal Kingdom like Dinoland USA.
Pandora – The World of Avatar was really neat to walk around and see the movie come to life. We really loved the new Avatar Flight of Passage ride. We didn’t use our Fast Pass for it and had to wait about an hour and a half for it later in the day, but it was totally worth the wait!
I love how Disney lights their parks up at night! Doesn’t the Tree look magical?
They also do a little show where they project images onto the tree.
So my favorite way to watch the shows at the end of the night was with a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Plus I loved the Disney Starbuck’s cups! I wish they made them into actual cups that you could keep.
So this was really cool, they sprayed water so that it basically created a screen to project on to.
It was really hard to leave Disney. We had such a great time, but I was exhausted. We did over 20,000 steps a day! It was definitely the best birthday present and it was exactly what I wanted to do when I turned 30 🙂
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