The first year we went to Coronado Springs was in 2007, and we had such a great time that we decided to book a second trip for the same resort the following year. The difference this time, though, in 2008, was that we went to Disney World for Sophie’s birthday that year, and this time we also decided to check out the pricing from AAA. We were pleased in that we were able to connect with a great person named Tarah who took care of every detail for us. If you are interested in getting in contact with Tarah, let me know and I’ll have her contact you.
This trip was as good as the first trip was, perhaps even better if it can be. Being there for Sophie’s birthday was a special treat that really is cool. If you’ve never celebrated a birthday at Walt Disney World, tell your significant other that you want to celebrate your birthday there, and start planning! We were there from June 15th – 22nd, 2008. The first night we were there we ate at Sophie’s favorite restaurant, The Garden Grill Restaurant at Epcot. The Garden Grill, if you haven’t been there before, is a circular revolving restaurant located in the Land complex. The restaurant is really cool because you are able to see down into parts of the scenery that is used on The Land Boat ride. Additionally, the food is incredible and served all you can eat. Additionally, this is a character dinner location, with visits from Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale to add to the fun.
Sophie and Chip
Our second day included a special dinner at 1900 Park Fare. This restaurant is located over at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This dinner was special because it had as character greetings Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the wicked Step Mother and the wicked Step Sisters. The step mother and step sisters were all in perfect form, with each one asking Sophie “Is it really your birthday (they saw her button) or are you lying?” One of them, when Sophie announced that her birthday was in three days, said “Oh, so you are lying! That’s okay, that’s what I would do, too.”
Sophie wasn’t all that sure what to make of the step sisters and step mother, as you can see from this picture, but she loved Cinderella and Prince Charming. They even had a time when you could get up and dance with them!
Sophie and Drusilla
For food, the meal was a standard buffet, very similar to my thinking as The Crystal Palace, but in most of these places, the food isn’t the big attraction — it’s the characters.
On the third day of our trip, we hopped between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We had dinner reservations in Norway at the ever popular (for us, anyway) Princess Storybook Dining at Akerhus Royal Banquet Hall. I really enjoy going there — it is great because there is a photograph session with Belle that is shot when you first get there (the prints are included in part of the price), and additionally, you visit with some of the best Princesses you can imagine. During this visit, we met, spoke with, had our picture taken, and got an autograph with Cinderella, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel.
Cinderella and Sophie
Princess Jasmine and Sophie
Sleeping Beauty and Sophie
Ariel and Sophie
Belle and Sophie
As you can tell, we plan our dining experiences around the character options available. We were hooked on the Disney Dining Plan the previous year, and have continued it each year since. For us, it is great because we are able to eat really great food that we wouldn’t normally eat, we don’t have to carry a lot of extra food money around with us, and we are able to get some pictures that we just wouldn’t be able to get without waiting in line for long periods of time.
The next day we were able to enjoy one of the perks that we received for signing up through AAA — Disney’s Story Book. In this setting, which at the time was located in the Magic Kingdom near Tony’s Town Square restaurant, we were able to enjoy a story read from one of Disney’s famous characters. Today’s story was read by non other than “The Fairy Godmother”. It was a really nice event, Sophie loved it, we loved it, and we were able to spend some time with her afterwards and get autographs and pictures. Since it was exclusive for AAA members, there were only about 20 kids there (and their parents), so it was really quaint and had a close, comfortable feel about it — almost like we were in her living room listening to the story at her house.
Sharing a precious moment
Sophie thought that the she had had as much fun as she could have, but then, on June 19th, her seventh birthday, she had even more fun. We arranged with our friend Leigh Ann to have her daughter Riley join us for the day to celebrate! We had so much fun, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Sophie and Riley
Fireworks over Magic Kingdom
Riding Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Riley, Chip, and Sophie at The Liberty Tavern
Riley, Minnie, and Sophie
God’s Rainbow over the MK Parking Lot
God wishes Sophie a Happy Birthday!
The next day we spent the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was the first time Sophie had ever been there, and she quickly became a huge fan of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! We rode it once together (I did NOT like the ride), and then Cindy and Sophie proceeded to ride it twice more! They loved it! While we were there, we proceeded to meet a newlywed couple from Edmonton. They were so nice, and Sophie instantly formed a bond with Bryanne. They hit it off so much that they became pen pals!
The last day of our trip was spent at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We visited Morocco, and had pictures taken with Princess Jasmine and the Genie, and we looked at the garden train that is setup in the Germany pavilion. We also had dinner at The Crystal Palace, one of our favorite places to eat!
I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane! Thanks for reading!
Mike has been a Disney fan since his first trip to the Magic Kingdom in 1979 when he was 11 years old. Since that first trip, he has seen parks open, lands close, and attractions come and go, but one thing remains the same, his love for Disney is as strong as ever. His Disney adventures caused him to start My Dreams of Disney because he wanted to document for his family and friends all of the special Disney Memories he has enjoyed with his family, and since that first post in 2010, Mike's hobby has become his passion! Now a Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations for six years, Mike has helped many of his readers plan and have incredible Disney vacations of their own. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Also, connect with us on our Pixie Vacations by Mike Ellis Facebook page to submit a quote request or learn more about all of your possible vacation destinations!