Yours truly is having a birthday next Thursday (and, I really can’t fathom how I didn’t plan to be at a Disney Park on my 30th!!), so I thought I’d share some of the fun ways to celebrate your birthday at the Disney parks and resorts. I may have missed the boat this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to!
Often if you note on your reservation that you’re celebrating a birthday (or any other special event for that matter), you’ll receive a special celebration button upon check-in. However, you can ask for this button at any resort front desk or guest services in any park or Downtown Disney. Sport it proudly, but get ready to repeat “Thank you!,” or some variation, throughout the day (or trip, depending on how often you decide to keep the button displayed).
Get Park Wise: There is no need for proof of your birth date to get the button. Some people choose to get one only if it’s their actual birthday and only wear it on the day. Some choose to wear it if they’re celebrating their birthday during the trip. Some choose to pick a day to wear it, while others stick it on every day of their trip. Despite strongly opinionated Disney geeks on the internet, there is no right or wrong way to use the birthday button, so pick your poison and get ready for the onslaught of “Happy birthday!”
The birthday button is really your only guaranteed freebie from Disney, but cast members will often sprinkle a little extra pixie dust if you’ve got your pin in view. Our crew has consistently received complimentary desserts from table service restaurants and even a quick-service restaurant or two, as well as special table decorations when the celebration was noted on our dining reservation (you can do this when making the reservation or add it at the restaurant). Character dining restaurants often gift a birthday card with character autographs, too.
Celebration buttons are pretty popular at the parks, especially thanks to the recent “Celebrate Today” promotion that pretty much invited guests to celebrate everything from report cards to someone else’s birthday to spring break (we were given an “I’m Celebrating Spring Break!” without prompting that year). However, even in the sea of pins, cast members may occasional single out a birthday celebrant for special parts in shows, a front-of-the-line gift or a complimentary Mickey bar. These are few and far between when compared to the restaurant goodies, but keeping that button visible might possibly give you a leg up on the crowd.
Pre-made standard cakes can be purchased at most table service restaurants (check in advance just to be sure), but did you know you could also order custom cakes at Disneyland (714-781-3463) and Walt Disney World (407-827-2253 ) and have it delivered right to your table at any table service restaurant? You can chat with one of the specialists at the “cake hotline” and, for the right price, you can have almost any cake dream come true!
Get Cake Wise: I suggest doing this at a non-buffet dinner and/or early in your vacation. We ordered one to be delivered at Chef Mickey’s, and we were so stuffed from the dinner that we didn’t eat much of the cake. Hence the second tip about ordering it earlier in the trip. The restaurant will provide you with the cake box, and you can snack on the leftover treat throughout the rest of your vacation.
Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer in-room celebrations and gifts at various price points. You can choose to go with a modest give basket or a big blow-out, depending on taste and budget. Check out Disney Floral and Gifts for more information.
Here’s a video of Mickey surprising Dusty and Fishbulb with some Halloween decor and gifts:
Get Surprise Wise: If Disney Floral is outside your budget or you can’t quite find the right set-up, consider bringing your own surprise and setting it up while the guest of honor is out of the room. Additionally, outside vendors often offer similar gift baskets for delivery at a lower price point.
Guests at Walt Disney World can celebrate a birthday at Goofy’s Candy Co. in Downtown Disney. A special party room decked out for a sweet celebration would be perfect for any little Disney fan. While you must typically be a registered guest to use a pool at a Disney resort, Disney Vacation Club members may set up pool parties at the resort where they are staying. Contact DVC recreation for more information. Looking for a more grown-up venue? Drop the guys at Jellyrolls a line prior to arrival via their Facebook page or chat with the manager when you arrive at the bar to see if a little fun embarrassment can’t be arranged for the birthday boy or girl.
How do you celebrate your birthday at Disney? What are your tips for making the special day extra magical?