EDITORIAL: Celebrating a Birthday at Walt Disney World
Disney World is all about celebrating, so what better place to celebrate a birthday than with Mickey & the gang? There are so many ways to enjoy a birthday at Disney World whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart. Here are just some of my favorites.
Let Mickey Know You Are Celebrating
If you are staying in a Disney resort let the cast member know you are celebrating a birthday at the time of booking your room or package. When you check in the cast member may ask if you are celebrating anything. If they don’t, mention you are celebrating a birthday.
Get a Birthday Button
You can get a birthday button at your resort’s front desk, at City Hall in the Magic Kingdom, or at any Guest Relations in Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (also, most stores have them too). Wearing one let’s the cast members know you are celebrating and you’ll get lots of cast members wishing you a “Happy Birthday!” Depending on the cast member you might even receive some extra pixie dust.
Inform Your Restaurant
When you arrive at your restaurant’s podium let the cast member know you have a birthday in your party. Some restaurants may decorate the table with Mickey confetti, present you with a signed birthday card, or a free birthday cupcake. Please note that these should be considered extra pixie dust and should not be expected otherwise you might be disappointed. You may mention you are celebrating a birthday & simply receive a “Happy Birthday” from your host or waiter.
Order a Birthday Cake
As I mentioned, it’s best not to expect birthday freebies but do enjoy them if they happen. If you really want something extra special for your birthday celebration you should make your own arrangements. Disney’s on site full service restaurants offer anything from a small cake for two up to a customized cake for a larger group. Birthday cakes may be ordered by calling 407-827-2253 at least 48 hours in advance. If you would rather have a cake delivered to your Disney resort room, orders can be made by calling Disney Floral & Gifts at 407-939-4438. Balloons and decorations can also be added to your in room celebration. The newly opened, Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs now offers custom cakes. Order 72 hours in advance by calling 407-934-3500.
Dine with the Characters or Book a Dinner Show
If you’re a kid or a kid at heart make reservations to dine with the characters. Character meals are a great way to see the characters without the lines and you might receive some special treatment. All my youngest wanted when she turned 15 was to have a birthday dinner with Cinderella and friends at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. Cinderella, her stepsisters, stepmother, and Prince Charming all gave my daughter some extra attention wishing her a “Happy Birthday!” If Mickey and the gang sound fun, you can find them at the Contemporary Resort at Chef Mickey’s where their motto is “Celebrate, Every day’s a Party!” If you like Winnie the Pooh, you can enjoy breakfast or dinner with Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, & Tigger. There is a festive parade that kids can join in on. If you want something even more magical a great choice would be to dine in Cinderella Castle for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner with Cinderella and other assorted princesses such as Snow White, Jasmine, and Aurora. Celebrating a birthday at a character meal couldn’t be more fun!
Dinner shows are also a great way to celebrate. I highly recommend the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This country western style “all you care to eat” revue features ribs, fried chicken, cornbread, strawberry shortcake, and some old fashioned family fun. The performers let the audience know who is celebrating a birthday while they sing, dance, and tell some very silly jokes throughout the evening. There is a lot of audience participation, so if you want to celebrate your birthday by joining in singing, clapping, and playing the washboard the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is for you. Dining reservations can be made 180 in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE or by using the My Disney Experience App.
Treat Yourself to Something Special
Everyone loves to be pampered and Disney World offers ways to treat yourself for both kids & adults. Princess makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and at the World of Disney store in Disney Springs Marketplace will make your children’s dreams of becoming a princess come true. Fairy Godmothers-in-training will give kids ages 3-12 the royal treatment with a princess hair-style, glittery makeup, and pretty nail polish.
The basic services for Princess make-overs include hair, makeup, nails, & princess sash & tote and additional enhancements can be added. The prices range from $59.95 for the Crown Package, $99.95 for the Courtyard Package and $199.95 for the Castle Package.
If your child loves Anna and Elsa, Disney has also added two Frozen packages, the Disney Frozen Crown Package for $114.95 and the Disney Frozen Package for $164.95. Disney offers an add-on photo package for $34.95 which includes 5 photos in a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique photo holder. The Knight Package which includes glittery hair, shield & sword for young princes costs $19.95. Reservations can be made 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-STYLE.
Aspiring Pirates looking to join Captain Jack’s crew can be sworn in as a pirate with the makeover at The Pirates League located near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in the Magic Kingdom. They offer several packages for both boys & girls like the First Mate Package, Empress Package, Captain Hook Package, and the Mermaid Package. Make reservations by calling 407-WDW-CREW.
Adults celebrating their birthday can also get some pampering at Senses Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. The Spa offers rejuvenating services such as facials, massages, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, aromatherapy, and hydration treatments. Indulge in the royal treatment by calling 407-WDW-SPAS. Of course the prices vary with the services.
Plan a Fireworks Cruise
We did the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage sailing from the Contemporary Resort a few years ago. This was a big hit with my family. The evening starts with sweet treats and other refreshments and a meet and greet with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee before sailing out. “Patch” the pirate then takes you on a voyage out on Seven Seas Lagoon and entertains everyone with jokes, stories, & songs. It’s very interactive and “privateers” celebrating a birthday will be recognized by the cast members. When it is time for Wishes the music will be piped in and you will enjoy an unobstructed view of the fireworks. You might even get an upclose look at the floating Electric Water Pageant. Even more fun awaits after you dock with a greeting by a surprise guest. This is a fun cruise for the whole family. The cost is $69 for adults & $41 for children.
At Epcot there is the Illuminations Cruise. Here you board a pontoon boat that accommodates up to 10 people. The cost is $319. Snacks & soft drinks are provided.. The cruise starts at the Yacht Club Marina and takes you by Hollywood Studios before settling under the bridge in the France pavilion. The view is great and you can “plus” your celebration by ordering a cake and celebration package from Disney’s private dining. To book either fireworks cruise call 407-WDW-PLAY.
Less Expensive Alternatives
There are also a lot of less expensive ideas to celebrate a birthday with the mouse. Being in the most magical place on Earth on your birthday itself is a celebration and you may not want something as grand as a fireworks cruise or fancy dinner.
At The Harmony Barbershop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom you will walk away looking like you are celebrating sporting a new haircut, colored hair gel, and a generous sprinkle of pixie dust. Haircuts are only $19 for adults & $15 for kids.
If celebrating a birthday means ice cream then head over to Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club Resort. Order the Kitchen Sink sundae. It’s $29 but serves four. My family of five couldn’t finish it. Served in a “kitchen sink” it has eight scoops of ice cream, every topping in the house, and a “whole can of whipped cream”! The staff make a big deal when this huge sundae being served and it gets lots of attention.
A fun and budget friendly thing my kids have done at Epcot was to get an autograph book and ask a cast member from each country to write “Happy Birthday” in their native language.
To save some money consider decorating your resort room yourself. Purchase Disney stuffies, small toys, books, or other gifts before your trip and make a Disney themed gift bag or basket. Hang a birthday banner and sprinkle confetti around your resort room.
So, as you can see, there are many ways to celebrate a birthday at Disney World. Everything from fun dining experiences to indulgent spa treatments can be enjoyed. My kids are all older now but they still remember all the special birthday memories we shared in Disney World and still would rather be there than anywhere else on their birthday. I feel the same way. If I have to turn a year older I want to do it while I am being a “kid” again.