What could be better icing on the cake than celebrating a birthday at Universal Orlando Resort? It doesn’t matter if the birthday boy or girl is a tadpole or an adult froggy ... you can plan the perfect party at the parks for any age! Normally, we’re pretty frugal frogs whenever we head to Universal. But for special birthdays, such as when Tad turned double digits, we have gone all out with the birthday festivities.
To make the day extra special, there are a number of ways (big or small!) that you can celebrate a birthday at Universal Orlando. If you wish to splurge and spoil the birthday frog, consider booking a VIP Experience to see the parks in a whole new way. Or, simply pick up the official Universal birthday button. We’ve gathered all of our favorite ways to make a Universal trip extraordinary. We’re hopful that this list gives you a few ideas if you’re party planning!
Ideas for Celebrating a Birthday at Universal Orlando
Get the Birthday Button
Once you arrive at the parks, head inside to guest services at either Universal Studios Florida or Universal's Islands of Adventure. Tell the team member that you’re celebrating a birthday, and they will give you a free birthday button! (They also have a general celebratory button that you could use for anniversaries, graduations or just about any other special occasion.) It does not have to be the actual day, as Universal understands you may be celebrating a bit early or late.
As you wear the button around the parks, team members will make a point to say, “Happy Birthday!” If the birthday frog doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, you can always take it off and keep it as a memento!
Don’t Miss These Attractions
The Mystic Fountain is one of our favorite hidden gems at Islands of Adventure because of its witty commentary when it awakens from its slumber. If you tell the fountain that it’s your birthday, be prepared for singing, squirting and splashing! Have fun talking to it — the fountain might ask you questions and crack a joke or two. When Lily turned 3, the Fountain complimented her Hogwarts shirt and proceeded to belt out the “Happy Birthday” song. We love how personalized this experience was for her. To this day, she still talks about it!
Another experience you shouldn’t miss is the wand ceremony at Ollivanders in either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. During the ceremony, the wizard randomly selects a person from the crowd to have a wand chosen for them. Be sure to stand at the front of the room. It’s still not guaranteed, but if the wizard notices your birthday button, you may have a better chance of being picked. On Tad’s 10th birthday, he was the Chosen One ... not Harry Potter ;)
Celebrate With a Special Treat
Food is such a big part of a birthday celebration, and you’ll definitely want to indulge in Universal’s best offerings! Of course, there’s the iconic Butterbeer drink that you can find in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (Check out all six versions! A Butterbeer birthday binge isn’t a bad idea, just sayin'.) Another Instagram-worthy treat is the Big Pink at Lard Lad’s Donuts in the Simpsons area at Universal Studios Florida. Dare we say, it’s big enough to be the birthday cake!
In general, you shouldn’t expect to receive any special discounts or free items. Some of the chains, such as Cold Stone Creamery or Moe’s Southwest Grill, in Universal CityWalk may have special birthday rewards programs. Check to see if you need to sign up first.
Make Dinner Reservations
Speaking of food, make a birthday dinner reservation at a table-service restaurant at one of the parks, Universal CityWalk or a Universal Orlando Resort hotel. At Islands of Adventure, you can find the popular Mythos Restaurant, as well as Confisco Grille. While at Universal Studios Florida, Lombard’s Seafood Grille and Finnegan’s Bar and Grill are also two great options. Universal CityWalk has even more possibilities that range from Italian cuisine to Mexican street food. Don’t froget about your hotel if you’re staying on-site! Look over the full list of all of the restaurants available at Universal Orlando Resort for advance dining reservations.
Celebrate With Universal Characters
Scout out the meet-and-greet opportunities that you can find throughout the theme parks. We have an entire guide about the ins and outs of these character greetings. Say hi to your favorites, including Scooby Doo and the gang, Hello Kitty, super heroes and the Minions — just to name a few! Once again, if you’re wearing the birthday button, the characters will very likely wish you a happy birthday … or react, if they can’t talk.
Get the Party Started at Universal CityWalk
For all the party frogs out there that are 21 and older, perhaps you want just one night out of your trip to let loose a little. Consider a night of dancing and drinking at Universal CityWalk’s nightclubs and bars. If you’re brave enough for karaoke, stop by Rising Star to belt out some tunes with a live band and back-up singers. Splurge a little and upgrade to VIP Service which includes an exclusive seating area with table service, a dedicated waiter and express entry to the venue!
If the tadpoles are with you on the vacay, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort all have Children’s Activity Centers where they can enjoy games, movies and other fun activities for the evening.
Splurge on the VIP Experience
For the ultimate Universal Orlando birthday celebration, consider the VIP Experience. A tour guide will lead you through one of the two parks for five hours or both for seven hours. You'll gain backstage access, learn fun insider information and go straight to the front of the line for the most popular attractions. Choose from a group VIP Experience or a private VIP Experience. The main difference between the two is that the private VIP tour lets you customize your own itinerary. The private VIP tour includes dinner in addition to breakfast and lunch that is offered with the group VIP Experience.
We hope you'll have a hoppin' good time celebrating a birthday at Universal Orlando! We'd love to know how you celebrated in the comments below!
Related: Tips for Celebrating a Birthday at Disney World