Any day at Disney feels like a birthday to me, which got me thinkin’…how do you make your little one’s special day even more special when you’re already at the “most magical place on earth”? So here they are, my best tips and ideas for planning a birthday celebration at Walt Disney World.
Make Reservations Early
If you want to surprise your prince or princess with a Character Dining Experience, specialty cruise or dinner show on the big day, make your reservations early. Most reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance. “What should I make those reservations for, Mommy Frog?” I’m glad you asked. Read on…
Birthday Day Ideas for Little Boys
- Make a reservation at The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom® Park where the birthday boy will be transformed into a Captain Jack look-alike. The package includes all the necessary pirate accessories (bandana, eye patch, earring, sword and sheath) and even a place in the Adventureland® Area Pirate Parade. For reservation information, click here.
- Disney’s Pirate Adventure is a fun “kids-only” activity where your young swashbuckler sets sail on a 2-hour voyage aboard a pirate ship (pontoon boat) staffed with an experienced pirate crew (Cast Members). The adventure takes the kiddos around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon where they collect a different “treasure” at each port of call. Disney’s Pirate Adventure is rated very highly and is many a tadpole’s vacation highlight. Click here for more information.
- For an unforgettable birthday celebration (that also includes the rest of the family) Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage is the way to go. The evening begins at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where you’re presented with a spread of beverages and snacks. Next you’ll head to the docks where Captain Hook and Mr. Smee give you a proper send-off complete with photo opportunities. Then it’s time to set sail on the Seven Seas Lagoon for a voyage packed with singing, high-energy Disney trivia and story-telling led by your comical host, Patch. The highlight of Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage is the FIREWORKS! You’ll love watching the Magic Kingdom® Park fireworks show from the vantage of the water and away from the crowds. As your evening comes to an end, there will be a special guest waiting at the docks to welcome you back. Call 407-WDW-PLAY to make reservations.
Birthday Ideas for Little Girls
- Head to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where your daughter will be transformed into a proper Disney princess complete with hair, make-up, nails and the all-important glitter. There are two Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques, one in Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom® Park and one in World of Disney at Downtown Disney. I recommend the Cinderella Castle location for a birthday; the setting completes the whole experience. Call 407-WDW-STYLE to make her appointment.
- Now that she’s all dressed up, she needs somewhere to go! Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot® and Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom® Park are both perfect options. She’ll be surrounded by all her favorites…Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Aurora to name a few. Watch this video of the Princess Processional during Princess Storybook Dining.
- My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party is the ultimate Mommy/Daughter experience. (It’s on Lily’s and my wish list, for sure.) It comes with a pretty hefty price tag, but from everything I’ve heard and everyone I’ve talked to, it is well worth it. Hosted by Rose Petal in the Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, this tea party is 90 minutes of living like a true princess. You and your daughter will be sprinkled with rose petals, served apple “tea” in china cups, showered with gifts like a beautiful doll and scrapbooking kit, and entertained with stories and song by Princess Aurora. Click here for reservation information.
Shout It Out Loud!
When you make your Disney hotel reservation and Advanced Dining Reservations, be sure to tell the Cast Members that you’re celebrating a birthday. (It never hurts to remind them when you check in, either.) Your birthday boy or girl will likely receive extra-special treatment in the form of celebrity-level attention, confetti, a cupcake and a personalized note.
Let Them Eat Cake
No birthday is complete without a cake and candles. Order a custom cake and have it delivered to your table at any of the Walt Disney World table service restaurants. Cakes can be ordered with just 48 hours notice, but Advanced Dining Reservations must have already been made. The cake hotline is 407-827-2253.
Wear Special Birthday Gear
This tip is actually my favorite as it lasts the longest and costs the least. (It’s also appropriate for grown-up kids.) As soon as you enter the park, head to Guest Relations and pick up a free Happy Birthday! celebration button. Write your little one’s name on it; Cast Members (and speaking Characters) will make a point to wish him or her Happy Birthday. (It doesn’t have to be their actual birthday and the buttons can be worn for the duration of your vacation.)
If you want to call even more attention to birthday guy or gal, a Birthday Mickey Mouse Ear Hat is sure to do the trick. You can order them online at disneystore.com or buy one when you arrive. There’s at least one store in each Disney park where you can find Mickey Mouse Ear Hats. The Chapeau at Magic Kingdom® Park and MouseGear at Epcot® have big selections.
I’d love to hear how you celebrated a birthday Disney-style or if you have any birthday ideas to add.
Until then…Happy Planning (and early Birthday!)