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Any day at Disney World is cause for celebration. But, being at Disney is even more special when you are celebrating something like a birthday or anniversary. We have, on various trips, celebrated my birthday, my son’s birthday, and my parents’ anniversary at Disney World. This article will give you some ideas and tips on celebrating at Disney World. I’m going to talk about two different types of celebrations: those you create for your family and those which Disney cast members do on their own without any planning by you. This latter category is not guaranteed, but they are extra magical when they happen.
Special Touches You Can Plan
There are several ways to observe a special occasion during your Disney trip, which you can plan in advance. You can make these as simple or as elaborate as you want, depending on how much time and money you want to spend.
If you go to the front desk of any Disney resort or to Guest Relations at any Disney park, you can pick up a celebration button. There are four types of buttons: “Happy Birthday,” “First Visit,” a generic “I’m Celebrating,” and “Happily Ever After.” The Happily Ever After button is for celebrating engagements, newlyweds, and anniversaries. All of these buttons are FREE! All you have to do is ask for one. Usually, on the birthday buttons, the cast member will write the guest of honor’s name on it. On the general celebration button, you can ask the cast member to write the special event on it.
If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can add some festive touches to your room by bringing your own decorations. Clearly, you can’t go crazy here, but Disney doesn’t have a problem with simple displays. For instance, you could decorate the windows, door, or mirror of your hotel room by taping up some decorations that you bring with you. At Christmas, you could also bring in your own mini tree and/or stockings. Please be respectful and don’t do anything that will damage the furniture or room itself. This would be another simple and inexpensive way to observe a holiday or other particular event.
We have never decorated our room before. However, we have, on several occasions, enjoyed looking at the window decorations of other guests. I noticed quite a few decorated windows during our trips at Thanksgiving and during the Princess Half-Marathon weekend.
Disney Floral and Gifts
Alot of people don’t realize that Disney has its own flower shop. They can create almost any kind of flower arrangement, gift basket, balloon bouquet, or in-room celebration you can think of! They offer everything from candy and balloons to Mickey ears and autograph books. You can also get golf towels, wine glasses, cookbooks, and many other things. They also feature items with a variety of Disney and Star Wars characters and many items for specific holidays.
They don’t have a store front, but they do have a website. You can order your gift in advance of your trip. The best part of using Disney Floral and Gifts is that they can deliver to your resort room if you are staying on property. If you aren’t there at the time of delivery, they will leave it inside your room.
We took my son to Disney World for his 6th birthday. Prior to the trip, he was convinced that Mickey Mouse would know that he was celebrating his birthday. He believed Mickey would tell the other characters that it was his birthday and they would all have gifts for him. After my unsuccessful attempt to explain to him that Mickey would not have presents for him, I went to the Disney Floral and Gifts’ website.
I ordered a balloon bouquet with a plush Mickey attached. I had the card signed “Happy Birthday, from Mickey and all the characters.” They delivered it to our room while we were in the parks. When my son walked in and saw it and then read the card, he looked at me and said, “See, I told you Mickey would give me a birthday present!” The huge smile on his face was worth every penny!
What’s a celebration without a cake, right? Disney can help you with that too! According to Disney Travel Babble, if you want just a simple, generic 6″ cake, you can ask at any Disney table-service restaurant when you check in for your reservation. They will have a cake for you. They cost $23 plus tax.
If, however, you want something a little more custom or bigger, then you can call Disney’s Cake Hotline at least 48 hours in advance to order your cake. With this option, you will have a variety of flavors and sizes to choose from. You can also decide exactly what you want the cake to look like. Disney will deliver these cakes to most Disney World restaurants. For more specific information, please see Disney Travel Babble’s website. They will give you all the details you need including flavor choices, the phone number to call, where cakes can be delivered, and prices.
I have not personally ordered a cake while at Disney World. However, I have heard very good things from many people who have. I’ve seen pictures of some of the custom cakes they made for people too. The cakes looked great.
As I mentioned above, sometimes at Disney, cast members will take it upon themselves to provide you with an extra dose of Disney magic if you are celebrating. This is NOT something that you can plan or ask for. You just need to have a little luck and be in the right place at the right time. So, there are no guarantees with any of these things.
There are a few ways to let the Disney cast members know that you are celebrating. First, many times when booking your trip, you will be asked if it is for a special occasion. You may also be asked this question when checking in online to your Disney resort or when making dinner reservations. Don’t be shy about letting them know. Second, when checking in at the podium for your dinner, a cast member may ask if there is a celebration. Third, you can easily let all cast members know about your special day by wearing the button we talked about at the beginning of this article.
When wearing a button in the parks and resorts, you will hear lots of well wishes from cast members and other guests. It is rare to have a cast member see a button and not respond to it! At times, my son grew tired of saying thank you for all the “Happy Birthday” wishes he got during our trip. It’s amazing how good it can make you feel to have everyone you meet to acknowledge your birthday. It just brings a smile to your face.
Free Drinks or Desserts
Many times when wearing a button, you will get something for free from a cast member. The most common things are free drinks and/or desserts. On multiple occasions, we have received either a free drink or a dessert because someone in our party had a button on. During Boston’s birthday trip, the cast member at Winter Summerland gave him a free round of miniature golf. This was just because he was celebrating his birthday.
The cast members will more than likely tell you no if you ask for something for free. If you look like you expect it, it will also not happen. Cast members can spread a little extra magic with these things. They won’t do that, though, if you act like you are entitled to free things because it’s your birthday.
If the restaurant where you are eating a character meal knows it’s your birthday, the characters at that meal will probably give you a birthday card. We ate at Garden Grill one time on my birthday. I got a card from the characters there. Boston got a card from the characters at Hollywood and Vine and at Garden Grill on his birthday trip.
Be a Part of the Show
Hundreds of times throughout the day at all the Disney parks, random guests are asked to be a part of a show. This ranges from being the “Family of the Day” which helps open the Magic Kingdom for the day to being chosen as a volunteer in one of the shows on property. Being chosen for one of these experiences is all about being in the right place at the right time. Wearing a button to show your celebration can sometimes help you to be chosen for these things though.
During Boston’s birthday trip, we were chosen to be the Family of the Day at the Magic Kingdom. On the same day, cast members chose him to be Deputy of the Day at Peco Bill’s Cafe. The cast member who picked us to be Family of the Day told us that he picked us after he saw Boston’s birthday button.
If you are going to be at Disney World for a birthday, anniversary, engagement, or any other special occasion, think about how you want to celebrate that event. For some of you, the trip itself may be all the fanfare you need or want. If you want something more, though, I hope this gives you some ideas on how to create those extra memories. Enjoy celebrating at Disney World. Happy travels and have a magical day!