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Celebrating Birthdays at Disney: Top Ten Tips

by Jennifer Marx, Author of PassPorter Travel Guides

My mother's birthday coincided with our "Mom & Me" trip to Disney. We decided together that we'd celebrate her birthday while we were there by going out to a nice dinner. And being a loving daughter, I decided to take it a step further and make the entire trip a birthday celebration for my Mom! Here are the top ten things I did to make the trip special for her: 

1. Have a Birthday Meal. Make a priority seating at a favorite restaurant and inform the cast member about the birthday. My Mom wanted to do Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and since it is a buffet, they don't offer birthday cakes like some other restaurants do. What she got, however, was a lovely birthday card from the staff of Boma -- in fact, all the servers had signed it for her! 

2. Surprise with Daily Goodie Bags. You can get small, inexpensive items at a party store and fill clear treat bags with the goods. Then print out tags and staple them to the top of the bags to identify them as birthday bags and keep the contents from spilling out in transit. I made one for each day of our trip, and themed them to the park or activity we had planned for the day. I left each day's bag out on my mom's bed while she was getting ready in the morning, and she was often surprised to find them. 

3. Pamper with Birthday Turndown Service. Before leaving home, make up small cards with favorite sayings and Disney character clipart. Then print the cards and fold them in half like a tent. Pick up a small bag of Hershey's Kisses before traveling. Now each night while your birthday boy or girl is getting ready for bed, place one of the turndown cards and a couple of kisses on their pillow. I used famous Disney sayings and Tinkerbell on the turndown cards for my Mom, and she saved them all! 

4. Decorate Your Room. A roll of streamers, a Happy Birthday banner, and some tape can go a long way to turn a drab hotel room into Party Central. Those of you sailing with Disney can also purchase Disney-themed decorations through the shopping booklet that comes with your cruise documents, or at Guest Services once aboard. I decorated the stateroom while my mom was doing the spa tour, and she was suitably surprised by it! 

5. Magnetize Your Metal Door. Many hotel rooms and all the cruise line staterooms have metal doors, which make perfect backdrops for personalized magnets. Purchase magnet sheets (available for ink jet printers) from your local office supply store and print out appropriate birthday greetings, artwork, and photographs (just be careful not to include information that is too revealing or tempting). Once you're in your hotel or stateroom, just step out and decorate the door! It was fun to come back to our stateroom with Mom's birthday magnets all over it, and we had several "Happy Birthdays" from crew members and guests because of it! 

6. Decorate Her/Him with a Birthday Button. Each of the four major Disney parks has a free birthday button available at Guest Relations inside the park. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom have unique button designs, while Disney-MGM Studios hands out Magic Kingdom's buttons. Once you've got the button, be sure he/she wears it! Cast members will shout out birthday greetings as you travel through the park. She/he may even get special treatment -- at Restaurant Akershus in Epcot, my Mom was surprised by our server with a huge birthday cake and a Magic Moment certificate! 

MomWithCake.gif (8989 bytes)
Mom poses with her birthday cake and certificate
at Restaurant Akershus in Epcot

7. Do a Birthday Disney Cruise. If you're cruising with Disney, let your reservation rep/travel agent know about the upcoming birthday and the day you'd like to celebrate it. Once you're onboard, remind the head server or server about the birthday. Then at dinner, the birthday boy or girl will be serenaded by the crew members, presented with a cake she/he'll surely have no room to eat, and receive a collectible Disney Cruise birthday pin. My mom was all smiles when she got the special birthday treatment! 

8. Collect Birthday Pins. Before I left home, a trip to the Disney Store yielded a Winnie the Pooh enamel pin with my mom's birthstone in it. And while we were at Disney, I found a "Happy Birthday" enamel pin and bought it for my mom. There's probably more birthday-themed pins you can collect for your birthday boy or girl. 

9. Spread the Word. Let cast and crew members know about the birthday wherever you go. Not only may your birthday boy or girl get birthday greetings and smiles, but it gives the cast or crew member an opportunity to go the extra step. Everyone wins! 

10. Plan a Special Birthday Event. Gifts of a Lifetime ( offers birthday events among its many special occasions. Before our trip, I contacted Gifts of a Lifetime to arrange a surprise for my Mom. Here's a brief account of the birthday event: At 1:00 pm, we found ourselves at the Snow White Wishing Well in the Magic Kingdom, where I ostensibly wanted to take some photos. As my Mom posed, she noticed a large, laminated "Pixie Dust Express" card propped on a nearby bench, with her name on it. With a little shriek of surprise, she opened it and discovered that Tinkerbell had "hidden" her birthday card and she had to find it before it disapearred forever. What followed was a fun scavenger hunt through the Magic Kingdom in search of the birthday card. The trail led her back to the wishing well, where she discovered her birthday card in a castle/Tinkerbell holder and some pixie dust. It was a real treat watching her romp around the Magic Kingdom, and she was overjoyed at the attention and fun. I HIGHLY recommend Gifts of a Lifetime for a special event -- they planned every step carefully and really went out of their way to make the day special. For a detailed account of the birthday event, complete with photos, visit

There are many fun and creative things you can do to celebrate a birthday! But no matter how big or small your budget is, you can make your birthday boy or girl happy. If you have experiences or ideas you'd like to share, send them to and we'll include them here. 

Return to | Discuss birthday celebrations on the PassPorter Message Boards

Updated 04/06/07 

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