Celebrating a Special Birthday at Disney World
By James | Last updated February 8, 2024
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To make the perfect day for celebrating a birthday at Disney World, there’s a great selection of activities available. We’ll run through them here so you can design your own bespoke Disney birthday, engagement, anniversary, or event celebration.
There are a couple of things you need to plan for in advance, like the dining reservations and special experiences. They can book out as quickly as 60 days in advance so make your you get ahead of the queues to avoid disappointment.
We’ll try and run through the activities to book first in a logical order for you so that you can plan ahead effectively.
Choosing the Best Time to Visit
When planning to celebrate a birthday at Disney World, an engagement, or an anniversary, selecting the right time to visit is crucial. It directly impacts crowd levels, pricing, and your overall experience. It may of course be unavoidable, especially for key dates but it may be worth moving your holiday a few weeks forward or back depending on the Disney events calendar and seasonality.
Off-Peak or Peak Season
Peak season at Disney World typically includes holidays, summer months from June to August, and spring break. To enjoy a more relaxed birthday celebration you may want to consider an off-peak period, such as January to February, or September through to November.
Disney Special Events Calendar
Disney World has some amazing events throughout the year, most notabe are their Christmas and Halloween celebrations. A Birthday celebration with Disney’s Christmas decorations around is bound to be a big hit. Other Festivals that happen at Epcot such as the International Flower & Garden Festival are also worth a consideration in your planning.
Disney Resort Bookings – One Year Ahead
When planning a special celebration at Disney World, selecting the right resort and package will enhance the entire experience. Considering all the other planning you need to undertake, it’s good to get the resort, flight, and any package booked and out of the way early (ideally at least one year ahead).
Disney World has a wide selection of resorts that cater to all budgets and tastes. You can choose from three different tiers. There is the Value resorts like Disney’s Pop Century, Moderate resorts like Disney’s Fort Wilderness, and Deluxe resorts like Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Beach Club. You must book early, especially if you’re booking around the peak seasons.
- Value Resorts: Budget-friendly & big themes.
- Moderate Resorts: Middle-ground for quality and cost, good value.
- Deluxe Resorts: Most expensive with luxury facilities.
Did you know, you can pre-order special Disney birthday cakes to be delivered to restaurants or even to your hotel room? The cakes can be personalized with your favorite flavor, engraving size, and style from the professional team. Cakes are bookable via the Disney App.
Disney Dining Experiences – 6 Months Ahead
When celebrating a birthday, an engagement, or an anniversary, you have a variety of dining experiences to pick from. You should book these at least 6 months ahead as they are very popular. Enjoy a meal at a beautifully themed restaurant or share the moment with your favorite Disney characters.
You can book ahead via the official Disney site. If you’re looking for a special experience, you probably want to filter by either fine dining or character dining.
Disney Themed Restaurants
Disney World’s themed restaurants range from fine dining to a more casual experience and atmosphere. Several of the best restaurants are at the different hotel resorts, like the African-inspired Sanaa restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge. You may want to opt to dine locally at a Disney Park restaurant if you are planning to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom for example.
Disney Character Dining
For those wishing to combine dining with the magic of Disney, character dining experiences are a blast. They are a fun way to celebrate with your favorite Disney characters and have plenty of photo opportunities. Restaurants like Chef Mickey’s and Cinderalla’s Royal Table offer this experience where the characters make their rounds to meet the guests.
Planning Your Birthday Disney World Itinerary
When celebrating a special occasion at Disney World, a well-planned day can help ensure you get to experience all of Disney’s best bits without the long queues and frustrations. Consider your must-see attractions and book the lightning lanes for the busiest rides via your Disney App on the morning of your park visit. Take an advance look at the parade and fireworks schedules, and opportunities for character greetings to make the most of the big day.
With lightening lanes, you have your free ride passes from Disney’s Genie and then you can book (pay) for as many line passes after this as you wish to speed round the attractions on your special day.
Disney’s Birthday Button
Let’s get the most important thing out first. When you celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the experience starts with picking up a complimentary Happy Birthday button from Guest Relations. This badge often prompts Disney members and fellow park-goers to offer a bit of birthday cheer as you walk around.
The most iconic day out normally begins and ends with Magic Kingdom. Most of our readers here will likely spend the majority of the day there. You’ve got the restaurants, character meets, amazing rides, the magical castle, parades, and fireworks. As a second favorite, you have Epcot with its festivals, delicious food options from around the world, Frozen Ever After, and many other great attractions.
Parade and Fireworks Schedules
Disney World’s parades and fireworks are a must and you can easily fit both into your busy day schedule. Magic Kingdom usually has a parade at 3 pm but this may vary throughout the year. There are also evening shows at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. The most popular show is the fireworks that take place at Magic Kingdom in the evening. Make sure you check the Disney event schedule nearer your visit as times and shows vary throughout the year.
Aside from meeting the characters strolling around the parks, there’s a couple of designated spots where you are guaranteed to meet your favorite characters.
At Magic Kigdom you can meet Mickey Mouse at the Town Square Theatre. You can also head over to Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Cinderlla and Princess Elena. At Epcot you can say hello to Minnie Mouse and Goofy near the entrance to the park at select times. Like all other things, planning ahead is key to avoid the long queues.
VIP Disney World Tours
Guests looking for a more exclusive birthday experience can book a VIP Tour. VIP tours go one step above for your Disney experience. The tours offer the party a personalized service, including front-of-line access to attractions, plenty of insight from an expert guide and a choice of parks and rides to experience. You get to choose the time you start and you can visit more than one park on the day if you wish if your activity list isn’t too excessive for the time you have.
It’s important to note that you have to pay for your normal park admission as the tours do not include these in their pricing.
Memory Maker Photo Package
The Memory Maker Photo Package is an all-inclusive way to have all your photographs taken by professionals at the parks without the hastle of asking others to take your group shots. The package includes digital downloads of all the pictures throughout your Disney stay and they are easy to access through the pass links they share with you.
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