By Kim Wright Wiley and Leigh Jenkins
What’s better than a birthday? A birthday at Walt Disney World! Sure, anyone can pick up a free birthday button at Guest Relations as they enter a Disney park (and it can be well worth it for special character greetings and occasional small extras). But here are five ways to guarantee your child’s big day is memorable—and truly magical.
When you check into your inside Disney resort, your room can already be decked out in birthday style. There are ten different options to choose from, such as the Mickey and Pals Package which includes presents from Mickey and the gang as well as balloons, birthday banner, and autograph book. Or your child might prefer a princess or pirate theme.
Details: Call 407-939-4438 for prices and learn more about the packages at Disney Florist.
Good to Know: Staying elsewhere in Orlando? For a fee, Disney Florist will also make standard deliveries to hotels throughout the area for do-it-yourself decorators.
Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage
Looking for the ultimate way to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks? The Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage begins at the Contemporary Resort with your host Patch and his friends, Captain Hook and Smee. The characters are on hand for photos and autographs while snacks, including a scrumptious cake, are served. Then it’s to the boats, with Patch leading the way. Birthday guests are serenaded as you float across the Seven Seas Lagoon, stopping right in front of the Magic Kingdom. From this perfect vantage point, the music is piped in and you have an unobstructed (and comfortable!) view of the show. Pirate trivia games pass the time on your way back to the Contemporary and each young buccaneer leaves with a special prize. The final kick? Peter Pan is waiting for you on the dock.
Details: Prices are $54 for adults and $31 for children; for more info visit Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage.
Good to Know: Each boat carries up to 60 people so be prepared to share your special celebration with other guests.
Customized Cakes and Confections
A specialized cake can be delivered to any full-service restaurant throughout Walt Disney World and decorated with anything your child can dream up. A cake in the shape of Mickey? A candied picture of Cinderella? Your wish is their command.
Details: Just call (407) 827-2253 48-hours before the special meal to make arrangements.
Good to Know: If you’re not sure of your plans, a six-inch cake in either vanilla or chocolate can be ordered when you arrive at most Disney restaurants. For a smaller treat, that birthday button is often the key to a complimentary cupcake.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Does your little princess want to actually look like a princess for a day? Check out the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique’s two locations at the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney. (A third location is planned for Disney’s newest cruise ship, the Fantasy, whose maiden voyage is scheduled for April 2012.) Girls have their hair, make-up, and nails styled—all by their very own fairy godmother.
Details: Prices start at $50 and reservations should be made well in advance. Call (407) 939-7895 or visit Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Good to Know: Packages can be expanded to include a princess dress and accessories.
If you want to ensure that everyone you meet knows you’re celebrating a birthday—and that special button just isn't big enough—visit Design-A-Tee at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Your child can create their own t-shirt, choosing the color, picture, and wording, and if you’re really in the birthday spirit, make a shirt for everyone in the party.
Details: Costs range from $18–31; learn more at Design-a-Tee.
Good to Know: No reservations are necessary, but Design-a-Tee and all of Downtown Disney are less crowded in the morning.
Photo credit: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique royal march courtesy Disney Resorts