So, how the heck are you guys? I’ve been away for the past week in my favorite vacation spot, Disney World, and took a bit of a blogging break. Did you miss me? Did ya? Did ya?
I’ve been to Disney World several times. My son, Max, and I visited when he was 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 years old. Later when he was 19, we went with his sister, Lily, who was 5 at the time. Then, I took Lily back again when she was 12 and this past week to celebrate her 14th birthday. In between, I’ve had several business national sales meetings in Orlando. I never visited Disney World until I was about 25 years old. It was too expensive for a family with five kids. There aren’t too many advantages to being a single parent, other than the cost to Disney World is a little less expensive as there are fewer people to purchase tickets for. I”ll take it. And, I know that many of you would love nothing more than to make a trip to this magical spot, and costs become prohibitive, so soon I’ll share some tips to keep on budget. I have a few posts to share from this wonderful week spent with Lily.
For today’s post, it’s all about Disney World Birthday Celebration Ideas!
I mentioned the numerous trips I’ve taken to Disney World because each time that I think I’ve seen everything, I am amazed at my delight at new discoveries. This particular trip may have been my favorite as not only was I there to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, but also to experience Christmas in Disney World which will be my next post. So Subscribe to Chocolate and Sunshine, please, if you haven’t already. I promise tons of Christmas love and inspiration.
Now, many of you may have celebrated an adult birthday or a young child’s birthday in Disney World, but it can be something of a challenge for a young teen-ager’s special day. And, yes, Lily said it was more than enough to be there, without need for anything else to commemorate the day. But, you know me. I like to look for the extras and showcasing Lily in multiple photos may just motivate you to do the same for your own family, WHENEVER, you visit.
At Check-In, request a “Happy Birthday” button. Your birthday boy or girl will be instructed to wear it the entire visit. Every Cast Member (park employee) will say “Happy Birthday” and most, oh, so, sweetly. Lily kept asking me why I said “Thank you” whenever they welcomed her and I said that it was because they were making my little girl smile each time they said it.
Ask your Disney hotel Concierge to create a balloon bouquet. It’s free and I always have balloons for birthday celebrations.
Throw a parade for the birthday girl! Actually, did you know that you can use a FastPass to save a spot for you to view the event? We felt like VIPs as we were ushered into a roped-off area and had no one sitting in front of us and all of this without an hour or two wait.
Attend a parade the night before your child’s birthday. This particular photo shows Lily about an hour before her birthday. We made friends with a trio of adorable college girls and also another Mom and her daughter and friend. All of us sang “Happy Birthday” to Lily right in front of Cinderella’s Castle at the conclusion of the parade. It was so sweet. Once you are hanging out with a group of people for a couple of hours, sitting closely together, on a curb, you kinda become friends. So, my next suggestion is to seek out the locals. This sweet Mom was from Florida which meant she visited much more than me. She then suggested another fun treat …
Her suggestion was to visit a shop on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, called The Confectionary and ask them for “A Magical Moment.” I didn’t really know what that meant. It almost made me cry. The entire staff came out and announced to all of the patrons that Lily was celebrating her 14th birthday and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her and gave her a Mickey Mouse chocolate cake pop. This was done on the actual day of her birthday. Someone mentioned to me that you could ask at some of the other Main Street shops for Magical Moments and they do different activities.
Discuss gift options in advance of the day. Lily is an avid Walt Disney World Pin Collector. Remember, when I wrote about the Pin Trading bag we created together awhile ago? In addition to her snow globe which she also collects, she was able to pick up a couple other small items, such as the trading pins. This photo was quite the moment. In Hollywood Studios, I dragged her to the Frozen movie Sing-Along, which I adored!!! There was a nearby “Trading Post” with the Frozen theme and Lily found several of the girls to trade pins with. Here’s how it goes with Pin Trading: Keep some pins on you that you either have duplicates of or are not your favorites. Ask any Cast Member for one of their pins and trade one in return. The Disney Cast Members don’t care which pins they receive. I’ll share more on this in another post, too. It took much of our time!
Allow your kid to drive even when they aren’t old enough for a driver’s license yet. This photo was from Magic Kingdom. One of my favorite moments was when Lily and I made our 5th trip on Test Track in Epcot, which is a very popular ride. We shared our seats with a 20-something young man from England. We talked of it being her birthday and that in one year she could get her driver’s permit. He was amazed because in England, they have to wait until they turn 18. But… he quickly shared that they also have to be 18 to drink whereas we are at age 21. 18 to drink and 18 to drive! He met his friends as we disembarked the ride and they were amazed at the ages we have to work with here in the USA.
Take your birthday guest to any country they’d like to have dinner in. I love Epcot and I love the World Showcase even more. I could spend the majority of my time there. At one point, we saw Chinese gymnasts and later an Italian Flag Dance. Anyway… Lily wanted to go to China for dinner. And, since she hasn’t been there since she was one year old, I complied with a visit to a delicious Chinese restaurant. They, too, came out with a birthday cake and sang to her!
Here’s your tip on birthday cakes. I called Disney World in advance of our trip to determine our cake plans. You have two choices. 1. Call in advance and order a customized cake or 2. At the restaurant hostess desk, ask for either a 6″ chocolate or vanilla cake to be brought to your table at a cost of about $23.00, which is what this photo shows. You know we went for the Chocolate Cake!!
Plan a Fireworks Display to celebrate the day!! Yeah, right, I didn’t exactly do that, but I love this photo. Lily is so happy! There are fireworks displays in most of the parks each night. They are mesmerizing.
I love to collect Christmas ornaments. If you’ve known me for a period of time, you already knew that. I think everyone I know, knows that. And, I love to pick up special ornaments to celebrate the occasion for my kids. This one has a story.
I purchased this “Happy Birthday” ornament from one of the park shops early during our stay. Later, Lily and I visited Downtown Disney and located the Disney Christmas shop. Wow!! And, they personalize their ornaments and later deliver to your hotel. I bought this same ornament from them, had it personalized and made it for hotel pick-up on the day of her birthday. I then returned the original ornament.
Of note is that if you plan to purchase this ornament or any from this location, do so early in your trip as it takes 48 hours for delivery if done after 9 p.m. which is what happened to us. Otherwise, you can wait around and it may be ready in a couple hours. And, give yourself plenty of time for the purchase and personalization process as this was our longest wait of the week – about an hour. But, it turned out so lovely. Right?
And, then we made a stop to meet Minnie Mouse and catch a kiss to wish her a Happy Birthday. And, it wouldn’t have been complete without…
A visit to Mickey Mouse! Remember the Fast Pass used for the parade viewing? You can also use one to bypass the long lines to meet the Disney Characters!
So, the big day is about to begin and the clock strikes 12. In this case, it was midnight the night before her actual birthday. We were on Main Street for their special Merry Christmas Party which I’ll tell you about next post and…
It snowed!!! They actually manufacture snow for this special Christmas event which was pretty cool considering earlier in the day, Lily was doing this…
The temperature was in the 80s and Lily needed to dive into the pool and enjoy the sunshine on her 14 year old face. I love this face!
Happy Birthday to my sweet Lily! (And, she took the feature photo, too.)
Happy Birthday to your teen-ager on your next visit, too. I’d love to see your Comments on other special moments of celebrations in Disney World.
Back with Christmas in Disney next time! I’ll share some more photos and short video clips on Chocolate and Sunshine’s Instagram feed, too.