Travelling to Walt Disney World is a pretty special event in and of itself. But if you or a loved one is celebrating a special occasion in the most magical place on earth, there are endless ways to make your visit even more special. In cost, these run the gamut from completely free to, oh, the GDP of a small country. So whatever your budget, and whatever your interests, there’s a way to make that special occasion memorable at WDW!
1. Free Buttons
One of the simplest ways to celebrate a special event at Walt Disney World is also completely free! When you check into your resort, let a staff member know what event you’re celebrating, and you’ll get a free button with your name and your special event to wear for the duration of your stay. You can also pick up a button at Guest Services in any of the theme parks. Make sure you wear your button every day, and feel the exhilaration of cast members wishing you happy birthday, happy anniversary, even happy first visit, wherever you go!
2. Free Dessert and Other Extras
Even if you have a special occasion button, it’s worth making sure your special event is noted on all of your dining reservations. You’ll enjoy lots of potential extra goodies when you do! Nothing’s guaranteed, of course, but for example, you’ll notice most table service restaurants will bring you a free dessert to say congratulations. It’s worth being prepared for this so you don’t make the mistake we did by stuffing ourselves with our main courses and not having room for our delicious free dessert!
3. Customized Cake
Speaking of dessert… It’s hard to imagine a special event like a birthday or anniversary without a cake! There are lots of delectable desserts throughout Walt Disney World, but there’s nothing like a custom-created cake to make that special someone feel like a VIP! Most table service restaurants on property allow you to choose a custom cake creation to be delivered to your table. And there’s a dizzying array of choices that allow you to pick exactly the shape, size, taste, and theme to suit your special occasion.
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4. Cinderella’s Royal Table
There are few restaurants at Walt Disney World that scream “special occasion” more than Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom! Dining inside Cinderella Castle is a simply magical experience, so it makes sense to celebrate in this stunning restaurant. Luckily, there are some fantastic packages offered that will put the “special” in your special event. Whether you’re proposing, marking a birthday, or even just letting a loved one know how amazing he or she is, there’s a dining addition for you. And with items like crystal tiaras, signature desserts, glass slippers and rose petals, you can’t go wrong.
5. In-Room Celebrations
After a fun day in the parks, carry the celebration back into your resort with one of many In-Room Celebration packages. Whether it’s a small gift basket, or an entire room full of festive decorations and goodies, you will bring a smile to a special person’s face when they open the door to their room! Cast members set up In-Room Celebrations for you while you’re gone, and they can feature a favorite Disney character, a holiday theme, birthday, or any other special visit. You can choose from a variety of options such as flowers, snacks and sweets, games, balloons, room decorations, and even themed bedding. One of our most memorable experiences was finally checking into our room after a late flight, and finding a Halloween-themed gift basket and balloon waiting for us, having been ordered ahead by a very thoughtful family member!
6. Backstage Tours
The bill for add-ons can quickly add up, we know. But it is possible to celebrate a special event without blowing your vacation budget. Try booking a backstage tour that caters to the interests of the person celebrating a special event. We did the Up Close with Rhinos tour, where we learned about these amazing creatures and even got to pet a baby rhino; the tour was only $40 per person. But there are plenty more options out there, whether you want to dive with Nemo & Friends, explore the legendary underground tunnels (Utilidors) at Magic Kingdom, or head out on a VIP safari expedition on the savanna.
7. Mickey Ears
You may already have a collection of Mickey Ears from your trips to Walt Disney World, but did you know you can have these iconic souvenirs customized to suit any special occasion? From your favorite Disney characters, to weddings, birthdays and anniversaries, to monogramming to commemorate a special event, if you can dream it, you can Mickey-Ear-ify it! Head to Magic Kingdom’s The Chapeau to begin creating.
8. Magical Makeovers
There are plenty of extra packages throughout property to make a little one’s special event even more memorable. Why not treat your aspiring swashbuckler to a Pirates League adventure, where they’ll be transformed before their eyes into a pirate, mermaid or empress, discover a new lair, and even get a new name? Or head to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for another fun makeover, where your little ones can become knights, princesses or pop stars for the day. What better way to remember a special event?
9. Private Party at Your Favorite Ride/Venue
Finally, for those who have big bucks to spend – or who like to dream – you can actually celebrate a private party by renting many spaces inside and outside the theme parks in Walt Disney World. Disney’s event planners will take care of all the details, and every detail is open to customization. Imagine having a dinner party at Tower of Terror, or an anniversary celebration during Illuminations or Happily Ever After fireworks! You can even book a Disney character appearance, or if you’re having an event at an attraction after hours, you can have the ride available for your private party! You’ll pay a pretty penny for all of this, of course, but we suspect it would be worth it.
10. DIY Surprises
You can always create your own special celebratory event at Walt Disney World, of course! Many people don’t realize that you can have items shipped to your resort before your vacation – they’ll be in your room when you arrive. So if you want to surprise someone with gifts but don’t have enough room in your luggage, you can mail them instead. Or consider a DIY scavenger hunt with clues leading around a favorite park, culminating in a Disney-themed surprise. You can also bring your own decorations (if you’re not into the In-Room Celebrations) and put them up in your room to create a festive atmosphere – the sky’s the limit!