A Very Merry Un-birthday to you! To you! Whether you are celebrating your un-birthday or your actual birthday I can’t imagine a better place to do it than Walt Disney World Resort. There are so many options of special ways to spend your day—there is something that appeals to everyone from relaxing and being pampered to going on a great adventure. This particular Top 10 list is aimed at adults celebrating their birthday in Walt Disney World. So, if your birthday falls on your vacation, or if you are traveling at another time as your gift, grab your Happy Birthday button and pick your way to celebrate:
10. Fine Dining
As Lumiere sings, “It’s fine dining we suggest,” and this is a great way to celebrate your birthday with numerous options at Walt Disney World. The number one pick for a big splurge would have to be Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. This one is not light on your pocketbook, but it is a culinary experience beyond compare. If you really want to do it up right reserve the Chef’s Table for a personalized dining adventure. You’ll have to be ready to make that reservation at 180 days, and still it is really difficult to attain—but they will put you on a waiting list for cancellations. If Victoria & Albert’s is not quite your speed Disney has many other delectable signature dining options. You could choose California Grill with a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from high atop the Contemporary Resort; Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for unique meals with an African flair and extensive wine list; the Yachtsman Steakhouse over at the Yacht & Beach Club if you are looking for a hearty meal; or one of the many restaurants at Disney Springs.
9. Park Hop!
Think of this one as a birthday challenge! Have you ever wanted to do all 4 parks in one day? Maybe your birthday is the perfect time to give that a try. It is helpful to set up some parameters, like you are going to ride 1 “E” Ticket big attraction, 1 minor attraction or show, and eat 1 “signature” item in each park. So you might do Soarin’ and Spaceship Earth at Epcot and eat a pastry from France. You’ll have to do some research for this one to make sure you know which parks have extra magic hours to make the most of your time. You might also want to consider having a car for transportation to save time waiting on buses.
8. Learn Something New
You are never too old to learn new tricks, and believe it or not Walt Disney World has several educational experiences for guests. Any time of year you could choose one of the amazing behind the scenes tours that are offered. If you wanted to learn more about the parks themselves you could choose one like Backstage Magic, Keys to the Kingdom, Magic Behind Our Steam Trains, or Undiscovered Future World. If you wanted a tour that would offer you education in a broader sense the Behind the Seeds tour at the Land pavilion or the Scuba or Dolphin experiences at the Living Seas pavilion. These tours require advance registration, so be sure to book your spot early (often you can get a Behind the Seeds tour the same day). During their annual festivals Epcot often has some specialty classes, seminars and hands on experiences you can sign up for. Check the listings for both the Food & Wine Festival and the Flower & Garden Festival to see if there is a class that appeals to you for your birthday celebration—you might even meet a celebrity chef or gardener! Want to learn a new skill? Did you know you can sign up for archery lessons at Fort Wilderness? They have great instructors and all of the equipment. This is another one that you need to register for in advance.
7. Dessert Party
Ok, Birthday, Cake, Dessert. This one is sort of a no-brainer. Several of the Disney parks offer Dessert Party options to enjoy their nighttime entertainment. These can vary by season and they are always adding new ones. These parties are a great way to have VIP experience in the parks, get some tasty desserts and get a little break from the crowds while having a nice spot to watch the fireworks. Seems like a great way to cap off a day of celebrations!
6. Shopping Spree
Ok, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are some seriously awesome shops that have opened up in Disney Springs lately. I’m sure this option will not appeal to the men as much as the women, but why not treat yourself to a shopping spree at Disney Springs for your birthday? You can find Pandora, Lilly Pulitzer, Alex & Ani, Basin, and many more. Not to mention the great Disney shopping options there like the Marketplace Co-Op, Disney’s Days of Christmas and Tren-D. Tip: If you are an Annual Passholder, Disney Visa Cardholder, or Disney Vacation Club Member some of these stores offer discounts—so don’t forget to ask. Even if a shopping spree isn’t in the budget you might want to pick up that one special item that commemorates your birthday at Walt Disney World like a Pandora charm or an Alex & Ani bracelet, or maybe a Dooney & Bourke bag.
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5. Party like a VIP
Have you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity? Why not try a VIP Guide in the parks for your birthday? Now this is definitely a splurge, but being escorted around and able to ride all of the attractions you want without having to worry about FastPass+ . . .now that is some serious birthday fun. Aside from the official Disney VIP guide you can also hire a guide from an outside “unofficial” service like My VIP Tour. They handle all of the details for you and then seamlessly escort you around the parks. If you choose this option give me a call—I want to come party with you!
4. Time for some relaxation
If you don’t want your birthday to be filled with activity and are looking for more of a luxurious, pampered day you should check into one of Disney’s fabulous spas. You can choose from many treatments—maybe just a simple mani/pedi or maybe the full treatment with a massage and facial. You will also want to book these appointments in advance to make sure you can get in on your special day.
3. Special Delivery!
Another way to feel special is to come back to your room with a gift or surprise waiting on you. Granted, this option is probably best when someone else does it for you, but you can drop plenty of subtle hints (just share this article with them). Disney Florist can provide room decorations or flowers for your birthday, or you can contact in-room dining at the deluxe resorts to have something like chocolate dipped strawberries delivered. My favorite surprise is a personalized gift basket from my friends at Mouse to Your House. You can contact Mouse to Your House with just about any budget and idea and they will work with you to create the perfect gift basket—and it is delivered right to your resort room.
Does you bucket list contain any items at Walt Disney World? They might be big things or small things . . .some of them you many not even know are options. How about horseback riding? Seems silly, but it was on my list so that is what I did this past January for my birthday over at Fort Wilderness—so much fun and perfect for anyone, even with zero experience. Parasailing? Sign up at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at the Contemporary Resort. Is a hot air balloon ride on your list? Aerophile experience would be a great fit for that at Disney Springs. There are also some hot air balloon rides off site that you can take. My favorite #bucketlist activity that I’ve done so far is the Wild Africa Trek—this amazing experience puts you right on the savanna in the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction and is really unforgettable.
1. Cap off the night
With a private fireworks cruise. I think this is even better than a dessert party for concluding your day of celebrating. Charter a private fireworks cruise (reservations open 180 days in advance) and let your captain take you on a short sightseeing cruise and then anchor in a perfect spot to watch either Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom or Illuminations at Epcot. Normally some drinks and snacks are included and the only people onboard are the guests you invite. Amazing.
One more quick tip, if you are celebrating your birthday be sure to have it noted on your vacation package reservation and all of your dining reservations—you never know what magic might take place, and you will at least get lots of “Happy Birthdays” and well wishes.
What is your favorite way to celebrate your grown up birthday at Walt Disney World?