Celebrating a Birthday at Disneyland!
My birthday and my brother’s birthday are almost exactly one month apart (plus two years) so when we were young my parents often took us to Disneyland to celebrate. Sometimes the actual trip would land on my birthday which I loved! I’ve taken my kids to Disneyland several times for their birthdays. Each time I request the free birthday button and have a special table-service dinner to celebrate. There are many other ways to celebrate a birthday at Disney!
These are a few questions that many guests have about celebrating a birthday at Disney –
- Is it free to go to Disneyland on your birthday? – No. There was a promotion many years ago that allowed visitors free admission to Disneyland on their birthday but this isn’t offered anymore.
- Are there any birthday freebies at Disneyland? – Yes (keep reading about how to receive your complimentary birthday button). There are also some surprise perks that cast members often pass on to guests celebrating their birthday.
- What is the best Disneyland restaurant for a birthday? – Restaurants that offer character dining are perfect for a kid’s birthday meal (the celebratory atmosphere is already built in!) For adults, consider going upscale with a meal and drinks at Carthay Circle, Steakhouse 55 or Napa Rose. Don’t forget to mention the birthday and you might receive some extra pixie dust!
Here are some of the many fantastic ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland (as if being at Disneyland isn’t wonderful enough!)
Free Ways to Celebrate
Yes, there are FREE things to do at Disneyland, even to celebrate a birthday!
1. Personalized Birthday Button
You can pick one up at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels when you check in or at Guest Services inside the Park. It doesn’t have to be your exact birthday to receive or wear your button. Disney Cast Members won’t ask you for any identification. They’ll only ask for the birthday guest’s name so they can hand write it on the button!
One of the perks of wearing a button is that everyone will tell you “Happy Birthday!” throughout the day from Cast Members, ride operators, bathroom attendants, other guests, everyone!
Another perk is that Cast Members will often choose guests who are wearing a birthday buttons. You may have the chance to join in a show, receive a shout out during the parade or even be presented with a special treat after a table-service dinner.
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2. Mention the Birthday Everywhere!
I make sure that when Cast Members ask if we are celebrating anything that I mention the birthday. I don’t think I can recall making a dining reservation or a hotel reservation without them asking me that question so it always comes up.
But if they don’t ask you, mention it anyway! We’ve even been upgraded to a Park view room at the Disneyland Hotel (without the added charge) for mentioning that we were celebrating a birthday. Several years ago, during the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ lunch on my son’s birthday, the performers acknowledged him by singing his name in their birthday song.
For a Little Extra Dough
If you want to splurge a little, these are a few fun ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland for not too much extra.
3. Disneyland Celebration Cakes or a Mini Cake Surprise
A Celebration Cake can serve several people, will be personalized with your own message and delivered to one of the select table-service restaurants. A Mini Cake Surprise is sized for one and will be delivered to select table-service restaurants, Character Dining locations and through Disney Hotel Room Service. Guests can special order cakes within three days advance notice by calling (714) 781-DINE.
4. Disneyland Birthday Cake Hat
This is quite the confection and sure to get your birthday noticed…in case the birthday button pinned to your shirt doesn’t do the trick! I’ve seen this sold at The Mad Hatter shop in Fantasyland. There are other special birthday hats, including Mouse Ears versions (see other photos in this post).
A Disneyland Dinner Splurge
Character dining is a special splurge and no better day to do it than on a birthday! Characters come to each table during the meal to greet each guest, pose for pictures and sign autographs.
5. Eat with Disney Characters
Splurge for breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the many character dining restaurants throughout the Parks or Resort Hotels. Be sure to mention the birthday when making the reservation and again when you check-in!
- Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – Breakfast only, buffet-style. Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet is a character brunch on select days as well and guests can meet Mickey and other friends.
- Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park (park ticket required) – Breakfast only, buffet-style. Minnie & Friends -Breakfast in the Park. You’ll meet Minnie, of course and other favorites.
- Disney’s PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Resort Hotel – Breakfast only, buffet-style. At Donald Ducks’s Seaside Breakfast, you’ll meet the famous mouse and the rest of the gang, often including Stitch.
- Princess Breakfast Adventures brunch at Napa Rose – Only for brunch, a combination of table service and buffet, featuring several Disney princesses with special gifts for each guest. This is the most expensive meal of all options and definitely on the more sophisticated side.
- Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel – Breakfast or dinner, buffet-style. Goofy’s the host so you’ll see him as well as many other character favorites. We ate here a few days before my daughter’s third birthday and mentioned it at check-in. During the meal the wait staff gathered around our table for a birthday song, presented her with a birthday hat and gave her this cupcake and personalized button!
6. Shop Downtown Disney
Visit the World of Disney inside the Downtown Disney District to find the perfect birthday gifts! There are tons of other spots to celebrate at Downtown Disney, including an afternoon of bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes or with a Crazy Shake at Black Tap.
If You Want to Go All-Out!
Celebrate a birthday at Disneyland in style by going all-out. These are definitely splurge-worthy options for a birthday gift.
7. Gifts, Balloons, Candy and Flowers
Before your trip, place an order with Disney Floral & Gifts to be delivered to your room upon your arrival. Choose from an assortment of gift baskets with different Disney themes, including a Tinker Bell basket, one filled with Mickey-themed cooking utensils and another with chocolate assortment…yum! You can even order an “In room celebration” and your Resort room will be decorated for a birthday party! An adult might love to be greeted by a bouquet of roses with a birthday card – Disney Floral & Gifts can supply it all.
I think this would be particularly special for a grandparent or aunt/uncle to send a gift to a child who is celebrating at Disneyland. The gift will be there waiting in their Resort room during their trip, letting the child know that their family was sending birthday wishes from afar.
Even if you can’t make it to the Park this year, but still wish you were there, Disney Floral & Gifts can ship special birthday packages to your home. There are some very fun choices for adults and kids alike.
As an alternative, consider booking a gift basket surprise through Pixie Magic. I had one delivered for my daughter with a Minnie Mouse theme and it was a big hit!
8. With a Wave of a Wand…
For a complete birthday transformation book an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Disneyland Park. There are several treatments available depending on how head-to-toe you want the make-over to be! There is even a special Knight Package for young gentlemen.
Guests 12 and under are allowed to wear costumes inside the park, so feel free to bring your own from home. If you’re really splurging, there are some amazing Disney Parks only dresses available inside the shop. Check out my tips on dressing up kids for Disney (with lots more unique and creative outfit ideas).
Once your child is all decked out, consider capturing the moment in a very special way – with a custom photography session inside Disneyland. This husband and wife photography team will truly make all her birthday wishes come true with these gorgeous photos.
9. Indulge Your Senses
Adult birthday celebrants would appreciate a relaxing time spent at Mandara Spa inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Get a facial, massage, pedicure or body wrap…there are many items on the spa menu to renew yourself and forget how many candles are on the cake this year!
10. End the Evening with a Bang
Want to make sure you end the evening on a high note? Book a dining package that offers you a special meal as well as a reserved area for one of the nighttime spectaculars. You can receive special FASTPASS that give you a specified standing area for one of the evening shows by pre-booking online or calling Guest Services at (714) 781-4565.
Celebrating at Disneyland for any occasion is special but there is just something about spending your birthday watching fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle that just makes your whole year!