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50 Magical Ways to Celebrate a Birthday at Disneyland

50 Magical Ways to Celebrate a Birthday at Disneyland


Any day at Disneyland is awesome! But celebrating a birthday at Disneyland makes your special day even more magical! Disney has so many perfect ways to celebrate birthdays, in the parks and around the resort. From freebies to all-out extravagances, these are my top magical ways to celebrate a Disneyland birthday.

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This article was originally published September 4th, 2014 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

How To Celebrate Your Birthday at Disneyland

Skip the big birthday parties this year and take the family to Disneyland instead! The Disney parks are an ideal location to celebrate an adult or child’s birthday.

Yes, Disneyland is magical every day. But there’s just something about being in The Happiest Place on Earth on your birthday! In this article, I’m sharing the best ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland.

My birthday and my brother’s birthday are just a month apart. When we were young my parents often took us to Disneyland to celebrate. Sometimes the actual trip would land on my birthday, which I adored!

I’ve taken each of my 4 kids to Disneyland several times for their birthdays. Not only do they LOVE being at the theme parks on their birthday, there are many other ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland!

Little girl wearing a Disneyland Happy Birthday Mouse Ears hat

Birthday at Disneyland Q & A

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, Disneyland does not offer free admission on a birthday. There was a promotion many years ago that allowed visitors free admission to Disneyland on their birthday. However 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.

Do you need to verify a birthday at Disneyland?

The sweet thing about celebrating a birthday, anniversary, graduation (anything really) is that Disneyland doesn’t officially verify any of it.

Even if it’s not your actual birthday, maybe it’s your birthday month! It’s totally okay to participate in any of these birthday celebrations. You do not need to verify the date at all.

Is there an age limit?

Nope! Guests of all ages may celebrate their birthday at Disneyland, including receipt of the freebie perks. In this article I’ll cover both kid-friendly and adult-only ways to observe a birthday in the parks.

Keep reading for more of the many fantastic ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland!

Birthday cupcake Minnie Mouse Ears at Disneyland

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Should You Make it a Disneyland Trip Surprise?

It can be tempting to surprise your kids with Disneyland. But there are varied thoughts on the surprise Disneyland vacation.

On one hand, your kid could be thrilled about going to Disney on their birthday. On the other hand, they might be brutally disappointed, thinking they’re missing out on a birthday party.

The bottom line is to really know your child, weighing the options before you create a birthday surprise Disney trip. Most times the planning process and anticipation leading up to a vacation can be really exciting. And kids enjoy being a part of that planning!

My suggestion is still to surprise them with the trip. But make it early enough that you can still plan a Disneyland vacation together. Give your child an early birthday card with the surprise written inside: “You’re going to Disneyland!”

Free Personalized Disney Birthday Button

Getting a Disneyland birthday button is one of the first things to do when visiting the parks for your birthday. There are many locations guests can get a free birthday button, at either Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park.

You can pick up a complimentary birthday pin at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels when you check in. Disneyland birthday buttons are at City Hall on Main Street USA. Request one at Guest Services inside the Park. Many of the gift shops also have birthday pins behind the counter, just ask a cast member.

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!

Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland is extra magical! Read about freebies and splurges to put your birthday over the top!
Disneyland birthday button, circa 2016

One of the perks of wearing a button is that everyone will tell you “Happy Birthday!” throughout the day. These birthday wishes will come from Cast Members, ride operators, 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.

Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland is extra magical! Read about freebies and splurges to put your birthday over the top!
Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland, circa 2012

Mention the Birthday Everywhere at Disneyland

Are you celebrating a birthday at Disneyland? Mention the birthday any chance you can get.

I make sure that when Cast Members ask if we are celebrating anything that I mention the birthday. You can usually note the special occasion making a dining reservation or a hotel reservation. Then mention it again when checking in.

My son wearing his birthday button, circa 2016

What Does the Term “Pixie Dust” Mean?

You’ll hear the phrase “Pixie Dust” used a lot about special things that happen in the Disney parks. The special treatment is never a guarantee, but it does happen. Be sure to wear the birthday button in a visible location. 

My family upgraded to a Park view room at the Disneyland Hotel (without the added charge). All we did was mention that we were celebrating a birthday. The Cast Member said she’d sprinkle our visit with some extra “pixie dust”.

At Goofy’s Kitchen, guests receive free birthday cupcakes. Just mention the event when making the reservation and again at check-in.

Goofy's Kitchen birthday cupcake with personalized button
Personalized birthday button and cupcake arrived at dinner…pixie dust!

Stay in the Magic at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

For the ultimate birthday celebration, choose to stay at a hotel of the Disneyland Resort. Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa is the top splurge, with a private theme park entrance. The ease at which guests can enter and exit California Adventure park makes this location ideal.

A little mid-day break at the Grand Californian for my birthday princess!

Disneyland Resort Hotel Perks

In addition to the close proximity to the theme park entrances, staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel has other perks.

  • Amazing swimming pools including a rooftop pool at the Paradise Pier (soon to be rethemed for a Pixar reimagining). Each pool has water slides and hot tubs, making them an ideal respite on off-days.
  • Early morning hours have returned for guests of the resort hotels.
  • Purchased a souvenir birthday gift in the park? Guests of the resort hotels can request package delivery. Packages can be delivered directly to the hotel.
Disneyland hotel MONORAIL pool slide
The Monorail slides at the Disneyland Hotel are my favorite!

Disneyland Celebration Cakes

A Mickey Mouse Celebration Cake is a sweet surprise that can be added for dessert at select table service restaurants.

Choose to have the Mouse Ears personalized with either “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations”. Or they can be left blank, like the cake we ordered. One cake can serve between 4-6 people and is offered in either chocolate cake or white chocolate.

Each birthday cake is $48 cost, plus tax and is paid for on the meal check. Guests can special order cakes within three days advance notice by calling (714) 781-DINE.

It is preferable to order the Celebration Cake when making the meal reservation. This is highly recommended, as only a certain number of cakes are made daily.

Chocolate celebration cake

Disneyland Birthday Hats

These whimsical birthday-inspired head covers will let everyone know you’re in party mode! Not for the shy, any of these Disney birthday hats and Ears will garner lots of attention.

Disneyland Birthday Party Hat – This is quite the confection and sure to get your birthday noticed. I’ve seen this sold at The Mad Hatter shop in Fantasyland.

Boy wearing a birthday cake hat at Disneyland

Happy Birthday Ear Hat – This adult-sized Mouseketeer Ears hat from Disney Store serves up a cupcake with a cherry on top!

Happy Birthday Ear Hat from Disney Store

Birthday Mouse Ears from KreationsByMarcia – The classic headband with a birthday twist. PS: The Ears on Etsy are often much more comfortable than the official pairs sold by Disney!

Birthday Mouse Ears on Etsy – Image credit: KreationsByMarcia

Create a Disney Birthday Squad

Show everyone in the park that your group is excited to celebrate together. These t-shirts show off the birthday kid and the rest of the family joins in the merrymaking. Birthday squad shirts also help your group stay together, especially if you have a large number.

These are a few suggestions on choosing shirts for your birthday crew!

Birthday Crew Shirts from CreativeITA – This Etsy shop offers up several versions in a variety of colors. The addition of Mickey Mouse and friends add a festive touch!

Birthday Crew tees – Image credit: CreativeITA

Squad T-shirts from BesTeezz – Simple enough design that everyone in the group will wear, lots of sizes and colors to fit all.

Birthday Squad tees – Image credit: BesTeezz on Etsy

Disney Birthday Shirts from SangariUS on Etsy – Super festive and appropriate for every family member in the Disneyland birthday squad.

Disney Birthday tees – Image credit: SangariUS

What is the Best Disneyland Restaurant for a Birthday?

There are several meal options that work best for a birthday dinner. I’ll expand upon the top mealtime splurges here that are great for birthday dining.

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.

A character dining experience is the perfect way to celebrate birthday festivities! These Disneyland Resort restaurants have a party atmosphere built in.

I’ll share more about favorite meals and ways to plus-up a trip for birthdays at Disneyland.

Celebrate a Birthday at Disneyland with Character Dining

Splurge for breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the many character dining restaurants throughout the Parks or Resort Hotels. Remember to mention the birthday when making the reservation and again when you check-in!

Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park

  • Breakfast only, buffet-style, you’ll meet Minnie, of course and other favorites. Held at Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park (park ticket required).
Little girl at Disneyland hugging Daisy Duck

Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast only, buffet-style, this character brunch is offered on select days. Guests can meet Mickey and other friends. Takes place at Storytellers Cafe, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Princess Breakfast Adventures brunch

Only for brunch, as a combination of table service and buffet. Meal features 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. This experiences is held in Napa Rose, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Goofy’s Kitchen

Breakfast or dinner, buffet-style. Goofy is the host so you’ll see him, as well as many other character favorites. Goofy’s Kitchen happens at the Disneyland Hotel.

My daughter with a festive cake and free birthday pin at Goofy’s Kitchen

Splurge-Worthy Disneyland Dining

Outside of character meals, there are a few fancier dining options. Yes, it’s Disneyland. Which means, kids are welcome at all restaurants! There are always high chairs, booster seats and a kid’s menu available for young diners.

Cafe Orleans (Disneyland) – More casual but still classy. Upscale menu choices include shrimp pasta, ratatouille, and the ever-popular Monte Cristo sandwich.

Oga’s Cantina (Disneyland) – Not for dining, per se. But it is one of the select locations in Disneyland in which to enjoy alcoholic drinks!

Star Wars-themed cocktails and mocktails and lots to look at in this Galaxy’s Edge hot spot. Oga’s offers mostly bar height stand-up tables, making it awkward to bring young children (though they are allowed in).

Blue Bayou Restaurant (Disneyland) – This premier location is the only Disneyland restaurant that can boast it’s within an attraction. Diners get a view of the bayou section of Pirates of the Caribbean ride while they eat.

The Blue Bayou menu is Southern-inspired with gumbo and jambalaya on the menu alongside filet minon.

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Upscale Dining in DCA and Beyond

Each one of the restaurants in Disney California Adventure offers cocktails, beer and wine along with mocktails and fun beverages for kids. Don’t forget to mention the birthday at check in. You might receive some extra pixie dust!

Carthay Circle Restaurant (Disney California Adventure) – This flagship restaurant is the ultimate cuisine splurge with Angus rib-eye and fish of the day.

Carthay Circle Lounge (Disney California Adventure) – Alfresco dining for lunch or dinner on sophisticated dishes like scallops or lettuce wraps.

Wine Country Trattoria (Disney California Adventure) – Enjoy the patio dining for classic Italian dishes including roasted vegetable lasagna and chicken parmesan.

Napa Rose (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa) – The ultimate in birthday splurges, this resort restaurant serves up classy dishes. Best reserved for adult’s only, consider dressing up and going all out for this meal.

Lamplight Lounge (Disney California Adventure) – My favorite, especially for brunch! Indoor and outdoor dining on chilaquiles, burgers or the famous lobster nachos. The Pixar theme is a bonus.

Open Ocean with a Twist cocktail at Lamplight Lounge

Getting Disneyland Dining Reservations

No need to constantly check the Disneyland app to book ADR for coveted full-service restaurants. Try MouseDining! For most people, their free program is adequate. You can upgrade your account for additional features including instant text messages to snag reservations. This is how their system works.

  • Open the MouseDisney website and search the restaurant you want to dine at. There are also special activities available, including Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
  • Add in your dates to see if a reservation is available.
  • If everything is booked, simply set up an alert with more details including meal, preferred time, and party size.
  • MouseDining will email you when a reservation comes available!

Be the first person to book the reservation before it’s taken by someone else (that’s when the texting feature comes in handy).

Little girl in Minnie dress holding a Minnie Mouse waffle

Make it Festive in 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.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

An afternoon of bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a great way to celebrate a birthday outside of the theme parks. Splitsville serves up games of bowling for the entire family along with excellent food and cocktails.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a unique retro-themed bowling alley and restaurant that's family friendly. Find out what to eat, when to visit and how to do Splitsville Anaheim with kids

Black Tap

Celebrate with one of Black Tap’s signature Crazy Shakes. Inside the restaurant, order up a full meal with dessert. Or choose one of the awesome Crazy Shakes to-go from the walk-up window outside.

Teenagers holding Black Tap Crazy Shakes at Anaheim Downtown Disney District Disneyland

Disney Gifts, Delivered

Before your trip, consider placing 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!

Guests can even order an “In room celebration”. Your Disneyland Resort hotel 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.

As an alternative, consider creating your own gift basket surprise. I had a gift basket delivered for my daughter with a Minnie Mouse theme and it was a big hit!

Can You Ship Birthday Gifts to Disneyland?

Yes, gifts and other packages can be shipped directly to the hotels of the Disneyland Resort! Mail services can accept gifts sent to hotel guests and here are the stipulations:

  • Packages must include the mailing address of the specific Disney hotel
  • Write the word GUEST on the front of the package. Include the date of the recipient’s arrival to the hotel.
  • Allow plenty of time for delivery as packages may take several days to sort and deliver.

Why Ship Gifts Ahead of Your Disneyland Trip?

Who doesn’t love receiving surprise mail?! I think that shipping gifts to the hotel 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 at the hotel during their trip, letting the child know that their family was sending birthday wishes from afar!

Consider shipping something special from Disney Store that the birthday kid can use on their vacation. Items like a swimsuit, Loungefly backpack, Mouse Ears, sweatshirt or Disney gift cards would all be fun and practical gifts.

The gift that fits all, a Disney Store gift card!

Best Disneyland Birthday Celebration Gifts and Souvenirs

Yes, you can bring a birthday gift into the theme park. However, there are a few stipulations. First off, the item can’t be on the banned list of items (ie: no alcohol, glass, etc).

Second, it’s important to know the package cannot be wrapped. Every item must pass through security. If you want to bring a present, use a gift bag. This way the contents can be inspected at security.

Here are a few more great birthday gifts to buy in the parks –

  • Balloon
  • Cristal d’Orleans or Crystal Arts – both shops sell beautiful crystal pieces including small collectible figurines. Rent a locker to store your gems!
  • Bubble Wand
  • Accessories – like a crown or jewelry to coordinate with a costume.
  • The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney District.
  • Pandora – start a Disney themed collection of bracelet charms.
Shop for accessories at Fairy Tale Treasures

Disneyland Birthday Autographs

Create the ultimate birthday souvenir by collecting autographs of Disney favorite characters. Bring along autograph books to collect the signatures.

Let the character know that you’re celebrating a birthday. Request that they sign their best wishes in your autograph book or on a card. This personal memento is a special way to celebrate a most magical birthday.

This adorable Disney autograph album from Howdedode on Etsy is personalized.

Disney Autograph book – Photo credit: Howdedode

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Transformations

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. Another option is checking out these best places to buy Disney princess dresses.

Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland is extra magical! Read about freebies and splurges to put your birthday over the top!

Dressed Up for Disneyland

Yes, there are some gorgeous Disney princess dresses to be found at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and other Disneyland shops. I prefer to shop ahead of a trip to find exactly the right outfits for the birthday girl or boy!

OLO Designs on Etsy (aka: Only Little Once) has some of the most beautiful heirloom-quality special occasion dresses and outfits for children.

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 their birthday wishes come true with these gorgeous photos.

Cinderella dress from OLO Designs on Etsy

Birthday at Disneyland T-Shirts

For a less fancy birthday ensemble, try one of these celebratory birthday t-shirts! Perfect for the birthday boy or girl, a tee is ideal for all ages. There are some ideas here for children up to adults!

Minnie Mouse It’s My Birthday Shirt – Several colors and sizes from youth to adult, this bold design makes no mistake that it’s the wearer’s birthday!

Birthday Boy T-Shirt from StellarShirtCo. – Also comes in “birthday squad” styles to coordinate with the entire family.

Disney Birthday Boy Tee – Image credit: StellarShirtCo. on Etsy

Bibbidi Bobbidi Birthday T-Shirt – With a wave of the magic wand, all birthday wishes come true! This tee is sized for kids to adults and comes in various colors.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Birthday shirt – Image credit: TheSundayDaisy

Best Birthday Ever Tee from GreyLittleArrows on Etsy – Sweet and simple, this shirt comes in a variety of colors and kid’s sizes.

Best Birthday Ever T-shirt – Image credit: GreyLittleArrows

Celebrating Magical “Ears” T-Shirt from NeverlandTeeCo on Etsy – This colorful design can be personalized with your own milestone ages. Shop includes tees for youth and adults or bodysuits for babies.

Celebrating Magical Ears tee – Image credit: NeverlandTeeCo

Check out my tips on dressing up kids for Disney with lots more unique and creative outfit ideas.

VIP Tours of Disneyland

Can you think of a bigger way to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland than with a private tour guide?! Disney’s expert personal concierge are commonly referred to as a “Plaid”, in reference of their signature costumes.

A VIP tour offers priority access to attractions and reserved viewing for shows and parades.

VIP Tour guides start at about $3000 for a minimum of 7 hours. Tours can accommodate a group up to 10 people, including babies and children. Everyone ages 3 and up needs tickets and reservations.

Decorating the Hotel Room for a Birthday

Leave the birthday guest some magic in their room with a few thoughtful decorations. An in-room celebration is a fun way to kick off Disney birthdays! While the family is at the pool or exploring the resort, try a few of these quick decor tips to make the room more festive.

To avoid damage to the room, try using these Command Wire Hooks. They easily attach and remove without leaving marks.

Banner – Hang a colorful banner on the wall. There are many Disney themed varieties, including this Disney princess banner.

Balloons – Hot Dog! These Mickey Mouse Balloons add whimsy to any birthday at Disneyland! Don’t forget to bring a balloon pump.

Disneyland Dining Packages

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. It’s one of my favorite ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland.

Guests receive a special voucher that permits a specified seat or standing room for one of the evening shows. Pre-book on the Disneyland website.

Dining packages vary depending upon which events are currently taking place. Look for the World of Color Dessert party and Fantasmic! dining package. Both are perennial favorites.

In addition, you might find a dining package for Tomorrowland Terrace, for fireworks viewing. Guests can often choose a special meal offer at the Plaza Inn for parade reserved standing area.

Each guest receives a dessert platter during the World of Color

Document the Day with Disney Photopass

Photopass is included with the cost of Disney Genie+. Purchase a Disneyland ticket with Disney Genie+ built in and you’ll automatically have Photopass. This means unlimited downloads of all Photopass pictures, either on-ride or taken by photographers.

Sweet Treats to Celebrate a Birthday at Disneyland

It wouldn’t be a birthday without a few sweet surprises! If you don’t usually splurge on desserts (we don’t), then these delights are a treat. Here are a few ideas for special birthday treats:

Sundaes from Gibson Girl, Ghiradelli or Clarabelle’s ice cream shops are perfect for celebrating. Look for the waffle cone sundaes, Ear Hat bowl or Kitchen Sink. There are often specials offered in each location for various events, as well.

Churros are traditional cinnamon-sugar twists. They are found at carts all over the theme parks. Check the app during seasonal events for new varieties that come with dipping sauce.

Cotton candy is a festive treat. This was my daughter’s first time ever trying cotton candy!

How Can Adults Celebrate a Birthday at Disneyland?

Disney parks are for all ages, grown ups included! So what are the special things that are just for adults? These are a few suggestions on how grown-ups can splurge for a birthday celebration at The Happiest Place on Earth.

Indulge Your Senses at the Disney Resort Spa

Adult birthday celebrants would appreciate a relaxing time spent at Tenaya Stone 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. Relax and forget how many candles are on the cake this year!

Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland is extra magical! Read about freebies and splurges to put your birthday over the top!

Disneyland Babysitting for an Adult Evening Out

Looking for a full grown-up experience and not sure what to do with the kids? Nanny-Land services offer both in-park and hotel nannies so you can celebrate a birthday at Disneyland!

  1. Visit Nanny-Land to find out which nanny service works best for your family.
  2. Use code REWRITTEN for a discount!

Choose from these three nanny options:

  • Gold Crown Nannies have an annual pass to help you and your family inside the theme parks.
  • Silver Crown Nannies watch kids in the resort hotel areas, including at the swimming pool.
  • Knight Nannies offer unplugged entertainment in a hotel room for a creative and magical themed evening.
  1. Visit Nanny-Land to find out which nanny service works best for your family.
  2. Use code REWRITTEN for a discount!

Choose from these three nanny options:

  • Gold Crown Nannies have an annual pass to help you and your family inside the theme parks.
  • Silver Crown Nannies watch kids in the resort hotel areas, including the swimming pool.
  • Knight Nannies offer unplugged entertainment in a hotel room for a creative and magical themed evening.

How Does Disneyland Celebrate Their Birthday?

Disneyland opened on July 17th, 1955. In addition to Disneyland’s own anniversary, Disney parks also celebrate Mickey Mouse’s birthday. Mickey’s birthday is honored annually on November 18th.

The actual celebration of Disneyland’s birthday and Mickey’s birthday changes depending upon the year. In the past birthday buttons have been handed out to park guests commemorating the date.

Birthday Mickey button, circa 2017

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!

Looking for more ways to celebrate a Disneyland birthday? Check out my post about splurges at Disneyland for kids.

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