Celebrating a Birthday at Walt Disney World!

Trip Report – April 29, 2009

My dearest son celebrated his 6th birthday during our last trip to Walt Disney World.   To him there was no better way to spend this special day than doing things his way at the Magic Kingdom!

We arrived in time to get his special “Happy Birthday!” button and the fast passes that we chose instead of the free entrance on your birthday or the gift card.  We figured what better thing for a little guy than by-passing some lines on your favorite rides for your birthday.

We watched the rope drop ceremony (our first ever) at Magic Kingdom.  If you and your family are early risers this is a unique and special way to start your day.  Several characters, including Mickey and Minnie, arrive at the train station to welcome you to the park with a few songs and dances.  Confetti rains down upon you as the park opens and it truly is a magical start to your day.  Several times I teared up knowing what a special memory this would be for my son’s birthday.

Note:  There are several versions of the Rope Drop ceremony.  It is a 6-7 minute show done usually on normal morning opening hours.  If there are Early Magic Hours (EMH) at the Magic Kingdom the show can be shortened to 2-3 minutes.  Also, they have an audio version that I have heard they substitute on some mornings – no characters, singers or dancers.   Though you can not 100% accurately predict which show you will get most likely for regular mornings it will be the longer one and for EMH the shorter one.  Usually holidays and high crowd times they will use the audio only.  This is done only once per day so if it is EMH and you miss it is no repeated at regular opening hours.

With my son all dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow we headed to Fantasyland to meet with Ariel.  She talked with him for several minutes about being a little brother and turning 6.  His smile tells how happy he is.

Everywhere we went everyone from Ariel, to cast members to complete strangers greeted him by name (it was on his button) and wished him Happy Birthday.   At first he was perplexed as to how everyone could know it was his birthday and what his name was.  We told him that Disney World is an extra special magical place where everyone knows what you are celebrating.  He walked on air the rest of the day!

We used three of  his fast passes for Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and Mickey’s Philharmagic.   Three of his most favorite rides.  One tip for anyone going for a birthday and choosing the fast passes is that we did was use the instant fast passes to ride the ride and then go back and get regular fast passes.    We then went on Dumbo, Snow White and It’s a Small World After All, picked up regular Peter Pan fast passes and went back to Pooh for a second ride.  On the way back to Peter Pan we even had time to stop at Cinderella’s Royal Carousel for two rides before heading back to Peter Pan to ride again.  Before we knew it we had to take a break at 11:00am .   We had completed 7 rides (with Pooh and Peter Pan twice) in only 2 hours.  Fantasyland was filling quickly so we left via the walkway to Liberty Square.

We stopped for a delicious snack at The Columbia Harbour House.  We used two of our Adult Counter Service (CS) Meal credits to order a tuna sandwich with chips and fruit and a humus sandwich with chips and fruit.  Drinks for everyone rounded out our snacky lunch.  The humus sandwich with broccoli-slaw was a favorite of my daughter.  She loved the crispy broccoli with the smoothness of the garlic hummus.  I thought the tuna sandwich was particularly tasty.  No little overly mashed tuna this was nice chunks of white albacore with celery and mayonnaise.   We did not want to fill up to much so half a sandwich each was plenty.  We knew that dinner at the Crystal Palace was not too far away.

We then went on to see the Country Bear Jamboree.  This is one of my son’s favorite things next to Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean.  This is one show that deeply divides groups of Walt Disney World guests.   There are those that love the history behind the show and can appreciate the show for its importance in the Walt Disney World audio-animatronics.   Then there is the group who see the corny, hokey show and see how the show has not changed in decades and think the space could be put to better use.  Whatever your perspective my son loves it and we had to stop as it was his day.

Onto Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (his first ride ever on this!) and Pirates of the Caribbean.   We were pleasantly surprised that the projection onto the mist was working as we entered the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as when we went the few days before the projection was off.  I hear its use has been spotty.    The birthday boy then chose to spend his money on a “special treat” for his birthday.  He chose an eye patch and sword from the gift shop after agonizing over how to best spend his money.  It is amazing how when it is their money it take hours to separate them from it but when it is your money it is gone in seconds.

Then it was to Crystal Palace for my son’s birthday dinner.

He loves all the Winnie the Pooh characters and this is his absolutely favorite place to eat.  I think he just likes that we are not going to be upset if he doesn’t like something and don’t make him eat it anyway because it is a buffet meal!  Our table was decorated with streamers and confetti.  He loved that they knew it was HIS birthday and that this was all just for him.  The waitress presented him with a birthday card signed by all the Pooh characters  and after a lengthy rest and great meal they brought out his birthday cake.  The tables all around us sang “Happy Birthday” and he got to be the center of attention for a while.

He adored his Pirate Cake.  The cake wasn’t very good (think Sara Lee Pound cake with hard crusty frosting) but the presentation more than made up for it.  The plastic treasure chest, fake compass and flag were all he could talk about.  We even ordered a second cake for our daughter whose birthday was the following week.  We arranged for these ahead of time for about $15 a cake.  It was a small price to create this special celebration for them.

After leaving dinner we were able to go to the Carousel of Progress and Buzz Lightyear – Space Ranger Spin.  We even rode Buzz Lightyear three times before we left the park.  It was a LONG full day for one newly turned 6-year-old.

This was him as he went to sleep in our hotel room shortly after returning to the room:

We had to wait until he was falling asleep to take the eye patch off and remove the sword from his hand.  This was his best birthday EVER he told us as he drifted off to sleep.  What a great way to spend your birthday – in the land of magical dreams.


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