One of the first things people tell you when you’re visiting Disney World over your birthday is, “Get the Birthday Button! You might get free stuff!”
The truth is, Disney restaurants actually do some wonderful things to celebrate birthdays (some free; some requiring advance preparation by you!). Because today is my birthday, I wanted to share a few of the fantastic birthday surprises you can find in Disney restaurants. (Thanks to the DisneyFoodBlog readers who contributed their celebration photos to the gallery below! The Gallery is being updated continuously as folks send in photos — so keep checking back for more pics!)
And if you’re thinking you might want to order an incredible cake like some of those shown in the gallery, just check out our Disney Cake Ordering FAQ for Disney World and Disneyland!
Disney Restaurant Birthday Surprises
When you call to book your dining reservations, let the Disney agents know that you’ll be celebrating a birthday on your upcoming trip. They’ll make notes in the reservation so that the restaurant is aware of your celebration. (Be sure to remind the cast member at the podium when you arrive; some notes slip through the cracks when things get busy…) If you’re making your reservations online, be sure to enter in your “celebration” at the end of the process!
The last time we celebrated a birthday in the parks, we headed right over to one of our favorite character meals: Crystal Palace! When there’s note of your celebration, Crystal Palace cast members decorate your table with multi-colored Mickey confetti and festive streamers. This lets your server know that someone’s celebrating, which results in a delicious cupcake and a card signed by the whole gang (no cost to you, of course)! Looks like the card is a bit outdated, eh? Where’s the Animal Kingdom?
I’ve also had this wonderful treatment at Yachtsman Steakhouse, where the card was signed by nearly a dozen characters (I just don’t know WHERE they found all of them so late at night!), and the dessert was not just a cupcake, but a delicious soaked sponge cake molded with chocolate.
On another recent trip, I dined at Citricos, where I was presented with a semi-personalized “Happy Birthday” souvenir menu. Although the dessert I ordered wasn’t free (that I can remember), it was beautifully decorated to wish me a happy celebration. I’ve heard tell that Disney will be phasing out these Happy Birthday menus, which I think is unfortunate. It really does make one feel special!
Celebrations Planned in Advance
Most of the above occurred with little or no planning of ours; all we did was let the restaurant know that there was a birthday, and Disney did the rest.
But if you’d like to be a bit more grand with your celebration, you can plan in advance to have Disney create a dessert that will serve everyone in your party!
Be sure to check out our “Disney Cake Ordering FAQ” for all the details!!
Be sure to call the Walt Disney World Resort at (407) 827-2253 (the cake hotline) at least 48 hours in advance.
Special Tip: As you can see above, even if you didn’t plan for a cake in advance, you can still order a 6-inch cake upon arrival at most Disney table-service restaurants. These are available in both chocolate and vanilla. No notice is necessary. (I’m SO glad they’ve started doing this…I’m horrible about advance planning!) These cakes even come in versions for special diets!
Disney Food Blog Reader Celebrations!
To quote Lavar Burton, “Don’t take my word for it!” Here are just a few of the grand ways some DisneyFoodBlog readers have celebrated birthdays in Disney World:
Reader Debi W. shared this helpful info: This cake was ordered from Wilderness Lodge. They delivered it to Trails End at Fort Wilderness since we were camping there. We just had to pick it up. The writing was done in chocolate (a complete surprise), was yellow cake with raspberry filling, buttercream frosting. Very happy with what we got. We were there in December celebrating my son’s 5th birthday. I was able to order this cake based on finding your blog! It was very helpful for our entire trip, keep up the great work!
Here are three photos of an AMAZING 4th Anniversary Cake. The only instructions to Chef Brian at the California Grill were: “small, haunted mansion, 4 years, chocolate and raspberry.” Incredible.
When Reader Karen F. called for reservations at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, she requested a special cake for her great niece, Baylee. See below the cake that was “so delicious”!
Reader Susan P. ordered a cake from the Yacht and Beach Club Bakery to surprise her sister with an upcoming Disney Fantasy cruise. She had it delivered to Le Cellier in Epcot.
Readers Hal and Holly shared this photo from their son’s “build your own sundae birthday celebration at Le Cellier”!